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Specialist Early Years Support Team

The Specialist Early Years Support Team (SEYST) provides support for pre-school children with SEND. Our aim is to provide a seamless service to children and families referred to us from the point of identification of the children’s difficulties or vulnerabilities, until the child starts school.

Support can end earlier than this if they are no longer experiencing difficulties, no longer require early intervention or their needs are now being met by another professional group, nursery or special school placement.

Our team includes the Early Support Coordinator, City of York Portage Team, Specialist Early Years Teachers (SEND) and Early Years Educational Psychology. We collaborate closely with other services and professionals including those at the Child Development Centre at York Hospital and colleagues within the Local Area Teams. We liaise closely with members of the Specialist Teaching Team and Educational Psychology services, involving an Educational Psychologist (EP) when the child’s needs appear more complex or may require an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment.

We provide:

  • Practical and emotional support to families,
  • Key-working functions,
  • Early interventions through home visiting,
  • Ongoing monitoring and assessment linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS),
  • Advice to pre-school practitioners and
  • Contributions to multi-agency review and planning meetings, and to EHC needs assessments.

You can view information on how education settings in York will monitor your child's progression and development on the monitoring progress page

If you would like to request the involvement of the service, see the criteria and request form in the resources section below.


:#: The City of York Portage Service :#:


Visit the City of York Council's Portage Service page for more information.

Meet the team:

Shahenaz Shaikh



Shelley Snowden - Portage Home Visitor



Karen James - Portage Home Visitor


Jo Byers - Portage Home Visitor


:#: Early Support Coordinator (ESC) :#:


Our Early Support Coordinator facilitates a weekly drop-in group for all parents and pre-school children with additional needs, in addition to a monthly group for children with social communication difficulties. Our Portage Team run a termly music group intervention which families are invited to. The Portage Team deliver the Portage Workshop for parents and professionals in York and beyond. They are encouraging settings to achieve the 'Portage Stamp of Approval'.



:#: Specialist Early Years Teachers :#:


Our Specialist Early Years Teachers provide a weekly consultation day to provide support and advice for professionals and early years practitioners - from consultation about a particular difficulty a child or family may be experiencing, to support with paperwork and My Support Plans (MSPs). Using resources from the ‘Communication Toolbox’, the teachers also run a 10 week intervention for children with social communication difficulties and their parents.

For more information about our Specialist Early Years Team view the SEY Document (opens in pdf).

The team co-ordinate the termly EY SENCO Networks and deliver the EY SENCO Training. The team are also part of the Early Years Inclusion Funding Steering Group.

Meet the team:

Melanie Feeney (Specialise Early Years Teacher (SEN)


Marian Beck (Specialise Early Years Teacher (SEN)



:#: Educational Psychology Services for Pre-School Children in York :#:


All Educational Psychologists deliver services for pre-school children with SEND, typically this is within geographical clusters; this helps to provide continuity for pre-school children transferring into schools and settings. You can find more information about the Educational Psychology Service in our EP document (opens in pdf).

For children with complex needs Educational Psychologists offer direct casework with pre-school children at SEN Support as part of a Statutory Assessment for an Education Health and Care Plan, and attend transition meetings or Annual Reviews when needed.

The Specialist Senior Educational Psychologist (SSEP) for Early Years line-manages the service delivery of the Specialist Early Years Support Team and seeks to ensure the delivery of high quality early intervention and support across the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

The SSEP (EY) works closely with other LA employees who support children and practitioners in the Early Years Foundation Stage, and also with colleagues in Health, School Improvement and Child and Family Services. This includes participation in direct casework; consultation and providing solution-focused advice, training initiatives; and in strategic early years partnerships and collaborative work with Children’s Centres and the Early Learning Leaders and other Early Years teams including conducting and writing smaller scale research projects and reports e.g. evaluation of the Early Years Inclusion Fund 2016.

The SSEP (EY) also provides advice to parents, early years practitioners in private, voluntary and independent early years settings (PVI) and other practitioners related to children’s developmental through direct casework, training and consultation.

The SSEP (EY) leads on the Early Years SENCo training course, and also participates in the accredited Portage training course, as well as offering a variety of other early child development, SEN and inclusion courses.

More information about the Educational Psychology Service is available on the City of York Council's website.

Geraldine Jackson - Specialist Senior Educational Psychologist



:#: Admin Support :#:


Caroline and Sara provide essential admin support for the SEYST and they will be the people at the end of the telephone line or email. They can be contacted at:

Hob Moor Children’s Centre

01904 555085



:#: Resources :#: