Nursery additional support needs and disabilities

Updated on 24 October 2022

How the University Nursery aims to work alongside parents in the provision of their child’s individual needs

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Statement of intent

At The University of Dundee Day Nursery Ltd we are committed to the inclusion of all children. All children have the right to be cared for and educated to develop their full potential alongside each other through positive experiences, to enable them to share opportunities and experiences and develop and learn from each other. We provide a positive and welcoming environment where children are supported according to their individual needs.

We believe that all children have a right to experience and develop alongside their peers no matter what their individual needs. Each child’s needs are unique, therefore any attempt to categorise children is inappropriate.

We are committed to working alongside parents in the provision of their child’s individual needs to enable us to help the child to develop to their full potential. We are also committed to working with any child who has a specific need and/or disability and making reasonable adjustments to enable every child to make full use of the nursery’s facilities. All children have a right to a broad and well-balanced early learning environment.

Where we believe a child may have additional needs that have previously been unacknowledged, we will work closely with the child’s parents and any relevant professionals to establish if any additional action is required.

Where a child has additional needs, we feel it is paramount to find out as much as possible about those needs and in what way they may affect his/her early learning or care needs and any additional support he/she may need by:

  • Liaising with the child’s parents and, where appropriate the child
  • Liaising with professional agencies
  • Reading any reports that have been prepared
  • Attending any review meetings with the local authority/professionals
  • Observing each child’s development and monitoring such observations regularly.

All children will be given a full settling in period when joining the nursery according to their individual needs.

Our aims

We will:

  • Recognise each child’s individual needs and ensure all staff are aware of, and have regard for the Manual of Good Practice in Special Needs, when identifying and assessing any needs not being met by the universal service provided by the nursery
  • Include all children and their families in our provision
  • Provide well informed and suitably trained early learning and childcare practitioners to help support parents and children with additional support needs and/or disabilities
  • Develop and maintain a core team of staff who are experienced in the care of children with additional needs and employ a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) who is experienced in the care and assessment of children with additional needs. Staff will be provided with specific training relating to additional support needs/disabilities and the Manual of Good Practice in Special Needs
  • Identify the specific needs of children with additional support needs and/or disabilities and meet those needs through a range of strategies
  • Ensure that children who learn quicker, e.g. gifted, and talented children, are also supported
  • Share any statutory and other assessments made by the nursery with parents and support parents in seeking any help they or the child may need
  • Work in partnership with parents and other agencies to meet individual children's needs, including the health and education authorities, and seek advice, support and training where required
  • Monitor and review our practice and provision and, if necessary, adjust, and seek specialist equipment and services
  • Ensure that all children are treated as individuals/equals and are encouraged to take part in every aspect of the nursery day according to their individual needs and abilities
  • Encourage children to value and respect others
  • Challenge inappropriate attitudes and practices
  • Promote positive images and role models during play experiences of those with additional needs wherever possible
  • Celebrate diversity in all aspects of play and learning.

Our nursery Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) is Jackie Chalmers.

The role of the SENCO is to take the lead in further assessment of the child’s particular strengths and weaknesses, in planning future support for the child in discussion with colleagues, and in monitoring and subsequently reviewing the action taken. The SENCO should also ensure that appropriate records are kept including those with statements. The early learning and childcare practitioner usually responsible for the child should remain responsible for working with the child daily and for planning and delivering an individualised programme. Parents should always be consulted and kept informed of the action taken to help the child, and of the outcome of this action.

The SENCO works closely with all staff to make sure there are systems in place to plan, implement, monitor, review and evaluate the additional support need and/or disability practice and policy of the nursery, always making sure plans and records are shared with parents.

Our methods

We will:

  • Designate a member of staff to be Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) and share his/her name with parents
  • Provide a statement showing how we provide for children with additional support needs and/or disabilities and share this with staff, parents, and other professionals
  • Ensure that the provision for children with additional support needs and/or disabilities is the responsibility of all members of staff in the nursery
  • Ensure that our inclusive admissions practice includes equality of access and opportunity
  • Ensure that our physical environment is, as far as possible, suitable for children and adults with additional support needs and/or disabilities.
  • Work closely with parents to create and maintain a positive partnership which supports their child(ren)
  • Ensure that parents are informed at all stages of the assessment, planning, provision and review of their child's care and education
  • Provide parents with information on sources of independent advice and support
  • Liaise with other professionals involved with children with additional support needs and/or disabilities and their families, including transfer arrangements to other settings and schools. We work closely with the next school or care setting and meet with them to discuss the child’s needs to ensure information exchange and continuity of care
  • Provide a broad and balanced early learning environment for all children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities
  • Provide differentiated activities to meet all individual needs and abilities
  • Use a system of planning, implementing, monitoring, evaluating, and reviewing Individual Education Plans (IEP) for children with additional support needs and/or disabilities and discuss these with parents
  • Review IEPs regularly and hold review meetings with parents.
  • Ensure that children with additional support needs and/or disabilities and their parents are consulted at all stages of the graduated response, considering their levels of ability
  • Use a system for keeping records of the assessment, planning, provision, and review for children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities
  • Provide resources (human and financial) to implement our additional support needs/disability policy
  • Ensure the privacy of children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities when intimate care is being provided
  • Provide in-service training for early learning and childcare practitioners and volunteers
  • Raise awareness of any specialism the setting has to offer, e.g. Makaton trained staff
  • Ensure the effectiveness of our additional support needs/disability provision by collecting information from a range of sources e.g. IEPs reviews, staff and management meetings, parental and external agencies’ views, inspections, and complaints. This information is collated, evaluated, and reviewed annually
  • Provide a complaints procedure and make available to all parents in a format that meets their needs e.g. Braille, audio, large print, additional languages
  • Monitor and review our policy annually.

