Special Educational Needs

How does the early years setting know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs or disabilities?

“The staff are hugely supportive especially with regards to SEN and ensuring the nursery is inclusive. A friendly, fun and happy environment” a parent 2019

.All children are observed regularly by a child’s key worker, if any concerns arise they will talk to the setting SENco who will make her own observations and then decide whether it is necessary to talk to the child’s parents and then together they can decide what actions to take.  This could be by sign posting parents to talk to their child’s Health visitor, doctor or a specialist in the field.

We have termly parent consultations for parents to attend for progress reports on their child. If a parent has any concerns or questions about their child we would hope they would talk to their child’s key worker who will then let the SENco know and a meeting will be promptly arranged.

When a child starts they bring their All About Me book which allows parents to inform us of anything we need to know.

Southdown currently cares for children with Speech and Language difficulties, ADS.  We have experience in supporting families and children with behavioural difficulties,English not a first language and global delay.

Southdown has a SENco who has been with the setting for 13 years.  Our SENco has formed a good working relationship with external agencies such as the  West Sussex’s Speech and Language Therapy team and her West Sussex Advisor with termly meetings and updates to the settings CLaWBA (vulnerable Learners Audit) document enabling her to ask for advice, request a visit or sign post parents accordingly.

How will early years setting staff support my child?

Once a Special Educational need is identified the settings SENco will ensure there is open communication with the parents to formulate a plan of action, an EHP(Educational Health care plan) detailing a child’s medical needs will be developed. A plan unique to your child will be formulated, this could be in the form of a play plan to help the child or an Individual Child Plan and regular liaison with parents working together for the child.  The key worker will continue to keep records of progress.

How will the curriculum be matched by my child’s needs?

We believe that every child is unique and in planning for your child’s development we would incorporate achievable, enjoyable and practical next steps for your child using Learning Journals up dated by the key worker and if necessary more up specific and detailed Individual plan and one page profile.

Through the child’s All about Me book we are able to quickly identify a child’s likes and dislikes and interests and put these into our planning.

Ongoing observations by a child’s key worker and the SENco allow us to plan and provide support where needed such as small or 1:1 group activities.

How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help to support my learning?

A learning Journal will be kept by your child’s key worker following and tracking their progress, this provides us with some key information.  A learning Journal incorporates a child’s observations and assessments, tracking sheets (how a child is developing), photos and mark making work.  Any IP’s will also be included.

At Southdown we carry out 2 yr progress checks on all children alongside your child’s Health visitor, which can be the first point of identification if there is a delay in a child’s development.

At Southdown we very much value the knowledge and expertise of a child’s parent’s; we believe we work well with our parents.  We have an open door policy and actively encourage our parents to come in to our setting as volunteers and we encourage them to talk to us at any time about any concerns, we do have termly parent’s evenings but parents are welcome to talk to us at any time.

A play plan or IP will incorporate activities to be done both at Nursery and at home, these will be reviewed regularly (a date will be on the play plan) by the SENCO and a progress meeting will be arranged.  If an outside agency is involved and come to visit a child’s, parents are invited for an update and feedback allowing us all to take into consideration the best steps forward.

When the time comes to plan for the child’s school application a meeting will be arranged with everyone involved to discuss options.  If a child requires an EHCP, as a setting we endeavour to support parents with any paperwork.

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

At Southdown we have a safeguarding children policy incorporating good practice guides.

All of our staff has received Paediatric first aid training.

All of our staff have received training on epi pen use.

Southdown has a medication book which a parent is to fill out detailing all medication that is to be administered.

We have a positive behaviour policy in place to support behaviour, and Special educational needs.  We will work with the child, the parents, Southdown’s team, and any external agencies to provide the best support possible for your child.

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the early years setting?

Five members of staff are fully qualified in National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) LEVEL 3, 2 hold a Primary school teacher qualification and 1 at level 2 in child care and 1 Apprentice. They are all first aid trained and have attended safeguarding training. The nursery’s SENCO has attended the role of the SENco and attends SENco network meetings which provide updated knowledge in this area.  6 members of staff have attended Achieving positive behaviour courses.  Basic Makaton is used in nursery rhymes and carpet time supporting speech. We work closely with west Sussex Sals (Speech and language) and we have Undertaken in house training on speech development. Our most recent training was in ‘Bucket time’ where we learnt tools and skills to build on children’s attention

What training are the staff, supporting children with SEND, had or are having?

