Early Years Inclusion Support Team


Who we are

The Early Years Inclusion Support Team is a multi-disciplinary team that includes advisory teachers and health professionals. Our work is complimented by two nursery education grant (NEG) officers and an occupational therapist who work as part of the extended team. 

We provide advice and training to empower special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) and early years practitioners to respond to the diverse needs of children in their care. We work with all early years settings including schools, private, voluntary, independent nurseries and childminders across Brent supporting the inclusion of young children who have a range of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) that may be affecting their learning and progress.

We offer support in the early identification and planning for children with additional needs at the early years foundation stage and work closely with early years practitioners to remove barriers to inclusion and help ensure that all children are fully included in the day to day activities in their setting.

What we do

We offer regular visits to early years settings as well as training to SENCOs and other early years practitioners to support and develop their knowledge and skills on how to understand, identify and meet the needs of children with SEND.

A key part of our role is to create a 'team around the child and family' approach offering timely support and intervention, in line with the new SEND reforms and the revised SEND Code of Practice.

We help all settings to give young children a good start by adopting the graduated approach to support using the 'assess, plan, do, review' model, focussing on outcomes.

The inclusion coordinator will support settings to work closely with parents and carers to identify and assess needs, plan interventions to address those needs and review children's progress using individual plans. They can also help settings to put into place integrated support for children with SEND which may include onward referrals to outside agencies including health and social care providers.

We aim to work in a preventative role supporting early identification of children who present with possible SEND by providing indirect intervention. With prior consent from parent/carers, a member of the team will meet with staff to share key information about the child as well as observe the needs of the child experiencing difficulties in the setting, in order to determine whether they may have SEND. We will also aim to meet with parent/carers to share their thoughts/concerns and agree next steps.

With consent the inclusion coordinator can support children in the following areas of need:

  • communication and interaction - this includes children with speech language and communication difficulties and children with a diagnosis of autism
  • cognition and learning - this includes children who demonstrate features of moderate, severe or profound learning difficulties
  • emotional social development and mental health - this includes children who are withdrawn or isolated, disruptive, hyperactive and lacking concentration, those with immature social skills and those presenting with challenging behaviours arising from other complex emotional/social needs
  • sensory and physical - this includes profound and permanent deafness or visual impairment and physical impairments as well as children with sensory processing difficulties.

Our work also includes:

  • providing advice to SENCOs
  • supporting staff to write and implement individual plans
  • supporting staff to monitor and review children's progress
  • advising on and modelling strategies of support for individual children
  • supporting the onward referral of individual children to outside agencies including speech and language therapists and community paediatricians
  • helping parents/carers to understand the needs of their child
  • supporting early years practitioners to make timely interventions such as requesting professional  assessments or an education, health and care plan
  • providing advice and support at the point of transition
  • facilitating information sharing meetings between settings and schools
  • providing and updating SEND training for early years practitioners and SENCOs
  • attending team around the child/family meetings and multi-disciplinary assessments
  • attending nursery panel meetings to agree  the placement and  funding for individual children referred to panel
  • attending child development service meetings
  • working in partnership with the early years advisory teachers on quality improvement in relation to inclusion.


Meet the team


Hatty Besley
Team leader

Hatty qualified as a speech and language therapist (SLT) in 2000 and has worked primarily across early years paediatric settings including community clinics, pre-school language groups and with young children with a range of complex additional needs.

She has been with the service since November 2003, liaising closely with special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs) in the non-maintained sector in order to support the inclusion of children with a range of additional needs in pre-school settings across Brent.

For the past five years she has also worked as part of Brent’s Children with Disabilities Team in Social Care.

Hatty liaises closely with a range of multi-agency professionals across Brent and has close links with colleagues in health in order to develop joined-up targeted support.

Rachel Neville
Early years specialist practitioner

Rachel has previously worked as a paediatric SLT within the NHS, working in clinics and schools including children with complex language needs. Since 2008 she has worked as part of the Early Years Inclusion Support Team, helping children with a range of needs in nursery settings and contributing to the work of the team with children with speech, language and communication needs.

During this period Rachel has also worked as an SLT within children's centres to provide early services for young children with communication needs or those at risk of future language delay. In addition she has helped to introduce early years communication projects to promote practice that enhances positive communication development within early years settings. Rachel currently continues to work as an early years inclusion support worker in the team.

