London Borough of Croydon

The Early Years SEND Team offers a range of services for families whose children, aged 0-5, have significant developmental delay, disabilities and social communication difficulties both at home and in Early Years settings. The team ensure that a package of support is delivered that reflects the individual needs of the child and their family and may be a combination of the different services offered by the team, including:

What we offer

A member of the Early Years SEND team will work with the child, family and setting to identify the child’s skills and encourage progress in play, communication and learning. The team offer advice and guidance to parents when choosing an early years setting and will visit the setting or home (if the child is not in a setting) on a termly basis. The Early Years SEND team work closely with family support workers, health and voluntary agencies in Croydon.

The team will make assessments of a child’s educational needs and refer for statutory assessment (Education, health and care plan) where appropriate. The team will also refer to health agencies where appropriate.

Parents and carers of those children identified as having social communication difficulties will be offered a course that supports understanding of their child’s needs but also provides practical advice and guidance on how to support and manage this at home.

Referrals to the Early Years SEND team will be accepted from health, other professionals or directly from families. To make a referral please fill in an Early Help referral form (see below) and send it to earlyhelp@croydon.gov.uk. Your referral will be triaged accordingly in order to provide the most appropriate support.

Support for complex special needs

The Early Support Programme is for families whose children, aged 0-5, have complex additional needs and disabilities.  These families often have many different people working with them to support their child: different therapies, hospitals, community doctors and other specialist services. Croydon families are eligible for this service if they have (or are likely to have) at least four targeted services working with them to support their child. Working with so many people can become overwhelming and difficult to manage. 

The Early Years SEND team helps families to coordinate all the different services, helping everyone to communicate and work together. Each family has a key worker to act as a single point of contact for all the other people around them and will work with the family to identify the issues that are most important for them. Key workers and families work together towards agreed goals, which might include arranging meetings with all the professionals to discuss the things that are most important to families, sorting out appointments, obtaining information about a child’s condition, providing emotional support during times of stress and celebrating successes.

Support in Early Years settings

Specialist advice, guidance and support is available for helping children with a high level of need. Settings will be given support for developing and managing SEN Support Plans / Individual Education Plans, making referrals for specialist services, advising parents and providing funding for additional support and specialist equipment where needed. 

Children with a high level of need are supported by the Early Years SEND team once they start to attend a setting. Often the team have already been working with the child and family at home and so this service provides continued, consistent support from a worker that already knows the child and family well.  As well as ensuring that suitable support, equipment and training is provided to the setting, they also monitor children’s progress and offer educational advice to support the setting to submit statutory assessment requests when appropriate.

The team provides this support to the setting, child and family until the child moves into school. They help to support the family to consider possible schools that will best support their needs and ensure that the family’s preference is taken into account when school places are allocated. The team ensure that everyone working with the child and family communicate and share information in order to plan for the child’s move into school. Often a multi-agency meeting is organised with the family to make sure that everything is in place before the child starts school.

Please see the below document for Early Years SENCO’s on further practical support and guidance.

Referrals to the Early Years SEND team will be accepted from health, other professionals or directly from families. To make a referral please fill in an Early Help referral form (see below) and send it to earlyhelp@croydon.gov.uk. Your referral will be triaged accordingly in order to provide the most appropriate support.

Social communication support

The Early Years SEND team work closely with family support workers, health and voluntary agencies in Croydon to offer a range of support for families with children identified as having social communication difficulties. This includes a course for parents and carers that supports understanding of their child’s needs but also provides practical advice and guidance on how to support and manage this at home. The team also offer packages of home visiting to help parents and carers to further develop strategies at home, support for children in early years settings and providing help to parents when selecting nursery and school places for their child.  

Referrals to the Early Years SEND team will be accepted from health, other professionals or directly from families. To make a referral please contact: earlyyearsSEND@croydon.gov.uk or tel. 020 8604 7263.

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