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

Before starting at Southgate West Playgroup, parents and children are invited to an induction session where parents share information regarding their child’s medical, educational needs and disabilities (if known at the time.)

Each child will be assigned a key person. Their role is to help ensure that every child's care is tailored to meet their individual needs, to help the child become familiar with the setting, offer a settled relationship for the child and build a relationship with their parents.

A Key Person is the member of staff who will work closely with you and your child, she will collate evidence of your child’s development and enter these findings into their Learning Journal. At the end of each half term it will be noted in which areas of learning your child has progressed and those areas where they need support. The key person will share this knowledge with you and the manager who is the INCO/SENCO (Inclusion and Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator) and strategies discussed. If we decide outside help is required to support your child’s needs, with your permission, we will then make a referral to the Child Development Centre, who will arrange a review with you and your child to discuss and assess any needs there may be.

If your child is already working with the agencies i.e. speech and language, child development, hospitals, we will follow the strategies already in place.

Our Manager, your key person, or any member of staff you may feel comfortable with, will always be available to chat over/discuss any concerns you may have.

2. How will early years setting staff support my child?

Your child will be supported by their keyworker, the Manager and of course by our dedicated team of staff, one of whom can speak Singhalese.

3. How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

We follow the Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (EYFS) and believe that every child learns at their own pace. By collating information gathered from your child’s Learning Journal, development progress chart ,our observations, and discussions with you, we will have a good overall picture of your child’s needs and development. By using this information your child’s key person along with the INCO/SENCO will plan your child’s next steps in learning.

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 will work closely with you when planning your child’s next steps by liaising on a regular basis we are able to incorporate your child’s home interests, areas of their development that you may have concerns about, along with our observations in the setting. Every term we invite parents to attend a brief meeting with their child's key person to talk through their child's development and how they are progressing.

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

All playgroup staff, including your child’s key person and the INCO/SENCO will provide social and pastoral support, including outside agencies who may be required to provide professional, medical and/or social expertise, depending on the level of need.

Staff will access training if necessary, to extend their understanding of your child’s needs. If you believe your child has specific needs, before your child starts playgroup, we will work with you to create a Health Care Plan. Senior staff will then have your permission to administer any prescribed medications. If needed, arrangements will be made for extra training for all staff by your medical professionals.

All staff attend regular training with regard to their understanding of the Health and Safety requirements. We have a Health and Safety Policy which outlines details of how children are kept safe whilst in our care.

We promote positive behaviour in our setting as we believe children flourish best when their personal, social and emotional needs are met and where there are clear and developmentally appropriate expectations of their behaviour. If needed we will put in place appropriate strategies to guide your child’s development towards gaining these social skills. We will seek support from the child development team or other outside agencies, if we feel our strategies are not having the desired results.

Staff attend training to keep up to date with all the latest developments in helping to support positive behaviour. The playgroup has a Behaviour Management Policy which develops pro-social behaviour, and allows for the child’s voice to be heard.

6. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the early years setting?
As Southgate West Playgroup staff may not have the formal specialist qualifications to meet the needs of your child, we will call in the services of Child Development, Speech and Language , the Children's Centre's, local or national hospitals and community nurses.

For example we have had the community nurse in conjunction with a major children's hospital into our setting to explain and train all staff to cope with a child’s complex medical conditions.

Southgate West Playgroup has really made our child’s time there enjoyable. As he has extra medical needs we were worried about how he would cope without us around for a few hours each day, but he has grown into a confident and energetic little boy. The staff’s friendly and caring attitude has made it easy for us to discuss his extra needs and to implement a care plan for him.

The staff regularly keep us informed of his progress and at the end of each day we are given a summary of his session. The playgroup staff ring us if they have any concerns about him and deal with any issues regarding his health while at playgroup quickly. This has allowed us to feel much more relaxed about him enjoying time independently from us, and is preparing us for when he starts school in September.

- Nancy

Last year Ben was diagnosed with Cowdens Syndrome which causes learning difficulties, so I was very apprehensive about him starting playgroup. I didn’t need to worry, the playgroup offers such a happy and relaxed environment Ben has loved it and the staff who run it from day one. Proof of this is that Ben’s first port of call every morning, is to give the staff a cuddle. Zella and Jen especially, have been a great support offering advice and lending equipment to help Ben at home with things he is struggling with.

Zella has been Ben’s key worker and she has been amazing. She’s so patient with him and has taken the time to get to know him well, so she knows what he likes and also what may be difficult for him. For example at the Christmas play she sat with him as he has trouble focusing on an activity. In the last year Ben has grown in confidence and ability and this is greatly due to the lovely staff at playgroup!!

Thank you,
- Vicky

The staff at Playgroup have been brilliant, as Brandon has food allergies. The staff understands Brandon’s individual needs and is careful with what he can eat at snack time. At special events, the staff always discuss with me beforehand about his diet and I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the staff.

- Meiji

7. What training have the staff supporting children with SEND had or having?

Our staff have attended courses on Promoting Positive Behaviour, Speech, Language and Communication, INCO/SENCO training, English as an additional language. This training is ongoing and kept up to date, all staff have also attended paediatric first aid courses.

If your child has specific needs not covered by any of the above, this will be addressed as needed and additional training sought.

8. How will my child be included in activities outside the early years setting including school trips? and (9.) How accessible is the early years setting environment (Indoors and outdoors) ?
Occasionally, staff will take children for a walk around the local area. Parents permission will be sort prior to the trip.
Southgate West Playgroup is purpose built with ramps to front and rear of the building, wide access doors, disabled toilet facilities and height adjustable furniture. The surface in the garden is flat, comprising of one third tarmac and two thirds artificial turf.

On the wall inside the classroom we have a visual timetable, and use props during story time for those with auditory needs. For those with English as an additional language we try to “Buddy up” families with another speaking the same language. We have large print books, dual language books and audio books.

We will try and access additional equipment as and when necessary.

10. How will the early years setting prepare and support my child to join the early years setting, transfer to a new setting/school?

Southgate West Playgroup will tailor your child’s entry into our setting according to their individual needs. If they have been to another nursery before attending ours, we will contact their previous key person to find out about your child’s learning development/interests and strategies that they have had in place to help.

When your child leaves to go to another setting or moves up to Primary School, we will contact the relevant SENCO and set up a transition meeting. All information held by us along with your child’s Learning Journal will be passed on to the new setting/school. Where appropriate a transition meeting will be arranged with the school, yourselves, your child’s key person and SENCO. During the last few weeks at Southgate West Playgroup we have transition activities e.g. dressing in school uniforms, making scrapbooks of their new schools, photographs of teachers, classrooms, hall etc. Most schools send their reception teachers to visit us.

11. How are the early years setting’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?

We are able to apply for funding for additional resources from WSCC and to enable us to employ an additional member of staff if needed. We can also apply for a bursary to purchase specialist equipment or send our staff on relevant training.

12. How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?

The level of support your child receives will depend on their individual needs. Initially we will discuss your child’s capabilities with you and how you feel their needs can be met. Southgate West Playgroup will approach other professionals / child development centre to agree the level of additional support that can be provided and by whom. An IPP/IEP (individual play plan/individual educational plan) will be put in place and regularly monitored, tracking your child’s development.

13. How are parents involved in the early years setting? How can I be involved?

As a committee run playgroup, we would usually be very happy for parents to be involved by joining in a session and experiencing the activities and learning opportunities offered to your child. However due to the current situation with Covid-19 we are unable to allow this. If you want to become more involved you can, by joining our committee, (this is not compulsory) which is run to organise fund raising events, parties, policy making etc.

14. Who can I contact for further information?

The first point of contact at Southgate West Playgroup is Suzanne Hazeltine, our manager and INCO/SENCO on:
T - 01293 511008
E - southgatewestplaygroup@unicombox.com