When a child joins Busy Bees, they are signed up to an online learning journal called “Tapestry”. During initial taster visits, parents meet with their child’s key person and together complete a section of this journal called “All About Me”. This document is designed to support staff in gaining an overview of each child’s learning and development so far. The parents or carers complete a form by answering a series of questions included in sections labelled ‘getting to know my family and me’,’ interests and preferences’, ‘food and drink’, ‘health development’, and ‘sleeping and toileting routines’. This document is then added to the online journal and used by the key person to refer to while the child is settling in.
We continually track children’s progress through a cycle of observation, assessment and planning. We use the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Development Matters and the Early Years Outcomes as a guide for the development milestones that a child would typically make at different stages up to the age of 5.
The key person and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) are always available to discuss any concerns a parent may have about their child.
Each child is given a key person when they join the setting. The key person is responsible for supporting their group of key children within every aspect of pre-school life. We have a strong system in place which ensures all staff are guided by a professional management team to meet the needs of every child.
If there are other professionals involved with a child such as Speech and Language Therapy or Portage, our SENCo will work closely with them and the keyperson to follow recommended support plans to meet individual targets.
We use the “Every Child a Talker”(ECAT) initiative which aims to improve the communication skills of children aged 0-5 years and to develop the knowledge, confidence, and communication skills of parents and practitioners. ECAT is used across Southampton and has had a very positive impact on children’s communication skills.
If we feel your child needs more support than we can typically resource ourselves within the setting, we will gain added help from Southampton City Council Early Years and Advisory Teachers (EYATs). They can support us in applying specific strategies to support your child, as well as applying the additional funding which will be used to supply your child with the extra support they might need. They can also make referrals to specialist services if this is needed.
We continually monitor the children’s development through continual observations, assessments and planning.
If a child is receiving outside professional support such as Speech and Language Therapy (SALT), then our SENCo liaises with them continually. She discusses targets and strategies set by them with the child’s key person and supports staff in completing these targets. She spends time with each child to ensure she is fully aware of their needs and interests which, in turn enables us to focus on their individual strengths which ensures the are fully supported during their time with us. An Individual Education and Care Plan is completed and reviewed regularly and progress recorded.
When planning activities for children, staff ensure that any next steps or targets recommended by either professionals or by our own SENCo are implemented.
Parents are given regular feedback regarding their child’s progress in various ways. Their child’s online learning journal is updated weekly and available to be seen through a secure log on system at all times, discussion times with our SENCo and with the key person are set at regular intervals to suit the parents and full reports showing progress and next steps, are completed termly.
If a child has set recommendations which are monitored through an Individual Education Care Plan, then these are discussed with the parent or carer at the onset. They will have time to discuss the progress made as each review is planned.
We also work with parents to try to set strategies for home time as well and will support them in finding outside support or training when necessary.
Within the management of our pre-school, we have specific individual staff members who are responsible for particular policies, including: Health and Safety, Safeguarding and Behaviour Management. Their role is to ensure they are implemented correctly by all members of staff. All policies are reviewed annually by the whole staffing team.
75% of our staff hold a paediatric first aid qualification and this number will rise to 100% by the end of 2016.
All new staff are required to complete an enhanced Disclose and Barring Service check (DBS) and we collect suitable references from previous employment.
Staff and managers are always available to talk to parents about and concerns or to help with advice as required.
The sessions in all groups are set to be flexible so as to meet the needs of every individual child. We very much focus on social skills and support.
Children are involved in their routine. They are encouraged to become independent and curious learners in an environment where they can use their own initiatives and share their own ideas. They move between structured activities as they wish developing self-help skills and a desire to achieve through determination.
Most specialist support is put in place through our SENCo and our Early Years Advisory Teacher (EYAT).
The EYAT team specialise in Early Years education for children with SEN. They are based in the Early Years Team in Southampton City council. They are able to support us in a range of areas from accessing specialist care and professional help, to supporting the setting with general advice.
They can help with referrals to:
Speech and Language Therapy (SALT)
We are also visited regularly by a designated Health Visitor who will also support us and work closely with our own SENCo and the EYAT
Our designated senior SENCo has completed ‘The Role of the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator’ training and has 20 years experience.
She attends termly inclusion conferences organised by the EYATs and information from these meetings are passed to the manager and all other staff through internal meetings.
Regular attendance by the SENCo to the local Childcare Briefings ensures that we are kept up to date with new strategies and relevant practise, training and legislation.
