SEND Local Offer

How does the early year setting know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs or disabilities?


At Tops Lymington, staff use a cycle of observation, assessing and planning for each individual child to identify any areas that require additional support. Practitioners/families are also supported by the settings SENDCos to identify any special educational needs their key children/child may have. Both SENDCo’s have undertaken a Level 3 SENDCo course and have years of experience in identifying children with additional needs. If you think your child has additional needs, you can share this information with your child’s keyperson who will be able to work with you and the SENDCo team to create a plan of action for you and your child. This will include an initial assessment form being completed, which includes information on your child’s strengths, developmental challenges, likes and dislikes as well as identifying next steps.


How will the early years settings staff support my child?


Every child is given a keyperson when they join the setting. This keyperson will have an extensive knowledge of your child’s developmental needs, and will work closely alongside you to create appropriate next steps for your child after an initial assessment has been completed. This could include an Individual Education Plan, a risk assessment being completed, and referrals to outside agencies such as Speech and Language Therapist, Portage, Paediatricians, or Early Help. Within your child’s daily routine at the setting, staff will adapt activities, routines, environments and their own practice to best meet the needs of your child. Staff also use Makaton signing and emotional literacy to meet the needs of the children.


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


At Tops, our curriculum is uniquely tailored to meet the needs of each child and is supported and informed by our pedagogy of Schema Play, Birth to 5 Matters and the statutory requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. This means that every child has activities planned and environments curated, that reflect their own unique interests, schemes and schemas and stage of development.

Staff use reflective practice to assess how to improve upon previous learning opportunities and how to extend your child’s learning to meet their individual next steps. Staff encourage self-led play and will adapt their activities in the moment if your child expresses chooses to explore resources in a different way to the initial plan, whilst still ensuring the activity has a positive developmental impact. The curriculum is play based and children are given long periods of uninterrupted play time in line with our Schemaplay pedagogy.

Staff also ensure they are planning for every area of learning, as shown below.

Prime areas: fundamental areas of development, the building blocks of learning

  • Communication and language
  • Personal social and emotional development
  • Physical development

Specific areas; these are introduced at the age 2 years old, this can be related to fine tuning their knowledge.

  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Literacy
  • Expressive arts and design


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


Working in partnership with parents is a priority at Tops Lymington, and one of the ways we do this is by ensuring information sharing is effective and consistent between practitioners and families. Parents have opportunities for face to face handovers and feedback at every session their child attends. They also have access to the Eyparent app via their phones where they can receive daily observations of their child as well as termly summative reports. Practitioners value the knowledge that parents have of their child’s development, and will use this to help with planning for a child’s learning.


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



Children need to learn to consider the views, feelings, needs and rights of others and the impact that their behaviour has on people, places and objects. This is a developmental task that requires support, encouragement, teaching and setting the correct example. The principles that underpin how we achieve positive and considerate behaviour exist within the settings for promoting personal, social and emotional development. We have a named person who has overall responsibility for developing positive behaviour in each of our settings.


Children’s welfare can only be safeguarded and promoted, and individuals at risk protected when all relevant agencies and individuals accept their share of responsibility and co-operate with one another in a multi-agency approach. We work closely with many agencies and provide ourselves on developing and forming bonds with relevant agencies to support our children. We maintain a comprehensive health record for each child, which includes an up to date immunization vaccination programme, details of illness, disability, allergies and sensitivities and accidents and incidents. If someone is injured or requires medical attention, a member of staff will attend to them to assess their needs and evaluate the situation. A paediatric first aid trained staff will administer first aid, sending someone to call for an ambulance promptly if required and someone to inform the manager. The safety of all the children is paramount and other staff will supervise and distract them while first aid is being administered. Confidentiality is maintained throughout. The accident and incident book is also regularly reviewed with respect to individual children to identify concerns or trends in development. These forms are maintained in the child’s incident file. Health and Safety Reps and Managers review these on a monthly basis to watch for any problems arising.


We understand that well-being is not always about the physical health of children but also the emotional well-being of the children is fundamental to their growth and development. Through our stringent planning and monitoring systems we can identify any support that may be required, at certain times in children’s lives they will be presented with change which may also stunt any further progress. Through these transitions we work closely with the families and child to ensure we are supporting you in a holistic manner to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. We seek advice where needed and build bond not only with schools but other settings, medical practitioners, and counsellors.



What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the early years setting?


Within our setting we have a SENDCo. This person has attended specific training to ensure they have the correct knowledge and understanding in all aspects of supporting children with SEND. Regular updates and training are given to this person and the Company SEND lead is always available for help and support. There is a deputy SENDCo who steps up to take on the role when our SENDCo is not present.


We also have access to lots of different professionals who can support us when needed, including speech and language therapists, occupational health, and health visitors. We are able to contact many outside professionals to support when needed and these are called upon when we deem the children, staff or parents need support.


What training have the staff supporting children with SEND had or are having?


The SENDCo will have attended an accredited course in Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities (SEND). They will co-ordinate the provision for all children with SEND and give advice and support to staff members and families. They will liaise closely with the child’s keyperson and oversee the child’s records, along with outside professionals.


The Manager holds an up to date list of relevant staff training that has been completed as well as the local borough courses that are available, and they will liaise with the SENDCo to ensure that training opportunities are maximised for the setting and for the individual staff members. Each nursery has a minimum of one member of staff fully trained to be a SENDCo and aims to have two.


