Services and support for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)
At Seasides, our Local Offer is as follows:
1. How does Seasides Day Nursery recognise if children need additional support?
At Seasides, all children are observed and assessed the moment they join us. This starts from the initial settling-in sessions with parent/carer support and continues throughout their time until they leave us. From these assessments, we are able to determine where children are in their development so that individual needs and targets can be established as soon as possible. Children’s development is tracked using the EYFS (Early Years Statutory Framework) through Tapestry and paper-based learning journeys and staff support children through play and activities to help them reach their full potential. All of our staff are trained and experienced in observing and monitoring children’s development and are able to recognise where additional help and support may be needed. Using the Key Person approach, children’s learning, development and progress is monitored through individual learning journeys which are then reviewed and overseen in detail by Laura, the Nursery Manager. This process helps to identify any gaps that may appear under the seven areas of learning.
If and when gaps are identified or additional help is needed, staff work closely together alongside management, parents/carers, the setting SENCo and external professionals to access appropriate support. Plans are then also put in place to help support the children whilst they are at nursery (i.e. One Plans) which are regularly reviewed and updated when necessary.
2. What should parents/carers do if they think their child may have SEND?
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development, you should first speak to your child’s Key Person. A telephone discussion or face to face meeting can be arranged to raise concerns in further detail – simply call the office to arrange an appointment.
If your child’s Key Person has identified a possible individual need themselves, they will also discuss the matter with you privately so you can begin to plan and work together to support your child.
Once concerns have been raised by either parent or Key Person, Laura (Nursery Manager) and Ashleigh (SENC0) will be informed and then meet to determine the next steps. These normally include planning and implementing specific activities and experiences and carrying out focused observations on the area(s) for concern.
If areas for support are still identified and further help is needed, a further meeting between parents/carers and staff will be arranged in order to ask permission to seek additional external support from professionals (i.e. health visitors and speech and language therapists).
In the first instance, always speak to your child’s Key Person. You can find out who your child’s Key Person is by logging into your Tapestry account.
3. How will/does Seasides support children with SEND?
At Seasides, we know that every child is different and appreciate that what may work for one child, may not necessarily work for others. Being a small 30 place setting, we are able to keep our numbers low so we can really get to know our children and families and take the time to work with them all closely as much as possible.
From the start, all children are required to attend a minimum of two settling-in sessions before they join and parents/carers are encouraged to stay for at least one session. It is here we are able to see where children are in their development so we can begin to support their individual needs right from the start. This is done by using the age and stages set out in the Development Matters guide and also our ‘All About Me’ book which is completed by parents/carers.
Every child who attends Seasides is treated as an individual and on joining, is allocated a Key Person. This Key Person works closely with you and your child throughout their time at Seasides and is always on hand to offer support and advice. As well as your child’s Key Person, children with SEND are also supported by the Nursery Manager (Laura) and SENCo (Ashleigh). Targeted support for the area(s) in need will be in place and observations and specifically planned activities will focus on the development of that specific area.
At Seasides, we use a variety of resources and support methods to help your child settle and enjoy their time here whilst supporting their development. For example, we use visual aids such as visual timetables, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and Makaton (a language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate).
One Plans are also used and where necessary, additional support from external professionals is sought to help your child and family both inside and outside of the setting. At all times we will work alongside you as a family and gain advice and support from the Essex area SENCO where needed.
Any additional funding we receive will always be reviewed in great detail and discussed with the relevant people to ensure necessary resources, equipment and training is a priority.
4. How do we create and manage individual learning and development opportunities for children with SEND?
At Seasides, we know that learning is on an individual basis which is why each child is allocated a Key Person who works closely with the child to track their development and plan their next steps accordingly. Observations/learning journeys are reviewed, recorded and supervised by Laura who monitors gaps in development and works closely with staff to ensure targets are reached or identifies if further help and support is needed.
We operate on child-led activities/experiences which help keep the children engaged and excited to learn. We encourage the children to share their experiences and interests with us on a daily basis so that fun and educational activities can be arranged to enrich their development. Parents/carers are also kept up to date with what we are learning via social media and are encouraged to join in/carry out activities with their children at home.
