All Early Years settings in the Essex area have a duty to improve choice for families by giving them information regarding the services available to young children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND). Settings are expected to identify and support children with SEND and to be fully inclusive, together with help from the local authority, to ensure that their needs are met to enable them to make the best possible progress.
Below are answers to some questions you may have on how Cold Norton Pre-School will endeavour to achieve this.
How will Cold Norton Pre-School know if a child needs extra help and what should I do if I think my child has special educational needs or disabilities?
At Cold Norton Pre-School all children are treated as individuals. Our experienced staff observe, assess, record and monitor your child’s progress. This in turn will enable staff to plan the best way to meet your child’s needs to enable them to progress. If a member of staff identifies a concern regarding your child this will be discussed with the settings special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo) and manager and then shared with you. Equally, if you have any concerns regarding your child, you should discuss them with your child’s key person or the settings SENCo.
How will my child be supported by staff?
Each child is allocated a key person who will be the main person working with you and your child. At Cold Norton Pre-School we have a very low turnover of staff which has contributed to staff forming good relationships, enabling them to offer great support to each other, the children and their families. We very much work as a team with support from our SENCo, Area SENCo and other external agencies where required.
How will learning and development opportunities reflect my child’s needs?
Continuous provision ensures that there are activities and resources available each session to cover all areas of learning and development. Through differentiation these activities can then be adapted to suit the needs of your child. If your child has a particular interest, say dinosaurs, then the dinosaurs can be used in a variety of ways to aid a child’s learning and development e.g. counting,
colours, in sand, water, paint, small worlds play, weighing, balancing etc. Your child’s key person will use their learning journal to record observations and progress and prepare your child’s next steps.
How do you work in partnership with parents/carers?
A good relationship between the pre-school and parents/carers is extremely important to enable us to work together in the best interests of any child. We will aim to maintain a good two-way flow of information with you. We have an open door policy whereby you can talk to us at any time. If more time is needed then a mutually convenient appointment can be made. For those parents/carers who do not collect every day (e.g. working parents) we can communicate via telephone, e-mail or through a home/school diary. You are welcome to look at your child’s learning journey at any time and your child’s key person will discuss their next steps with you and what you can do at home to support their development. Permission will always be sought from parents/carers of a child with SEND before sharing information outside of the setting (e.g. with other agencies) or before introducing a personal education plan. This would be completed with the parents/carers input. We inform parents of any relevant workshops/training that may be available and pass on any relevant literature we receive from our local children’s centre or local authority. With your permission, we liaise with your child’s childminder should he/she have one, and any other settings your child may attend.
How is the wellbeing of young children with SEND supported in the pre-school?
We have many policies, procedures and risk assessments in place to ensure the wellbeing of all children and parents/carers are able to view these at any time. Specific risk assessments for your child will be carried out in conjunction with you and signed. Medication is usually administered by your child’s key person, witnessed by another member of staff and signed by them and you. Care plans are drawn up together. We have a named SENCo, ENCo (Equality Named Co-ordinator), 2yr old Co-ordinator and Positive Behaviour Co-ordinator. We promote positive behaviour and staff are trained to support this. It is important to lead by example. Should your child display unwanted behaviour then we will work with you to provide a consistent, planned approach to improve this. Through observation and communication with you and your child we can find out your child’s interests, likes/dislikes and preferred learning style. This will help us to extend their learning and development.
What experience and training do staff have in supporting young children with SEND?
All the staff at Cold Norton Pre-School have had experience of working with children with SEND. We have a trained SENCo. Staff have completed the Inclusion Development Programme on Speech, Language and Communication, Autism, Behaviour and Moderate Learning Difficulties. We have staff who have attended further SEN, Speech, Language, First Aid and Safeguarding training. (A full list of staff training is available). Any training undertaken is always fed back to other members of staff. We continuously reflect our practice to identify training needs. We are also looking to working towards the Good Beginnings Early Years Autism Friendly Award.
What specialist services do you have access to?
We have a very good relationship with our Area SENCo. We can also access, with your permission, Health Visitors, Speech and Language Therapists and Children’s Centres. We have also worked with Paediatricians, Specialist Teachers, Behaviour Specialists and Educational Psychologists.
How will my child be included in community based activities and outings?
Parents/carers usually accompany children on our outings and they are always accessible to all. For local community outings, e.g. a walk to the post box or over to the local primary school, extra staff/volunteers will attend to enable your child to have 1:1, or you would be welcome to join us. A risk assessment would be carried out and agreed by you prior to the outing.
How accessible is the environment?
Both our indoor and outdoor enclosed play areas are fully accessible. We have carried out an Access Audit. There is parking directly outside including two disabled parking bays and ramps to both sides of the building. We have child sized toilet and hand washing facilities as well as a toilet for the disabled. For parents/carers whose first language is not English, where necessary we will endeavour to resource a talking pen or interpreter. There are posters and signs displayed in various languages spoken by our children.
How do you support my child’s transition into pre-school and onto primary school?
Before your child starts pre-school you will be invited to visit us, have a look around, meet the staff and talk to us about any needs or concerns you may have. You can visit as many times as you need to ensure our setting is the right environment for your child. If necessary we will also visit you at home. You will be informed who your child’s key person will be and given a leaflet containing photos of the staff, the setting, and details of what your child will need to bring to pre-school so that you can discuss this with them and familiarise them with the setting. Your child’s first morning will be a free trial morning where you will stay and fill out any necessary paperwork. Once this has been completed you can either leave or stay for the remainder of the session. We do not have a fixed settling in policy as each child is different. We are flexible and will work together with you on what is best for your child. If your child transfers to another setting, or when they are due to start primary school, we will work with each setting, teachers, outside agencies etc., to ensure your child’s needs will be met. This will include visits to the school and the school visiting us.
How are resources organised to meet the needs of children with SEND?
We are a registered charity with a limited supply of funds, however we do have a very good supply of equipment, mostly being bought with money raised at our fundraising events. If your child requires more specialist equipment, we may be able to source this from our Area SENCo as the team has a lending bank. Should your child require specialist equipment such as a walking frame or supportive chair then with your permission we would approach the necessary person within health. We have good staff to children ratio and staff are well deployed in both the indoor and outdoor areas where both free choice and small group activities can be well supervised. Your child may also be entitled to extra funding from the local authority to support a him/her.
How is the decision made about how much and what type of support my child will receive?
Team meetings are held regularly where the needs of all children are discussed. Your child’s key person, the manager and SENCo will work closely with you and other professionals to determine your child’s needs and how they can be best supported. A personal education plan looking at the whole child will be drawn up to enable continuity from all staff working with your child. Your child’s key person will plan record and evaluate your child’s progress which will then be used to plan their next steps. If your child has been notified by health to education and, despite differentiation, they are not making the expected progress then we would seek advice from our Area SENCo who can
suggest they be considered for an SEN premium based on the specific needs and government funded hours to assist us to support your child.
How are parents involved at Cold Norton Pre-School? How can I be involved?
We are a committee run pre-school and therefore welcome parents to join and have a say in how the pre-school is run. Meetings are usually held every half-term and, being a committee with limited funds, we have to fundraise – ‘many hands make light work’. We operate an open door policy and parents are welcome to speak to a member of staff at any time. Parent consultations are held twice a year but you do not have to wait until then to discuss your child. We send out questionnaires and have a comments box. Your views are important to us whether positive or negative. Half-termly news letters are produced by the staff and committee to keep you informed of the latest news and events. We also have our website, facebook page and e-mail address.
Who do I contact for further information?
Further information can be found in our prospectus and policies. Initial enquiries can be made by contacting the pre-school on 01621 828845 or