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Early years forums

The early years forum is a monthly multi-agency meeting that monitors whether the right services are involved to support your pre-school child. The people at the meeting represent the services that may help your child, including:

  • Education health and care assessment and planning service
  • Specialist health visitors
  • Early years area special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs)
  • Community paediatricians
  • Educational psychologists
  • Local support team members
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Child development social workers
  • Specialist teachers

The people at the meeting may not personally know your child, but will have reports and information from colleagues who do.  They will make suggestions to ensure that each child has the best possible start to learning. The forum can refer to some teams, such as educational psychologists, and allocate additional funding to the setting.

More information on SEND funding available to support children at private, voluntary and independent early year settings, including the SEND Inclusion Fund.

Who can use the service?

Pre-school children who are believed to have special educational needs or disabilities.

There are four early years forums covering the whole of Staffordshire. 

Are there any costs?


How can I refer?

Children will be referred to the forum when:

  • Their progress is causing concern in one or more areas of development
  • They may need extra help or assessment before starting school. 

Educational settings should refer to the early years forums using the PVI setting referral form.  

Referrals can be made by education, health or social care professionals such as Paediatricians, Speech and Language Therapists and Entrust Early Years Area SENCOs using the professionals referral form

Referral forms are available in our download section to the right of the page.

What happens after referral?

The information on your child will be discussed at the next available Early Years Forum meeting (usually within one month). They will consider your child’s needs and the help currently provided, based on your opinions and the opinions of the staff working with him/her.

The forum may decide that your child’s needs are currently being met, or that another service may be able to offer help. The setting may request additional funding to meet your child’s needs.

In some cases the forum may decide that it needs more information before it can make any suggestions, in which case your child will be discussed at the next forum. The forum will identify a parental contact. This person will usually be someone already known to you who will contact you as soon as possible (usually within one week) to discuss the suggestions made. They will explain what is being suggested, and put the recommendations into place if you are happy.

Once your child has been discussed at the forum meeting, their progress will be reviewed regularly, usually within 6 months. You will be asked for your views before each review.  Your parental contact will keep you informed of the suggestions made at each forum.

Who will we see?

The forum’s role is to monitor that the right support is in place for your child.

The ongoing support that your child needs will be through the team working with your child and family, such as the nursery staff or speech and language therapist.

The forum monitors that this support is meeting your needs. We discuss many children at each forum so it is not possible to have parents at the meetings.  However your views about what you feel should happen is important and you should be sharing this with the team working with you and the forum.

How do I find out more?

Please see our information for parents and carers on the Early Years Forum.

Early Years Forum Dates - 2020-2021

Burton - Mondays from 9.00 am

East Staffs Children’s Centre, Waterloo Street, Burton-on-Trent, DE14 2NJ

  • 14th September 2020
  • 12th October 2020
  • 9th November 2020
  • 7th December 2020
  • 11th January 2021
  • 8th February 2021
  • 8th March 2021
  • 19th April 2021
  • 10th May 2021
  • 14th June 2021 - all day
  • 5th July 2021

Lichfield - Tuesdays from 9:15 

Lichfield District Office, The Old Library, Bird Street, Lichfield, WS13 6PN

  • 8th September 2020
  • 6th October 2020
  • 3rd November 2020
  • 8th December 2020
  • 5th January 2021
  • 2nd February 2021
  • 2nd March 2021
  • 20th April 2021
  • 11th May 2021
  • 8th June 2021 - all day
  • 6th July 2021

Newcastle - Mondays from 9:30

 The Children’s Centre, Cemetery Road, Newcastle Under Lyme, ST5 6DH

  • 21st September 2020
  • 19th October 2020
  • 16th November 2020
  • 14th December 2020
  • 18th January 2021
  • 22nd February 2021
  • 15th March 2021
  • 26th April 2021
  • 17th May 2021
  • 21st June 2021 - all day
  • 12th July 2021

Stafford - Wednesdays from 9:30

The Children’s Centre, Faraday Road, Stafford, ST16 3NQ

  • 30th September 2020
  • 21st October 2020
  • 25th November 2020
  • 16th December 2020
  • 27th January 2021
  • 24th February 2021
  • 24th March 2021
  • 28th April 2021
  • 26th May 2021
  • 30th June 2021 - all day
  • 14th July 2021

A printable copy of Early Years Forums and Funding meeting dates is available in our download section.

Early Years Funding Meeting Dates - 2020-21

Funding Meetings - Thursdays from 9

The Children’s Centre, Faraday Road, Stafford, ST16 3NQ

Please note that requests must be received 10 working days before these meetings: 

  • 8th October 2020
  • 3rd December 2020 
  • 28th January 2021
  • 18th March 2021
  • 13th May 2021
  • 1st July 2021

Jargon Buster

Early Years Forum Jargon Buster.  A printable version can be found in our download section to the right of the page.