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 education needs or disabilities?
“Children develop at their own rates, and in their own ways” taken from Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Families regularly raise concerns with practitioners at Woodstock and most of the time we can allay their fears and explain how this is part of a normal wide range of development. If you have any concerns about your child’s development, however minor, you can raise it with your child’s Keyperson or the Senior Practitioner in your child’s age group or the Manager, Anne, or her Deputy, Sarah, who is also the SENCO (Special Education Needs Co-ordinator). We are all there to help.
We keep track of each child’s personal development through using the guidelines from the EYFS and the Keyperson completes an Individual Progress Review (IPR) for each child every 3 months. If this highlights a possible problem the Keyperson will speak to the family and suggest activities that could be encouraged at home and at nursery to develop this area of progress.
Similarly, if the family raises concerns the Keyperson will observe the child closely and then report back to the family and the nursery’s SENCO. With the family, the SENCO will write a Play Plan and share it with all practitioners who may work with this child. Over time it may be appropriate to involve other specialists or outside agencies, e.g. Speech and Language therapist, Health Visitor, Portage, but this will always be done after full consultation with the family.
2.How will the early years setting support my child?
By completing the IPR every 3 months, the Keyperson will quickly notice if a child is not developing in any particular area. With children under the age of 3 years we are particularly concentrating on the 3 Prime Areas of development, their Personal, Social and Emotional Development, their Communication and Language and their Physical Development. If all these areas progress within the very wide range that is considered ‘normal’ in the EYFS, then other Specific areas, i.e. Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design, will develop naturally as the child grows.
Our daily activities continuously encourage the use of language and listening, sharing with, and learning to empathise with their playmates and understanding their bodies and their physical abilities. The individual planning carried out by the Keypersons is based on the observations of your child over the last month so that there is a continuous circle of Observation, Assessment and Planning.
Should the IPR indicate that a child is not progressing for their age/stage range then the SENCO, Sarah, will arrange to speak to the family so that together, we can help your child by providing activities to ‘spark an interest’ and putting specific strategies in place.
3.How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
Through the Individual Progress Reviews ( IPRs) and the Individual Planning, the Keyperson and SENCO will devise activities around your child’s interests. They will share this information with other practitioners in your child’s age group so that everyone has the same expectations and your child can grow in confidence.
Your child’s Learning Journal will indicate their successes and give examples of observations and their creative work. All the IPRs will be filed in this journal so you can see their progress and discuss any entries with their Keyperson at any time. The individual planning for your child is based on the observations over the last month so that there is a continuous circle of Observation, Assessment and Planning.
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?
There are regular Parents Evenings at the nursery - ‘child free’ occasions where you meet with your child’s Keyperson to sit down and concentrate on your child’s progress looking through their Learning Journal together. The Manager, Anne, and the SENCO, Sarah, will always be available too so that you can immediately raise any questions that you may have after the meeting.
This is not the only time that you can talk to any of us. In the younger age groups, a sheet is sent home daily to enable you to have a ‘snapshot’ of the day. Please use your child’s ‘Sharing Book’ regularly so that the Keyperson can better understand your child’s interests and encourage communication. The team works together closely and you can always ask to speak to Anne or Sarah privately. Allowing for the correct staffing ratios to be maintained at all times, this may be an immediate meeting, or be booked as soon as possible.
On the Parent Noticeboard we outline the broad topics that will be focused upon in each age group during that month. For example, in November we looked at fireworks, autumn leaves and puddles. You can then help to support your child by incorporating these broad topics in your home activities/play.
In addition to the Parent Evenings, there are 4 Parent Focus evenings a year. Each session will discuss questions raised during the meeting or suggestions made through our Parent Forum meetings. Subjects can be as diverse as ‘Choosing Your Child’s First School’ to discussions on potty training, sleeping, behaviour and understanding the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Parents tell us that they find these meetings empowering as they are able to confidently take control of their child’s behaviour and learning.
5.What support will there be for my child’s overall well being?
Woodstock has a strong family ethos and from your first visit we will want to hear about your child and your family, his/her needs and interests, so that we can start to get to know each other and plan for your child’s learning. Most importantly, we want you all to be happy and confident in our service, progress will then follow.
The Manager, Anne, and SENCO, Sarah, will be fully involved in settling your child and ensuring that all the relevant information about his/her needs and preferences are passed onto the right persons; dietary needs passed onto our own in-house Cooks, medical needs properly recorded and behaviour/learning discussed with the Keyperson and Senior Practitioner in the relevant age group.
