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                                                                              Hempsted Playgroup and Toddlers

                                                     Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Policy


 At Hempsted Playgroup and Toddlers we believe all children have the right to be cared for and educated to achieve the best possible outcomes through access to opportunities, experiences and learning alongside each other. We treat all children with respect, recognising every child has individual needs.  We have regard to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and will make all reasonable adjustments to the inclusion of all children and aim to ensure the best for each child as an individual. We are committed to providing childcare to children with special educational needs and will look at individual needs in order assess reasonable adjustments that may be needed to provide the needed standard of care.   


Our Aims


We aim to:

  • Identify any special educational needs as early as possible.

  • Use observation and assessment to assist in the identification of special needs. 

  • Develop skills in identifying children requiring additional support and establish suitable programmes, plans and learning opportunities to provide this support.

  • Adopt positive and consistent strategies to help children with behavioural difficulties and/or emotional difficulties/needs.

  • Follow the correct pathway of support and referral that will enable all children to receive the help they need quickly and effectively.

  • Inform Parents at all stages of the needs and progress of their child and to work in partnership with them. Listen to their views and opinions.

  • Take into account the wishes of the child relevant to their age and development.




  • We have regard for the Special Education Needs and Disability Code of Practice (2015) and the Equality Act (2010).

  • We include all children in our provision, planning for each child’s individual care and learning requirements.

  • We work in partnership with parents and other agencies in meeting individual children’s needs.

  • We identify the specific needs of children with SEND and meet those needs through a range of strategies.

  • We provide practitioners to help support parents and children with special education needs and disabilities.

  • Our practice/ provision is monitored and reviewed regularly and adjustments are made where necessary.

  • Our SENDCo designated member of staff is Amy Bullock and Deputy SENDCo Sharon Johnson.

  • We ensure that the provision for children with SEND is the responsibility of all members of the setting.

  • We ensure that our inclusive admissions practice ensures equality of access and opportunity.

  • We ensure that our physical environment is as far as possible suitable for children with Disabilities.

  • We work closely with parents of children with SEND to create and maintain a positive partnership.

  • We ensure that parents are informed at all stages of the assessment, planning, provision and review of their children’s education.

  • We liaise with other professionals involved with children with SEND and their families.

  • We use the graduated pathway for identifying, assessing and responding to

  • Children’s needs (Universal-My Profile, My Plan/ My Plan+ and EHC)

  • We provide a differentiated curriculum to meet individual needs and abilities.

  • We ensure the effectiveness of our SEND provision by collecting information from a range of sources e.g. Early Help, My plan/My plan+ and reviews, staff management meetings, parental and external agencies, inspections and complaints. This information is evaluated and reviewed annually.


What does the term Special Educational Needs and Disabilities mean? 


The term Special Educational Needs and Disabilities can be shortened to SEND. As stated in section 20 of the Children’s and Families Act 2014 ‘a child or young person has special educational needs if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her’. In relation to an early years setting section 20 of the Children’s and Families Act 2014 states ‘a child who is under compulsory school age has a special educational need if they are likely to have a learning difficulty or disability that calls for special educational provision when they reach school age or they would do, if special educational provision were not met for them’.


Hempsted Playgroup recognises the importance that from a young age children need to be given the support they need to thrive with equality of opportunity. Within their provision, professional assessments, and home life it is important that early signs of SEND are noticed and early help is provided. This could include a learning disability, medical condition, or physical disability. Some children may have a disability from birth or it may develop at different ages/stages.


The SEND Code of Practice 2015 describes four broad areas of need:

  • Communication and interaction- can include Autistic Spectrum Condition and speech, language and communication needs.

  • Cognition and learning- can include a specific learning disability such as Dyslexia or Dyspraxia.

  • Social, emotional and mental health needs- can include Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactive disorder and attachment disorder.

  • Sensory and/or physical needs- can include children with visual impairments, hearing impairments and physical disabilities. Also, sensory processing difficulties and multi-sensory impairment.


Initial Assessments and Identification


Some children may already have recognised SEND needs or a known medical condition/condition’s when joining Hempsted Playgroup. In this case strategies may already be in place to support the child’s needs and other professionals may already have involvement in supporting the child and their family. It is important that all information is shared with the setting prior to them starting in order for the setting to acknowledge any reasonable adjustments that may be needed, staff training or environmental changes. Not all needs are known before the child starts the setting they may develop over time or a delay in development in a specific area or multiple areas may be noticed by the child’s key person at the setting or by family/carer at home. A delay in learning may not always indicate that a child has SEN which is why processes must be followed to assess the child’s needs and development.