Southdown has nine members of staff: five hold NVQ level 3 in childcare; two qualified primary school teachers; and one has a level 2 in childcare, 1 member is an apprentice.

Having been in this role for 13 years and working closely with outside specialist agencies our SENCO has gained a wealth of experience allowing her to identify which course of action to take in each individual case.

Our setting SENCO attends networks and training reguarly to keep her knowledge up to date.   She also attends more specialist training e.g. the role of a SENCO, working with children with Autism,  Downs Syndrome, Speech and Language difficulties and Achieving positive Behaviour, Working with 2 year-olds, Solihull training, and Makaton,.

Our SENCO was a Portage volunteer for a year previous to starting at Southdown where she received comprehensive training in working with children with SEND and their families.

How will my child be included in activities outside the early years setting including trips?

All children are included in the planning of activities at Southdown, any children with SEND will be taken into account regarding trips and our staff ratio will be increased ensuring every child will enjoy the experience. The parents of a child with any SEND will be informed about the trip with enough notice allowing them to decide if they would like to join us on an outing if they feel they would like to.

How accessible is the early years setting environment (indoors and outdoors)?

We do not have wheel chair access to our setting, there are 12 steps leading up to the building.  (building for safer steps due to start summer 2018)

We use photos of our resources allowing children with English as an additional language to choose toys.

As a setting we have received Makaton training level 1. We have pecs key fobs in place if required.

Our indoor area is spacious and divided into the key learning areas with a role play corner, large book corner and writing area. We have a room dedicated to Art and sensory play.

Southdown is lucky to have an amazing outside place incorporating a playground and an area ‘the field’, a large grass area with sandpit, climbing frames, vegetable patch and sensory corner.  Both areas are enclosed and safe with at least one member of staff in each area.

How will the early years setting prepare and support my child to join the early years setting and transfer a new setting/school?

Parents are invited to bring their children along with them whilst they look around the setting, we encourage the child to explore the setting and join in with snack if they choose.

When a child starts at Southdown a key person will already have been allocated to a child ensuring the bond between key child and worker and parents starts immediately.

We have acquired knowledge and experience in how to transition children with SEND to their next school. We will apply this experience to prepare for a child’s EHCP (Educational Health Care Plan) if requested by a school.

In the term before a child starts school the primary teacher and class assistant visits Southdown to meet the children and gain a bit of information on each child.  If a child has SEND transition meetings will take place, this will be attended by both settings SENco’s and the parents of the child.

Where possible the settings SENco will support parents by visiting possible settings with them before they submit their choice of school.

How will the early year’s settings resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?

It is sometimes possible depending on the extent of a child’s SEND to receive funding for an extra member of staff on the sessions attended by the child allowing extra support.

There is funding available for specialist equipment through the and FIS in the form of DAF (Disability Accessibility Fund) a one off payment of £615 if a child is in receipt of Disability Allowance.

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

Once a child’s SEND is identified the setting will contact the West Sussex Inclusion panel and advisors (SEND UNDER 5) with the parent’s consent, to arrange a visit where upon they will advise us as a setting how to proceed.   This could include advice to our team about how to help your child or advise on which specialist agency to contact.  An Individual Educational Plan will be developed involving input from the child’s key worker, the setting SENCO, specialist advice and the parents.  This will allow us to follow your child’s progress carefully; the plan will be reviewed regularly with the parents.

How are the parents involved in the early years setting? How can I be involved?

We have an open door policy meaning we always welcome and encourage our parents to talk to us about any concerns or questions they may have.  We encourage parents to come and spend some time with us either sharing a skill such as gardening, pottery or to just come along and read a story or play.  We believe that parents are our partners and that by working together we can provide the best learning experience for the children.

Who can I contact for further information?

Lucy Smith, Southdown  manager and SENco at head@southdownnursery.co.uk or 01903 814581.
Updated 11.01.2022