Special Educational Needs and Disabilities - Our Local Offer

1. What can I expect if I think, or the Pre-School staff think, my child may have special educational needs or disabilities?

At Willow Tree Pre-School we understand that every child is unique and an individual.  When your child starts with us they will be allocated a key person who will be responsible for their development, and through observations and planning for your child’s developmental next steps we are able to identify any concerns which we will share with you, and where appropriate, and with consent, we will contact other professionals if required.

If you do have any concerns about your child then please feel free to chat with your child’s key person.


2. How will Willow Tree Pre-School support my child?

Your child’s key person will work with both you and your child.  This partnership ensures knowledge is shared concerning your child and their development.  On registering and starting at Willow Tree Pre-School we ask that you complete the ‘All about Me’ section from the learning Journals which helps us to get to know your child and their routines. We then have regular meetings to share your child’s progress and celebrate their achievements. We also plan next steps together with you, and if additional support from other professionals is appropriate then we will work with you as a parent to try to ensure your child receives the support they need. .

With your permission, we will contact the Target Setting Support (TSS) team for advice and then this may lead to a referral and a health professional may visit your child in the setting. We ensure that we follow any advice and strategies they may offer so that we can consistently support your child.  


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

Your child’s key person will frequently update you with information regarding your child’s achievements and progress in the setting as well as noting any new interests they may have. We welcome information from you about what your child has been doing at home and what they are interested in too which helps us all form a rounded picture of your child and how we can all support them to develop and reach their potential.

4. How do we support your child’s well-being?

Prior to your child starting with us we offer ‘settling in’ sessions which help both your child and yourself to familiarise yourselves with the Pre-School and it’s environment. This also gives us an opportunity to discuss any concerns regarding support and care routines before they commence regular sessions. We understand that all children are individual and that some take longer to settle than others, so we can formulate an individual settling in plan as appropriate. We are able to administer prescribed medicines once the appropriate permission paperwork has been completed, and Insurance cover agreed (if applicable). Staff will attend additional training to administer medicine if required.

Willow Tree Pre-School works hard to ensure that positive behaviour is promoted at all times in the setting, and staff will be happy to discuss any concerns with you so that a consistent approach can be maintained between your child’s home environment and the setting.

We treat the safety of your child as paramount.  Children are marked in on a register at the beginning and end of each session and we ask for details from you if anyone other than those with parental responsibility will be collecting your child. Indeed, we do not allow any child out of the premises if the person collecting them is not known to the setting.

Risk Assessments for our equipment and activities are regularly undertaken and reviewed in line with The Early Years Foundation Stage Guidance. Risk assessments are also undertaken prior to any trip or visits.

5. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by Willow Tree Pre-School?

We work with all professionals as appropriate for each child and encourage these professionals to come and visit the relevant children in the Setting.

If required we will contact and work with the TSS team once parental consent has been obtained. Parents/carers are always included in this aspect of support. Similarly, we work with the Portage service and Sensory Support when appropriate to ensure that there is a consistent approach for the child both at home and within the setting.

If speech and language concerns are identified either by yourself or by the setting, we advise parents to take their child to the Speech and Language drop in sessions at the Children and Family Centre. If you do have access to Speech and Language Therapy sessions we ask that you share any exercises and strategies with us so that we can all be supporting your child in a consistent way.

6. What training have staff supporting children with SEND had, or having?

The staff continually receive and update their training.  All staff are qualified within Early Years or are currently studying for qualifications.  Staff have attended courses including; Promoting Positive Behaviour, Supporting children with English as an Additional Language, Let’s Get Talking and we have staff who are able to use basic signing for children who are hearing impaired. We have also had experience of working with a child with a visual impairment.  

Our training is reviewed and monitored regularly and staff will attend training if required.

7. How will my child be included in activities outside the setting, such as trips or visits?

We invite and welcome all children to attend trips.  We will notify you prior to the trip and discuss any particular needs or issues that could arise. We complete Risk assessments as necessary and ensure that we have sufficient staff or volunteers to assist. A register is always taken as is a mobile phone and first aid kit in case of emergency. When they are off site, children all wear high visibility jackets.

8. How accessible is Willow Tree Pre-School?

At Cherry Lane our main hall and toilets are fully accessible for wheel chairs. All our outside areas are fully accessible.

We aim to ensure that activities can be adapted for all ages and abilities.
Visual timetables are used to assist children with the daily routine and Language books are shared with setting and families of children with English as Additional Language to aide communication. 

9. How will Willow Tree Pre-School prepare and support my child with transitions to new settings or school?


As discussed earlier we encourage you and your child to take advantage of settling in visits prior to starting properly in order to aid a smooth transition and so you and your child are prepared for the Pre-School and it’s environment. Your child’s key person will work closely with you to develop a settling routine to match your child’s needs.

If a child attends more than one setting or is moving to a different setting we share the child’s ‘next steps’ with that setting, in order to promote consistency and so that we are all offering appropriate support.

We liaise with local schools to arrange visits both for the children to visit the schools and for the Teachers to visit the children in their Pre-School environment, which supports their transition to School.  

The TSS team will also support transitions to school for any child they have been involved with at the Pre-School. 

10. How are Willow Tree Pre-School’s resources used to support children with special educational needs?

We are a registered charity and unfortunately have limited funds, but it may be possible to apply for Inclusion Funding from West Sussex County Council for funding to support individual children as appropriate.  We would also ensure Staff attend any specific training necessary. 

Willow Tree Pre-School is also a member of the Children and Family Centre’s Toy Library so can borrow resources and toys as necessary to support individual children.


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

The Manager and Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) will work closely with you and other professionals to determine your child’s needs and how best we can all support them.  We have regular meetings where all staff involved in the care of your child are involved and discuss support and strategies to ensure that it is appropriate, whilst observations made by their key person will assist in identifying any additional support required. Similarly, to aid continuity the Pre-School and other professionals may develop Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) to be used to ensure that all staff working with your child are following the same strategies and goals.


12. How are parents involved at Willow Tree Pre-School?  How can I be involved?

As a charity and a Trustee run Pre-School we value your support and input as a member of our group. The Pre-School holds a variety of different meetings from formal Trustee meetings to less formal lunches so that you can hear about what we are doing, what we need to do or how you can help. This can be in the form or helping to fund raise, sharing a skill, volunteering at sessions or special events or countless other ways

We ask that all parents try to share books or stories with their children, so all children are given a book bag and can borrow books from the setting to take home to read with you. Please feel free to write any comments about the book you may have in your child’s book.

We also send out regular newsletters so that you are aware of key dates, information and events that are coming up.

13. Who can I contact for further information?

There is further information in our Policies regarding Equality of Opportunity, Supporting children with Special Educational Needs and Working in partnership with other professionals as well as how we work with you as parents. These can be viewed either on our website or in the setting in the “parent’s area”.

If you would like to register your child or discuss any matter relating to our provision or our Local Offer then please contact;

Christine O’Dwyer – Manager/Early Years Professional

Rachel Lashwood – Deputy Manager/Early Years Professional

Juanita Rose -  SENCO