Initial assessments will involve:

  • Every child who attends Hempsted playgroup will have an assigned key person who will be responsible for carrying out formal assessments, developmental tracking, observing, assessing, planning and reviewing development.

  • When a child attending the setting is between the age of two and three progress will be reviewed in the prime areas (communication and language, personal, social and emotional development and physical development). This will be carried out by the child’s key person and will identify strengths and any areas where progress may seem less than expected/ others of the same age. This assessment must be shared in writing and discussed with the child’s parent/carer.

  • If there are significant concerns with development or SEN a targeted plan describing strategies to be used should be produced and involve other professionals if appropriate.

  • For most children initial strategies and resources used may be enough to support their development and needs.

  • If after the initial strategies the child still appears to be struggling or showing difficulties with learning/development in comparison to others of similar age then concerns must be discussed with the child’s parent/carer and with our assigned SENDCo to support development and plan support for the child.

  • Information should be gathered with in the setting, from parents/carers and any other professionals involved to decide/assess if it is felt the child have a special educational need.


Graduated Approach

At Hempsted playgroup we follow a graduated approach of Assess, Plan, Do and Review. Stated in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 years (2015) “All settings should adopt a graduated approach with four stages of action: assess, plan, do and review” (5.39). This means frequently reviewing progress of an individual child and evaluating the effectiveness of the interventions in place. It must focus on the individuals needs and put the child at the centre of all assessment and planning. Parents should be engaged with each stage and the cycle should be a continuous process with continuous reviewing.

 Our SEND process to be followed is:




For the right support to be put in place for a child their difficulties must be first assessed. This should involve the child’s key worker, settings SENCo, parents/carer and other professionals involved with the child to gather all records and information to assess the child’s needs. This assessment should be reviewed regularly to ensure the support still matches the child’s needs. If there is little or no improvement in the child’s progress other assessments may need to take place involving agencies beyond the setting. Parents agreement should be sought to contact other agencies.


The settings SENCo and child’s key worker need to have parental involvement and discuss together what outcomes they wish to see for their child, the support to be put in place, expected progress and a date to review progress. All agencies involved with the child and their parent/ carer will need to have input to decide the support to be put in place and what the outcomes from these are hoped to be. At the review date whether the support in place is working and if the outcomes have been or are being achieved will be discussed. Any staff development needs that are needed to support the child should be identified and addressed.


The planned support should be put into place within the setting and where appropriate at home. The child’s key worker will remain responsible for working with the child on a daily basis but all members of staff who come into contact with the child need to be informed of the planned support in place and interventions. The SENCo will work with the child’s key person and any others involved in supporting the child to track progress of effectiveness and assess the child’s response to the interventions in place.


On the agreed date in the plan process the effectiveness of the support in place and the impact on the child’s progress should be reviewed. The evaluation process should include the child’s key worker, SENCo, parents and other agencies involved if necessary to discuss the effectiveness of the support taking into account the child’s views. It should be discussed if any outcomes have been fully achieved, are starting to be achieved or if they aren’t being achieved what changes can be made. Any changes needed to the outcomes and support in place should be agreed by all. Parents should be given clear information about the impact of the support so far and be involved in the planning of next steps.

Gloucestershire’s Graduated Pathway


Hempsted Playgroup and Toddlers follow the structure of Gloucestershire’s model of support which is the pathway of early help and support for children, young people and families with additional needs. Gloucestershire’s model has different levels so that everyone gets the right support when they need it. Although most families will only need help with in level one, a Graduated Pathway has been designed to help those who need further support. Before any aspect of this pathway is followed, parent/carer consent must be obtained. Hempsted playgroup regard and follow this pathway set out by the local authority and the processes involved.

Level One – Universal- For a child with no identified additional needs or needs that can be met by universal services. At level one we will use a My Profile and the local offer.


My Profile- A My Profile and consent Form need to be completed by the parent/family/carer and the child. This will provide/share personal information relevant to the child to give practitioner a more in-depth knowledge of the child’s preferences, goals and motivations before going further forward in their support.  This also helps identify what support will be most meaningful.

