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?
TiggyWigs staff are trained in the care and education of children in Early Years. The knowledge and experience that our staff have helps them to identify when a child may need extra help. We carry out assessment within the nursery using the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, and through this assessment staff can easily identify where children are struggling and may need additional help. Our aim is to work as closely as possible with families to ensure continuity of care for the child.
Other professionals that have contact with your child before attending the nursery may have already provided you with information should they feel that a child may need extra support. For example, a health visitor could recognise a speech and language delay and signpost what you would need to do next. In this instance, if you are planning on enrolling in the nursery it is important that staff are aware of the advice that was provided by other professionals.
If you are at all concerned about your child and think that he/she may have Special Educational Needs (SEN) then you can talk to his or her key person at the nursery. Every child is assigned a key person in the setting who is responsible for assessment and personal care; they will be the person who gets to know the child. This helps staff build attachments and relationships but also helps the staff to identify where there may be SEN. Once your concerns have been expressed to the key person they will be able to advise you on what to do next.
How will early years setting staff support my child/young person?
Staff will engage with the children and will try to establish the best approaches to use for the child’s personality, age and stage of development. The key person will work closely with the setting SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator) to ensure that steps are in place that help the child move forward. The SENCO will work with the child’s key person to put into practice the different methods that will help your child. This could include creating a personal play plan for your child. These are then shared with the family so they can continue to use the methods at home. Achievements to work towards will be outlined so it gives everyone a clear picture of what the aims are and how to achieve them.
The key person and/or SENCO may also access inclusion support with consent from the family. Inclusion support may provide targeted setting support, where someone comes out and visits the child to decide how best to support him or her in the setting. They will be able to provide strategies that may help the child in his/her development and help identify next steps and whether the child needs to see any other professionals. The nursery will always work closely with the family and parents or carer’s can express their concerns at any time.
How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
The key person is responsible for the assessment of their group of key children. Staff observe the children during play and then use these observations to form part of the children’s learning journals. They then review the learning and carry out next steps for each child, according to what the key person feels they need to develop. These next steps are shared with the child’s family so the learning can continue at home. The next steps also inform the planning for the next term. Each child’s next steps are different and is individual to each child, ensuring that the curriculum matches the individual child’s needs. There is ongoing dialogue between parents and the key person meaning that progress and learning will always be shared. We have online learning journals that parents have access to so that parents are always up to date with the learning that is taking place, and the assessment.
If staff have a concern for a child under a specific area of learning they may create a play plan (PP) or individual education plan (IEP) that will outline specific targets that are an achievable challenge for the child to help them to progress in that area. The PP or IEP will also outline what parents can do at home to help support the child. This may be completed with the nursery SENCO. Our staff have access to a broad range of resources that can be used to help support a child that we feel may need additional support, staff are given guidance on how to access and utilise these resources in practice.
How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s person’s learning?
The children’s online learning journals mark important milestones and progress and can be viewed at any time; parents are given their own login following a signed agreement. Staff are always available for informal or formal meetings and parent’s evenings give the chance for more detailed discussion of learning and progress. As well as this, next steps are shared with the parents every four months and can be discussed with the key person. The next steps will highlight what to do next with the child, both inside and outside the nursery, and can provide information for parents about how to support their child at home.
Parents are provided with information on the EYFS curriculum when they first start the setting, which can help to understand how the curriculum is put into practice.
Our toddler room staff complete detailed two year checks for each child if they are attending the nursery between the ages of two and three. These checks give parents an in-depth idea of how their child is doing and where we feel they are in the curriculum. We also carry out integrated two year checks with the health visitor, wherever possible, so that parents are given a broader idea of their child's development. These two-year checks replace the usual ones that are carried out by the health visiting team only.
We also have an email address that parents can use to contact the nursery and a closed group on Facebook that allows parents to keep up to date with current practice and events in the nursery. Parents can discuss their concerns with staff at any time, and staff will be able to provide parents with ideas on how to support their child’s learning and development at home.
What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?
