Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

The Pre-school actively supports parents and children with special educational needs and/or disabilities. We believe in addressing concerns and providing support as early as possible rather than a ‘wait and see’ approach. This provides children with the best possible start and is more effective than implementing support later on.

The Pre-school’s Joint Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCos) are Beth Budden and Emma Burt.

When your child starts at pre-school, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire about your child’s development and learning so far. This is a good time to include any concerns you may already have about your child’s progress. Other opportunities will arise at the stay and play sessions when you and your child will meet your key person. The Joint SENCos will be available at the information evening for new parents, or please ring to make an appointment to discuss concerns or any additional need that has already been identified. You can take up the option of a home visit.

Each child at the pre-school has a key person who will regularly observe and assess them to ensure they are making age-appropriate progress in their learning and development. Details of their progress, together with any concerns, are shared with parents through discussion and in written progress checks. A progress check covering the Prime Areas (Personal Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language Development and Physical Development) is written within six weeks of starting at pre-school. This is shared with you and your comments form part of the check. It will state whether or not your child is meeting the developmental milestones for their age. Next steps will be suggested which might include the involvement of outside agencies, but always with your consent. Our SENCos are there to support you and your key person. Progress appointments are available termly with your key person and a SENCo. Parents are always welcome to stop for an informal chat and you may access your child’s Learning Journey at any time (just ask your key person).

The Joint SENCos are familiar with the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice and keep abreast of developments in SEND. Both have attended specific SENCo training for their role and attend local SEND network meetings. Some of the training they have undertaken for their roles includes behaviour management, Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC), Early Support, social communication difficulties, Signalong, Speech & Language, Sensory Processing and Narrative Therapy. The Joint SENCos have established good working relationships with other professionals including the Speech and Language Therapists, Health Visiting Team and Portage.

The pre-school team has experience of supporting children with special educational needs including Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC), global developmental delay, epilepsy and speech and/or language delay. The staff have also supported the inclusion of children experiencing behavioural difficulties and families with English as an Additional Language.

The pre-school’s SENCos will work closely with your child’s key person to monitor and support your child’s progress. Together they will write an Individual Plan (IP) which you will be able to contribute to as well. The IP will be tailored to your child’s specific needs and stage of development. The IP will set out specific steps to be taken at pre-school to support your child’s learning and development and ways in which you can support your child at home. IPs are usually reviewed fortnightly.

additional funding

The pre-school may apply for additional funding for your child, in which case this will be discussed with you. It may be appropriate to use it for one-to-one support in the early stages, to improve staff/child ratios or to purchase specialist equipment or resources to enhance your child’s learning experience.

The garden room

The Garden Room was added in 2017. It is a small wooden cabin, simply decorated and furnished to ensure minimal distraction and to provide a comfortable, warm and safe space for small group and one-to-one activities. The Garden Room has resources for Narrative Therapy and speech and language activities, together with a sofa, CD player, instruments and books. It is perfect for meetings with families and professionals.

NARRATIVE THERAPY (WILBUR’S GROUP): We provide Narrative Therapy sessions, known as Wilbur’s Group, in the Garden Room. The aim is to identify children who would benefit from a speech and language boost and to do this through regular and structured small group work. The sessions help to develop listening skills and also build self-confidence and self-esteem. The children follow a picture timeline which consists of a ‘hello’ song where we ask each child how they are today, continuing with an activity such as a story with props, a song and then finishing with a ‘wave goodbye’ song. We use signing for the rules (good listening, good looking, good sitting and good talking), together with other signs such as ‘who’ and ‘where’.

team around the family meetings

The SENCo and/or key person may suggest holding a Team Around the Family (TAF) meeting for you and your child. The meeting will include parents, key person, pre-school SENCo and any professionals that are involved with your child and/or family. The aim is to take a whole family approach to ensure the best outcomes for your child/ren, by co-ordinating the support they receive from the pre-school and any other services. Our experience is that families find these meetings very useful and the team works together to find solutions and provide support.

positive behaviour

The pre-school has a Behaviour Policy outlining its approach to encouraging positive behaviour. There are clear rules (with visual prompts), children are given positive reminders, provided with positive role models and encouraged to take responsibility for their actions. Concerns about behaviour are logged to see if there is a pattern emerging and shared with parents. Strategies are discussed with parents.

ACCESS, RESOURCES AND EQUIPMENT: Our pre-school has wheelchair access and an accessible toilet. Visual timetables are created as and when needed and we have photos of activities and routines so children can indicate their wishes and needs. There is a good range of sensory equipment including fidget toys, peanut ball, lycra, gym balls, twist board, bilibos and a bodysock. We have resources that support children who have English as an additional language and iPads that can be used to access further materials online or to communicate with home via email.

STARTING SCHOOL: Most of the children attending the pre-school transfer to the main school on site. A very effective programme of transition activities has been developed including visits from the reception class teacher (and class) to the pre-school for activities, together with small group visits to the reception class. By the time children are due to go to school, they are already familiar with the sights and sounds of school including uniform, break times and fire drills, and have visited the school to occasionally watch plays and assemblies.

Meetings between the parents, pre-school and school can be arranged for children with SEND, together with any other professionals involved. Written Transition to School documents are provided by the pre-school, which include information relating to any Special Educational Need or Disability. Reception class teachers are invited to the pre-school to meet children in a familiar environment where they will be more relaxed.

'I'm a parent' A page with information for parents:




SPEECH & LANGUAGE: There is a really useful website called Talking Point which is designed to support parents and settings with children’s speech, language and communication skills. If you are concerned about your child’s speech, language and communication, you can check their progress and make use of their online resources.


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