Special Educational Needs (SEN) and/or Disabilities (D) & Inclusion

At Spencer Nursery School, we are committed to offering an inclusive curriculum to ensure the best possible progress for all of our pupils whatever their needs or abilities. Our educational aims for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities are the same as those for all children in the school.

The school's information report can be seen here and can also be accessed, along with a variety of other information at Sutton's Local Offer website here.

What are special educational needs?

If your child has more difficulties than most children their age with aspects of their learning, communication or behaviour, they are likely to benefit from additional support which will enable them to access the curriculum at their level.

Good special needs practice is good practice for all pupils, which is of utmost importance as any pupil may encounter difficulties at some stage in their school lives.

Within school, this means that they will be identified on the school's special educational needs register so that provision to meet their needs can be planned for.

Sometimes parents/carers can be concerned about their child being added to this register; please do not be. It is simply a record of which children require additional support and allows the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator to enable support to be sought for your child.

As children progress, they may be taken off of the register at a future point when their needs no longer require additional support.

Children are not regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught.

What is a disability?

A person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term adverse affect on his or her ability to carry out normal, day to day activities.

Children with a disability have special educational needs if they have any difficulty in accessing education and if they need any special educational provision to be made for them, that is anything that is additional to or different from what is normally available in school.

What needs do we have experience of supporting at our school?

Spencer Nursery School is a mainstream school with general experience of supporting pupils with a range of differing needs including learning difficulties, speech, language & communication difficulties, autistic spectrum disorder and other difficulties or disabilities. We do not have a special unit for any type of special educational need or disability.

Spencer Nursery School adopts a 'whole school approach' to special educational needs which involves all the staff adhering to a model of good practice. The staff are committed to identifying and providing for the needs of all children in a wholly inclusive environment. Inclusion is regarded as crucial to the policy, in line with that of the Local Authority. This means that all children with SEND are taught together with their peers for the majority of the time, being withdrawn for very short periods only when work on their individual targets cannot be incorporated in any other way due to practical considerations for the child and the class as a whole.

The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo)

All mainstream schools must appoint a designated teacher; the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo), who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the school's SEND policy. He or she will co-ordinate provision for pupils with SEND and liaise with parents, staff and external agencies.

The named SENCo for Spencer Nursery School is Miss Robins. Our Assistant Manager for SEND & Inclusion is Mrs Prior.

Two members of the Governing body, Mrs Baughan and Mrs Prior, take a special interest in SEND, although the Governing Body as a whole is responsible for making provision for pupils with special educational needs.

School Based Support Plans (SBSPs)

The SBSP highlights the Key Person’s main areas of concern for the child, the child's strengths which can be used to overcome difficulties and the support to be provided. Targets are included which promote learning in small achievable steps, with details about strategies to be employed to enable this to happen and details about the people who will be involved in helping this to happen. Usually these people would include the child, their Key Person, other Early Years Practitioners within their room, the parent and sometimes an outside agency such as the NHS Speech & Language Therapy Service.

Relationships with Parents/Carers

We recognise the value of parents/carers knowledge of their children and will seek to use that information in planning support for pupils. Parents/carers are encouraged to be fully involved with their child's educational provision, so that a collaborative problem solving approach can be implemented.

Key Persons will liaise with parents/carers termly to discuss a child's progress and SBSP.

Throughout all stages of support, parents/carers are kept informed. Their permission is sought for movement between stages and their agreement of the targets on the SBSP is made by a signature on the SBSP form. They are given copies of SBSP forms as they are initiated and upon completion of each one.

The SENCo or the Assistant Manager for SEND & Inclusion will contact parents to discuss referrals to outside agencies, such as the NHS Speech & Language Therapy Service etc. Parental permission is always sought before any referral is made.

We encourage parents to discuss any concerns that they may have about their child's needs. This is usually initially with the Key Person, although parents can also make an appointment to meet with the Assistant Manager for SEND or the SENCo directly.

Parents are always welcomed into the school and are a highly valued group of people.

Access to the Curriculum

All children are entitled to a balanced and broadly based curriculum including the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum in line with the school's policy of inclusion. Where pupils have special educational needs and/or disabilities, a graduated response will be adopted. The school will, in other than exceptional cases, make full use of classroom and school resources before drawing on external support.

It is desirable to work with children with SEND in the classroom and to enable them to access the full curriculum at their level through differentiation and by supporting their learning alongside the class teacher and with the rest of the class. Sometimes children benefit from a small period of time of individual attention/small group attention, external to the classroom, to address specific skills to enable them to access the curriculum more fully. Children may very occasionally be withdrawn into a group teaching room for very short periods and given 1:1 or small group support in a quiet atmosphere, without distractions from others around them.

