Early Years

Some children with a disability or developmental delay may have their needs identified at birth or early on in their lives and hence may receive some early educational support before they are of school age. This could be specific intervention and support initiated for an identified need i.e. communication, behaviour etc. It could also be more generalised developmental support which is offered through child development services, portage or specialist sensory impairment teams.

Child Development Services

Child development teams are led by paediatricians working closely with specialists such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists. They work with children who may have health and developmental problems which could impact on other areas of their life. This includes children with special needs, a diagnosed disability, chronic illness or those who may be falling behind in their developmental milestones. The team will assess and review a child’s needs and devise treatment and programmes to encourage and support their development.

In RBKC there are two Child Development Services, one situated in the north and the other in the south of the borough.

For more information on these services click here 


Portage is an organization that works in partnership with the child’s family to build on the child’s existing abilities and to foster the child’s development. Families are assigned a Portage Home Visitor who will visit on a weekly basis. They will discuss and set goals which are supported through a range of activities and games. The approach uses small steps to ensure success.

Portage is usually accessed via a referral by a healthcare practitioner. For more information please call 020 7983 8254.

 Early Years Settings

All nurseries, pre-schools, playgroups and childminders registered with Ofsted follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. This framework sets out requirements for these early year providers to ensure that they have in place the necessary arrangements to identify, support and promote equal opportunities for children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND).

They should also identify a member of staff to be responsible for SEND, this may be a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo). This staff member should advise colleagues and ensure that parents are included in decisions. Childminders are ‘encouraged’ to identify someone to act as the SENCo, perhaps shared with others registered with the same agency.

For more information on the different types of childcare available and what they provide, see the RBKC Early Years Local Offer pages at: