Supporting Children with Special Educational Needs

The Special Needs Coordinators (SENCO) are

Ruth Reed – Over 2’s, Becky Dabbs- Under 2’s.

Early Years SEN Practitioner is Emma Lewis.

Definition of Special Educational Needs (SEN)

“Children have a Special Educational Need if they have a learning difficulty which calls for Special Educational provision to be made for them”. As defined by the Code of Practice 2014 for those who have Special Educational Needs and disabled children.

Woodlands Nursery and Preschool’s Aims and objectives are we provide an environment in which all children, including those with special educational needs, are supported to reach their full potential.

  • We ensure our provision is inclusive to all children with special educational needs.
  • We support parents and children with special educational needs (SEN).
  • We identify the specific needs of children with special educational needs and meet those needs through a range of SEN strategies.
  • We work in partnership with parents and other agencies in meeting individual children’s needs.
  • We monitor and review our policy, practice and provision and, if necessary, adjust.
  • to ensure that our children have a voice in this process.
  • to enable all children to have full access to all elements of the nursery/preschool’s Early Years Foundation Stage (Curriculum).
  • The SENCO and all nursery practitioners have termly inclusion meetings to review the work of the setting in this area, it gives staff the opportunity to discuss any concerns for their key children’s development.

Educational Inclusion

At Woodlands Nursery & Preschool we aim to offer excellence and choice to all our children, whatever their ability or needs. We have high expectations of all our children. We aim to achieve this through the removal of barriers to learning and participation. We want all our children to feel that they are a valued part of our nursery community. Through appropriate curricular provision, we respect the fact that children:

  • have different educational and behavioural needs and aspirations.
  • require different strategies for learning.
  • acquire, assimilate and communicate information at different rates.
  • Need a range of different teaching approaches and experiences.

Identifying and assessing SEN for young children whose first language is not English requires particular care. Early year’s practitioners should look carefully at all aspects of a child’s learning and development to establish whether any delay is related to learning English as an additional language or if it arises from SEN or disability. Difficulties related solely to learning English as an additional language are not SEN.

Special Educational Needs

Children with Special Educational Needs have learning difficulties that call for special provision to be made. All children may have special needs at some time in their lives. Children have a learning difficulty if:

  • They have significantly greater difficulty in learning than most children of the same age.
  • They have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities that are provided for children of the same age.

All our children are assessed when they join our nursery, so that we can build upon their prior learning. We use this information to provide starting points for the development of appropriate next steps for all our children.

If our assessments show that a child may have a learning difficulty, we use a range of strategies that make full use of all available resources. In liaison with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator’s (SENCO), the child’s Key person and our early years SEN practitioner they will offer interventions that are ‘different from’ or ‘additional to’ those provided as part of the nursery’s usual working practices. The SEN practitioner will keep parents informed and draw upon them for additional information. If the SENCO, Key person, SEN practitioner and parents feel that the child would benefit from further support, the SENCO will then take the lead in further assessments of the child’s needs.

We will record the strategies used to support the child within a Targeted Plan (TP). The TP will show the short-term targets set for the child and the teaching strategies to be used. It will also indicate the date for the plan to be reviewed. In most cases, this review will take place every 6-8 weeks.  Parents will be involved in the writing and review of each TP.

If the TP review identifies that support is needed from outside services, we will consult parents prior to any support being actioned.  This may lead to ‘additional’ or ‘different’ strategies and external support outside of the nursery. External support services will provide information for the child’s personalised plan (PP), these will indicate planned outcomes and show next steps targets set for the child. The new targets within the PP will be implemented in the child’s nursery setting by the Early Years SEN Practitioner.

If the child continues to demonstrate significant cause for concern, a request for Education Health and Care Assessment (EHC), will be made to the LEA. The SENCO will start the procedures, parents can also request them. A range of written evidence about the child will support the request.

Education Health and Care Plans (EHC)
Where, despite the setting having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child, the child has not made expected progress, the setting should consider requesting an Education, Health and Care needs assessment.
Where a child has an EHC plan, the local authority must review that plan as a minimum every twelve months. As part of the review, the local authority can ask our setting to convene and hold the annual review meeting on its behalf.
The purpose of an EHC plan is to make special educational provision to meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, to secure the best possible outcomes for them across education, health and social care and, as they get older, prepare them for adulthood.


Early identification is vital. Nursery staff inform the parents at the earliest opportunity to alert them to concerns and enlist their active help and participation. The staff, SEN Practitioner and the SENCO assess and monitor the children’s progress in line with existing nursery practices. This is an ongoing process. The SENCO works closely with parents and SEN Practitioner and key person to plan an appropriate programme of support.

The assessment of children reflects as far as possible their participation in the whole curriculum of the Nursery. The SEN Practitioner, key person and the SENCO can break down the assessment into smaller steps in order to aid progress and provide detailed and accurate indicators.

Partnership with parents

At Woodlands Nursery & Preschool we work closely with parents in the support of those children with Special Educational Needs. We encourage an active partnership through an ongoing dialogue with parents. Parents have much to contribute to our support for children with Special Educational Needs.

We have formal & informal discussions/ meetings with parents to support them working with ourselves and outside agencies and as well as reviewing the progress of their children against the targets set in either TP or PP.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The SENCO’s monitors the movement of children within the Special Educational Needs system in the nursery. The SENCO’s, SEN Practitioner and all nursery practitioners have regular inclusion setting meetings to review work of the setting in this area, it gives staff the opportunity to discuss any concerns for their key children’s development.

The SENCO’s, SEN Practitioner, keyperson and parents draws up Targeted Plans/ Personalised Plans for the children.

The SENCO monitors the progress of children with Special Educational Needs every term within the Under 2’s and Over 2’s room they discuss findings with all staff and parents.

If you would like to discuss your child’s special needs and support please talk to Ruth, Becky or Emma.