All children are encouraged to talk about how they feel about their learning and their progress and are encouraged to feel able to 'have a go' to take charge of their own learning. The rest of the class are encouraged to be supportive to SEND/all children by encouraging and helping each other to tackle tasks and to join in with the praise and encouragement given by the teacher which are fundamental to this process.

There will be flexible grouping of pupils so that learning needs may be met in individual, small group or whole class contexts. The curriculum will be differentiated to meet the needs of individual pupils. Teaching styles and flexible groups will reflect this approach.

Learning opportunities for pupils within each room will reflect whole school approaches to teaching and learning and will take account of special educational needs. Curriculum tasks and activities may be broken down into a series of small and achievable steps for pupils who have difficulties.

A child's special educational needs and/or disabilities will be met at one of the following stages:

Initial Concern/Monitoring

An informal stage where Early Years Practitioners identify a concern about a pupil's progress, gather available information about the pupil, discuss strategies for providing appropriate learning tasks for the pupil with the SENCo and seek to discuss concerns with the pupil's parents/carers.

SEN Support

Since the publication of the DfE's revised Code of Practice in July 2014, and its subsequent updates, the vast majority of pupils with special educational needs will have their needs met within the category of 'SEN Support'. There is a graduated approach to the support provided within this stage, using the trigger criteria published in the London Borough of Sutton's Graduated Support for Special Educational Needs document. The local authority sets out their "predictable and exceptional needs model" within this document.

The triggers for intervention could be the Key Person's or others' concern, underpinned by evidence, about a child who, despite receiving differentiated learning opportunities:

  • makes little or no progress even when teaching approaches are targeted particularly in a child's identified area of weakness.
  • shows signs of difficulty in developing developmentally age appropriate skills which result in poor attainment in some curriculum areas.
  • presents persistent social, emotional or mental health difficulties or behaviour difficulties which are not ameliorated by the emotional literacy or behaviour management techniques usually employed by the school.
  • has sensory or physical problems, and continues to make little or no progress despite the provision of specialist equipment.
  • has communication and/or interaction difficulties and continues to make little or no progress despite the provision of a differentiated curriculum.


Provision is room based, managed by the Key Person, where:

  • a School Based Support Plan (SBSP) is drawn up for the pupil, in consultation with the pupil's parents/carers and advice from the school's SENCo.
  • progress is reviewed on at least a termly basis.
  • at the termly SBSP review, decisions are made about future targets.
  • the majority of support is provided in class by the Key Person and other Early Years Practitioners within the room.


If, despite significant support and intervention at the early stages of support, the school has evidence that a pupil is making insufficient progress, or if the SENCo believes the nature of the pupil's difficulties requires it, we may seek further advice and support from external professionals. 

The triggers could be that, despite having received an individualised programme and/or concentrated support, the child:

  • continues to make little or no progress in specific areas over a long period
  • continues working at levels substantially below that expected of children of a similar age
  • continues to have difficulty developing developmentally age appropriate skills
  • has emotional and behavioural difficulties which substantially and regularly interfere with the child's own learning or that of the class group, despite having an individualised behaviour management programme
  • has sensory or physical needs, and requires additional specialist equipment or regular advice or visits by a specialist service
  • has ongoing communication or interaction difficulties that impede the development of social relationships and cause substantial barriers to learning


Provision is still mainly classroom based, with additional advice/input from the SENCo and support from outside agencies such as the NHS Speech & Language Therapy Service or Early Years SEN Adviser, where the school:

  • will continue to work closely with parents.
  • will continue to keep the pupil's progress under regular review.
  • may seek the involvement of external agencies to support the production of an SBSP for the pupil or to provide a course of support which is carried out in school in a small group situation or a 1:1 basis.


Reviews are carried out as before.

If a child is still experiencing significant difficulties after recommendations from outside agencies have been put in place, actioned and reviewed after a length of time, the SENCo and other professionals may consult with parents and agree that the school will put forward a request to the local authority for the consideration of an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) where the child's needs are considered to be "exceptional" within the framework set out by the local authority.

The criteria for "predictable and exceptional needs" are set by the local authority.

The SENCo will discuss any cases where it is likely that a request for an EHCNA may need to be made with the Educational Psychology Service.

Request for the consideration of an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment

The school will use reports from all of the professionals involved with the child to complete the request for an EHCNA forms. All of these reports are then submitted to the local authority's SEN Panel where it will be decided whether an EHCNA will be granted.

Parents'/carers' views and feelings are sought throughout this process and formally submitted in written form with the request.

If an EHCNA is granted, then the local authority's SEN Panel will request detailed reports from all of the professionals involved about the child's development, progress and the difficulties being experienced, with details of what has been provided to support the child up to this stage.

