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Early Learning Together Service

Early Learning Together is a home or group based early education service for children who for any reason need extra support to learn and develop. The service is for babies from six months until they start free early education at either age two or three years.

Early Learning Together works in partnership with parents to build on their knowledge so they increase their confidence to support the needs of their child.

The aim of the service is to eventually help the child take up a funded place at a childcare provider of the parent/carer's choice and to support the child’s transition into the group learning environment.

Early Learning Together is by referral from a family's health visitor, paediatrician, family support practitioner or social worker. It is provided by Suffolk County Council's Early Years and Childcare Service.

If you are a professional who wishes to refer a child for ELT, please download the referral form from (Go to 'SEND in Suffolk' section, then the Guidance and forms' page)

For further information please contact us.

Who to contact

Suffolk Family Information Service
0345 60 800 33
Suffolk County Council, Endeavour House
Russell Road

Where to go

Suffolk Families Information Service
Suffolk County Council
Early Years and Childcare Team
Children & Young People's Services
Endeavour House
8 Russell Road
Area served
Parking available

Days & Times

Time of day
Session Information
The service is planned specifically for each family

Other details

Referral required?
Referral and availability notes

To be considered for Early Learning Together the child must be at least 6 months old and not yet eligible for a free early education place. They must also meet at least one of the following criteria:

• Two areas of delay plus the parent/carers needing support to engage effectively with the child’s early learning (to be constantly assessed once service delivery commences).

• Any family who we believe will meet the eligibility criteria for a free early education place (for 2 year olds – this includes any child who is or has ever been LAC) plus the parent/ carers needing support to engage effectively with the child’s early learning (as above)

• Children placed in kinship arrangements

• Children on the edge of care (to improve interactions and to provide an additional protective factor)

• Children in ‘new’ foster placements

• Children with young parents (to increase the parent’s confidence in their ability to meet the child’s needs and to access universal services)

The child’s progress will be reviewed regularly with the parent/carers and their achievements celebrated. In the term before they become eligible for a funded early education place the worker will provide help to access a childcare provider of the parent/carers choice and will support the child’s transition into the group learning environment.

If you are a professional who wishes to refer a child for ELT, please download the referral form from (Go to 'SEND in Suffolk' section, then the Guidance and forms' page).

Age Groups

Accreditation website
Accreditation details
Suffolk's Early Learning Together Service is accredited by the National Portage Association

Related links
Suffolk Family Service Directory
Service users involved in planning
• We work with parents to discover the things their child can do and the areas where they need help.• Together with parents we will work out a programme to help the child develop new physical, social and communication, thinking and understanding and self- care skills.• We ask parents and children for their views, we listen to families and they help us improve the service we provide.
Last Updated

Local Offer Local Offer Record

Experience of including people with special educational needs and disabilities

The Early Years and Childcare Service keeps the needs of children and families at the heart of the service. Team members strive for every child to be included and for their individual needs to be met.

For the youngest children with additional needs we offer a home visiting or small group early education service (Early Learning Together). Our team members support parents/carers to play with their child in ways which will develop their skills and prepare them to access their funded pre-school, nursery or with a childminder.

We support families and their child at every time of change, for example starting at a pre-school and later moving onto school.

All members of our team are qualified early years professionals; some will be qualified teachers and others will have specific qualifications in special educational needs.

We work with all registered early years and childcare providers to support them to:

  • Have the skills, resources and equipment to enable them to take prompt action to help children and young people with special educational needs
  • Have the confidence to be flexible to meet the needs of all children and young people successfully
  • Work together with all agencies to support the inclusion of all children from their local community
  • Have staff who are skilled in meeting the needs of all children.
  • Can get the necessary specialist advice and support to achieve the above.

We hope that parents and carers will:

  • Have confidence that their local school / early years setting (mainstream or special) will provide their child with excellent care and early education and that he / she will be a valued member of the setting / school community.
  • Feel welcome to participate in all activities available to their families especially through their local Children’s Centre.
Early Years and Childcare Service
0345 60 800 33
Childcare information and support
National Portage Association
Activities Unlimited (opportunities for children with additional needs)
Conditions Supported
Autistic spectrum conditions
Communication difficulties
Health conditions
Learning difficulties
Mental health conditions
Physical disabilities
Sensory impairments


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