Learning @ Cootham Pre-School


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Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Local Offer:


The purpose of our local offer is to enable parents and carers to see clearly what services are available for children with SEND in their area and how to access them. The following questions and answers form our local offer and shows how we provide for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

How does Cootham Pre-school know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs or disabilities?

At Cootham Pre-school each child has a designated key person. Their role is to develop a trusting and sensitive relationship with parents, carers and children to enable respectful sharing of information.

If you have any concerns about your child and their development you can discuss these matters with Tracey Brooks or our Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) and Inclusion Coordinator (INCO) – Alexis Baillie.

Ongoing observational assessments are made of all children and are linked to the Development Matters ages and stages of development. This can, on occasions identify some individual needs which will be discussed with the SENCO. If your child’s key person has identified a possible need it will be discussed with you and they will plan with you how to support your child’s learning and development.

Reports from other professionals such as health care, health visitors, speech and language therapists (SALT) will also support and help to identify your child’s individual needs. We welcome and encourage parents and professionals to share these reports in order to plan support appropriately.

Our SENCO/INCO will offer support and advice to your child’s key person and to other staff in the setting and will also liaise with other professionals to seek advice and support when necessary.

The preschool can also seek support and advice from the Early Years Advisory Teacher or the FIRST Team (Facilitating Inclusion through Reflection, Support and Training) with your permission.

How will you support my child?

Prior to starting at Cootham Pre-school part of the induction process is to attend a taster session which are complimentary and the number will be tailored to meet your child’s needs.

You will be asked to complete a personal profile about your child. This will help us share information about your child’s strengths and needs.

Any of your concerns can be discussed with the Tracey Brooks or the SENCO during these sessions.

We will all work with you to support your child together, listening to you and your child.

We will explain how individual needs can be met by planning support using an Individual Education Plan (IEP) along with support from the FIRST team when necessary. An explanation will always be given of who will be involved and their roles.

All observations, assessments and evaluations contribute towards Individual Education Plans and your child’s key person will work towards meeting these targets.

Your child’s key person and the SENCO/INCO will be present during the sessions your child attends in order to build an understanding and supportive relationship. They will identify needs, plan next steps, obtaining support from other professionals when necessary.

The Manager will maintain an overview of experiences and progress and the SENCO will work with all staff to ensure the relevant and appropriate support is being provided.

We will work in partnership with you, reviewing targets, planning new ones and giving ideas to be used at home to support your child.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

Before your child starts and through ongoing observations and assessments we will develop an understanding of your child and their stage of development.

The Early Years Foundation Stage is used to support your child’s learning through ongoing observations, assessments and further planning. The IEP and your child’s Learning Journal will demonstrate the stage of development they have reached, supported by written observations and photographs which will contribute to planning their next steps.

We will ensure as a team that we work together to make sure the environment, routines and activities support your child’s needs. By effective communication, we will provide consistency and an understanding within the team, to meet the needs of your child in the best way possible.

Any available assessment documents from other professionals will be requested prior to your child starting with your permission.

How will both you and I know my child is doing well and how will you support my child’s learning?

We are a welcoming, happy setting with good relationships with our families.

We have daily opportunities when you are most welcome to discuss your child’s progress, there is never a need to wait for an appointment.

Assessments are ongoing and progress reviews are in place and are monitored regularly. These are three yearly progress reviews and reviews linked with the IEP. Your child’s key person will discuss these and include you in further planning.

A weekly Diary is published on the website in order that parents are aware of the ‘Diary’ and can see the opportunities the children will be experiencing. In this way you can support your child’s learning at home.

What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being?

Our practitioners are welcoming and friendly and staff ratios are high. We provide an inclusive, sensitive and happy approach to care. All staff are role models for positive behaviour and we provide consistency in the day to day care of children.

Our routines are flexible to accommodate to individual needs of your child.

Should your child require prescribed medication you will be required to complete a Medication Permission Form in accordance with the setting’s policy.

Any other medical requirements can be discussed and care given accordingly. Staff training can be provided if necessary.

All opportunities will be given to enable your child to have full access to the preschool environment. Resources can be adapted or borrowed from the West Sussex toy library.

Visual timetables display routines to support an understanding of ‘now’ and ‘next’ during a preschool session.

The setting runs from one large room however the book corner provides a quieter, calmer environment for quiet time or when your child is tired, together with the leafy den with it’s calming colours, soft toys, mirrors, feelings faces and cosy cushions for comfort.

We refer to our Behaviour Management Policy and staff discussions when necessary, if there is a need to support undesirable behaviour amongst any children within the setting, in order to provide a positive outcome.

What specialist services and expertise are available at, or accessed by Cootham Pre-school?

All staff are experienced and have worked within Early Years for some years. We have ten members of staff, of which eight have a Level 3 Early Years Qualification.