Local Offer- The Local Offer is a website to enable families to access information for support or help - locally in their community, that suits their individual needs. This could be through the Local County Council, Schools, Colleges, Early Years Settings, Social Care, Health Services, Travel/Transport Services and different Groups, Organisations or Charities set up for specific needs. Most families will find all the help they need at this stage and will not progress further. Glosfamilies directory of services can be used for further information too.


Level 2 - Additional (My Plan)- To be used if needs can be met through working with anther agency. Consent will be gained to hold a TAF (team around the family meeting) to discuss and form a My Plan.


My Plan- A My Plan will be used when it is clear what the child’s current needs are and who can support them. It is a Holistic child or family centred approach which may involve the child’s key worker, SENDCo and parent/carer or may be multi agency.   A TAF meeting (team around the family) will be arranged by the lead practitioner allowing professionals working with the child and the child’s family to discuss/plan and co-ordinate help and support at the earliest opportunity. The My Plan will be regularly reviewed and updated by the lead practitioner, with new actions or completed actions signed off. The My Plan will be registered with Early help partnerships and if further help is required it will move onto Level 3 after completing a My Assessment form.


 Level 3 – Intensive (My Plan +)- To be used if needs are more complex and require further assessment in order to understand the depth of the child’s needs. These needs may require more intensive response. At this level a My Assessment and My Plan+ will be completed.


My Assessment- A My Assessment will use information from the range of professionals who are involved with the child or family so that all information is put into one document and a action plan can be developed. This information focuses on listening to the child and family/carer to understand what is happening for them at that time and what support may have a positive impact. It is to be used when needs are unclear and there is already significant impact on the child’s learning and development which may escalate if support is not put in place.

My Plan+- My assessment should be used to develop a My Plan+. The plus sign indicates to other professionals that my assessment has been complete. A My Plan plus must involve the child’s family/carer to share their views, concerns and goals in order to follow strategies that are centred around the child and their family. The My Plan+ will be used and reviewed regularly and changes made, if necessary, for new actions and outcomes. Once reviewed and if further support is required the next action will be Level 4


Level 4 – Specialist- To be used is a child’s needs are more complex and statutory response is required.

Request an EHC Plan - Statements have been replaced by EHC Plans. An EHC Plan is an Educational Healthcare Plan. This can be requested by the child’s Parents or Practitioner and will be referred to a Multi-Agency Referral Team who will then look carefully at each request as per SEND Code of practice 2015 para; 9.14; and the support that is already in place, offer any further options available. If an EHC Plan is not granted then the Team Around the Child will be sign posted to alternative support for the child. If an EHC Plan is agreed, then stage 5 of the pathway is automatically initiated. Other statutory Safeguarding plans that can be used is a CIN - Child in need plan or CP - Child protection Plan, please refer to our safeguarding policy for further information on these 2 plans.

My Story- Before an EHC Plan is agreed a My story will need to be completed and in place regarding the child’s current situation and support, mainly highlighting what is in place so far, what is working and what needs improvement. Practitioners will also be asked for further information on the child ready for the EHC plan.

EHC Plan - Once an EHC Plan has been agreed, a meeting will be held to discuss and put in place future support and goals for the child. A discussion on how the budget will be managed for the child because financial support will be given at this point to help improve the child’s learning and enabling environment. SENDCO will become the lead practitioner and continue to follow a level 3 response to contribute towards statutory annual reviews.


My Review - Outcomes will be reviewed at least annually and reviews must focus on the progress of the child and towards achieving set outcomes specified on EHC plan. Parent/carer and professionals should be invited to attend the review and s copy of the review should be sent to parents 10days after the review meeting.


Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCo) and the role of other staff 


Our SENDCo designated member of staff is Amy Bullock along with our Deputy SENDCo Sharon Johnson. Role Includes:


  •  The day-to-day operation of the SEN policy.

  •  Liaising, advising and working closely with all members of staff.

  •  Co-ordinating provision for the children with SEND.

  •  Maintaining a SEND register and overseeing records on children with SEND,     

  •  ensuring they are collected, recorded and updated.

  •  Liaising with parents of children with SEND

  •  Informing staff of changes, developments and new issues within SEND, giving       

  •  advice and support.

  •  Liaising with external agencies. 

