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Inclusion Setting Support Officer (ISSO)

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The Inclusion setting support Officer (ISSO) offers support and guidance to early years providers on including children with additional needs in Hampshire’s Early Years Education settings.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Inclusion setting support officer advice line
Contact Position
Local office team
01962 847070 option two
Inclusion Setting Support Officer

Where to go

Inclusion Setting Support Officer (ISSO)
Children's Services Department,
SO23 8UG

Local Offer

Local Offer

The Inclusion setting Support Officer (ISSO) service supports early years educational and childcare settings to be inclusive and provide a holistic approach to supporting children aged 0-5 with their early years education.

Contact Name
Inclusion setting support officer
Contact Telephone
01962 847070 option one
Contact Email
Inclusion Setting Support Officer
PECS, Makaton
What does your service do?

The Services for Young Children (SfYC) Inclusion Setting Support Officer (ISSO) Service offers support and guidance on including children with additional needs in Hampshire’s Early Years settings such as nurseries, preschools and childminders.

Advice and guidance is provided to aid early identification and support early interventions for children of concern and is offered primarily to the setting Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo). This support includes face to face visits via support surgeries, the provision of termly SENCo support group meetings, a variety of training opportunities and guidance on outside agency support or referrals to other professionals if required.

The Inclusion Setting Support Officer (ISSO) Service can also give advice and guidance with ensuring smooth transitions such as, from setting to the receiving school. Early Years SENCos will also have access to our Inclusion web pages where they will find information and guidance on: • Keeping children safe • Early identification of vulnerable children • Working with all other agencies • Inclusion policies • Setting and school transitions • Additional funding for children • Providing a signing environment • Equality and diversity

Who does your service provide for?

The Inclusion Setting Support Officer (ISSO) service offers advice and guidance to early years providers to support children in the private, voluntary or independent childcare sector who:

• Have had a concern raised by an Early years setting

• Have an identified additional need or,

• Will require additional support when transitioning into or out of their childcare setting.

How can I start using the service?

Open referral routes:

• Parents and carers – please talk to your setting Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) and discuss any concerns regarding your child or your requirements for their care and education

• Early Years setting SENCos can contact the team by phoning the advice line or booking a support surgery.

• Other professionals, health colleagues, multi agency SEN panel contact the service directly Local office contact details: Use NHS email account or email

We do not operate a waiting list system and this service is currently available to all Early Years Education (EYE) funded non-maintained childcare settings.

Where is it located and what areas does it cover?

The Inclusion Setting Support Officer Service has 7 districts covering Hampshire (excluding Portsmouth and Southampton)

  • Eastleigh & Winchester 
  • Havant District 
  • New Forest and south Test Valley 
  • Basingstoke and Deane and North Test Valley
  • East Hants  
  • Hart and Rushmoor 
  • Fareham and Gosport

 Teams can be contacted by phoning 01962 847070 or emailing     

How are decisions made about who can use your service?

Expressions of concern from the childcare setting will be addressed. If there are no concerns expressed by the setting but remain with the family the service will signpost to another more appropriate service such as Portage or Family Support Service who can support in the home environment. All decisions made would be in consultation and agreement with yourself and any other professionals who need to be involved.

How do you communicate with service users and how are they involved in decision making?

The Inclusion Setting Support Officer (ISSO) Service support setting SENCOs to provide a variety of communication aids for families including Makaton signing environments, visual timetables, multi language books and so on.

The inclusion training available to all setting staff includes equality, diversity, positive approaches to behaviour, Play chat interact, sleep training, language boxes, AET Autism training , stress free target setting and SENCO induction.

Nurseries and preschools are encouraged to engage with the Ethnic Minority Traveller Achievement Service (EMTAS) for support with English as an Additional Language (EAL). Inclusive resources are available for loan to settings including: EAL, loss and bereavement, family diversity, cultural diversity, etc.

The Inclusion Setting Support Officer(ISSO) Service facilitates termly SENCo support group meetings in order to ensure that good inclusive practice is maintained, to update on any revised statutory guidance and to share resources. During these meetings feedback is sought from settings about specific local requirements and needs and this informs future content planning. This feedback also helps the Inclusion Setting Support Officer Service to constantly review its services and methods of delivery in order to be responsive to county and local needs.

Is your service fully accessible?

Every effort is made to make sure our service is as accessible as possible, utilising the resources available through Hampshire County Council such as translators, Braille, large print, hearing loops, etc. Similarly all early years and childcare settings are encouraged to make reasonable adjustments to their environment to ensure all families can be included.

What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEN and Disabilities had or are having?

The Inclusion Setting Support Officer (ISSO)Service team are qualified to a minimum of NVQ level 4 in early years and childcare. Many are degree level qualified or have an adult learning tutor qualification. Their induction process includes attendance on the following programmes: Presentation skills, IT skills, Conciliation, Solution Focus therapy, Gross and fine motor skills, managing behaviour, Consultation, Speech & Language workshop, Portage workshop, Enhanced conciliation, Foundation & Enhanced Makaton (a signing system that aids communication), Enhanced Child Protection, Autism training and Sensory impairment.

The Inclusion Setting Support Officer (ISSO) Service team deliver a range of Inclusion / SEND training to setting staff including: SENCo Induction, Attachment, Positive Approaches to Challenging Behaviour, language boxes and stress free target setting.The ISSO team also deliver Autism Education Trust (AET)  starting with awareness and building up to  good autism practice (part of Hampshire's Outline for meeting the needs of the under five's on the Autistic Spectrum) and the PATHS training (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) currently provided by the Hampshire Education Psychology service.

Some ISSO's are trained as regional Makaton tutors and can provide the complete range of Makaton training workshops. We receive support and guidance from the Hampshire Educational Psychology services (HEPS) through regular clinical supervision.

How will I know my child is safe?

The Inclusion Setting Support Officer (ISSO) Service has a responsibility to ensure all children who attend a Hampshire setting are safe. All ISSO's have a good understanding of the Working Together to Safeguard Children document and are fully briefed in Hampshire’s own safeguarding processes. The Inclusion Team Leader (ITL) takes a lead in providing support, advice and guidance to the Lead Practitioner in a setting for Safeguarding (LPS) through support groups, policy documents and direct links with the Local Safeguarding Children’s Partnership(LSCP)

Safer recruiting practices are adhered to by all recruiting staff. The professional phone line (01329 225379) provides instant professional advice and guidance to all staff that have concerns over a child’s welfare. The reception and assessment (R&A) team (0300 5555 1384) are there to provide immediate child protection advice. The Local Authority Designated Office (LADO) role (01962 876364) supports practitioners with any allegations made against adults working in the childcare sector.

All Inclusion staff attend a two day child protection training which is renewed every 3 years. All staff have a responsibility to ensure that there are safer working practices in place to protect themselves and other staff and all attend safeguarding training regularly in line with good practice guidelines.

Which of the following applies to your setting?
Our service is delivered in the community
What communication methods are you familiar with?
Signs and symbols
Does your service include children and young people with:
Signs and symbols
Who can I contact for further information?

For parents : Setting SENCo is your first point of contact - speak to your Setting SENCo who can seek advice and guidance from us, The Inclusion Setting Support Officer Service (see Q.4)

Practitioners/professional – Please use NHS email account or email the team on


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