Special Educational Needs

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 School House Nurseries we perform a variety of ongoing observational assessments of all the children in our care. These include the Integrated Progress Review at about 27 months, the Montessori Individual Record Card, 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.
  • If a Practitioner has any concerns, these observations will be shared with the nursery’s Senco (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) and the Manager.
  • At School House Nurseries 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 the 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. They 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 Montessori Individual Record Card.
  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:
  • Record keeping on our management system (Famly). This provides you 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.
  • Parent Consultation meetings.
  • Daily conversations between parents and their child’s Key person/Buddy when they collect/bring their child to school.
  • Integrated 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 of what the children are up to in the classroom are sent out monthly by email.
  • We invite parents to share their knowledge of their child with the staff through observations on Famly. 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. Famly, ILPs, the Montessori Individual Record Card 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 record keeping is available to parents through Famly.
  • Planning is visibly displayed in the classroom on the board behind the main door.
  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 email informationforfamilies@eastsussex.gov.uk www.eastsussex.gov.uk/informationforfamilies

Statement of intent

At School House Nurseries 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 as a consequence of their needs.

We believe that all children have a right to experience and develop alongside their peers no matter what their individual needs. Each child’s needs are unique, therefore any attempt to categorise children is inappropriate.

We are committed to working alongside parents to meet their child’s individual needs to enable us to help the child to develop to their full potential. We are committed to working with any child who has a specific need and/or disability and making reasonable adjustments to enable every child to make full use of the nursery’s facilities. All children have a right to a broad and well-balanced early learning environment.

Where we believe a child may have additional needs that have previously been unacknowledged, we will work closely with the child’s parents and any relevant professionals to establish if any additional action is required.

Where a child has additional needs, we feel it is paramount to find out as much as possible about those needs; any way that this may affect his/her early learning or care needs and any additional help he/she may need by:

  • Liaising with the child’s parents and, where appropriate, the child
  • Liaising with any professional agencies.
  • Reading any reports that have been prepared.
  • Attending any review meetings with the local authority/professionals
  • Observing each child’s development and monitoring such observations regularly.

All children will be given a full settling in period when joining the nursery according to their individual needs.


We will:

  • Recognise each child’s individual needs and ensure all staff are aware of, and have regard for, the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice on the identification and assessment of any needs not being met by the universal service provided by the nursery.
  • Include all children and their families in our provision.
  • Provide well informed and suitably trained practitioners to help support parents and children with special educational difficulties and/or disabilities.
  • Develop and maintain a core team of staff who are experienced in the care of children with additional needs and identify a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENCO) who is experienced in the care and assessment of children with additional needs. Staff will be provided with specific training relating to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and the SEND Code of Practice.
  • Identify the specific needs of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities and meet those needs through a range of strategies.
  • Ensure that children who learn quicker, e.g. gifted and talented children are also supported.
  • Share any statutory and other assessments made by the nursery with parents and support parents in seeking any help they or the child may need.
  • Work in partnership with parents and other agencies in order to meet individual children’s needs, including the education, health and care authorities, and seek advice, support and training where required.
  • Monitor and review our practice and provision and, if necessary, make adjustments, and seek specialist equipment and services if needed.
  • Ensure that all children are treated as individuals/equals and are encouraged to take part in every aspect of the nursery day according to their individual needs and abilities.
  • Encourage children to value and respect others.
  • Challenge inappropriate attitudes and practices.
  • Promote positive images and role models during play experiences of those with additional needs wherever possible.
  • Celebrate diversity in all aspects of play and learning.

Our nursery has a Special Education Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENCO). (Please see Roles and Responsibilities.)

The role of the SENCO is to take the lead in further assessment of the child’s particular strengths and weaknesses; in planning future support for the child in discussion with 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 practitioner usually responsible for the child should remain responsible for working with the child on a daily basis and for planning and delivering an individualised programme. Parents should always be consulted and kept informed of the action taken to help the child, and of the outcome of this action (code of practice 2015).

She/he works closely with all staff to make sure there are systems in place to plan, implement, monitor, review and evaluate the special educational needs practice and policy of the nursery, always making sure plans and records are shared with parents.


We will:

