Support for children aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

BCP Council Early Help Teams

The BCP Council Early Help Strategic Framework sets out our vision for service delivery across the local authority. It encompasses the corporate vision of building connected communities, brighter futures and fulfilled lives for children and young people.

We aim to support children and young people in their learning and development at all stages of their lives through a multi-disciplinary, locality-based approach that includes assessment and family support, early years services, school inclusion services, information advice and guidance to families and a broad range of learning, development and parenting programmes.

Early Help services are designed to be responsive and targeted to children, young people and families most in need of our help. Our teams are based within the community, working for the community, alongside children (pre-birth to age 19, or up to 25 if a young adult has identified Special Educational Needs and/or DisabilitiesDisabilitiesA physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term negative effect on an individual’s ability to do normal daily activities.), their families, their support networks and our partners to overcome barriers, build resilience and to improve outcomes.

Contact the BCP Council Children's First Response MASH if you:

  • are worried a child or young person is at risk of, or is being hurt or abused
  • know of a child or young person who may be vulnerable without additional help and support
  • want to know more about the services available to support children, young people and their families
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What is early help?

Our aim is for every child to be safe, and healthy and to achieve the best possible outcomes. Early Help services are underpinned consistently by our strengths-based practice model of Signs of Safety and robust Practice Standards and provide appropriate levels of support and intervention at the earliest opportunity to prevent issues escalating to crisis point, drawing upon the families' own strengths and skills to empower, enable, build resilience and promote self-reliance.

We share a collective responsibility for safeguarding children and young people and all professionals have a role to play in identifying early concerns, sharing information appropriately and taking prompt action when needed. The effectiveness of Early Help is reliant upon the community, local organisations and partners working together to:

  • understand strengths and needs within communities
  • identify, in a timely manner, children and families in need of Early Help
  • undertake appropriate Early Help assessments and referrals
  • provide targeted and timely Early Help services to address needs.
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Early help teams

The BCP Council Early Help teams are:

  • The Inclusion Team
  • Locality Programmes Team
  • The Early Years Team
  • The Family Information Service
  • The Assessment and Family Support Team
  • Youth Services, Participation and Access Points

Find out more about the teams in the sections below.

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The School Inclusion Service

Access to and positive engagement with a high-quality education is key to children fulfilling their potential and achieving success in later life. Regular attendance also provides a safety net around the most vulnerable children. We know that children who do not attend, or are excluded, from school are at an increased risk not only of social and educational failure but also, importantly, of physical, emotional and psychological harm and exploitation.

BCP Council has a statutory duty to ensure that all children access a suitable full-time education. The School Inclusion Service supports the council to fulfil this duty by working collaboratively to ensure that our schools are effectively supporting our most vulnerable children and young people at risk of missing out on education, exclusion or persistent absence.

The reasons children miss out on education can be complex and are usually symptoms of underlying unmet needs or issues affecting the child and/or family which can cause poor attendance and challenging behaviour that results in exclusion from school. Addressing such issues requires a collaborative 'team around' approach from a wide range of agencies including schools and other education settings, Early Help services, social care and health/CAMHS services.

The School Inclusion Service aims to:

  • champion an inclusive culture, practice and shared responsibility and accountability for children's outcomes across all schools and other education settings
  • identify, at the earliest opportunity, children who are, or are at risk of, missing out on education or being persistently absent to enable preventative action to be taken
  • support schools to meet the needs of pupils, especially those most vulnerable, whose attendance is poor, or they are at risk of missing out on education through the development of a co-ordinated, accessible, responsive, effective and value for money early intervention and specialist support offer
  • reduce the number of children, especially those who are the most vulnerable, being permanently excluded from school. This is through a Preventing Exclusion Panel and Reintegration Team
  • ensure that children are only placed in alternative provision if it is essential and that those that are, receive a high-quality education, achieve good outcomes and are reintegrated back into mainstream education if and when appropriate
  • provide parenting support for parents of school aged children, helping them to understand the reason for more challenging behaviour and develop strategies to manage this in order to improve school attendance and reduce exclusion.

The service can be contacted at or on 01202 093123.

