Graduated Pathway of Early Help and Support

All children can have additional needs at some time in their lives.  These needs could arise as a result of family circumstances, changes to living situations, cultural differences, health and medical concerns, disability, loss or bereavement.  Circumstances such as these can have an impact on children's care, learning, physical development, communication, social and emotional development and behaviour meaning they need additional help and support.

Special educational needs and/or disability (SEND) is the term given when a child has a learning difficulty or disability that makes it significantly more difficult to learn compared to the majority of children of the same age.

This booklet provides some information and guidance to parents who may be concerned that their child has additional needs.  It will explain what is available in Gloucestershire to support your child and how to get the help that may be needed.  We call this Gloucestershire's Graduated Pathway of Early Help and Support.  It's about getting the right kind of help at the right time. 

Information for Parents and Carers - Guidance on the Graduated Pathway of Early Help and Support


Early Help

What is Early Help and how can I access support?
Early Help is about providing support to potentially vulnerable children, young people and their families as soon as problems begin to emerge, or when there is a strong likelihood that problems will start in the future. It is also about providing support at any and every stage of a child's life: pre-birth, during pregnancy, childhood or adolescence.
In Gloucestershire, we believe that families are best supported by practitioners who are already working with them, as well as other organisations and services within their local community. These organisations include health services, schools, learning providers, councils, charities and voluntary groups, children and family centers, the police, housing providers and many others.
Early Help’ is an umbrella term that describes the work of many agencies engaged with children and families and focuses on how we can help people to do things for themselves and build on strengths within families. If we can get this right early on, at the right time, we get the opportunity to help people with areas of their life they may be struggling with, which sets people up for a better long-term future. It is also about providing support at any and every stage of a child’s life: pre-birth, during pregnancy, childhood and/or early adulthood.
For further information on Early Help please click here.
For requesting Early Help support please click the following link:

Early Help Request for Support/Consent Forms


The Graduated Pathway

The Graduated Pathway is Gloucestershire’s response to ensuring Early Help is available to all children, young people and their families with additional needs, whether these are educational, social or emotional needs or a disability.

A comprehensive guide to The Graduated Pathway can be found on the Glosfamilies Directory website. You can access this by clicking the link below:

Graduated Pathway of Early Help


Requesting and Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment

The Local Authority recommends that anyone wishing to make a request for an EHC needs assessment for a child/young person, follows the graduated pathway process. 

Requesting an EHC needs assessment


Advisory Teaching Service (ATS)

This service provides specialist support for children and young people with SEN, disabilities and additional needs. Click the link to their website below to find out more:

ATS Website


Educational Psychology Service (EPS)

The Educational Psychology Service provides a telephone advice line for early years professionals Wednesday mornings from 9.30am until 12.30pm. Call 01452 427070 to talk to an Educational Psychologist. Or for more information about this service please follow the link below.

Educational Psychology Service


Parent/Carer Support and Disabled Children and Young People’s Service (DCYPS)

If you contact Gloucestershire County Council for support professionals at the Children and Families Front Door will speak to you to understand the severity and complexity of your situation.  You will then be allocated either to the Early Help Service (Level 3 – Targeted Intervention) or if there are complex disability issues or safeguarding concerns to the Social Work Assessment Team (Level 4 Specialist Support).  The Social Work Assessment Teams work with a wide range of children including those with disabilities. 

When an assessment has been completed for a child with additional needs those with complex and severe disabilities, complex health issues or severe learning disabilities will be transferred to the Disabled Children and Young People’s Service (DCYPS) within Gloucestershire County Council.  Those children who have additional needs but are functioning at a higher level are supported within the locality teams outside of DCYPS.  The Social Workers in these teams have the skills to be able to respond best to these families and can offer them the right support.  Support from all of our services is intended to enable disabled children to have the same range of opportunities as non-disabled children, and with their families to be able to experience the 'ordinary' things of life that others take for granted.

Specialist Support Services

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