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The Derbyshire Early Years Special Educational Needs Panel is a multi-agency group. It considers placements and services for Derbyshire children aged 0 to 5-years-old with complex special educational needs (SEN).

The Early Years SEN Panel aims to:

  • support the early identification of SEN and disabilities
  • ensure that children’s needs are identified and assessed quickly, and matched by appropriate provision
  • coordinate provision through the development of close partnerships between parents, the local authority, health, and the private and voluntary sector
  • promote inclusion in mainstream early years settings wherever possible, and in-line with parental wishes

The Early Years SEN Panel consists of representatives from the following agencies:

Information for parents and referrers

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DCC Support services work with a range of special needs and range of ages. The EY SEN Panel referral form is for children aged 0 to 5-years-old with Special Educational Needs. If accepted by the support service(s), the child will receive specialised early intervention and support with their learning. Follow links on this page to see the criteria for each support service.

The referral form contains 2 sections:

Section 1: All referrers must complete this section.

NHS colleagues can use this section of the form to notify the Local Authority of any child 0 to 5-years-old who has special educational needs. This meets the requirement of the 2015 SEND Code of Practice. Completion of section 1 of the form will be considered as notification only. The child's data will be recorded on the DCC database, Synergy. NHS colleagues wishing to make a referral to DCC services, please see information in section 2.

Section 2: Please use section 2 for referral to the following support services:

Parents/carers must agree to the referral being made. Settings have to confirm consent has been obtained.

Referrals to the Deaf and Hearing-Impaired service and to the Vision-Impaired service MUST be signed by a parent. This is so that the support service can access medical records about the hearing or vision impairment.

Referrals must include a description of the child's developmental profile using the EYFS. Referrals to the Derbyshire Portage Service do not need to include this information. There must also be evidence of the graduated response to the child's needs. The setting must give this evidence of their assess, plan, do and review cycles. This is required by the SEND Code of Practice (2015). For DPS referrals there must be a detailed description of need.

Referrals to the EYSEN Service or SSSEN made by other professionals require a report from the early years setting the child attends. This report must describe the graduated response which has been in place for the child. It is not sufficient to just give a description of the child's developmental levels.

In the 2015 SEND Code of Practice, specialist support services are clearly identified at the specialist level of support. They are not universal or targeted level. Because of this, if a referral does not evidence its graduated response, it will be declined.

The Vision, Hearing and Physical Impairment teams will accept referrals without evidence of a graduated response. However, the child's needs must meet the criteria for those services. For more information, please visit: Local Offer: Sensory and Physical Support Services.

If a funded child is referred to either EYSEN or SSSEN specialist teaching services, the child must already be receiving Early Years Inclusion funding. Referrals to the EPS should also have a robust graduated response. This will often include Early Years Inclusion Fund (EYIF) being in place.

EYSEN Outreach team: assessment

From the summer term 2024 there will be a new team as part of the EYSEN service – the Outreach team. They will be taking on the assessment and support of early years children in their settings (both PVI and maintained nurseries and nursery classes) in place of the specialist assessment nursery placements. Assessment will no longer be offered through the assessment nurseries at Spire and Stubbin Wood. Instead, children can be referred for short term, intensive assessment and support in their current setting. Please see EYSEN Outreach team for more information, referral criteria and referral forms.


Co-ordinator of the Early Years Panel: Rebecca Jones, Head of EYSEN

For queries about the Early Years Panel, please email:

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