Our Local Offer for Children with Special Educational Need and Disability

The aim of our Local Offer is to provide families and carers with information about what support is available for children with additional needs at Freshford Pre-school and how to access it.

Our mission statement for children with Special Educational Need and Disability

At Freshford Pre-school we are passionate about providing an inclusive, stimulating and supportive environment in which every child is treated as an individual and is given the best possible opportunities to thrive and realize their full potential.

We strive to ensure that our learning environments, equipment, resources and activities support each child in our care and meet their unique needs, learning styles and fascinations.

We recognise that some children may have additional needs that require more specific support and assistance and we are highly committed to working in partnership with parents/carers to ensure that every child is able to access our services and that our environment and the activities we provide promote their welfare and development.

The Pre-school is committed to the integration of all children in its care; we strongly believe that children with additional needs have a right to play, learn and be able to develop to their full potential alongside their peers. Whenever possible, we will strive to ensure that every child with additional needs has access to the same facilities, activities and play opportunities.

The policies, procedures and practices of the Pre-school in relation to children with additional needs are consistent with current legislation and guidance; these include the Equalities Act 2010,  Disability Discrimination Act 1995, and the SEND Code of Practice 2014.

The Pre-school believes that by identifying individual needs at the earliest possible stage and taking proactive steps, working alongside parents/carers and other statutory professionals or agencies, all children should be able to play a full, active and equal part in the Pre-school’s activities and we are dedicated to achieving this.

How do you know if my child needs extra help?

Your child's play partner (key worker) will carry out an initial assessment of your child six to eight weeks after they have started at the Pre-school. In addition, throughout their time at Pre-school, play partners will assess whether children are meeting the EYFS development matters statements within each learning and development area through observing them as they play. For those children who join us aged two, play partners carry out a progress check assessing their progress against the three prime areas of learning during the autumn term. These areas are communication and language, physical development, and personal, social and emotional development. This check can help to identify any areas where children might need some extra support. The staff meet weekly to discuss observations and plan future activities to meet the learning and development needs of the children. Any concerns regarding the development of any children will be discussed, and play partners will seek advice from other members of the staff team including the Pre-school Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) and Pre-school Manager. Additionally, on a termly basis, the progress data for all children is analysed and compared and this acts as a further tool to help us to identify any children who would benefit from additional support. Finally, we place great value upon the knowledge of our parents/carers; you are the experts when it comes to your children and we recognise that working in partnership is integral to ensuring that each child receives the individual support they need to help them progress. We therefore strive to build strong and trusting relationships with our parents/carers, so that you feel comfortable and confident to share your child’s progress at home with us and any concerns you may have regarding their development, safe in the knowledge that no action will be taken without your support and consent.

What should I do if I already know my child has special educational needs or a disability before applying for a place at Freshford Pre-school?

When applying for a place at Freshford Pre-school, parents can outline their child's needs on the initial online application form. The Pre-school SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator), Lily Huggins is available to meet with potential parents to discuss the child's and families' needs. Parents can contact the SENCo directly to arrange this on SENCo@freshfordpreschool.co.uk or 07928 013998 during Pre-school hours. You are also able to arrange a tour of the Pre-school setting, which would provide an opportunity to discuss any requirements for your child. Before your child starts at Pre-school you will also complete our Unique Child Booklet which provides an opportunity to share your child's developmental history, their current interests, what is important to your child and how we might be able to help them settle into Pre-school. We will also arrange a home visit from your child's play partner during which you can t talk through the content of the Unique Child booklet, discuss any concerns and specific requirements, from which your child’s play partner will write an individual support plan. It also provides a chance for your child to meet with their play partner in their home environment and start to build that important attachment.

How will staff support my child?

The staff team plan each week's activities taking into account and following the children's individual fascinations,needs and schemas. If a child is having difficulty with any aspects of learning and development, then we will apply a differentiated approach to suit the children's individual style of learning. If despite differentiation, a child still has significantly greater difficulty in learning than their peers, or a disability that prevents or hinders a child from making use of the facilities, special educational provision will be made through an Action Plan. The Action Plan includes agreed targets, desirable outcomes, relevant interventions and support, and how and when the process will be monitored and reviewed. The type of support and interventions applied will be based on reliable evidence of effectiveness and will be provided by staff with appropriate skills, knowledge and training. Interventions will be shared with all those that work with the child, and parents/carers will be encouraged to use them at home. The Action Plan is closely monitored and updated by the play partner and SENCo, working in partnership with parents/carers. Where we believe a child requires more specialist support, consent will be sought from parents/carers to make a referral to the appropriate external agency (such as Speech and Language Services, Occupational Therapy or Educational Psychology) or to invite external health and education professionals to observe the child playing at Pre-school in order to provide advice on how to address any learning and development needs. Support activities and targets set by external agencies will be incorporated into our small group focused activities enjoyed by all children, so that the child remains fully integrated.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs? 

There is a clear cycle of observation, assessment and planning for each child. Planning is carried out taking into account children's unique interests, learning styles and needs. We also use provision mapping for children with additional needs, which takes into account all the resources we have available, including whole group teaching, small group work and individual interventions.

