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Make a referral to the Early Years Inclusion Pathway as a health professional

Health bodies have a statutory duty under Section 23 of the Children and Family Act 2014 to bring to the attention of the Local Authority any child that resides in Waltham Forest who is under compulsory school age where, in the course of exercising functions in relation to a child, they form the opinion that the child has (or probably has) special educational needs or a disability. 

They must: 

  • inform the child's parent of their opinion and of their duty, and 

  • give the child's parent an opportunity to discuss their opinion with an officer of the group or trust. 

If the group or trust think a particular voluntary organisation is likely to be able to give the parent advice or assistance in connection with any special educational needs or disability the child may have, they must inform the parent of that. 

As part of this duty Health professionals will seek consent from you share information about your child. The local authority will respond to the notification, and act upon the shared information to ensure appropriate learning and development/education support is put in place for your family, and integrate this with support provided by health and other services/professionals as appropriate. 

Nurseries, Preschools and childminders also have a duty to seek support from other professionals to support your child’s learning and development if they are unable to meet their needs. 

Please note: We anticipate that the learning and development needs of your child, prior to them taking up their Reception Class or year 1 place in a school, would be met as part of the multi-agency support that is provided via the Early Years Inclusion Pathway. Support provided as part of this pathway will support your child’s learning and development and ensure that robust transition and support arrangements are in place for when your child starts school/nursery.  We would expect requests by health professionals and early years settings to the local authority for learning and development support for your child would be made via the Early Years Inclusion Pathway in the first instance. For some children, where it is appropriate, an EHC needs assessment is requested. 

If in addition to your child’s learning and development needs there are other family/social issues that your family would like support with, a separate referral will need to be made to MASH for support from Early Help  or Social Care. You can make this referral yourself or you can speak to any professional supporting your family e.g. a health professional or staff at your child’s school/nursery who can make this referral on your behalf. You can also access a range of support and information from Waltham Forest Children and Family Centre Services.

What happens when we receive an EY Inclusion Pathway referral? 

The majority of children with medium or high-level learning and developmental delay who are either known to, or have been notified to the Local Authority (LA) by a health professional will be able to access the support they need via the multi-agency EY Inclusion Pathway.  

The local authority will review the referral and information provided by health and/or early years professionals and use this to put in place a learning and development support plan for your child. The learning and development support plan will be based on your child’s individual needs and will be delivered by joining together support with other professionals. 

This plan will outline the support offered to your child to help their learning and development. This plan may include support from Health Visitors, Speech and Language Therapists, Home Visiting Services, Educational Psychologists or Specialist Teachers, who may be able to identify effective learning and development strategies, equipment, programmes or other interventions. Your child’s learning & development support plan would form part of a wider holistic support plan which would include information and advice from SENDIAS, Citizens Advice (benefits and childcare tax-credits), Waltham Forest Parent Forum  and support from family/social care support from Children & Family Centres / Early Help /Children’s Social Care as appropriate. This all forms as part of the Early Years Inclusion Pathway

If having provided effective learning and development strategies and programmes as part of the Early Years Inclusion pathway your child has not made expected progress, the local authority will work with you and other professionals supporting your family to determine whether it may be necessary for an EHC needs assessment to be requested.  

What happens when we receive a request for an EHCP assessment?

Once the LA receive a Request for an EHCP assessment the Local Authority (LA) will then determine whether it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for your child and in what form. You can find more details about applying for an EHCP assessment here.  

Funding's available for your school or early years setting to support them in meeting your child’s needs.

Reception age children and 2,3 &4 year olds that have a statutory entitlement to a Free Early Education Entitlement (FEEE) place.

DfE Registered schools or an LA approved Ofsted Registered Childcare provider (Full Daycare, Preschool or Childminder) may be eligible to receive funding in order to provide additional support which enables your child to access their statutory entitlement to their free early education place. We would anticipate that most schools and childcare providers would be able to meet your child’s needs using SEN inclusion funding (SENIF) but for some children, where it is appropriate, this would be met via Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) funding. These payments would be made if: 

SENIF or EHCP funding will be paid to the school or Ofsted registered childcare provider your child attends where your child: 

  • Is taking up a Reception Class place in a DfE Registered school, with the exception of independent schools (please note: SENIF payments cannot be made if your child is in a Reception Class) 

  • Is a 3-4 year old taking up their Universal Free Early Education Entitlement (FEEE) place at a DfE Registered school or an LA approved Ofsted Registered Childcare provider (Full Daycare, Preschool or Childminder). Any SENIF or EHCP funding agreed will be paid in respect of hours attended as part of your child’s FEEE place (up to a maximum of 15 hours per week Term Time or 11 hours per week of stretched over 50 weeks per annum) only 

  • Is a 3-4 year old taking up their Working Family Free Early Education Entitlement (FEEE) place at a DfE Registered school or an LA approved Ofsted Registered Childcare provider (Full Daycare, Preschool or Childminder). Any SENIF or EHCP funding agreed will be paid in respect of hours attended as part of your child’s FEEE place (up to a maximum of 30 hours per week Term Time or 22 hours per week of stretched over 50 weeks per annum) only.  

  • Is a 2 year old taking up their Free Early Education Entitlement (FEEE) place at a DfE Registered school or an LA approved Ofsted Registered Childcare provider (Full Daycare, Preschool or Childminder). Any SENIF or EHCP funding agreed will be paid in respect of hours attended as part of your child’s FEEE place (up to a maximum of 15 hours per week Term Time or 11 hours per week of stretched over 50 weeks per annum) only. 

If you choose to take up a chargeable childcare hours, which are in addition to your child’s FEEE hours, the local authority and/or Citizens Advice will be able to provide information and advice with regards to benefits, childcare tax-credits etc that may be available to support with these childcare costs

Where a child is under 2, or a 2 year old who does not a have statutory entitlement to a Free Early Education Entitlement (FEEE) place.  

DfE Registered schools or an LA approved Ofsted Registered Childcare provider (Full Daycare, Preschool or Childminder) may become eligible to receive SEN inclusion funding or Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) funding in order to provide additional support which enables for your child to access their statutory entitlement to free education place if: 

If you choose to take up a chargeable/fee paying childcare place before your child is eligible for a free early education place, the local authority and/or Citizens Advice will be able to provide information and advice with regards to benefits, childcare tax-credits etc that may be available to support with childcare costs and checking eligibility for Free Early Education Entitlement (FEEE)  places.