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  • Special Educational Needs


    Hajra Ahmed

    Our SENCOs:

    Fernhurst Court has two SENCOs – Hajra Ahmed, who works in the Blue room and Lisa Rogers, who is our Business Manager and managing SENCO.

    We have a Special Educational Needs Policy (see: FP09c) that runs into many pages and objectives within the SEN program that are entirely focussed on individual children.

    I have reproduced the policy in its entirety to ensure transparency as regards Special Educational Needs at Fernhurst Court:

    Principles governing our views on special educational needs:

    Even before a child reaches compulsory school age s/he may have special educational needs requiring the intervention of the LEA and/or the health services – Children with special educational needs require the greatest possible access to a broad and balanced education, including the early learning goals and thus eventually the national curriculum – The knowledge, views and experience of parents are the vital factors in obtaining the most effective assessment and provision – Where practicable the needs of SEN children should be met in the normal environment of the nursery or classroom.

    The essential procedures to ensure adoption of the above principles are:

    Children with SEN are identified and assessed as early as possible and as quickly as is consistent with thoroughness – Provision for SEN children should be made by the most appropriate agency. In most cases this will be the child’s mainstream nursery and school, working in partnership with parents: no statutory assessment will be necessary – Where needed the LEA should be involved and must make assessments and statements under their own guidelines (see the LEA’s own guidelines) – Special educational provision will be most effective if the ascertainable wishes of the child are taken into account (in the light of his/her age and understanding) – There must be close co-operation between all the agencies concerned and a multi-disciplinary approach to the resolution of issues.

    Special Educational Need – A Definition

    The following applies to all children within the LEA. – this includes the foundation stage:

    Children have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for them. Children have learning difficulty if they:

    Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age; or

    Have a disability, which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities of a kind generally provided for the children of the same age.

    Special Educational Provision means:

    For a child under two – any educational provision of any kind

    For a child two or over – educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different from, the educational provision made generally for children of their age.

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

    The Three Stages

     Stage 1: Identifying SEN

    The nursery practitioner, generally the key worker (but not always) together with the SENCO and nursery class teacher identifies or registers a child’s special educational needs and takes initial action to place the child on the SEN Register.

    Stage 2: Gathering information and increased differentiation within the nursery class environment

    The nursery’s SEN co-ordinator takes lead responsibility for gathering information and for co-ordinating the child’s special educational provision. An individual education plan (IEP) is now drawn up by the nursery teacher in conjunction with any specialist drawn from outside

    Stage 3: Early Years Action Plus (Outside help is sought)

    Specialists from outside the nursery support the nursery teacher and the SEN co-ordinator

    Roles & Responsibilities

    The Parents

    The parent’s roles and responsibilities do not need defining here. I have placed them in this section to remind everyone how important it is to ensure parents are involved from day one. Parents are THE MOST IMPORTANT people in the whole of this procedure and action MUST NOT be taken without informing them at all stages. This includes invitations to all meetings especially regarding outside help and IEP’s (individual learning plans).

    The Directors Responsibilities

    The directors of Fernhurst Court will ensure that:

    They do their best to ensure that the necessary provision is made for any Fernhurst Court child who has special educational needs. Where necessary this includes appropriate staffing and funding arrangements – Ensure that where the LEA has informed the nursery manager that a pupil has special educational needs, these needs are made known (via the SENCO) to all that are likely to teach him or her – Ensure that all staff within the nursery are aware of the importance of identifying and providing for those pupils who have special educational needs – Ensure that the child joins in all of the activities of the nursery together with the children who do not have special educational needs, so far as this is reasonably practicable and compatible with the child receiving the necessary special educational provision. So long as this is not incompatible with the efficient education of the other children within the nursery and the efficient use of resources – Maintain a general oversight of the nursery’s work in this area and where appropriate consult with the LEA, funding authorities and the governing bodies of other schools in the interests of a co-ordinated special educational provision – Ensure that parents are fully aware of the nursery’s policy for children with special educational needs and more specifically: that parents of a child deemed SEN are fully in touch with every stage of the SEN process as regards their child.

    The Nursery Manager’s Responsibilities

    The Nursery Manager has responsibility for the day to day management of all aspects of the nursery’s work, including provision for children with special educational needs. As regards SEN he or she is seen as the bridge between the directors and the SEN coordinator and is deemed the ‘responsible person’ as regards special educational needs.

    The SEN Coordinator’s Responsibilities

    Has responsibility for the day to day operation of the nursery’s SEN policy and for coordinating provision for pupils with special educational needs. Especially: ensuring parents and all staff working with children on the SEN Register are fully aware of the child’s needs and the contents of any specific IEN (individual education plan).

    Teaching, Nursery & Non-teaching staff Responsibilities

    To be involved in the development of the nursery’s SEN policy and be fully aware of the nursery’s code of practice for SEN which details procedures for identifying, assessing and making provision for children with special educational needs.

