Barnsley Education Specialist Support Team (BESST)

Children we support

We support children from birth to five years of age who have special educational needs and disability (SEND).

Depending on the child's learning development needs, we can either work with them at home, alongside their parents, or with other professionals in in the child's setting.

What we provide

  • Assessment and teaching for individual children, either in the family home (portage based service), or in settings, family centres and schools.
  • Support/guidance to parents who have pre-school children with additional needs.
  • Co-ordination of the team around the family (TAF), if there are several agencies working together to support the child.
  • Training for parents, settings and schools.

Support at home

Our portage service provides home-based educational support for pre-school children who have complex developmental or learning difficulties, a physical disability, or other additional support needs.

Children are usually referred to the service by health or social care professionals who may already be working with the family.

When we receive a referral we'll carry out a play-based assessment of the child at home and work with the parents to help their child learn new skills.

Parents can also get the same kind of support for their child through our Small Steps portage group, which runs small step activities to promote children's development and encourage them to socialise and play together.

The group's an ideal opportunity for parents to provide mutual support for each other.

You can find more information about portage on the national website.

Support in settings

When we're supporting children within a setting, we'll:

  • liaise with key staff working with the child
  • assess children and advise on specialist targets and strategies
  • monitor and review children’s progress
  • provide training to the setting staff
  • provide visit records and reports so that families are fully informed of our involvement. 

Benefits for children

  • All children will have a specialist individual assessment to identify their strengths and needs.
  • Following the assessment, some children may receive a specialist intervention programme to build on the child’s strengths.
  • Children’s progress will continue to be reviewed so that they achieve the best outcomes.
  • Children will have consistent support from a key worker or staff liaising with the child’s setting regarding targeted strategies.

Benefits for families

  • They're supported throughout the process of identification of SEND so that they can make informed choices.
  • They have a better understanding of their child’s needs.
  • They're given advice on the intervention strategies that are needed to support better outcomes for their child.
  • They're signposted to relevant services.
  • They'll have a key work who'' co-ordinate their child's support.
  • They'll receive a written report outlining their child’s developmental needs and stating any necessary interventions and strategies.
  • They'll be part of the assessment to source and appropriate placement for their child.