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Boundstone Local Offer for Children with Additional Needs Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

What is the Local Offer?

 

  • From September 2014, every Local Authority is required to publish information about available services for children who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). This is known as the ‘Local Offer’. This easy to understand information will set out what is normally available in schools and early years settings (e.g. playgroups and day nurseries) to support children with additional needs. It is not simply a list of services, but provides useful information on how to access services, any eligibility criteria, how decisions are made and who makes them. On this website, you will find information about the local offer for children with additional needs at Boundstone. If you are interested in finding out about the West Sussex County Council local offer please click the button. 

 

What other recent changes has the government made to support for children and young people who are disabled or who have special educational needs (SEN)?

 

  • The Children and Families Bill (2013) extends the SEN system from birth to 25, giving children, young people and their parents/carers greater control and choice in decisions and ensuring needs are properly identified and met.

  • New statutory guidance in the form of the Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years must be followed from September 2014.

  • Statements of special educational needs are being replaced by Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), extending rights and protections to young people in further education and training and offering families personal budgets so that they have more control over the support they need.

  • Under an EHCP, local authorities and health authorities are required to work together, improving coordination and cooperation between all the services that support children and their families.

 

What differences are families likely to notice?

 

  • As the new Code of Practice comes into use, you may notice that some of the language used in education settings in relation to additional needs changes. For example, the terms Early Years/School Action and Early Years/School Action Plus will no longer be used, as these stages of intervention are being replaced by a single stage of Early Years/School Support, comprising a cycle of four actions (Assess – Plan – Do – Review).

  • If your child has additional needs, you should notice that there is increased emphasis on the child’s own views, and, where possible, on their role in decision making.

  • Where relevant, you should notice closer co-operation between education, health services and social care. This should hopefully mean fewer meetings and not having to explain your child’s needs again and again to different professionals.

  • If you child undergoes statutory assessment, you will be assigned a Planning Coordinator who will meet with you to discuss your child and her or his needs in detail. This information will be used in the statutory assessment and any subsequent Education, Health and Care Plan.

 

What do you mean by ‘additional needs’?

 

  • This term refers to needs that are likely to require a higher level of support than those of most children of the same age. Some children will have additional needs for a short period of time, while others may have ongoing additional needs.

 

  • The term encompasses the needs of those children identified as having ‘special educational needs’ under the Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0-25 years (Department for Education / Department of Health, 2014), but is not limited to this group of children. Sometimes, children may require additional support for a short period of time, for example, after experiencing a traumatic event or after the arrival of a new baby in the family.

 

  • Additional needs may be related to:

      - speech, language and communication

      - difficulties playing and interacting with others

      - sensory impairment (hearing or vision impairment)

      - a physical disability or medical condition

      - a condition such as autism or Down’s syndrome

      - behaviour

      - emotional difficulties

      - learning difficulties

      - a specific event or set of circumstances that the child is currently experiencing.

 

  • We recognise that all children have individual needs and aim to meet every child’s needs through carefully planned responsive provision. However, if you prefer to use the term ‘special needs’ in relation to your child, then please let us know and we will of course respect your choice.

 

How do staff at Boundstone know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have additional needs?

 

  • Boundstone is a fully inclusive setting and is committed to ensuring that all children receive the support they need to make the best possible progress.

 

  • Sometimes, staff may be given information that suggests that a child is likely to need extra help before s/he starts in Daycare or the Nursery School. For example, a child might be receiving speech and language therapy, concerns may have been raised by a previous setting, or parents might notify staff that their child needs extra help.

 

  • When applying for a place for your child at Boundstone, you are encouraged to let us know about any additional needs on the application form to enable us to properly plan for your child’s admission.

 

  • Once children are attending Boundstone, staff will spend time getting to know them. Key carers will develop an in-depth knowledge of their key children, and will also discuss them with the rest of the team. Based on their observations and knowledge of children, staff may decide that some children would benefit from extra help in order to help them access all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage. More details of the EYFS can be found by clicking the button: 

 

  • If your child needs support which is additional to, or different from, that given to most other children at Boundstone, staff would of course discuss this with you. We would seek your agreement to offer this additional support and invite you to contribute to your child’s Targeted Support Plan (Boundstone’s term for Individual Education Plan).

 

  • If you think that your child has additional needs that staff are unaware of, you should discuss this with your child’s key carer in the first instance.