Our SENCo also attends other training on specific subjects such as autism and signing.
We have three other fully qualifgied SEN staff who support our senior SEN
Any trip outside the setting requires a risk assessment to be carried out and parental consent must be obtained.
We ensure that appropriate adult/child ratios are maintained at all times. This is always considerably higher than the ratios within the setting. Parents are always involved and invited to attend any larger outing to local parks etc.
All staff are qualified paediatric first aiders. First aid kits and the medication for any specific child will be taken.
Our outings and trips are very basic so we can ensure that the needs of any child attending can be met.
Our setting is as accessible for wheelchair use as is possible to achieve. We have two exit/entry points to the pre-school and staff will help anyone who needs extra support to access the provision.
We have plenty of space to store pushchairs.
Our provision runs from three separate ground floor units within one perimeter. Each has its own entry point. Our doors are wide enough for pushchair access.
We have several multilingual staff within the setting.
We support our EAL (English as an Additional Language) children, through our bilingual staff, Makaton signing and visual aids such as pictures.
Before starting at Busy Bees we arrange for parents to have ‘Play and Stay’ taster sessions to fit their child’s needs. These sessions are flexible to accommodate other commitments the family may have. The purpose of these visits is to familiarise parents and children with the setting, to allow time for forms to be completed and to meet staff and other children wo will typically be there at the same time as their own children. Our SENCo is supernumerary so is always available to discuss any concerns the parents may have at this time about their child’s development.
Transitions within the Setting
Our setting is divided into three groups depending on the age and stage of each child. When the time comes for your child to move group you will be notified during the preceding term. This will be done by discussion with you regarding your child’s progress and next steps, and via a written report. Your child will be given taster sessions during the previous term and you and your child will be introduced to their new key person.
Transition to school
We understand that moving on to school is an important milestone in your child’s life so we ensure that the process is carried out in a professional, smooth and accommodating way. We feed into any school across the city.
All children’s on line journals are completed by the middle of June and sent to the schools prior to your child starting. We also send copies of their ECAT (Every Child a Talker) sheets and any other paperwork which will be needed by the school.
We arrange visits to our preschool from the reception teachers from all feeder schools and support parents as they actually visit the school with their child.
Our SENCo is also our ‘Transition Co-ordinator’ and she ensures that for children with additional needs extra meetings are arranged to pass on all relevant information which will ensure that a clear picture of a child’s needs and provision is in place before they move to their new setting.
Staff attend relevant meetings during the summer term with reception staff from every local school, where they can discuss the development and needs of every child moving on.
If our SENCo has identified, along with other specialist services, that a child is likely to require additional support above what is typically available in mainstream school, for a prolonged period of time, we will ask your permission to apply for an application for an Education, Health and Care (EHC). This will be done in time to ensure your child will receive the additional support they need on entry to school.
If a child meets the eligibility for early years funding for additional support the resources will be used specifically to meet the needs of the individual child as per the agreement with Southampton City Council.
Both the SENCo and senior manager are always supernumerary so one on one support is always available if that should be what the child needs to ensure they can access and enjoy all areas of our provision.
Discussion with the parents as to how we feel the funding should be used takes place at the time the application is made.
Staff carefully plan for the needs of every individual child, taking into account their interests and level of development.
We use the Early Years Foundation Stage, and create plans which identify a child’s current age and stage of development. This allows key people to plan activities which support and encourage the child to work towards their next steps in development. This also identifies areas where a child is showing some delay and needs extra support.
When we feel we need extra support and guidance regarding a child we will arrange for our Early Years Advisory Teacher (EYAT) to visit the setting. They will advise us if they feel the child needs additional support and will support our funding application to Southampton City Council.
We place a high emphasis on parents being the most expert carer for their children and ensure them from the start that our aim is to work together for the good of their child.
If additional needs are identified we will discuss this with you and plan to put additional provision in place to support these needs.
We will get your consent before involving any external agency relating to specialist support, including the Early Years Advisory Teacher (EYAT). We plan time to meet with parents to discuss any concerns and are keen to build good open relationships with families to ensure the best outcome is reached for the child.
We send out termly reports as well as arranging to hold informal chats with parents about their child’s progress.
Parents can access their child’s online journal continually and are very welcome to come and talk to staff about their child’s progress and development whenever they want to. The journal shows which next steps we are working on through written observations, photos of their work and photos showing their involvement in pre-school life. We encourage parents to add photos and notes from home which we use as we assess each child and plan for their next steps.