About Local Offer

Our Local Offer for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities

“The purpose of the local offer is to improve choice for families by providing information about services available for children and young people aged 0-25 who have special educational needs and/or disabilities”. www.essex.gov.uk

If your child has any special or additional needs we would like to ensure that you and your child feels welcomed and included. This local offer outlines what we do to ensure that we provide what your child needs. It's very important to us that you feel valued, respected and listened to, and above all that we genuinely care about the outcomes for every child in our setting.

How our setting knows if young children need extra help and what our parents/carers should do if they think their child may have SEND

Before your child starts with us at Rowhedge Under 5's you are invited for an initial visit with the manager, this visit includes a full show round the setting, explanation of the routine, activities available, discussion about our policies and procedures. You will then book in for a second visit.

This is our first contact with you, and an opportunity to begin to share information.

At the second visit, you will be asked to complete our registration pack, usually with the manager, meet the team within the hall your child will be based and your child's allocated keyworker.

This process enables you and your child's keyworker to begin to get to know each other and to share further information about your child and their needs. If necessary, at this stage, we will also complete a care plan for your child, with you, which ensures we know everything we need to know to ensure their safety and physical well-being.

We will ask you to give consent for Tapestry which is the online learning journal we use at Rowhedge Under 5's. We also ask you to fill out an all about me, which is then transferred to Tapestry by the manager. This helps us to build up a bigger picture of your child and can be very helpful, especially during their settling-in period.

When your child begins with us, their keyworker gets to know him or her by spending time with them and observing them. During their first six weeks the keyworker (and rest of the team) will assess what stage your child is at in all areas of learning and development, and will create a baseline assessment on Tapestry which enables us to form a base of where your child is at and what we are working towards.

If your child is aged between 2 and 3 years, then a 2 year old progress check is carried out (this is a statutory requirement), before they turn 3. Some of these checks are carried out in conjunction with your health visitor.

Using this process and by sharing information and observations with each other as a team and through our knowledge and understanding of children's developmental stages, we will start to have a clear picture of your child's needs.

We aim to build a relationship with parents and carers from the very start so that a trust develops, that their concerns will be treated confidentially and with care and sensitivity.

If you have any concerns regarding your child's development at any time then we encourage you to share those so that together we can find out how best to support him or her.

How our setting supports young children with SEND

Keyworkers continually observe and assess your child. A record of their strengths, achievements and need is built up and gathered on tapestry. Keyworkers make progress assessments at the end of each term, building up an overall picture of the child’s stage of development in accordance with their age.

Where any SEND is identified, our Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCO) works together with you and your child and their keyworker to create a personal development plan, starting with a One Page Profile which captures your child's strengths, likes and dislikes, interests and favourite activities.

We follow a Graduated Response, as stated in the SEND Code of Practice Review (August 2014).

This involves a cycle of ASSESS ~ assessing needs and next steps (small, realistic, achievable goals which can be met and celebrated), PLAN ~ planning how next steps will be achieved (through planned activities and strategies), DO~ putting plans into action to achieve outcomes, and REVIEW ~ reviewing and reflecting on how your child is doing and then we ASSESS again, PLAN and so on.

In addition to formal reviews we feedback to parents and carers on a daily basis, and recognise and celebrate all achievements using WOW moments.

How our setting creates learning and development opportunities for individual children with SEND

It is our aim to ensure that all children in our setting receive equal opportunity to achieve their potential and prepare them for the next stage in their learning.

As soon as we start getting to know your child we are noticing what their interests are and when they seem most content, relaxed and involved. We use this knowledge, and we listen to you and your child to create the profile and tailor activities which will foster enjoyment, learning and development.

In addition to this, we create an enabling environment which increases opportunities for understanding and learning to take place consistently. For example by using Makaton sign language, visual aids (pictures and symbols), positive behaviour management, 'first and then' boards, activity choice boards.

We create opportunities through play so that children can succeed at activities such as pouring, mark-making, sharing and turn taking.

The children are able to choose activities and can access both indoors and outdoors areas. We will often adapt planned 'target' activities around what they are choosing to do.

Through continual observation, reflection, communication with each other and with parents and carers we tailor activities and strategies to increase understanding, communication and learning.

How our setting builds up a partnership with parents and carers

We want you, as parents and carers to trust us and to feel empowered and part of every decision that is made about your child.

During those initial visits and meeting with your child's keyworker when you are invited to share information about your child and how you feel they are doing, we try to build up a good relationship as quickly as possible.

We recognise and acknowledge that parents and carers are children's first and main teachers and you know your child better than anyone else. We understand that you may be worried and upset if you have concerns about your child and we would aim to reassure you that we are there to support you and your family and that we will work together to achieve the best we can for your child.

Within the registration process we ask that you tell us if there is anyone else already working with your child, such as speech therapists or specialist teachers, and we seek your permission to liaise with them.

Through daily conversations and organised reviews, our observation process and your child's learning journey we create a working partnership which enables us to and you to become familiar with your child’s behaviour, characteristics and preferences both at home and preschool.

It is always our aim to be open and honest yet sensitive if we have concerns about a child, and it's most important to us that we build trust into the working relationship so that you always feel included, understood, listened to and heard and most of all that we are working together to support your child and provide opportunities for making progress.

So we would always discuss with you first and seek your permission before involving any other professionals in any decision-making about your child.

We are keen to share and celebrate your child's achievements with you, and very much encourage you to do the same with us. We have a WOW moments board that we use with the children and also encourage parents to write WOW’S that happen at home.

It's very important to us that every family who uses Rowhedge Under 5s feels connected to us, listened to and understood.

How our setting supports the well-being of children with SEND

Our commitment to the well-being of every child at Rowhedge Under 5s is paramount. As a team we are warm and caring, and offer a safe and loving environment.

