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Section: Education

Subsection: Early Years 0-5

Support for your child in Early Years

Supporting your child through the Early Years of education

What services does Portsmouth Council offer?


  • It encourages the early identification of children (aged 0-5 years) who have disabilities and difficulties, so that outcomes improved.
  • It makes sure that early and appropriate intervention to support children, (aged 0 –5 years), and their families, is provided as quickly, and effectively, as possible.
  • It co-ordinates services and works with other agencies through support, guidance and attendance at meetings


Portsmouth Council has a number of services which may be involved and able to help. Click here to find out about the professionals who may be involved.


From birth to two years


Some children, usually those with more complex needs, are identified at birth. You may notice that your child isn’t reaching milestones or developing in the same way as your other children. Standard health assessments might also identify medical and/or physical difficulties. If you are worried about your child in these early years you should speak to your GP or health visitor for advice.


Your child may need support for SEN and disabilities at home or in informal settings at this stage. You may be referred to the Portsmouth Portage Team. For further information about the Portsmouth Portage Team, visit the Portsmouth Local Offer here.


If a health professional feels your child might SEN and/or a Disability, they must tell you and give you an opportunity to say what you think. In that way, they can consider what kind of support might best help your child. They also need to let your local authority know, and should be able to tell you about any voluntary organisations that might be able to provide advice or assistance.


It is important to remember that a delay in learning and development in the early years may or may not indicate that your child has Special Educational Needs.


Support from early years settings from age 2


All early years settings (such as nurseries, playgroups and childminders) that are registered with Ofsted have to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). You should check with your setting if they are registered.


The EYFS is a legal framework that states all registered early years settings must have arrangements in place to support children with SEN or disabilities. This includes providing you with a written progress check when your child is 2 years old, ongoing observations of your child’s progress, and a written assessment in the summer term of reception year in school. Your child’s health visitor will also carry out a health check on your child when they are about 2 and a half.


All early years settings must not discriminate, harass, or victimize disabled children. They must also make reasonable adjustments for disabled children – such as providing auxiliary aids (for example, tactile signs) – so that these children are not disadvantaged when compared with other children.


Children who have SEN will be able to receive SEN support. If your child’s SEN are very complex or severe, they might need an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment. This might lead to an EHC plan.


If you think your child has SEN or a disability, or you’re just worried about the progress they are making, you should talk to your early years setting. You can also talk to your doctor or health visitor. They must tell you if they think your child has SEN or a disability and should discuss with you what kind of support your child might need.


Before starting school


Your child’s early years setting will produce an EYFS profile for your child in the final term of the year in which they turn five. The profile provides parents, practitioners and teachers with a well-rounded picture of a child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities. It is particularly for children with SEN and should identify any additional needs for support. A Transition Planning meeting may be arranged with the school your child will be attending so that they have a good understanding of your child’s needs.


Questions you might want to ask an Early Years setting:


  • What can you (nursery/childminder) do to help support my child and meet his or her needs?
  • How will you keep me updated on progress with my child’s development?
  • What can I do to help them at home?
  • Where can I find information about early years providers locally that can provide the right support for my child?


Further information


If you want to know more about what kind of support your child’s early years setting provides for children with SEN or disabilities, you should ask them. Different laws apply to different types of early years settings, and the type of support available to your child is likely to vary depending on the type of setting.


For more information about support for children under 5 who have SEN or disabilities, please look at Chapter 5 of the 0-25 SEND Code of Practice here.


You can also check out the Portsmouth Local Offer section ‘Before School’ here.


You can also contact us with any questions – click here for contact information.

Related subsections

Family Support - Services from West Berkshire