Special Educational Needs (SEN)

In line with Somerset county councils “local offer” and the SEN code of practice, we have produced our own “offer”.  This highlights to parents and carers of children with SEN, what we as a setting offer, to help your child grow, develop, learn and play in a safe and stimulating environment.

For more information on the the Somerset County Council Local Offer, please visit their website by clicking here.

Tree House Day Nursery – Local Offer

How does Tree House know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child has special educational needs (SEN)?

When a child starts at Tree House, they are assigned a key person, who is responsible for monitoring and recording their progress. This begins on a child’s first day with an initial assessment, and is ongoing through their first 3-6 months. Should any concerns be raised regarding a child’s development, during this initial period, the key worker will liaise closely with the settings SENco’s. The SENco’s are able to recognise any additional needs, as well as advise key workers on how to ensure that child’s needs are met.

Our SENCO is: Chloe Knapp.  Our ENCO is: Amy Phillips.

As a parent/carer, we value your opinion and expertise regarding your own child. Should you have any concerns regarding your child, we have an open door policy, which means parents are free to talk to us at any time. This can be over the phone, email, via tapestry, our tree house Facebook page or in person.  We have private rooms available for chats away from other parents and staff members and are here for you and your family.

How will early year’s practitioners support my child and how the curriculum will be matched to my child’s needs?

Your child’s keyworker will be responsible for overseeing and planning your child’s learning. This will be with the support of the settings SENco’s.  Your child will work with all of the staff members in the setting. This will include the staff members at their end (pre-school, or little-end) their key worker and the setting SENco’s. They will also have contact with members of staff that work in the kitchen and occasional cover staff.  The staff will be introduced to you and their roles explained either during your first visit, or the day your child starts at Tree House.

At Tree House, we do our upmost to ensure that children with special educational needs are fully supported. This is to ensure that every child meets their levels of development, and is allowed to flourish, grow and learn in a safe, stimulating and fun environment. We offer additional support, but like to work alongside our daily routine and the early years guidance, so that all children can be included within the setting. Our daily routine and activities can and are adapted to meet individual needs. This can be anything from the planning, to the toys that are available, menu changes, or physically adapting the environment.

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

As a parent, you can talk to your child’s key worker in person during drop off and pick up times, over the phone or via email or tapestry. We have an open door policy which means we are here for you to discuss anything, including your child’s progress.

Children are continually observed to monitor their progress. This is done through a natural, non-intrusive way, and gives us a good indication of where your child is developmentally. We record their progress through tapestry, which is an online learning journal. It contains photos, videos and notes, linking your child’s development to the EYFS. As a parent, you will have access to this journal to check and enjoy at home.

We have good interactions with our parents. When you collect your child, they will talk to you about your child’s day and what has happened in the setting. When you look around the setting, or when your child first starts at the setting, we will discuss how your child’s learning is planned and show you examples of written work, and plans being actioned. Regular communication with your child’s key worker and the setting SENco’s will outline how you can continue this at home. Your child may also have IEP’s (individual educational plans) or reports from other agencies. These will have action plans which will have information on them outlining what we as a setting can do to further support your child, and how you can carry on this support at home.

Regular observations, reports, children’s interest forms and general conversation will give you plenty of opportunity to be involved in the planning of your child’s learning. We consider parents our greatest assets for planning so highly value your input.

If a child in the setting has specific special needs or disabilities, we can look into offering parent training evenings, if that is something you would be interested in.

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

At Tree House we have good relationships with other agencies. This is important to us, as it means that we have access to medical and social support i.e. health visitors, speech and language therapists, social workers etc. These agencies are available to support you and your child, as well as Tree House.

Medication can be administered where it is in the best interest of the child. We follow strict guidelines regarding which medicines are used. Over the counter medicines can be administered when following the correct dosage amounts, age restrictions etc, when given parental consent. Other medicines that are prescribed by a medical professional i.e. insulin can be administered, providing that an appropriate staff member has been given the correct training, and follows the correct procedure for administrating. When you register your child at the setting, this is something that will have been discussed, so that the staff member is ready for when the child starts. Medicine is stored securely in locked areas where children have no access. It is stored appropriately, according to its storage instructions i.e. in the fridge.

We have a strong support system in place for children’s personal, social and emotional development. Children are assigned key workers. They are there for emotional support, to check developmental progress through observation and report, to guide children and model behaviour, encourage and offer companionship, usually forming close bonds with their key children. We work alongside the EYFS to encourage the three prime aspects of PSED-making relationships, self-confidence and self-awareness and managing feelings and behaviour. Activities and play is focused on these areas and added to children’s individual and setting plans. This ensures that all children are participating in learning activities to encourage and support PSED. For children with SEN, all of our routines and activities can be adjusted accordingly.

Will the setting ensure they take account of my child’s views as appropriate?

At Tree House, we feel that the children’s views are a vital part of our setting. We directly ask children to contribute to their own planning, by asking them what their interests are. Along with observation, these are added to the planning. We also use children’s choice, to select free play games, toys and activities. We send forms home, such as children’s interests forms, and even have children’s comments sections on their own reports, checks and assessments. During activities, we converse with our children, asking them about the activities they are doing/what they are playing with, and offer comments or questions to help them communicate, and express their views.

We use on the spot evaluation, to find out how well activities are working, which involves asking the children and recording it.  During circle time, we often have group discussions, to gauge our children’s views and opinions in different topics and subjects.

