Here’s how we care for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. 

  1. How does the nursery know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
  • At the Old School House Nursery we perform a variety of ongoing observational assessments of all the children in our care. These include the Progress Review at about 27 months, the EYFS Curriculum Record and Learning Journal, Individual Learning Plans (ILPs), and our ‘Transition to school’ summative assessment. These are all linked to the Development Matters age and stage of development (part of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum). These observational assessments can help us to identify the individual needs of the child.
  • These observations will be shared with the nursery Senco (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) and the Manager.
  • At the Old School House Nursery we have a Key Person system in place, which means every child has a named individual overseeing the child’s record keeping and care needs. When they are not present a Key Buddy is responsible. The role of the Key Person/Buddy is to develop trusting, sensitive relationship with both the child and the parents/carers to enable respectful sharing of information.
  • If you have any concerns about your child’s development you can ask for time to discuss your concerns in private with your Key Person.
  • If your child’s Key Person has identified a possible individual need they will discuss their concerns with you in private and then a joint plan can be made to support your child’s learning and development.
  • Our trained Senco can offer advice and support to the Key Person and our other childcare practitioners. The Senco will liaise with other professionals to seek advice and support in identifying individual needs if and when necessary. Additional support can also be given by East Sussex’s Early Years Support Team with parent’s/carer’s permission.
  • Reports from health care professionals, such as Health Visitors and Speech and Language therapists, who have been involved in identifying a child’s individual needs are always welcomed. This information can then be used to plan for your child’s care, learning and development requirements.
  • We have a Supporting Children with Special Needs Policy which is regularly updated and reviewed. All staff read this at their induction and then re-read it annually. Any amendments or changes to the document are cascaded down to staff who read the policy to familiarise themselves with the changes.


  1. How will nursery staff support my child?
  • We aim to work with the parents/carers so that we support the child together.
  • If you or one of the team at the nursery have a concern we would carry out additional observations and assessments and then evaluate the information gathered. We then invite parents/carers in to discuss our findings, giving opportunities for you to add to our findings.
  • Our Senco will explain how the children’s individual needs can be met by planning support using their Individual Learning Plan (ILP). Our Senco will also explain who may become involved in your child’s development and their role in this process.
  • Your child’s Key Person/Buddy will work with your child daily. They will, with support from the Senco, identify individual needs and plan next steps, accessing additional support from others where necessary (e.g. Speech and Language Therapists or by making applications for additional funding).
  • All ILPs will be reviewed with you and your child’s Key Person every 4-6 weeks.
  • Our Senco will maintain an overview of experience and progress. She will also work with other practitioners to ensure provision is relevant/ appropriate and seek support when needed.
  • At times of transition additional meetings will be arranged. For internal transition, from our Mini Monties to the main classroom, for example, meetings will be arranged between parents and their child’s new Key Person prior to the child moving up. Inductions for the child to familiarise themselves with the new area will also be arranged at this time.
  • Before the transition to primary school we will hold a Summative Assessment meeting with the parents/carers in July. In addition, joint meetings may be held with child’s new school teacher and school Senco.


  1. How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
  • Communication between parents and staff is an essential component of the child’s care, support and well-being.
  • The Key Person/ Buddy will liaise with the parents on a daily basis at drop off and pick up.
  • The collaboration process starts at the induction meetings when parents complete an ‘All about me’ form for their child.
  • Parents are also asked to complete ‘The child’s voice’ form at least annually, which helps the staff understand the child’s interests at home. These interests can then be incorporated into the child’s ILP.
  • Throughout the child’s time at nursery we take observations of their progress. This begins with a baseline summative assessment which records the child’s stage in each of the curriculum’s 7 areas of learning. We then plan and deliver an ILP for each child which sets out how we will help the child develop. Finally we record each child’s progress in respect of their ILP in our EYFS Curriculum Record.


