1. How does the early years setting know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs or disabilities?
Happy Steps staff are qualified at level 3 and higher and are trained to have knowledge in the development stages of each individual child. Observations are made by the staff and by each child’s Key Person, these observations help staff to identify any additional support the child may need. Two members of staff have children with special educational needs and have experience with outside agencies. The setting’s INCO/SENCO is trained and experienced in special educational needs and there are policies and procedures in place to make sure all children have access to the activities that take place or can be adapted so enable every child to participate.
Relationships are built between the parents and the child’s Key Person regular meetings are set up to discuss each child’s development, this gives parents the opportunity to talk to staff about any concerns they may have. If parents prefer they can also talk to the Manager, Deputy Manager who is also the INCO/SENCO. Daily chats at pick up and drop off times are always available or an appointment can be made if the parent wishes, alternatively parents can contact the setting via email, telephone or parents evening which is held twice a year.
2. How will early years setting staff support my child?
The setting’s staff will obtain permission from the parents to involve outside agencies once additional needs of the child have been identified. Outside agencies include First team, Occupational therapists, Portage and Speech and Language therapy. The child’s Key Person will meet and speak to the parents regularly to ensure the parents input and wishes are heard. Parents will be encouraged to share information from home to enable the Key Person to have as much information about the child as possible. If necessary Play Plans or Behavioral Trigger Sheets can be put into place by the Key Person who will work alongside the INCO/SENCO. These plans can then be shared with outside agencies. If the child required extra support, for example one to one, or specialist equipment that the parents were unable to provide, the setting could apply for Inclusion funding. If necessary the setting will ensure staff get specialized training in a child’s specific needs.
3. How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
All staff have knowledge and experience in expected age/stage of children’s development and the Early Years curriculum. Each child has a learning journal that holds observations taken in the setting, evidential photographs, information from parents and possibly information from outside agencies. IEP’s (Individual Educational Plans) will be written several times a year and the child’s Next Steps in Learning alongside a Play Plan, this will all help to aid the child’s learning. All activities offered to the child may need to be altered to suite the child’s individual needs. Advice from outside agencies might be necessary to gain more knowledge in certain areas, all of this will be recorded and kept in the child’s journal.
4. How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’slearning?
Parents are able to access their child’s Learning Journal at any time, they do not have to wait for Parent/Key Person meetings. Home/school contact books can be used or parents can speak to a member of staff at pick up and drop off times. Telephone conversations or email is another form of communication between the setting and parents. Copies of Play Plans or Behavioral Trigger sheets can be sent home to help parents with the consistency in the setting. Parents are invited to join the staff for any outside agency meetings or training and advice given by other professionals. Other support can come in the form of The Children and Family Centre which is located in the same building. Family support workers can help support parents and give them information on various relevant things including benefits they may be entitled to.
5. What support will there be for my child’s overall well being?
There will always be fully trained staff in the setting including Pediatric First Aid, Child Protection, Health and safety and Manual Handling. Any children who have medical conditions that are ongoing for example eczema or asthma parents are asked to fill out a medication form and sign it to allow the staff to administer prescribed medication for their condition. This is the case for any medication that has been prescribed by a doctor, dentist or nurse. Parents are informed that unless the medication is in its original container and labeled we cannot administer it. Any un prescribed medication must be given by the parent. Two members of staff are always present when administering any child’s medication. The dosage is checked and signed and witnessed at the time, parents are asked to sign at the end of each day when the medication is returned.
Ongoing training for staff to carry out their role and parents are encouraged to give staff training they may use at home. Funding that can be accessed and allocated to a child with additional needs can be used to enable the setting to employ a member of staff for someone to one time, or for specialist equipment to help the child. Risk assessments may need to be put in place to ensure the health and safety of the child and staff. All staff have undergone a suitability check (DBS – Disclosure Barring Service). The door to enter the setting is number coded and the garden is safe and fully enclosed. Each setting is required to appoint an Inclusion co coordinator (INCO) and a Special Educational Needs co coordinator (SENCO).
6. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the early years setting?
The setting provides an inclusive environment and the settings Special Educational Needs coordinator has training to allow them to carry out their role effectively. The training provides them with the information and knowledge they may need to refer a child to an outside agency. Members of staff that have children of their own with additional needs are knowledgeable and understanding, the impact it can have on parents and families when your child is identified as having additional needs can be a fighting time. Having an understanding person to talk to can sometimes make a big difference. The Children and Family Centre which is located in the same building has regular speech and language drop in sessions, this is useful for parents as a first step if an issue with speech and language has been identified. Staff can also access information and ideas for resources from the Speech and Language therapist. The setting has a member of staff that is fluent in French and Spanish this has helped duel language families and their children settle into the setting well.
The Children and Family Center have a wide range of resources including sensory toys that can be borrowed from their toy library either by the parents or us.