The key person in the setting builds a relationship with the child so they can really get to know them. Providing the child with a secure attachment provides them with the confidence to explore and develop. The nursery has policies and procedures in place that ensure the child’s overall wellbeing. Some examples of these are as follows:
Working in partnership with parents
Health and safety
Staff are expected to follow these policies and procedures at all times. The staff are subjected to rigorous checks when they start at the setting, to ensure they are suitable to work in an Early Years environment, and the nursery is regularly inspected by OFSTED to ensure that standards are kept.
Children are provided with support in care and education matters within the setting by the child’s key person, who will know the child’s individual needs. Any medical needs would be discussed with the parent and we also discuss how we can best support the child prior to their commencement at the nursery. This is done through our settling in procedure so that parents and the key person are given ample time to discuss the child, and his or her care.
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting?
Staff in the setting can access different services that can help support your child. When there is a concern about a child’s needs, we can access inclusion support who can help us refer the child to a specific team that can offer support. For example, speech and language therapists, or behavioral specialists. We can also contact the local health visiting team to discuss a child’s needs.
The local children’s centre can provide a wealth of information for both parents, carer’s and early year’s settings and they often run groups that parents can attend with their child. This can help the parent to meet a child’s needs and can also provide the setting with advice on how we can support the child.
Our staff regularly attend training sessions that help provide more knowledge in their roles. These courses can be specific to different ways of learning, for example, staff can attend a communication for under three’s course to help them understand how and why children communicate in different ways. Our staff are also qualified to NVQ level three, with those who have not achieved this yet working towards it. This means that they have had some training based around child development. We also have an Early Years Teacher in the setting who has undergone training at university to enable her to identify and encourage good practice and support in children’s learning and development.
What training are the staff supporting children with SEND had or are having?
As I have mentioned before, all our staff are either NVQ level three qualified or are working towards it. Within the NVQ Level three, staff gain knowledge in how individual children learn and develop. The West Sussex training scheme outlines different training courses that staff can attend to enhance their knowledge. Our current SENCO has attended ‘the role of the INCO’ course, where she gained information on what to put into place when supporting a child with SEN. She has had six years’ experience in being our SENCO and during this time she has helped support several children with additional needs.
We have also recently appointed a second SENCO in the setting who is waiting to attend the role of the INCO training course. She will then be able to support the other SENCO and take over when she is away. We also have an Early Years teacher on the team who can support and guide the staff in their day to day practice.
The staff at the setting say the experiences they have encountered have taught them a lot about how to support a child’s additional needs. We will continue to be part of the West Sussex training scheme and staff will therefore attend relevant training as and when it becomes available.
Staff also have access to a wealth of resources that are available through West Sussex online that can help them support a child's individual needs. There is also guidance outlining to staff how to use these resources.
How will my child be included in activities outside the nursery classroom including trips?
Activities that we have outside the nursery will be risk assessed beforehand. During this risk assessment, the staff in the setting will determine who will be going, and what measures that we need to put into place to ensure the safety of all the children that will be going on the outing. There would be a dedicated member of staff that will support a child with SEN during the trip. This member of staff will probably be the key person or SENCO, someone that knows the child and his or her needs. The member of staff would have a ‘tool box’ of strategies and techniques that are co-agreed with the family beforehand to help the child cope during the activity.
Our aim as a setting is to ensure that all children can be included in the learning experiences we provide and we would discuss how this can be achieved with the child’s family and any other professionals that may be involved in the child’s care.
How accessible is the setting environment?
At ground level, we have access to the kitchen, toilets, running water and this is where the baby room and entrance hall is situated. The second floor of the nursery has the toddler room and pre-school room which is accessed via the stairs with hand railings. Our outdoor area is accessible via the fire evacuation steps. It is difficult for a wheelchair to access the upstairs environment; however, measures can be made to ensure that the toddler room or pre-school room can be moved to the ground floor as and when it’s required. Our toilets are large enough to accommodate a child with a wheelchair and nappy changing facilities are available on both floors of the nursery. All the child’s needs would be discussed prior to them starting at the setting for us to ensure that we have everything in place to support the child. We translate all our newsletters and information for parents in their home language if required to ensure that all parents are receiving relevant information about the nursery.
How will the setting prepare and support my child to join the setting, transfer to a new setting or the next stage of education and life?
