Specialist Early Years Support Team

The Educational Psychology Service provides leadership and management to the Specialist Early Years Support Team (SEYST), through the Specialist Senior Educational Psychologist (Early Years). The Specialist Early Years Support Team includes: 

  • Early Support Coordinator
  • City of York Portage
  • Specialist Early Years Teachers (SEN)
  • Early Years Educational Psychology – Specialist Senior EP (EY)

 The Specialist Early Years Support Team collaborates closely with other services and professionals e.g. medical practitioners and therapists at the Child Development Centre (CDC) York hospital, and in the community, educational psychologists, the specialist teaching team (vision support, deaf and hearing support, physical and medical support and support for children with Autism), practitioners from Early Years Settings, Children’s Centres, the Early Years advisory and administrative teams and voluntary organisations. Members of the service are also involved in national and regional organisations within early years and SEN, and are accredited trainers for the National Portage Association (NPA) and for Early Support.

Criteria for requesting involvement from the Specialist Early Years Support Team and Educational Psychology Service


Before school (0 - 5 years)

The Educational Psychology Service has been providing leadership and management of the City of York Portage Service through the Specialist Senior Educational Psychologist (Early Years and Portage) since 1996. Portage is a home visiting education service for  pre-school children with disabilities and special educational needs.  Visits are made on a weekly or fortnightly basis. It helps parents and carers to support their child’s learning by breaking skills down into small steps.  

All Portage home visitors have successfully completed a Portage Basic Training Workshop, which is accredited through the National Portage Association (NPA). They design activities with parents/carers to help encourage and promote children’s learning, communication and independence through play.

Early Support Coordinator (ESC)

The post of ESC within the SEYST was developed in 2007 as part of the original Early Support Programme for young disabled children age 0-5 years and their families. Each family with a child 0-5 years is able to nominate one of the professionals working with them to be their Early Support Key Worker (ESKW). The ESKWs help families to coordinate services and provide families with information and support. The key workers are drawn from many different agencies and are coordinated by the Early Support Coordinator (ESC).

The Early Support Key Worker Coordinator (ESC) works closely support services and practitioners from education, health and children’s social care, and particularly the health and disabilities team. She co-delivers training with other members of the Specialist Early Years Support Team and provides parent support activities at the Child Development Centre, York Hospital, and at the Children’s Centres, as well as visiting individual families in their own homes.


Specialist Early Years Teachers

The Specialist Early Years Teachers (SEN) provide support and advice for children from 2-5 years with additional needs. They have expertise and training in child development, early learning and teaching children with additional needs.  They work directly with pre-school children as well as providing information and advice to others: parents and carers, staff in early years settings, medical practitioners and therapists in the community and at the Child Development Centre (CDC), York Hospital and any other professionals involved with a child.

Referrals are made to the Specialist EY Teachers at SEN Support by the SENCo from an EY Setting or by other professionals seeing the child. Following further assessment, practical advice and recommendations related the child’s learning and development are then provided.  The teachers are also available at their base on one day a month for telephone consultations:  ‘Consultation day’.  They conduct weekly preschool language intervention groups with specialist speech and language therapists at CDC York Hospital. They are also involved in a variety of projects, steering groups, training e.g. Early Years SENCO training and termly Networks, Behaviour management, etc.

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.

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.

For more information from the York City Council Website regarding Educational Psychology, click here.


Useful documents


York Family Information Service

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