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SEND: Support for pre birth and young children

Specialist Advisory Service (Early Years – Child Development Centre Education Team)

This small team of experienced Early Years Teachers and Practitioners is based at the Child Development Centre (CDC) within the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital site. As part of a larger team of specialist professionals, they are available to families and Early Years providers to assist in the identification and assessment of children under 5-years -old with significant additional or complex needs.

The CDC Education team work closely with the Portage Service and provide specialist advice and support to families and practitioners as part of North East Lincolnshire’s Early Help pathway.  They also integrate with the CDC Nursery team of Children’s nurses and Play Specialists. The Early Years Teachers within the team are also available to advise North East Lincolnshire’s school-based Foundation Stage practitioners on personalised planning for young children’s learning and development.

The Education team provide two specific services:

  • Multi-Agency Developmental Assessment
  • Educational Outreach Support

Multi-Agency Developmental Assessment

The Multi-Agency Developmental Assessment is designed to help families and practitioners to understand a young child’s development when concerns have been expressed about it. The team work in partnership with parents and other professionals to build a picture based on the child’s play in the home, in their educational setting and at the CDC during a small number of sessions.  Observation of their play and some developmental testing activities provide the basis for:

  • Short-term advice and support with their development for everyone caring for or working with the child
  • A Multi-Agency Support Plan focussed on family priorities
  • Ideas for further assessment
  • Continued monitoring of the child’s progress where this is needed

Referral for this assessment is usually through the Early Help pathway after the completion of a Single Assessment form by a professional involved with a family.  After assessment, families and practitioners can seek further advice or review by contacting a team member (see below).

Educational Outreach Support

The CDC Education team also offer practical advice, support and expertise to educational settings after an assessment for a limited period. They share the understandings gained about children during Multi-Agency Assessment with Early Years practitioners and help them to improve and implement personalised plans for their development.  They will also support the engagement of parents and carers in their child’s progress. The Early Years Teachers who work as part of the team also provide Early Years-specific SEN and Disability advice to schools as members of the Specialist Advisory Service.

Contact details

This service is accessed by educational settings by contacting one of the Early Years Teachers.


Telephone: 03033 303971 or 07917 455025

Portage team

The Portage Service is a term-time home visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs. The needs of individual children may present as either severe, complex or profound and multiple difficulties. All pre-school children with learning support needs are eligible for the service. The service has an open referral system, so parents/carers or anyone with concerns regarding a child’s development and with the parent/carers permission, can refer a pre-school child. A general guide to referral would be that a child demonstrates significant developmental delay when compared with their peer group or that the child has a recognised medical condition.

Whilst the service is based at the Municipal Offices in Grimsby, all the children are supported in their own homes. Visits are arranged with the parent/carer on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

The aim of the service is to work in partnership with parents/carers to support young children‟s development through play, using the Portage Checklist, which encompasses the following skill areas:

  • Infant stimulation
  • Socialisation
  • Self-help
  • Cognition
  • Motor and Language.

Support given through Portage is based on the principle that parents are the key figures in the development of their child, and that they bring considerable experience to the partnership with professionals. Portage helps parents to be confident in their role, whatever their child‟s needs may be.

How to access the service?

The Portage Service operates an open referral system – which means that any parent with concerns regarding their child’s development, or any professional – with the parent’s permission, may make a direct referral to the service. The Portage Supervisor will make an initial home visit to discuss the service and whether or not it may be appropriate for the child.

Key to success

Portage visits children in their own home. Parents then share with the home visitor their understanding of their child‟s individual skills, abilities and support needs. Portage emphasizes the positive and builds on what a child is already doing. Success builds interest and confidence, as children acquire new skills through activities based on play and grounded in everyday situations to make learning fun for all the family.

Contact details


Telephone: 01472 323177

Family hubs

Our Family hubs are inclusive for all, which includes support for children with additional needs. For information on activities and support available go to our Family Hubs page.

Children’s Disability Service

For more information about the service go to our Children’s Disability Service (CDS) page.

Early years inclusion fund

The Early Years strategy group in North East Lincolnshire aims to ensure support is available for settings that cater for Foundation Stage 1 and early years children, to ensure that all children are given the opportunities to reach their full potential.

Early years guidance and support

Early Years Inclusion Funding guidance notes (PDF)

Eearly Years Support Plan (Word)

Eearly Years Review Support Plan (Word)

For general information on our early years funding please visit our Childcare page.

Hearing and vision

We are the Educational Team for Hearing and Vision (ETHV). We offer a wide range of services to support children and young people who have been diagnosed with hearing and/or vision loss from birth to leaving school. To find out if we can support you, go to our Hearing and vision page.

Contact details

Families First Information Service, Civic Offices, Knoll Street, Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, DN35 8LN


Telephone: 01472 326292 option 1

Opening times: Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm, except bank holidays