Identification and Assessment of pupils with special educational needs
- Parents of children who, by the age of 2 or 3 have been identified as having significant special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) may choose to send them to Hardmoor for SEND provision, in which case their needs will have been identified and extra funding will be applied for to make provision for them.
- Children who attend as mainstream nursery entrants, either via day-care, 2 year old funding or 3-4 year olds eligible for 15 hours Nursery Education Grant, if identified as falling behind in particular areas of learning or development, are assessed by SEND staff within the centre and, if appropriate, referred to outside agencies for further assessment. Parental permission is sought before referral to other agencies. A request may be put in at this stage to the Local Authority (LA) to provide funding to meet their needs.
- If other agencies have already been involved with the child or family, with parental permission, staff at Hardmoor will liaise with the involved agencies to gain more information about potential SEND.
- Information is made available to parents about other agencies that may help them meet the needs of their child and family and, if possible, staff may accompany parents and / or arrange meetings for them.
- Hardmoor staff work closely with health professionals including:
- Speech and language therapists
- Occupational Therapists
- Wordsworth House
Staff also work with other educational provisions such as:
- Educational Psychologists and teacher advisors for hearing impairment, visual impairment and physical impairment.
Hardmoor has an experienced SEND team led by a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) who is a qualified and experienced nursery teacher and SEND practitioners who are well trained and experienced in a wide range of SEND provision for young children.
When a significant level of support for meeting the needs of the child is likely to be ongoing (beyond nursery age) Hardmoor staff, with parents’ permission put in an application to the Local Authority for an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment which may lead to creation of an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Hardmoor staff are involved at all stages in creating the EHCP, alongside the designated assessment coordinator, and support parents throughout the process.
Whenever possible, children with SEND are taught alongside their peers, taking part in all activities that they can engage in and learn from, with the curriculum differentiated to meet their needs. A child’s key person observes and assesses their ability to be included in various groups and teachers tailor provision to be as inclusive as possible.
When a planned activity is considered unsuitable for an individual child, an alternative activity, with learning outcomes in the same area of development, may be provided.
If a higher ratio of adults to children is required to meet the needs of individuals then Early Years Special Support (EYSS) funding is applied for from the LA to provide 1:1 or 1:2 support.
Children with SEND may need to learn / develop skills that other children their age have already developed, so individual targets are set and worked on with each child at appropriate times within the nursery session.
Children with autistic spectrum disorders, who may have difficulty working or playing alongside others, may access a workstation where they can carry out developmentally appropriate tasks with adult support or independently.
With advice from relevant professionals, various techniques and therapies are employed according to each child’s needs and level of development. These include Waldon Therapy, Intensive Interaction, ‘bucket therapy’ style activities for developing attention skills, activities recommended by Physiotherapy or Occupational Therapy and various Speech and Language Therapy techniques.
When planning, the curriculum is differentiated to provide manageable tasks for each child based on assessment of their current skills and age and stage relevant targets. Sometimes extra or different resources are used for similar learning outcomes according to child’s individual needs.
When children are not able to take part in group activities, alternative provision is made for them to do individual work (eg at a Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication Handicapped ‘TEACCH’ workstation or 1:1 with key worker) or to work in a smaller group.
Individual target plans are created so that teaching and learning of particular skills that will positively affect all learning, can be prioritised. Often targets are from the three prime areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum, as without focussing on development in these areas all learning may be held back.
Effectiveness of provision for pupils with SEND is evaluated through ongoing observation and assessment of a child’s progress towards planned targets and achievement of the ‘Development Matters’ statements of the EYFS.
Hardmoor SEND team hold weekly meetings to discuss progress or highlight areas of concern for each child.
Parents are involved in the evaluation process through regular liaison with their child’s key person as well as termly review meetings where progress, concerns and ideas for promoting further learning are discussed. If daily liaison with parents is not possible at drop off and pick up times then a home school book can be completed.
Staff take relevant action following review meetings to tailor the curriculum to the needs of the child and family and to contact other agencies if appropriate.
Staff are trained in looking at the child holistically with a focus on their well-being as this is of paramount importance in developing their ability to learn. Many staff have had training about emotional well-being indicators.
Any issues with a child’s well-being are worked on with the parents, to ensure a positive and appropriate response is used to promote and improve the child’s well-being at home and at nursery.
Support may include:
• Working one to one or in a pair or very small group on identifying and communicating about emotions;
• Having a private space to use when not feeling able to cope with particular emotions;
• Various activities that enable success and pride in achievements, to improve well being.
If help of external agencies is required regarding decreased emotional well-being then staff liaise with the paediatrician to get a psychologist (e.g. at Wordsworth House) involved.
• There is a Speech and Language Therapist who works with children during their nursery sessions.
• Children can also benefit from access to the Southampton Opportunity Group which is held twice a week at the setting.
