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Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

The aim of our Local Offer is to provide families and carers with information about what support is available for children with additional needs at Hilmarton Pre-school and how to access it.


Our mission statement for children with Special Educational Need and Disability:

At Hilmarton Pre-school we are passionate about providing an inclusive, stimulating and supportive environment in which every child is treated as an individual and is given the best possible opportunities to thrive and realise their full potential. 

We strive to ensure that our learning environments, equipment, resources and activities support each child in our care and meet their unique needs, learning styles and fascinations. 

We recognise that some children may have additional needs that require more specific support and assistance and we are highly committed to working in partnership with parents/carers to ensure that every child is able to access our services and that our environment and the activities we provide promote their welfare and development. 

The Pre-school is committed to the integration of all children in its care; we strongly believe that children with additional needs have a right to play, learn and be able to develop to their full potential alongside their peers. Whenever possible, we will strive to ensure that every child with additional needs has access to the same facilities, activities and play opportunities. 

The policies, procedures and practices of the Pre-school in relation to children with additional needs are consistent with current legislation and guidance; these include the Equalities Act 2010,  Disability Discrimination Act 1995, and the SEND Code of Practice 2014.

The Pre-school believes that by identifying individual needs at the earliest possible stage and taking proactive steps, working alongside parents/carers and other statutory professionals or agencies, all children should be able to play a full, active and equal part in the Pre-school’s activities and we are dedicated to achieving this.


How do you know if my child needs extra help?

Your child's key person will carry out an initial assessment of your child six to eight weeks after they have started at the Pre-school. In addition, throughout their time at Pre-school, key persons will assess whether children are meeting the EYFS development matters statements within each learning and development area through observing them as they play. For those children who join us aged two, the child’s key person carries out a progress check assessing their progress against the three prime areas of learning. These areas are communication and language, physical development, and personal, social and emotional development. This check can help to identify any areas where children might need some extra support. The staff meet regularly to discuss observations and plan weekly activities to meet the learning and development needs of the children. Any concerns regarding the development of any children will be discussed, and the key person will seek advice from other members of the staff team including the Pre-school Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) and Pre-school Manager. Additionally, on a termly basis, the progress data for all children is analysed and compared and this acts as a further tool to help us to identify any children who would benefit from additional support. Finally, we place great value upon the knowledge of our parents/carers; you are the experts when it comes to your children and we recognise that working in partnership is integral to ensuring that each child receives the individual support they need to help them progress. We therefore strive to build strong and trusting relationships with our parents/carers, so that you feel comfortable and confident to share your child’s progress at home with us and any concerns you may have regarding their development, safe in the knowledge that no action will be taken without your support and consent. 

What should I do if I already know my child has special educational needs or a disability before applying for a place at Hilmarton Pre-school?

When applying for a place at Hilmarton Pre-school, parents can outline their child's needs on the initial online application form. The Pre-school SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator), Steph Bright is available to meet with potential parents to discuss the child's and families' needs. You are also able to arrange a tour of the Pre-school setting, which would provide an opportunity to discuss any requirements for your child. Before your child starts at Pre-school you will also complete our Registration booklets which provides an opportunity to share your child's developmental history, their current interests, what is important to your child and how we might be able to help them settle into Pre-school.


How will staff support my child?

The staff team plan each week's activities taking into account and following the children's individual fascinations, needs and schemas. If a child is having difficulty with any aspects of learning and development, then we will apply a differentiated approach to suit the children's individual style of learning. If despite differentiation, a child still has significantly greater difficulty in learning than their peers, or a disability that prevents or hinders a child from making use of the facilities, special educational provision will be made through a Support Plan. The Support Plan includes agreed targets, desirable outcomes, relevant interventions and support, and how and when the process will be monitored and reviewed. The type of support and interventions applied will be based on reliable evidence of effectiveness and will be provided by staff with appropriate skills, knowledge and training. Interventions will be shared with all those that work with the child, and parents/carers will be encouraged to use them at home. The Support Plan is closely monitored and updated by the key person and SENCo, working in partnership with parents/carers. Where we believe a child requires more specialist support, consent will be sought from parents/carers to make a referral to the appropriate external agency (such as Speech and Language Services, Occupational Therapy or Educational Psychology) or to invite external health and education professionals to observe the child playing at Pre-school in order to provide advice on how to address any learning and development needs. Support activities and targets set by external agencies will be incorporated into our small group focused activities enjoyed by all children, so that the child remains fully integrated. 

What qualities, skills and experience do the Freshford Pre-school staff team have to support my child's unique needs?

All our staff team who work directly with the children have early years qualifications from Level 3 up to foundation degrees. All staff members attend regular training courses on a diverse range of subjects from Behaviour Management to Letters and Sounds and BLAST training. Our SENCo attends termly SEND updates run by Wiltshire Council.

How will both you and I know how my child is doing?

Through evaluating support plans each term (or more often if needed) and our ongoing assessments recorded in your child's learning journal, we have a clear picture of each child's progress in all areas of learning and development. Each child has a learning journal and they are available for parents/carers to view at any time, and are always shared at parent/carer consultations. Parents/carers are asked to contribute to the journal so it becomes a lovely record of a child's learning journey. Parents/carers are fully involved in reviewing their child's support plan and will work with our SENCo and any external agencies involved in supporting their child to set the next targets and will meet regularly, which provide an excellent opportunity for everyone to share information, look at how a child and family are doing, ensure they are being supported appropriately and decide what the next steps are for the child.


How will you help to support my child's learning?

As mentioned previously, we firmly believe that working in partnership with parents/carers is one of the most important aspects of successfully supporting a child’s welfare, learning and development and in realising their full potential. Parents/carers who get involved during these early years are more likely to remain involved through-out their child’s education, resulting in the best possible outcomes for their children. Parents/carers are encouraged to spend time in the Pre-school, by volunteering as a parent helper, attending fundraising or family events, and joining the pre-school committee. You are also able to access our Facebook page, which gives lots of ideas of how you could set up stimulating learning environments and activities at home. 


How will my child be included in activities outside the setting, including trips, walks, and Forest Adventures?

Parents/carers are invited to go out with their children on trips, walks and Forest Adventures sessions in order to maintain high adult/child ratios when we leave the setting and to provide opportunities for parents/carers to see the value of learning in the outdoor environment and the positive effects this can have upon all children. If your child has mobility needs, we will endeavour to attract extra funding from the Local Authority so that we can employ an extra staff member to support their physical requirements while on walks and in the Forest Adventures environment.


How will you prepare and support my child with transition to school?

One of the biggest transitions a child goes through is starting school. For families with children with additional needs this can be a particularly worrying time. Pre-school to school transitions are planned to take into account individual children's needs. For example, for some children we may have a transition meeting inviting the receiving school's SENCo, reception teacher and all other agencies involved with the family and a plan is devised to support a smooth transition. Reception teachers from Hilmarton Primary School and other relevant local schools visit the Pre-school to meet children coming into their class and talk to their key persons. A transition document is shared with the parents and receiving school which reports on the child's characteristics of effective early learning and progress in the seven areas of learning and development. Children with support plans will have their records of support forwarded to the school SENCo and class teacher.