Special Educational Needs and Disabilities


How our setting knows if young children need extra help and what our parents/carers should do if they think their child may have special needs and disabilities.

All our staff are qualified with a good knowledge of the EYFS and child development.  All staff undertake continuous professional development courses. We work with a range of professionals to inclusive policies.

The key person forms a relationship with the family and child. Parent/carers are asked to include any send identified in their registration form which will be shared with the key worker. Parents/carers will attend a starter visit with their child providing us with opportunities to discuss developmental needs if felt appropriate. Parents are encouraged to promptly discuss any possible developmental concerns with key worker.  All staff make continuous observational assessments. Staff regularly update the child’s profile mapping and developmental wheel which sometimes highlights areas of need or regression.  The key person plans for the child’s next steps in their development.  We assess our children at their 2 year progress review and discuss the child’s development with parents/carers.  We have a follow up with a 3 year review.  Parents/carers are also invited termly to meet with their key person and review their child’s learning journey and development

Any existing reports from health care professionals will identify your child’s needs and we welcome copies to be given to preschool to assist with planning and support.


How our setting supports young children with SEND

The key person and/or senco will discuss any individual needs they have identified, in private, with parents/carers and jointly agree on next steps eg. Speech & language drop in clinic, health visitor advice, individual targets for your child.  Parental permission is always sought before any action is taken – parents will be asked to sign ‘permission to observe’ and ‘permission to share information’ where appropriate and when parents are in agreement. The pre-school will make reasonable adjustments to ensure the best outcome for all children. Activities are differentiated to accommodate children of varying needs and abilities.  The key person will liaise with our SENCO and the inclusion officer and other professionals where required.

Where children have been identified with SEND we will support early identification by using the graduated approach.  The key worker will complete a ‘One page profile’ shortly after your child begins highlighting your child’s qualities, interests and ways to be best supported. Parents/Carers views will be added – taken from information provided on the child’s registration form.  We will ASSESS the child’s needs through observations, putting an action PLAN into place (called one planning) which will be agreed by the key person, SENCO and parents/carers.  The key person will work (DO) with the child daily with support from the SENCO to implement the one planning.   Parents and professionals will then REVIEW the effectiveness of this support and its impact on the child’s progress – new targets will then be put in place and the cycle repeated.


How our setting creates learning and development opportunities for individual children with SEND

Through completion of our ‘All About Me’ sheets (completed by parents/carers) transition sessions and sharing of information, staff will begin to learn how best to support your child before they join us. Each child has a learning journal which contains observations, photos and pieces of work – these assist in planning for the child’s individual needs.  Through regular monitoring / observations the setting is able to identify any areas of delayed development and adapt activities as necessary or focus on this area to aid the child’s development.  The child’s interests, learning style and developmental stages are all considered during planning.


How our setting works in partnership with parents/carers

Our setting has an open-door policy and staff are available at drop off and collection times if parents want to talk, or alternatively a mutually suitable meeting can be arranged.  We have a termly newsletter (which also offers ideas for home learning).  We offer ‘what I can do now’ sheets for completion about those special events which occur at home, e.g. celebrating toileting success, and holiday sheets for completion by parents/carers telling us what experiences the family had whilst away from preschool. There is a daily board outside the setting informing parents of key information/reminders, a parent notice board in the foyer and a large board displaying the next couple of months events and an area where children attach photos of activities they have accessed during the session.  Each term parents/carers are invited into setting to meet with key staff to discuss their child’s progress through their learning journey and parents are asked about their child’s latest interests.  If this is not convenient/ practical, the parent can take the learning journey home to review at their leisure and share with other family members.  Parents also meet with key staff to discuss their child’s 2-year review. We have regular ‘stay and play’ sessions on various days/times which parents/carers are invited to attend.

Some children keep a home/school diary for contact.  We are contactable by email, phone call or by text message.  We are also a committee run preschool; any parent can join the committee who meet every six weeks and during evenings.  The Children take a book home weekly to encourage story times at home with parents and some children have taken resources home to help with their development in the home learning environment.


