1. 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?
At Rascals Pre-School Playgroup every child is allocated their own key person before starting at the setting. Settling in sessions, open mornings and regular contact with new families enables staff to form strong bonds not only with the child but with their family /carers. The settling in period provides an opportunity for the parents, the key person and the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCO) to share information about the strengths and needs of the child.
As the child’s primary carer within the setting, the key person is responsible for working closely with the child and their family to ensure progress is being made. On-going observational assessments are linked to the Development Matters ages and stages of development (as outlined in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage). Regular progress reviews, including a two year integrated review meeting (held with the child’s parents, health visitor and key person before the child is 27 months), supplies parents/carers with a written summary of their child’s development. This may identify any areas in which a child is not making progress. Regular formal and informal discussions with parents are held to encourage parents / carers to fully participate in planning and assessing for their child’s individual needs.
The key person also maintains links with other carers involved with the child, such as a childminder, and co-ordinates the sharing of appropriate information about the child’s development with those carers.
Any possible individual needs identified are discussed with the Special Educational Needs and disabilities Co-ordinator and the child’s parents / carers in private, so as to plan together to support the child’s learning and development. The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator will offer support and advice to the child’s key person and other staff in the setting. They will also liaise with other professionals to seek advice and support in identifying individual needs if necessary.
2. How will early years setting staff support my child?
The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator works with all staff to ensure provision for children with additional needs is relevant and appropriate. A ‘graduated response system’ is used for identifying, assessing and responding to children with special educational needs and disabilities. This means using a step-by-step approach through the various levels of intervention.
The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator is responsible for planning support for individual children’s needs using a child centred support plan. The key person will oversee the individual child’s targets with the support of all the practitioners in the setting. The plan is reviewed regularly together with parents.
In cases where extra support is needed the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator will seek advice from Think Family and Early Help Team to set up an Early Help Plan. Where multiple agencies are involved in the care and provision for a child and additional support is required; an Education Health and Care plan is then implemented with the support of West Sussex Targeted Setting Support Service.
3. How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
The Pre-School sessions are free flow and mainly child led. The children are free and encouraged to choose activities, resource and extend their own play. Practitioners interact with the children to support and scaffold learning opportunities. Planned adult led activities also help to promote numeracy, literacy, physical, social and emotional and creative skills.
The setting provides a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum for all children with special educational needs and disabilities. A system of planning, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and reviewing ensures that children with special educational needs and disabilities are appropriately involved at all stages of the graduated response, taking into account their levels of ability.
4. How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?
The open door policy the setting employs, promotes a clear line of communication between staff and parent /carers. In addition to regular planned meetings with parents, the staff make themselves available to talk at the beginning and end of each session and a small private room is always available for any confidential conversations. This ensures information is shared quickly and disseminated among all staff to ensure continuity of understanding and care. Emails, text messages and phone calls are common forms of direct communication with parent /carers. In the absence of the child’s key person the setting allocates a named practitioner to discuss issues with.
The setting aims to involve parents in the shared record keeping about their children - either formally or informally - and ensure parents have access to their children's written developmental records which includes any individual support plan.
The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator and child’s key person will discuss with parents how they are supporting children’s individual needs and make suggestions as to how parent / carers are able to support their child’s needs outside the setting. These discussions take place during regular planned reviews and parent’s meetings. If a child has particular identified needs, the setting will work in partnership with the team supporting the individual and explain how we are acting on their advice within the setting.
5. What support will there be for my child’s overall well being?
Rascals Pre School is a welcoming and fully inclusive environment where children settle quickly and easily because consideration has been given to the individual needs and circumstances of the children and their families. The staff work hard to ensure that all children feel safe, stimulated and happy in the setting; and feel secure and comfortable with the staff. The staff also work hard to develop parental confidence in both their children's well-being and their role as active partners with the setting.
The key person’s responsibility is to settle the child. As the primary carer within the setting, the key person is responsible for providing personal care, supporting the child in accessing the learning environment and in developing relationships with their peers and other practitioners. They are also responsible for observing, planning and assessing development and regularly reporting to parent /and other carers involved with the child.
A risk assessment is carried out for each child with long term medical conditions that require ongoing medication. This is the responsibility of the manager alongside the key person. Other medical or social care personnel may need to be involved in the risk assessment. Parents also contribute to the risk assessment. Prior to starting parent/ carers are given a tour of the setting, so as to understand the routines and activities and have an opportunity to point out anything which they think may be a risk factor for their child.
Health care plans are drawn up with the parent; outlining the key person’s role and what information must be shared with other staff who care for the child. A health care plan will include the measures to be taken in an emergency. They are reviewed every six months or more frequently if necessary.
6. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the early years setting?
The practitioners within the setting are all highly trained with the manager holding Early Years Teacher Status and deputy manager holding Qualified Teacher Status. All staff have accessed child development training and have experience of working with children within the Early Years age range. The staff are proactive in reflecting and improving their own professional practise. There are two named Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinators within the setting who attend regular network meetings to keep up to date with the latest information and news.