As well as having three separate age-appropriate rooms and access to a large garden, we also have an indoor soft play area and specialist built sensory room which is available for everyone to use. Our sensory room is designed to provide a sensory-rich but also calming environment where children can discover and explore their senses with fibre optics, dark den, lights and sound whilst joining in regular mindfulness sessions. One-to-one sessions are also held here with Ashleigh, our SENCo.
5. What experience and qualifications do our staff have at Seasides and what training do we provide for our staff in supporting young children with SEND?
Laura – Nursery Manager: Since 2016, Laura has held a Level 7 post-graduate degree in Autism and Aspergers Syndrome and has over 22 years working in the childcare profession (as an Early Years Practitioner, Manager and College Lecturer). Laura has always been interested in Autism and Aspergers Syndrome and regularly keeps up-to-date with various training to develop her learning further. With all of her experience, Laura is the perfect person to oversee the work of the SENCo and the setting.
Ashleigh – Deputy Manager and SENCO: Ashleigh has been studying the role of the SENCO for some time and has worked with children for 10 years in various settings. Ashleigh has a keen interest in SEND and has attended lots of courses, seminars and webinars over the years to gain more experience. Ashleigh works closely with all staff to ensure the right support and help is given to families.
Our staff also collectively have a range of different experiences between them. These include experiences with cerebral palsy, visual impairments, Down’s syndrome, global delay, Williams syndrome, hip dysplasia and epilepsy. Here at Seasides we all work very closely together to share best practice so approaches remain up to date and consistent across the whole setting. It is in the interests of everyone who attends/uses Seasides that every member of staff is given the opportunity to develop their skills to the maximum and broaden their knowledge and skills in caring for children. Personal and professional development is essential for maintaining the delivery of high-quality care and learning for children in their early years.
All staff at Seasides are required to complete behaviour management training and equality, diversity and inclusion training as part of their induction when they join us. Room leaders and Key Persons are also required to undergo necessary speech, communication and language training courses that are relevant to their rooms. Qualifications are logged with expiration dates to ensure staff renew their training when necessary and stay on top of latest developments. As a member of the Early Years Alliance, we have access to many fantastic training opportunities and are able to stay up to date with all the latest developments, changes and advice relating to childcare.
CPD is largely encouraged here at Seasides and a specific training budget is in place to ensure our staff can access all the training they want and build on their knowledge, skills and practice.
6. How we work in partnership with parents/carers
The Key Person has a powerful impact on a child’s wellbeing, mental health and opportunities to think and learn and it is through this approach, we are able to develop and secure strong working partnerships with parents and carers. As parents/carers, you are your child(ren)’s primary educators and it is extremely important that relationships are built from the start to ensure we can all work together to provide the most caring, safe and stable environment for your child(ren).
Here at Seasides we also encourage children to build relationships with all our staff so that your child does not feel too disrupted or unsettled when their Key Person is absent. Your child should feel comfortable and secure knowing they can go to any other member of staff in their room and form a close relationship in the absence of their Key Person.
It is our aim to form good relationships with parents and carers so it becomes easier and more comfortable to share information regarding your child(ren). By building strong relationships, developmental, social and health related information can be exchanged comfortably.
We work to achieve strong and equal working relationships with parents/carers by:
- Ensuring that Key Persons are available to either collect your children in the mornings or drop-off in the evenings and providing detailed feedback of their day;
- Ensuring that Key Persons are available for regular discussions about children’s development and progress in the form of parent evenings and appointments;
- Ensuring all necessary information/nursery news is communicated to parents and carers either verbally, via letter/email, our social media page, by publishing and sending home quarterly newsletters or via our website;
- Encouraging all parents/carers to use Tapestry regularly to view their child’s development and progress as well as uploading their own observations;
- Encouraging parents/carers to book appointments to come and view their child’s working folders and next steps;
- Encouraging parents/carers to discuss any concerns or issues about their child with their Key Person in the first instance but letting them know Laura, Sian and Ashleigh are available any time if they prefer to speak to management;
- Where families are separated, we provide the same information to both sets of parents and give them both the same opportunities and information;
- Ensuring that detailed and proper parental/carer permissions are obtained should additional support be sought and that parents/carers are kept informed every step of the way.
