Local Offer for Children with Special Education Needs and / or Disabilities (SEND)
The purpose of the local offer is to inform parents of the local services available for children with special educational needs and how to access them.
How does Oak Tree Day Nursery know if a child needs extra help?
We operate a key person system in the nursery where each child has a key person. The key person observes their key child regularly and completes assessments, which helps to identify any support that the child may need. We try to identify children with SEN as early as possible. We know when children need help if:
• Concerns are raised by parents
• Concerns are raised by the key person
• Limited progress is being made
• There is a change in the child’s behavior or progress
When a child starts with us we advice settling in sessions where parents and the child’s key person have an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the child’s individual needs, interests and abilities.
Parents are asked to complete a settling in sheet. The information will include the child’s specific routines, likes and interest and any support they may need. Parents are encouraged to spend a little time in their child’s room to get to know their child’s key person and other staff.
The key person is responsible for observing, assessing and planning the child’s learning to meet his/hers individual needs. They will also make a judgment about whether a child is showing a typical progress for their age, may be at risk of delay or is ahead for their age.
Where a child appears to be behind expected levels or where a child’s progress gives cause for concern, the key person will discuss this with the parent and together they can plan how best to support the child. The child’s views are acknowledged as part of this process. The nursery SENCO will be asked for advice in order to support the key person and the child.
Our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs) are Hayleigh Mead and Jodie Roulston.
They works closely with all staff to make sure there are systems in place to plan, implement, monitor, review and evaluate the special educational needs practice and policy of the nursery, always making sure plans and records are shared with parents.
How will the staff support the child?
At Oak Tree Day nursery we treat every child as an individual. We have high expectations of children regardless of special needs or disability. We have a highly qualified and experienced staff team who are confident in monitoring and assessing the ability of all children. We will adapt practice where we feel it is necessary and where we feel it will benefit the child, for example working in smaller groups or 1 to 1 ratio. We have policies and procedures in place which are reviewed regularly to ensure that our resources and environment are suitable and accessible for all. Our SENCO will work closely with the key person to provide personal plans for each child based on their ability and interest and also ensure that child has access to adequate resources and activities.
Our SENCOs liaise with other professionals, with parent’s permission, such as the Inclusion Officers, Speech and Language Therapists and Health Visitors to gain further advice in supporting children with SEND. This advice might involve meetings and reports in order to enable the key person to plan for the individual needs of the child. Our SENCOs and key persons work collaboratively to ensure that targets and strategies are implemented.
Where a practitioner or SENCO identifies a child with special educational needs, the nursery will assess and record those needs and provide a number of key actions to help the child. As part of this process the nursery will consult with parents and seek any additional information from external professionals. The targets for the child, any teaching strategies or changes to provision are set out in an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The plan will be continually under review in consultation with the child and his/her parent(s). This stage will involve a cycle of assessment, planning and review in increasing detail, with increasing frequency, to identify the best ways of securing and maintaining progress.
This is where a practitioner or SENCO, in consultation with the child’s parents, decide external support services are required usually following a review of the IEP. The nursery will share its records on the child with those services so that they can advise on any IEP targets and appropriate strategies to help the child.
If the help given through an IEP is not sufficient to enable the child to progress satisfactorily, it may be necessary for the nursery, in consultation with the parents and any external agencies already involved, to request a statutory assessment by the local authority. This may lead to the child receiving an education, health and care plan.
How are parents / carers involved in our setting?
Parental involvement is highly valued at our setting. The key persons work together with the parents to ensure that every child’s learning is supported. Parents are given settling in form when their child starts at the nursery so that the key person can familiarise themselves with the child’s routine and interests.
We make sure our parents are involved with every aspect of our setting. All of our policies and procedures are available for parents at any time. We ensure that the key person and SENCO can talk to parents on a regular basis and our management team are always available if needed. We have an ‘Open door’ policy and we encourage parents to stay and spend time within their child’s room.
Children are given a diary for daily exchange of information between nursery and home and feedback. We usually obtain feedback from parents several times during the year. We ask them to comment on our service and improvements they would like to see. Their responses are evaluated and used to improve our service.
We hold a parents evening once a year which gives parents the opportunity to have a face to face discussion with their child’s key person and the manager about their child’s care at the nursery. We ask the parents to give us feedback on their child’s progress at home. We share ideas with parents on activities they could do at home to support their child’s learning and development.
What training is offered to staff supporting children with SEND?
Most our Staff are NVQ level 3 qualified or above, some with QTS (Qualified Teachers Status). A high percentage of our staff has received Paediatric first aid training and all staff have at least level 1 Safeguarding certificates. Our SENCOs have attended relevant training and also attend the SENCO network hosted by the Local Authority.
Some of our staff team have received training in Makaton and Inclusion and equalities during our staff inset day. Four members of our staff took part in the ‘Let’s get inclusive!’ programme funded by Lambeth and provided by Whippersnappers. The programme is designed to improve access to services for children with disabilities.
How accessible is the nursery environment?
Our nursery occupies two semi-detached buildings connected on two floors. There is a ramp outside the front door to allow parents with push chairs and wheel chair easy access into the building.
There is also another ramp in the garden to allow easy access from the rooms to the garden.
We have child sized toilets and sinks for the children to use which are easily accessible. Pictures and signs are used to support communication in order to meet the needs of all the children in our care.
We communicate effectively with all families including those who need extra support. If necessary, we are able to employ the services of a sign language interpreter to help during meetings with parents who are impaired.
We support children with English as an additional language (EAL) by asking parents to write down different words in the child’s home language with their meaning in English so we can communicate with the child while they are learning English. This also helps with settling the child into the nursery.
Helping with transitions
We recognise that transitions can be difficult for a child with SEND and take steps to ensure that any transition is as smooth as possible.
Staff are trained to observe their key children and as such will be sensitive to any changes in their behaviour and personality. We respectfully ask that parents inform us of any changes in the home environment that may impact on their child so staff can be aware of the reasons behind any potential changes in the child’s character.
If the child is due to move rooms due to age and stage readiness, we will work with the parents to ensure this is a seamless process in which the child is fully supported at all stages
-The child will spend short sessions in their new room prior to the permanent move to enable them to feel comfortable in their new surroundings
-The child’s key worker will go with the child on these initial visits to enable a familiar person to be present at all times
Starting school is a huge transition and the nursery will do all it can to facilitate a smooth move. We have a variety of methods that support this:
-The nursery will provide a variety of resources that relate to the school, e.g. role-play; photographs of all the schools the children may attend. This will help the children to become familiar with this new concept and will aide the transition
-The staff will initiate conversations with the children, who are due to move to school, about the school and discuss what they think may be different and what may be the same. They will talk through any concerns the child may have and initiate activities or group discussions relating to any issues enabling these to be overcome
-The nursery will ensure a comprehensive report is produced on each child starting school to enable teachers to have a good understanding of each child received. This will include their interests, strengths and level of understanding and development in key areas. This will support continuity of care and early learning.
For further information please contact the nursery manager