 

  • You can also arrange a meeting to discuss your concerns with Boundstone’s Inclusion Advisor who supports children and families across all parts of the Centre.

 

  • If your child is not yet accessing services at Boundstone, you can also get advice and support from a Family Support Worker in the Children and Family Centre.

 

How are parents involved in the setting? How can I be involved?

 

  • We actively encourage parental involvement at Boundstone. This may take the form of regular volunteering in the setting, via the volunteer programme run by Volunteer Coordinator. Parents with particular skills such as the ability to play an instrument are invited to come into the setting to share their skill with the children.

 

  • All parents are encouraged to contribute to their child’s care and education at Boundstone. This may be through:

    • discussion with the key carer or other members of staff

    • Parents evenings

    • contributions to Targeted Support Plans and annual reviews.

 

  • We acknowledge and celebrate the fact that parents/carers are their child’s first educators and encourage you to share information and strategies with us that will help us offer the best possible support to your child at Boundstone.

 

How will staff support my child at Boundstone?

 

  • All staff in Daycare or the Nursery School are likely to work with your child at some point. However, your child’s key carer, in consultation with the Inclusion Manager, has particular responsibility for planning any additional support or activities for your child. Daycare and Nursery School activities are adapted to meet the child’s individual needs.

 

  • We use a variety of strategies and resources to meet individual needs, including the use of Makaton signing and other visual support materials such as visual timetables and communication books. If your child has a place in the SSC (Special Support Centre for children with speech, language and communication needs) s/he will receive targeted input from a specialist teacher and from speech and language therapists.

 

  • We have a sensory room at Boundstone which is particularly helpful in meeting the sensory needs of children. This room is often used by setting staff to address particular needs. When not in use by Boundstone staff and children, it is also offered for free use (30 minute sessions) to members of the community.

 

  • Depending on your child’s needs, at times s/he may work with a particular member of staff in a small group or on a one-to-one basis.

 

  • Your child may have a Targeted Support Plan (TSP) which will be drawn up in partnership with you. A TSP sets out a child’s targets and the strategies and resources (including staffing) that will be used in working towards these targets.

 

  • Your child’s key carer will be able to explain who is working with your child, how often, and the outcomes that they are working towards.

 

  • Your child’s progress will be reviewed regularly, and if staff are concerned that s/he is not making as much progress as expected, they will seek further advice from the Inclusion Manager, who, with your permission, may also request the involvement of outside professionals such as a speech and language therapist or physiotherapist.

 

  • Staff can also request advice and support from The Hive (Adur SEN Hub) based at Heron’s Dale Primary School.

 

How will the Early Years Foundation Stage be matched to my child’s needs?

 

  • Meeting the individual needs of all children lies at the heart of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Staff at Boundstone deliver personalised play and learning, planning for each child’s individual care and learning requirements, and taking into account any additional needs.

  • This means that all planned activities are carefully differentiated so that your child can access them at an appropriate level. In the case of child-led activities, staff will sensitively support and extend your child’s learning, taking into account their particular needs and the current targets.

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

 

  • Staff at Boundstone recognise that parents/carers are their child’s primary educators and we seek to work in partnership with you to support your child’s learning. We will let you know what areas we are working on in nursery so you can do similar or complementary activities at home. If you would like particular ideas for activities to do at home, or if you are unsure how best to support your child, then please speak to your child’s key carer who will be happy to offer advice.

 

  • There are regular meetings with parents to discuss children’s next steps in their learning and to review TSPs. You can also request an informal meeting with your child’s key carer at any time, if you wish to discuss your child’s progress.

 

  • If you do not regularly see your child’s key carer (for example, if your child is brought to the Centre by taxi or by a childminder), then we will keep in touch with you via other means such as a home-school contact book, in which messages can be exchanged between adults working with your child and yourself.

 

  • Boundstone’s Inclusion Manager may meet with you to explore possible ways to support your child. This would normally follow on from your discussions with your child’s key carer.

 

  • If you have special needs yourself, we will do our best to meet your needs, making reasonable adjustments as required. For example, if you have literacy difficulties, we will be happy to go through written information with you, making sure that you have understood it.

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

 

  • All staff at Boundstone are responsible for and committed to every child’s well-being. However, your child’s key carer will keep a particularly close eye on their well-being and ensure that any social or emotional issues are explored with you and addressed, through, for example, a short-term informal nurture group.