  • Designate a named member of staff to be Special Educational Needs and Disability Coordinator (SENCO) and share his/her name with parents.
  • Undertake formal Progress checks and Assessments of all children in accordance with the SEND Code of Practice January 2015.
  • Provide a statement showing how we provide for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities and share this with staff, parents and other professionals which is shown on our website. Ensure that the provision for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities is the responsibility of all members of staff in the nursery.
  • Ensure that our inclusive admissions practice includes equality of access and opportunity.
  • Ensure that our physical environment is as far as possible suitable for children and adults with disabilities.
  • Work closely with parents to create and maintain a positive partnership which supports their child(ren).
  • Ensure that parents are informed at all stages of the assessment, planning, provision and review of their child’s care and education.
  • Provide parents with information on sources of independent advice and support.
  • Liaise with other professionals involved with children with special educational needs and/or disabilities and their families, including transfer arrangements to other settings and schools. We work closely with the next school or care setting and meet with them to discuss the child’s needs to ensure information exchange and continuity of care.
  • Use the graduated response system (see explanation below) for identifying, assessing and responding to children’s special educational needs and disabilities.
  • Provide a broad and balanced early learning environment for all children with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
  • Provide differentiated activities to meet all individual needs and abilities.
  • Use a system of planning, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and reviewing Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities and discuss these with parents.
  • Review ILPs regularly and hold review meetings with parents every 6 to 8 weeks.
  • Ensure that children with special educational needs and/or disabilities and their parents are consulted at all stages of the graduated response, taking into account their levels of ability.
  • Use a system for keeping records of the assessment, planning, provision and review for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
  • Provide resources (human and financial) to implement our SEND policy.
  • Ensure the privacy of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities when intimate care is being provided.
  • Use the local authority’s Assessment Framework.
  • Provide in-service training for practitioners and volunteers.
  • Raise awareness of any specialism the setting has to offer, e.g.  Montessori-trained staff.
  • Ensure the effectiveness of our SEN/disability provision by collecting information from a range of sources e.g. ILP reviews, staff and management meetings, parental and external agencies’ views, inspections and complaints. This information is collated, evaluated and reviewed annually.
  • Provide a complaints procedure and make available to all parents in a format that meets their needs e.g. Braille, audio, large print, additional languages.
  • Monitor and review our policy annually.

Effective assessment of the need for early help

Local agencies should work together to put processes in place for the effective assessment of the needs of individual children who may benefit from early help services.

Children and families may need support from a wide range of local agencies.

Where a child and family would benefit from coordinated support from more than one agency (e.g. education, health, housing, police) there should be an inter-agency assessment. These early help assessments, such as the Common Assessment Framework, should identify what help the child and family require to prevent needs escalating to a point where intervention would be needed via a statutory assessment under the Children Act 1989.

The early help assessment should be undertaken by a lead professional who should provide support to the child and family, act as an advocate on their behalf and coordinate the delivery of support services. The lead professional role could be undertaken by a General Practitioner (GP), family support worker, teacher, health visitor and/or special educational needs coordinator. Decisions about who should be the lead professional should be taken on a case by case basis and should be informed by the child and their family.

For an early help assessment to be effective:

  • The assessment should be undertaken with the agreement of the child and their parents or carers. It should involve the child and family as well as all the professionals who are working with them;
  • A teacher, GP, health visitor, early years’ worker or other professional should be able to discuss concerns they may have about a child and family with a social worker in the local authority. Local authority children’s social care should set out the process for how this will happen; and
  • If parents and/or the child do not consent to an early help assessment, then the lead professional should make a judgement as to whether, without help, the needs of the child will escalate. If so, a referral into local authority children’s social care may be necessary.

If at any time it is considered that the child may be a child in need as defined in the Children Act 1989, or that the child has suffered significant harm or is likely to do so, a referral should be made immediately to local authority children’s social care. This referral can be made by any professional.

Working together to safeguard children 2015

Special Educational Needs and Disability code of practice

The nursery has regard to the statutory guidance set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability code of practice (DfE 2015) to identify, assess and make provision for children’s special educational needs.

The nursery will undertake an Integrated Progress Review of all children at 27 months in accordance with the Code of Practice.  The early years provider will also undertake an assessment at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage (in the final term of the year in which a child turns 5) to prepare an EYFS Profile of the child.

The Code of Practice recommends that, in addition to the formal checks above, the nursery should adopt a graduated approach to assessment and planning, led and coordinated by a SENCO. Good practice of working together with parents, and the observation and monitoring of children’s individual progress, will help identify any child with special educational needs or disability. The nursery has identified a member of staff as a SENCO who will work alongside parents to assess the child’s strengths and plan for future support. The SENCO will ensure that appropriate records are kept according to the Code of Practice.

Stage 1

Where a practitioner or SENCO identifies a child with special educational needs, the nursery will assess and record those needs and provide a number of key actions to help the child. As part of this process the nursery will consult with parents and seek any additional information from external professionals. The targets for the child, any teaching strategies or changes to provision are set out in an Individual Learning Plan (ILP). The plan will be continually under review in consultation with the child and his/her parent(s). This stage will involve a cycle of assessment, planning and review in increasing detail, with increasing frequency, to identify the best ways of securing and maintaining progress.

Stage 2

This is where a practitioner or SENCO, in consultation with the child’s parents, decide external support services are required usually following a review of the ILP. The nursery will share its records on the child with those services so that they can advise on any ILP targets and appropriate strategies to help the child.

Statutory assessment

If the help given through an ILP is not sufficient to enable the child to progress satisfactorily, it may be necessary for the nursery, in consultation with the parents and any external agencies already involved, to request a statutory assessment by the local authority. This may lead to the child receiving an education, health and care plan.