Initially, a parent is invited to view the setting, to have a look around, discuss a child’s needs and talk about any adaptations that may need to be made. The parent is then invited to attend free of charge settling in sessions. During these sessions, the child will initially stay with the parents and then later, on his or her own. Each child is also allocated a key person that will help to settle them in and work very closely with the family. Families will be provided with a welcome pack detailing what goes on in their room e.g. routines, activities. Parents receive daily sheets which will let them know what their child has been doing for the day, how much they have eaten and when they have slept and been changed. As well as this staff are always willing and available to speak to you at the end of the session. You are also able to call the nursery at any time to find out how your child is getting on, or to discuss any concerns you may have had that day; e.g. if they are feeling a little unwell in the morning.
As well as this the staff at the nursery will help children transition to ‘big school’ using role play (School dressing up), stories at story time and general discussion with children about what happens at school. We also arrange visits to the school or for the school to come and visit us in the setting. During these meetings, the key person will discuss key information about the child with the school teacher to ensure they have all the information required to help make the transition as smooth as possible.
We also maintain a two-way flow of information so if your child will be attending two early year’s settings we are always aware of the child’s progress in both locations. This ensures continuity of care for the child as we can discuss how we are meeting the child’s needs in both the settings.
If a child moves to another setting we provide the parents/carer’s with their child’s learning journal, and a moving on report that discusses their progress and ways that they learn best. This would then be handed into the new setting by the parent or carer so the new setting can gain an understanding of the child’s current skills and progress. In some circumstances, we may also contact the new setting to discuss the child’s needs with them to ensure continuity of care.
How are the setting’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
The nursery will assess, monitor and review each child’s needs. We also pay a subscription that enables staff to have further training and Inclusion funding may be available to help the setting enable children to have full access to the environment and equipment within the nursery.
The key person will plan individual activities for the child and will ensure the resources needed are available. If there is a lack of resources then they will consult with the manager to obtain the resources needed. Regular audits are carried out by room leaders as well as the manager to ensure there are ample resources available to meet all areas of the curriculum.
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
The nursery’s SENCO and the child’s key person will plan for the child and use the resources available through the West Sussex County Council to support your child. The methods used are then reviewed and are assessed to evaluate if they are working or whether targeted support will be needed. This decision will be made with the parents and in line with what the key person and SENCO feels is best. The targeted support team will determine how much additional support the child will need, and will help to get this support in place.
In some cases staff create an Individual Education Plan (IEP) with the help of any other professionals involved to determine the child’s needs and how they can be met. These IEP’s are regularly reviewed with parents and key person. Decisions are made following ongoing detailed assessment, it is then that we can determine what support the child needs.
How are parents involved in the setting? How can I be involved?
We encourage our parents and carer’s to have a contribution in the setting by asking them to complete feedback questionnaires to help improve the service we provide. We also send home next steps every four months, and ask the parents to provide feedback on these sheets of their child’s progress at home. Parents are invited to complete ‘wow’ slips, which are shared with the rest of the group. Parents can also access their child's learning journal online, following a signed agreement, so they are always able to see their child's progress, and add their own observations.
As well as this we also have an open-door policy so parents or carer’s can stay and chat with staff, or stay in the room with their child for a while. Suggestions are always taken on board, and contribute to the improvement of practice within the setting. We hold an open evening every six months which enables parents to visit the nursery and talk to other parents and staff, we are able during this to provide feedback to parents on their child’s development and progress.
Who can I contact for further information?
The staff at our nursery all have knowledge of where extra help or information is available, and asking the staff is usually helpful in guiding you to where you can get further information and support. The best people to talk to in the nursery are:
Gemma Pena- Nursery manager, SENCO support
Sam Stoner – Deputy Manager
Emma Fox – Nursery SENCO
You can contact any of these practitioners by calling the nursery on 01444-870797.
Once you have started at the setting the child’s key person is the best person to talk to as they have knowledge in how your child is learning and developing.
The local children’s centres, The Gattons and Sidney West, can provide parents with a wealth of information and they also run parent and child groups that provide parents with the opportunity to meet other parents.
As well as this your family health visitor usually has further information available and you can usually contact your health visitor via your GP surgery