• Health visitors and other health professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, Child and Adult Mental Health Services and paediatricians have close links with the centre and occasionally visit children during their nursery sessions if this is thought to be beneficial to the child and /or the family.
• As a school Hardmoor can access help from Specialist Teacher Advisors for physical impairment, hearing impairment or visual impairment for children who have these needs.
There are staff at the setting who are trained in:
• Derbyshire Language Scheme and other Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) training
• Autism and social communication difficulties
• Every Child a Talker (ECAT)
• Role of the SENCo
• Managing challenging behaviour
• Promoting inclusion
Newer staff who have not yet been trained in various types of support are informed and coached by our well trained and experienced members of the SEND team.
Provision is made for children with SEND to attend all school trips alongside their peers. An individual risk assessment is always carried out if children may potentially experience particular difficulties with a trip. Parental consent and advice is sought.
This may involve provision of:
• 1:1 or in a few cases 2:1 adult to child support
• Backpack with reins in case child lets go of adult hand and tries to run off
• Pushchair or other mobility aid as appropriate
• Familiar objects that will help child to settle on journeys or in unfamiliar environments.
Hardmoor Early Years Centre is accessible to all. There is an accessible toilet suitable for people with disabilities including wheelchair users. Many external doors have ramps and although the garden areas are at different heights, all are accessible by slopes as well as steps.
The learning environment is adapted according to the needs of the pupil with SEND.
If a child has physical needs then reasonable adjustments can be made to allow more room for manoeuvring past furniture and gaining access to all areas. Other adaptations to the environment or to groupings of children may be necessary for children with visual, hearing or sensory impairments.
The child is prepared for joining the setting through:
• A home visit by their key person and another member of staff;
• One or more visits to the Centre to become familiar with the setting and staff;
• A settling in period, where parents can stay with their child or leave them for short periods according to the child’s best interests.
A child with SEND is prepared for transition to school reception class through:
• Parents attending their final SEND review meeting with centre staff to which future school staff are invited;
• School staff visiting the child at the centre to observe them and discuss ideas for a positive transition with key worker and other centre staff;
• Providing the school with written and verbal information which sums up the child’s needs, feelings, interests and learning styles;
• Providing a social story about starting school which can be shared at home;
• If appropriate, centre staff visiting the new school with the child and parents to give advice about provision and familiarise the child with the new learning environment.
Generally in early years’ settings all resources are available to all children.
However some specialist resources are bought, created or acquired particularly for children with special educational needs and are given to or used with any child that will benefit educationally from their use.
• Picture/symbol cards such as visual timetables, now / next cards, ‘Oops’ cards,etc;
• Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) resources such as symbols, sentence strips and PECS books;
• Workstation tables;
• Resources for teaching language skills using the Derbyshire Language Scheme or other speech and language programmes;
• Emotional literacy books, cards and resources;
• Attention gaining resources for use in ‘bucket therapy’ style activities.
Staff assess the child’s ability and rate of progress and may try to meet the child’s needs through differentiating the curriculum and giving extra support for particular parts of the routine.
If it is decided that additional adult support is needed for the child to be able to take part in learning activities and make progress in all areas, then EYSS funding will be applied for from the local authority to provide 1:1 or 1:2 adult support as necessary.
Sometimes this funding is awarded as a transition grant, which allows support for 6 weeks whilst the child settles, and is then reviewed.
When the transition grant has been used, or if full EYSS funding was awarded for 6 months then a further application for EYSS funding can be made when this is due to expire, if the child still requires additional adult support.
The decision about how much support the child will receive is made by Southampton 0-25 Service Panel, based on the information provided by our staff and other relevant professionals.
How learning is planned and how parents can support learning is explained through:
- Home visits
- Introductory sessions
- Every Child a Talker (ECaT) noticeboards/leaflets
- Weekly newsletters
- Parent workshops
More detailed information for parents of SEND children is given through:
- Ongoing discussion
- Review meetings
- Meeting with SLT or other therapists
- Information and activity sheets
Parents are able to discuss progress with the child’s key person on a daily basis at drop off and pick up times. If necessary, a home/school book is used to communicate with parents/carers who do not have opportunities at drop off and pick up times.
Various home based activities are encouraged through weekly newsletters. Resources and instructions for various activities may be sent home. These include:
• ‘Chatterboxes’ which have resources and ideas aimed at developing communication skills
• Teddy Bears that are taken home to join in with the family. Parents / carers can then put photos and comments onto ‘Tapestry’ and with their permission this can be shared with the child’s group
• Bi-lingual story packs, which have a story in the child’s home language and in English as well as resources aimed at learning vocabulary.
Parents can be involved in the setting by helping during the sessions as a volunteer or by attending information sharing events, workshops, festivals and community events.