All staff qualified to Level 3 have completed basic awareness of special needs as part of their training, including observations and evaluations of children’s development. Our staff team are all committed to continuous professional development to further develop their skills. Recently all staff have attended a Makaton session to support the children’s speech and communication development, along with a refresher on the importance of commenting and role modelling speech throughout their daily routine.


How will my child be included in activities outside the early years setting including trips?


All activities that are planned in the setting are ensured that they meet the needs of all children within the setting. All staff take into account all children’s individual needs and requirements when planning trips and outings to ensure they are inclusive. We endeavour to adapt where needed to ensure these planned and spontaneous trips meet the children’s emotional, social and physical needs, and support their current developmental stage. All trips and outings are fully risk assessed; we risk assess the route we will be taking and the new surroundings. We also consider the children that will be attending the trips to ensure safety for all and that needs are meet whilst out on the trip.


How accessible is the early years setting environment? (indoors and outdoors)


Our setting is comprised of two buildings, the main church building and adjoining church hall. To access the front entrances there is a ramp leading up towards the doors. We have two disabled toilets on site, one in the church and one in the church hall. We have two levels of flooring inside the church, with ramp access to the rooms and offices as well as the garden. There are also doors into the garden via both the church and the church hall with ramp access. At Tops Lymington we are lucky to have just over an acre of outdoor space where children can explore and develop.


How will the early years setting prepare and support my child to join the early years setting, transfer to a new setting/school?


Transition is a ‘change or passage from one stage to another.’ At Tops Day Nurseries we recognise that all children will experience transitions in their early years especially in relation to their care and education. Whilst transition is necessary and a part of our natural development it can also be stressful and upsetting for both parents and children. Mini transitions happen daily as children change from home to nursery or from activity to activity. Large transitions happen less frequently and will need greater support and planning for. Practitioners will work with your family to support your child’s journey before, during and after the transition. Our aim is to help the child and family deal with these changes to ensure they feel comfortable, confident and emotionally secure during times of transition.


We will support transitions in a number of additional ways. Parents will be requested to provide the nursery with their child’s development record from their previous setting (where available) to support in planning for your child’s development and learning. With parental permission Tops practitioners will contact the previous setting to share information that will help us to care and plan for your child’s education and a new child form will be completed by the nursery administrator/key person. We want to be involved in supporting other transitions that happen for our children outside of the setting and aim to create an environment where parents can communicate information regarding such circumstances to enable us to work together. We use play as a medium to support the children through these times, and believe through working together we will be able to make transitions as smooth as possible.


How are the early years settings’ resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?


All children’s individual needs are reviewed and monitored and we ensure through its procedures and ethos that all practice are inclusive. As a setting we will ensure that appropriate equipment is kept within the setting to meet your child’s needs, and if items need purchasing we will do this, this is to again provide the best suitable care for the children within the setting.


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


All children are monitored individually throughout their time at Tops. We assume that every child will develop at an individual rate and way. Therefore each child must be observed individually in order to provide the most appropriate environment for them to flourish. It is important to identify, as early as possible, when a child has difficulties with any area of development so that action can be taken to assist the child appropriately.


Tops Day Nursery practitioners work on the graduated approach system; this enables us to provide specific help to individual young children. The approach recognises that there is a continuum for SEND and where necessary brings increasing specialist expertise to support the child who is experiencing difficulty. Through our regular monitoring and observations we may identify a child who needs additional support. Key workers, SENDCo and parents will then work together using the graduated response; assess, plan, do and review to support the child’s development progress. If we feel that additional support is required from outside agencies these will be contacted but only after consultation with the parents and permission is granted. The SENDCo will contact the SEND team and provide them with copies of all relevant documents, observations, strategies and approaches used with the child. A member of the SEND team will arrange to meet the SENDCo, parents and child to talk over the concerns. Further information from other professionals involved with the child and family will also be sought with parental permission.


How are parents involved in the early years setting? How can I be involved?


We believe that parents know more about their children than anyone else and that they have a right to be involved in decisions relating to their child’s care and education. Whilst your child is in our care we are committed to involve parents in the following ways:

  • Sharing up to date records on your child’s development,
  • Hold termly meetings to discuss achievements and areas of support being provided for your children, Provide a termly summary of your child’s achievements and future focuses,
  • Up to date newsletters, website and social networking opportunities.
  • Parents display boards,
  • Opportunities to join the site parent committee,
  • Parenting training support and courses
  • An open door policy for all parents to be able to drop in to the setting at any time.

All these ways can ensure that you get all the information you need about your child and the nursery while you are with us. These methods allow you to share your views and opinions with us along the way.


Who can I contact for further information?

To enrol in the nursery you would need to call and speak with the Nursery manager Mags Pritcett who can talk you through the process and arrange a visit to look at the nursery and discuss any concerns or questions you may have.

If you already attend the nursery your first point of contact to discuss anything about your child would be the key person, who can then bring in the SENDCo if required to discuss any further concerns you may have and they will be able to seek the right support for your child. When you are worried or have any concerns about your child at any point the child’s key person or SENDCo will always be available for you to talk to. The SENDCos for this setting are Laura Moore and Rebekka Schwarz, and they are contactable through Tops Day Nurseries.

Some of our friendly Lymington Nursery team:

Mags Pritchett

Nursery Manager