 

  • In terms of their physical health, all staff are made aware of any physical or medical conditions and we will ensure that medicines that need to be taken during setting hours are safely kept and properly administered.

 

  • Personal care needs, such as nappy changing, are carried out sensitively, ensuring that the child’s dignity and privacy are respected. If your child uses special equipment, such as a feeding tube, then staff will be properly trained in its use and maintenance, and you will be informed immediately if there are any difficulties.

 

  • Personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is a prime (key) area of the EYFS, and is given a high level of attention at Boundstone. We acknowledge the importance of supporting children to learn to get on with others and to make friends, to understand and talk about their own feelings and those of others, to develop an understanding of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and the importance of making good choices, and to develop personal independence.

 

  • Through supporting children’s personal, social and emotional development, we ensure that they are able to explore and learn confidently, and ultimately, to feel good about themselves. Additional support is available to those children who might need help with these areas at some point, and this is routinely provided at key times such as when settling into the setting or when dealing with an unexpected event.

 

  •  There is careful planning for children who have additional needs that may impact upon their wellbeing, and where appropriate, targets relating to personal, social and emotional development would be included in a child’s Targeted Support Plan, with details of resources and activities used to support and achieve these targets.

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting to support children with additional needs?

 

  • At Boundstone, we are very fortunate to have a range of specialist services and expertise available on site.

 

  • The setting is supported by two part-time speech and language therapists who work closely with staff and the children in the Special Support Centre (SSC) for children with speech and language difficulties.

 

  • We also have regular visits from Educational Psychologists, Advisory Teachers and other professionals who work with children with disabilities and additional needs.

 

  • Boundstone’s full-time Inclusion Manager and has a great deal of experience in working with young children with a range of additional needs and has previously supported settings across West Sussex to develop effective inclusive practice.

 

  • Where appropriate, we also seek the support of external professionals such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists and play therapists. We also work closely with the Child Development Centre to ensure that children’s physical and medical needs are identified and met.

 

  • Through partnership working with all of these specialist services, we aim to ensure that:

      - children’s needs are identified as early as possible

      - children and families receive a joined-up service in which everyone involved shares relevant information

      - duplication of information-gathering and services is avoided, e.g. parents do not have to give their child’s history to                each professional involved

      - everyone is clear of their own role and responsibilities

      - children’s needs are properly planned for and met.

 

  • As part of Children and Family Centre, there is regular on-site access to midwives and Health Visitors who provide antenatal and postnatal care.

 

  • We host an Early Years Hub for disabled pre-school children and their families. The Hub provides access to relevant advice and information about services, support and benefits for disabled children and their families.

 

What training have the staff supporting children with additional needs and disabilities had or are having?

 

  • All staff receive some training to enable them to help meet the needs of disabled children or those with additional needs.

 

  • Additional training is available to those members of staff with particular responsibility for working with a child with a disability or additional needs. This is tailored to the child’s particular needs.

 

  • Training may be provided in-house (for example, training on meeting the needs of pre-school children on the autism spectrum or with Down’s syndrome, provided by Boundstone’s Inclusion Manager) or externally (for example, training on meeting a specific medical need provided by a clinical nurse specialist). Accredited training is also offered where appropriate, for example, training in using Makaton.

 

How will my child be included in activities outside the setting?

 

  • Any planned activities or trips outside of the setting are always open to all children, regardless of any disability or additional need.

 

  • Where necessary, reasonable adjustments would be made, such as the use of wheelchair accessible transport or provision of an additional member of staff to support a child with additional needs.

 

  • We seek the advice of parents when planning visits to ensure that we are aware of any special provision that may need to be made to ensure that their child’s specific needs will be met. A detailed risk assessment is undertaken in advance of any trip to ensure that all children are kept as safe as possible, including those with disabilities and additional needs.

 

How accessible is the setting environment?

 

  • Boundstone is wheelchair accessible in the sense that it is all on one level with no steps. However, to prevent any child from opening doors at entry and exit points, some door handles are high-level meaning that wheelchair users do require some assistance to open them.

 

  • There is a fully accessible toilet on the premises and changing facilities. In line with our duties under the Equality Act 2010, we are committed to making reasonable adjustments for disabled children and adults. This means that an adjustment will be made in the case where a disabled person would be at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled people if the adjustment was not made.

 

  • We aim to be proactive in our practice of improving accessibility and over time plan to make further adjustments such as improving the acoustic environment for Centre users with hearing impairment. Please ask the Inclusion Manager if you would like further information.

