This section has key information about the different agencies which we work with in school to support children.  It also has contact information and guidance for parents on what these services do and how we refer to them.


This small team of experienced Early Years Teachers and Practitioners is based at the Child Development Centre (CDC) within the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital site. As part of a larger team of specialist professionals, they are available to families and Early Years providers to assist in the identification and assessment of children under 5-years -old with significant additional or complex needs.

The CDC Education team work closely with the Portage Service and provide specialist advice and support to families and practitioners as part of North East Lincolnshire’s Early Help pathway.  They also integrate with the CDC Nursery team of Children’s nurses and Play Specialists. The Early Years Teachers within the team are also available to advise North East Lincolnshire’s school-based Foundation Stage practitioners on personalised planning for young children’s learning and development.

The Education team provide two specific services:

  • Multi-Agency Developmental Assessment

  • Educational Outreach Support

Multi-Agency Developmental Assessment

The Multi-Agency Developmental Assessment is designed to help families and practitioners to understand a young child’s development when concerns have been expressed about it. The team work in partnership with parents and other professionals to build a picture based on the child’s play in the home, in their educational setting and at the CDC during a small number of sessions.  Observation of their play and some developmental testing activities provide the basis for:

  • Short-term advice and support with their development for everyone caring for or working with the child

  • A Multi-Agency Support Plan focussed on family priorities

  • Ideas for further assessment

  • Continued monitoring of the child’s progress where this is needed

Referral for this assessment is usually through the Early Help pathway after the completion of a Single Assessment form by a professional involved with a family.  After assessment, families and practitioners can seek further advice or review by contacting a team member (see below).


The CDC Education team also offer practical advice, support and expertise to educational settings after an assessment for a limited period. They share the understandings gained about children during Multi-Agency Assessment with Early Years practitioners and help them to improve and implement personalised plans for their development.  They will also support the engagement of parents and carers in their child’s progress. The Early Years Teachers who work as part of the team also provide Early Years-specific SEN and Disability advice to schools as members of the Specialist Advisory Service.


The Portage Service is a term-time home visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs. The needs of individual children may present as either severe, complex or profound and multiple difficulties. All pre-school children with learning support needs are eligible for the service. The service has an open referral system, so parents/carers or anyone with concerns regarding a child’s development and with the parent/carers permission, can refer a pre-school child. A general guide to referral would be that a child demonstrates significant developmental delay when compared with their peer group or that the child has a recognised medical condition.

Whilst the service is based at the Municipal Offices in Grimsby, all the children are supported in their own homes. Visits are arranged with the parent/carer on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

The aim of the service is to work in partnership with parents/carers to support young children‟s development through play, using the Portage Checklist, which encompasses the following skill areas:

  • Infant stimulation

  • Socialisation

  • Self-help

  • Cognition

  • Motor and Language.

Support given through Portage is based on the principle that parents are the key figures in the development of their child, and that they bring considerable experience to the partnership with professionals. Portage helps parents to be confident in their role, whatever their child‟s needs may be.


Development of Speech and Language

Children can develop at different rates, so it can be helpful to have some general guidelines about what to look for, and the following websites might be helpful

Talking Point can give you an idea of what to expect as your child develops.

Don’t forget that all new parents are issued with a “red book’ that is a good general source of information on children’s development. If you cannot find your red book you can access an electronic version on the RCPCH.ac.uk website.

The Communication Trust provides some information and resources for parents.

The British Stammering Association provides help and information regarding stammering.

Concerns about development of speech and language – under 5 years of age

If you have any concerns about your child’s speech and language, the following people are a good first point of contact.

  • Your health visitor

  • A member of staff at your local family hub. To find your local family hub go to our Family hubs page.

  • Your nursery provider

They can talk with you about your concerns and start to assess what support if any might help. This support might be available at the family hub, or in some cases could be from other services including specialist speech and language therapists.

Concerns about development of speech and language – over 5 years of age

Where your child is school age and you have concerns a good first port of call is  school. We will talk with you about your concerns and help identify what support if any might help. This support might be services provided by school staff, or in some cases could be from other services including specialist speech and language therapists.

Please note that parents cannot refer their child to specialist Speech and Language therapists themselves. A referral is made to the specialist therapists health visitors, family hubs or schools once appropriate assessments have been made.


The local authority specialist Communication and Interaction Service working together with Barnardo’s Autism Outreach Service.

