What is the Early Years Panel?

The Early Years Panel (sometimes known as EYP) aims to ensure that pre-school children (age range 0 to starting school), who may have additional or special needs, have their needs identified and are supported,

The panel is a group of key people from Portsmouth City Council’s Education Department and Solent NHS Health Care Trust.  It meets monthly to make sure that we are aware of children with special needs and that we have plans in place to support the children and their families.

The Early Years Panel aims to work in co-operation with parents and carers to make sure that:

  • All pre-school children with special needs are identified as early as possible.
  • Assessments of the children’s needs are well co-ordinated.
  • Support plans for the children and their families are in place, co-ordinated and regularly reviewed.

Who are the members of The Panel?

The panel consists of representatives from:

  • Solent NHS Trust (Specialist doctor in Community Paediatrics, Speech and Language Therapist; Health Visitor)
  • The Portsmouth City Council Education Department (Service Manager Education Support & Principal Educational Psychologist; SEN officer;  Head Teacher of the Willows Nursery School; Early Years Advisory Teacher; Portage Team Leader*)

Panel members may invite other Panel Invitees, subject to approval by the panel Chairperson for example other nursery or health visiting staff who are a primary source of referrals to the Panel and whose professional development would benefit from attendance. Panel Invitees may be absented on request of the panel Chairperson for any part of the Panel meeting in order that the Panel may discuss matters in confidence where necessary

*Portage is a home visiting service for pre-school children and their families, supporting early child development.

What does the panel do?

The panel considers referrals on pre-school children where there is a concern about their early development and/or possible special educational needs and co-ordinates further assessment and support for the children.

The panel meets monthly at the Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth.

The panel will consider all the assessment information on the child’s needs and parents’ views about their child’s development and needs.

The panel will:

  • Ask for further assessment from relevant professionals if necessary.
  • Make sure that the assessment information is co-ordinated.
  • Ensure that the right provision is in place to support the child, in line with parents’ wishes.
  • Review the child’s progress and make sure that plans are in place to support them over moves into nursery or into school

What arrangements might be put in place to support your child?

The panel will consider recommendations that have been made for different types of placement and provision.  Parents’ views are vital.

No provision or placement will be arranged without parents expressed permission.

The main options available (subject to criteria being met) to support a child with special needs in the early years are:

  • A mainstream nursery or child-care setting, perhaps with some additional support if necessary.
  • Placement at a special nursery provider such as the Willows Nursery.
  • A home based teaching and support programme from the Portage Team or from a Specialist Teacher Adviser for hearing or visual impairment.

Sharing Information

Parents’ permission will always be sought before their child is referred to the panel.

Portsmouth Early Years Panel will inform you when we contact other agencies and/or services so that you can see what actions have been taken when your child has been discussed at Portsmouth Early Years Panel. The Early Years Panel will share reports that have been sent with your referral form to the Panel with others teams and services to whom a referral is to be made, for example, the Paediatrician or the Educational Psychology Team.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to the EYP Referral form?

The referral form goes to the EYP Admin Team and they will take that to the next panel which is held monthly. Your child’s case will be discussed at the panel. When your child is referred to the EYP, they are added to an Early Years Panel Register. The EYP review this Register on a regular basis. Once your child starts school, they will be removed from the EYP Register.

Who is on the panel?

The panel is ‘multi agency’. This means that there are professionals from Education and Health. There are representatives from (depending on availability):,

  • Educational Psychologist
  • Community Paediatrician
  • Health Visitor
  • Early Years Advisory Teacher
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Portage

Will my child be discussed at every EYP?

No. Your child will be discussed:

  • When they are first referred.
  • If a professional has contacted us because there have been some changes
  • If your child has not been discussed for a long time

How will I know when my child has been discussed at the EYP?

You will receive a letter from the EYP explaining that your child has been discussed and the outcome.

What should I do if I was expecting my child to be discussed but have not heard anything?

You should normally hear within 6 weeks from the date of the panel. If you have not heard anything, please contact the person who referred you to the EYP.

Where can I find more information on the EYP?

Go to the Portsmouth Local Offer website and search Early Years Panel.