playing How does the setting know if children/young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?

 At Foundry Lane Playgroup, every child is an individual and staff are experienced in observing and assessing the next steps for the children. At the point that a child joins the setting they are signed up to an online learning journal called “Tapestry”. We ask parents to complete a “Unique Child.”  This document is designed to support setting staff to gain an overview of the child’s learning and development so far, through a range of questions including; getting to know my family and me, interests and preferences, food and drink, health and development, and sleeping and toileting routines. This document will be used by your child’s “key person” to refer to whilst your child is settling-in and to support staff to gain some insight into your family life. The Key Person will also share information with you about your child’s development and we encourage you to also share information with the Key Person about your child’s development at home. The information gathered from assessments, observations and with speaking to you, supports the Key Person in planning your child’s next steps to support their development.

We continually track children’s progress through a cycle of observation, assessment and planning. We use the Early Years Foundation Stage Development Matters and the Early Years Outcomes as a guide for the development milestones that a child would typically make at different stages up to the age of 5.

How will the early years setting staff support my child/young person?

Your child’s Key Person will work in partnership with both you and your child. We fully encourage you to share information regularly with the Key Person. Our SENCO will also be on hand to support you and your child. We also have regular contact with our Area SENCO. We will involve you along the way and invite you to regular meetings where you will be included in the decision making of what aims for development are set for your child. If required, with your permission, we can make referrals to other professionals such as the Speech and Language therapist.

Through the process of observation and assessment, if the Key Person has any concerns about your child’s development, they will speak with you and the setting’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENCO).

If you have any concerns about your child’s development, please feel free to discuss these with your child’s key person or the setting’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENCO).   For a child with SEND, a meeting with the SENCO and playgroup Manager will be necessary so their needs can be identified before the child starts at the setting and any reasonable adjustments can then be made to the playgroup environment.

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

Every child is an individual within our setting.  We will get to know what your child’s interests are through talking to you and through observations.  We will also gain an understanding of how your child prefers to learn.  Using this information assists the Key Person in adapting activities to support your child in accessing the Early Years curriculum.

How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s/young person’s learning?

Your child’s progress is recorded in their Learning Journey through written comments, observations and photographs and with input from you as well, such as photos taken at home or on holiday.  Parents are given regular feedback regarding their child’s progress through various formats including termly parent’s evenings, their child’s online learning journal “Tapestry” and through direct feedback following sessions.   Parents are welcome to book appointments to have a chat with their child’s key person at any time to discuss progress, next steps or concerns.  We are happy to give ideas of what to do at home to support your child’s development.  You will always be invited to meetings about your child involving other professionals

What support will there be for my child’s/young person’s overall well-being?

Our practitioners are welcoming and friendly, providing an inclusive, sensitive and positive approach.  Practitioners provide good role models for positive behaviour and are consistent in the day-to-day care of all our children. Should your child display unwanted behaviour we will work with you and your child to provide a consistent and planned approach to improve behaviour. Staff are always available to talk to the parents, should they need any advice, support or guidance regarding their child.

Children are involved in their daily routine. There are lots of opportunities for them to “free flow” around structured activities of their choice. Staff encourage the children to be as independent as possible, and the environment supports this.   Activities will be adapted to ensure your child is able to interact fully with the environment, and visual strategies such as a visual time-table can be used to help them understand our routines.

Individual health care plans can be adopted if necessary and staff will be trained in giving the appropriate medication for your child if required. Should your child require regular prescribed medication then a named member of staff will be responsible for the administering of this and you will be required to fill out and sign a ‘medication administered form.  All staff hold a paediatric first aid qualification.

The book corner provides a safe, quiet area to retreat to if your child is tired or needs some quiet time to themselves.

The playgroup is able to undertake personal care such as nappy changing.

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting?

We work with all professionals as required for each child and always encourage these people to come and visit the relevant children in the setting. With parental consent, we can access a range of specialist support through the setting’s designated Early Years Advisory Teacher (EYAT).  The EYAT team specialise in early year’s education and children with SEND in the early years.  They are based in the Early Years Team in Southampton City Council.  They support us in a range of areas; from general advice through to accessing appropriate support via referrals to specialist teams including:

  • Speech and Language Therapists (SALT)
  • Physiotherapistsabc
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Portage Services
  • Specialist Teachers for children with sensory needs.

What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or are having?

The setting’s Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator has completed “The Role of the Early Years Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator” training.  The SENCO attends termly Inclusion conferences run by the EYAT’s.  Information from these conferences is cascaded to all staff members through internal meeting processes.  Regular attendance by the SENCO to the local Early Years and Childcare briefing meetings ensures that all staff are kept up to date with relevant practice, training and legislation.  All staff have a qualification in Early Years and continually receive and refresh their training.  We continually reflect upon our practice and will attend training when a need is identified.