Medication forms will be completed together so that we can be sure that we are administering treatment according to your GP’s instructions. We are also able to administer homely medicines (paracetamol and ibrufen) and creams providing we have your signed permission in advance.
Your child will be safe. The garden is walled and fenced to a height of over 6 foot, both gates securely locked. The front door is locked and only opened by a member of the staff who will then question the visitor if they are not recognised. Your child will only be allowed to leave with you or another adult that you have named on your Emergency Contact Form, and only then if they can give us the correct password.
Please ask to see policies on safeguarding, medication, staff training.
6.What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the early years setting?
We are proud of the level of staff expertise and experience at Woodstock. Many of the staff are parents themselves and have personal experience of SEND children either through their work or within their own families.
The Manager is an Early Years Teacher (EYT), as is the SENCO who has recently attended the Solihull Approach training. We have regular visits from an Artist and a Storyteller to extend creative learning for the children.
For specialist assistance we call on the West Sussex FIRST team of professionals, with your prior permission, for help and advice with any behaviour, speech or learning issues. By working together as a team of professionals the best possible care(and fun!) can be found for your child.
7.What training are the staff, supporting children with SEND, had or are having?
The Woodstock team includes 4 EYTs (level 6), 2 Foundation degrees (level 5) and the rest of the team are qualified as Early Years Childcarers at level 3, with 2 at level 2 undergoing their level 3 training now.
The whole team are qualified Paediatric First Aiders and have undergone Child Protection training and Food Safety training. We take full advantage of West Sussex training courses and staff have been on courses for Behaviour Management, Solihull Approach training, specialist courses for 2 year olds, and courses to develop early communication. Two of our practitioners can use British Sign Language.
Each year we have two whole staff team Saturday training days. This year we are planning to cascade the Solihull Approach to the whole team. The Solihull Approach promotes emotional health and well being in children and families, it is evidence based with a strong theoretical foundation and can be particularly useful when dealing with children with SEN, speech delay or behaviour issues.
In addition to training courses, we have monthly planning and 6-weekly staff meetings. These meetings enable the team to discuss individual children, sharing best practice and ideas, ensuring that we can get the best results possible for each child.
8.How will my child be included in activities outside the early years setting including trips?
There is one nursery outing each year to a local children’s farm when families are strongly encouraged to join us. There are other activities involving the families, such as an annual Toddle Waddle (some children are in buggies) and Family Saturdays.
During the nursery day we sometimes take children off site for walks on the beach or to the park or library; we keep note of which children go so that we can include all children over a period of time. These outings are very dependent on having sufficient staff and other adults to be able to accompany the children to ensure everyone’s safety. We usually go out with ratios of one adult to two children.
If we feel that a child’s safety can only be ensured through one to one attention then we would only be able to take that child if enough adults were available. Parents are always very welcome to join the outing and supervise their child. The whole age group will never go out at the same time so no child would feel ‘left out’ when left in the nursery.
9.How accessible is the early years environment? (Indoors and outdoors)
We have already welcomed children who are visually impaired and their needs are carefully accessed and minor changes put in place, such as markings on steps to assist the child.
We have two practitioners who use British Sign Language so we could fully integrate a hearing impaired child.
Other needs would be accessed on an individual basis with full consultation with the family to ensure that our building is suitable and that we are able to provide the right expertise. Practitioners would access specialist courses at the earliest possibility if this was advised by other professionals involved in a SEN child’s care.
Woodstock is a detached house built in the early 1900’s and is not wheelchair accessible. Inside there is the main staircase leading to two of our playrooms plus other steps leading from room to room and to the garden. Outside the majority of the garden is on one level, so we are able to enable access by wheelchair through a side gate if other members of the family are wheelchair users and would like to attend family events at the nursery.
We presently have 12 children at Woodstock for whom English is an additional language (EAL). We take the time to ensure that the families have all the information that they need and can help them to make contact with other parents speaking the same language. We can use the West Sussex Languages page for help with translations into many European and Asian languages.
10.How will the early years setting prepare and support my child to join the early years setting, transfer to a new setting/school?
All children must visit the nursery at least 3 times before starting – these visits can be extended to as many as needed depending on the individual child’s needs. The aim, before starting, is that we have all the information that we need about the child’s SEN, their diet and medication and the ways that he/she communicates. We will have allocated a Keyperson and by the time the child starts we will have strived to build a relationship between the child and Keyperson and at least one other practitioner so that the child will accept ‘comfort’ when needed.
