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Wolverhampton Information Network

Special Needs Early Years Service

What can the service offer?

The service can support children between birth and five years of age where learning is delayed or where a diagnosis or disability indicates there will be special educational needs.

 We do this by:

  • Providing assessment, diagnosis and teaching for individual children
  • Specialist groups through the Child Development Centre (CDS)
  • Providing support, guidance and training  to parents on all aspects of their child’s development, progress and future planning
  • Supporting the transition of children into settings  
  • Providing a keyworker through the Team Around the Child [TAC]
  • Working in collaboration with other agencies
  • Providing advice and training to settings so they can offer quality inclusive provision - see SENCO Training Dates.
  • Providing assessment reports for Inclusion Funding - view the latest DAF Inclusion Panel Dates.
  • The Disability Access Fund (DAF) is funding that enables early years providers to support children aged 3 to 4 with disabilities or special educational needs (not 4 year olds in reception). It funds providers to make reasonable adjustments to their settings to support the inclusion and participation of children in OFSED registered provision.  Three and four year olds will be eligible for the DAF funding if they meet the following criteria:
    - The child is in receipt of disability living allowance (DLA) and
    - The child is accessing their free early education entitlement.
  • Supporting settings through the Area SENCo

The outcomes for children and families are:

  • Children receive a specialist individual assessment which will identify strengths and needs
  • Children may receive a specialist intervention programme building on child’s strengths 
  • Children’s progress is reviewed so they can achieve the best outcomes
  • Families are supported through the process of identification so that they can make informed choices
  • Through TAC families receive a co-ordinated approach to meet their child’s needs

We follow statutory guidance on duties relating to Section 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014.

Who works for the Service?

There is a Head of Service, four specialist teachers and a team of specialist higher level teaching assistants. All staff have specialist training or experience in working with special needs children or early years.

Here you will find the Wolverhampton Special Needs Early Years Service Evidence for Learning video which describes the work we do.

How are people who use the service involved in decisions and kept informed?

  • All visits to homes and settings receive a visit record
  • Initial assessment and annual reports on individual children
  • Educational advice for Education, Health and Care plans 
  • TAC/Early Help minutes and integrated goals
  • Reviews and meetings
  • A range of satisfaction survey questionnaires
  • When required interpreters can be arranged

How do I give a compliment or make a complaint?

In the first instance contact the Head of Service. The Special Needs Early Years Service follows City of Wolverhampton Council's complaints and compliments  procedure.  Here you can leave feedback for our service.

Please complete the following satisfaction questionnaires to help us improve our services:

A selection of images of the Gem Centre can be viewed in the Gallery section of this page.

Who to contact

Lisa Hollingshead: 01902 556517
Debra Baker or Amelia Jackson: 01902 558406

Where to go

Special Needs Early Years Service
The Gem Centre
Bentley Bridge Business Park
Neachells Lane
WV11 3PG

Where we work:
The service supports Wolverhampton children in homes, setting and schools. Our specialist groups operate from The Gem Centre or Warstones School for children resident in the City.

Special Needs Early Years Service:
Warstones Primary School
Warstones Road

Both settings are fully accessible.

Other Details


Age Ranges
0- 5 Years
Referral required
Referral Details

Making a referral

  • The service operates an open referral system, parental consent is always required. Parents should discuss any concerns with their health visitor or GP who can make a direct referral.
  • All referrals are discussed monthly at the Child Development Service multi-agency referral panel. The panel discusses each referral and will determine appropriate agencies involvement.

Here you will find out more information on the Child Development Service 

We do not operate a waiting list system and an allocated caseworker will contact the family following the referral panel. The service operates term time.

  • Due to a high referral rate, children with the most complex developmental difficulties will be given priority.
  • The service is centrally funded and therefore there are currently no costs for assessment and support for individual children.
  • No current personal budget service.
  • Here you will find the Multi Agency Referral Form.

Record Last Updated on: 08/12/2023

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