Link to homepage

SEND - early years

There are many organisations, groups and schemes that can help if your child is aged up to five and if they have special educational needs and/or disabilities. North Yorkshire's Sure Start children's centres are the focal point for early year's services. The centres offer early education and childcare, advice and support and child and family health services.

Disabled children's services provide specialist social work teams who work with children who have substantial and permanent disabilities. Support can be accessed by self-referring or by being referred by professionals working with families who believe they would benefit from an assessment or services. There are three disabled children's teams who work with disabled children and their families:

  • West: covering Harrogate and Craven districts;
  • Central: covering Hambleton, Richmondshire and Selby districts; and
  • East: covering Scarborough and Ryedale districts.

Help with development, learning and behaviour

As part of the inclusive education service, educational psychologists and early year's advisory teachers, along with other specialist staff, support children in nurseries and schools. Their role includes:

  • Supporting parents, carers, and professionals solve the problems that children's development or learning present them with;
  • Observing and assessing children to help identify how or why these difficulties occur;
  • Planning programmes of support for learning and inclusion that others can follow; sometimes offering direct support; and
  • Training in a range of issues related to learning and development in schools and other settings.

As part of early year's provision, there are also portage home visitors who can provide an educational support service to families of children aged up to five with SEND, where they meet the eligibility criteria. Usually, this is carried out in the family's own home.


When looking for childcare, you will find a variety of types available and it is important to make sure this is high quality. Childcare providers must be registered with the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted).

Further information

SEND - early years - frequently asked questions





This page was last updated on 8 September 2015