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Therfield Village Pre-school 

Ofsted number        EY216156

In 2019 Ofsted reported that at Therfield Village Pre-School ‘Staff benefit from frequent training that helps to enhance their teaching skills, such as learning sign language to support children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)’ and that ‘Children with SEND receive strong support. Skilled staff swiftly identify where children might need extra help. They have a good partnership with other agencies, such as speech and language professionals, to provide additional support for children and parents.’

For further information on the local authority’s Local Offer of service and provision for children with special educational needs and disability go to:

The Hertfordshire Local Offer

1. How does the setting know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?

When your child joins our Pre-School the setting staff, and in particular your child’s key person will work very closely with you as they get to know your child and their needs. Our Designated Co-ordinators for special educational needs and disabilities, namely Tina the Pre-School leader and Natalie, Pre-School deputy leader, will also work with your key person to continually monitor and review your child’s development and progress through the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework and to address any concerns you or your key person may have.
Your child’s key person will also carry out the two-year check if your child joins us prior to their third birthday, ensuring early identification of any areas in which your child may need additional support.

If your child has an identified special need before joining us Tina and Natalie will work with you to ensure that everything is in place, such as specialist equipment, staff training etc. before your child’s first session.We work very closely with other professionals such as health visitors, speech and language therapists, educational psychologists and other healthcare professionals to ensure that your child is given appropriate support and that we provide the very best care and educational opportunities for your child.

2. How will the setting staff support my child?

Your child’s key person will work with you and your child to ensure they develop a strong and trusting relationship enabling your child to feel safe and supported. We also provide a backup key person to ensure you and your child always have a familiar face.

We are a small, experienced and dedicated team who will all get to know your family well. Your key person will be involved in our planning with the support of Natalie and Tina, to ensure our planning meets your expectations for your child and the needs of your child.

We work with a high staff to child ratio, allowing adequate staffing to support individual children. We have sourced and purchased varying SEN resources, including sensory, and will work with you and outside agencies to determine further resources or equipment that may be beneficial. Natalie and Tina will share strategies and good practice for the support of your child with the staff, continually analysing and reviewing our practice and your child’s progress.

3. How will I know how my child is doing?

You will see your key person on a daily basis at drop off and pick up times and can speak to them on an informal basis. We hope that you feel comfortable and confident to approach them, or Natalie or Tina, at any time with any concerns or enquiries.We also provide a communication book for you and your key person to share information through, you may find this particularly useful if your child comes into Pre-School with a childminder or another carer, or to share information that you do not wish to discuss in front of your child.

We welcome parent visitors and volunteers at all times, in addition, we will invite you to ‘pop in’ sessions, another chance to chat with your key person, and also an opportunity to see your child in play. Your child’s learning journey, and for children with additional needs their ‘personal education plan’ that Natalie or Tina will put in place, are completed on an ongoing basis and will be shared with you via termly summaries of your child’s development and progress, at our twice yearly parents’ consultation evenings, and also at additional meetings as required.

You will be provided with email contact details for Tina and can telephone us during Pre-School operating hours.

Team around the family meetings, involving outside agencies and other professionals, are also often held on site, with your key person present to support you.

4. How will the learning and development provision be matched to my child’s needs?

Our planning and provision is differentiated for individuals and groups of children using input from key people, parents, children and Natalie/Tina. We are aware of and take account of children’s interests by working closely with you. We also observe and assess your child using the learning and development goals from the EYFS, and key people feed children’s current stage of development and appropriate next steps into the planning cycle.We seek and follow advice from other professionals on how to support each child’s specific needs and Natalie/Tina will share training, support and advice with the team to support your child’s learning.

We display routine timelines and will create individual timelines for children as required focusing on important aspects to support their understanding of, and involvement in our routine and activities.

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

We pride ourselves on our warm and caring environment. Our team is trained and experienced in supporting young children when separating from their main carers. We will also provide additional staff support when possible to offer 1-1 or small group support for children who may find aspects of Pre-School life difficult.

We will ensure your child is able to access all Pre-School activities and experiences, supporting their confidence, particularly amongst peers, often with our older children supporting and helping younger children. Opportunities for developing self-esteem include time spent with their key person and key group, in particular, our sharing time when children share experiences, achievements, and items from home with their peers. Our daily circle time activities welcome and involve all children. Various languages, as well as Makaton signs, are used to ensure all children are able to join in with the social communicative games and activities.

We have a behaviour management policy, outlining the procedures we follow, however, if specialist help is required to manage behaviour we can and will request the support of our inclusion development officer employed by the local authority. The testing of boundaries is a natural part of growing up and children’s healthy development so we will work closely with you to put strategies in place to support and enhance your child’s positive behaviours which will supplement our daily behaviour rewards, including our stars of the day rewards and our wall of pride.

