Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School

Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School is an inclusive mainstream nursery with alternative provision for children with complex needs between the ages of 2 and 4 years of age.
We function as the assessment nursery for the LA and also operate an ‘Outreach’ SEN service.
*16 part time designated provision places
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01925 623640


Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School

Sandy Lane




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SEND Local Offer description

Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School is an inclusive mainstream nursery with alternative provision for children with complex needs between the ages of 2 and 4 years of age. We function as the assessment nursery for the LA and also operate an ‘Outreach’ SEN service.

SEND Local Offer contact name

Jane Wilkie

Age range

0-5 years

Facilities for children / young people with SEND

Sensory Room or area, wheelchair access, accessible changing area, accessible toilets, low stimulus environment, secure environment, soft play facility, sensory adaptions, accessible parking, physical adaptions (such as hand rails)

Staff know if a child / young person needs support

If your child has already been identified as having additional needs, e.g. they have been assessed by the paediatrician at the Child Development Centre (CDC) then staff in the nursery will already have that information before your child starts nursery and your child will initially access the enhanced provision known as Rainbow. We will invite you to visit the school with your child to have a look round and speak to staff. An initial interview with yourself will be held for us to gather as much information about your child and their individual circumstances and needs. If your child starts in mainstream staff will spend the first few weeks getting to know your child. If your child appears to be struggling with some things that his/her peers are not then a more in-depth assessment will take place followed up with a discussion with yourselves to share opinions and/or concerns about development. With your permission the school’s SENCo will complete an observation of your child. On completion a meeting will be arranged between the SENCo, yourself and your child’s keyworker. Relevant support will be co-ordinated to address the needs of your child.

What to do if you think your child needs support

Please come and discuss with your child’s keyworker any concerns you may have about your child’s development. If your child has had a 2 year check from health or from a pre-school setting this may be a good starting point to identify any possible SEN issues. An in-depth assessment and closer monitoring of your child will be carried out and you will be given feedback. Staff may also sign-post you to other services outside the school which may offer further support. If you are not happy that the concerns are being managed and that your child is still not making progress you should speak to the SENCo or Headteacher. If you are still not happy then you should speak to the SEND Governor.

How will staff support a child with SEND?

We have a team of highly experienced SEND staff with accessibility to a team of other experts for additional advice. Your child’s keyworker will work alongside the school’s SENCo to ensure we are able to plan for and co-ordinate relevant support including Personalised Learning Plans, additional resources and adaptions to the environment if appropriate. Regular review meetings with yourself will take pace to share your child’s achievements and to plan for his/her next steps. We will also ensure you are involved in supporting your child’s learning too. It is very much a partnership approach. If appropriate we will liaise with other people who may come into school to help your child’s learning e.g. Speech Therapist, Physio and Occupational therapists, Visual and Hearing Impairment team and the Educational Psychologist. Before all referrals are made you will be asked to a meeting to discuss your child’s progress and help to plan possible ways forward. If needed we will give additional training to staff so that they are aware and confident about how to meet the needs of your child.

How is the curriculum matched to a child's needs?

All teaching is based on building on what your child already knows, can do and can understand. Your child will be continually assessed to ascertain starting points and next steps for learning. Your child’s Key Worker will put into place different ways of teaching so that your child is fully involved in learning. This may involve using more practical learning and specific strategies which may be suggested by the SENCo. For example, your child may access communication through Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) or MAKATON (signing), or have speech therapy in the form of Narrative Therapy or a sensory type curriculum might be more appropriate. Your child’s key Worker will also differentiate activities according to your child’s specific needs ensuring activities are adjusted to enable your child to access their learning as independently as possible. Your child’s progress is continually monitored and reviewed formally every term along with your child’s Personalised Learning Plan if s/he has one. You will be kept informed and will be involved in any reviews and planning for your child’s next steps.

How do parents learn about their child's progress?

During the time your child attends with us at Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School (Alternative Provision), staff will ensure that you are kept fully informed as to the progress they are making. All pupils are assessed through the use of an assessment document linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. These assessments are updated and progress is shared with parents on a termly basis. We follow a graduated approach as outlined in the SEN and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years (June, 2014). This approach consists of four stages of action: assess, plan, do and review. Your child will have a personalised plan that relates to your child’s specific needs and will state the following: expected outcomes, appropriate interventions and support, expected impact on progress and review date. This will be written and reviewed in partnership with parents and, where appropriate, will take in to account the views of the child (or parents on behalf of the child). Our expectation is that parents/carers work in partnership with nursery to ensure that strategies are reinforced at home with the aim of developing sustained progress for your child.In addition to regular liaison with nursery staff, parents/carers are invited to attend two meetings. The first is an opportunity to meet the educational psychologist; the next is an opportunity to learn more about appropriate school provision available in Warrington. For those children who access support via the outreach service based at Sandy Lane, a package of advice and guidance (as outlined above) will be offered.

How is children's well-being supported?

At Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School (Alternative Provision), all nursery staff are experienced in working with and supporting children with a variety of additional and complex needs. We may feel it would be beneficial for your child to be based or have more time in our ‘Alternative Provision’ where we offer a higher level of staffing support. Our Alternative Provision is based within four smaller, quieter rooms which have been purpose built, furnished and resourced to meet the physical, learning and emotional needs of our children. The nursery session is structured to ensure the following: safe and comfortable spaces; opportunities for learning in a multisensory environment; small group times with the aim of developing social skills, attention and listening and communication skills; specific and individualised behaviour strategies are implemented where necessary and in partnership with parents. The majority of nursery staff at Sandy Lane are first aid trained and are very experienced in this role. We are used to having children attend with us who have a variety of complex medical needs and medication requirements. We are happy to liaise with health colleagues to request training in relation to specific conditions and the administration of medication. Staff at Sandy Lane value the interests, thoughts and feelings of all children. We endeavour to ensure that all children are given the opportunity to express their own views and opinions in a supported manner. Through our everyday observations we are able to monitor the well-being of your child.

