Special Educational Needs

Every child is unique, and at Freshford Preschool we are dedicated to ensuring that all children feel valued and have a sense of real belonging in the setting, receiving the care and support they need and deserve, to help support them on their individual learning journeys.

Children's development goals are successfully achieved through careful, tailored planning, effective communication and strong partnerships, within the staff team, with the children, parents/carers and other professionals. Consistency of care alongside our nurturing environment means all children can thrive, regardless of any challenges they face. 

We believe 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 preschool’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 join the preschool and will then continue to assess their development within the seven areas of learning as outlined under EYFS.

These checks help to identify any areas where children might need extra support. The staff meet weekly to discuss observations and plan future activities to meet the learning and development needs of the children.

Additionally, on a termly basis, the progress data for all children is analysed and compared. 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 Preschool?

During the registration process, parents can outline their child's needs on the online application form. The preschool SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) is available to meet with prospective parents to discuss the child's and family's needs.

Parents should contact the preschool by phone or email to arrange this. Parents/carers are welcome to arrange a tour of the preschool setting, giving an opportunity to discuss any requirements for your child. Before your child joins Freshford Preschool you will also complete our Unique Child Booklet which is a chance 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 preschool.

We also arrange a home visit from your child's play partner during which you can talk through the content of the Unique Child Booklet and discuss any concerns and specific requirements. Following this your child’s play partner will write an individual support plan. This also allows your child to meet their play partner in a home environment and start to build that important attachment. 

How will staff support my child?

We plan each week's activities around 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 them 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. 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). External health and education professionals may be invited to observe the child playing at preschool 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 the small group 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 informed by 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. Inside, the facilities are all on one level and there is ramped free-flow access to the garden. The multi-level garden has a ramp to the upper level, making all areas of our outdoor learning environment accessible.

Our preschool’s home is within the village hall and therefore there are some limitations due to the nature of the building. 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 preschool 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 for whom English is an additional language. We use visual displays to remind children of our Preschool 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 Preschool staff team offer in support of my child's unique needs?

Our December 2016 Ofsted inspection report commented: “The manager and staff are inspiring role models for the children. They provide children with an excellent balance of exciting and inventive learning experiences with a strong emphasis placed on the children leading their own play. All children make excellent progress from their initial starting points.”

All our staff 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 noted that our “partnerships with parents are first class”. 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.

The learning journals are available for parents/carers to view at any time and are always shared at parent/carer consultations. Families are invited to contribute to the journal, so it becomes a lovely record of a child's learning journey.

Parents/carers are fully involved in shaping their child's action plan and work with our SENCo, and any external agencies involved in supporting their child, to agree new targets. Regular meetings provide an excellent opportunity for everyone to share information, look at how the 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?

We 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 helping them to realise their full potential.

Parents/carers who get involved during these early years are more likely to remain involved throughout their child’s education, resulting in the best possible outcomes for their children. Parents/carers are encouraged to spend time in the preschool, by volunteering as a parent helper, or attending fundraising or family events. We are also happy to offer advice and ideas for setting up stimulating learning environments and activities at home.

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

We take pride in the excellent care we are able to provide for our children. In our December 2016 Ofsted inspection we were graded ‘outstanding’ for our personal development, behaviour and welfare. The inspector commented that “children display exceptionally high levels of self-esteem and confidence. They build excellent relationships with staff, who know them well”.

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 join their children on trips, walks and Forest School sessions in order to maintain high adult/child ratios when we leave the Memorial Hall. This also enables parents/carers to witness 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 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.

Preschool to school transitions are planned to take into account individual children's needs and we are able to liaise with the receiving school's SENCo, reception teacher and all other agencies involved with the family, to support a smooth transition.

Reception teachers from Freshford, Combe Down and other relevant local schools visit the preschool to meet children coming into their class and consult with their play partners. A transition document is shared with the parents and receiving school. This outlines 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.