The SEND framework covers from birth to adult (age 25). All LAs must have a Local Offer (check your LA website for more details). SOME LAs have asked childminders to write their own Local Offer – ours is on our parents page if you are not sure what I am talking about (scroll down).
There is a new framework from 1st April 2015. You can download it here - it is huge and I do not recommend you print.
As part of the new SEND provision, we are expected to identify a SENCO (maybe in your LA or a local school) and to support children who have or may have special educational needs or disabilities using an approach called – assess, plan, do, review. The expectation is that everyone – you, the child, the child’s family, the key worker, other settings the child attends etc – works together with the SENCO to put the assess, plan, do, review plan into place. The plan looks like this and can be written by any childminder alongside parents -
Assess – observe the child and use Early Years Outcomes to note how they are progressing. Talk to parents and, if there is a concern about the child, consider together how parents can access further support. Raise concerns with your local SENCO to start a process of getting help for the child as quickly as possible so the child does not fall any further behind. In the meantime…
Plan – work with parents to put planning / changes etc in place which will support the child. An action plan will provide information about how you are going to help the child with everyone working together to support their learning. There might be ‘reasonable adjustments’ that need to be made to the provision, curriculum, accessibility of the house and garden etc to support the child as required by the Equality Act 2010. Reasonable adjustments might include…
· Visual timetable to support a child with autism who struggles with transitions through the day
· Changing the environment for a child who trips and falls regularly
· Buying new sensory resources to engage a child who is sight impaired
· Carrying out an access audit to ensure, for example, ramps are suitable for a child who uses a walking frame
· Borrowing and installing a hearing loop for a child with hearing loss
· Making a visual ‘this is my book’ for a child with speech delay or a child who has English as an additional or second language
If other professionals are working with the child, ask parents to give you information about strategies they have suggested so you can use them in the provision as part of the child’s individual plan.
Do – the key person, SENCO and parents follow the action plan, working together and the SENCO brings in specialist help such as a speech therapist, audiologist, play worker, autism specialist etc. The focus must always be on the child – what does the child need to help them learn and develop and catch up with their peers?
As part of the ‘do’ process, the Government is making the Early Years Pupil Premium available to early years providers who care for children with SEND and need extra support to provide them with the care they need. If you apply for and receive the EYPP you will be inspected by Ofsted on the difference it has made to the child/ren for whom it was provided. You might spend it on, for example, staff training or extra resources and you must be able to show that it has impacted by raising outcomes for the child.
Review – everyone works together to regularly review the child’s progress and write a new plan if needed. If during the review it becomes clear that the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ plan is not working because the child is not making good progress – or if the child has complex needs which require more support than an assess, plan, do, review approach - the LA can be asked to provide the child with an EHC (Education, Health and Care) Assessment.
Do you need to update your policies to include this information? Do you know who your SENCO is..? Do you have permission from children’s parents to speak to other professionals to ask for help for a child in your care? Do you have good working relationships with parents so that concerns are quickly noted and assess, plan, do, review strategies can be put into place promptly to support the child?
You will find more information and our SEND action plan on the Childminding Forum in free downloads here.
I hope this answers your questions. If you have any further queries, please ask on the Childminding Forum or Independent Childminders Facebook group.