 

  • We aim to ensure that communication with parents who speak English as an additional language and who are not yet fluent in this language is as clear and effective as possible. Where necessary, translation and interpretation services may be used.

 

How will the setting prepare and support my child to join the setting and transfer to a new setting or school?

 

  • We recognise that starting in a new or first setting can be both an exciting and anxious time for children and their parents/carers. With this in mind, we put in place a number of strategies to enable the child’s transition to be as smooth as possible.

 

  • The aim wherever possible is that all children are visited at home by setting staff before they start in the Nursery School. We are working towards extending this practice to Daycare in the future.

 

  • If your child needs to move from Boundstone to another setting midway through the year (for example, if you move home) it would be very helpful if you could give us as much notice as possible to allow us to put in place a well-planned transition plan to make the move as smooth and anxiety-free as possible for your child.

 

  • In preparation for moving from Boundstone to primary school, we aim for there to be two-way visits in which children with additional needs visit their new school and teacher(s), and in turn are visited by their new teacher/support staff at Boundstone.

 

  • Where necessary, either we or the receiving setting will make a transition book to support a child in understanding the transition and familiarise them with new staff, buildings and routines.

 

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

 

  • The setting’s SEN budget is allocated each financial year. All staff work with children (either one-to-one or in a small group) to address their particular needs, focusing upon their TSP targets where appropriate.

 

  • We have purchased a number of specialist resources (e.g. sensory toys, Makaton resources) to support children’s learning and also have a well-equipped sensory room that children may use.

 

  • If your child attends the SSC they will automatically have access to a higher level of language support, including direct speech and language therapy.

 

  • If your child has needs that require a very high level of adult support, we may seek financial assistance from the local authority, with the aim of providing additional staffing to help meet your child’s needs.

 

  • Where a child needs, or would benefit from, specialist equipment to meet physical needs such as a special chair or walking frame, advice will be sought from the relevant service such as occupational therapy or physiotherapy.

 

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

 

  • The support offered is matched to children’s individual needs. For most children, support in a small group is often more appropriate than one-to-one adult support, as children develop vital social interaction skills in a group setting, as well as having other children to model the skills that are being developed.

 

  • For some children with more complex needs, decisions regarding the support that will be offered are made at an Early Years Planning and Review Meeting (EYPARM). These are multiagency meetings that are attended by different professionals such as Educational Psychologists and paediatricians. A child can only be discussed at an EYPARM meeting with their parents’/carers’ consent.

 

  • Following discussion at an EYPARM meeting, a decision may be made to involve an Educational Psychologist who will observe and work with your child in the setting, and will also meet with you to discuss your concerns and learn more about your child. For some children, a decision may be made to initiate a statutory assessment, which is a multiagency assessment where professionals who have been working with your child will contribute towards an Education, Health and Care Plan (which replaces a Statement of Special Educational Needs). This plan is a legally binding document which sets out what support your child will need, who will provide it, and how it will be provided. Education, Health and Care Plans are reviewed at least yearly (six-monthly for younger children) to ensure that the provision remains appropriate to meet your child’s needs.

 

Who can I contact for further information?

 

  • Depending on the nature of your enquiry, a number of people are likely to be able to help. For children in Daycare, you may wish to speak to your child’s key carer or the  Inclusion Manager.

 

  •  For Nursery School children, you may choose to speak to the key carer initially or the Inclusion Manager.

 

  • For children not yet accessing our childcare, you can contact any member of the Children and Family Centre team.

 

  • For general enquiries about facilities and provision for children with additional needs in the local area, the Hub Service Assistant will be glad to help. She is also able to signpost parents who need help to find an appropriate childcare/early education placement for their child in the local area.

 

  • The Inclusion Manager works across Daycare and the Nursery School and is always happy to meet with families to discuss any concerns or give further information about the provision made for children with additional needs at Boundstone, or indeed to provide information about any other aspect of inclusion.

 

  • If you are unsure about who to contact, you may go to any member of staff, and if they are unable to answer your question themselves, they will be happy to direct you to someone who can.

 

  • If, following discussion with a member of staff, you are unhappy with their response, you may ask to speak with the Head Teacher. If he is available, he will try to see you immediately. If not, you can make an appointment at the front desk. Our aim is to do our best to resolve any concerns you might have and we always welcome feedback on our practice.

  • To speak to the Inclusion Manager please call 01903 276860