  • It is the responsibility of all staff to report to the SENDCo if a special need is identified or suspected.

  • ​The child’s key worker will use observation and assessment to assist in the identification of special needs.


 The child’s key worker, SENDCo and parents will then work together to plan appropriate strategies following a graduated approach, and in accordance with the advice in Gloucestershire’s guidance booklet for professionals working with children and young people 0-25 with additional needs including SEND. Children’s My plans and My Plan+ will be taken into account in the planning of activities to ensure inclusion for all.   


All the staff at Hempsted Playgroup will have the opportunity to advance and update their knowledge, attending relevant training where necessary.  All staff are responsible for the learning and development of all children at the playgroup, including those with special needs.


Record Keeping


Records will be kept when required on: -


  • Initial observations and discussions.

  • My Plan, My plan+ or Education, health and care plans.

  • Further observations, monitoring and reviews by all members of staff.

  • Parents will have access to these records at all times.

  • Confidentiality will be maintained at all times. 

  • Records will be kept up to date by the Child’s key worker and Playgroup SENDCo and made available to a child’s parents with regular reviews being held regularly with all concerns, especially the parents.  

  • Parents in Partnership


Partnership with Parents

 The Playgroup will respect the views of the parents valuing their knowledge and   

 experience of their children and the contribution they make. We recognise the  

 importance of keeping parents informed at all times on any matter affecting their   

 children and any areas of concern. We encourage parents to talk to us about any  

 matters concerning their children. The staff and SENDCo will endeavour to work  

 with parents to meet the individual needs of their children, to involve them and keep

 them informed on the progress of their child. 

 Parents of children with SEND will be informed on: -


  • Hempsted Playgroup’s SEND policy.

  • Support available for their child within the setting and by the LEA.

  • Assessment and decision- making with a strong emphasis upon their contribution and involvement.

  • Records on their children. 




If any parent is dissatisfied with the Playgroups work on behalf of their child, they will be referred to the SENDCO for the situation to be reviewed and if necessary, altered to better suit the child’s needs.  If concerns of the parents remain unresolved, they should be directed towards the playgroup’s complaints procedures. We provide a complaints procedure and a complaints summary record for parents to see.


It is a Learning and Development Requirement and a Safeguarding and Welfare Requirement that applies to all Early Years Providers and has a Legal Basis in section 39(1) of the Childcare Act 2006.


Inclusion of children with SEND


Hempsted Playgroup undertakes to ensure that each individual child has access to the full breadth of the Early Years foundation stage by the use of strategies such as flexible grouping of the children, adapting timetables where necessary and sharing resources and expertise where beneficial. Staff will support all children through the differentiation of both planned and unplanned activities.  Staff members will be flexible about organising and managing groups to increase the support available to children with special needs. 




Hempsted Playgroup recognises the need to provide the maximum amount of assistance for children with special needs and aim to provide specific aids to learning when appropriate and within the budgetary limitations of the group.  Sources of outside funding will be explored as appropriate.  The room organisation and layout will be reviewed to ensure access to resources is appropriate for all of the child’s needs.  Extra 1:1 support will be provided if necessary.   


 Liaison with Outside Agencies


Hempsted Playgroup works with several outside agencies, obtaining advice and support.  Any discussion with outside agencies will take place with parental permission, and in accordance with the Playgroups confidentiality policy.  Any referral or involvement of outside agencies will only take place with parental permission unless the withholding of permission constitutes a child protection concern.  


Gifted and Talented


​If it is identified that a child has exceptional abilities in a certain area of their development then advice will be taken from the educational lead at Gloucestershire County council, in partnership with the child’s parents.  Hempsted playgroup will ensure appropriate steps are taken to extend the child's learning, to maximise their potential and develop their talents and abilities to the full.  We will aim to provide opportunities that make learning enjoyable and enable children to develop their personalities, skills and abilities both intellectually and socially. 


Monitoring and reviewing

So that our policies and procedures remain effective, we monitor and review them annually to ensure our strategies meets the overall aims to promote equality, inclusion and to value diversity.


 Law, Regulations and Statutory Guidance relating to young disabled children, young children with SEND and young children with Medical Conditions.

  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

  • The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2023)

  • The Equality Act 2010

  • The Children and Families Act 2014 (Part 3)

  • Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 years (2015)

  • Childcare Act 2006

  • Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)



Reviewed August 2023

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