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Fernhurst Pre-school Local Offer for children with Special Educational Needs 


How does Fernhurst Pre-school know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?

At Fernhurst Pre-school we operate a Key worker system with each child being allocated to a member of staff. Their role is to develop trusting, sensitive relationships with parents and children to enable respectful sharing of information.

If you have any concerns about your child’s development you can ask for a time to discuss this in private with the Special Educational Needs and Inclusion Coordinator (SENCO/INCO) -Mrs. Elizabeth Koffman and the key worker.


We make ongoing observations and assessments of all children in our care. These are linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage ages and stages of development and are recorded in the child’s Learning Journal which enables us to identify individual needs of the child. If your child’s key person has identified a possible need this will be discussed with you and the SENCO to plan with you how to support your child’s learning and development.

Reports from other professionals such as paediatricians, health visitors and speech and language therapists identify children’s individual needs . The setting welcomes parents and professionals sharing these reports with them in order to plan appropriately to meet individual needs.

Our SENCO/INCO will offer support and advice to your child’s key person and other staff in the setting and can also seek additional support and advice from the Early Years Advisory Teacher or the Inclusion team 

How will Fernhurst Pre-school staff support my child?

On introduction to the setting parents are encouraged to accompany their chlld on visits to the setting to help them settle in and to develop a relationship with the key worker. This also provides the opportunity for parents and key workers to share information about the strengths and needs of the child. We listen to you as well as your child and work with parents to support the child together.

The key worker’s role is to foster relationships with and to understand the individual child in order to be able to identify needs and plan next steps. Your key person will explain how children’s individual needs can be met by working with the SENCO to plan support using Individual Plans (IPs) or Educational, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) and advice from other professionals involved.

The setting’s parent run committee are responsible for enabling leadership within the setting to create inclusive policies, ensuring that these policies are in place and up to date. The setting maintains a high level of adult to child ratio to ensure sufficient individual support when required and to enable staff to attend training to increase relevant knowledge and understanding of individual needs. We operate an open door policy to create an ethos that respects and welcomes all and ensures that the environment is inclusive with resources that reflect diversity positively.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

Communication is key between parents and staff to support your child’s care and wellbeing. During initial meetings you will be asked to complete an ‘All About Me’ booklet to share information about your child’s likes, dislikes, favourite play and their home life. Any available assessment documents from other professionals will be requested with your permission.

The Early Years Foundation Stage is used to support your child’s learning through ongoing observations, assessments and further planning. Your child’s Learning Journal provides information which contributes to our planning of activities, experiences, routines, resources and provision for the individual. We work as a team to provide consistency and understanding to meet your child’s needs effectively.

How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?

We are a happy, friendly setting and aim to build good relationships with our families. We provide opportunities daily when parents are most welcome to discuss your child’s progress or any concerns you may have.

The pre-school uses a secure on line site called Tapestry’ to record the children’s developmental observations in their Learning Journals. This system allows you as parents to have password safe access to your child’s journal at all times and we welcome your input. This also enables us to be more rigorous in our recording and assessment of every child’s individual progress. We are also able to monitor individual child and group progress far more effectively and use the information to guide our curriculum planning   Reports are in the form of initial assessments 6 weeks from your child starting pre-school, two year progress reviews, half termly progress reviews and IP reviews.


What support will there be for my child’s overall well being?

The staff approach is inclusive, positive and welcoming. We provide a flexible approach to routine and environment which are based around the needs of the children. Adults act as good role models for positive behaviour and a continual positive approach to behaviour management is maintained. The key worker builds relationships with the child and family and they provide personal care respectfully to all children. Staff are trained to administer medicine and the setting seeks extra training when required if a child has specific needs.

Visual timetables are used to support children in understanding the daily routines. Resources are accessible to the children for independent choice. Older children are supported to manage their own personal care and manage risks for themselves. There are sensitive, warm interactions between adults and children. The pre-school recognises that all children have a right to protection from abuse.

Fernhurst Pre-school takes seriously it’s responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of all children and values the abilities and achievements of individual children.  We are committed to providing for each child the best possible environment for learning and development.


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

At Fernhurst Pre-school we have a low turnover of staff which results in an experienced and dedicated team who work well together to provide good continuity for the children. The team is led by:

Elizabeth Vigar – Lead Practitioner 

Elizabeth Koffman – SENCo/INCo (NASEN)

We have 6 further members of staff, all qualified to NVQ level 3 or above. In addition one member of staff is qualified with an Early Years Foundation Degree.

We consult with Health Care and Early Years Professionals including Speech and Language Therapists, Physiotherapists, Portage and Health Visitors.

Inclusion support is available from Early Childhood Service and Early Years Advisors work together with the setting and parents and liaise with other relevant professionals to provide the best possible support for your child.


What training are the staff, supporting children with SEND, had or are having?