  1. How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me support my child’s learning?
  • We have effective communication systems in place. These include:
  • Communication Books. These are used for all children up to their third birthday and give detailed information on your child’s day including what and how much they ate, toileting/hygiene needs, any sleeps and a résumé of their activities. These books can continue beyond the child’s third birthday if required and/or requested by parents.
  • Parent Consultation meetings.
  • Daily conversations between parents and their child’s Key person/Buddy when they collect/bring their child to school.
  • Progress Review reports at about 27 months.
  • Parent meetings at the end of the child’s 4th year to share and discuss the Summative Assessment, which will then be sent to the child’s Reception teacher at their new school.
  • Bulletin updates are sent out monthly by email
  • Website.
  • We invite parents to share their knowledge of their child with the staff through observations on Tapestry. This allows the child to share their achievements with their Key Person and develop a sense of self-esteem.
  • Children’s ILPs are shared with parents at their request and at parent evenings.            
  1. What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?
  • The nursery’s ethos is inclusive, positive and welcoming to all.
  • On entry to the setting parents are given ‘All about me’ forms to complete – this will help practitioners meet the individual needs of the children.
  • We aim to provide a flexible approach to routine and environment which is based around the needs of the children.
  • Childcare practitioners provide good role modelling for positive behaviour.
  • A continual positive approach to behaviour is maintained by all staff.
  • The Key Person builds relationships with children and parents, enabling them to provide attention to both their care and learning needs.
  • Senior staff are trained to administer medications.
  • Policies and procedures are in place for parents and staff in relation to a child’s well-being.
  • During the daily routine visual timetables can be used to support children in understanding the everyday routine.
  • Older children are supported to manage their own personal care and manage risks for themselves.
  • Resources are available for the children to access independently.
  • For any child with additional medical needs a Health Care Plan is completed through consultation between parents, Key Person and child.


  1. What specialist services and expertise are available at, or accessed by, the nursery?
  • Within the nursery we have a named Senco.
  • We do apply for additional support from East Sussex Early Years Support Service if necessary; this may include Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Early Years Support Teachers. These multi-disciplinary agencies will visit the nursery and sometimes the parent’s home and give us advice and ideas on how we can support the child’s learning and development.
  • Our Senco will attend any multi-disciplinary meetings arranged and will liaise with other agencies. She will also cascade information back to the nursery team.


  1. What training has the staff supporting children with SEND had or are having?
  • Our ‘Supporting children with special educational needs’ policy is reviewed annually and re-read by the staff.
  • The policy is shared with all parents. We send out our key policies, including ‘Supporting children with special educational needs’, to parents by email when they join. The policy is also available in the parents’ policy folder which is kept in the nursery corridor, on a shelf outside the office.
  • As part of the new staff’s induction they receive online training on behaviour management. They also have training on how we identify children with individual needs and how the referral process works. Also, staff go through diversity, equality and inclusion training.
  • Staff have regular in-house training on issues around SEN and we incorporate inclusion training into our monthly staff meetings as needed.
  • Our Senco attends refresher courses. Any information received is cascaded back to all staff.


  1. How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom, including school trips?
  • All activities are planned around our children’s individual needs and abilities.
  • Additional support staff are provided as and when needed.
  • Risk assessments are carried out prior to an activity or trip to ensure it is accessible for all: adaptations and changes are made at this time if required. Information is cascaded to staff as needed.


  1. How accessible is the nursery environment?
  • The main entrance has several steps but we do have a side entrance with no steps which could be easily accessed if required.
  • We do not at present have a disabled toilet.
  • Any limitations of the building can be fully explained if necessary.
  • As part of our Montessori ethos we provide a wide selection of multi-sensory experiences as part of our provision.
  • We provide sensory play equipment and can provide visual aids.
  • We have access to, and seek support from, East Sussex Early Years Support Service.
  • We can apply for additional funding (i.e. to the Early Years Inclusion Support Fund (EYISF)) to provide one-to-one support or additional equipment.


  1. How will you prepare and support my child to join the nursery, transfer to a new setting or school, or move on to the next stage of education and life?

