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Early Years

Early YearsUnderstanding your child’s changing, growth and development is an important part of parenting. As your newborn grows into a toddler and child, they may encounter physical or emotional issues. Getting support early can help both you and your child for the future.

Your child's special need may have been picked up at an early age by your GP and you may now be thinking about suitable pre-school education or opportunities for your child to have a play, stimulation and interaction with other children. Attending a playgroup or nursery will help your child's development and be a great chance for you as a parent to meet other parents and carers.



Early Years Information and Support 0-4 Years

Health and Development Concerns

If you have concerns about your child's health or development you should discuss these at the earliest opportunity with your GP or health professional.

Healthy Family Teams are part of the Healthy Families Programme, an integrated service for children, young people and families which brings together care provided by health visitors, school nurses, the Family Nurse Partnership Programme (for first time teenage mums) and the National Childhood Measurement Programme.

There are 20 locally based ‘Healthy Family Teams’ across the County which are central to the programme.  Children, young people and families will receive care from this service from before birth to their late teens when they need it, regardless of where they live in Nottinghamshire.

Where additional support is needed for time limited targeted help for a specific need, this will be agreed with you and delivered by the most appropriate member of the team or signposted to another service which could help.  Referral to and/or joint working with local children’s centres and other services could also be offered as part of the support package if needed with consent.

To contact your local healthy family team and for contact details of the district where you live please click here Healthy Family Teams

For information on general early years support including child development, immunisations, free early years childcare places and developmental reviews by Healthy Families Teams please click here 0-4 Years Information


All nurseries, playgroups, Children's Centres and childcare providers should welcome young children with special needs, but some services aim to offer something extra. And if your child's special needs are complex or severe, you may be looking for something more specialised. Within the Local Offer we have asked providers to highlight the types of support and provision that they may make for specific types of special needs and disabilities.

The Nottinghamshire Help Yourself website, which includes the Local Offer has details of child minders, toddler groups and nurseries. Just click on the following link to access this information: Childcare 

For further information on wraparound provision, which refers to childcare before and after school, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section, Click here.

 Coram Family and Childcare Trust have produced this short film that looks at how childminders who, with no previous experience or training, have adapted their care in order to look after a child who came to them with additional needs. 

Children's Centres

Children's Centres are located in every district of Nottinghamshire and offer a wide range of support including around child development, communication and behaviour.

Any parent to be or with a child under 5 can attend their local Children’s Centre. To find out more about what support they can offer you please click here Children's Centre Services

The Early Help Unit

The Early Help Unit provides a central contact point for families wanting to access early help services in Nottinghamshire. They can provide information and advice and will signpost to non County Council Services, as well as accepting referrals on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council's early help services.

The opening hours of the Early Help Unit are 9:00am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday

Telephone: 0115 8041248 or email:

For more information click here

Choosing a School

For Children/young people without an EHC plan

Most children with special educational needs can go to a local mainstream school with the right support. 

When your child first goes to school, you can choose up to four mainstream schools that you would prefer your child to go to. This also happens when they move schools because of their age e.g. to secondary school. You are not guaranteed your first choice so it is important to use all your four options and not miss the application deadline.

For more information about school admissions click here or click on the image:

School Admissions.JPG




The Equality Act 2010 ensures that all schools should give approriate thought to the provision that can be made to support a child/young person with special educational needs. There is a school admissions code that all schools and admissions authorities must follow. 

If you feel you require independent support about admissions you can contact Ask Us Nottinghamshire here for advice.

For children/young people with an EHC plan

You similarily have the right to make a choice around a school place, this includes both mainstream and special schools.

The Local Authority will explain how decisions about the school placement is made for children with an EHC plan. Information will be sent to you about this process at the appropriate time from the Integrated Children's Disability Service (ICDS) EHC Assessment Team

 For further information on moving into Nottinghamshire please click here

Nottingham City Residents

If you are a City resident please click here for School admissions on the Nottingham City Council website.

Support for Special Educational Needs

Children learn at different rates and so a child may experience learning difficulties at some point in their time at school. This is not unusual. For most children the difficulties are temporary and are soon overcome with help and encouragement from home and school.

The term 'Special Educational Needs' is used to describe learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for children to learn than most children of the same age.

Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) are likely to need extra or different help from that given to other children their age.

Where a setting identifies a child as having SEN, they must work in partnership with parents to establish the support the child needs. This support could include a special programme of work, particular equipment or time with a worker in the setting individually. It may also extend to getting support from other professionals or services such as health and social care professionals e.g. Speech and Language Therapists.

For further information on support for special educational needs including details on choosing and applying for a school please click here Special Educational Needs Support

Coram Family and Childcare Trust have produced a Guide to Childcare for children with special educational needs and disabilities. The guide aims to set out what childcare and early support should be available to you. The guide offers tips on choosing the right childcare and guidance on what support the local authority (LA) early years childcare and schools should offer you. 

Please click here Guide to childcare for children with special educational needs and disabilities in England | Family and Childcare Trust

This short film shows how a childcare settings can support Children with Special Educational Needs:


family lives

Advice on parenting disabled children

Parenting a child with a disability or addtional needs can often be a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences. It can be really hard to talk to others about how you feel or what you are doing as you may feel they might not be able to understand it fully.

