The Children and Families Act introduces a requirement for every Local Authority to publish a Local Offer. This will contain information about services the local authority expects to be available in their area for children and young people (from birth to twenty five) who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). West Dean Pre-School’s Local Offer contains information for parents and carers specific to our setting.
Initial meetings with parents/carers are an opportunity to discuss your child and any concerns or questions that you may have. Each child has an allocated Key Person, who is there to support your child in the setting as well as providing feedback to you regarding their development and achievements. Through ongoing observations and assessment, we are able to identify your child’s level of learning and development. If there is a delay or concern, this would be discussed with you in the first instance and support strategies may be sought. If necessary, referrals can be made to outside support agencies to help us and your family to meet your child’s individual needs.
Positive, well established links with your child’s Key Person would provide a starting point for discussion and sharing of information regarding your child’s progress. If either you or your child’s Key Person raise any concerns regarding development, this will be discussed initially with the pre-school SENCO/INCO.
Our staff are well qualified in their roles as childcare practitioners and any identified or specific training which may be necessary to further support your child would be undertaken. We have established links with the FIRST Team in West Sussex, which provides us with strategies for meeting individual children’s needs whilst in our nursery care, as well as signposting us to other support agencies.
Observation and assessment will guide setting staff to identify what support may be needed. This will be discussed with parents, so that parents’ views and expectations can be taken into account. Sometimes a Play Plan is produced jointly by staff and parents, to enable staff to use specific strategies to help your child make progress, for example, one to one activities to help speech development. The play plan will also include strategies that parents can use at home. The play plan will include dates for review, which is usually half termly, but can be more frequently depending on individual needs. If your child starts to make progress with a play plan this will be continually reviewed and monitored, and it is possible that no further action is required. If West Dean Pre-School staff require expert support and advice on strategies to support your child, they will contact the West Sussex Inclusion Team (FIRST) for advice. West Dean Pre-School’s SENCO may recommend a referral to outside agency if it is felt that additional support is needed (e.g. speech and language therapist) Our SENCO maintains a register of all children with SEN, to ensure their progress is regularly monitored and reviewed.
Approximately six to eight weeks after starting at West Dean Pre-School each child (under 3) will have a 2 year old progress check completed by their key person, this will enable staff to have an initial idea of how each child is developing. Following this every child will have their progress recorded and next steps planned each term in their Learning Journals, therefore ensuring that progress is monitored. Parents are welcome to take their child’s Learning Journal home at any time to look through or have a look through it with their key person within session time. Parents may also chat with their key person or any staff member at the beginning or end of a session. Where a child has difficulty with communication, and therefore may be unable to inform the parent of what they have been doing that session, West Dean Pre-School can provide a home book that staff can record the activities that the child has participated during that session along with any specific achievements made.
The staff at West Dean Pre-School are welcoming, friendly and sensitive to all children, maintaining a positive and caring approach. Four pre-school staff are Early Years qualified to a minimum Level 3 and attend compulsory Child Protection training. Four staff hold a current Paediatric First Aid certificate. We have medical forms to record each item of medicine that your child takes regularly. We will set up a meeting with you to enable us to understand their medical needs and if necessary can liaise with health care staff working with families. The environment both indoors and out is checked regularly throughout the day to ensure it is safe and secure. Initial care meetings take place to review your child’s individual needs, care routines and are an opportunity for you to share relevant information with us in order for us to support them fully whilst in our care.
With parental permission West Dean Pre-School are able to access the West Sussex Inclusion Team for support and advice. They have a telephone support service for practitioners and can help us identify additional support services that may be required. We have experience in working closely with outside professionals including speech therapists, portage, educational psychologists and occupational therapists. We can work with Health Visitors and Children and Family Centre staff.
The pre-school SENCO/INCO attends training to keep up to date with legislation and working practices in the locality. Staff have attended training in Paediatric First Aid; Managing Children’s Behaviour and have worked with the FIRST Team, Speech and Language therapists and Children’s Services.
