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Schools are expected to utilise local authority services and professionals for specialist advice, guidance and training opportunities. 

Should you feel the school would benefit from local authority involvement, you can ask the school to make a referral to any of the below services:- 

School absence is managed by two teams – the Attendance Specialist Team and the Attendance Compliance Team.

Attendance Specialists 

The team aims to improve outcomes for children in education through the ‘We Miss You’ school attendance toolkit.   Attendance Specialists help schools to develop strategies in relation to school attendance and offer advice and guidance.   Their role is to share good practice in relation to strategies which may be used to address absence, with a view to minimising the need for schools to require legal intervention (penalty notices/prosecution) via the Education Act 1996

You can ask the school if they are following the 'We Miss You' Toolkit and if an Attendance Specialist can attend a school meeting.

Attendance Compliance Team (ACT)

The role of this team is to ensure that the local authority’s statutory responsibilities in respect of school attendance are consistently fulfilled. These responsibilities include the issuing of penalty notices in line with the published Essex Code of Conduct and also the instigation of prosecutions under section 444 Education Act 1996, when this is deemed appropriate. Schools and academies may, after exhausting all appropriate avenues of school-based intervention, refer individual cases where legal intervention is deemed an appropriate next course of action to address ongoing absence.

When is it appropriate to involve an Attendance Specialist?
  • If your child or young person has emotional based school avoidance
  • You can ask the school to involve an Attendance Specialist at a meeting to discuss your child's attendance
  • Non-attendance related to concerns around Covid 19
  • An Attendance Specialist can inform schools about the services/organisations/agencies that may be able to offer support a child’s attendance

Education Access Service

The Education Access Team has responsibility, under Section 19 of The Education Act 1996 (as amended by the Children and Families Act 2010) for commissioning suitable education for pupils who are unable to attend school.

The Education Access Team commissions support for the following:

  • ​pupils who have been permanently excluded from school
  • where illness prevents attendance at school,
  • where pregnancy prevents attendance at school.
  • pupils unable to attend school due to emotionally based school avoidance,
  • pupils who are not in school due to other exceptional circumstances.

The wider functions of the Education Access Team include:

  • The provision of training and advice to schools on exclusion matters; including specific Governor training.
  • Attending Governing Body Meetings where pupil exclusions are considered.
  • Advice and guidance to other professionals and parents / carers on the exclusion process
  • Advice and guidance to parents where pupils on school rolls are not receiving appropriate education due to medical or other needs. 

Important note: If you are considering asking the school to make a referral to Education Access, you can read the attached Essex County Council Advice for parents/carers of children unable to attend school due to health needs

When is it appropriate to involve Education Access?
  • If a child or young person is unable to attend school due to a medical need, schools can make a referral to the Education Access Service for alternative education provision.
  • To make a referral to Education Access, the school will need to demonstrate they have made all the necessary reasonable adjustments and have involved the appropriate services or professionals for advice and guidance.
  • The school will need supporting evidence from the GP or involved health professional outlining that your child’s medical need is preventing them from accessing their mainstream school and giving details of how they may be able to access education eg. online or in small group settings.

Important note: Education Access state that 'The medical evidence should also confirm how much tuition, if any, the pupil is well enough to receive. Schools should not delay making a referral to Education Access simply because medical advice and guidance is not available'.  - Education Access Medical Guidance

Educational Psychologists

Essex Educational Psychologists (EPs) provide independent professional advice to families, schools and other education settings. An Educational Psychologist applies psychology (the study of thinking, learning and behaviour) to support the learning, development and wellbeing of children and young people.

​Many Essex EPs have specialist skills in areas such as autism, behaviour, literacy and mental health. An EP might be a good choice to help with significant learning or behaviour difficulties which are complicated, difficult to understand or have not improved with the support already in place

The EP Service also have a Parent Helpline available 01245 433293

Opening time: Monday: 13:00-17:00


Important note, there is no answering machine or opportunity to hold. If your call is not answered, they may already be speaking to a family so you wish to call back later. 

Parents and young people with concerns about their child's, their own learning or other psychological needs can contact the helpline.

An EP will listen to your concerns and discuss ideas, and help you consider what to do next.

When is it appropriate to involve an EP?
  • If One Planning is not meeeting a child or young person's needs
  • If there are any underlying needs not yet identified by the school

Important note: there is currently a national shortage for Educational Psychologists which may impact on how schools can access the service.  The local authority are continuing to commission EP’s for EHC Needs Assessments.  

Engagement Facilitators

Engagement Facilitators will work with children and young people, their families and the team around the family. They can support with meetings such as One Planning to ensure the right processes are being followed.  You can ask the school to involve an Engagement Facilitator to help promote a collaborate approach between school, parent and young person.

When is it appropriate to involve an EF?
  • To offer school guidance on person centred planning
  • If there are any attendance difficulties – Emotional Based School Avoidance
  • To help improve school and parent working effectively together for the best interest of the child
  • To capture the voice of the child and making sure the child is at the centre of all discussions

Inclusion & Psychology Service

The SEND Inclusion and Psychology Team has been created in order to support schools, academies and education settings to be equally and effectively inclusive, accessing the provision and support they need to meet children and young people's needs without needing resource to the statutory system.  Each school have an allocated Inclusion Partner – you can ask the school to reach out to their Inclusion Partner if you feel that specialist advice and guidance is needed.

