This document describes what Osmotherley Pre-school can offer to support children and families with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND). We are an award winning, inclusive setting and our admissions policy is the same for all children. We provide a safe, positive and welcoming environment and children’s well being is at the heart of all we do. We recognise each child as a unique individual and make reasonable adjustments to our provision so that every child has opportunities to fulfil their developmental potential. Our policies reinforce our commitment – Special Education Needs; Health and Safety; Safeguarding; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion; Parental Involvement; Staffing and Employment.
Provision for SEND is categorised into ‘targeted support’ and ‘specialist advice and support’. A need for support is identified through a cycle of assessment, planning and reviewing. Not every need requires support from an outside agency. If your child is receiving targeted support, it will be identified on an Individual Learning and Provision Plan (referred to as an ILLP) and means that we have differentiated, or made adjustments, that are dependent upon your child’s needs and abilities, so that the EYFS is accessible. You will be involved in the drawing up of this document as well as all the reviews that take place. If reviews indicate that more specialised support is required, then ‘specialist advice and support’ will come into effect. This graduated approach system follows North Yorkshire’s guidance and further funding may be available in some cases. If progress is not seen to be made, a request for the local authority to carry out a Statutory Assessment may follow; this may lead to a Statement of Special Educational Need.
What qualifications and experience do we have?
The team at Osmotherley Pre-school are committed to providing high quality care and education for your child. The setting is graduate led and managed by Gill Hunton; Gill holds a BA(Hons) in Young Children’s Learning and Development and is an Early Years Professional and a lead practitioner for North Yorkshire. She spent two years studying professional practice in learning support (CAPPLS) at York St John and is the setting’s designated special needs coordinator (SENco) and named practitioner for behaviour management; she attends termly SENco network meetings and training led by the local authority and is ably assisted in her role as SENco by Lesley Hore. Lesley has paediatric nursing experience and recently completed the Children and Young People’s Workforce Diploma (level 3).
All our team of staff have attended equality, diversity and inclusion training; paediatric first aid; food hygiene and safeguarding. We all attend refresher training in specific areas every three years. Qualification and training records are retained and may be viewed upon request. Gill has also attended Portage training and was very involved with the Every Child a Talker (ECaT) initiative for three years, as an early language lead practitioner. As a team, we have accumulated a wealth of expertise working with and supporting children and their families with a diverse range of needs and disabilities, including
• speech and language/communication related problems
• severe asthmatic and allergy conditions
• emotional and/or behavioural problems
• the autistic spectrum
• cerebral palsy
We receive a delegated SEN budget from the local authority that is used to fund staffing, training in specific areas and purchasing additional resources. All our policies can be viewed in the appropriate file on the Parent Shelf and copies are also available upon request. If you wish to discuss these in more detail or have any concerns about your child’s development please ask for a time to discuss this in private, either with your child’s key person or with the SENco.
We are guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and allocate a key person to each child and their family. If more than one child in the same family attends (siblings, twins, triplets) each child will be allocated a different key person whenever possible. The role of a key person is to develop a trusting, sensitive relationship with their key child and its family and enable respectful information sharing. We operate an open door policy and want parents to feel comfortable in raising any concerns they may have about their child’s development. On-going observational assessments are carried out by our team of highly qualified and experienced practitioners; we monitor and measure progress using the Department of Education’s Early Years Outcomes.
How do I make contact?
If you are thinking of joining our setting, or just want more information about us, please telephone, email or just call in if you are passing. We operate an open-door policy and we will always endeavour to make time to give you a conducted tour of the setting, including the outdoor areas, and explain the limitations of the building. You will be introduced to practitioners on duty that day and directed to the staff photo board that enables parents (and children) to identify practitioners and their roles.
What happens next?
When you have made the decision for your child to attend our setting, we request personal information; our manager records this on our Information about a Child form and can be done in three ways; either by visiting our setting, by requesting a home-visit or during one of the manager’s visits to Grasshoppers (the village mother and toddler group). If a child is known to have an identified SEND, it is crucial for us to find out as much information as possible about anything that may impact upon their early learning or welfare before starting; this includes carrying out the appropriate risk assessments regarding medical equipment and support that may come with your child and reviewing staff ratios. If other agencies are already involved with a child/family, we suggest meeting with them in order to write an ILLP. This is drawn up together and shared with all staff who work with your child, not just their key person, so that we can ensure that your child receives the best possible care and education from the moment they arrive on their first day.
What if English is not my first language?
If this is the case, we will ensure that all our information, including policies, notices, newsletters, books, nursery rhymes and your child’s ILLP, if one is required, will be made available to you in your home language. We will request the services of the EAL (English as an additional language) advisory team, including a translator, whenever appropriate; all our staff are responsible for ensuring that children and their families have full access to the EYFS Framework. We will also endeavour to learn some familiar words and phrases to help your child feel a sense of belonging. Further information is available from North Yorkshire’s Talk To Us service –
email [email protected] or telephone 0845 8727374
Then what happens?
