Special Educational Needs

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

(Also see Special Educational Needs and Disabilities policy, Family Partnership policy)

Sandcastles Nursery is an inclusive setting. We welcome all families into the setting and invite families to attend a welcome meeting and if deemed beneficial we will visit the home.  This helps build positive relationships and supports transitions into our settings.

We have a named SENco who has many years of experience.  Our SENCo works closely with staff and parents to support children’s ongoing assessment and progress and also works with our Inclusion Partner from Essex County Council.  If needs arise the SENco, with consent from the parent/carer, will seek specialist expertise to support the child’s learning.  This may involve working in partnership with outside agencies/professionals such as health visitors/speech and language therapists or seeking additional funding for a child to have additional support.  Our management team regularly meet with the SENco to discuss and monitor each child’s welfare and development.  This information enables us to continuously reflect how effective/what impact our current practice is making and we use these findings to challenge and improve our provision.

For a child with additional needs, following welcome meetings, we will create an individual risk assessment prior to him/her starting which is shared with all staff and parents.  If a child requires any administration of medication or has a medical condition, we will meet with the parent/carer and put in place a care plan from copies of medical reports and if required, by liaising with medical professionals.  Our staff are paediatric first aid trained, and all administered medication given is witnessed by another member of staff.  If other professionals are working with a family, we ask for consent to liaise with them and arrange review meetings.

Our highly skilled staff have many years of experience working with early years children and are very familiar with the current curriculum legislation – the Early Years Foundation Stages (EYFS) for 0-5 years. We operate a key person system which means that every child at nursery has a key person who provides high quality care and education and monitors the learning journey of the child.  Monitoring of all children happens daily however each child will be the focus on week 1 and 3 after joining and then for one week each half term. Through playing and spending time with the child the key person can identify where the child is within the EYFS and what is required to extend his/her learning.  Using this approach also identifies if there are any areas for additional support required to meet the child’s needs.  Our SENco will work with the key person and the room seniors to support individuals with additional needs and plan accordingly.  This enables us to identify appropriate resources to further support the child’s learning and development.  Our Inclusion Partner can highlight various resources to support children’s progress. We will liaise with the parent/carer, valuing their views and involving them in decisions about the best way to help the child’s progress.  This may involve implementing an individually designed learning programme to regularly review the child’s progress, it may involve working with a small group of children on focused tasks or may involve outside help.

Our warm settling in procedure forms strong bonds with families as does the contact at pick up and collection times and through FAMLY, our nursery management software.  We will regularly post general images and information about what has been happening in the different rooms and will also send specific feedback and images to parents/carers.    After each focus week the parent/carer will be phoned or invited in to discuss their child’s progress.  For children with additional support in place we have additional review meetings to monitor their progress and to adjust their One Plans or when creating Educational Health Care Plans.

As a child transitions through the nursery, we invite parents in for a meeting with the next room where a new key person will be allocated.  Our SENco will continue to work with the family for continuity and to ensure that all information to meet the child’s needs is shared with the new staff team.  A new risk assessment would be carried out.

When a child starts school, we ask for consent to liaise with the school offering to visit the school with the child.  We will invite the teacher into our setting to observe the child in a familiar environment and to liaise with the key person.  This procedure is dependent on the school’s own transition policy.  We will support parents to create Educational Health Care Plans (EHCP) ready for school transition.

Keeping abreast of new initiatives and ideas is crucial and our SENCo, management team and practitioners will attend external training when available in relation to special education needs along with First Aid (which is updated every three years).  Knowledge acquired will be cascaded through in-house training during staff meetings ensuring that our staffing team are up skilled.