Inclusion Partners

Inclusion Partners (IPs) will work in close partnership with colleagues in SEND Services, and in particular, Educational Psychologists, to support early years settings, schools and colleges to develop their inclusive practice and deliver improved outcomes for children and young people with SEND.

​IPs all have extensive experience in working to support children and young people with SEND from birth to 25 years, and their families. Their knowledge, skills and experience come from a range of backgrounds and draw upon evidence-based practice to inform their support to early years settings, schools, colleges and families.

Important note: Please remember the inclusion partners work strategically with the school and so you may not have any direct contact with them.  The school can however involve an IP at a school meeting to discuss any concerns around meeting a child’s SEN needs.

When is it appropropriate to involve an IP?
  • If One Planning is not meeting a child or young person's needs
  • If a parent or school is considering an EHC Needs Assessment
  • If a child or young person has received frequent suspensions and the school need expert guidance on what to do next
  • The school may benefit from specialist advice on how to manage a pupil’s social, emotional and mental health needs

SEND Operations Service

The SEND Operations Team are responsible for the administration of the statutory assessment process and the maintaining of Education Health & Care Plans which includes:-

  • annual reviews
  • arranging of provision and placements
When is it appropriate for SEND Operations to be involved?
  • If One Planning is not meeting a child or young person's needs and an EHC Needs Assessment may be necessary
  • the provision in the EHC plan is no longer meeting the child or young person's needs and an emergency annual review is needed
  • the child or young person's education, health or social care needs have changed and are no longer accurately described in the EHC plan.  This includes if you feel that section I (the placement) needs to be reviewed and an annual review is needed
  • The school have concerns the funding allocated is not sufficient to meet needs described in EHC plan - please note that schools should raise this directly with SEND Operations and share evidence to support their request.
  • If a child has medical needs and the school need additional funding (IPRA) to meet needs
  • If a child is moving to a new school and transitional funding is needed to support the child for one or two terms - IPRA

SEND Operations Team Contact Details


Physical and Sensory Impairment Specialist Teaching Service

The Physical and Sensory Impairment Specialist Teaching Service (PSISTS) is part of Essex County Council and is made up of three Specialist Teaching Teams who support children and young people with the following impairments:

  • Vision Impairment (VI)
  • Multisensory Impairment (MSI)
  • Hearing Impairment (HI)
  • Physical and Neurological Impairment (PNI)

The three teams are:

  • Visual Impairment Service
  • Hearing Impairment Service
  • Physical & Neurological Impairment Service
When is it appropriate to involve the PSI Specialist Teaching Service?
  • Advice for One Planning and Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments, Plans and reviews
  • Assessment of the physical environment of a setting and advice on adjustments to this if necessary.
  • Information giving and sourcing of specialist equipment, including technology, where necessary.  Direct teaching in the use of certain equipment where appropriate.
  • Support and advice at the point of transition both into education and from one education setting to another
  • Access to training for school staff in order that they understand the nature of a child’s condition or disability, and the implication of these for their education
  • Provision of strategies and advice around Preparing for Adulthood

Preparing For Adulthood Service

PfA advisors give young people information, advice, and guidance about their options. They ensure they have the information they need to make decisions about their future.

For example after leaving school they could go to college, apply for an apprenticeship, or look for a job. The PfA Advisor will ask the young person and others who know them well what they like and what they are good at.

When is it appropriate to involve a PfA?

When a young person starts year 9, a Preparing for Adulthood advisor will write to the young person to introduce themselves and offer advice on options.  From year 10, your advisor will meet with the young person to explore options and paths they might take.

For more information on the Preparing for Adulthood Service

Targeted Youth Advisers

The Essex Youth Service Targeted Team supports young people through individual and group work sessions.

Offering support through a school drop-in service or students being referred on an individual basis, this support is delivered across Essex.  

Support offered to young people can include:

  • Improving school attendance
  • Build emotional resilience and managing stress
  • Understand consequences of behaviour
  • Increase self-esteem and confidence
  • Improve relationships with peers and adults
  • Learn skills for overcoming personal challenges
  • Managing emotions
  • Careers advice and guidance
When is it appropriate to involve a Targeted Youth Adviser?
  • If a young person is experiencing school related anxiety
  • If young person is having difficulty in managing their behaviour or emotions and understanding consequences of behaviour
  • If a young person is experiencing friendship difficulties – managing and maintaining friendships
  • Support with moving to secondary school

More information can be found here

Virtual School Service

Aim to help Essex Children in Care, or those previously in care and children with a social worker who live in Essex, to enjoy education, and succeed in the schools they attend.

They work with Designated Teachers, Social Workers, carers and others to give advice, support and training to help children and young people be successful learners. 

When is it appropriate to involve the Virtual School Service?

There might be difficulties such as attendance, suspension or at times of need, for example when moving between schools.