How does the pre-school/ nursery know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child has special educational needs?

Our small staff team has two SENCOs, one of whom is a qualified teacher. We are a mature and experienced team with genuine experience of working with children with a variety of SEND. We identify children with special educational needs primarily through observation and assessment, in partnership with parents and with the support of outside agencies if required. We always welcome parents’ contributions and believe it is essential to involve them right from the start. We therefore, strive to create an environment in which they feel at ease to raise any concerns that they may have about their child. We have experience of working with various special educational needs including cerebral palsy, severe developmental delay, selective mutism, speech delay and autism.

How will the pre-school/ nursery support my child with special educational needs?

Our principal SENCO takes prime responsibility for children with SEND and oversees the setting based plans for them.  Every child in our setting is allocated a key person.  Depending on the level of need, a child with SEND may have their key person working with them on a one-to-one basis.  This member of staff works closely with parents/carers and is responsible for devising, implementing, assessing and evaluating targets and strategies for their child.  This, combined with our close relationship with outside agencies e.g. physiotherapists, iSend, occupational therapists and speech therapists, enables us to provide all children with SEND a series of educational plans that are truly informed, individualised and effective.

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?

Children with SEND have differing needs.  By working closely with parents/carers from the outset, we decide together how best to support their child from the moment they join us.  We meet with relevant outside agencies e.g. speech therapists, early years specialist teachers, physiotherapists, and work together to ensure that the child’s needs are met.  Our SENCO works closely with the member of staff responsible for devising and implementing our setting based support  plans.  Decisions about a child’s next steps, as well as the various strategies we plan to use as teachers, are made in consultation with parents/carers and outside agencies.  The targets we set and the strategies we implement to help a child with SEND progress are regularly assessed and evaluated.  This allows us to judge the extent to which our support has had an impact and how we should improve, adapt and proceed.

How will the pre-school/ nursery review my child’s progress and how shall they share it with me?

At Southover, we welcome parents/carers into nursery everyday and spend time talking to you to find out how your child is.  We then always make time to talk again at the end of the day to ensure you are fully informed about what your child has done with us.  By putting such an emphasis on establishing a good relationship, we hope to create an environment in which we both know how well your child is doing and we are both able to support him/her.

We devise setting based support plans for every child with SEND.  This allows us to set targets and devise teaching strategies that are tailored to each child, differentiated according to ability and need.  This allows us, as teachers, to focus on the child, aware of their existing capabilities with a view towards their appropriate next steps. By regularly reviewing the setting based support plans, our SENCO is able to assess every child’s progress, highlighting successes and identifying areas where more support may be required.  These plans are compiled in partnership with parents/carers and often, the specific targets and teaching strategies can be continued at home.  Again, a good relationship between parents/carers and nursery is essential as we depend upon sharing information, learning from each other and supporting each other as we plan for and support children with special educational needs.  We are more than happy to offer training opportunities for parents/carers as and when necessary e.g. organising a Makaton workshop for teachers and parents in nursery and setting up meetings with speech therapists etc.

What support will there be for my child’s overall well being?

Our nursery prides itself on its warm and caring ethos and we are keen to welcome all children with special educational needs.  Provided we have the appropriate training from parents/carers and outside agencies e.g. community nurses, and sufficient staff to provide one-to-one care, we are able to provide a degree of medical support.  Prescribed medicines can be administered by us but only following appropriate training and only with written permission from parents/carers.  A child’s personal care is dealt with by either their key person or by another member of staff in our small team.  Wherever possible, we encourage all children to contribute his/her views and we try to include these in our planning.  If this is not possible, we always ask parents/carers for their contributions as they obviously have a great insight into their child’s likes, dislikes and opinions.

What training do the staff have in supporting children with special educational needs or disabilities?

We have a small, mature and well qualified staff team.  One of our trained SENCOs is a qualified primary school teacher who also a first class honours degree.  She has experience of working with children with cerebral palsy, autism, selective mutism and attachment issues. She has experience of working with children who have a wide range of special needs, including working on a one-to-one basis with a child with severe developmental delay. All our staff understand and follow our policies and procedures concerning inclusion and disability awareness.

What specialist services and support are available to the pre-school/nursery?

Our small staff team has a wealth of experience and expertise in working with children with special educational needs.  We work closely with various specialist services on a regular basis and have developed good relationships with them e.g. physiotherapists, speech therapists, specialist early years teachers, community nurses and occupational therapists.  We host and attend multi-agency meetings and play a key role in helping parents/carers access the necessary help and resources for their children.  Our SENCOs work closely with parents/carers all the time, writing detailed setting based support plans, identifying individual children’s needs and co-ordinating and sourcing additional resources and services as necessary.

How will my child/young person be included in activities outside the pre-school/ nursery, including trips?

We include all our children in our trips outside nursery.  We plan accordingly, taking account of access, safety, staffing etc to ensure that everyone can take part.  We always work in partnership with parents/carers and always co-ordinate and plan together.  Parents are welcome to join us whenever they like.

How accessible is the pre-school/ nursery?

Our nursery is fully wheelchair accessible, having a level side entrance and if required, a ramp out into the large, flat garden.  We have a classroom and a large hall with attractive displays of children’s work and lots of specifically sourced, accessible toys and activities.  We have sanded wooden floors and have created a calm and welcoming environment for everyone.  Our setting provides more than enough space for children with SEND to feel both stimulated and at ease and also allows them to be very much part of the group, surrounded by other children.  Having a large hall enables us to devise and implement exercise programmes designed specifically for children with SEND e.g. using a walking frame or devising ‘Jumping Beans’ activities to help with sensory processing. We always work in partnership with parents/carers and with the relevant outside agencies in order to secure the necessary resources and equipment for all our children with special educational needs.

How will the pre-school/nursery help my child move on to school?

We meet all children with SEND and their parents/carers before they join us.  This allows them to get to know the staff and the setting and helps us to understand to their child’s specific needs. There are then a series of documents that we ask parents/carers to complete in order for us to gain a greater insight into their child and to prepare ourselves accordingly.  Upon transition to school, both our SENCO and the child’s key person meet personally with the teacher and/or head of the child’s chosen school.  The aim of this meeting is to ensure that the school is fully informed about the child’s individual needs, about our setting based support plans with their specific targets and strategies and about the child’s progress with us.  We always work in partnership with the next setting to ensure that adequate plans are put in place, that parents/carers feel confident and that the child’s transition is as smooth and as positive as possible.

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More information, advice and support

The local offer- what is available for children and young people with special educational needs in East Sussex

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Date issued: October 2018