– Special Educational Needs and Disabilities – SEND Policy
EYFS: 31.6, 1.7, 2.3, 2.5, 3.20, 3.27, 3.28, 3.67, 3.73
This policy has been created with regard to:
- The SEND Code of Practice 2015
- Children and Families Act 2014 (Part 3)
- Equality Act 2010
- Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018)
- Statutory Framework for the EYFS (2017)
Little Stars 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.
At Little Stars we use the SEND Code of Practice (2015) definition of Special Educational Needs and Disability:
A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.
A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:
- has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
- has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.
Statement of Intent
At Little Stars 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. We aim to build confidence by developing personal qualities that help to form trusting and stable relationships. Our policy is a working document, where all contributions are equally valued, whether from children, their families, staff or other agencies.
At Little Stars 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.
Little Stars is committed to working alongside parents in the provision for their child’s individual needs to enable us to help the child to develop to their full potential. Little Stars is 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 Little Stars facilities. All children have a right to a broad and well-balanced early learning environment.
We feel it is paramount to find out as much as possible about a particular child’s needs and any ways in which that may affect his/her early learning or care needs by:
- Liaising with the child’s parents and, where appropriate, the child
- Liaising with any professional agencies
- Reading any reports that have been prepared and following suggested strategies and reconditions
- Attending any review meetings with the local authority/professionals
- Regularly monitoring observations carried out on the child’s development.
All children will be given a full settling in period when joining Little Stars according to their individual needs. Little stars practitioners will record this as a starting point on Learning Journal profiles for each individual child. In accordance to the code of practice, key workers (supervised by the Leadership team), will undertake a progress check of all children aged two. This will then be shared with parents and the Health visitor.
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.
- 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 identification and assessment of any needs not being met by the universal service provided by Little Stars
- Include all children and their families in our provision and meet their individual needs.
- Develop and maintain a core team of staff who are experienced in the care of children with additional needs and employ a Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCO) 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 at the earliest opportunity through targeted interventions and strategies
- Ensure that children who learn quicker, e.g. gifted and talented children are also supported
- Share any statutory and other assessments made by Little Stars 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 Little Stars 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 Special Education Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCO) is Laura Kurtul who has SEND experience in early year’s education and has undertaken specific training to help children with Special educational needs. Jess Broadbent also supports Laura in this role.
The role of the SENDCO 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 SENDCO should also ensure that appropriate records are kept including a record of children’s SEND 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 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 Little Stars, always making sure plans and records are shared with parents.
- Designate a named member of staff to be Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCO) 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
- Ensure that the provision for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities is the responsibility of all members of staff
- 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 Educational Plans (IEPs) for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities and discuss these with parents
- Review IEPs regularly, every 6 weeks and hold review meetings with parents at this time
- 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 authorities Assessment Framework (see details below)
- Provide in-service training for practitioners and volunteers
- Raise awareness of any specialism the setting has to offer, e.g. Makaton trained staff
- Ensure the effectiveness of our SEN/disability provision by collecting information from a range of sources e.g. IEP reviews, staff and Leadership Team 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 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.
Special Educational Needs and Disability code of practice
Little Stars 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.
Little Stars will undertake a Progress Check of all children at age two in accordance with the Code of Practice.
The Code of Practice recommends that, in addition to the formal checks above, Little Stars should adopt a graduated approach to assessment and planning, led and coordinated by a SENDCO. 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. Little Stars has identified a member of staff as a SENDCO (Laura Kurtul) who will work alongside parents to assess the child’s strengths and plan for future support. The SENDCO will ensure that appropriate records are kept according to the Code of Practice.
Where a practitioner or SENCO identifies a child with special educational needs, Little Stars will assess and record those needs and provide a number of key actions to help the child. As part of this process, Little Stars 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 Education Plan (IEP). 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.
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 IEP. Little Stars will share its records on the child with those services so that they can advise on any IEP targets and appropriate strategies to help the child.
If the help given through an IEP is not sufficient to enable the child to progress satisfactorily, it may be necessary for Little Stars, 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.
Working with parents
As a setting we are committed to working in partnership with parents/carers when considering the needs of each child. Our intention is to work with staff and families to ensure that all children who come to Little Stars reach their full potential and to ensure equality of access over a broad spectrum of the curriculum.
We respect and value parental knowledge, understanding, as far as possible, the differing needs of parent’s themselves. We share information about a child’s needs and development while respecting the requirements of confidentiality and the Data Protection Act. We will take time to meet with parents/carers whenever mutually convenient and any additional support will be provided, such as interpreters, staff skilled in signing, if required.
Children with special educational needs are welcomed in to our setting as are all children. We may ask parents to give us further details of professionals involved with their child. When we know that a child may have a special educational need or disability before they start at the setting, we will endeavour to set up a good transition for that child in to the setting, involving the child, parents/carers and any outside professionals known to the child. This may involve the child visiting the setting on a number of occasions and/or a home visit by one of our members of staff.
Transition of children with Special Educational Needs between settings or the next stage of education
We believe that transition is a crucial time for all children, but particularly for children who have been identified with special educational needs. We will do everything in our power to facilitate a smooth transition for our children moving to other settings. We will invite staff from the new setting to transition meetings and pass on SSP’s and information etc as well as the all about me/ Learning Journals to the new setting.
The Curriculum at our setting
We offer an inclusive provision to all our children. All will have full access to the environment, resources, staff and activities. The curriculum is planned to meet the known individual needs of all the children and resources are chosen to facilitate access to the curriculum for all of the children. We adapt our materials and teaching styles to help children with different individual needs to learn.
Some children and young people may require an EHC needs assessment in order to decide whether it is necessary to develop an EHC plan. The purpose of an EHC plan is to adjust and offer support to meet the special educational needs of the child, to secure the best possible outcomes for them across education, health, and social care.
The local authority will conduct the EHC needs assessment and consider a wide range of evidence, including
- evidence of the child’s developmental milestones and rate of progress
- information about the nature, extent, and context of the child’s SEN
- evidence of the action already being taken by us as the early years provider to meet the child’s SEN
- evidence that, where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of much additional intervention and support over and above that which is usually provided
- evidence of the child’s physical, emotional, and social development and health needs, drawing on relevant evidence from clinicians and other health professionals and what has been done to meet these by other agencies.
We will then work with the local authority and other bodies to ensure that the child receives the support they need to gain the best outcomes.
SEND during Covid
Clinically extremely vulnerable children are also advised not to attend education or childcare.
Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are those identified through a letter from the NHS and should follow shielding guidance. Clinically vulnerable can continue to attend educational provision where it is appropriate for them to do so (for children with education health and care (EHC) plans this will be informed by a risk assessment approach.)
System control measures to minimise the risk of transmission will be put in place.