1. 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?
At the heart of the work of our Early Years setting is a continuous cycle of planning, teaching, and assessing which takes account of the wide range of abilities, aptitudes and interests of the children. The majority of children will learn and progress within these arrangements. Those children whose overall attainments or attainment in specific subjects fall significantly outside the expected range may have special educational needs and need extra help.
If you think your child may have special educational needs you can discuss your concerns with your child’s keyworker and/or the Special Educational Needs coordinator (SENCo).
The SENCo of ‘The Nest’ is Lucy Rodrigues
The SENCo of ‘Little Elms’ is Catrine O’Neill
We encourage parents to share information about their child through initial discussions with staff and by completing the ‘All About Me’ booklets. Staff will also carry out an initial assessment of your child after four weeks of attendance. This information will support staff in their understanding of your child’s stage in development before they start at the school.
If your child has an identified special need before joining our setting, in either The Nest or Little Elms Lucy or Catrine will work with you to ensure that everything is in place (eg special equipment, staff training, classroom organisation etc) before your child joins us.
Your child’s key worker will work with Lucy or Catrine to continually monitor and review your child’s development and progress in the setting through the Early Years Foundation Stage (EFYS) framework.
We work very closely with other professionals such as health visitors, speech and language therapists, educational psychologists and other healthcare professionals to ensure that your child is given appropriate support and that we provide the very best care and educational opportunities for your child.
2. How will the setting staff support my child?
Your child’s key person will develop a strong bond with your child and work with you to ensure your child is happy and settled in school.
The qualified and experienced staff, plan a varied and broad curriculum for all the children by providing a range of activities. The children are continually learning new skills & benefitting from social interaction in a fun and stimulating environment.
All children will have a learning journey which is an ongoing document. You are welcome to view and contribute to this at any time. From the learning journey observations we can identify a child’s next steps. These are reviewed each term and any gaps in your child’s development will be highlighted.
Your SENCo will work to ensure that you are closely involved at all stages and will also liaise with a wide range of professionals.
3. How will I know how my child is doing?
You will be given feedback on your child’s progress via daily sheets. You are always welcome to discuss your child’s progress informally at the setting or by telephone or email. We will also review progress with you via their learning journals and through parents evening which offer termly summaries of your child’s progress. At High Elms Manor School we have regular open days where you can see how your child is getting on and what activities they enjoy and friendships they have made.
The regularity of formal meetings between staff and parents will depend on your child’s level of need.
There are many formal ways of communicating about your child’s progress but nothing is better than an informal chat at the end of a session, so please always speak to us about any concerns.
4. How will the learning and development provision be matched to my child’s needs?
Through the EYFS we will observe and assess your child and then plan their learning and development provision around our observations.
We will follow advice from other professionals on how to support your child’s particular needs and the SENCo will ensure that training is accessed for staff, where possible, to support your child’s learning.
5. What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?
We will involve other professionals (e.g. health visitors) to ensure that we support your child in all areas of their development. We will support you and your child with toilet training, and any issues regarding eating, sleeping etc. We are fully equipped with changing table/mats/potties etc.
There is a strong emphasis on providing a caring environment, and this is supported through various strategies such as children being in mixed age groups so that the younger children have the older children as role models and the older children can help the younger children.
If your child has any specific medical needs our staff will undergo any necessary training – e.g. epi pen training, replacing breathing tubes etc – and we will administer any medication prescribed by a hospital paediatrician or GP.
We have a behaviour management policy which outlines the procedures used in school, however, if specialist help is required to manage behaviour we can request the support of the inclusion development officer employed by the local authority. All staff have a positive approach to all children’s individual learning and development and are sensitive to their needs. Unwanted behaviour and the testing of boundaries is often part of growing up, and we will work closely with you to put strategies in place to support and enhance your child’s positive behaviours.
6. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting?
We have good links with our local children’s centre and we work with a wide range of agencies such as advisory teachers, autism advisory teachers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, educational psychologists, speech and language therapists, health visitors, GPs etc .
We have regular meetings with the local area SENCo Julie Humphries.
The pre-school also have an appointed Health and Safety officer, two trained SENCO’s and all staff are trained in Child Protection and Food Hygiene.
We liaise with the local feeder schools, to make the process of moving to a new setting much easier for your child and have an excellent transition process for children moving from one class to another within the school.
7. What training and/or experience do the staff, supporting children with SEND, have?
We are looking to train staff members in Makaton sign language. We have the database of Makaton signs and symbols held at the pre-school so we can look up words to support individual children.
Both SENCo’s have many years of experience supporting children with a wide range of needs and disabilities.
8. How will my child be included in activities outside the setting?
Your child will benefit from all activities outside the setting and full risk assessments will be carried out.
We will discuss your child’s needs with you to ensure they can be included.
If you are unhappy about your child joining in a trip, visit or event without your presence you would be welcome to act as a parent helper on the outing.
9. How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child’s learning and development?
From the outset your key person will involve you by asking you to complete key information about your child, helping us to understand their interests, likes/dislikes and favourite toys/games/places. This information will be updated regularly. This sharing of information will be on going throughout your time at the setting through the All about Me leaflets and transition sheets.
We are always open to any personal requests you may have regarding your child’s needs and will work to support you and your child to the best of our abilities.
We have an open door policy and your child’s keyworker will be available to discuss your child’s needs daily, parents evenings are also held termly. If you would like a more in depth discussion a mutually convenient time for a meeting can be arranged. Team Around the Family meetings are arranged as necessary. If outside professionals come in to see your child we try to organise a meeting at the end of that visit for a brief discussion. If this is not possible any reports are always copied and given to you.
Parental consent is always obtained before we refer to any outside agencies.
10. How accessible is the building / environment?
The playgroup environment is very accessible and meets the current disability regulations.
There are no stairs in our building and we have ramp access.
We have purpose built toys and equipment at your child’s level.
Our garden is all on one level and we have grassed and tarmac areas.
We do not have a disabled toilet with wheelchair access, however, there is one in the main school adjacent to the pre-school building to which we have full access.
11. How will the setting prepare and support my child with transitions between home, settings and school?
Taster sessions will be organised at pre-school for you and your child to attend prior to their start date. This will include 1free hour and then 2 weeks of attending 1 hour a day.
If you child receives care from any other setting (e.g. another nursery or a childminder) we will work with them by sharing learning journals on a termly basis.
When a parent gives notice they will receive a form to fill in that gives details of the new setting/school their child will be attending. This will enable us to contact the new setting and invite them to visit your child at pre-school. During this visit the teacher or key person from the new school will meet and play with your child and discuss their development and progress with your child’s Key Worker.
12. How will [the setting’s] resources be used to support children’s special educational needs?
All equipment and toys are moveable and can be made accessible, they are age and stage appropriate. We will seek to borrow or ask parents to provide any specific equipment needed for specific needs.
The pre-school has a high staff/child ratio, so your child will receive plenty of adult support. We are also a very inclusive setting and have a range of resources/strategies in place to support children with a range of needs e.g. we have visual timetables which may support speech and language delay or if English is a second language.
We have a number of sensory resources.
13. Who can I contact for further information about the early years offer in the setting?
The Nest: Lucy Rodrigues 01923 673330 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Little Elms: Catrine O’Neill 01923 679390 Email: email@example.com
For further information on the local authority’s Local Offer of service and provision for children with special educational needs and disability go to www.hertsdirect.org/localoffer
For more information about the Montessori method please go to