7. What training are the staff, supporting children with SEND, had or are having?
The setting have two members of staff that have children of their own with Special Educational Needs, courses staff in the setting have attended are Child protection (Safe Guarding), First Aid, Health and Safety, Manual Handling, Positive Behavior, The INCO/SENCO has had training in the Role of the INCO and working with two year olds.
8. How will my child be included in activities outside the early years setting including trips?
The setting has access to an enclosed garden. This is accessible to all children that are walking and those who cannot. If the child with Special Educational Needs has been allocated funding, this can be used to allow the child to have one to one with a member of staff if we going out of the setting. Risk assessments would always be carried out by the setting before any trip outside of the setting. Permission is always needed from parents before we would take any child out of the setting. The setting would also take into consideration whether the trip is appropriate for the development of the child.
9. How accessible is the early years setting environment? (Indoors and outdoors)
The setting runs from a rented church hall although we have sole use of the main hall in which we run, the rest of the building is shared use to the users of the church and the Children and Family Centre. The building is mostly wheelchair accessible with a gradual slope leading to double entrance doors. There are double doors into the setting and there is a disabled toilet with a changing unit. We are a pack away setting but have colourful displays mostly at the children’s level. We have used visual time tables and Makaton Symbols for children that benefit from this.
10. How will the early years setting prepare and support my child to join the early years setting,transfer to a new setting/school?
If the child has been referred to outside agencies to get help for specific Special Educational Needs, the setting will liaise with those professionals to ensure the child has a smooth transition into their new setting or school. Staff have experience in children who have gone to the local Primary school that have needed extra support and children who have gone on to Special Education schools.
Meetings can be arranged between the settings SENCO’s, the child’s Key Person and parents to discuss and decide on a plan of action. At the transition meeting everyone involved with the child including outside agencies can meet. This gives everybody involved with the child the opportunity to give as much information as possible to the new setting.
To help with transition it can be arranged for opportunities for the child to visit their new school, and pictures of the new environment and staff made available to share with the child. Spare school uniform for the child can help the child to become familiar with what they will be wearing. Staff will encourage children where possible to become as independent as they are able before transition.
11. How are the early years setting’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educationalneeds?
It would be discussed how the funding allocated to a child would be used. Extra staff would give the child more one to one time for activities. Parents should liaise with staff about any equipment, resources and training that would be suitable for their child’s individual needs. Resources that can be easily adapted to enable each child to access activities will be discussed with the SENCO, Key Person and parents. The setting will endeavor to find an alternative to resources that cannot be adapted.
12. How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
If a concern about a child has been raised and staff have spoken to the parents, then between them they can discuss and agree on how the child will be best supported. Individual Education Plans will be put into place and reviewed regularly by staff and these can then be discussed with parents and updated as required. Outside agencies that may be involved with the child would visit the child in the setting to observe the child’s development and any progress that has been made. All the information would be discussed with parents and staff and used to make decisions about the type and level of support the child may need. To ensure that the level of support is right for the child the staff, parents and any outside agencies will meet and discuss the impact on the child.
13. How are parents involved in the early years setting? How can I be involved?
In our setting we encourage parents to visit as much as they like before the child starts, this gives the parents and the child the opportunity to get to know the staff and setting. Once the child starts a Key Person will be allocated to them to help them with the settling process and build good relationships with the child and their parents. Parents can speak to staff in a number of ways either at drop off and pick up times, by telephone or email if they wish to and keep us updated of their child’s progress at home. Staff can take the information about new interests or new things learnt and use it to plan activities for the child and to help plan for the Next Steps in Learning. Once a term parents meet by appointment with their child’s Key Person to discuss the child’s Learning Journal, this gives the parents time to read though it and given the opportunity to discuss any concerns or ideas they have for their child. Alternatively we hold a parents evening twice a year.
Home to school books are another form of communication between the setting and the parents, we also encourage the child to use these books too.
14. Who can I contact for further information?
The first point of contact if a parent needs to discuss their child would be the child’s Key Person. In the setting other staff members that may be able to help are the Manager (Rochelle Bradbury) or the Deputy Manager and INCO/SENCO (Cristie Killian). Advice and support can sort from other professionals Health visitors, G.P’s, Educational and Behavioral Psychologists, Occupational therapist, Local schools, Special Education schools, SALT (Speech and Language therapy), Portage (who provide help and support for parents at home), First Team (who would allocate an Early Years Advisory Teacher to support the staff in the setting), Social Services and The Children and Family Centre based in the same building as us have family supporters and offer various workshops and drop-in sessions including Speech and Language drop in.
Information about the setting including the Local Offer can be found on our website www.happystepspreschool.comand The Local Offer can be found on the West Sussex County Council website www.westsussex.gov.uk