All requests for Advice and Support from Outreach Services for Autism should be sent by schools via email at nelincs@barnardos.org.uk.

Any queries please contact 01472 355365 or 01472 355 365.


Mainstream Key Stage Team: Tel: 01472 323172

Email: SpecialistAdvisoryService@nelincs.gov.uk

This small team of Specialist Teachers provide educational guidance and advice to schools for Children and Young People with the most severe and complex Special Educational needs. They offer guidance on the SEN Code of Practice and advice on how schools can best meet the learning needs of children through high quality teaching, adaptations, effective interventions and a graduated approach.

The team also includes two further Specialist Teachers who are highly experienced in the areas of Communication and Interaction and Social, Emotional and Mental Health.

The team is committed to finding innovative ways to help schools remove barriers to learning, in order to best teach Children and Young People with SEN. They also provide support and guidance on whole school management of SEN to SENCOs.

When a Child or Young Person is referred for learning support by a school, the Specialist Advisory Teacher will seek engagement from parents with a view to close collaboration. A person-centred approach is central to the work of the team.


North East Lincolnshire Community Educational Psychology Service

If you are a young person in need of some help at school then please go to Educational Psychology – Support for young people to find out more.

For parents and carers of young people in need of support go to Educational Psychology – Support for parents and carers.

For information about the support available to schools and education settings go to Educational Psychology – Support for schools and education settings

Contact details

Telephone: 01472 323183 and 01472 323314

Email: SpecialistAdvisoryService@nelincs.gov.uk


Nationally, Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) remains the most common primary type of need for pupils with a statement or Education Health and Care plan.

Some families begin by suspecting that their child may have Autism as they are displaying ASC type behaviours. For many children and young people Autism is not the root cause of their communication and interaction needs.

In North East Lincolnshire we have a communication and interaction pathway that helps families, with the support of other agencies, to determine what works best to support their child and help them achieve.

Children and Young People aged 5 to 16

  • Parents who worry that their son or daughter are displaying Autistic type behaviours can talk to the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) at their child’s school or setting. If parents or carers need support to talk to their child’s school they can ring Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Independent Advisory Support Service (SENDIAS) Tel: 01472 355365. A SENDIASS worker will be able to accompany parents/carers to meetings with school and help with any questions.

  • The school SENCo can ask for support from our Specialist Support Service Teacher for ASC who works alongside SEND Outreach Service. Their role is to support mainstream schools across the local area providing them with advice and strategies to teaching and learning, to meet the needs of pupils displaying Autistic type behaviours. No diagnosis is required to access the service. School SENCOs  refer to this service. The school will be contacted within a week of receipt of the referral form.

  • The school SENCO will work with parents to complete an observation checklist (Word). This will help identify the child or young person’s needs. The school with then be assigned a communication and interaction specialist who can offer support.

  • The school, parents, SEND Outreach Service and the young person will then meet and decide together the outcomes they would like to achieve. A programme of support is then put in place and reviewed after an agreed period of time. ASSESS, PLAN, DO, REVIEW.

  • If this graduated approach is not having an impact, a Single Assessment might be made.

  • For more information please contact sendoutreach@nelincs.gov.uk.

You can also find more advice on the Autism Society website.

SEND Outreach Team Process Map (PDF)


NE Lincolnshire Council & CCG has commissioned a new resource in North East Lincolnshire to support Young People with their emotional and mental health and wellbeing: Kooth.com

Kooth.com is a safe, confidential and non-stigmatized way for young people to receive free counselling, advice and support on-line.  This very popular service is used by large numbers of young people across the country and delivers 1000s of counselling sessions each year.  Staffed by fully trained and qualified counsellors and available until 10pm each night, and weekends from 6pm – 10pm, 365 days per year, it provides a much needed confidential and instant access service for young people aged 11-25.

This includes:

  • A chat function for a young person to drop in to speak to a readily available counsellor

  • A messaging function for young people to contact the service

  • A schedule function to provide booked sessions with a named counsellor on a regular basis

  • A range of forums, all of which are pre-moderated, to offer facilitated peer support for CYP.

  • Live discussion groups – run by professionals (with all comments moderated) to enable groups of CYP to interact with each other in a safe environment

  • An online magazine with full content moderation, creation and editing which includes opportunities for CYP to submit their stories or write articles, all of which is moderated

  • Information, activities and self-care tools and resources on the site for CYP to download.