Manual of Good Practice in meeting Special Educational Needs

The nursery has regard to the statutory guidance set out in the Manual of Good Practice in meeting Special Educational Needs (2004) to identify, assess and make provision for children’s special educational needs/additional support needs. The Manual of Good Practice recommends that our nursery should follow the ESPEN steps when identifying and assessing a child’s special educational need in the pre-school period through Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and Coordinated Support plans (CSPs). Good practice of working together with parents and the observation and monitoring of children’s individual progress will help identify any child with special educational needs. Our nursery has identified a member of staff as a SENCO who will work alongside parents to assess the child’s strengths and plan for future support. The SENCO will ensure that appropriate records are kept according to the Manual of Good Practice.

Individualised Educational Programmes (IEPS)

These are normally prepared by the nursery when they feel a child has additional needs that need support through the nursery. They are a planning and reviewing tool and enable nursery staff to see where and how the support is best placed to meet the needs of the child, how this works and whether this is effective.

Coordinated Support Plan (CSP)

This is an educational plan which supports children who may have additional support needs. Not all children who have additional needs will need a CSP, however, where a child has complex needs or requires a high level of support or support from different agencies a CSP may be deemed useful.

Statutory assessment

If the help given through the nursery is not sufficient to enable the child to progress satisfactorily, it may be necessary for the nursery, in consultation with the parents and any external agencies already involved, to request a statutory assessment by the local authority. This may lead to the child receiving a statement of special educational needs.

Out to Play Section 11

Supplementary guidance (section 11) will be used alongside the main Out to Play document to support the delivery of outdoor experiences for children) with additional support needs.

Impact of COVID – 19

Children with special educational needs and disabilities may face lots of changes in their day to day lives because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. Their routines, regular support, and the people they see may all be different now, and as a parent or carer you may feel concerned about how it will affect your child.

Every child with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is different and will have different support needs in the current situation. We are here for parents and carers and can provide advice to help you and your child find ways to cope together. It is very important to note that the same or similar circumstances will not always have the same effect or create the same kind of need for additional support for all children. So, some children who appear to have similar problems may well be supported in very different ways.

Raising a concern with Dundee Educational Psychologist Service

Raising a concern about an individual child with any support service should always form a part of staged intervention process. This means support from external agencies should only be considered if the standard within -establishment support have been put in place, monitored, and found to be insufficient in bringing about desired improvement. The principle should always be to bring about positive change in the life of a child by offering the latest intrusive innervations.  

Step 1. Gaining consent

The first steep to engaging the Education Psychologist is to seek verbal consent from parents to discuss the child with the psychologist. A “no name” consultation with the Education Psychologist is possible first to check out the appropriateness of approaching the parents/carers to seek consent. When first asking parents for permission to speak to the Education Psychologist, nursery staff should provide a copy of Dundee Educational Psychologist Service leaflet to the family. This exception to the need for consent could accrue if the Children’s Reporter grants a child assessment order which means an assessment can be carried out even in the absence of consent by the parents, however this is extremely rare, and the Educational Psychologist will always do their utmost to engage parents appropriately.

Step 2. Arranging a consultation /Team Around the Child Meeting

If the parents give their consent for a consolation, a meeting should be arranged involving relevant nursery staff and any other professional working with the child, the parent/carer and the psychologist.

The consultation meeting would usually be arranged by, help in, and hosted by the nursery in discussion with the child’s named person (Health Visitor). It is helpful if any correspondence to parents/carers about the meeting arrangements are copier to the Educational Psychologist for information. Nursery staff should take their responsibility for chairing and taking a minute of the discussion, although the psychologist will take their own notes as well.

Step 3. The consultation processes

The purpose of the consultation process meeting is to provide an opportunity to explore the issues and possible interventions form everyone’s point of view in a person – centred and solution – oriented manner. Topics that will be covered:

  • The role of the Educational Psychologist
  • Confidentiality and Child Protection
  • Everyone’s perspective on concerns, strengths, hopes and expectations
  • A review of previous and on-going support and their effectiveness
  • Outcomes sought, and what actions need to be taken to achieve these
  • Date for completion of actions and next meeting to review progress.

Step 4. Review

“Next Step” are carried out as agreed, then everyone meets again to review progress, share information, and either discontinue Educational Psychologist involvement if outcomes have been achieved, or set new actions and another review date. In many cases, a consultation may be enough to develop a support plan that does not require any direct casework by the Educational Phycologist. In other situations, the psychologist may become involved in direct assessment, observation, intervention, training, or their role might be to support to staff who are directly involved as part of the plan.

Step 5. Evaluation

At the end of Dundee Educational Psychology Service involvement with a case, all parties will be given an evaluation form so they can provide feedback to the psychologist on the service provided.

Document information

Date policy adopted

24 October 2022

Signed on behalf of the nursery

Jacky Jones Senior Manager

Malgorzata Mazanka Junior Manager

Date for review

24 October 2023



Jacky Jones

Nursery Manager

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