Hackney Portage provides an educational, personalised, home-visiting service for families who have a pre-school child with additional needs, working closely with other specialties involved in the child’s care. They aim to help families understand their child’s development, offer practical ideas around optimal play for development, assist with entry to playgroup or nursery, provide support with benefits and help to promote inclusion at Children’s Centres. There is also a weekly drop-in session for children and their families.

Hackney Ark is a centre for children and young people with disability and special educational needs. Since 2008, it has acted as a hub from which to provide a coordinated package of health, education and social care interventions, responding to the needs of the child and their family. Children referred to Hackney Ark are assessed at a single point of entry referral meeting, and their needs are then addressed through an holistic and co-ordinated package of care by the relevant professional teams who work together on an ongoing basis to provided appropriate support to the child and their family.

Other relevant local services include those run by Hackney Learning Trust (such as the Educational Psychologist Service, Early Support Team and the Sensory Impairment Team), Disabled Children’s Social Care and local health services (for instance the Multi-Agency Referral Service and Speech and Language Therapy).

In addition to the universal school nursing service, a school nursing service focused on children on Health Care Plans (i.e. those with additional or complex health needs) is also in place in Hackney. This service offers a full care offer to these children and training and support for teachers and learning support assistants. There is also one FTE school nurse situated in each of our 3 Hackney Special Schools.

City of London Early Help Services bring professionals from health, social care and education together regularly to discuss early identification of education need and strategies to support families and children. This is known as the MARF (Multi-Agency Referral Forum). With such a small cohort of children, this allows partners to work seamlessly together and agree the right package of support for each case.