Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
The questions and answers on this page are designed to provide you with information about how we support children with special educational needs and disabilities. For further information please see our Supporting Children with Educational Special Needs policy.
How does the setting know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
It is required by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework, to have an identified practitioner who is the Special Educational Needs and Disability Coordinator (SENCO). Some children will already have an identified special need before joining the pre-school or you may have concerns that this may be the case. If so, please let us know and we will make time for you to speak to our SENCO before your child starts with us so that we can ensure that, as far as possible, we are ready to meet the special needs of your child.
Often a special need is not identified prior to admission but may become apparent once your child joins the group. Such needs will be identified by your child’s key person as part of our continual monitoring of your child’s development and progress.
It is the case, however if the need has been established, that your child’s key person will work closely with the SENCO in order to monitor, plan and review the individual learning and development program for your child.
To ensure that your child has the right support and that we can plan effectively to best meet their needs it may be necessary for us to work closely with other professionals. We will actively seek the support of, for example, a health visitor, speech and language therapist or educational psychologist, should it be necessary.
How will the setting staff support my child?
Our SENCOs have a wealth of experience in helping children and the families of children with a wide range of different needs. To support their understanding and ability to carry out the role effectively they continually update their knowledge by attending courses that cover a wide range of special educational needs and disability themes. The SENCO and your child’s key person will work closely with you to ensure that a clear understanding of any special need is established. This will start during the settling visits to the pre-school and include a home visit. The key person relationship will be continually built on so that a strong bond is developed with you and your child. All staff that work with your child will be familiar with the arrangements in place to support learning and development.
How will I know how my child is doing?
We feel that regular and effective communication with you is key to ensure that we fully meet your child’s needs. For this reason we will agree with you how best to give you feedback. This may involve daily chats, a written log, emails or telephone calls. You will also be able to review your child’s progress through their learning journal and termly written summaries of progress and parent consultation meetings.
How will the learning and development provision be matched to my child’s needs?
Using the EYFS framework, we will observe and assess your child and then plan for their learning and development based on these. We will use your unique knowledge of your child to inform this planning too and, if appropriate, advice from other professionals. There may be the need for your child’s key person to access specific training around your child’s needs and our SENCO will arrange for this.
What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?
We place a strong emphasis on providing an environment where your child will feel safe and secure. All our staff place high priority on developing a strong bond with the children in their care. Our setting is carefully planned and organised to support children to confidently access resources and be stimulated to engage in activities and learning opportunities. We maintain high levels of cleanliness and place emphasis on supporting children to develop the skills to become as independent in their self-care as they are able.
We will provide training for our staff to meet the specific medical needs of your child e.g. epipen training and we will administer any medication prescribed by a hospital, paediatrician or GP related to your child’s ongoing specific medical need.
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting?
The team have a wealth of practical experience in meeting the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities. This is supported by relevant academic qualification and ongoing acquirement of knowledge and skills gained through continuing professional development courses. The team have experience in working with children with speech and language delay and sight impairments.
We actively seek to build relationships with other early years settings and local feeder schools in our area. This ensures that, with your permission, we can effectively share information with other settings that your child may attend to best support their learning and development and provide for smooth transition when it comes to moving on time.
We have very good links with our local children’s centre, through which we are happy to help you access the services that they have available.
What training and/or experience do the staff, supporting children with SEND, have?
All our staff have at least a level 3 full and relevant early years qualification, undertake a program of further training courses to support their ongoing continual professional development and have experience in working with children with special needs.
How will my child be included in activities outside the setting?
It is our policy that children with educational special needs and disability are included in all activities outside the setting and we will discuss with you how best to approach this. It may be necessary for us to complete a risk assessment to ensure the safety of your child. You may prefer to accompany your child during these events and we would fully welcome your presence however you will not be required to do so.
How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child’s learning and development?
We will involve you at all stages of planning for your child’s learning and development. Your child’s key person will generally be available for you to chat to on the days that your child attends pre-school however it may be necessary to arrange a time that is mutually convenient if a longer meeting is required.
If an outside professional attends our setting to observe your child or meet with staff we will obtain your permission for this to go ahead in advance. Where possible, we will arrange for you to meet with said professional at the start or end of a visit. If this is not possible we will provide you will feedback on the visit.
How accessible is the building / environment?
Our pre-school building is accessible and meets current disability regulations. There are no stairs in the building, we have ramp access and an accessible toilet.
Our furniture and resources are age and stage appropriate for the children that attend.
Our garden is not entirely wheelchair accessible.
How will the setting prepare and support my child with transitions between home, settings and school?
Prior to your child starting at the pre-school we will meet with you to discuss their unique needs and requirements. If appropriate a health care plan will be agreed and changes or adaptations to the pre-school environment discussed.
How will [the setting’s] resources be used to support children’s special educational needs?
The majority of our equipment and resources are movable and can be easily made accessible. All are age and stage appropriate and we have a number of sensory resources.
We generally operate at one over minimum staff/child ratio requirements so your child will receive ample adult support. The level of support required by your child will be assessed on an ongoing basis and, if necessary, we will seek to acquire additional funding to achieve this.
If specific equipment is needed for your child we will seek to purchase or borrow this as necessary.
Who can I contact for further information about the early years offer in the setting?
Our SENCO or Preschool Leader would be happy to talk to you about our offer. Please see the ‘find and contact us’ tab on our website for details (www.stmichaelspreschool.org)
For further information on the local authority’s Local Offer of service and provision for children with special educational needs and disability go to www.hertsdirect.org/localoffer
participate in a short ‘Letters and Sounds’ activity or ‘Circle Time’ discussion.