    For further information read: Fernhurst Court’s Special Educational Needs Policy (see: FP09c)

    The Nursery Based Stages

    The following stages must be seen as a systematic cycle of planning, action & review within the nursery to enable our children with special educational needs to learn & progress. As such, they should be viewed as a natural extension of the work of the nursery with children in general.

    Stage 1: Identifying SEN

    Stage 1: Procedure

    The child’s key worker, other nursery officer or parent/guardian identifies the possibility that a child may have special educational needs – any thoughts from these individuals are communicated to our SENCO where they are placed in the Pre-SEN register. These issues are then communicated to the nursery manager by the SENCO and in consultation with the parents further observations are conducted if thought appropriate – these again are contained in the Pre-SEN Register. If these cursory observations raise sufficient concern the nursery manager informs the SEN coordinator who registers the child’s special educational needs onto our SEN Register. The nursery manager & The SEN coordinator collect relevant information about the child The nursery manager and/or the child’s key worker will work closely with the child in the normal nursery context. They’ll explore ways in which increased differentiation might better meet the needs of the child in question. The nursery manager and/or the child’s key worker together with the SEN coordinator monitors the child’s progress.

    Stage 1: Information Required

    From the nursery:

    Record of achievement
    Child observations
    Standardised test results or profiles (where appropriate)
    Comparative class records

    From the parent:

     Views on the child’s health & development
    Perception of the child’s performance, progress and behaviour at school and at home
    Factors that may be contributing to any difficulty
    Action that they feel the nursery might take to alleviate problems

     From the child (where appropriate):

     Personal perception of difficulties and how they might be addressed.

    From other sources:

     Information already available to the nursery from health or social services or any other source

    Stage 1: Special Help

    Consulting with the SEN coordinator, the nursery manager may come to the conclusion that the child in question could benefit from some form of special help (further differentiation of the curriculum, for example). If this is the case the nature and aims of such special educational provision must be recorded. This record should include:

     The nature of concern and the action to be taken
    Targets to be achieved and monitoring arrangements
    Review date

     The child’s parents must always be informed of the action that the nursery proposes to take and should be included in the review process if they wish to be included.

     Stage 1: Review

    At Fernhurst Court reviews are accomplished each month (more frequently if thought necessary – these should focus on:

     Progress made by the child
    Effectiveness of the special help
    Future action – including whether to move to stage 2, stay at stage 1 or remove the child from the special needs register.

    Stage 2: Early Years Action – The Individual Education Plan

    Stage 2: Procedure

    The SEN coordinator with the help of the nursery manager will:

    Collate relevant information, including as appropriate, information from sources beyond the nursery
    Ensure that an individual education plan is drawn up
    Ensure that the child’ parents are informed
    Monitor & review the child’s progress – each month (or more frequently if required)

    Stage 2: Information Required

    At stage 2 the SEN coordinator & Nursery Manager should review all the available information, including that gathered at stage 1. The SEN coordinator should always seek information from health and social services and other agencies closely involved with the child, such as:

    From the child’s general practitioner (with the consent of the parents): medical advice

    From social services and/or the education welfare service, as appropriate, on:

    any arrangements under an education supervision order
    social services involvement with child or family
    any concerns about the child’s welfare
    Whether the local authority has the child on the child protection register or has any responsibility for the child under the children act.

     From other agencies that may be involved with the child: Voluntary leisure activities, etc.

    Stage 2: Assessing the Need

    Using all the information that is available the SEN coordinator will either:

     seek further advice

    and, or

    in conjunction with the nursery manager, draw up an individual education plan

     If further advice is being sought the SEN must record what it is, arrangements for the child pending receipt of the advice and the review arrangements.

    Stage 2: The Education Plan

    The SEN coordinator, working with the nursery manager (and any relevant curriculum specialist) now draws up the individual education plan. So far as possible, the plan should follow the curriculum that his/her fellow pupils are following and should make use of programmes, activities, materials and assessment techniques readily available to the nursery manager. The plan should aim to integrate the SEN child’s activities into the normal nursery/classroom setting. A specimen plan is included to the back of this code of practice.

    The child’s parents should always be consulted before implementation of any plans – in fact it would be preferable to enlist their help in finalising the plans.

    Stage 2: The Review

    The SEN coordinator will have set a review date when he/she did the plan above, the review itself should be led by the SEN coordinator and should include the parents and the nursery manager. The review should focus on:

    Progress made by the child
    Effectiveness of the education plan
    Contribution made by parents at home
    Updated information and advice
    Future action

    The outcome of the review may be:

    The child continues at stage 2
    The child reverts to stage 1, or no longer needs special help
    The child moves to stage 3 (parents must be involved here).


    Stage 3: Early Years Action Plus – Involving

    Outside Specialists

    Stage 3: Procedure

    The SEN coordinator with the help of the nursery manager will:

    Inform the LEA that a particular child is now moving to stage 3
    Draw on the advice of outside specialists, for example:

    Educational psychologists
    Child health
    Social Services
    Peripatetic Teachers (hearing impaired, visually impaired)
    IT advisors, etc.