A draft Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will then be drawn up, which will detail the child's specific special educational needs and required provision.

This draft EHCP is then reviewed by the SEN Panel who will decide whether or not the plan is needed.

Please note that it is possible that the local authority could decide that the plan is not needed and that the child's needs can continue to be met in school with a plan.

If the EHCP is agreed, then the school (the existing school as well as any other schools that might have been identified as possible placements) will be consulted with to determine whether they feel able to meet the needs set out in the EHCP.

Once a school placement has been agreed by the local authority, the final version of the EHCP will also detail the name of the school placement.

The SEN Panel may make a recommendation as part of the process as to the best placement of the child in light of their special educational needs.

It must be pointed out to parents that not all requests for an EHCNA are successful and that this will be up to the local authority SEN Panel.

Where a request for an EHCNA is not agreed or where an EHCP is not issued, the school will continue to provide support for that child at SEN Support as before.

Whilst the local authority makes its decision about whether an EHCNA is necessary, and whilst any subsequent assessment is being made, the child continues to be supported at SEN Support.

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

The production of an Education, Health & Care Plan is organised by the London Borough of Sutton, in close liaison with the school, external agencies involved with the pupil and the pupil's parents/carers.

Whenever an EHCP is agreed for the first time, the Local Authority have to consult with the school's Governing Body as to whether or not they feel able to offer the pupil a continued place at the school based on their needs and the provision required, as outlined in the EHCP.

The provision set out in a pupil's EHCP will be closely monitored by the SENCo and reviewed annually. Parents/carers will be invited to contribute to the review and attend the review meeting.

If a pupil makes sufficient progress, an EHCP may be discontinued by the Local Authority and their needs instead supported at SEN Support.

External Support Agencies

The SENCo can make referrals to the following health agencies:

  • NHS Speech & Language Therapy Services - referrals are made for pupils with speech and language difficulties. Children can be referred to the service up to the end of their Reception year in school. The department that pupils are referred to (Sutton, Merton, Croydon etc) is dependent on the health authority in which their registered GP is based.
  • NHS Community Paediatric Department - referrals can be made for health assessments and also for the consideration of possible social communication difficulties for a child under 5 years of age.


The SENCo can liaise with your child’s Health Visitor to make referrals to the following health agencies:

  • NHS Occupational Therapy Service - referrals are made via your child’s Health Visitor or by you visiting your child’s GP. The school are unable to make referrals directly. Children can be referred to the service up until their 6th birthday. 

Links with Health Services, Educational Welfare Services and Voluntary Organisations

The SENCo will liaise with your child’s Health Visitor wherever the need arises.

Referrals made to the NHS Speech and Language Therapy Service may result in children being put on a waiting list for assessment. Parents/carers are asked to provide the school with a copy of any resulting assessment report and programme to help plan the way forward.

Children's Services become involved if a referral is made to them with concerns about a child or they sometimes notify the school of concerns raised by another external agency.

The Sutton Information, Advice and Support Service provides information to all parents of pupils with special educational needs. Parents of any pupil identified with SEN may contact the Sutton Information, Advice and Support Service for independent support and advice.

Parents are always welcomed into the school and are a highly valued group of people.


Where any referral is agreed to be made, the SENCo will make this in line with the individual referral criteria for that agency. Any such referral will always be first agreed with parents/carers.

Allocation of Resources

Resources are allocated in light of our principles of early identification and intervention and best value. Priorities are constantly being updated as it is of the utmost importance to address needs immediately and to prevent them from escalating into something more serious, whilst ensuring the balance of equal opportunities is maintained.

The School Building

The school complies with the Disability Discrimination Act, through ensuring equal access to both the school's buildings and curriculum. The school also has an induction loop system fitted to the Main Entrance area. The curricular provision also takes account of children's individual needs.

Admission & Inclusion Arrangements

The school's admissions criteria does not discriminate against pupils with special education needs and/or disabilities, and its admissions policy has due regard for the guidance in the Code of Practice which accompany the SEN and Disability Act 2001.

The school follows its own admissions criteria, which are broadly in line with that laid down by the London Borough of Sutton. Please contact us on 020 8648 4126 for further details.

Parents or carers seeking the admission of a pupil in receipt of an EHCP must do so through the London Borough of Sutton's SEN Team, who will arrange the appropriate consultation with the school's Governing Body regarding possible admission in respect of whether the school has the appropriate provision and capacity to meet that pupil's needs. All such cases are reviewed on an individual basis.

Contact Details

For further information about provision for pupils with SEND, please contact Mrs Prior or Miss Robins via the school office.