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Family Hubs and The Locality Programmes Team

Programme Teams are based in and around Early Help Family Hubs and work across local communities in partnership with other professionals and the voluntary sector. Our ambition is to develop a partnership model which supports parents in need of help to build confidence, resilience and competence and to do so through the most appropriate and convenient approach; our programme offer forms an integral part in delivering a range of opportunities to meet parents needs as and when it is required. Early Help Family Hubs are situated in:

  • Christchurch
  • Boscombe
  • Kinson and West Howe
  • Turlin Moor
  • Rossmore
  • Poole Old Town
  • Townsend

A range of programmes are delivered by the team. Find out more about the programme offer here.

Further details about the Family Hubs and contact information can be found here.

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The Early Years Team

The BCP Council Early Years Team aims to support every child to achieve the best possible outcomes and secure a 'Brighter Future' by; connecting communities, raising aspiration and working in partnership to deliver high quality, inclusive early years services which are accessible, impactful and targeted to local community need.

The team are based in and around Early Help Family Hubs working alongside other Early Help colleagues.

The priorities of the team are to:

  • improve and maintain the quality of early years and childcare settings including high quality safeguarding practice
  • actively promote school readiness and raise attainment of early years children and diminish the difference in learning and development between more disadvantaged children and their peers
  • champion inclusive practice for all children and their families and support the development of good inclusive practice within all early years settings and schools at point of transition
  • work with Health partners to improve integrated reviews for children in vulnerable groups and apply positive interventions at the earliest opportunity
  • embed the graduated response to SEN support across the early years sector and target SEND support to settings and reception classes through a team of skilled Early Years Area SENCOs
  • ensure the right support gets to children with SEND at the right time with an aim to reduce the number of EHCP requests on entry to school
  • work in collaboration with the Portage, Educational Psychology and the SEND Statutory Services Team to ensure effective, seamless transitions for children.

The team can be contacted at

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The Family Information Service

The Family Information Service (FIS) provides information, advice and assistance to families living in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. The service includes a team of Advisors available to support families on a range of aspects, including the following key areas:

  • help finding childcare, before and after school provision and holiday provision. This includes a childcare brokerage service where FIS Advisors can accompany parents on visits to prospective providers if required
  • information and advice on childcare funding
  • help finding local family activities, including activities for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
  • information and support on school admissions
  • providing information on and signposting to other BCP Council services and external support organisations

The service is free, confidential and impartial and is available to families with children and young people aged 0 to 19, or up to 25 for those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and to young people themselves.

The service provides 2 websites, giving a range of information for families:

The team produce a weekly Family Information newsletter. Previous editions can be viewed here. To subscribe to the newsletter, visit the BCP Council email news and alerts page and select Family Information.

The service can be contacted on 01202 093131 or by email at

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Assessment and Family Support Teams

The Assessment and Family Support Teams are based in and around Early Help Family Hubs. The teams assess and create the plans needed to address identified, critical family worries and needs. Where appropriate, workers will act as Lead Professional, working alongside the family to build resilience and improve outcomes for the children.

The BCP Council Early Help Assessment is the main tool used by the team, this is supported by other screening tools to ensure that any specific worries are fully understood in line with the Continuum of Need. The Signs of Safety approach focuses on individuals’ strengths as a starting point and identifies and supports development of a sustainable support network to help address the needs of the child and the collective needs of the family.

The voice of the child and their lived experience will be paramount in identifying what needs to change and workers will proactively seek and respond to their wishes and feelings, advocating on their behalf where necessary.

Early Help Family Support workers will deliver a persistent, assertive, supportive and challenging approach, to ensure that there is common purpose within the family and the wider support network with agreed actions and timescales within which these should be achieved.

Early Help support workers are key members of the ‘Team Around the School’, supporting school colleagues to deliver effective Early Help strategies. Teams also work alongside other partners including Health and Early Years to support their lead professional or network responsibilities.

Teams will sometimes support families and partners when the need for Children’s Social Care or another specialist service has reduced, and needs can be met effectively through an Early Help partnership approach.

The teams can be contacted via the Early Help Family Hubs.

Find out more about early help family support here.

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Youth Services, Participation and Youth Access Points

Youth Access Points Team:

The Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) offer:

For ages 12 to 19 (and up to 25 for those with SEND).

