Special Educational Needs & Disabilities Policy (SEND)

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Special educational needs and disability policy information report


“The purpose of education for all children is the same; the goals are the same. But help that individual children need in progressing towards them will be different.  Whereas for some, the road they travel towards the goal is smooth and easy; for others, it is fraught with obstacles.” Warnock Report, 1.4 (1978)


Ethelred Nursery School and Children’s Centre is committed to being an inclusive centre which provides a broad and balanced curriculum that is accessible to all pupils across a range of abilities. We embrace the equalities principles embedded in the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and it is the starting point for planning which meets the specific needs of children. This means that we provide the conditions and opportunities to enable any child with SEND to be included fully in all aspects of school life.  We are fully committed to multidisciplinary working to secure the best outcomes for our children.

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Policy at Ethelred supports the stated ethos of the school that:

“We will provide an inclusive environment and work in partnership with parents and carers to ensure that our children reach their full potential.”

We recognise that some children will have difficulty in learning and progressing within the general arrangements of the school.  We also recognise that some children have abilities that extend beyond these arrangements.  Our teaching and learning environment is designed to ensure that all children’s needs are met.

Special Educational provision means educational provision which is additional to, or different from the provision made generally for children of the same age in a mainstream school.  A learning difficulty means that the child either:

  1. has significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age or
  2. has a disability, which either prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities, experiences, and the wider provision made for children of the same age
  3. are under compulsory school age and fall within the definition at (a) or (b) above or would do so if special educational provision was not made for them.

We recognise that children may have special educational needs either throughout, or at any time during their school life and this policy ensures that curriculum planning and assessment for children with special educational needs takes account of the type and extent of difficulties experienced by the child.

Children must not be regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught.

Policy Aims and Objectives

This policy outlines the practice at Ethelred Nursery School and Children’s Centre, and is developed in line with national and LEA guidelines.  It is based on the Revised SEN Code of Practice 2014 which refers to part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and includes the rights and duties introduced by the SEN and Disability Act 2001. The Revised Code of Practice became effective from September 2014. 

We believe that all children should have access to an appropriate curriculum in order to promote successful and effective learning for every child.  Our approach to inclusion is based on sharing ideas, experience and expertise within the school and centre which enables us to better meet children’s needs.

In order to meet the special educational needs of our children at Ethelred Nursery School & Children’s Centre we are committed to:

  • Recognising the importance of early intervention and identify those children who have SEND as soon as possible
  • Working in partnership with parents and carers, encourage their involvement at all stages of SEND provision, value their views and contributions and keep them fully involved in their child’s education and the setting of appropriate targets
  • Ensuring that we include and support all children with SEND in our setting, where appropriate, in line with our inclusion and equalities policies
  • Ensuring that children who are beginning to learn English are not assumed to have a learning difficulty.  There may be a variety of reasons why a bi-lingual/multi-lingual child is not learning successfully and we will consider these before identifying a child as having SEND
  • Having due regard for the voice of the child and encourage their involvement where possible in meeting their own needs
  • Providing intervention at a suitable level when a child is identified as having SEND
  • Using all resources effectively to support children with SEND
  • Making full use of the outside agencies who provide additional specialist support for children
  • Drawing up SEND support plans or personal learning plans (PLPs) to detail targets and interventions to support children’s progress and achievement
  • Initiate statutory assessment for an Education and Health Care Plan (EHC) where progress and achievement remain poor
  • Assessing and keeping up to date records of children’s progress
  • Providing ongoing training for all staff working with children with SEND
  • Supporting and meeting the needs of exceptionally able children
  • Ensuring that all children are engaged in learning activities appropriate to their interests and abilities
  • Acknowledging that some children need support on a temporary basis, while others require more intensive support on a long term basis
  • Supporting the school and centre’s Equality Guidelines
  • Managing risks where necessary

We aim to meet our objectives through staff training and implementation of our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Policy, with regular evaluation and review.

Co-ordinating Provision - Roles and Responsibilities
The Governing Body

The Governing Body has overall responsibility for the SEND policy. They are responsible for its procedures, resources and monitoring. 

There is a Governor with responsibility for SEND. Their role involves maintaining regular contact with the SENCO and Senior Management Team, carrying out monitoring activities and reporting to the governing body.  It also involves responsibility for producing the annual report to parents and carers about the success of the SEND policy.