We will involve other professionals to ensure that our provision supports all of your child’s needs. We will work with you to support developments such as toilet training and we are fully equipped with changing mats/potties etc. If your child has any specific medical needs our staff will undergo the relevant training (e.g. epi-pen training) and we will administer as required any prescribed medication.

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

Both the leader and the deputy leader are trained and experienced SENCos, having worked with and supported children with varying and complex needs. They are proactive in keeping up to date with the advice and support available for caring for children with additional needs and attend regular additional training meetings with other local SENCos and professionals employed by the Hertfordshire County Council. We are therefore familiar with local professionals and our Inclusion Support Officers have, on previous occasions, praised us for the support and strategies that we have already put in place for children in our care.

We are particularly fortunate to have the experience and knowledge of our deputy leader Natalie who has worked at a highly specialised residential school for over 2 years (SCOPE), as well as supporting young adults with learning difficulties in their home environment. She has over 20 years’ experience working with children and now sits on the advisory panel for exceptional needs funding, as well as taking on the role of the local PVI representative, advising local Pre-Schools on how to apply for exceptional needs funding to support children with a high level of need.

We already have in place resources and equipment required to support various needs, and the majority of our staff have completed manual lifting and handling training.
Two of our team are trained in Makaton signing, and a member of our team has also successfully completed the Elklan Speech and Language support course.

7. What training and/or experience do the staff, supporting children with SEND, have?

Both designated SENCos having accessed related training, and the additional accessed training such Elklan and Makaton described previously means that our staff are well equipped to observe and assess children’s needs, create appropriate planning, provision and individual targets, and to review the outcomes.

We as a team, have worked with and cared for children with varying and complex needs, including communicative, behavioural, medical and physical. This has included working closely with outside professionals to meet all of the needs of each child.

8. How will my child be included in activities outside the setting?

Risk assessments are carried out prior to activities outside the setting to ensure the needs and requirements of all children will be suitably and safely met. Natalie, Tina and your key person will discuss with you, your child’s needs to ensure they are able to access and enjoy all activities with staff support as required. You will not be required to accompany children on our in-session walks and visits to local areas, however, if you have any concerns you are welcome to join us as a parent helper.

Additional activities such as our Summer outing and Easter egg hunt are parentally supported events and all parents are informed about these events in advance.

9. How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child’s learning and development?

Through regular meetings and informal conversations with your key person, SENCo and any involved outside professionals, you will be able to discuss and share strategies, targets, and planning for your child. In support of this, we have ‘open planning meetings’ when parents and carers are invited to join us to plan for the half term ahead providing an opportunity for you to be involved in our planning for the setting as a whole.

We will also seek your involvement in the development and review of your child’s learning journey and their personal education plan.

Team around the family meetings that are held on-site are arranged at mutually convenient times, and the involvement of outside professionals is always done with your knowledge and approval.

10. How accessible is the building/environment?

Our setting is fully accessible and meets the current disability regulations. Our hall is spacious and the environment is planned to ensure accessibility for all, with activities available at floor and table level. Regular observation and review of both the involvement of the children in activities and the use of resources and equipment, ensures we are able to adapt and differentiate practice and provision as required to meet your child’s needs.

Our setting is all on one level with ramps available for our entrance/exit doors, and for children to access the garden. The garden is also one level and is safety surfaced, with a sheltered area, and a planting area.

We have a disabled toilet area with access for a wheelchair.

11. How will the setting prepare and support my child with transitions between home, settings, and school?

Prior to your child joining us we will meet with you to determine their experiences away from home, to discuss their needs and any concerns you may have, and to develop a settling in plan suitable for your child, this may include a ‘staggered’ start, building the time and frequency that you leave them with us. We will invite you to attend taster sessions with your child, providing a welcome pack for you to look at together at home, and a book bag to help your child feel a sense of belonging at Pre-School.When children attend more than one setting, we share termly updates with their other setting, childminder etc. and your key person/our SENCo will visit them there if possible, to ensure consistency and security for the child.

We work closely with local first schools, inviting them in to meet with your child and then visiting them, to help your child feel safe and secure in their follow-on setting. We will also share information, including your child’s current stage of development and any additional support required with their future settings.

12. How will Therfield Village Pre-School resources be used to support children’s special educational

All of our age appropriate equipment and resources are transferrable, and we will seek to borrow/purchase specific equipment required to support children’s specific needs. This will supplement the range of resources and strategies already in place to support children with a range of needs ensuring inclusion for all in our setting. Our current supply of Inclusive Resources includes visual timetables, routine and choice symbols for children, sensory activities and resources included in the planning daily, our Makaton signs and symbols, our circle time including greetings from around the world, and toys, books, resources, clothing and images that represent diversity throughout the setting.

13. Who can I contact for further information about the Early Years Offer in the setting?

Tina Downing:
Therfield Village Pre-school Leader,

07789 012419

[email protected]