Joining the setting

  • Prior to starting at nursery your child will have three one-hour inductions. At this time parents can share information about the needs of their child. On the first visit one parent/carer can stay with their child throughout the visit. On the second two visits we encourage and support the parent/carer to leave their child for at least some of the visit.
  • These visits give the child time to settle and familiarise themselves with the nursery environment.
  • Each child is assigned a Key Person, as explained earlier.
  • The Key Person will begin to form a relationship of trust and support with the parent/carer and the child during these sessions and will ask for any current care plans. We require a selection of forms to be completed by the parent which includes ‘All about me’ and ‘Daily routine’ forms.
  • Alongside this the Key Person will complete a baseline assessment of the child’s stage in respect of the curriculum’s seven areas of learning.
  • Meetings with health care professionals involved with the child’s care can be arranged.
  • Any relevant documentation (e.g. previous ILPs from other settings or paediatric reports) will be shared in our setting.
  • All this information will help us identify the child’s needs and interests.
  • If required, staff will attend training related to the child’s needs before the child starts at the setting.
  • Parents and Key Person will agree a consistent approach to ensure continuity of care from home to setting.

Transition to school or next setting

  • When a child moves to a new nursery or school the child’s Key Person and Senco observe the child and discuss the child’s strengths and needs. This information is passed to the receiving setting. The Key Person and Senco can attend meetings and share ILPs with the receiving nursery or setting.
  • The child’s views and feelings can be shared through photographs reflecting what they have done, achieved and enjoyed. Learning Journeys, ILPs, the Curriculum Development Record and other relevant documents are given to parents or can, with parental permission, be passed on to the receiving setting.


  1. How are the nursery’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
  • Staff are deployed within the setting to support the child on an individual, as well as a group, basis.
  • Within the nursery’s budget additional resources are sought or alternatively adaptations to existing resources are made.
  • Additional funding can also be applied for from East Sussex Early Years Support Services.


  1. How is the decision made about the type of support my child will receive?
  • Decisions made about how much support a child will receive is monitored through observations made by the Key Person and our Senco. These will then be discussed at a pre-arranged meeting with the parents.
  • Observational assessments are linked to the EYFS and knowledge of child development will be used to identify what support is required.
  • Extra support will be put into place, if necessary with the aim of enabling the child to become independent within the nursery environment.
  • Our Senco will advise on the process of applying for additional funding. She will complete all forms and give copies of paperwork to the parents.
  • Reports from health care professionals or others working with the child and family will be used to plan support for the child and also to support any funding claims.
  • The Individual Learning Plan (ILP) will be written with parental input and will include ideas on how parents can support their child’s learning at home.
  • Staff meetings within the setting will ensure that all staff working with the child know the child’s needs and how to support them.


  1. How are parents involved in the nursery? How can I be involved?
  • Parents are involved in their child’s learning from the moment they join the nursery.
  • At a child’s induction sessions the child’s strengths, needs, likes and dislikes are discussed.
  • Parents are then encouraged to share information with their Key Person, on an ongoing basis, about the individual needs of their child and any agencies involved with the child/family.
  • A parent’s knowledge of their child is important and working together is encouraged, as we provide opportunities to meet with staff at regular intervals to share and discuss the child’s learning and development.
  • Each child’s Learning Journey is available to parents through Tapesty.
  • Planning is visibly displayed in the classroom on the board behind the main door.
  • A note on what the children have done each day is displayed in the corridor, behind the front door.
  • Parents can add their planning ideas (based on their children’s current interests at home) on a form in corridor.


  1. Who can I contact for further information?
  • The first point of contact within the setting is your child’s Key Person.
  • Parents can also talk to the nursery’s Senco at any time (you can find their name from the staff photographs on the Parent Board in the corridor).
  • Our Manager will also be able to offer advice and will be able to signpost parents to other professionals who may be able to help, such as a health visitor, and where to source speech and language support.
  • Further information on the local offer – what is available for children and young people with special educational needs in East Sussex – can be found at:

    Information for Families (including SEN and disability advice service)

    Phone: 0345 60 80 192

    Text: 07797 870317