Early Years Support Team
What our service does
The Early Years Support Team is a small team of Specialist Advisory Teachers and Specialist Nursery Nurses who offer an Initial Assessment, educational advice and support in relation to children from birth to five who have special educational needs. We are a term-time educational service provided by Bedford Borough Council free of charge.
Location of our service
We are located at the Child Development Centre within the context of a multi-disciplinary team although we also work across the Bedford Borough Council locality, visiting children at home and in their early years settings in order to give advice and support.
Who our service provides for
Children from birth to five who have special educational needs
We also contribute to Bedford Borough Council's In-service training portfolio for early years practitioners. We also offer bespoke training to parents, carers and practitioners on matters relevant to supporting their child with additional needs.
How to start using our service
Children are referred to the Early Years Support Team by a health or educational professional. Once a referral has been accepted by the team the parents/ carers are made aware of this and the child is placed on a comparatively short waiting list (currently 8-12 weeks) prior to being seen.
Parents and carers who have specific concerns regarding their child's development are able to contact the team manager or support officer for advice regarding possible referral to the team and a range of other appropriate services which may also be able to provide some support.
How decisions are made about who can use our service
We offer an Initial Assessment which identifies a child's individual special educational needs. Once the assessment is completed by the Advisory Teacher a team decision is made regarding the level of support which will be offered to the child. This is discussed with parents, carers and the child's early years setting. Support will differ, depending on a child's level of special educational needs. For example: some children make progress with intensive support at home provided by a Specialist Nursery Nurse, and some make progress through individual advice and support provided to the early years setting by the Advisory Teacher.
We provide ongoing advice and support from early identification of additional needs (through the Initial Assessment) to the end of a child's Reception Year where appropriate. This can include regular support at home through home teaching and advice to parents and carers, support in the early years setting to raise an individual child's achievement and support through specialist groups provided by the team. We also provide information and advice regarding early years provision, local support groups and voluntary agencies.
How we communicate with our service users
We communicate with service users on a personal basis via individual visits to the home, early years setting and school. We may also communicate via telephone and email. Occasionally we may be able to provide an interpreter in the child's first language, if given sufficient notice.
All children are regularly reviewed in terms of their progress and in the context of the SEN Code of Practice. The parents and carers are always invited to attend and contribute to review meetings, in partnership with the Early Years Support Team and their child's early years setting.
Accessibility of our service
The Child Development Centre is a purpose-built facility offering specialist resources for children with special educational needs and disability. Access to specialist resources is through referral and subsequent support provided by a relevant education or health professional within the multi-disciplinary team.
The Centre provides parking facilities for visitors and easy access to the building. There are disabled toilets and changing facilities as well as a child friendly reception and waiting area. The waiting area has a range of toys which are available for children to use whilst waiting for their appointments. A variety of local support groups visit the Child Development Centre on a regular basis. There is also an Information Room where parents, carers and professionals are able to access information regarding special educational needs and disabilities as well as borrow resources from the Parents' Library.
Qualifications and training of our staff
All members of the team are either teachers or nursery nurses who have had a high level of training around Special Education Needs
General Contact Information
Debbie Albone on the below number.