  • Tracey Brooks – The Manager has over 20 years experience in Early Years.
  • Alexis Baillie – The INCO/SENCO has over 10 years experience as is Level 3.

A range of training amongst staff has been undertaken including:

Paediatric First Aid, Child Protection, Safeguarding Children, Speech and Language, Promoting Positive Behaviour, Learning and Development in the Early Years, Health and Safety, Role of the Key Person.

Further training will be sought to support a child which is identified as having special educational needs if required.

We are familiar with working with other Early Years/Health Care Professionals and will include you in all discussions to ensure the best possible outcome for your child.

The FIRST team offer support, with your consent, to practitioners within the setting which includes: planning, offering home advice, making their own observations of individual children and jointly contributing to next steps. This ensures a strong level of communication between FIRST, the setting and yourself as a parent, to give the best possible support to both you and your child.

What training are the staff supporting the children with Special Educational Needs, had or having?

Subscription to the West Sussex training fund allows us to access mandatory and specialist training.

In addition to training referred to earlier, all training any member of staff attends is cascaded back to the team during weekly team meetings.

Advice and training are accessed from the FIRST Team as are phone calls to Health Visitors and other support workers involved.

How will my child be included in activities outside Cootham Pre-school, including trips?

All activities are planned to include all children, inside, outside or on a trip. When a trip is planned, parents are invited to join us either in the planning or to come along. We will continue to carry out daily risk assessments both inside and outside and always before a trip.

Any additional requirements your child may need will be considered and provided, including medication.

Staff ratios enable access for your child to be inside or outside whilst at preschool.

How accessible is the Cootham Pre-School environment (indoors and outdoors)?

We run from a large single room, in a village hall, with a disabled ramp to ease entry via the front door and three toilets.

Double french doors provide easy access to the outdoor area at all times.

If you are a parent/carer whose first language is not English, we can arrange to have an interpreter.

Resources within the setting are labelled to help children identify and access them easily.Although we have limited funds we are always willing to seek out suitable equipment or adapt existing equipment as necessary, to support children with Special Educational Needs.

How will Cootham Pre-school prepare and support my child to join the preschool/transfer to a new setting/school?

The Preschool offers introductory sessions for you and your child, prior to starting. These sessions provide opportunities for your requirements to be discussed. During this time we will get to know you and your child, discuss their needs, the involvement of other agencies and to agree to a consistent approach to ensure the continuity of care for your child.

Cootham Pre-school offers a settling-in period to meet your individual needs.

When all children transfer to another setting or progress to school, a transition meeting/discussion is arranged with the new teacher/key person and the SENCO will be involved if a child has Special Educational Needs.

It can be arranged for the new teacher/key person to visit your child at preschool prior to them leaving.

Staff and children make visits to local schools.

This system has been in place for many years and we have built up a good relationship with the local schools/preschools.

All documentation regarding your child’s development will be transferred with them i.e. the Learning Journal, IEP’s and correspondence from other professionals involved.

On occasions when the FIRST Team are involved, they will continue this support throughout the first term at school.

How are Cootham Pre-school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?

All resources are accessible to all children and some funding may be available to support your child in the preschool if required.

The key person will identify specific resources which may be appropriate for your child, when planning their next steps.

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

Through observation, assessment and evaluation, further planning for your child is undertaken by their key person, SENCO and Early Years Teacher within the preschool, together with any other professionals involved and including you as a parent.

If extra support is required than is being provided, this will be discussed and looked into further.

Regular meetings are held when you as a parent will be invited to attend to be involved in further planning.

Staff team briefs ensure consistent care is provided for your child within the Preschool at all times.

How are parents involved in Cootham Pre-school? How can I be involved?

All parents are invited to attend: regular meetings, fundraising events, open days/evenings, parent social evenings, volunteer to help at ‘Forest School’ sessions and volunteer to help during preschool sessions/trips.

We value the role of the key person and the positive relationships that are formed with the parents, child and their family.

Any concerns may be shared with your child’s key person, the Manager and SENCO/INCO, both of whom will be available to offer the most appropriate advice/support at any time.

Who can I contact for further information?

  • Cootham Pre-school Manager – Tracey Brooks – Tel: 01903 744423 or 07722 501416
  • Local Family Information Services may offer further information as well as:
  • Health visitors, GPs, Speech and Language Therapists, Children and Family Centres, FIRST Team, Family Link Workers and Social Workers.
  • The Local Authorities Local Offer can be found on the West Sussex County Council Family Information Service website: www.westsussex.gov.uk.
  • Questions on the Local Offer may be sent directly to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Dorset House Address

Cootham Pre-School,
The Manor,
Church Lane,
RH20 1PB
West Sussex

Cootham Address

Cootham Pre-School,
Chapel Lane,
RH20 4JX
West Sussex