Local Offer

Our Local Offer for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities

The purpose of the local offer is to improve choice for families by providing information about services available for children and young people aged 0-25 who have special educational needs and/or disabilities.

www.essex.gov.uk

If your child has any special or additional needs we would like to ensure that you and your child feels welcomed and included. This local offer outlines what we do to ensure that we provide what your child needs. It's very important to us that you feel valued, respected and listened to, and above all that we genuinely care about the outcomes for every child in our setting.

How our setting knows if young children need extra help and what our parents/carers should do if they think their child may have SEND.

Before your child starts at Rowhedge Under 5's (RU5's) you are invited to visit with them, at least twice, and sometimes more, if it is felt that may be beneficial.

This is our first contact with you, and an opportunity to begin to share information. At the second visit, you will be invited to complete our registration pack, usually with your child's allocated keyworker.

This process enables you and your child's keyworker to begin to get to know each other and to share further information about your child and their needs.

If necessary, at this stage, we will also complete a care plan for your child, with you, which ensures we know everything we need to know to ensure their safety and physical well-being.

We will also give you your child's Learning Journey, this is a scrapbook which will eventually contain lots of observations and pictures of their time at Rowhedge Under 5's. We ask you to start this by filling in the All About Me pages at the front and adding in some photos if you'd like to, this all helps us to build up a bigger picture of your child and can sometimes be very helpful, especially during their settling-in period.

When your child starts, their keyworker gets to know him or her by spending time with them and observing them. During the first half-term (six weeks) the keyworker (and rest of the team) will assess what stage your child is at in all areas of learning and development.

Then you are invited to a short, informal review to discuss your childs progress and needs.

At this point, if your child is aged between 2 and 3 years, then a 2 year old progress check is also carried out (this is a statutory requirement).

So via this process and by sharing information and observations with each other as a team and through our knowledge and understanding of children's developmental stages, we will start to have a clear picture of your child's needs.

We aim to build a relationship with parents and carers from the very start so that a trust may develop that their concerns will be treated confidentially and with care and sensitivity.

If you have any concerns regarding your child's development at any time then we encourage you to share those so that together we can find out how best to support him or her.

Keyworkers continue to observe and assess your child, and a record of their strengths and needs is built up and gathered in their Learning Journey (a scrapbook of photos, observations and paintings and creations), which is always available for you to see and to take home and which we encourage you to add to with photos, comments/observations and pieces of work from home.

Where any SEND are identified, our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) works together with you and your child and their keyworker to create a personal development plan, starting with a One Page Profile which captures your child's strengths, likes and dislikes, interests and favourite activities.

We follow what is known as a Graduated Response, as stated in the SEND Code of Practice Review (August 2014).

This involves a cycle of ASSESS ~ assessing needs and next steps (small, realistic, achievable goals which can be met and celebrated), PLAN ~ planning how next steps will be achieved (through planned activities and strategies), DO ~ putting plans into action to achieve outcomes, and REVIEW ~ reviewing and reflecting on how your child is doing and then we ASSESS again, PLAN and so on.

In addition to formal reviews we feedback to parents and carers on a daily basis, and recognise and celebrate even the smallest of achievements.

It is our aim to ensure that all children in our setting receive an equal opportunity to achieve their potential and prepare them for the next stage in their learning.

As soon as we start getting to know your child we are noticing what their interests are and when they seem most content, relaxed and involved.

We use this knowledge, and we listen to you and your child to create the profile and tailor activities which will foster enjoyment, learning and thus development.

In addition to this, we create an enabling environment which increases opportunities for understanding and learning to take place. For example by using Makaton sign language, visual aids (pictures and symbols), positive behaviour management, 'first and then' boards, activity choice boards.

We create opportunities through play so that children can succeed at activities such as pouring, mark-making, sharing and turntaking.

The children are free to choose activities, and can go indoors and outdoors, so we will often adapt planned 'target' activities around what they are choosing to do.

Through continual observation, reflection, communication with each other and with parents and carers we tailor activities and strategies to increase understanding, communication and learning.

How our setting builds up a partnership with parents and carers

We want you, as parents and carers to trust us and to feel empowered and part of any decision that is made about your child.

During those initial visits and meeting with your child's keyworker when you are invited to share information about your child and how you feel they are doing, we try to build up a rapport as quickly as possible.

We recognise and acknowledge that parents and carers are children's first and main teachers and you know your child better than anyone else.

We understand that you may be worried and upset if you have concerns about your child and we would aim to reassure you that we are there to support you and your family and that we will work together to achieve the best we can for your child.

Within the registration process we ask that you tell us if there is anyone else already working with your child, such as speech therapists or specialist teachers, and we seek your permission to liaise with them.

Through daily conversations and organised reviews, our observation process and your child's learning journey we create a working partnership which enables us to know more about your child outside pre-school and for you to know more about them at pre-school!

It is always our aim to be open and honest yet sensitive if we have concerns about a child, and it's most important to us that we build trust into the working relationship so that you always feel included, understood, listened to and heard and most of all that we are working together to support your child and provide opportunities for making progress.

So we would always discuss with you first and seek your permission before involving any other professionals in any decision-making about your child.

We are keen to share and celebrate your child's achievements with you, and very much encourage you to do the same with us.

It's very important to us that every family who uses Rowhedge Under 5's feels connected to us, listened to and understood.

Our commitment to the well-being of every child at Rowhedge Under 5's is paramount. As a team we are warm and caring, and offer a safe and loving environment.