We give our children free reign to express themselves, and encourage them to do so freely. This helps not only their communication, but is a big part of their PSED. This aspect of our setting is fully transferable to children with SEN. For example, a child with limited speech may have difficulty verbally expressing their views. Flash cards, STC and key fans, are a good way to ensure that they have a choice, and are able to make others aware of it.

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

We have two named SENco’s at Tree House. They have been key workers to children with SEN, worked alongside key workers with SEN children, and been in the role for several years. They have completed “calling all early years SENco’s” training and behaviour is communication. Regular refresher courses are attended, as well as SENco cluster meetings. They also provide advice and training to staff members, as well as parents. Both are experienced in completing early year’s action plus funding, and liaising with third parties such as the integrated therapy service. They are able to raise concerns/make referrals. Several other staff members have also attended SENco training.

There are a range of services at Tree Houses disposal to aid in the care of children with SEN. A few of the services available have been listed below:

Speech and language (integrated therapy services)
Portage (funded home support)
Setting SENco’s
Area SENco
Autism and communication team
Educational psychology
Sensory, physical and medical support service
Learning support (including dyslexia)
Somerset parent partnership
Local children’s centre
Health visitor
Social workers

How accessible is the setting environment?

Tree House is fully wheelchair accessible with low level entry points and a wheel chair ramp to access the main entrance.

The immediate environment inside tree house is visually stimulating, with colours, pictures and shapes. Where necessary, STC labels are in place, to make equipment accessible and discoverable for all.

At Tree House, We have an extensive support strategy in place for children and families that use English as an additional language. We have a setting ENCO, that works with these children and families. When a child that uses EAL, starts at the setting, their English and mother tongue is assessed, to see if they and their family require additional services such as translators, document translations and information in their native language.

Once the child is integrated into the setting, both English and their mother tongue are encouraged, and allowed to develop naturally. Children are assessed in English, as this is the language used in the EYFS, however the mother tongue is taken into consideration i.e., if they can count in their home language, this is counting, regardless of whether it’s in English or not. Children are observed and have additional assessments such as the “EAL learner’s journal” in the front of their folder, home communication profiles, ECAT forms and background information forms for parents to fill in.

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

If a child has known SEN, they will have a pre, pre-school entry planning meeting, or a pre nursery entry planning meeting. This is so parents and staff from the setting and other agencies i.e. the area SENco can liaise and lay down an action plan, which will help the child transition into the setting. This will also let the parents and the setting know what to expect, and how to move forward to meet the child’s needs. We find it really useful for a parent or Tree Hose to make a “nursery” book. This will have photos of their key worker and different areas of Tree House in, so parents can introduce them to the setting. Visits and settling sessions are also recommended to help the child transition.

The process is the same for moving into a new area of the setting, or moving to school. The only difference is he child’s keyworker has a much stronger picture of the child, as they will have been in their care for a while. This makes it easier to relay information, along with parents, and will ensure the continuing support of the child’s needs.

Information is only shared with parental permission. We provide information that the school will find beneficial, based on individual needs, i.e. a child with limited speech may have a preferred form of preference. This, along with other vital information, is something we would share with the school.

We offer as much support as we can to a new school or setting. This usually includes facilitating visits to the setting, pre-school or pre pre-school entry planning meeting, visits to the new setting and sharing information/learning journals. We have an excellent information sharing policy, and are always happy to help different setting/schools with enquiries. We also offer support after the child has left our care, to the new setting/school, by providing them with our email address and phone number, should they want any further advice/information.

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

After observation, your child’s keyworker will decide whether they will benefit from additional support .This is based on presenting delays in their development within the prime areas, personal social and emotional, communication and language and physical development.

This is based on the development matters in the EYFS.  This can be classed as at least 6 months delayed. Once this has been established and acknowledged with the setting, the child’s keyworker along with the SENco will discuss their concerns with the parents in a caring manner. With the parents’ consent we contact the area SENco, who will visit the setting. They will come and observe the child and make a decision whether or not a referral is needed. This will put the parents in contact with the relevant agencies i.e. speech and language therapy. Parents are involved at every step of the decision making process, it both ourselves and any other agencies that may be involved. If we feel it necessary, we may apply for funding. This will enable us to buy tools and equipment, or even pay for one to one care, depending on the needs of your child, and how we feel we can best support them. We review support progress every 6 weeks with an IEP. This shows us as a setting and you as parents/carers; what we are doing to support your child, how often we do it, what we use, how successful it was and how we can continue to support their needs.

Who can I contact for further information?

Should you wish to discuss anything about your child, your first point of contact would be your child’s keyworker. They will be able to help you with any concerns or queries you may have, and are contactable in person, over the telephone or via email. You may also wish to speak to one of our setting SENco’s, as they will be able to specifically answers and questions etc, about your child’s SEN. Should you wish to speak to someone outside of the setting, you can contact your local area SENco.

If your child is receiving additional support for SEN, there are several people that may be involved in their education, depending on their specific need. Here are some of the main agencies that may be present.

Key worker
Area SENco
Integrated therapy
Health visitor

If you are interested in looking around Tree house and considering bringing your child to us, we would like you to know that we will treat your child as an individual, with specific educational needs. We will do our upmost to support your child through their time in the setting, to ensure they learn, grow and have fun in a safe secure, caring and stimulating environment. Please do not hesitate to phone the setting on 01749 679637, email or fill out and enquiry form on our website