What specialist services can the setting access?

We are fortunate to have highly trained and experienced staff based within Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School. Our staff team consists of: an experienced Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo); a specialist Early Years Special Educational Needs Outreach Teacher; a team of qualified teaching staff; and a large team of qualified teaching assistants.

What SEND training do staff receive?

Staff within the nursery are trained in the following areas: Speech and language including -

How are all children included in all activities?

As part of our weekly nursery routine, children access a variety of out of classroom activities including the following: community walks; visits to the local café/shops; children’s centre library; visits to the park and Forest School. During these activities, a high adult to child ratio is in place, risk assessments are used and health and safety policies are adhered to. We endeavour to include all our children in these activities wherever possible, taking in to account their individual developmental and physical needs. We have a range of transportation options suitable to the needs of the children in our care. In addition to these experiences, all children take part in educational visits which enhance learning. We ensure that transport is appropriate to the physical needs of all children and accessible for specialist equipment. Risk assessments are completed in advance, taking in to consideration the needs of all children. This takes place in consultation with parents who are also always invited to accompany their child during the visit.

How accessible is the environment?

Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School is a modern, single storey building and was purpose built to accommodate children who may have specialist seating and equipment. Within nursery, there are wide doorways, level flooring and a number of ramps to ensure easy access for all. Within our alternative provision, we have disabled toilet facilities and a large rise and fall changing bed. The classrooms are designed to offer calm, relaxing spaces with specific areas for multi-sensory experiences to take place and we have a large hi-tech multi-sensory room on site. There are low level windows to enable the children to see the outdoor space and furniture appropriate to the children’s size and needs. We are able to make physical and sensory adaptations as and when required. We are fortunate to have a large, landscaped garden area which offers a variety of inclusive play experiences, e.g. beach area, dry river bed, mud kitchen, multisensory pathway, water pump and troughs, storytelling area, village on stilts, willow walkway, wild exploratory area, large basket swing, slide and sheltered areas for all weather play. We have an on-site forest which all children access at some point during the school year. For the children in our alternative provision, we have a smaller outdoor play area available should they not choose to access the larger space. To ensure we meet the needs of children with EAL or language delay, we utilise a variety of visual cues and prompts and display these in the nursery environment.

How are resources matched to children's needs?

The school budget, received from Warrington LA, includes money for supporting children with SEN. The Headteacher decides on the budget for Special Educational Needs in consultation with the school governors, on the basis of the needs of the children currently in the school. The Headteacher and the SENCo discuss all the information they have about SEN in the school, including: The children getting extra support already, The children needing extra support, The children who have been identified as not making as much progress as would be expected. They will decide what resources, training and support is needed. All resources, training and support are regularly reviewed and changes made as needed.

How are children supported through transition?

If appropriate your child will receive a home visit and as part of your initial meeting with your child’s key worker we will endeavour to find out as much as possible about your child to ensure a smooth transition into Nursery. This is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about our setting and your child’s future experiences. Your child will be offered an initial visit to nursery (usually one hour). During this visit, parents are invited to stay with their child as they become familiar with the nursery setting and staff members. We appreciate that starting nursery may be difficult for some children and, in response to this, we are flexible in relation to the number/length of transition visits each child has. Parents are welcome to stay within the building until it is agreed that the child is settled and happy. When the time comes for your child to move to reception class, the staff at the receiving school will be invited to spend time with your child at Sandy Lane, observe them in a familiar learning environment and share information with key staff members. Following this, a transition meeting will be arranged involving parents/carers, current teaching staff, new teaching staff and any named health professionals currently supporting your child. It is usual that the receiving school invite you and your child to spend time in the new school prior to the summer holiday. Any information collated at Sandy Lane will be forwarded to the new setting and staff are welcome to contact us for support and guidance in September should this be needed.

How is a decision made about the support needed?

Within Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School, support for individual children is allocated in response to individual needs. Your child’s key worker and SENCo will assess how best to support your child and liaise with yourself to discuss their observations of your child and talk about their recommendations. Through regular observations, assessments and evaluations of your child’s Personalised Plan we will be able to realise the impact of any additional support, interventions etc on your child’s progress. These will be discussed with yourself and will determine future programmes of support to ensure progress for your child. Where the Early Years SEN Outreach Teacher has received a referral from the CDC for a child, regular support visits are undertaken. This may be a support visit to another early years setting or to a child’s home.

How can parents and carers be involved?

We are committed to working in partnership with parents. We believe that parents have the most knowledge and understanding of their child and we ensure that each parent’s voice is heard and responded to. The effective relationship we establish between parents and nursery staff enables each child to achieve their individual potential. Parents/carers are consulted throughout the year in an ongoing manner both informally and formally. Staff are happy to speak with parents before or after each nursery session. For parents who are working, we are able to communicate via the telephone or email. We also hold many parent events including a parent’s evening, celebratory evening and information sharing events as stated above. The Early Years SEN Outreach Teacher is able to meet with parents at home, at their child’s setting or at Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School at a time that is convenient during the school day.

Who can be contacted for further information?

If you have any queries or questions about your child, we have a large and approachable team of staff who will be happy to speak with you and offer support if required. These are as follows: Named key person (first point of contact), Nursery teacher, Nursery Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo), Early Years SEN Outreach Teacher, Teaching assistant based within nursery, Head teacher or Governor for SEN. Impartial advice and guidance can be obtained from the Parent Partnership Service.