The setting works in partnership or tandem with local and national agencies to promote the well-being of children. Information is only shared with prior parental permission and is kept highly confidential. The setting has access to a number of services available in the locality, linked to the child’s identified needs; these would be primarily through the health care service and include: The West Sussex Targeted Setting Support Service, speech and language therapist, portage worker, Early Years Advisory Teacher (EYAT). The setting also has good links with the local children and family centre.
7. What training have the staff, supporting children with additional needs, had or are having?
The manager attends termly network meetings to keep their knowledge and understanding up to date. The information at these meetings is then cascaded to other staff. In-service training is provided for practitioners and volunteers. Courses on behaviour management, equality, diversity and inclusion, communication and language training have been attended by other staff members. Some staff members have attended training linked to specific needs, for example Makaton and Epi Pen Training. All staff training records are held on file, and relevant training can be viewed on request.
8. How will my child be included in activities outside the early years setting including trips?
In order to include all children we develop individual action plans to ensure that children with additional needs and/or disabilities can participate successfully in all areas of the services offered by the setting and in the curriculum offered. We ensure that the provision for children with special educational needs and/or disability is the responsibility of all members of the setting and practitioners work closely with parents of children to create and maintain a positive partnership. This ensures that parents are involved at all stages of the risk assessment, planning, provision and review of any outings. Parents/carers of children with additional needs will be fully consulted prior to any outing ensuring that any concerns expressed by the parents/carers are discussed and resolved. The setting will ensure that adequate qualified staffing will accompany the children on the outing and that all necessary resources are made available. If applicable parents/carers will be invited to accompany their child on the outing.
9. How accessible is the early years setting environment? (Indoors and outdoors)
The premises are fully accessible for wheelchair users. Each external entrance/exit is accessed via a slope with hand rail including access to the garden. All internal doors are wide enough for wheel chairs users to manoeuvre around the premises. The garden contains a large hard surface area and decking suitable for wheel chair users.
A disabled toilet area is available with a handrail and low level sink.
We have a supply of Makaton books to assist children with communication and some members of staff have attended training in this area. A visual timetable is in use every morning and a separate ‘quiet area’ is used to aid communication.
The setting displays posters using a variety of local languages and written information will be translated when required.
10. How will the early years setting prepare and support my child to join the early years setting, transfer to a new setting/school?
Settling in sessions will be offered to children and their parents/carers prior to them attending the setting. This allows relationships to be formed between the child, their family and their key person within the setting. This also allows time for any specialist equipment or changes to the existing environment to be made in preparation for the child starting. During this time, practitioners will attend additional training relevant to the child’s individual needs.
When it is time to move on to school or to the next stage, the key person, together will the child and their parents/carers will meet with the relevant professionals in order to discuss the child’s transition. This will include discussions regarding strategies used within the setting and other professionals who may have been involved with the child’s development, such as the child’s health visitor or outreach worker will also be in attendance at this meeting.
11. How are the early years setting’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
Access to Grants and funding are continuously investigated within the setting and purchases made when necessary either through grants or finances raised within the setting. The setting also claims Early Years Pupil Premium funding when applicable to support individual children and also the setting as a whole.
12. How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
All children with special educational needs and / or disabilities will have a child centred Individual Support Plan. This will be developed with the parents/carers and child’s full involvement. Discussions will take place with parents/carers prior to the child starting at the setting in order to ascertain what support will be needed. The setting will seek any necessary help and support from their Early Years Childcare Advisors within West Sussex County Council. The plan will be reviewed regularly with parents/carers and other professionals involved with the child’s development in order to ensure progress is being made.
In cases where extra support is needed the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator will seek advice from the Think Family and Early Help Team to set up an Early Help Plan. Where multiple agencies are involved in the care and provision of a child and additional support is required an Education Health and care plan is then implemented with the support of West Sussex Targeted Setting Support Service.
13. How are parents involved in the early years setting? How can I be involved?
Parents/carers are fully welcomed into the setting. Opportunities to stay and play are on-going on a daily basis. Big decisions are explained to parents/carers and an invitation to respond is offered at all times. All policies and procedures are updated regularly and copies are issued to parents/carers at the time of update.
A daily comments book is available in order that parents/carers can put forward ideas anonymously and practitioners are available at the beginning and end of each session for parents/carers to talk to.
14. Who can I contact for further information?
Tracey Hubbard is the manager with Claire Denyer and Hayley Allen being our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinators. They can be contacted on 07546 584314 or emailed at email@example.com . The setting has access to Early Years Advisory Teachers who may be able to offer additional support and the setting also has contact details for local health visitors and support groups. The setting also has access to support from the West Sussex Targeted Setting Support Service who are able to provide support to practitioners and families. More information regarding this team can be found on the West Sussex County Council website www.westsussex.gov.uk.