Settling in varies, according to each individual child (see our settling in policy) and may take longer for some children than others, depending on needs and circumstances. You will already know who your key person will be before your child arrives. We understand the issues relating to attachment and anxiety and the difficulties that surround parents/carers and extended family members leaving a child in our care. You are welcome to stay for as long as it takes because we understand your need for reassurance also; open and honest discussion is crucial to this extremely important transition period. We emphasise the on-going need for information to be shared because circumstances can change very quickly and it is crucial you make us aware, if this is the case, so that individual needs can be met. This is especially important if your child also attends another setting (shared placement) and we have found that our home/school books offer an additional and effective means of communicating between all concerned.
Some children will arrive at our setting with an already identified need or disability and we will already have plans in place; alternatively, our practitioners may identify a child who has a delay or disability. This is why it is important for us to observe and listen. Staff meet on a weekly basis to discuss learning and development and together we make informed decisions about individual progress and plan next steps, in order to help children move on. We will identify additional needs as soon as possible and this may include developmental delays in a specific area or areas, a disability or if your child shows signs of being gifted and talented. We put support in place and will always keep you informed, whether through the formal review process or face-to-face in a less informal manner. Parents are children’s primary educators and, by establishing and maintaining effective parent partnerships, Osmotherley Pre-school will always put your child first. We will always maintain contact with the professionals who work with your child; this includes physiotherapists, occupational therapists, Portage home visitors, educational psychologists, paediatricians, dieticians etc. Reviews are planned at regular intervals and reports are invited from all those involved, so that progress can be shared, evaluated, adjustments made and next steps planned. Regular contact will continue throughout your child’s time at pre-school or until a point where it is no longer required.
How do I access further support or advice?
Our SENco is able to signpost you to other professionals that may be able to help, such as health visitors, inclusion officers, Children’s Centre staff, Autism Outreach, speech and language therapists (SALTs) and the Area SENco and/or Early Years Advisory Teacher; contact details are available upon request. Parental permission must accompany any request or referral that we make on your behalf.
If you are worried about your child’s speech and language you can visit the monthly Speech and Language Drop-in clinic at Mill Hill Primary School, Crosby Road, Northallerton. No appointment is necessary and qualified speech and language therapists (SALT’s) are there to answer your questions about your child’s general development and offer ideas for you to help your child at home. A further appointment may be offered if appropriate. Just call in or ring 01609 764104 or 01609 751205.
If you are unhappy with how we provide for your child, please talk to us in the very first instance. We will always listen to you and your child and do our utmost to address any issues. We have a complaints procedure for you to follow (see policy) and should you feel you need to write in our ‘complaints book’, you will find it sits alongside our ‘compliments book’, on the Parent Shelf; if you feel it necessary to contact Ofsted, details about how you can do this are provided on the inside cover.
What will my child do at pre-school?
Play underpins all development and learning for young children, including those who have additional needs. Providing multi-sensory play experiences and equipment are vital components of our core-provision and we incorporate a wide variety of resources, visual aids and 1:1 support. Parental knowledge about a child is important to us and partnership working is sought at every point. Sharing information and involving you (the parents) in planning from the outset helps us identify the strengths and needs of your child. We collate observations and photographs into individual learning journeys that reflect your child’s achievements and successes; you can view this at any time and it is handed over to you when your child leaves us. We value every contribution you make to your child’s Home/School book as this helps us get to know their wider interests and fascinations. All our team have an extensive knowledge of early child development and act as good role models for positive behaviour. We all demonstrate an inclusive, welcoming and flexible approach and know how to differentiate activities, whilst still maintaining the appropriate amount of risk and challenge that it relevant to a child’s individual stage of development. We use empathy dolls, puppets and photographs to explain routines and use vocabulary to help children become aware and understand their emotions and feelings. Personal health care plans are adopted where necessary and staff will receive training to administer medicines. We adopt a ‘can-do’ approach and ensure that all children are able to access resources and make independent choices.
We carry out a Two Year Progress Check, at a point before a child reaches three years of age. This is dependent upon how many sessions a child attends, so if a child attends everyday, it will be carried out sooner than if a child attends only one or two sessions. This information, together with Home/School book contributions, key person observations and less informal chats provides us with an overall picture of your child, sometimes referred to as an holistic picture, and indicates developmental progress.
We also complete individual summative assessments, using the local authority’s On-Track criteria. This helps us to identify gaps in specific areas and there are a variety of strategies and techniques that can be put in place to address this.
There are many transition periods in a child’s life and it is crucial to get them right; we view transition as a process, not an event, and we plan for them with you. Any change to the routine and/or environment that a child is familiar with can have traumatic consequences; moving house or to another setting, new brothers/sisters, health issues, family break ups and bereavements, and moving on to school are all examples. Therefore, it is imperative to keep lines of communication open and honest; we are happy to answer your questions or signpost you to other sources of information and we assure you that confidentiality will be respected at all times.