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Early years

Introduction to early years

Your child's first 5 years are a very important time for their development.

It is at this time that special educational needs and disabilities are often identified for the first time during early childhood. Therefore, getting the right support for you and your child can make a real difference.

Your health visitor, GP or paediatrician will make sure you have the right health support to meet your child's needs. The majority of children aged 0-5 years, with special educational needs or disabilities, have their early educational needs met in a mainstream early years setting (i.e. nursery, childminder etc).

The early years can be a particularly challenging time for you and your child. To help with this, there are a number of charities, voluntary groups and parent groups, both locally and nationally, that can offer guidance, information and advice.

We make sure that your child under 5 years of age receives the right support, which they deserve to help them access appropriate play and learning experiences.

The documents below show our process.

Related documents


Each Special School has its own school nurse.

If your child is attending a Special School and you need more information about school nurse services, please contact the school directly.

Otherwise, you can find information on health visiting and school health services by following the link below.

Children's Public Health Service (0-19)

Free early education and childcare places

If you would like to find out about free early education and childcare places, please take a look at the document that is attached below. In this, you will find information on:

  • The legal responsibilities that schools and childcare providers must follow
  • The role of Special Education Needs Coordinators (SENCO)
  • Early years childcare and eligibility criteria
  • Local Early Intervention and Prevention Support (LEAPS)
  • Special educational needs inclusion fund
  • Disability access fund.

Should you wish to find out more about childcare, please visit our Childcare page.

Related documents

Children’s centres

Our children's centres provide free activities for the whole family.

Everything we offer is aimed at giving your family the chance to have fun together, develop skills for school, work and life.

For information on what's on and how to join up, follow the link to Children centre services.

Portage and pre-school home teaching

The Portage and pre-school home teaching service is offered to children with special needs in North Tyneside.

The service is available from your child's birth to their time of entry in a school-based nursery or reception class.

To find out more information on included provision and how to get in contact, please visit Beacon Hill School's webpage.

Language and communication

The Benton Dene Communication Centre offers intensive, multi-agency intervention, which is held in small groups, for pre-school children who have speech, language and communication needs.

The team is staffed by specialist teachers, who can provide your child with exciting learning opportunities and support.

They offer high quality speech and language therapy, delivered throughout a structured, language-based curriculum. This allows them to meet the individual needs of your child.

Benton Dene Special School's website has lots of additional useful information on language and communication needs.

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