The SENCO/INCO has qualified in National Awards Special Educational Needs (NASEN) and attends termly network meetings with the Inclusion team and other childcare providers to keep their knowledge and understanding up to date. The staff receive ongoing professional development training with a focus on SEND and training is cascaded back to the team during regular staff meetings. All Staff are trained in First Aid, Child Protection and Safeguarding and Early Years Learning and Development and Portage training. Further training undertaken includes Speech and Language, Makaton and signing, Music therapy, Health and Safety, Food Hygiene and the Role of the Keyworker. Specialist training for the individual child’s specific needs is sought when required.


How will my child be included in activities outside the early years setting including trips? 

All activities and trips are planned around all children’s individual needs and abilities. Risk assessments are carried out beforehand to ensure the activity is suitable for all to access. All policies and procedures are current and reviewed regularly by staff and committee. Policies are shared with parents to reassure them that we are inclusive.

Parents are consulted and included in planning for children with additional needs and are invited to accompany their child on outings if they wish.

Good staff ratios are maintained to enable your child’s access to all activities.


How accessible is the early years setting environment? (Indoors and outdoors)   

The building provides full wheelchair access throughout including toilet/changing facilities. From the covered patio area a ramp provides easy access to the garden area.

We provide multi-sensory experiences and play equipment as part of our care provision and use visual aids and picture timetables. Multi–lingual signs are displayed around the pre- school and multi-cultural books and activities are provided. We aim to accommodate any additional aids or requirements and seek further advice and training when required.

How will Fernhurst Pre-school prepare my child to join the setting, transfer to a new setting/school?

Staff run a parent /toddler group alongside the pre-school giving families opportunity to become familiar with the environment and meet other parents for friendship and support. When your child joins the setting we invite you to come and stay for short periods of time to help them familiarise themselves with the setting, build relationships with key members of staff and get to know their environment. Each child is assigned a key worker whose role is to form a relationship of trust and support for you and your child. Initial visits provide the opportunity for parents to share information, return forms and discuss their child’s needs. This helps us identify the child’s needs and interests and be made aware if any agencies are involved in the child’s development before they start.

If required staff will attend training related to a child’s needs before they attend the setting. Meeting with Health care professionals will help the child’s transition into the setting. We ensure any relevant documentation is shared in the setting including ‘All about me’ booklet, previous IPs, EHCPs, paediatric reports, to ensure appropriate planning is in place. The Parents and key worker should agree a consistent approach to ensure continuity of care from home to setting.

When all children transfer to another setting or progress to school a transition meeting/discussion takes place between the new teacher and key worker. If a child has Special Educational needs the pre-school SENCO will arrange for the new setting/school SENCO and other relevant health care/educational professionals to be involved in these discussions and the Early Support team can be asked to guide and support parents and liaise with professionals. All documentation including your child’s Learning Journal are passed on to the new setting/school. When the Inclusion Support team are involved they continue their support if required during the first term.

Staff and children make several visits to the new setting/school prior to starting and new teachers are invited to visit your child at Fernhurst Pre-school. If your child is moving into Fernhurst Primary School reception class the children spend several afternoons in the classroom and join the class for outdoor play during the summer term prior to starting school.

How are Fernhurst Pre-school resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational need.

Inclusion funding and Two year old funding can be applied for to support the child being included in the setting. A delegated budget will be used to provide additional resources or adapt existing equipment following advice from health care and educational professionals involved. Resources can also be loaned from the toy library and Children’s Centre. Specific resources may be identified by the key worker when planning your child’s next steps.


How is the decision made about how much support my child will receive?

Observation, assessment and evaluation of your child’s progress is undertaken by the key worker, the SENCO and Early Years Teacher and information from other professionals involved in the child’s development and you as parents all contribute to deciding the best way to support your child. Extra support will be put in place if required with the aim of enabling your child to become independent within the environment. Staff team briefings will ensure all staff understand the individual child’s needs and have a consistent approach with support.

The Inclusion Support team and other professionals working with the setting SENCO will support the decision making process linked to planned targets identified through Individual Learning Plans. Education, Health and Care Plans are developed with parents and will include how parents can support their child at home.


How are parents involved in Fernhurst Pre-school? How can I be involved?

Fernhurst Pre-school is a charitable, non profit making organisation managed by an elected committee of volunteers including a chairperson, secretary and treasurer. Once your child starts at pre-school, you as a parent become a member of the pre-school and we encourage all our parents to volunteer to help in some way, be it by joining the Committee or helping with fundraising events.

Parent Forums are held each term, these are informal meetings and provide parents, staff and the Committee with an opportunity to meet together to hear about what’s going on at Pre-school and we welcome your comments and suggestions. We also hold open sessions/parent evenings, fundraising and social events with all parents invited to attend. Parents are encouraged to contribute to their child’s individual planning and to consider their next steps in supporting learning at home.


Who can I contact for further information.

Fernhurst Pre-school Lead Practitioner - Elizabeth Vigar

Telephone – 01428 652579

e-mail –

Family Information Centres, Health Visitors, GPs, Children and Family Centres,Inclusion Support available from Early Childhood Service, Family Link Workers and Social Workers

The Local Authority Local Offer can be found on the West Sussex County Council Family Information website

Questions on the Local Offer may be sent directly to

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