The Headteacher

The headteacher has responsibility for:

  • the overall management of SEND provision and the confidentiality of SEND provision and systems such as the storing and recording of medical information
  • keeping the Governing Body fully informed of all relevant SEND issues
  • working closely with the SENCO to ensure the best outcomes for our children
The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)

The deputy head is currently responsible for the day to day arrangements for SEND provision at Ethelred, including the operation of the policy throughout the school and centre.  It is the duty of the SENCO to:

  • Provide clear and accessible guidelines for the staff on identifying and assessing the needs of pupils
  • Maintain a register of children with SEND and ensure that the records are up to date
  • Work closely with the Headteacher, Senior Management Team, teaching and support staff, including outreach staff in coordinating provision for our children with SEND
  • Give support and advice on identifying and assessing pupil’s needs
  • Monitor the school’s planning and record keeping systems to ensure that the curriculum is relevant to the needs of all the children
  • Liaise with parents, outside agencies and other schools regarding individual children
  • Organise visits to new schools for those children identified as having SEND during the term before they leave
  • Organise and monitor individual and school training needs on SEND
  • Monitor and co-ordinate the work of Teaching Assistants (TA’s)
  • Monitor and manage the resources available for SEND
  • Ensure that parents are fully involved in their child’s learning
  • Develop, monitor and review the SEND Support Plan
  • Seek and co-ordinate multi-agency support where needed
  • Initiate applications for statutory assessment as quickly as possible
  • Undertake annual reviews of statements and Education Health and Care Plans
  • Facilitate access to support networks and information for parents
  • Advise and support all staff
  • Ensure relevant information about individual children is shared as necessary

Teachers are responsible for:

  • Delivering Quality First Teaching to enable every child to access at least good/outstanding teaching and learning experiences
  • Monitoring the progress and outcomes of children through keeping dated, written observations and records
  • Supporting and guiding the work of teaching assistants (TAs) and Early Years Educators (EYEs), regularly informing the SENCO of any progress and/or concerns relating to children with SEND
  • Liaising with parents/carers to discuss progress
  • Establishing individual records for children with SEND and those experiencing barriers to learning and development
  • Reviewing progress and writing children’s support plans, in partnership with the SENCO and parents/carers
  • Sharing information relating to the progress and needs of each child with SEND with the staff team in termly SEND meetings
  • Liaising with outside agencies as required
  • Seeking support from the Outreach Worker who liaises with parents/carers
  • Leading on the provision for more able children
Early Years Educators

EYEs at Ethelred carry out most of the above activities under teacher supervision and are highly trained practitioners.

Teaching Assistants

Teaching Assistants (TAs) are employed to give planned support to children as part of our early intervention strategy.  They deliver learning programmes for individuals and groups of children. We currently employ 5 TAs (3 are full-time, 2 are part-time and 2 part time School Meals Supervisors who also support individual children outside of the lunch hour. Both of these groups of staff are managed by the SENCO (deputy head) on a daily basis.

SEND Code of Practice 2014

The SEND Code of Practice offers guidance designed to help schools plan and make provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, following identification and assessment of their needs.

The following pages set out the model of Assessment and Provision that Ethelred Nursery School and Children’s Centre will provide in line with the revised Code of Practice, 2014.

Children have needs and requirements which may fall into at least one of four categories. We understand that many children will have inter-related needs. The defined areas are:

1.   Communication and interaction

2.   Cognition and learning

3.   Social, mental and emotional health

4.   Sensory and/or physical needs


Children with special educational needs and/or disabilities are considered for admission to the nursery school on the same basis as for children without SEND. This is set out in our admissions policy.

Priority will be given to children living within the normal catchment area of the school who have been identified as having SEND provided that:

  • In the case of physical difficulties preventing a child from entering or moving about the school easily, support will be sought from the LA to determine what is needed in terms of necessary adaptations and equipment to ensure that the child’s mobility and safety  needs are met.
  • Children identified as needing 1:1 support, have it on the day they start school. Parents may be asked to stay with their child whilst in the school until such time as appropriate support is organised

Prior to starting nursery, parents/carers of children with an Education Health Care Plan (EHC) or one pending will be invited to discuss arrangements for meeting the child’s identified needs.