How will my child/young person be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?

All trips outside of the setting require a risk assessment to be carried out and parental consent needs to be obtained. We ensure that appropriate adult/child ratios are maintained at all times during trips. Parents are welcome to attend trips if they would like to.

A trained paediatric first aider is present on all trips. First aid kits will be taken along with any medication which a child may require for that day.

We carefully consider each child’s individual needs when planning activities or trips.

If for any reason an activity or trip is not suitable for a child, we will make necessary reasonable adjustments to ensure that the child can be included as much as possible.

How accessible is the setting environment?

The playgroup is fully inclusive with a ramp for disabled access and purpose built facilities that include a disabled access toilet and a baby changing area.  We are happy to make any reasonable adjustments to our environment that may be required and will work closely with all parents to access any specialist equipment that may be required.

We support families whose first language is not English.  Where necessary additional support from outside agencies is sourced to ensure an inclusive practice.  Visual timetables are used to assist children with the daily routine.

How will the setting prepare and support my child/ young person to join the setting, transfer to a new setting or the next stage of education and life?

Starting at Playgroup

We understand that separating from their parents is an important learning experience for children and it needs to be handled sensitively.  We recognise that children vary in how quickly they settle and that is why we work closely with each family to develop a settling in routine to match individual child’s needs. Taster sessions are offered the term before your child is due to start at playgroup.  During this visit, your child’s Key Person will have time to discuss your child’s needs and any concerns you may have about settling.  During the first few days, parents are welcome to stay all session, gradually taking time away from their child, as and when the child is able to cope.  We do not believe that leaving a child to cry will help them settle any quicker.  We believe that a child’s distress will prevent them from learning and gaining the best from the playgroup.  We will always call you if there is a problem and we feel that you child needs you.

Transition to another setting or starting school

We liaise with local schools to arrange visits for their teachers to visit the children at playgroup to aid the transition process to the new school. During this visit, your child’s Key Person will have time to discuss your child’s needs and share their Learning Journey with them. As part of the transition, your child’s Key Person can also visit the new school with your child if it is close by. We share appropriate information with the receiving setting or school at transfer time.

If your child has additional needs we can arrange a meeting with the receiving school to support a smooth transition and to give a clear picture of need and provision that is required to be in place in the new setting.

If we identify, alongside specialist services that a young person is likely to require support above that which is typically available in a mainstream school, for a prolonged period of time, we will ask your permission to apply for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. We will do this in a timely manner to ensure that your child has the support they need on entry to school.

How are the setting’s resources allocated and matched to children’s/young people’s special educational needs?

We are able to apply for funding from Southampton City Council to enable the Playgroup to employ an additional member of staff to work with your child if needed.  If a child meets the eligibility for early years funding for additional support the resources will be used specifically to meet the needs of the individual child as per the funding agreement.

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?

The Manager and SENCO will work closely with you to determine your child’s needs. The SENCO will have regular meetings with you alongside any other early years’ professionals involved with supporting you and your child. Regular staff meetings are held to ensure all practitioners are made fully aware of any additional support that a child may require.  Also, the Key Person will be able to identify whether the child requires any extra support through observations made. An Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be made as necessary which will involve the parent and this will be regularly monitored and reviewed.

How are parents involved in the setting? How can I be involved?

Foundry Lane Playgroup is a committee run charity.  This means that the playgroup can only run if there are enough members on the committee.  A proportion of these committee members must be parents of the children currently attending the setting.  Being on the committee gives parents a great opportunity to meet other parents and carers of the children that your child goes to playgroup with.  Parents can get to know the setting and staff and have a voice in the development and future of the playgroup.

Strong relationships with parents are important to the playgroup. We operate an “open door” policy and parents are welcome in the setting at any time.  Newsletters are distributed monthly and there is a parents’ notice board advertising news and events for the playgroup. Each term we offer the opportunity to “Pop in and Play.”  These are craft events where parents can come in and make crafts with their children.  We also invite parents to our Christmas sing-a-long.  In addition, we have a website to keep parents updated with all aspects of the playgroup.

Who can I contact for further information?

More detailed information is available in our Policies, specifically Supporting Children with Special Education Needs, Achieving Positive Behaviour, Parental Involvement, Role of the Key Person, Children’s Rights and Entitlements.   Parents are welcome to view our policies at any time.

If you would like to discuss your child’s needs before deciding about your child starting at Foundry Lane Playgroup, please contact the Manager, Sue Mason on 023 8070 1229 or email us at