Through continual observation and reflection, and use of POMS (Process-Oriented Monitoring System) which measures well-being and involvement, we aim to be conscious of every child's experience within sessions.

To ensure your child is thriving and making progress we know they need to be relaxed, feeling safe and secure and comfortable.

It's very important to us that you are involved with this, so that you can assist us in enabling your child to increase their enjoyment and therefore well-being. For example we ask that you inform us of anything which may affect your child's well-being, which could be anything from a over hectic morning or late night to the death of a relative. It is very helpful for us to know this as it may help us to understand and deal with uncharacteristic behaviour, or build up a picture of patterns of behaviour.

Our provision is geared totally towards enabling children to be themselves, to gain confidence, independence and building their self-esteem.
We want children to feel like 'fish in water'!

The children are encouraged to choose their own activities and are free to play indoors or outdoors, and are supported with this if necessary.

When there are outings or community events we ensure that every child has an opportunity to participate.

We have some experience of supporting children with SEND and through this and through attending training and liaising with other professionals we have built up a bank of knowledge and understanding of individual needs which we are continually adding to.

In addition to National Level Qualifications our staff have accessed and continue to access a range of courses from specific needs such as communication and positive behaviour management to more general training around child development.

Our experience has taught us that observation, reflection, communication (between all parties) and consistency are the most important factors when supporting children with SEND.

We are able to access the help of outside agencies if necessary through support of our Area SENCo, and outside professionals (eg speech therapists, physiotherapists, educational psychologists, specialist teachers), to ensure that your child is receiving the expertise of more specifically trained experienced practitioners.

If other professionals are involved, then again, with your child and you at the centre of the process, a One Plan will be created as part of an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP). This may contribute towards extra support being provided, so that your child has every opportunity to reach their potential.

The building we use is accessible to mobility aids and wheelchairs and has an accessible toilet.

We have accessible freeflow indoor/outdoor play so that every child can choose where they play.

There is a changing table for children wearing nappies. We are continually adding to our bank of visual resources to enable children, and/or parents with communication needs.

We are very aware of the need for smooth transition between either settings or when going up to school. We understand that this can be a time loaded with different emotions and both children and parents/carers need support and information.

In the last term before children go to school we have a transition programme. This involves setting up visits for the children to the intended schools, and inviting Foundation teachers to come and visit the children at pre-school.

We have created booklets for all the main schools that we feed into, these contain pictures and minimal text and are aimed at familiarising the child with whichever school they are going to, and provoking conversation about it. We have duplicates of these so that they can be taken away and used at home.
We organise activities which help develop skills such as changing for P.E, and carrying food on trays.

We hold a transition evening for parents and carers where we try to deepen understanding about how to help prepare children for school, by increasing their independence. We emphasize the message that all children are unique and develop at different rates, and that some may need more support than others in certain areas.

We have had experience of assisting several children with SEND with the transition process and are fully aware of the importance of covering all aspects and needs. Our aim is to support the family and liaise with the school and any other agencies to ensure that any child starts school as confidently as possible.

Our SENCo, with the support of the manager is responsible for co-ordinating and deploying staff and resources to meet the goals set out in the Graduated Response.

On a daily basis this involves delegating specific staff to run certain activities and give support to children with SEND. Those staff are then required to feedback and share information to enable the SENCo and the rest of the team to continue to assess, plan, do and review on an ongoing basis.

There are certain resources which are set aside for meeting specific needs, to enable smooth and effective delivery of activities and the SENCo is responsible for maintaining and deploying these.

We understand that visual prompts and aids and signing can enable children to participate more meaningfully and we are continually adding to our bank of visual resources.

We understand the need to make all activities accessible to all children so that every child has equal opportunity to participate, and careful thought is given by the team to ensure that this happens safely and meaningfully.

In addition to building up working partnership with parents and carers we work hard to ensure that all parents and carers themselves feel supported and included. This may be through extra time spent with parents and carers, discussing and coming to joint decisions, and if still extra time is needed to explain things again or in more detail then this is provided willingly.

If for any reason any parents or carers have any difficulty with communication we are committed to enabling and empowering them to ensure that they are part of any decision-making involving their child.

There are always 2 staff in the foyer at the beginning and end of each session to answer queries or who will enable further discussions if necessary, with the manager, SENCo and/or keyworkers.

We have two noticeboards in the foyer on which we share daily, weekly and continuous information. For example at the moment we are displaying Makaton sign language symbols of the signs that we are all learning that week, so that parents also have opportunity to learn at the same time. We have found that the children love teaching the signs to everyone at home!

We share what we are doing with parents and carers on our Facebook page, and our half-termly newsletter.

Parents are always welcome to stay and see a session for themselves, either to just observe or join in with the play!

There is always information for parents in the foyer about various subjects, and we welcome questions and discussions about any of this information. We are passionate and knowledgable about child development and if we don't know something we will try and find someone who does!

The pre-school is managed by Rowhedge Under 5's Committee which is made up of parents and ex-parents of children at pre-school, so there is opportunity to become involved in the running of the organisation.

Every summer we hold a fundraisng Strawberry Fayre which is a very popular community event and we ask all parents to get involved by helping out for an hour or more on the day.

We have a Sports Day and a Leaver's Ceremony at the end of the summer term and at Christmas we always have a performance...all of these usually have 100% attendance by parents and carers.

Thank you for taking the time to read our Local Offer, we hope you have found it useful and informative.