How our setting supports the wellbeing of young children with SEND

Our setting has risk assessments in place for all equipment and activities eg. water play, construction, snack, using the garden etc.  These are regularly updated.  We carry out regular fire, and lock down, drills.  Every day before opening our setting we perform a daily check list to ensure our hall is set up safely and securely.  All staff use our positive behaviour guidelines and policy and have understanding of the reason behind the behaviour – using ABC forms to identify these.  We use sand timers, visual cues, Makaton, ‘now & next’ boards and visual photo boards – e.g. for timetables, behaviours & emotions. We use pecs (Picture exchange communication system) with individual children where this is considered appropriate. Staff consistently provide children with the name for feelings – of theirs and others around them. Children are encouraged to share emotions via our emotions board, looking in mirrors, sharing ‘feelings’ books and experimenting with feelings through music and movement. Children are reassured that feelings of anger, frustration, sadness etc are acceptable and support children in understanding the reasons behind their emotions and channelling any negative behaviour.

The senco regularly assesses and updates information on strategies used to support children within the four broad areas of sen.

Personal care plans are completed and agreed between the parents/carer and the manager when the child joins the setting.  Any medication to be taken is either kept in the setting or bought in daily (dependent upon type and use) and this is also shown in the care plan.  Records are kept of medication given in the setting, witnessed by two members of staff, signed and dated.

Parent/carers are made aware of our pre-school policies, and where to find them, on induction into the pre-school. Were requested families are provided with a copy of policies on cd.

We use the mosaic approach with all our children which encompasses listening to the child through small group ‘conferencing’ eg. asking what equipment they would like to play with and if inside or outside, through individual tours (walking round the setting talking to the child about how they feel towards certain aspects of preschool)eg. if they prefer going to the toilet by themselves or with an adult etc and through observations.   In this way all children are able to contribute their views.


Staff training and experience in supporting young children with SEND

All our staff have completed paediatric first aid.  We have named officers for Health & Safety, Behaviour, ENCO, Safeguarding and 2-year co-ordinator, all of whom have attended training in their specific roles.  Our two safeguarding officers have both completed level 3 designated person training.

The named SENCO is a qualified, accredited, SENCO and works closely with other professionals, linking up with our inclusion officer for additional support where needed.  A spreadsheet of training undertaken is kept for all staff and a Training Action Plan is a result of both the spreadsheet and outcomes of supervision meetings where additional or updated training is identified – this includes courses related to speech, language and communication and behaviour management. The senco cascades relevant updates and support strategies regularly to staff.

We have experience of supporting children with allergies and those requiring regular medication.


Specialist services and expertise accessed by our setting

We work alongside families and specialist services to better understand and plan for an individual child’s needs.  We actively encourage these professionals to visit our preschool and use their advice when implementing a one plan.  We will contribute and attend any Team Around the Child (TAC) meetings.

We have access to speech & language drop in clinics, our inclusion officer, the local Children’s Centre, specialist nurses and health visitors.


How our setting includes young children with SEND in community-based activities and outings

Our trips are discussed and decided upon by our parent & staff committee.  We ensure outings are accessible to all and a risk assessment is completed, by a member of staff, for all trips before they occur.  Parents/carers will be made aware of these outings a considerable time before the date and have an opportunity to identify any needs well in advance.  Parents/carers are always invited to join us on all trips.  Any medication/aids would be taken along.


Our accessible environment

We have completed an access audit for our setting.  We have two designated parking spaces directly opposite the preschool building.  The building is wheelchair accessible from the main entrance by a slope.  This leads into a foyer with a disabled toilet and then into a large, one level hall with double door access.  Our outside area can be accessed by a wheelchair via the outside through a large gate.

Visual timetables, visual behaviour boards, visuals placed at activities, now and then boards and sand timers are all used to assist children with SEND and equally children with EAL. We have a large board displaying photos of activities/routines which is accessible to children at all times – these are attached by Velcro to allow children to either point to activity wanted or to detach.   Makaton signs are also placed around the settings for staff to use.  We have introduced Makaton signs alongside some familiar nursery rhymes. Parents/carers with EAL are welcome to have an interpreter or we can translate some information into home language via the internet.  Many staff have completed training on English as an Additional Language – our Enco monitors children with English as an additional language.


How our setting prepares and supports young children with SEND when joining the setting and when transferring to another setting or school

Our preschool offers one or more visits to the setting, upon joining, to enable both adult and child to become familiar with the environment.  During the initial visit we would explain to the parent our daily routine, our policies, our ethos, how we work with children and plan for their individual needs and describe how the setting runs whilst showing them around the rooms.   Also during the visit, we would have the opportunity to exchange any information about your child’s needs, outside agencies involved, any developmental worries etc.  We are totally flexible with our settling in policy as each child is different and we allow the parents/carers to make this decision.

