Skip to main content


Ofsted text

“Staff use their invaluable knowledge of each child to ensure that all activities are presented in such a way as to best suit individual needs and abilities” 

(Ofsted, 2011)

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities – Local Offer

How will Puffin Pre School know if my child needs extra help and what do I need to do if I think my child may have SEND?

At Puffin Pre School all of our staff are aware of our Supporting Children with Special Educational Needs Policy for identifying, assessing and making provision for children with SEN. We treat every child as an individual. Your child will be allocated a key person who is responsible for your child’s development who will use observations to plan for your child’s next steps and assess your child’s development. From these assessments we are able to identify any concerns in your child’s development and will share these with you and with your consent, we will contact other professionals if needed. Likewise, if you have any concerns about your child you can approach your child’s key person in confidence who will be able to work with you and advise you further.

How will Puffin Pre School support SEND children?

Your child’s key person will work in partnership with you and your child. This relationship will ensure that we can share knowledge concerning your child and their development. We will endeavour to differentiate the setting to enable access that best suits your child, including you in the decision making. We work in partnership with the local authority and other external agencies to ensure the best outcomes for your child and the rest of your family.

“The manager and her team have worked very hard to build highly effective partnerships with external agencies. This ensures that the requirements of those children with identified needs are extremely well met.” Ofsted 2015

How will Puffin Pre School create learning and development opportunities for individual children with SEND?

Every child is unique therefore we plan for your child’s development based on your child’s interests to provide creative learning opportunities that are enjoyable for your child. At Puffin Pre School we use a programme called ‘Tapestry’ to upload observations of your child that will link directly with you so that you can see how your child is progressing and also allows you the opportunity to comment and add observations yourself. The environment your child plays in will be appropriate for their needs and additional support and resources will be supplied as appropriate.

How does Puffin Pre School work in partnership with parents?

A strong relationship between Puffin and parents is important to us. You will have access to your child’s learning journal online at any time and a special book shared with Puffin and home to place your child’s photos and work in. Your child’s key person will meet with you regularly to discuss your child’s development and their next steps. Our SENCO, Neeley Toye, will also meet with you to discuss and implement any strategies or plans put in place. We will also provide Home Learning Packs containing activities for you to take home and share with your child.

How does Puffin Pre School support the wellbeing of young children with SEND?

We offer ‘settling in’ sessions which will familiarise your child with the pre-school and their key person and will also enable support for your child to be discussed before they start.  Care routines will be discussed including nappy changing. We are able to administer prescribed medicines once the appropriate form has been completed. If additional training is required to administer medicines we will undertake this as necessary.

Promoting positive behaviour is important to us. We will always discuss any behavioural concerns we may have with you in order to maintain a consistent approach between home and the setting.

The safety of all our children is paramount. All of our entrance and exit doors are alarmed and admittance is only allowed by a member of staff.  Children are only allowed to leave the premises with a named and authorised person. We will not release a child to anyone other than a parent without your written authority.

We undertake risk assessments on the pre-school building every day before the children arrive. We also regularly risk assess all of our toys and equipment and review appropriately. Risk assessments are always undertaken for outings and short walks around the community and any events that we hold such as sports day.

What training and experience do the staff at Puffin Pre School have in supporting children with SEND?

All staff at Puffin Pre School are Paediatric First Aid trained and have undertaken appropriate safeguarding training.

The SENCo has undertaken SEND training and regularly attends workshops and meetings to keep up to date with policy. The SENCo has completed a level 3 Accreditation in relation to the role of SENCo and she also meets regularly with the Essex Area Senco and other professionals to gain advice and guidance on SEND issues etc.

The Manager, Carolyn Dodkins, has undertaken level 4 training in Working with Young children with Autism and their families.

All staff are regularly kept updated on all SEND policy and are given advice and guidance and are sent on training regularly as and when needs are identified etc. We continually reflect on our practice and all training is refreshed regularly.

What specialist services and expertise is available to Puffin Pre School?

Our setting has access to advice and guidance from our Essex Area Senco, Health Visitors, Speech and Language Therapists, Behavioural Support, Children’s Centres and Specialist Teachers.

How does Puffin Pre School include young children with SEND in community based activities and outings?

All children are included on trips out in the local community.  You are asked for your consent for your child to take part and any needs are identified and planned for together with you. Risk assessments are completed for all trips.  On all trips the children are taken out on a walkodile securely attached by harnesses. A mobile phone and first aid kit are always taken with us.

How accessible is Puffin Pre School?

We will work closely with you to differentiate the setting to enable access that best suits your child, including you in the decision making process and accessing any specialist equipment that may be required.  The pre-school is all on one level and our entrance and exit is via a ramp. We use the ramp for our outside area provision and this is on the same level.

Visuals aids are used to assist children with the daily routine and language books are shared with setting and families with English as an additional language to aide communication.   

How will Puffin Pre-school prepare and support my child to join the pre-school or transfer to a new setting or school?

Before your child joins the pre-school we encourage you to visit the setting several times so that you can become acquainted with the environment. We work closely with each family to develop a settling-in 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 developmental records with that setting.   

We work closely with local schools to arrange visits of both the children to the schools and the teachers come in to visit the pre-school and meet the children to aid their transition onto school.

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

We are a registered charity with limited funds; however we are able to apply for funding from Essex County Council to support individual children as required. We are also able to borrow resources from our Area Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator. We also ensure that our staff receive any specific training.

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

The Manager and Senco will work closely with you and other professionals to determine your child’s needs. We have regular staff meetings to involve all practitioners in any support required. In addition the key person will be able to identify any additional support through the observation procedure required by the Early Years Foundation Stage and Individual Education Plans will be made as necessary.

How are parents involved at Puffin Pre-School? How can I be involved?

We are a committee run pre-school therefore every parent is automatically a member of the committee and welcome to attend termly meetings.

Strong relationships with parents is important to the pre-school. We operate an open door policy and share a home/school link book with parents.  We send out half termly newsletters. We run a parent rota for helpers to come in and support activities. We run parent workshops. We provide home learning packs for parents to take home to share with their children.

Who can I contact for further information?

More detailed information is available in our policies, specifically promoting positive behaviour, inclusion, administration of mediation, supporting children with additional needs and working in partnership with other agencies. These are available on request.

To register your child with the preschool or discuss your child prior to starting please contact the Manager Carolyn or the SENCo Neeley on 01371 876375. You can email us at or pop in to see us during our session times.