The Local Offer for children with special educational needs and disabilities. (SEND)
Mayflower is fulfilling the requirement for a ‘Local Offer’. Mayflower will explain clearly how they care and provide for those with special educational needs and disabilities. This document will also explain other services locally that help/work alongside us in this work.
1) How does Mayflower Playgroup know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs or disabilities?
At Mayflower Playgroup each child has a designated key person. Their role is to develop trusting sensitive relationships with children and their families to enable respectful sharing of key information. Any concerns about your child’s development can be discussed with our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), Mrs Shirley Woodfield and/or the playgroup supervisor, Mrs Caroline Nicholls.
Reports from health care professionals, such as health visitors and speech and language therapists, will identify your child’s individual needs. We encourage parents and professionals to share any relevant reports and additional information prior to starting at the setting, enabling us to plan appropriately to meet these needs as they start.
Ongoing daily observational assessments are made of all children and are linked to the Development Matters ages and stages of development, alongside other child development resources. This in some cases identifies individual needs. These observations will be discussed with the SENCO. If your child’s key person has identified a possible individual need, they will discuss this with you and plan with you to support your child’s learning and development.
Our SENCO will offer support and advice to your child’s key person, other staff in the setting and the family. With the parent’s permission the SENCO will also liaise with other professionals to seek advice and support in identifying individual needs if necessary.
The playgroup can seek support and advice from the West Sussex County Council (WSCC) Family Information Service (FIS) and then to the WSCC Early Childhood Service (ECS) by making a Target Setting Support (TSS) referral. If the concern is on communication development a referral can be made to the WSCC Speech and Language team.
2) How will you support my child?
Before starting at Mayflower Playgroup we will invite you to one or more complimentary induction sessions according to your needs. During this time you will be given an admission pack. The pack will contain a booklet ‘All about me’ to complete; this will help us to gather information about your child’s strengths and needs. At the induction session(s) you will be able to discuss with the Supervisor and/or SENCO of any concerns or requirements your child may have.
We will work together with you to support your child , listening to you and your child. Our SENCO will explain how children’s individual needs can be met by planning support and using an Individual Plan and advice from the FIS/ECS team. We will also explain who may be involved and their roles. Individual Plans are reviewed regularly and updated as your child’s needs change. Observations, assessments and evaluations all contribute towards Individual Plans and your child’s key person alongside the SENCO would oversee the targets on the Individual Plan.
Your child’s key person will be in some of the sessions your child attends, fostering a relationship with and understanding your child alongside the other staff team members. The SENCO may also be present.
Together they will identify individual needs and plan next steps, accessing additional support from other professionals where necessary.
The Supervisor will maintain an overview of experiences and progress and the SENCO will work with all staff to ensure we are providing the relevant and appropriate support.
We will work in partnership with you, reviewing the Individual Plan targets and planning new ones together. We will also give you ideas to use at home to support your child.
3) How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
We will get to know about your child before they start and through ongoing observational assessments. Targets linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage ages and stages of development will be set on Individual Plans to support the learning and development of your child. This enables planning for individual needs and learning goals. The Individual plan will be part of the Learning Journal, this will contain written observations, photographs and samples of your child’s work to support staff in assessing and planning to help your child progress to their next steps.
Your child’s key person and our SENCO will work together with you to make sure that the environment, routines and activities support your child’s needs. They will regularly communicate with the rest of the staff to provide consistency and understanding within our team.
We will ask for copies of assessment from other professionals before your child starts, and advice from FIS will be sought if necessary, with your prior permission.
4) How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?
We have an ‘Open door policy’ which encourages ongoing two-way communication of your child’s progress.
At Mayflower we recognise the importance of communication and offer to chat with a parent about a child’s progress at least once a term alongside looking at the learning Journal.
Assessment systems are in place such as the 2 year progress review and all age children’s Next Steps are all linked to the EYFS ages and stages of development. ‘Stay and Play’ sessions allow you to stay and help and see how your child is developing in the setting.
We offer occasional social events for parents enabling the opportunity to build relationships with parents/ practitioners in the setting.
Regular newsletters are sent home, keeping parents up to date with what is happening at playgroup and a list of daily activities is displayed enabling you to further support your child’s learning.
5) What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being?
Our practitioners are welcoming and friendly, providing an inclusive, sensitive and positive approach. They provide good role models for positive behaviour and are consistent in the day to day care of all our children. We are flexible in our routines to provide a positive environment for your child’s needs and provide personal care such as changing nappies. Childrens special diets are taken into consideration when planing snack time and cooking activities.
Personal health plans can be adopted if necessary and staff will be trained in giving the appropriate medication for your child if required (Epilepsy,Diabetes) Should your child require regular prescribed medication then you will be required to complete and sign a Medication Permission form and you will be informed of the administration of the medicine and be asked to sign the form in accordance with our Health and Safety, Hygiene and Medication Policies.
Activities will be adapted to ensure your child is able to interact fully with the environment, and visual strategies, such as a visual timetable is used to help them understand our daily routines. We have quiet areas which are welcoming and provide an area to retreat to if your child is tired, or needs some quiet time.
We are aware that some kinds of undesirable behaviour may arise from a child’s special needs. We will refer to our Behaviour Management policy and will work with you and your child to provide a consistent and planned approach to improve behaviour. For further details, please see our Behaviour Management Policy.
6) What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by Mayflower Playgroup?