7. Specialist services and expertise accessed by our setting:
At Seasides, every child matters and we work work incredibly hard to ensure their individual needs are met by making sure all children are included and have the same access and opportunities as each other. To help develop every child’s full potential we may sometimes need help, guidance and support from outside professionals such as speech therapists and health visitors. Where needed, an Early Help Plan may be created and parental permission sought to access these external professionals to seek their support for a child with particular additional needs.
Some of the professionals we may contact include:
Area SENCo: An Area SENCo may come into the nursery to observe any children (with parental consent), who ourselves or parents may have concerns with and work with us, advising us of appropriate actions to take if necessary.
Health Visitor: Health visitors are qualified nurses and/or midwives who have specialist training to provide the best support to families with young children. Health visitors are able to signpost families to other services they may need and they work in partnership with you and your family to decide on the level of support you may require. Health Visitors also work closely with midwives, practices nurses and GPs and are there to help support you and your family with any concerns you may have.
Speech and Language Therapist (SALT): A SALT therapist will work closely alongside staff to support any children who may require extra help to develop their speech and vocabulary. A SALT therapist will work with you and your family at home as well as the setting to ensure both sides are working together well to help progress your child’s development.
Specialist Nurse: A nurse or other medical professional may sometimes come into nursery to provide any specialist treatment training such as epi pens etc.
8. How our environment is accessible:
At Seasides we provide a safe, secure, friendly and educational environment in which all children and adults are supported in order to help reach their full potential. Our overall approach to the children’s learning and development is child initiated learning. The majority of activities we do with the children are initiated by the child. We do this by using our observations of each child to find next steps for the child, which will develop their learning. These ‘next steps’ are used in our weekly plans as fun activities for the children to do. By taking this approach, we are ensuring that the children ‘enjoy and achieve’. We focus on different children each week – this ensures all children have equal access to the curriculum. Our evaluations help us to identify how well the children are progressing.
We are committed to the integration of children with special needs and aim to provide care and education for all children. Seasides is greatly equipped with wide doors, slopes, ground-level toilets and multi-lingual staff to enable everyone equal access to opportunities to learn and develop so they can work towards meeting their full potential.
9. How our setting supports young children with SEND when joining the setting and when transferring the children to another setting or school:
When joining the setting, children with SEND will go through a settling-in process tailored to meet their individual needs. This can include anything from a gradual approach to working with previous settings and the families to ensure we know as much about the child as possible. If necessary, staff will undergo additional training before the child starts with us and have in-depth discussions with outside agencies/professionals who are already involved in the child’s care previously. This is in order to produce a structured plan on how to meet the child’s needs during the transition.
Before every child leaves for school, a School Passport is prepared by the setting detailing the stage of development the child is at for each of the seven areas of the EYFS. This is sent to the school with parental consent around summertime before the child leaves us. These passports provide the opportunity for our setting to document a child’s individual strengths and weaknesses alongside any additional care and support they have received whilst at Seasides. Direct phone calls with the teachers also take place so we can thoroughly discuss each individual in great detail to ensure care and support can remain consistent. Key Persons also work closely with teachers to aid the transition and share information (e.g. One Plans) and we also welcome teachers in to the setting to visit the child(ren).
10. Who at Seasides should I speak with to discuss concerns about my child?
In the first instance, you should always speak to your child’s Key Person if you have concerns about any aspect of your child’s development. Information will then be passed on confidentially to the Nursery Manager, Laura and the Nursery SENCo, Ashleigh.
If at any time you do not feel that you can raise your concerns with your child’s key person, we encourage you to contact Laura directly on 01255 487 422 who will be more than happy to speak with you via telephone or arrange a face to face meeting to put your concerns at ease.
For further information on the Essex Local Offer, visit: www.essexlocaloffer.org.uk.