Skip to main content

Early Years ConsortiaView all services

Overview of the Early Years Consortia

The purpose of the Consortia is to support and enable the inclusion of ALL FUNDED 2, 3 and 4 year old children within their nursery or childcare setting. Children who are eligible for a ‘funded’ nursery place are able to attend their childcare setting for the following number of hours as funded by the Local Authority:

    • 2 year old offer of 15 hours

    • 3 & 4 year old offer of up to 30 hours

Consortia support is used to enable these children to access their funded hours only and is targeted at children with lower level or emerging Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND). Settings are encouraged to identify children with SEND as soon as possible to ensure that any necessary intervention can be given in a timely manner. 


Support from the Early Years Consortia is available to all Private, Voluntary or Independent (PVI) nursery settings in the Liverpool area (this includes Childminders). You do not need to be caring for children with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) to get involved with the Early Years Consortia. Support for children in school based nurseries is available from the Primary Consortia.

Consortia Dates are on each individual Consortia page.

What is Early Years Consortia

The Early Years Consortia provides PVI practitioners with the opportunity to access support and guidance when they have concerns about a child’s learning and development. Practitioners are encouraged to attend their monthly Consortia meetings to discuss their concerns with the other practitioners in the group. A plan of action is then developed.

There are currently 6 different Consortia across the Liverpool area. A setting’s location determines which Consortia they are in. To see which Consortia you are a part of please see the map above.

The monthly Consortia meetings are chaired by a local childcare provider and are supported by a member of the SEND Early Years Development Team from the Local Authority. One or two representatives from every setting in the Consortia also attends each meeting along with  a SEND Link Worker from the local Children’s Centre and representation from the local Health Visiting Team.

Practitioners are encouraged to access support from the Consortia at the earliest opportunity to ensure that any support necessary for the child is in place as soon as possible. Practitioners are encouraged to do this as part of the ‘Graduated Approach’ identified within the SEND Code of Practice 2015.

What is the Early Years Consortia Graduated Approach?

Under the SEND Code of Practice 2015, all educational settings are required to use their best endeavours to meet the needs of children and young people identified as having Special Educational Needs and Disabilities as part of the ‘Graduated Approach’ (see diagram below and the 'Early Years Consortia Graduated Approach and Supporting Guidance' document in the documents list on the right of this page).

This means that settings should identify needs early. They should then start by offering support at the lowest level (stage 1) so as to meet the child’s needs before they escalate. Settings may then need to increase the level of support given to the child over time as part of the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ cycle.

Any support given should be based on the individual needs of the child; this means that not all children will require support in stages 2-4. Instead, only some children will require this support and only a few will require support from stage 4.

What support does Early Years Consortia offer to Early Years Settings?

  • Access to the SEND Early Years Development Team.
  • Peer support.
  • Monthly meetings.
  • Specific case related discussions.
  • SEND updates.
  • SEND specific training opportunities.
  • A designated budget for needs-led support and intervention.

What specialist support is available via the Early Years Consortia?

  • Access to external agency support such as support from SENISS (Special Educational Needs Inclusion Support Service) or EP (Educational Psychology) via an appointment based Practitioner Advice Session (see SENISS/EP Practitioner Advice Session process flowchart in the documents list on the right of this screen for further details).
  • Access to support from local Children’s Centre SEND Link Workers.
  • Access to advice and support from the local Health Visiting Team.

How do I access support from the Early Years Consortia?

To access support from the Early Years Consortia it is necessary to attend the monthly Consortia meetings. Meeting dates, times and venues are all available on the individual Consortia pages of this site which can be accessed using the buttons or map above. On these pages, you will also find the contact details of your Chair and Deputy Chair of Consortia and the Health Visitor/s linked to your Consortia.

To access any financial support from the Early Years Consortia, you must complete the relevant Consortia application form (with signed parental permission where needed) and submit it to the Chair of your Consortia 7 days prior to the date of your next meeting. The setting must present their signed application form at the Consortia meeting. If a member of staff from the setting is not present, the application will not be considered.

All current application forms are available in the documents list on the right hand side of this page. Please note, any applications that are submitted on any outdated forms will not be accepted. This may delay the allocation of support.

Who should attend Early Years Consortia?

The most effective discussions at Consortia meetings take place when established members of staff who know the children well are able to attend. The majority of professionals who attend the meetings are Nursery SENCOs, Nursery Managers or the Key Person to the child/ren being discussed.

Due to the sensitive nature of the discussions held at Consortia meetings, all attendees need to be respectful of confidentiality. For this reason, practitioners are asked not to invite anyone such as students, parents or external agencies into the meetings without first consulting with the SEND Early Years Development Team and the Chair of the Consortia.

No more than two representatives from each setting should attend any one Consortia meeting to ensure that meetings remain timely and effective.

Contact Us

If you would like any additional information around the Liverpool Early Years Consortia please contact us:

Dot Harrison - Early Years SEND Coordinator:                                                                    07921 403 004                                                  

Sarah Sweetin-Jones - Early Years SEND Development Officer: