How do you communicate with the parent / carer whose child has SEND?
Prospective parents/carers can contact Ali Ross or Tina Hobbs (nursery managers) by phone Tel -01202 262525 Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org through Flippers public Facebook page or through the Day Nursery website.
Formal visits can be arranged, and the best times are between 9:45am– 11:45am and 1:30pm- 300pm as to not interrupt the children’s routines; however, we would endeavour to fit people in if these times were not suitable. Someone from management would give a guided walk around our facilities into each age group, 3mths-2year old room, 2-3 room and 3-5-year-old room and the garden area although we would spend most of the visit in the room their child would first start in. Parents/carers will be able to see each room in its working environment and ask any question that may arise. Every prospective parent/carer will receive a booklet either hard copy or if they prefer, we would email a copy to them. This is to give them a comprehensive insight into our policies, procedures and care we provide at Flippers and hopefully answer any questions they may forgot to ask.
We believe that parents/carers and staff need to work together in a close partnership for children to receive the quality of care and early learning to meet their individual needs. We welcome parents as partners and support a two-way sharing of information that helps establish trust and understanding. We are committed to supporting parents/cares in an open and sensitive manner to include them as an integral part of the care and early learning team within the nursery. We do have an open-door policy and will endeavour to be available at any time a parents/carer may need to discuss something with either management or another staff member. Parents/carers can phone at any time which will be picked up by a member of the team and messages are passed on straight away or email us which we will answer as soon as we can.
Each child/family will be assigned a key person at the time they start with us. The nursery is divided into three groups the Starfishes (3 months-2-year olds), the Turtles (2-3-year olds), and the Seahorses (3-5-year olds). Within these groups we have the same staff members working to ensure continuity as well as the children being able to make close attachments to key carers. If for any reasons the child has a better connection with another staff member, we will swap the key person of the child's choice. The key person will help the child to become familiar with the setting and to feel confident and safe within it. They will also talk to parents/carers to make sure that the needs of the child are being met appropriately, and that records of development and progresses are shared with parents/carers and other professionals as necessary. The key person will also meet the needs of each child in their care and respond sensitively to their feelings, ideas, interests and behaviours.
The key person plays a vital role in a child’s life and must demonstrate consistency, sensitivity and be responsive to the child’s needs. They must engage, interact and connect with a child and their family. The key person oversees writing the child’s monthly report, their next steps, daily observations and trackers which all go in their progress file. The parents/carers can request to see their child’s file at any time and their key person welcomes feedback and input. The key person will also be involved when the child moves up into older age groups, liaising with the new key person making sure they are aware of everything regarding that child and the family, but most importantly the child is happy. Transition forms are completed by the key persons and parents/carers. We are a small nursery with only 12 staff member in our team so all staff members get to know every child and their families meaning for any reason their child’s key person isn’t available (i.e. they are on holiday or off sick) parent/cares can discuss any business with other team member and we have strategies in place to ensure these vital messages are passed on.
Every child has a daily liaison book to guarantee a good two-way communication happens and make certain any vital information gets passed on. In the under three years old children’s book we write in what food and drink the child has had, their sleep times and their nappy/toileting times. We feel that the over three year old children are talking and can inform their parent/carer know all of the above however we do ensure we have daily verbal communication with every parent/carer so this information is not missed however, if a parent/carer request written confirmation we would do it.
We inform parents/carers about the range and type of activities and experiences provided for the children, the daily routines of the setting, the types of food and drinks provided for the children and events through our private Facebook page, emails, letter and on the parents notice boards.
We inform parents on a regular basis about their child’s progress and involve them in the shared record keeping. Parents’ evenings are held termly; parents will be consulted about the times of meetings to avoid excluding anyone. A week before these consultations the children’s progress files go home so everyone in the family can look at their own leisure and can see what they have been up to and their achievements. It will also enclose the child’s next steps of what their key person is working towards regarding the child’s learning and development.
We also have three networking day outs a year, Moors Valley, Upton House and Farmer Palmers. These are usually on a Sunday and all the family are welcome. Flippers Nursery aims to provide the highest quality of education and care for all our children. We aim to offer each individual child a warm and caring environment within which they can learn and develop through play. We believe that parents/carers are entitled to expect courtesy prompt and careful attention to their individual needs and wishes. We always hope that parents are happy with the service provided and we encourage parents/carers to voice their appreciation to the staff concerned.
We welcome any suggestions from parents/carers on how we can improve our services and will give prompt and serious attention to any concerns that parents may have. Any concerns will be dealt with professionally and promptly to ensure that any issues arising from them are handled effectively and to ensure the welfare of all children to enable ongoing cooperative partnership with parents/carers and to continually improve the quality of the nursery.
Although the nursery prides itself on their first-class childcare and its close relationship between staff, children, parents/carers and families, Flippers understands that the need may arise where a parent/carer may feel it is necessary to log a complaint. Flippers staffing team/key persons are generally capable of resolving quickly most parents/carers concerns, however if they cannot then management will get involved. If a parent feels they need to take matters even further, they would need to follow our complaints procedures and complete a complaints form. Any complaint made will be fully investigated by the management team.
A report will be completed detailing the complaint, date, time, incident and persons involved. The parents/carers will be involved throughout the procedure and will have an input in rectifying any problems. Time and privacy will be given dealing with a complaint or concern. For more serious matters parents can contact Ofsted directly, we do display the Ofsted poster with their contact details on.
How do you help children settle into your setting?
At Flippers we are committed to the inclusion of all children. All children have the right to be cared for and educated to develop to their full potential alongside each other through positive experiences, to enable them to share opportunities and experiences and develop and learn from each other. We provide a positive and welcoming environment where children are supported according to their individual needs and we work hard to ensure no children are discriminated against or put at a disadvantage because of their needs.
Parents/carers will be introduced to main staff that will be caring for their child and we have a staff photo board with every staff member photograph on with their qualifications and roles within the nursery. As we are a small 40 place setting and within the week the parents/carers will get to know all the staff members working at Flippers.
To ensure the child has the best possible start, it is very important that they are introduced to the nursery in the correct way. The settling in period should be approached in a positive way as this could “make or break” the child’s attitude. Prior to the child starting at Flippers parents/carers will be asked to complete and sign all registration forms and agreement contracts, these must be bought back on the child’s first settling in session along with their child’s Personal Health Record book and their birth certificate.
The ideal settling in period is two weeks before the starting date. This is done gradually i.e.: 1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, 6 hours leading up to a full day throughout the two weeks. This is to ensure the child is settled at Flippers before the parents/carers first day back at work. However, these can be amended to suit the family. The parents/carers are welcome to phone the nursery at any time to check how their child is for your reassurance.
We acknowledge that leaving their child for the first time can be more traumatic for the parent/carer, than for their child. As stated in question 1 we have a well-executed key-person system in place. The key person plays a vital role in a child’s life and will demonstrate consistency, sensitivity and be responsive to the child’s needs. They will engage, interact and connect with a child and their family right at the start. They will support all the children’s emotional well –being, ensuring they are happy, content feel recognized, which we then can assist building on their confidence and for them to be able to make friendships. To support other family members and our bank staff to identify who children’s key person is we have key person photo boards in all three rooms.
We recognise that some children potentially have additional needs that may require help, intervention and support. These needs may be short-lived for a time in the child’s life or may require longer-term or lifelong support. If a child already has specific requirements, we know about we will do our upmost to ensure we have appropriate assistance, resources, strategies or additional support staff in place from day 1. At all times we will work alongside each child’s parents/carers and any relevant professionals to share information, identify needs and help the child and their family access the support they need.
Our named SENCo officer is Lorraine Wheeler who works full time and co-support SENCo is Susan Appleby who works 25 hours a week who both works closely with the nursery managers Alison Ross and Tina Hobbs. So, there is always someone to have a conversation with regards to special educational needs and disabilities.
What help and support does your setting offer to children with SEND as they move rooms or move on to school?
Starting a new setting or going to school is a big step for any child and the rest of the family as well as moving into different rooms within the setting, can be both an exciting and challenging times. It can be difficult to predict how the child will react to their first days at nursery or school, however with some preparation and thought we can make this time enjoyable and fun! We do have a transition policy which outlines the approach Flippers Nursery takes to ensure the transition from home to nursery plus the transitions to different groups within the nursery and off to school is a smooth process that results in a positive experience for everyone.
From time to time our older children will join our younger children or visa -versa. This enables the children to socialise with each other and encourages their personal, social and emotional skills from one another. This is promoted by allowing the older children to be our helpers with younger peers and by our younger children to experience interaction with the older age group. This system also helps prepare the toddlers as they move into the older age group.
When a child is ready to move to a different room within the nursery, we follow the process set out in our transition policy, and work with the parents to ensure this is a seamless process in which the child and family are fully supported at all stages. This will include transition meetings with the old key person, new key person and parents/carers. The child will spend short sessions in their new room prior to the permanent move (staying in the same child/adult ratio) to enable them to feel comfortable in their new environment. The child’s key person will pass on all the vital information to the new key person who will make ensure all the carers within the room are also informed.
For a successful transition staff member give the child time to become familiar with their new environment. They talk about it, revisit it on a regular basis. We listen to the child to find out about their excitements or worries. We also recognise the importance of attachment and emotional well-being and to recognise the needs of an individual child and their family in this respect. They know that children need to be sure of their unconditional care so the old key person will ensure the new key person knows all they need to know about the child before they move into the older group by completing transition forms.
When transiting to school we feel we have stringent plans prepared for the ease of SEND children entering reception class. We have close links with our local schools in the area due to staff attending cluster meetings with them and those children who are out of our catchment we endeavour to make contact at the earliest opportunity. We will provide the schools with BCP Council transition forms, any relevant observations, reports, documents linked to tracking their development, and other outside agencies information to assist with this transition. We will try our best to set up transition meetings with all involved in the child’s development, i.e. SALT, Physio, Educational psychologist, SENCO, child’s teacher etc. at the earliest opportunity this enables contact, support and any future plans to be made.
We will provide a school transition parents evening consultations prior to any paperwork being sent onto school where transition forms are filled out with parents ensuring all appropriate information has been documented which will enable their child a smooth transition as is possible and for the school to be able to make arrangements to have any support necessary in place when they officially start school.
Here are some of ways in which we prepared children for change:
Stories/books • Videos or other materials describing the different topics, the new environment, new nursery/school layout, the curriculum and new routines
Suggest to the parents/carers to visit the new nursery or school with the child.
We often have visits from the Nursery/Reception class teachers to our setting, to meet the child and have discussion with the key person.
Suggest to the parents/carers to try and do regular visits to the new school with the child, especially those with Special Educational Needs. Involving the key person in this process is usually helpful.
We invite the key person who has supported that child especially those with Special Educational Needs to attend the first support/transition meeting at the school. • Providing support for parents/carers by allowing time for informal discussions and more formal review meetings.
Arrange meetings for new parents organised by the new nursery/school, to offer them an opportunity to meet each other, for the school to explain settling-in process, and to make clear school expectations as well as the required procedures that are part of moving into a new environment or Reception Class.
Emphasising the continuation of the Foundation Stage from the Early Years setting to the Reception Class.
Quiet areas can be offered to both children and parents/carers to discuss any of the above topics confidential.
How do you find out how each child likes to learn?
It is vital our staff have a sound knowledge and comprehension of child development and the basic needs of children in order to support children’s learning and development.
Understanding how children learn supports us to plan and provide appropriate activities and experiences to cater for individual children’s stages of development also encourage their progress towards their early learning goals. Expertise of child development is one of the commitments in the early years foundation stage and we ensure all our staff continue to update their skills and knowledge through on going professional training. We recognise that children learn in different ways and at different rates and will do our upmost to plan for this accordingly.
Our aim is to support all children attending the nursery to attain their maximum potential within their individual capabilities. A personalised progress record of every child's learning development is maintained, showing their abilities, progress, interests, fascinations and areas needing further staff or parental support/assistance. We acknowledge that children learn in different ways and at different rates and plan for this accordingly.
We believe that children learn through practical, hands-on, meaningful experiences. Play encourages children to make sense of the world by encouraging them to explore and investigate in a non-threatening way. It provides them with an opportunity to experience real-life situations and build on their own experiences, almost as a rehearsal for the future. Through play children can learn at their own level and pace and can explore and experiment without fear of failure. We feel that children learn best when they are happy and can experience plays situations that are appropriate for them.
Play gives children choice and ownership over their actions and reactions and provides concrete experiences which lay the foundations for later more abstract thinking. Play enables children to learn individually and with others. It allows children to develop independence and builds relationships. We believe careful planning is required for play to be of a high quality. We also believe that adults need to enjoy playing with children and should respond sensitively to play, offering support and stepping back when appropriate.
Having a good working relationship between the child's key person and parents/carers is vital for the identification of our children’s learning needs and to ensure a quick response to any area of particular difficulty. We believe that our parents are very important and fundamental in their child’s development because they have a wealth of knowledge to share. Our parents and families are central to their child’s well-being and our key carers would support this important relationship by sharing information and offering support for extending learning in their home and bringing their home learning into the nursery.
We believe in the significance of information to support children within their learning and development so we reflect on how we could gain more evidence. We ask our parents/families to get more involved by sharing with us what is happening at home by sending out home diary sheets for them to fill out and return. We ask them to note down a small summary for what their child has been up to either at the weekend or in the week, any special events etc. Or the child could do some writing or a drawing themselves. Once completed they hand it to their child's key person or another carer where they can be used for a show and tell plus we can assess, plan and do with the evidence from them.
The diary sheet will then be added to their child's progress file. We would like this to happen once a month guaranteeing we are listening to our parents and ensuring their child’s voice is being heard. In addition, this will paint a clearer picture for each individual child and assist the key carers to support their learning effectively.
We feel we actively encourage our parents to contribute to children’s learning through everyday conversations, sharing observations, interests/fascinations and experiences from home. This may be verbally, sharing photographs or in written forms like home diaries, writing on our group focus sheets, home interest sheets or on our feedback and comment sheets. We also find our parents evenings very informative which happens every 4 months (3 per year). The child's progress files will be sent home which will need to be signed out, one week before the parents evening happens. This will give the family a chance to look and read through the file at their own time.
The files will be brought back on the night of the parents evening, where again they would be signed back in. If parents cannot make the parents evening another suitable day and time is arranged so no one ever misses out of these fundamental correspondences. The key person will complete a progressive Journey form about what the child has achieved within the last four months and the next steps the key person will be supporting as well as the child's type of learning, which will be added to the progress file before it goes home. On these forms there are sections for the parents to fill out as we would like to hear what their child is thinking so there is also a section for their views.
There is also a little section about their home interests/fascinations as we know not everyone has the time to note these down on the home interest sheet that are up on the notice boards. The last section gets completed together at the parents evening once everything has been discussed. All the information on these forms get analysed by the key person, discussion are had within supervisions and some in the staff meetings. Evidence is also used to support and added to our everyday planning.
A child who has been identified with having SEND we would need to have more formal meetings to ensure that vital partnership with the parents in order to establish the support their child needs. A SEN Support plan will be put in place which would involve the key person, SENCo, parent/s, maybe one manager and sometime other professional. A suitable day and time will be arranged usually complete within 1 hour.
Within the first meeting the keyperson would discuss all the information/assessments about the child’s learning and development and share formal checks, observations, trackers and detailed assessments. This is the time the parent/s need to add their concerns plus what they would like their child to have help with. From all this information a support plan would be designed, and strategies employed to enable the child to progress will be recorded within a SEN Support Plan. Our plan would include information about
the short-term smart targets set for the child,
the teaching strategies
the provision to be put in place,
when the plan is to be reviewed,
The SEN support plan will record only that which is additional to, or different from, the differentiated curriculum in place as part of normal provision. The support plan will focus on two, three or four key smart targets and will be discussed with parents and the child. The support plan will be continually kept ‘under review,’ by the key person and hopefully a meeting would be arranged within a six-week time scale. We also keep in regular contact with our local family hubs (children’s centre) and will sometime direct parents/carers to additional support they can give them. We display all the children centre’s timetables so parents/carers can see what activities, group time and support all of them offer.
Inclusive practice / SEND training and expertise within this organisation
We have a very comprehensive SEND policy which is line with the SEND CoP 2015, with interlinking policies like Inclusion, Equality and Diversity Policy and Equal Opportunities and Anti-discriminatory Policy Every staff member will read and sign consent forms ensuring they have understood and will adhere to the policies. All policies are reviewed annually or sooner if new important/relevant information has arisen and changes are necessary.
Our SENCO is Lorraine Wheeler (Full time) – Senior Early Years Practitioner NVQ level 3 in Children’s care, learning and development April 2009. We felt as a management team Lorraine’s experience and knowledge over the years regarding SEN is excessive, so we felt that she was right person to be our SENCO. Lorraine Wheeler completed the Cache – Borough of Poole early years special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCO) award October 2015.
Lorraine attends the BCP Council’s inclusion briefings and any training linked to SEN and most of the time a manager will attend as well (we will always ensure someone attends them). Going on these forums/training sessions keeps us completely updated with all the new policies/laws/rules and we feedback all relevant information from these forums/training sessions to our staffing team as well as helping us implement our effective policies and procedures.
We also have Sue Appleby (25 hours) level 3 Early Years Care and Education January 2001. Sue has completed the Local Authority early years special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCO) taught Programme November 2013 plus completed the Cache – Local Authority early years special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCO) award October 2014. Sue has also got a wealth of SEND knowledge and she assists Lorraine very well, so she would be able to cover her job with the support from the managers if for any reason Lorraine is unavailable.
We encourage all our staff members to observe any of the children not just the key children as this helps to provide a well-rounded picture of each child. While this is happening, they might notice a slight delay or need a child may perhaps require support with, this is when they would call upon Lorraine (what we call early intervention). The role of the SENCO is to take the lead in further assessment of the child’s strengths and weaknesses; in planning future support for the child in discussion with key person and colleagues; and in monitoring and subsequently reviewing the action taken.
The SENCO should also ensure that appropriate records are kept including a record of children’s SEN support and those with Education, Health and Care plans. The main key person will remain responsible for working with the child on a daily basis and for planning and delivering an individualised programme, plus make sure the parents are always consulted and kept informed of the action taken to help the child, and of the outcome of this action.
We will provide appropriate opportunities for all staff to undertake professional development and training to help improve the quality of experiences provided for our children. We encourage new staff to set up their own log in page with the BCP Council Workforce Development site within the first month to ensure they can get started on relevant training straight away. We sometimes do in house training alongside our staff meetings and any training staff members have been on they will bring back information and discuss it in these meetings.
We also have regular staff meeting every 4 to 6 weeks and SEND is always on the agenda. Staff members who have been on any relevant training will confer information to the other staff members and show any significant paperwork. This is where key people and our SENCO will discuss children who are already on our SEN register/inclusion review about their progress using their support plans and we will talk about strategies to move them forward.
We also as a team discuss children, who we feel may need early intervention, again discuss progress and strategies. This helps and supports every staff member to be more confident regarding anything linking to SEND and people gain more knowledge and experiences from each other which we feel is excellent practice.
We feel we have an excellent relationship with our Early Years Team and feel we can approach any one of them for advice and support; we are also able to independently make requests for involvement of outside agencies. We already have been involved with some of the children's health visitors, we have suggested the two to talk programme to some of our parents and we also display all the children centres termly timetables and telephone numbers. We have also sent in a request form for involvement to a child’s centre for a family to receive support from a family outreach worker who did come to the setting and we filled out a PEHA wheel together.
We are also involved with a couple of children speech and language therapists who have given us vital information and strategies to support children we speech and language delay/difficulties. So, we feel if parents/carers need that little extra support/training and we are unable to assist then we will seek out support/training for them.
The information in this SEND Local Offer was completed on November 2020.