Identifying the needs of children with SEND
Before Starting School

Information about the child’s SEND may come to light before starting nursery from the following sources:

  • Application form; parents and carers inform the school of the child’s SEND
  • Visits to the setting
  • Referral from Health Visitors
  • Home visits carried out by our outreach workers
  • Health Authority: health visitor, speech therapist, occupational therapist, educational psychologist
  • Information gathered from observations by school/centre staff
  • Other Agencies: Social Care
  • Home visits
  • Children’s Centre staff who have supported child prior to starting nursery school
Identifying and assessing the needs of children with SEND

We will continue to use the ‘graduated approach’ which follows a Plan; Do; Assess; Review sequence of actions. This provides a framework for identifying, assessing and monitoring a child’s needs.

Our approach to identifying, assessing, monitoring and reviewing children with SEND is part of an ongoing cycle of observations, curriculum planning and evaluation within the school, which enables all our children to learn and make progress. 

Initial observations and concerns of parents and staff are discussed with the SENCO.  At daily evaluation meetings, morning meetings or weekly staff meetings, the rest of the staff will be informed of the concerns.  Parental views and wishes will be sought.  With their consent a decision can be made to do one or more of the following:

  • Note all concerns and continue to monitor the situation
  • Seek the assistance and advice of an outside agency
  • Decide on a simple, clearly documented support programme which may or may not require the allocation of TA time
  • Record and monitor concerns as part of the child’s learning record
  • Make detailed observations to show a clear picture of the child’s strengths and weaknesses

All known information about the child, including any medical conditions and any new information from parents/carers is gathered and discussed.  Keypersons make ongoing observations of their key children which provide valuable information on the child’s development and progress. In some cases outside professionals from health, Social services or the Educational Psychology Service may already be involved with the child and any relevant information should be collected.  Where appropriate, a SEND file will be opened and the child will be entered on the nursery school’s SEND register. Support programmes recorded as Individual Education Plans or SEND Support Plans will be developed in collaboration with parents and carers, with regular termly reviews taking place.  At the review date a decision will be made, depending on the child’s progress, to continue/discontinue this intervention which is based on quality first teaching or to secure further specialist support from outside agencies.

Working with Outside Agencies

In order to secure the best outcomes for our children with SEND, we are committed to working in collaboration with outside agencies using a multi-disciplinary approach. These are the agencies currently available:

Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and language therapy drop-in sessions are currently delivered at Ethelred Children’s Centre.  Parents and carers can access this service to receive support and advice on their children’s language and communication needs.

Educational Psychology Service

An Educational Psychologist visits as needed. S/he will observe and assess children and give feedback and advice to parents/carers and practitioners.

Sensory Impairment Team

We are able to access support from teachers for visually/hearing impaired children when needed.

Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy

We are able to access these services for children when required.

Social services

We can refer families to social care if we have concerns warranting their intervention.

Other Services

Additional support is given by other professionals such as the consultant paediatrician, health visitor, specialist nurse, doctor and child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).  Our specialist Outreach worker also provides individual support for children and families in the North Lambeth locality and is based at Ethelred Nursery School & Children’s Centre.                       

At Ethelred, we also provide opportunities for other professionals to train and gain experience with nursery age children.  This partnership and training support involves professionals such as Educational Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapists, Paediatric Nurses and Physiotherapists.

Statutory Assessment

Some children may have long lasting difficulties which require provision of specific types of support to enable them to make progress in their learning and reach their potential. When this is the case the school will submit an application to the Local Authority (LA) for a statutory assessment of their needs.

For such an assessment to take place the school will have to provide evidence that:

  • the child continues to work at levels significantly below age related expectations;
  • the child makes little or no progress in specific areas over a long period of time;
  • individual strategies to meet the child’s specific needs have been in place for a reasonable period of time
  • outside advice has been sought in relation to the child’s:
    • Communication and interaction
    • Sensory and/or physical impairment
    • Cognition and learning difficulties
    • Social and emotional well-being  
  • Parents’/carers’ views have been sought throughout the process and their consent has been given for further intervention

The SENCO will submit an application with all relevant information about the child, including at least one report from outside agencies.  If the panel decides that a full assessment is appropriate, it will request reports from the parents/carers and all professionals involved with the child and a decision will be made about the Education, Health and Care Plan.

