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Early identification of needs

A child or young person has Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) if they have a learning difficulty and/or disability that means they need special health and education support.

For some children it will be clear from early on that they will require additional personalised support or specialist provision to access early education. The importance of early identification and intervention is explained in the SEND code of practice 0-25 (Jan 15).

Health and other professionals have a legal duty to notify the Local Authority (LA) of pre-school age children who have, or are likely to have, SEND.

Early identification and notification form for health professionals

By information sharing in this way, we can make sure children get the right help at the right time. You do not need to give consent, but if you would like to ask questions or find out more, you can contact the Norfolk SEND Information, Advice and Support Service.


An Early Identification Notification means that the LA is aware of children with SEND and can ensure they have access to the right support to be able to access early years education.

The notification form should be completed by a health or education professional, alongside parents or carers. This form should only be completed for children whose home address is in Norfolk. For children living outside Norfolk, please use the Early Identification Notification process for the child's home county.

It is not the purpose of the Early Identification Notification to recommend specialist provision, such as complex needs school, or full-time one to one support. It will support professional conversations and information sharing in a timely manner, particularly when it is likely that a child will need a high level of additional support.

What will happen with your notification?

All notifications are received by the early years team. They will share the notification with Norfolk County Council's SEND teams. The notification will also be discussed at the multi-agency Needs Assessment Panel.

For a child accessing early education or childcare

If the child attends an early year's provision the provider will be expected to follow and use the SEND support available. A member of the early years team will contact the early years provider to offer support and gather further information for the Needs Assessment Panel.

For a child not accessing educational provision

Some children may not be accessing education provision. If they are being supported by specialist educational services such as Sensory Support or Portage, information will be sought from the lead educational service about the needs of the child. The information will be discussed at the Needs Assessment Panel.

The early years team will provide parents with information to ensure they can make an informed choice about accessing their child's education entitlement and will signpost parents to partner organisations that can offer support and advice.

Support in early years education

In early years places of education the LA can provide the following support arrangements:

  • Advice from an Early Years Advisor
  • Consultation visits by specialist teachers from complex needs schools (also known as School to School support or S2S)
  • Specialist equipment for individual children as recommended by physiotherapists or occupational therapists to early years providers receiving early education funding
  • Inclusion training for the early years workforce
  • Additional specialist resources
  • Access to additional funding to support children with SEND attending early years settings for the duration of their free early education entitlement

You can find more information on our SEND local offer website.

Your information

The information collected from the SEND notifications will be used for several purposes:

  • The LA will check that there is enough information for parents/carers on early years provision and the Early Years Foundation Stage
  • The LA will check the child is accessing their early education entitlement
  • The LA will check the setting has the right support in place
  • The LA will use the information to consider if an Education Health and Care statutory needs assessment is needed
  • Information will be shared with schools regarding the numbers of children, and level and type of need children starting school may have
  • To plan educational placements for children with SEND
  • To inform countywide strategic planning. Information will be shared with commissioners to give the opportunity for future joint commissioning of services between health and Norfolk County Council
  • With consent, The LA will contact parents with information about early education and choosing childcare

All personal information provided will be processed in accordance with our General Privacy Notice.

Legal duties