Child Care Okehampton

Specific Needs Policy and Procedures

Posted on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 in Our Policies

Specific Needs Policy and Procedures

Stepping Stones Day Nursery aims to have regard to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (2014).This document is a whole setting policy and endeavours to convey the idea of a united setting whereby we aim to secure the best for all children as individuals.  This approach means that every effort is made to promote a positive climate that recognises the right of children with special educational needs not to stand out from their peers.

We believe that the ‘purpose of education for all children is the same…. But the help individual children will need will be different.’

(Warnock (1978)

All children are entitled to an education that enables them to:

  • Achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes, and
  • Become confident young children with a growing ability to communicate their own views and ready to make the transition into compulsory education

Meeting specific educational needs can be accomplished through the provision of special means of access to the curriculum and by attention to the social structure and emotional climate in which the education takes place.

The Early Years Foundation Stage is the statutory framework for children with which Stepping Stones Day Nursery adheres to.  Stepping Stones endeavours to respond early emerging difficulties and understand that parents know their children best.  Therefore it is paramount that we listen and understand when parents express concerns about their child’s development.  We should also not forget the child’s voice and should also take into account any concerns that children raise themselves.

Consequently our aims are:

  • To identify a child with specific educational needs as early as possible
  • To promote an atmosphere of encouragement, acceptance and respect for achievements in which all children and babies can thrive.
  • To develop sensitivity to individual needs and a climate of warmth and support in which self-confidence and self-esteem can grow.
  • To develop skills in identifying children with learning problems and construct suitable individual education plans.
  • To adopt positive and consistent strategies to help children with behavioural difficulties and / or emotional problems.
  • To affect a programme of support through SEN Support Funding, that will enable children to receive the help they need quickly and effectively.
  • To inform parents of the needs and progress of their child and to work in partnership with them.
  • To take into account the wishes of the child relevant to their age and comprehension.

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

Children have a learning difficulty if they:

  • have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children the same age; or
  • have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age in schools within the area of the local education authority.  

(Definition of Special Educational Needs (2001) 1.3)

As an Ofsted registered provider we must ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe.  This includes ongoing assessment of children’s progress and a clear approach to assessing SEN for all children in our care.

In assessing progress, Stepping Stones uses the non-statutory Early Years Outcomes Guidance as a tool to observe and ensure that children are developing at their expected levels across the seven areas of learning.  Where assessment indicates that support from specialist services is required, it is important that children receive it as quickly as possible.

Arrangements for Co-ordinating Provision

  • The setting has a named Special Needs Co-ordinator (Jodie Dunn) who is responsible for special needs provision.
  • She will contact Early Years co-ordinator (Louise Carter) at an early stage for informal advice and support.
  • She will provide support and advice to staff, assisting in observations assessments and planning for children with special needs.
  • She will offer support to parents.
  • She will keep appropriate records
  • She will liaise with other agencies.
  • She will attend SENCO training relevant to current legislations and those that are beneficial to the children in our care

Identification, Assessment and Review Arrangements

Practitioners are responsible for the learning and development of all the children within their care.  Observation, assessment and planning always start with the child and aids in the early identification of special needs.  It is therefore the key worker’s responsibility to assess and identify children and notify the special needs co-ordinator of their concerns, who will support the practitioner in setting up appropriate strategies and programmes through SEN Support Funding.

Individual Education Plans will be drawn up in collaboration with the S.E.N.C.O., the child’s key worker and the parents; setting short term and long term goals.

The Graduated Approach

The graduated approach will be led and co-ordinated by the setting SENCO working with and supporting individual practitioners in the setting and informed by the EYFS, the Early Years Outcomes Guidance and Early Support resources.


In identifying a child as needing SEN support, the setting will work with its own SENCO and the child’s parents to carry out an analysis of the child’s needs.  The initial assessment will be reviewed regularly to ensure that the support is matched to the child’s need.  Where there is little improvement in the child’s progress, more specialist assessment will be sought through other agencies beyond the setting.  Where professionals are not already working with the setting, the SENCO should contact them with the parent’s agreement.


