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Information for parents

The Early Years Special Educational Needs Service (EYSENS) works with children who have complex and long-term needs which lead to significant delay in cognitive development. There are different teams in the service.

The Derbyshire Portage Service

Portage home visitors work with children 0 to 5-years-old before they attend early years settings or move into specialist provision.

Specialist Teaching Service

The Specialist Teachers within the EYSEN team support children who attend Derbyshire settings in the PVI sector. These children will have:

  • significant learning needs
  • significant barriers to their learning and cognitive development.

'Significant' if interpreted by looking at the developmental delay experienced by the child. The use of a developmental profile to support the description of needs in the referral form is essential in the referrals.

The work forms part of the graduated response to each child's needs. The support provided is within the specialist level of the graduated response. This requires that the child has had interventions at a targeted level before accessing this support. Children who are accessing a funded nursery place must be in receipt of  Early Years Inclusion Funding (EYIF). This funding will have enabled the setting to support the child through progressive cycles of the 'assess, plan, do, review' approach. Childminders may not have been able to apply for EYIF. However, they can refer a child for EYSEN specialist teacher support as long as they can evidence their graduated response at a targeted level.

The specialist teacher referral requires evidence of the child's:

  • Developmental levels
  • Complex or long-term needs which are barriers to learning and cognitive development
  • Funding through EYIF if the child accesses a funded nursery place
    And evidence of the setting's graduated response at targeted level to these needs.

Specialist teachers support children in non-maintained early years settings in Derbyshire, carrying out assessments, setting long-term learning outcomes and supporting the setting to work with the child towards them using short term targets through cycles of assess, plan, do and review at a specialist level of the graduated response. Specialist teachers work directly with the child and also with setting staff, giving advice and providing training.

The EYSEN Outreach Team

The EYSEN Outreach team offers support at a targeted level of the graduated response.

The aim of the Outreach team is to improve inclusion and access for children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs and/or complex needs that present as a barrier. The support will involve both assessment of the child’s needs and upskilling of the EY workforce.

Settings will be required to engage in a whole setting approach to accessing training, following advice, and implementing strategies. Families will be required to engage with the process where appropriate.

It is envisaged that settings who have worked alongside the Outreach team proactively will be well-equipped to meet future needs of children requiring targeted support around SEMH needs without further support.

Help via email

We welcome enquiries from any professional or parents. Support includes signposting to services. We also give guidance on inclusive practice for children with SEND.


The EYSEN Service is available for training to support settings, parents and children with SEND. Training can be accessed via Eventbrite. Schools can also access training information and courses via the training section of the S4S website. Early years providers can find training courses for staff or volunteers working with children and young people. We also provide bespoke training for whole settings. Please contact any member of the EYSEN team to discuss bespoke training.


To make a referral to the EYSEN Specialist Teaching Service or Derbyshire Portage Service, please use the Early Years SEN Support Service Referral form (see related documents section of this page). Support services welcome referrals from professionals.

Contact information

Rebecca Jones - Head of Service

Early Years SEN offices

Godkin House, Ripley - telephone: 01629 533340
Kents Bank Road, Buxton - telephone: 01629 533487
School Road Support Centre - telephone: 01629 537692

Related documents