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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 some of the below services:- 

Attendance Teams

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

Attendance Specialists 

Attendance Specialist Teams help schools to develop strategies in relation to school attendance and offer advice and guidance. Schools have access to a number of supportive guidance opportunities to encourage improved attendance to school including ‘Let’s Talk, We Miss You’ resources. Schools consult with the Attendance Specialist Teams on individual cases to find positive solutions to attendance concern cases.

 The team aim to:

  • Encourage schools to adopt early intervention practises to avoid persistent or severe persistent absence
  • Support schools to develop strategies which reflect their attendance policy to improve whole school attendance
  • Provide information, advice and guidance

The Attendance Specialist Team supports schools to encourage improved attendances to maximise the opportunity for young people to achieve positive outcomes.

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.

Children & Young People with Disabilities Service

Children and Young People with Disabilities Service (CYPD)  supports children and young people aged 0 to 25 years who have special educational needs and / or disabilities and their families.

Children with Disabilities (CWD)

Where a disabled child or their family need more support that community or early help services can provide, a CWD Social Worker will assess their needs and determine what additional support is required.  There is a CWD team in each quadrant who work with eligible children up to 18.

Young People with Disabilities (YPWD)

Before a young person is 18 a Care Act assessment will be completed to identify whether they will need support as an adult.  The YPWD team will also consider further education work opportunities and long term accommodation and complete a financial and benefits assessment (FABA) to determine whether the young adult will have to pay something towards their care.  A Mental Capacity assessment may be completed if there is any doubt that the young person can make important decisions.

If after finishing formal education the young person still requires social care support they will receive this from adult social care. 

For further information on the Children & Young People with Disabilities Service or to make a referral contact the  Children & Families Hub - Report a Concern about a Child

Occupational Therapy

The Occupational Therapy service works with children and young people with a substantial and long term disability up to the age of 18 years to 25 if still in education and known to the YPWD team.  Essex Local Offer - Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation Service

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. 

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

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

Early Years & Child Care

Essex County Council have an Essex Early Years & Child Care website

You can also read our information on Early Years

Education Compliance

The Education Compliance Team are responsible for fulfilling the local authority's statutory duties in respect of:

  • ​children missing education
  • elective home education
  • school attendance
They are able to use statutory powers under sections 443 and 444 Education Act 1996, as appropriate.

Children Missing in Education

Schools, including Academies and Free Schools must inform the LA of the details of pupils who have been absent from school for 10 continuous school days and contact cannot be made with the parent/carer to establish the reason for the absence and the absence has not been reported

Elective Home Education

All parents have a right to home educate their child. Some parents may choose to remove their child from a school roll, in favour of home education. Where such decisions are taken by parents/carers, schools have a legal responsibility to notify the local authority, without delay, that a pupil is being removed from their roll to be home educated.
You can read our information on Home Education

School Attendance 

You can read our information on Attendance and Penalty Notices
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

When is it appropriate to involve an EP?

  • If One Planning is not meeting 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.  

The EP Service also have a Parent Helpline available 01245 433293 Opening time: Monday: 13:00-17:00


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. 

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 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 appropriate 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
Local Offer

The Local Offer gives information about support available in Essex for children and young people aged between 0 to 25, with Special Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

You can use the Local Offer to:

  • understand what to do if you're new to SEND 
  • browse for local support such as support groups, fun activities or specialist healthcare
  • find out what to do in a complex situation, for example if you need to appeal a decision
  • get advice for young adults with SEND, such as housing and employment support

You can find out more on Essex Local Offer

Make a Request for Support

You can make a request for support to get help for a child or their family

You need to have the family's consent before you make the request, unless there is risk of significant harm.

It’s helpful to know about any previous intervention the child has had when requesting this level of support.

Read about how to make a request for support Request for Support

Music Service

Essex Music Service offers a range of services supporting schools to deliver high quality teaching and learning, as required as Lead Organisation of Essex Music Education Hub.

  • Music Mentoring groups or one to one
  • Provision to support delivering
  • Learning to play an instrument as a whole class
  • School music workshops and projects

Find out more on the Essex Music Service for Schools and Essex Music Service for Parents

There is a cost to schools for this service but the Essex Music Service offers financial assistance for instrument hire and Instrumental Tuition for pupils learning with the Music Service who are from low income families, in receipt of Free School Meals or for Looked After Children.  Funding to provide discount is allocated from the Essex Music Hub grant

Find out more on the  Essex Music Service financial Assistance

When would it be appropriate to involve the Essex Music Service?

If your child or young person with SEN would like to learn an instrument to help build confidence and self esteem, you can ask the school to make a referral to the Essex Music Service for music mentoring.  This can be accessed via the School SEN funding resource but the school may be entitled to some financial assistance if you meet the criteria.  

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 Team?

  • 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
SEND Careers Advisors

Formerly known as the Preparing for Adulthood Team, SEND Career 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 SEND Career 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 SEND Careers Advisor?

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

For more information on the SEND Career Advice Service

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

If a school or parent is requesting a copy of a child or young person's EHCP information, Annual Review paperwork or school placement details they will need to speak directly to the SEND Operations Team.  

If a child or young person is moving to Essex with an Education, Health & Care Plan they will need to contact the SEND Operations Team for their EHCP information to be transferred.  

When is it appropriate to involve the SEND Operations Service?

  • 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

The SEND Operations Team have four area offices - Mid, South, North East and West.  You can find their contact details on the Essex Local Offer - SEND Operations Team

Targeted Employment

The Targeted Employment team will work across organisational boundaries and are passionate for SEND jobseekers to be supported on their journey into employment, ensuring their vocational aspirations are heard in order to have a bright ambitious future moving into the 21st century job market

Essex County Council offers inclusive apprenticeships, social enterprise and traineeships. 

For further information ACL Targeted Employment

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 Advisor?

  • 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 at the Essex Youth Service

Transport Service

The Education Awards team assess applications for home to school transport and free school meals.

Free School Meals

Parents can apply via Healthy Living School Meals on the Essex County Council website. 

If parents need support to complete the application, you can also access the online form via Infolink on our Free School Meals page.

Home to School Transport

Please see Travelling to School on the Essex County Council website. 

Youth Service

The Essex Youth Service offers a range of support for schools and young people in Essex

  • Education, employment and training
  • ASD Mentoring (Limited spaces)
  • Young people mentoring schemes
  • Work Experience
  • On line activities
  • The Duke of Edinburgh's Award
  • One to one youth work 
  • Youth Groups & activities

To find out more about what they do at school and in your area Essex Youth Service

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.