4:41 pm, Monday, 12th September 2022

Professionals Early Years Update September 2022

Teams and staff updates

We made two new appointments over the summer break; Andrea Clark as our new Early Years Manager and Cleo Fulton as the Assistant Early Years Area SENCO.  Both candidates come to us with a wealth of experience in education, Early Help and SEND. They will be welcome additions to the team. We are hoping that both staff will be in post at least partially by 1 October. Once confirmed, further updates will follow.

From 1 September

All of our specialist advisory teachers covering Early Years to age 16 are now being line managed by Eleni Triantaffylou, our Principal Psychologist.

The Portage team are now being line managed by Paul Cook.

Both of these teams will be working with Ellie to make any amendments and tweaks to referral documentation which will be communicated with you in due course.

Other developments and updates

Following a lot of changes to personnel, services and ways of working throughout COVID we are in the process of updating an overview of the different support that Early Years settings can access either for themselves, the children in their setting or their families across education and Locality Family Hub teams. The attached, highlights the offer so far. We will be updating the Local Offer with this information and revamping the Early Years pages during September to enable all settings to have a digital information, advice and guidance offer. Please keep checking the pages regularly for updates. New content is being added all of the time in different sections. 

Please note: It has become apparent that there are still some planned visits settings are expecting that are a legacy of Glenis’. There is currently no capacity within the team to cover these visits, which is why the digital offer is also being so heavily updated to support colleagues with information, advice and guidance.   


Our new training pages and offer has been launched this week, which any practitioners are welcome to access.  The attached flyer has details of those courses confirmed so far. Please check the website for the most up to date times and costs. Keep checking back as we continue to evolve and develop this offer. Don’t forget if you didn’t use your free places on the AET ‘Making Sense of Autism’ training last term, you can still use them this term. NELC SEND Local Offer | SEND Training and Events (nelincs.gov.uk)

NASEN continue to offer a suite of training, including one this month specifically for Early Years settings: Meeting the Needs of Every Child | Nasen 

Early Years SENCO Forum will be starting up again next month, please look out for details.

Early Years Inclusion Fund

Communication has been slow around this, which I can only apologise for given our reduced capacity and increase in applications. However, settings should now have confirmation regarding payments for the autumn term and the last couple of queries are being ironed out.  There have been a number of queries regarding the length of the term being 13 weeks as well as appeals for not receiving full time 1:1 support. The 13 weeks is calculated based on the maintained school dates, which for this term are 6 weeks in half term 1 and 7 in half term 2.  With such an increase in requests coming through during the summer term, it would be impossible to support all requests for a full time 1:1. Particularly in light of the difficulties with recruitment as well, this isn’t a sustainable model.  Applications have been carefully considered, to understand what a child needs the 1:1 support for and what are of need the application is highlighting. A full time 1:1 for any child is intensive support for both the child and the adult involved and research tells us that only in a very small number of cases is this type of support effective.   

There were a number of incomplete forms, more so than usual, which can result in delays in decisions being made as well. Given that summer is also punctuated by annual leave for officers, it can delay things further where queries are raised. Overall the family outcomes section was left empty in the majority of referrals received. Moving forwards, it is crucial that this is completed, as families are a key partner in supporting a child’s development. This section can include support already in place from a Family Support Worker, Health visitor (if directly health, it would feature in the health section). 

We have an increasing number of children with complex health needs also starting to emerge in settings as well. Please seek advice in the first instance from Sarah Harding our Designated Clinical Officer and her team (designatedclinicialofficer@nelincs.gov.uk) who will be able to advise further on whether it is more appropriate for the Children’s Complex Health team to support a child, rather than applying for the EYIF. We need to work jointly with health colleagues to ensure that correct support is provided for the staff, and the child from the correct team.       

New dates for panels being held this year will be communicated shortly. Existing paperwork is still in place, although I am looking for 2-3 representatives from settings to work with me on refreshing our EYIF guidance and forms to ensure that they are still relevant, in line with current legislation and enable appropriate access to the fund without any lengthy form filing. Please get in touch with me, if you are interested in forming a small working party to undertake this work.

Download the accessible PDF document summarising this page. Early Years Update September 2022 (PDF, 158 KB)