Through continual observation and reflection, and use of LEVUEN SCALES which measures well-being and involvement, we aim to be conscious of every child's experience within sessions.

To ensure your child is thriving and making progress we know they need to be relaxed, feeling safe, secure and comfortable.

It's very important to us that you are involved with this, so that you can assist us in enabling your child to increase their enjoyment and therefore well-being. We ask that you inform us of anything which may affect your child's well-being, which could be anything from an over hectic morning or late night to the death of a relative. It is very helpful for us to know this as it may help us to understand and deal with uncharacteristic behaviour, or build up a picture of patterns of behaviour.

Our provision is geared totally towards enabling children to be themselves, to gain confidence, independence and building their self-esteem. The children are encouraged to choose their own activities and are able to play indoors or outdoors, children are supported with this if necessary.

When there are outings or community events we ensure that every child has an opportunity to participate.

Staff training and experience in supporting young children with SEND

We have experience of supporting children with SEND and through this and through attending training and liaising with other professionals we have built up excellent knowledge and understanding of individual needs which we are continually adding to.

In addition to National Level Qualifications our staff have accessed and continue to access a range of courses from specific needs such as communication and positive behaviour management to more general training around child development. Our SENDCO has undergone SENDCO training and regularly attends meeting with other local SENDCO’S.

Our experience has taught us that observation, reflection, communication (between all parties) and consistency are the most important factors when supporting children with SEND.

Specialist services and expertise accessed by our setting

We are able to access the help of outside agencies if necessary through support of our Inclusion officer, and educational psychologist. The outside professionals we may use include speech therapists and physiotherapists. We aim to ensure that your child is receiving the expertise of specifically trained experienced practitioners.

If other professionals are involved, then again, with your child and you at the centre of the process, a One Plan will be created as part of an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP). This may contribute towards extra support being provided, so that your child has every opportunity to reach their potential.

Our accessible environment

The building we use is accessible to mobility aids and wheelchairs and has an accessible toilet. We have accessible free flow indoor/outdoor play so that every child can choose where they play. There is a changing table for children wearing nappies. We are continually adding to our visual resources to enable children, and/or parents with communication needs.

How our setting prepares and supports young children with SEND when joining the setting and when transferring to another setting or school

We are very aware of the need for smooth transition between either settings or when going up to school. We understand that this can be a time full of different emotions and both children and parents/carers need consistent support and information.

In the term before children go to school we have a transition programme. This involves setting up visits for the children to the intended schools, and inviting Foundation teachers to come and visit the children at pre-school.

We have created booklets for all the main schools that we feed into, these contain pictures and minimal text and are aimed at familiarising the child with whichever school they are going to, and provoking conversation about it. We have duplicates of these so that they can be taken away and used at home. We organise activities which help develop skills such as changing for P.E, and carrying food on trays.

We hold a transition evening for parents and carers where we try to deepen understanding about how to help prepare children for school, by increasing their independence. We emphasize the message that all children are unique and develop at different rates, and that some may need more support than others in certain areas.

We have had experience of assisting several children with SEND with the transition process and are fully aware of the importance of covering all aspects and needs. Our aim is to support the family and liaise with the school and any other agencies to ensure that any child starts school as confidently as possible.

How our setting organises its resources to meet the needs of young children with SEND

Our manager with the support of the deputy and input from the SENDCO are responsible for co-ordinating and deploying staff and resources to meet the goals set out in the Graduated Approach.

On a daily basis this involves delegating specific staff to run certain activities and give support to children with SEND. Those staff are then required to feedback and share information to enable the SENDCO and the rest of the team to continue to assess, plan, do and review on an ongoing basis.

There are certain resources which are set aside for meeting specific needs, to enable smooth and effective delivery of activities and the SENDCO is responsible for maintaining and deploying these.

We understand that visual prompts and aids and signing can enable children to participate more meaningfully and we are continually adding to our bank of visual resources.

We understand the need to make all activities accessible to all children so that every child has equal opportunity to participate, and careful thought is given by the team to ensure that this happens safely and meaningfully.

How we involve all parents/carers in our setting

In addition to building up working partnership with parents and carers we work hard to ensure that all parents and carers themselves feel supported and included.

This may be through extra time spent with parents and carers, discussing and coming to joint decisions, and if still extra time is needed to explain things again or in more detail then this is provided willingly.

If for any reason any parents or carers have any difficulty with communication we are committed to enabling and empowering them to ensure that they are part of any decision-making involving their child.

The manager is always in the foyer at the beginning and end of each session to answer queries or to facilitate further discussions if necessary, with the manager, SENDCO and/or keyworkers.

We have one notice board in the foyer on which we share continuous information. We have a portable notice board that displays daily relevant information, including snacks and reminders. We share what we are doing with parents and carers on our Facebook page, through tapestry and our half-termly newsletter. Regular emails are also communicated from both the manager and admin.

Parents are always welcome to stay and see a session for themselves, either to just observe, join in, or teach a skill, share a book, sing a song.

There is always information for parents in the foyer about various subjects, and we welcome questions and discussions about any of this information. We are passionate and knowledgeable about child development and if we don't know something we will try and find someone who does.

The pre-school is managed by Rowhedge Under 5's Committee which is made up of parents and ex-parents of children at pre-school, so there is opportunity to become involved in the running of the organisation.

Every summer we hold a fundraising Strawberry Fayre which is a very popular community event and we ask all parents to get involved by helping out for an hour or more on the day.

We have a Sports Day and a Leaver's Ceremony at the end of the summer term and at Christmas we always have a performance...all of these usually have 100% attendance by parents and carers.


Thank you for taking the time to read our Local Offer, we hope you have found it useful and informative.

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