Where it is decided to provided SEN support, the practitioner, the SENCO and the parents should agree the outcomes they are seeking, the interventions and support to be put into place, the expected impact on progress, development of behaviour, and a clear date for review.  Plans should take into account the views of the child.

The support and intervention provided will be selected to meet the outcomes identified for the child, using reliable evidence of effectiveness and provided by practitioners that have the relevant skills and knowledge.  Any related staff development needs will be identified and addressed as our staff employment and training policy suggests.  Parents will always be involved in planning support and where appropriate contributing to progress at home.


The child’s Key Worker will remain responsible for working with the child on a daily basis.  With support from the setting’s SENCO, they will oversee the implementations of the interventions or programmes agreed as part of SEN support.  The SENCO will continue to support the practitioner in assessing the child’s response to the actions taken, in problem solving and advising on the effectiveness of support.


The effectiveness of the support and its impact on the child’s progress will be reviewed in line with an agreed date.  The impact and quality of the support will be evaluated by the practitioner; the SENCO, the parents and take into account the child’s view.  Any changes to the outcomes and support for the child in light of the child’s progress and development must be agreed by all.  To make this decision Parents should have clear information about the impact of the support provided and be involved in planning the next steps.

This cycle of action will be revisited in increasing detail and with increasing frequency, to identify the best way of securing good progress.

Involving other settings, schools and agencies

Where a child continues to make less than expected progress, despite evidence based support and interventions that are matched to the child’s area of need, the setting will involve appropriate specialists, who may be able to identify effective strategies, equipment, programmes or other interventions to enable the child to make progress towards the desired learning and development outcomes.  In addition to this where a child attends another setting, Stepping Stones will endeavour to work in partnership to explore how different types of need can be met most effectively.

The records for any child with special educational needs within the setting will be passed, with parental consent, to their primary school.  Additionally, there are regular liaison meetings between the special needs coordinator and the SENCO’s at the primary school to which children move on.

The decision to involve other settings, schools and agencies will always be taken with the child’s parents.

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 will consider requesting an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment.

Parents in Partnership

We recognise the importance of effective dialogue between staff and parents.  Parents are consulted and kept informed of their child’s progress at every stage and are welcomed into the setting to support their child’s learning.    At each stage of the graduated response parents will be informed and given a copy of the individual education plans, parents consent will be sought before consulting with other agencies.

Parents are made aware on the child’s admission of the special needs coordinator through the welcome pack and the photographs displayed in the foyer.

Should any parent be dissatisfied with the settings efforts on behalf of their child, they will be referred to the Special Needs Coordinator or the manager so that the situation can be investigated and if necessary improved.

Integration and Access to the Early Years Foundation Stage

In order to minimise social discrimination against children with special needs, the setting has opted to arrange the children in mixed ability groups, but to aid differentiation in meeting individual children’s learning needs, children are taught in ability groups within their overall group when it is appropriate.

We undertake to ensure that children with special needs have access to the full breadth of the early year’s foundation stage by the use of such strategies as flexible grouping of children, adapting routines where appropriate and the sharing of resources and expertise where beneficial.  Where appropriate and possible; staff is flexible about organising and managing groups to increase the support available to children with special needs.  We also aim to extend and develop skills and resources that will aid differentiation to meet each child’s specific requirements within all areas of learning and development.

We organise our rooms and activities to support children with special needs by such strategies as peer-tutoring, appropriate oral and visual language and instructions, support from assistants and co-operative group working.


The setting recognises the need to provide the maximum amount of assistance for children with special needs, given budgetary limitations.  Assistants are provided to support children within their groups and individual practitioners undertake to deploy any such assistance in the most beneficial way.  When learning support is available priority is given to the promotion of inclusion into the setting with access to all areas of learning and development via the child’s own individual interests and needs.

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