Education, Health and Care Plans

If the Local Authority (LA) agrees to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) for a child this will include:

  • All available information about the child, with clear specification of the child’s strengths and special educational needs
  • A record of the views of the parents/carers
  • Reports from all agencies who work with the child
  • A clear account of the support, including the contribution of the educational service and the educational objectives to be secured and the contribution of any statutory and voluntary agencies
  • A description of the arrangements for monitoring review.
Complaints procedure

We recognise that due to the sensitive and emotive nature of special educational needs, any complaints from parents/carers need to be treated with care and sensitivity. We also acknowledge that regular communication between school or Children’s Centre and home will help to ensure that concerns are promptly acted upon. We are committed to being responsive to any concerns parents/carers may have about the provision we make for their children.  Initially, it will usually be best for parents/carers to discuss their concerns with their keyworker.  If discussion with the keyworker does not resolve the situation, then the next step is for the parents/carers to discuss their concerns with the Head Teacher.

If this proves unsatisfactory, then complaints will be handled by the governing body in line with our complaints procedure. A copy of these procedures can be obtained from the school office. (telephone no 0207 582 9711)

Partnership with Parents/ Carers
  • We understand that parents/carers are the child’s first educators and are experts on their own child’s needs and interests, so we value parents/carers as partners in their child’s education.
  • We provide for informal daily contact with the child’s keyworker as we believe that it is important to share information and observations about the child.
  • Parents/carers will be contacted at the earliest opportunity if there are concerns about a child’s progress or behaviour.  Initially this contact will be made by the child’s keyworker. The SENCO and the Head Teacher will also be kept informed.
  • Parents/carers will be invited to meetings and be involved in the setting of targets.
Involving Children with SEND – “The voice of the child”

We think it is important to identify the views and wishes of the child whenever possible.  Children are more likely to respond in a positive way when they have been involved in the decision-making processes about their education.  For children in the Early Years, this may take the form of interpreting their responses/likes/dislikes, in collaboration with parents and carers.

Children, who are capable of forming views, have a right to receive and make known information, to express an opinion, and to have that opinion taken into account in any matters affecting them.  The views of the child should be given due weight according to age, maturity and the capability of the child.  See articles 12 and 13, The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Transition to Primary School

Children with SEND may find transition to a different setting difficult.

When children are transferring to reception classes, they are able to visit their new schools.  More frequent visits are arranged for children with SEND, if appropriate.  Photo books and ‘I Can’ books are used to help prepare children for change.  Reception class staff are invited to visit the children at Ethelred and information about children with SEND is shared between SENCO’s.  This will include planned support and appropriate provision for children with SEND.                                                                                                                 All documentation including individual support plans, EHC plans and any reports from outside agencies is forwarded to the new school, along with an end of nursery progress report.

How we evaluate the success of the education of children at the nursery school and Children’s Centre who are experiencing barriers to learning
  • We aim to evaluate our success through regular reviews of children’s progress and development
  • Plans will contain review dates at which keyworkers, the SENCO and parent/carers will meet to discuss the child’s progress and to decide future strategies for support
  • We will review our SEND procedures in the light of what we find successful and what needs further work
  • The headteacher and SENCO present reports on a termly basis to the governing body, detailing what is happening in our SEND provision across the centre.  They are kept up to date with the number of children with SEND and their needs
  • The Standards committee which has oversight of SEND ensures that it is an item on the agenda so that issues can be discussed and resolved
  • The governing body has responsibility for ensuring that the policy and SEND report is regularly reviewed and evaluated
  • Governors are presented with achievement data which gives information about the progress of children with SEND and others experiencing barriers to learning
  • The Children’s Centre staff carry out their own assessments and record keeping and individual files are updated regularly
  • Training is prioritised for staff in areas specific to the needs of our children with SEND
  • The SENCO attends meetings with other Early Years colleagues to network and share information and to keep abreast of new developments and initiatives
  • Senior managers discuss and plan provision for SEND
  • Regular meetings with Teaching Assistants who provide one-to-one support for children with SEND are held which helps to maintain a high profile for our SEND provision


Review Date:   October 2016

Next Review Date: October 2018