Please click here for more information Advice on parenting disabled children - Family Lives

Parents' Toolkit: SEND 

SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) resources, activities and support to help you and your family. Please click here

Home - BBC Bitesize

Support information of working with Children with SEND

A small group of professionals were commissioned to develop an inclusive document to align with the Early Years Foundation Stage reforms, implemented in 2021. This document has a particular focus on supporting children with Special Educational Needs and or Disabilities (SEND) and their families.

The aim of this document is to provide information, exemplars, and links to relevant tools and/or services that will enhance practitioners’ knowledge and skills when working collaboratively with children with SEND and their families. This work has been funded by the Department for Education.

Please click the lin to take a look: A-Celebratory-Approach-to-Working-with-Children-with-SEND-FINAL.pdf (

Schools and Families Specialist Services (SFSS)

SFSS Image leaflet.JPG

Schools and Families Specialist Services  (SFSS) comprise of specialist teachers and teaching assistants with additional qualifications and extensive experience in working with children and young people with special educational needs aged from 0-19.

Click here to view the guide.

 The service comprises of four teams:

  • The Early Years Team (supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities from 0 - 7 years (Key Stage 1)).
  • The Communication and Interaction Team
  • The Cognition and Learning Team
  • The Sensory Team

Their services are aimed at children and young people with complex special educational needs and/or disabilities, their families and staff in the early years settings and schools they attend.

Specialist teachers and teaching assistants work with children and young people with a range of complex SEND in the home for pre-school children, and/or early years settings. They then provide support to schools for children and young people of statutory age in mainstream education, where the schools are seeking advice, guidance and/or training on making provision to address those complex needs.

They provide specialist assessments and interventions, including services for children and young people who are deaf, visually impaired, autistic, or have cognitive learning difficulties.

Who do they accept referrals from?

The Early Years Team accepts direct requests for involvement for children with complex SEND who are below school age from parents and professionals, e.g. from Early Years settings or health visitors. 

Requests for involvement with children and young people with complex SEND attending school are generally negotiated at Family of Schools Springboard meetings which are held each term. Direct requests for involvement are accepted in certain circumstances, for example when:

  • a child with significant SEND arrives in the County
  • a child’s school placement is at risk, or
  • there is an unexpected and significant change to a child’s needs or situation

Contact Details

For Early Years SFSS and Sensory Team - 0115 804 1232
For the Communication & Interaction, Cognition & Learning  - 0115 854 6464

Early Years Team and Sensory Team:

Communication, Interaction Team & Cognition & Learning Team:

For more information please click here

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans

An Education, Health and Care plan (EHC) is a legal document which describes a child or young person’s special educational needs, the support they need, and the outcomes they would like to achieve. An EHC plan looks at all the needs that a child or young person has within education, health and care. Professionals and the family, including the child or young person, together consider what educational, health and care outcomes they would like to see for the child or young person. The EHC plan identifies what is needed to achieve those outcomes.

The special educational provision described in an EHC plan must be provided by the child or young person’s Local Authority (LA).

The EHC plan does not provide any additional funding to families or schools, nor is the EHC plan any guarantee that children or young people will be given a special school placement.

All mainstream schools in Nottinghamshire have access to additional funding and support, advice and guidance from specialist teams who can support schools to provide the best provision for pupils with SEN.

What is an EHC Plan?

For further information on Education, Health and Care Plans including the assessment process and how to apply please click here








Parentline - a confidential texting service for parents and carers 

Parentline, is a new confidential text messaging service for parents and carers across Nottinghamshire.  

The texting service is an easy way for parent and carers of children aged 0 – 19 years to confidentially ask for help about a range of issues, such as:

  • feeding and nutrition
  • child development
  • parenting advice and support
  • emotional health and wellbeing
  • behaviour difficulties
  • family health

You can contact the Healthy Family Team and find out how to access other local services for example, School Health Team, breastfeeding support or health visitor led sessions.

Parents and carers can contact the text messaging service for advice from Monday to Friday 9.00am - 4.30pm excluding bank holidays.  Messages sent to the dedicated number are delivered to a secure website, and responded to by the Healthy Family Team. Texts are usually replied to within one working day.  Automatic replies will be sent to any messages received out of hours explaining where to get help if their question is urgent, and when they can expect a response.

Text Parentline on 07520 619919

Information, Advice and Support Services - ASK US Nottinghamshire

Information, Advice and Support Services (IASS) offer free, impartial and confidential information, advice and support to disabled children and young people, and those with SEN from birth to 25, and their parents/carers. They are statutory services, which means there has to be a service in every Local Authority. In Nottinghamshire the service if offered by Ask Us. Watch this animation, which explains all of the support on offer from IASS:

Ask Us Nottinghamshire Ask Us Nottinghamshire

This service offer free impartial and confidential information, advice and support for parents/carers of children/young people with special educational needs and disabilities including advice on what to look for when choosing a school. They can offer telephone support but also face to face support can be arranged if appropriate e.g. help with completing certain forms, writing letters and attending school meetings.

Their helpline operates Mon, Weds & Fri 9:00 - 13:00. Tues & Thurs 13:00 - 17:00.

Tel: 0800 121 7772 or email:

Find Us on Facebook

Facebook is monitored during office hours Monday - Friday, however if your enquiry is serious, urgent or involves personal details, we advise you to contact the team on 0300 500 80 80 or: Contact us | Nottinghamshire County Council

Follow Us @NottsCC


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