All areas of the pre-school are accessible to all children, both indoors and outdoors. If specialised equipment is required for your child, we would seek to ensure that it is available for use to ensure complete inclusion. Should it be identified that your child needs additional adult support this would be implemented in liaison with yourselves. If external trips take place, we would discuss your child’s individual needs prior to confirming arrangements and you would be welcomed to accompany them. Qualified staff and staff that are First Aid trained would always be with the children on trips outside of the nursery and staff ratios would be determined depending on the nature of the visit.
The pre-school’s environment both indoors and out is mostly accessible to wheelchair users with support. There are two toilets , one is fitted with a rail for extra assistance. For children with English as an Additional Language (EAL), we can seek support from the FIRST Team and, if necessary, are able to access interpreters to assist in our communication process with you. We encourage families to help us to produce visual cues and words in the children’s home language to ensure inclusion of all children. Our pre-school promotes independent learning for all children, resources are labelled with pictures and words and storage is low level to allow children to select themselves.
Our settling in policy allows for individual families circumstances to be taken into account. Your keyworker will discuss with you any concerns you may have about settling in, and may suggest extra visits prior to starting to familiarise your child with staff, children and the environment. Sometimes it helps a child to stay for a partial session at first, and build up the length of session gradually. We are flexible with this. Your keyworker will discuss with you how this is going, so that joint decisions can be made. We will give parents an “All About Me” form to fill in so that we have lots of information about your child’s likes and dislikes before they start. When a special educational need or disability is already known about a child, we will arrange a meeting with parent(s), SENCO and Key person prior to starting at the setting to address their needs and to begin to put support in place.
We provide extensive transition structure, including specific pre-school sessions in the summer term for children preparing to go to school. Children take part in a range of activities including trying on uniform, changing for PE, simple pre reading and prewriting games, number games, stories about school and visits to a local school. We always invite staff from the new school to visit the child in our setting . For a child moving to a new setting, we will liaise with parents and the new setting to identify which strategies will help the child to prepare for the change. This may include getting some photos or a photo book from the new setting to share with the child, looking at websites on the computer and group discussion and role play. In some cases we may invite a member of staff from the new setting to visit. We will provide parents with the child’s Learning Journal to pass on to the new setting.
We have to take into account the needs of all children, but as a non-profit making charity, we always allocate resources in the best possible way to aid children’s progress. We have a Fundraising Committee who are regularly organising fundraising ideas to raise money for the pre-school. The majority of monies raised are put straight back into the pre-school for updating or purchasing additional toys and equipment. We regularly use equipment from the Toy Library, and can access sensory equipment from our local Children and Family Centre. Our environment both indoors and out have age/stage appropriate resources, with specific links to the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum.
Following discussion with parents/carers, if an agreed need for additional support is identified we would make a referral to the FIRST Team for an initial observation and assessment to take place. You will be involved in the process throughout by attending meetings and being involved in discussions with the nursery and other professionals may be involved. By agreeing and monitoring next steps and strategies to support the child, we are able to monitor its impact and assess progress in learning and development. If necessary, we can include the school’s SENCO, particularly if we are nearing a transition into primary education.
We always welcome parents and carers to stay and play, or to be involved in fundraising and organising social events. As a small and friendly organisation, we very much encourage parents to be involved on a regular basis. Obviously different families have different commitments and expectations; you may wish to have direct daily contact with the setting, helping us plan and set up daily activities that will help your child, or you may wish to stand back a bit to help your child gain independence. Your keyworker will discuss your expectations and needs, and will jointly plan a mutually acceptable way of working. This will be different for each family. We carry out surveys at the end of the school year to gather parents and carers views, so we can make improvements to our service.
Please speak to Kerry Chapman, Setting Supervisor, in the first instance or if you have any questions about our pre-school please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01243 811423.