How will we provide an enabling environment for all children in our care? 

There is ramped access available to the Memorial Hall which is then all on one level along with ramped free-flow access to the Pre-school garden. The multi-level garden also has a ramp to the upper level, ensuring that all areas of our outdoor learning environment are accessible. Our pre-school’s home is within the village hall and therefore there are some limitations due to the nature of the building and we will be able to discuss these with you during your initial visit. However, we will always do our very best to explore, research and where possible instigate adjustments, such as seeking out suitable equipment, or adapting equipment and facilities to make our pre-school accessible for every child. Changing facilities are available for children who are still in nappies and foot stools are available to allow children to reach the toilets and hand basins.

Visual timetables are used to assist children with the daily routine and dual language books are used with children with English as an Additional Language. We use visual displays to remind children of our Pre-school Golden Rules and our Forest School rules. We provide many multi sensory activities for all the children in our care.

What qualities, skills and experience do the Freshford Pre-school staff team have to support my child's unique needs? 

Our May 2014 Ofsted inspection report commented “There is a homely atmosphere where staff are positive and passionate about childcare, their energy is contagious and they have a very positive impact on each other and the children.” All our staff team who work directly with the children have early years qualifications from Level 3 up to qualified teacher status. All staff members attend regular training courses on a diverse range of subjects from Behaviour Management to Letters and Sounds. Our SENCo attends termly SEND updates run by Bath and North East Somerset Council.

How will both you and I know how my child is doing?

Our Ofsted inspection report commented on our “highly effective partnerships with parents (which) mean that children are given consistency and the all-round care and education that prepares them for school.” Through evaluating action plans each term (or more often if needed) and our ongoing assessments recorded in your child's learning journal, we have a clear picture of each child's progress in all areas of learning and development. Assessment data is analysed by the Pre-school management team each term, and the learning and development Pre-school sub-committee scrutinise this analysis during its termly meetings. Each child has a learning journal and they are available for parents/carers to view at any time, and are always shared at parent/carer consultations. Parents/carers are asked to contribute to the journal so it becomes a lovely record of a child's learning journey. Parents/carers are fully involved in reviewing their child's action plan and will work with our SENCo and any external agencies involved in supporting their child to set the next targets and will meet regularly through ‘Team Around the Family’ or 'Family Service Planning’ meetings which provide an excellent opportunity for everyone to share information, look at how a child and family are doing, ensure they are being supported appropriately and decide what the next steps are for the child.

How will you help me to support my child’s learning?

As mentioned previously, we firmly believe that working in partnership with parents/carers is one of the most important aspects of successfully supporting a child’s welfare, learning and development and in realising their full potential. Parents/carers who get involved during these early years are more likely to remain involved through-out their child’s education, resulting in the best possible outcomes for their children. Parents/carers are encouraged to spend time in the Pre-school, by volunteering as a parent helper, or attending fundraising or family events. You are also able to access our Continuous Provision plans on the Pre-school website, which give lots of ideas of how you could set up stimulating learning environments and activities at home.

What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing? 

Freshford Pre-school prides itself on the excellent care it is able to provide for our children. In our May 2014 Ofsted inspection we were graded Outstanding for our contribution to the wellbeing of the children attending the Pre-school. The inspector commented that “children have developed strong attachments with staff which means they are happy, confident, secure children”. When appropriate we work closely with health visitors to ensure that coordinated support is available and that individual family circumstances are always considered. Children with additional medical needs have a health care plan which details how staff manage the administration of medications and provide personal care. Our behaviour policy clearly details how children with emotional and behavioural needs are supported, our behaviour expectations and how we can support all children's behaviour in the setting.

How will my child be included in activities outside the setting, including trips, walks, and Forest School?

Parents/carers are invited to go out with their children on trips, walks and Forest School sessions in order to maintain high adult/child ratios when we leave the Memorial Hall and to provide opportunities for parents/carers to see the value of learning in the outdoor environment and the positive effects this can have upon all children. If your child has mobility needs, we will endeavour to attract extra funding from the Local Authority so that we can employ an extra staff member to support their physical requirements while on walks and in the Forest School environment. If funding is not available we will ask you or another family member to support us on those activities so that your child can continue to benefit from the Forest School experience.

How will you prepare and support my child with transition to school?

One of the biggest transitions a child goes through is starting school. For families with children with additional needs this can be a particularly worrying time. Pre-school to school transitions are planned to take into account individual children's needs. For example, for some children we may have a Team Around the Family (TAF) transition meeting inviting the receiving school's SENCo, reception teacher and all other agencies involved with the family and a plan is devised to support a smooth transition. Reception teachers from Freshford, Combe Down and other relevant local schools visit the Pre-school to meet children coming into their class and talk to their play partners. A transition document is shared with the parents and receiving school which reports on the child's characteristics of effective early learning and progress in the seven areas of learning and development. Children with action plans will have their records of support forwarded to the school SENCo and class teacher.