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Early years forums

The early years forum is a monthly multi-agency meeting that monitors whether the right services are involved to support your pre-school child. The people at the meeting represent the services that may help your child, including:

  • Education health and care assessment and planning service
  • Specialist health visitors
  • Early years area special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs)
  • Community paediatricians
  • Educational psychologists
  • Local support team members
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Child development social workers
  • Specialist teachers

The people at the meeting may not personally know your child, but will have reports and information from colleagues who do.  They will make suggestions to ensure that each child has the best possible start to learning. The forum can refer to some teams, such as educational psychologists, and allocate additional funding to the setting.

Who can use the service?

Pre-school children who are believed to have special educational needs or disabilities.

There are four early years forums covering the whole of Staffordshire. 

Are there any costs?


How can I refer?

Children will be referred to the forum when:

  • Their progress is causing concern in one or more areas of development
  • They may need extra help or assessment before starting school. 

Referrals can be made by education, health or social care professionals, such as:

  • Paediatricians
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Early years area special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs)

Please note: Educational settings cannot refer to the early years forums.

What happens after referral?

The information on your child will be discussed at the next available Early Years Forum meeting (usually within one month). They will consider your child’s needs and the help currently provided, based on your opinions and the opinions of the staff working with him/her.

The forum may decide that your child’s needs are currently being met, or that another service may be able to offer help. The setting may request additional funding to meet your child’s needs.

In some cases the forum may decide that it needs more information before it can make any suggestions, in which case your child will be discussed at the next forum. The forum will identify a parental contact. This person will usually be someone already known to you who will contact you as soon as possible (usually within one week) to discuss the suggestions made. They will explain what is being suggested, and put the recommendations into place if you are happy.

Once your child has been discussed at the forum meeting, their progress will be reviewed regularly, usually within 6 months. You will be asked for your views before each review.  Your parental contact will keep you informed of the suggestions made at each forum.

Who will we see?

The forum’s role is to monitor that the right support is in place for your child.

The ongoing support that your child needs will be through the team working with your child and family, such as the nursery staff or speech and language therapist.

The forum monitors that this support is meeting your needs. We discuss many children at each forum so it is not possible to have parents at the meetings.  However your views about what you feel should happen is important and you should be sharing this with the team working with you and the forum.

How do I find out more?

For further details on the early years forums please see leaflet on the download section on the right hand side of this page.

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