All staff are experienced working with the Early Years age group and understand Child Development, some have teaching or nursing qualifications.
Some staff have accessed specific training on Speech and Language courses and the information is cascaded in staff meetings. We have inhouse access to resources, for example National Strategies information, to enhance our existing knowledge. We have recently been part of a pilot for a future speech and language training course, where all staff were involved.
We have links with our local Children’s Centre and can sign post families to support groups which are available there. For example Speech and Language drop in sessions.
We will work alongside the specialist services as they visit the playgroup enabling us to build stronger relationships and understand your support needs better.
The FIS/ECS teams aim to help Early Years and Childcare practitioners provide the best possible experience for children with SEND at playgroup. The team will support practitioners in meeting children’s individual needs through offering home advice, observing individual children in the setting following a TSS request, suggesting ways to support individual needs, planning next steps with practitioners and parents and signposting to training. Parents’ input along this process is essential.
Parental agreement will always be obtained before a TSS request is made to the ECS before they become involved with any individual child. ECS will support the playgroup in working together with other agencies that may already be involved with a child.
7) What training are the staff, supporting children with SEND, had or are having?
Mayflower Playgroup staff have accessed child development training and all have experience working with the Early Years age group. All have an up to date First Aid qualification and some members of staff have attended appropriate courses for individual children’s needs.
8) How will my child be included in activities outside Mayflower Playgroup including trips?
All visits or trips would be planned in order to include all of our children. We will endeavour to include parents/carers in the planning of the visit off site to identify the needs of your child. All parents are invited to join us on our trip.
A risk assessment would be carried out prior to the visit. We would also take along any aides or medication your child as identified.
9) How accessible is the Mayflower Playgroup environment? (Indoors and outdoors)
We have a large level room; the main access has a step but if needed there is access via a slopping entrance. We have access to one disabled toilet with dedicated changing facility. We have 3 child sized toilets within easy access. The outside play area is flat, partly grassed and could be accessed by a ramp. We occasionally use adjoining rooms for small group work which are on a level with the main room.
If you are a parent/carer whose first language is not English, you can nominate a representative who speaks English, or if possible, we can arrange for an external interpreter.
Our daily notice board lists our activities of the day.
Signs and posters, and open display units around the setting are used with a resource book helping children identify equipment and play areas.
We provide multi-sensory activities as part of our planning. We continue to adapt equipment and facilities to support children with special educational needs for both indoor and outdoor environments.
Policies are updated regularly and are available for parents, to read or an email can be sent containing the full set. Key relevant policies are given to you in the Admission pack.
10) How will the Mayflower Playgroup prepare and support my child to join the playgroup/transfer to a new setting/school?
Please refer to question 2.
We offer a flexible settling in period, should your child have difficulties settling in.
When transferring to another setting or moving on to school, the playgroup will invite the key person/teacher and SENCO to attend your child’s sessions at playgroup to help them become familiar with them and to discuss your child’s strengths and needs. We place great emphasis on transition meetings where key people involved in your child’s care meet to discuss the transition and next steps in their learning journey.
Staff and children make visits to the local schools.
Your child’s Learning Journal, Individual Plans and any other information that may be relevant to your child will be passed on to the new setting giving them the time to make necessary plans for any changes they may need to make.
If the ECS team has been involved they may also help with the transition to school, transferring over their written summaries of your individual child. They remain involved until the end of the first term at school.
11) How are Mayflower Playgroup’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
Within our budget, funds are available to train staff and Inclusion funding can be applied for to support your child in our setting if an application for this is successful. For example ‘Talk talk talk’ about early communication skills
12) How is the decision made about what type and how much support will my child receive?
The decision is made with the parents full consultation throughout the process.
Through the observation process linked to the EYFS ages and stages of development, and in discussion with you, the Key Person, the SENCO will identify what support is required. Extra support will be put in place if necessary.
Ongoing partnerships with you, other professionals – including ECS if they are involved, and ourselves will support the decision making process. Together with our SENCO they will support the decision making process to planned targets on the Individual Plan. The Individual Plan will be written after consulting with you and will include how you can support your child at home. Through regular observations we can track your child’s progress.
Our SENCO will give advice on meeting your child’s needs within the playgroup in consultation with you and other professionals where necessary with your permission.
Reports from health care professionals and other professionals, who are working with your child, will be used to plan support within the setting.
Staff meetings within the setting will ensure all staff working with your child know your child’s strengths and needs, and how to support them.
13) How are parents involved in Mayflower Playgroup? How can I be involved?
We recognise the importance of working in partnership with parents to support a child’s development. Parents are welcome to ‘Stay and Play’ to see their child in the play environment.
Parents are involved in identifying needs, sharing information, identifying targets and next steps to focus on at home and in the setting and reviewing progress towards these targets.
Your permission will be sought before involving outside agencies and you are able to volunteer to help in session if you wish.
14) Who can I contact for further information?
The playgroup Supervisor, SENCO or your child’s key person is available in sessions if you would like to discuss your child’s needs. We are able to put you in contact with other professionals who will be able to support your child, such as the WSCC Families Information Service, health visitors, speech and language therapists and the Local Children’s Centre. With your permission we can also access support from these professionals and the WSCC Early Childhool Service.
The staff team and the playgroup policies also provide advice and strategies on a range of issues.
The Local Authority’s Local Offer can be found on the West Sussex County Council Family Information Service website.