Enna Gadhia
Early years inclusion teacher

Enna Gadhia began her career with children as a nursery officer in Brent where she soon learned from experienced colleagues and realised her passion for working with children. She then went on to complete her Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) to train as a teacher, qualifying in 1996.

She began her teaching career as a primary teacher in Brent followed by being an early years coordinator. Early years quickly became her choice of age group as she recognised the need for quality experiences, teaching and relationships for all children.

Throughout her teaching career, she has supported many children with additional needs, always aiming to build positive relationships with their families and the practitioners involved. This has also given her the opportunity to work with and learn from other professionals such as speech and language therapists, family support workers and community nurses. 

Sharon St Louis
Team administrator

Sharon began working for Brent Council as an administrator with the portage team in January 2006. She subsequently joined the Early Years Inclusion Support Team in September 2007 as the team administrator and training co-ordinator. More recently she has managed the team data providing up-to-date records and statistics for locality meetings and council use.

She represents the team at children's centres across Brent where she meets with childminders on a regular basis to provide information regarding specific areas of disability and special educational needs and explores issues around inclusive practice.

Sharon is also a portage worker and has been trained to deliver the parenting support programme Stepping Stones, for children with additional needs.

Catherina Townend
NEG 2 Inclusion Officer

Catherina has over 20 years experience of working with children from birth to five years old after beginning her career as a nursery officer in Brent and quickly becoming trained in management and special educational needs. She has worked in different nurseries in the private, voluntary, independent and maintained sectors.

Catherina joined the Early Years Inclusion Support Team in November 2015 as an NEG 2 Inclusion Officer. She supports the inclusion of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), with a particular focus on vulnerable two-year-olds. She continues to support and develop high quality practise and provision for two-year-olds, ensuring the NEG 2 is rolled out across the early years sector in Brent.

Bonnie Burkell
Specialist teacher

Bonnie trained to be a teacher in Canada and received a Bachelor of Education Degree in 1999. She then started her teaching career working in Canada as a class teacher in primary schools. Since 2003 Bonnie has worked across Brent in primary schools, special schools, nursery schools and as an outreach teacher for Brent Outreach Autism Team (BOAT). 

She is an experienced class teacher, nationally accredited SENCO and has also led a specialist provision for nursery-aged children. Bonnie has a wide range of experience in supporting children with special education needs and disabilities as well as working with and supporting other practitioners in her outreach role. She has been trained to deliver the Stepping Stones parenting programme, the Attention Autism program and Early Talk Boost.


Bonnie has a passion for early years education and inclusion and believes through working closely together with parents/carers and other professionals, that all children can achieve success with the right support.


Referrals and consent

A child with a physical disability or a specific health diagnosis will often already be under the care of a doctor or another practitioner when starting nursery. However the majority of children that are supported by us will be identified by the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) or key worker in the setting and will not be known to other agencies or professionals.

The team is also contacted by community paediatricians and other health professionals or parents seeking the team's involvement with their child in a PVI setting.

Referrals can only be accepted with the written consent of parents.

Once a referral has been received the allocated member of the team will hold an initial consultation in the setting which the child attends. Parents are encouraged to attend this meeting in order to share relevant information and agree next steps to support partnership working.

Regular visits will continue to devise and implement individual education plans and make onward referrals if appropriate, as well as monitoring and reviewing the needs of the child.

We continue to work with families right up until the point at which the child is due to start school. A transition pack is completed for the school SENCO and class teacher with information regarding the child's strengths and areas of need as well as the support they have received prior to starting school.

The new school is also given a support plan to help the SENCO to plan for the needs of the child and make the necessary adjustments before he/she starts school.


Training opportunities

We run a variety of courses aimed at all early years practitioners including regular three day SENCO training, workshops on running language groups, working with parents, promoting well-being and positive behaviour management, case discussion days and inclusion conferences covering topics such as brain development and coming to terms with a diagnosis.

Our aim is to support the development of inclusive and reflective practice for all those working in early years settings through continuous professional development (CPD).

Training opportunities for the Early Years Inclusion Support Team can be accessed via Best Brent.