If a child leaves our setting to attend another setting, their learning journey and any additional paperwork accompanies them.  When a child joins us from another setting, we ask to see any paperwork, learning journey etc. so we can continue with their progression on the curriculum, understand what the child enjoys and aid a smooth transition.

If a child attends another setting alongside ours, we write to the other setting, enclosing a simple form, requesting information on the child’s development and characteristics at that setting and compare to our observations and learning journey.

We liaise closely with our local primary school for a smooth transition, with several visits from the reception teacher throughout the year prior to joining, culminating in a group visit (all children leaving that year) to reception class for an afternoon, followed by four mornings spent in reception class. We also take the pre-school leavers to the local primary school to watch their rehearsal of their Christmas production each year and in return they are invited to watch our pre-school Christmas concert annually.  The reception teacher has a brief synopsis at the end of the year on each child’s achievements and if any additional help is needed, medical care plans in place, one plan etc – where parent permission has been sort.

We liaise with other primary schools and make arrangements for them to visit the child – to observe them, talk to the key person and look through their learning journal prior to their starting with them at school.

Photo books displaying various photos of key staff and class rooms of local schools are readily available in the library trolley all year around. During the Spring term school themed role-play is available for school leavers to become familiar with various school uniform, book bags, lunch boxes etc.

All learning journals are given to the children when they leave the setting at a small presentation ceremony.


How our setting organises its resources to meet the needs of young children with SEND

Our setting deploys staff on a rota basis.  In this way all staff experience all areas of preschool.  Staff deployment  consists of:  1 x snack (preparing and running snack), 1 x garden (observing, organising and maintaining this area), 1 x SEN/PTR (working with next steps for children and any children with identified SEN – including S&L difficulties) 1 x focus (working on planned next steps within set areas of the EYFS) 2 x floats (ensure the preschool is running smoothly – playing, working with individual children, taking children to toilet, changing nappies, tidying rooms).

In this way floating staff are able to go wherever they are needed.  If children with SEND needs assistance there is always a member of staff available.

Our resources are set up from an empty hall daily, and we are able to respond to requests from children and adapt the environment when placing tables etc. to meet the needs of the children attending.

We tend to keep the same layout as children respond to routine, with just occasional changes but always allowing plenty of room around table and areas for manoeuvrability. Activities are typically changed on a weekly basis, however may be changed less or more frequently depending on numerous factors including: staff’s verbal evaluation of the sessions, children’s requests/preferences, children’s behaviour, desired learning outcomes etc.

If we have a child with SEND who requires additional support at preschool above what we can offer, we would liaise with local professionals or contact our inclusion officer for additional advice. Our senco may be able to apply for additional funding – this can be used for adult support or/and resources – we always work in partnership with parents.


How we decide on appropriate support for young children with SEND

Identified support needed for your child will be based upon an analysis of the child’s needs with practitioner observations linked to the EYFS, the progress check at two years, using the graduated approach and discussions with the SENCO.  We would then discuss our findings with the parents/carers.

Following this discussion, an action plan would be agreed upon by the key person, parents, and SENCO (called one planning).

The key person works with the child daily with SENCO support to oversee the implementation of the one plan.

This is then reviewed, after a prior agree period with all parties concerned, to see the effectiveness of the support and the impact on the child’s progress.


How we involve all parents/carers in our setting

We are a committee run preschool which puts parents /carers at the heart of the decision-making process.   All parents/carers are welcome to join the committee.  If they do not want this level of responsibility, they are welcome to help at fund raising events. AGM dates are advertised within the foyer and leaflets given to each child.

We have an open-door policy and we actively encourage sharing of information. Examples of opportunities to become involved also include: stay and play sessions, parents notice boards, news letters, trips, ‘look what I can do now’ moments completed by family and celebrated at pre-school, Blackmore parade, Nearly New Sales, Christmas concerts, termly viewing of children’s records and 2 years and 3 years checks.

Questionnaires are issued to parents annually which request information on ‘how are we doing?’ with the option of asking any questions, or making statements, anonymously.  Additionally, the Senco distributes questionnaires to assess more specific targets are being met. All completed forms are evaluated, acted upon where necessary and written feedback provided for all parents within the next newsletter.


Who to contact for further information

For further information on our setting please contact Angela Taylor or Angie Bonnen on 07972810218 or email  enquiries@blackmorecommunitypreschool.co.uk.

For further information on the local offer in Essex visit www.essexlocaloffer.org.uk