    Ensure that the child’s parents (and the child, where appropriate) are consulted
    Ensure that the individual education plan is reviewed & extended where necessary
    Using the outside specialists, monitor & review progress

    If it is felt that a fast track approach is required then children can immediately be routed to stage three.

    Stage 3: Information Required

    At stage 3 the SEN coordinator and the Nursery Manager should ensure that the following information is available for all concerned:

     All information gathered by the school over stages 1 and 2
    Reports from stage 2 reviews

    Stage 3: Assessing & meeting the child’s needs

    The SEN coordinator should now be calling in an appropriate specialist from one or more of the support services. This specialist will be qualified and experienced in the specialist area of the child’s special educational needs.

    The educational psychologist will play a key role in helping the nursery assess the information collected and the action taken to date, plan stage 3 special educational provision, and review that provision.

    Whatever course of action is decided upon the child’s parents will be fully involved in the decision making and will be fully informed of events as they happen.

    Seeking Further Advice – If both the SEN coordinator and the external specialist consider that the information gathered reveals an area that warrants a more detailed investigation from outside professionals, the SEN coordinator must record:

    What further advice is being sought
    Arrangements for the child pending receipt of advice
    Review arrangements

    Stage 3: The Education Plan

    There will be a new individual education plan drawn up at stage 3. Using the same basic principles as outlined in stage 2 but using outside specialists where appropriate, the plan should set out:

    the nature of the child’s learning difficulty
    the action to be taken (the special educational provision)
    nursery staff involvement, including frequency & timing of support
    external specialist involvement, including frequency and timing
    specific programmes, activities, materials and/or equipment
    help from parents at home
    targets to be achieved in a given time
    pastoral or medical care requirements
    monitoring and assessment arrangements
    review arrangements and date

    The SEN coordinator, working with the nursery manager and any relevant curriculum specialist, and with the help of the external specialist(s), should ensure that the plan is drawn up. Specific targets should be set for all aspects of the education plan and there should be special assessment arrangements made for those targets. The child’s parents must always be informed of any action that the school proposes to take. A review date should be set, normally within 12 weeks (with internal reviews continuing every month).

    Stage 3: The Review

    The SEN coordinator will convene stage 3 review meetings, the first review should focus on:

    Progress made by the child
    Effectiveness of the education plan
    Updated information and advice
    Future action
    Whether the child is likely in future to be referred for statutory assessment

    At the review the external specialist(s) should consider whether the analysis of the child by the nursery and the subsequent action is appropriate, and offer relevant advice. The outcome of the review may be:

    The child continues at stage 3: If the child’s progress has been at least satisfactory, a new individual education plan may be drawn up setting new targets in the light of experience of the first plan. If progress remains satisfactory after two review periods, the SEN coordinator (consulting with the nursery manager and the external specialist(s)) may decide to increase gradually the period between reviews

    The child reverts to stage 1 or 2: If the child’s progress continues to be at least satisfactory, the SEN coordinator (consulting with the nursery manager and the external specialist(s)) may decide that the child no longer needs external specialist intervention and special educational provision at stage 3. The child may then be recorded as having special educational needs at stages 1 or 2 and action appropriate to those stages should be taken.

    The nursery manager considers referring the child to the LEA for statutory assessment: If by the second stage 3 review the child’s progress is not satisfactory, the nursery manager, on the advice of the SEN coordinator, will consider advising the LEA that a statutory assessment might be necessary. All such approaches must have the endorsement of the ‘responsible person’ (in our case the nursery manager).

    Parents should be encouraged to attend the stage 3 reviews and must always be informed of the outcome, even if they are unable to attend. Parents of children that are being recommended for statutory assessment must always be consulted in person prior to the referral. By the time referral takes place, ther should be:

    Written information on:

    Educational and other assessments, for example from an advisory specialist, support teacher or an educational psychologist
    Views of the parents and (where appropriate) the child
    The child’s health
    Social services’ or education welfare services involvement

    Written evidence of:

    The nursery’s action under the three stages
    The education plans for the child
    Regular reviews and their outcomes
    Involvement of other professionals

    It should be noted here that whilst the LEA are considering whether to make a statutory assessment of a child, or are conducting an assessment, the nursery, working in partnership with the child’s parents and support services, remains responsible for the child’s education, including his/her special educational provision.

    Further Stages

    Should the child not progress satisfactorily at stage 3, outside specialists will help the nursery consider whether the child is likely to meet the criteria for statutory assessment by the LEA – this would normally be accomplished at Primary School but it is possible that this may be required at nursery. In the event that this is required then see the DfES code of practice for guidance.


    Complaints about how we handle SEN or a complaint about a decision(s) that has been made must be recorded and minutes of meetings taken. If the complaint cannot be resolved internally then IT MUST NOT be left ignored or swept under the carpet. The best way of ensuring a fair decision in these circumstances is to have an outside arbiter (someone from the DfES springs to mind) to rule on the decision.

    Parents should know that they can complain if they so wish and Directors should make themselves available for consultation (at short notice) if the parents wish to launch a complaint.