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Early Years Forum

What is the Early Years Forum?

The Early Years Forum is a monthly meeting of professionals who work for a range of agencies that provide services for young children. The Early Years Forum is for pre-school children aged 0 -5 with additional needs.

Some of the agencies include:

Why does the Early Years Forum exist?

  • To consider the needs of young children who may have special educational needs and/or disabilities.
  • To bring together all agencies that support the child, or may need to support them in the future.
  • To help all agencies work closely together to ensure each child has the best possible start to learning.

Why are children referred?

Children are referred when on-going needs are identified which may impact on the child's future education.

Who can refer to the Early Years Forum?

Children can be referred by:

What do parents/carers need to do?

  • Agree that their child can be referred and that information can be shared between professionals.
  • Share their views and preferences in writing if possible by using the Parent/ Carer comments form.
  • Parents and carers cannot refer their child to the Early Years Forum

What support is available for private and voluntary early years settings and childminders ? 

All practitioners from the service work in settings to provide enhanced support for children with additional needs. Children who start at a setting will no longer receive Portage but their key worker will provide enhanced support to teach and model strategies to staff. Children who attend the Hazel Trees nursery may also attend settings and their key worker from the nursery will also provide enhanced support. All staff provide transition support into schools. When school places are allocated transition support meetings are arranged with schools and support planned for September. Training for both PVIs and schools is planned throughout the year

What happens next?

  • Once a child has been referred a Lead Person will be allocated who is usually someone who is already known to the family. The Lead Person will introduce the Early Years Forum to the family, answer questions, offer advice and support and provide parent/carer views to the Early Years Forum.
  • All information that has been gathered will be shared with all professionals at the meeting.
  • The Early Years Forum will consider the child's needs and services that are currently being accessed and will make recommendations to support the child further.
  • The Early Years Forum recommendations will be shared with parents/carers.
  • If it is felt that a child requires additional support on entry into school the Early Years Forum will liaise with the SEN Monitoring and Assessment Service to request an Education, Health and Care Assessment if necessary which may lead to an Education, Health and Care Plan.

And finally...

  • The Early Years Forum will continue to monitor the child's progress.
  • Parents/carers will be involved throughout the process.
  • The involvement of the Early Years Forum may continue until the child starts school.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Rachel Bentley / Sarah Harding
Contact Position
Early Years SEND Caseworker
01782 231285
01782 235489
01782 236859

Where to go

Hazel Trees
Duke Street

You can contact the Early Years Forum by telephone on 01782 231285, 232292, 235489 and 236859 or by email at

We are based at Hazel Trees, Duke Street, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 3NR. For confidentiality reasons please do not email any forms or children's information to us; please post them to us at the above address.






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