As the child moves through the nursery we will ensure that new relationships are built with practitioners who will take over the main caring role in nursery. This will extend to the whole family so that you are confident in your child’s care.
When the time comes to move onto school we will make contact with the school SENCO as soon as you have the school place confirmed by West Sussex. Together (school, nursery and family) we will agree visits by the school to the nursery and the child to the school until we are all confident that all information has been shared and the child is ready to make the next move in their educational journey. Depending on your child’s particular needs, other professionals named on the child’s Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan may need to be involved in this transition.
The Learning Journal will be passed onto the school. During the first term the SENCO from Woodstock will keep contact with the school SENCO to answer any questions and offer any help to ensure that the transition is smoothly completed.
11.How are the early years setting’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
From September 2014 there will be many changes in the ways in which early years settings will be able to access resources to support SEN children. The reforms are set out in the Children and Families Act 2014, and the new SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 years.
Further information can be found at this website https://www.pre-school.org.uk , on the homepage select SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND DISABILITY CODE OF PRACTICE 2014.
Until September 2014 we have been able to access a small amount of Inclusion Funding to enable us to employ extra staff hours to support a SEN child. We understand that we will still be able to request extra funding, but at this stage we do not know how this funding will be allocated and whether an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan will need to be in place. The next few months will be a steep ‘learning curve’ for us all, but whether the children have SEN or not, are new to the nursery or already attending, we will continue to offer the best possible care to all our children by working closely with other professionals and calling upon the FIRST team for help,
12.How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
In advance of September 2014 we cannot fully answer this question but we can assure you that no decisions will be made without full consultation with the child’s family. We expect to involve at least the FIRST team and if relevant, all the professionals named on the child’s EHC Plan.
As with all our children, progress will be judged through the Individual Progress Reviews (IPRs). The new SEND Code of Practice allows for a revised system to identify, support and assess children’s needs. The SENCO at Woodstock will work together with the family to agree ambitious outcomes for identified children and set clear progress targets, and be clear in their planning about how agreed resources are going to support the child to reach the targets. This is called the Individual Education Plan (IEP).
13.How are parents involved in the early years setting? How can I be involved?
Woodstock has a Parent Forum and you are very welcome to join us. The meetings take place in the evening, usually 4 per annum, but occasionally extra meetings are called to discuss specific activities in the nursery. The Forum was consulted before we started to write this ‘Local offer’ and it was then sent to all parents who attend the Forum for their comments and any changes, before it was published. Many really good ideas have come from this Forum, e.g. themes for the Family Saturdays, the names for our age groups in the nursery.
Woodstock encourages parents to feel like they are part of the nursery by facilitating family days, parent-keyperson evenings, parent focus evenings and the parent forum, enabling parents to meet each other and possibly build friendships and arrange for their families to meet outside of nursery.
Parents join us for some nursery outings and also come into the nursery to share interests or information about their jobs with the children, e.g. visits from an airline pilot, a police officer, a parent to tell the children about Chinese New Year, and a parent to let the children hold and help to bathe her very small baby.
On a daily basis, the door is answered by one of the senior team and we are always ready to listen to any concerns that you have or answer any questions. We want you to feel that you are truly part of our family nursery.
14.Who can I contact for further information?
If you have any questions about Woodstock and whether this might be the best nursery for your child, please contact the Manager, Anne Shrieves. You will be invited along for a pre-visit with your child, if she/he has SEN then the SENCO , Sarah Shaw, will speak to you all during the visit. Together we will agree whether we can fully meet your child’s needs and research the help that may be available. We can both be contacted at Woodstock on 01903 233655 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Once your child has started at Woodstock you will be able to speak to his/her Keyperson or the Senior Practitioner of the age group or Sarah or Anne. Not all my staff work 5 days a week, (many of them have their own families too,) but there will always be someone available to speak to you about any concerns.
West Sussex have written their Local Offer as part of a group of Local Authorities known as the SE7, this includes Kent, Medway, East Sussex, West Sussex, Brighton & Hove, Hampshire and Surrey. http://www.se7pathfinder.co.uk/what-who-is-se7
The West Sussex Pathfinder Lead is Jon Philpot at email@example.com telephone 01243 752896. Or you may wish to speak to the West Sussex Parent/Carer Forum as follows
Organisation: West Sussex Parents Forum Tel: 07528 418149
Address: PO Box 3328, Littlehampton, West Sussex BN16 9EX
Facebook: West Sussex Parents Forum