Provision of information, advice and guidance to young people across the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area is available from 3 Youth Access Points;




Young people (or their family members/associated professionals) can drop into any of our centres, regardless of where they live in the BCP area, or can contact us via our website, where they will find a variety of methods to get in touch.

The team provide support, information and, where required, onward referral and signposting, on a range of issues including; careers/education, substance misuse, housing, benefits, sexual health, family breakdown, counselling and mental wellbeing.

Where the team are not able to support directly we will facilitate referrals to specialist services.

Information Advice and Guidance (IAG) workers also hold responsibility for an assigned group of NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) young people and will seek to engage and support them to enable them to access education, employment and training.

Support is usually delivered over 1 to 6 sessions depending on the presenting need. NEET young people who aren’t referred by self/professional referral can take longer to engage and their barriers may mean that contact and support continues until such time as they are ready to engage.

The Adolescent Support Worker (ASW) offer:

For ages 16 to 19 (and up to 25 for those with SEND).

Provision of Lead Professional support and holistic Early Help assessment to young people in the BCP area.

Access to the service is usually via professional referral but this support can also be accessed directly by young people and their families via our Youth Access Points or via our website: More complex cases held at an IAG level can also be stepped up to ASW support internally within the team.

A 1:1 worker will be allocated to the young person and, where indicated, their family. An Early Help assessment will be completed and the support needs identified will be addressed and monitored via the TAF (team around the family) process.

Support is usually delivered over a 12 week period, which can be extended where indicated by the presenting support needs.

The NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) and Not Known offer:

For ages 16 to 18 (and up to 25 for those with SEND).

The Local Authority has a statutory duty to offer educational provision and support to young people aged 16 to 18 to ensure they engage in recognised EET (education, employment and training) options in line with RPA (Raising Participation Age) legislation that states young people must be in EET until they are 18.

The Youth Access Point Team tracks young people throughout the year where we do not know their current destination (what EET they are in). These young people may have changed their mind about the course they were due to attend or may have moved out of the area for example. The team contacts these young people via a range of mediums, including; phone calls, letters, emails, texts and home visits, to establish their current destination, with a particular focus between October and February when young people do not appear on Further Education/Apprenticeship providers lists after leaving school.

Where young people are found to be NEET (not in education, employment or training) they are allocated to an IAG worker (see above) who will support the young people assigned to them to overcome any barriers they may have to securing EET options, whether this is just confusion over which course to choose or more complex issues relating to lack of attainment, family circumstance or personal barriers such as substance misuse, mental health difficulties or homelessness.

Contact details:

Young people and parent/carers can contact the team via the Up in BCP website, by phone on 07880 480602 or by email at

Professional referrals for ASW support and discussion re support level/step downs - email

Professional IAG referrals (no Lead Professional support required) - email

Professional referrals for Positive Activities support - email

Open access:

The BCP Council open access youth offer combines open access positive activities delivered through youth centres and detached youth work in the community, deploying youth workers to targeted areas to engage, educate and influence young people promoting positive choices, risk awareness, activities and diversion. Youth workers are also part of the Team around the School and will link into the Family Hubs supporting the community-based approach to supporting families and young people.

Youth workers will work within communities to develop new positive activities for young people, supporting community and voluntary sector development for the universal offer and will aim to build an offer which reflects the needs of the community wherever possible and increasing the use of volunteers within the BCP Council offer.

Youth workers will work alongside staff in the adolescent hub, delivering detached youth work at locations young people who are vulnerable and at risk are known to frequent, as well as providing a more general offer to all young people at various locations across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, using mobile units to increase visibility.


Our services are committed to listening to and hearing the views of children and young people; providing the methods for their views to be an inclusive and powerful voice shaping and influencing BCP Council service development and the services provided by partners and voluntary agencies.

Our dedicated Children’s Participation team engages with young people across BCP Council to deliver ‘Participation’; working with young people on key principles and favoured activities to deliver the outcome of hearing and embedding the voices of children, young people and families in the decision making processes for service development, delivery and evaluation across BCP Council and with partners where appropriate.

Young people are able to purposefully participate and contribute through youth forums, being elected as Members of Youth Parliament, attending special events and through outreach work.

For participation enquiries phone 07779 880727 or email

Visit the Up in BCP website for further information about services for young people in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Young people and parent/carers can contact the team at

Professionals can contact the team at

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