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Special Educational Needs
Acorns Playgroup Local Offer

At some time, many children may need additional or different support to enable them to learn and develop. We aim to support you and your child and ensure that their individual needs are met and that they can learn, develop and achieve to their full potential. If a child's needs are additional or different to the needs of other children of the same age, they may be described as having Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND).

It is our aim to work with children and their families to remove any barriers to learning and development and inclusion, and support them to achieve to the best of their ability. 
Our Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) is Sandra Matthews. 
We have compiled a list of frequently ask questions about Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and this is our 'local offer' stating what is available at Acorns.

How does the setting know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?

If you are concerned that your child may have additional or different needs, or if they have a disability, please discuss this with your child’s key person as soon as possible. All children are assessed by their key person against the ‘normal’ expected development described in the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance. They may be able to put your mind at rest, since all children learn and develop at different rates, at different times and in different areas of development. However, if you are still concerned, your key person will suggest that you both discuss this with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). We will then work with you to decide whether your child needs additional support and what that support should be.

 How will the early years setting staff support my child?

You can meet with the SENCO and your key person to agree an Individual Learning and Provision Plan (ILPP). This sets out appropriate targets to support your child to achieve over an agreed period of time, usually 6 to 8 weeks. These targets are based on your child's strengths and interests. At the end of the period we will arrange a meeting to review the targets. We may set new ones, or we may at that point decide that no further action is needed. If your child has not reached the targets, we may adjust them or we might seek advice from other professionals from outside Acorns who can provide additional support and help with planning. We will include you in all decisions and take your views into account.

 How will the setting prepare and support my child to join the setting, transfer to a new setting or the next stage of education and life?

Transitions are extremely important to us at Acorns and we recognise that children will not be able to learn and develop to the best of their ability if they are not feeling safe and emotionally secure and supported. All children receive a home visit from their key person and a second key person. This allows you to discuss any concerns you have, or your child’s individual needs, in an environment in which you feel comfortable. Home visits usually last half an hour, but we can provide an extended visit if you let us know. Children have several opportunities to meet their key person and begin to form an attachment with them before they start with us. All settling in periods are arranged on an individual basis and we work with both parents and children’s needs to achieve the best transition we can. We are also happy to meet with any professionals who are already working with your child and who may be able to give us further advice. We would aim to have everything your child needs in place when they start at Acorns. We recognise that this can be a very anxious time for parents and carers and we do everything we can to reduce the this anxiety.

If your child has additional medical needs, we will work with you to set up an individual medical plan, so that you can be absolutely sure that we are able to meet your child’s needs. We review medical plans regularly and whenever there are changes.

When your child moves on to school, we will arrange meetings with reception teachers to ensure that we pass on any relevant information. You will be kept informed and invited to attend at every stage of any transition.

 Who can I contact for further information?

Your key person and the SENCO are your first point of contact in the setting. However, if you are unhappy with anything about Acorns, you are welcome to contact the Inclusion Officers for North Yorkshire Children and Young People’s Services. You may also wish to follow our complaints procedure, copies of which are available in our cloakroom, on the parents’ notice board. You can also ask for a copy by email. 

 What are the responsibilities of the setting’s owners in enabling and supporting inclusive practice?

The five members of staff/key people are all committed to inclusive practice. The manager has overall responsibility for inclusion.

 How will I know how my child is doing?

We will ensure that you are informed of your child’s progress on a daily basis and you will be invited to attend all review meetings and meetings with any other professionals working with your child. We always aim to involve parents in every aspect. Your child’s Individual Learning and Provision Plan will have clear targets and you will be able to see whether your child is achieving these targets and work with us to review them or set new ones.

What support will there be for my child’s physical and emotional wellbeing?

As above, we ensure that any child with additional medical needs has an individual health care plan. We will write this with your help and advice and use any advice available from health care professionals. It will be reviewed regularly and whenever anything changes. You will know exactly what we are doing to support your child’s health needs and who is responsible for this. You will also know how medicines will be administered and stored and how personal care will be carried out. Children’s emotional well-being is paramount to us and we take every care to ensure that children feel safe and comfortable with us. We are aware that some children’s SEN’s give rise to unwanted behaviour and we will also work with you to ensure that you know how we will use positive behaviour management to support them. The named person in behaviour management is Sandra Matthews.

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting?

Staff are highly trained and experienced in a broad range of additional needs and have had inclusion training. Our SENCO updates her training every term. This includes training in a range of SENs and disabilities. Staff also have training in Autism, Portage, Speech and Language support, and working with parents. We also have training in supporting vulnerable children and their families. If we are unable to meet the needs of any child from within our own resources, we have access through North Yorkshire Children and Young People's Services, to a range of professional services including Autism Outreach, Speech and Language Therapists, Educational Psychology, Early Years Advisory Teachers, Physio and Occupational Therapists and our own EYFS consultant, as well as lead practitioners who specialise in supporting various SEND's.

How will you help me to support my child’s learning?

You will have a copy of your child’s ILPP so that you know exactly what we are doing to support them and how you can continue to help them to achieve their targets at home. Your key person will explain the best ways to support their learning.

How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child’s education?

We always involve parents in decisions about their child and we have parents’ events which explain more about how young children learn and how best they can be supported. We will always invite you to take part in discussions and welcome your views on whether your child is achieving their targets, or on setting new targets at every stage.

How will the learning and development provision be matched to my child’s needs?

We aim for all our resources to be as open-ended as possible so that learning can be achieved at any age or ability, with or without the support of adults. If your child has an ILPP we will suggest a specific amount of time during which an adult will work with them during sessions. This is different for every child and we will work with you so that you are aware of what support your child will receive. 

How will my child be included in experiences away from the setting?

No child would ever be excluded from visits. We will work with you to decide on the best way that your child can be included. 

How accessible is the setting environment?

We aim to support families who speak English as an Additional language and can use translation services if required. We aim to learn key words from each child’s home language, if this is what parents want (some parents ask that we speak only English at Acorns). We ask that parents assess their child’s communication ability in their home language so that we can ensure that their speech is developing well if they don’t speak English. Our building is wheel-chair accessible and we provide small toilets for children, and a disabled toilet for adults is available in the main school. We welcome children who are still in nappies and who are toilet training. 

How are the setting’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?

If specific resources are required to meet a child’s individual needs, we can apply to access funding from the local authority. Our resources are open-ended so that children of all ages and abilities can learn from them. However resources to meet specific needs would be acquired, as far as possible, whenever they are needed. 

We are committed to supporting the inclusion of every child and work with parents and other professionals to ensure that their needs are met so that they can learn, develop and achieve to their full potential.