SEND Support Service


Make a referral to the SEND Support Service

When a child has been referred to us, we can offer:

  • advice and support at home regarding specific areas of need
  • assessment of the learning environment and development of appropriate interventions and strategies in settings
  • support and advice at times of transition to new settings
  • information about the statutory assessment process or criteria for education health and care plans

Children or young people aged 5 to 19 years

North Northamptonshire schools now have a Link Officer to offer support and advice. Referrals are no longer required for children aged 5 to 19. Parents, carers and young people can request a consultation call.

Request a consultation

Eligibility for children aged 0 to 4 years

Eligibility criteria has been designed to ensure we support children most in need and is linked to the SEND descriptors for education.

When making a referral, you will need to evidence the child’s needs.

Children aged:

  • under 2 must be showing 1 area of need out of 5
  • between 2 and 4 must be showing 2 areas of need out of 5

Additional priority for allocation will be given to children who:

  • have a social worker
  • are at risk of exclusion from their education provision
  • are on reduced timetables in their education provision

If the child is looked after by the local authority, you will only need to evidence one further area of need.

If the child has needs linked to social, emotional and mental health then access to the Educational Psychology service will be provided. The SEND Support Service can also offer support if the child has any other additional needs, not necessarily relating to the child’s social, emotional and mental health.

If the child is not showing these needs, a referral to our service is unlikely to result in individual contact and support should be sought from professionals already known to the child, such as:

  • GP
  • Health Visitor
  • nursery
  • Children’s Centre

Please contact us if your child has:

  • more than 6 months delay in any area of development
  • moderate-severe or profound hearing loss impacting on development and been prescribed hearing aids
  • moderate, significant or very significant visual loss, impacting on development - support required for mobility and life skills
  • moderate or severe multi-sensory impairment with impact on development e.g. hearing and visual impairment
  • physical and/or medical difficulties that require extensive equipment, close monitoring and/or high levels of adult support
  • an identified specific need that you have been advised is likely to need ongoing specialist input

You will need to evidence 2 areas of need when making a referral.

Sensory and / or physical needs

This includes:

  • moderate, severe or profound hearing loss impacting on development - wears prescribed hearing aid(s)
  • moderate or severe visual loss impacting on development - support required for mobility and self-help skills
  • moderate or severe multi-sensory impairment with impact on development e.g., hearing and visual impairment
  • physical or medical difficulties that require varied and / or specialist equipment, adapted resources and/or high levels of adult support and monitoring
  • physical independence is impaired and requires input from relevant professionals
  • high levels of adult support for self-care needs
  • severe medical difficulties that require controlled medication and intensive intervention throughout the day
  • physical and / or medical difficulties that put the safety and well-being of the child at severe risk and require intensive monitoring
  • continuous loss of physical skills

If the child is only showing a need in the physical or sensory area, a referral to other teams including Physiotherapy or Sensory Impairment Service may be more appropriate in the first instance.


This includes:

  • Expressive and receptive language significantly or severely delayed or disordered requiring support from Speech and Language Therapy (SALT)
  • additional or intensive support is required to teach and manage alternative communication systems
  • loss of previously demonstrated communication skills (spoken or signed)
  • limited understanding of what is said or signed (age and first language taken into account)

If the child is only showing a need in speech and language, a referral to a Speech and Language therapist may be more appropriate in the first instance.


This includes:

  • significant, persistent or severe difficulties following social norms, e.g., eye contact, turn taking
  • significant and persistent difficulties or inability to form relationships evidenced by lack of or no recognition of self or others
  • significant difficulties or no understanding of social boundaries in play or other activities
  • significant, persistent difficulties or inability to tolerate social interaction
  • actively withdraws over a period of time
  • significant, frequent or severe high levels of anxiety at times of change and / or difficulties in regulating emotions
  • frequent, significant or severe difficulties in following adult-directed activities
  • activities remain at the sensory-motor, self-stimulatory level and / or are self-absorbed or repetitious to the exclusion of other activities

Play, Cognition and Learning

This includes developmental delay in milestones of, approximately:

  • under 3 years old - more than 6 months delay
  • 3 years old plus - more than 12 months delay
  • 4 years old plus - more than 18 months delay

Play, cognition and learning needs also include:

  • difficulties in retaining concepts over time
  • child losing skills
  • significantly or severely restricted play
  • frequent repetitive play, restricted interests and significant or severe difficulties with imaginative play
  • an identified specific need that you have been advised is likely to need ongoing specialist input

Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH)

This includes:

  • significant and persistent separation difficulties
  • severe attachment difficulties affecting development e.g. attachment to key carers not securely established
  • reluctance to engage in activities by withdrawing or challenging behaviour or unable to sustain activities without significant, consistent adult attention and intervention
  • significant, frequent, persistent, unpredictable, unusual and / or demanding behaviours which may affect a child or others' safety and require adult intervention
  • significant, severe or persistent difficulties in turn-taking and social interaction
  • persistently presents a danger to self and others and destroys materials
  • totally withdrawn from activities over a period of time and severe changes in behaviour and play - frequent high anxiety level
  • significant concerns raised regarding poor growth, weight change, and social, mental and emotional health that requires advice from other agencies and are impacting development
  • child may have suffered from acute trauma or abuse which renders them extremely vulnerable and is impacting on development - needs a high level of multi-agency involvement over a sustained period


We do not:

  • support the Education, Health and Care process for children and young people who are not already known to us
  • provide respite or care packages
  • provide direct support within specialist provision

Parents and carer referrals

If you are a parent and would like to refer your child, the team will only provide support for you at home. Support within an educational setting needs to be requested by that setting.

Referrals need to give examples and evidence of the child's needs within the relevant areas of eligibility. Referrals may be declined if there is insufficient evidence presented.


Early Years (children aged 0 to 4) referrals require:

  • a fully completed Early Years Developmental Profile
  • a One Page Profile including a completed summary page
  • evidence of Assess, Plan, Do, Review implementation or an Ages and Stages Questionnaire from health professionals

Referrals without the evidence required may not be considered by the panel.

After a child is referred

Once we have received a referral, a panel meeting takes place to agree whether the child is eligible and decide the best service offer based on the information provided.

These panel meetings take place fortnightly.

Last updated 09 February 2023