Our SEND Offer

The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENDCo) is Kirsten Matthews who can be contacted via email at [email protected]

The Deputy SENDco is Nicola carney who can also be contacted via the email address above.

Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School SEND Offer
Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School is an inclusive mainstream nursery with a specialist SEND provision for children with complex needs between the ages of two and four years who are known to the NHS Child Development Centre; this is called Rainbow Room. Request for places in Rainbow Room are made to the Local Authority Early Years Inclusion Panel via an application form.  Referrals can be made by education and health professionals who know the child well and who feel that their needs cannot be effectively met in a mainstream provision.  Places are allocated based on level of need.  For further information, please see request form and Sandy Lane Pathway.

  1. 1.   How does your education setting know if children need extra help?

If you child is offered a place in Rainbow Room, they will have been identified as having additional needs and will be under assessment/awaiting assessment at the CDC.  The SENDCo will already have information and reports about your child prior to them attending.  Following the allocation of a place, you will be invited to visit the school with your child to have a look round and speak to staff.  We then offer a home visit during which we can gather as much information about your child and their individual circumstances and needs as is needed.  They will then have two transition visits before beginning to attend for full sessions.  If appropriate, the transiiton plan can be altered to meet the needs of your child.

If your child attends the mainstream classroom, staff will spend the first few weeks getting to know your child. If your child appears to be struggling with some things that his/her peers are not then a more in-depth assessment will take place followed up with a discussion with yourselves to share opinions and/or concerns about development. With your permission, the school’s SENDCo will complete an observation of your child. On completion, a meeting will be arranged between the SENDCo, yourself and your child’s key worker. Relevant support will be co-ordinated to address the needs of your child.

  1. 2.   What do I do if I think my child has special educational needs?

Please come and discuss with your child’s key worker any concerns you may have about your child’s development. If your child has had a two-year check from health or from a pre-school setting this may be a good starting point to identify any possible SEND issues. An in-depth assessment and closer monitoring of your child will be carried out and you will be given feedback. Staff may also sign-post you to other services outside the school which may offer further support. If you are not happy that the concerns are being managed and that your child is still not making progress you should speak to the SENDCo or Headteacher. If you are still not happy then you should speak to the SEND Governor.

  1. 3.   How will the education setting staff support my child?

We have a team of highly experienced SEND staff with accessibility to  a team of other experts for additional advice. Your child’s key worker will work alongside the school’s SENDCo to ensure we are able to plan for and co-ordinate relevant support including Personal Plans (PPs), additional resources and adaptions to the environment if appropriate. Regular review meetings with yourself will take pace to share your child’s achievements and to plan for his/her next steps. We will also ensure you are involved in supporting your child’s learning too. It is very much a partnership approach. If appropriate, we will liaise with other people who may come into school to help your child’s learning, eg, speech therapist, physio and occupational therapists, visual and hearing impairment team and the educational psychologist. Before all referrals are made, you will be asked to a meeting to discuss your child’s progress and help to plan possible ways forward. If needed, we will give additional training to staff so that they are aware and confident about how to meet the needs of your child.

  1. 4.   How will the curriculum at your education setting be matched to my child’s needs?

All teaching is based on building on what your child already knows, can do and can understand. Your child will be continually assessed to ascertain starting points and next steps for learning. Your child’s key worker will put into place different ways of teaching so that your child is fully involved in learning. This may involve using more practical learning and specific strategies which may be suggested by the SENDCo. For example, your child may access communication through Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) or MAKATON (signing) or have speech therapy in the form of Narrative Therapy or a sensory type curriculum might be more appropriate. Your child’s key worker will also differentiate activities according to your child’s specific needs, ensuring activities are adjusted to enable your child to access their learning as independently as possible. Your child’s progress is continually monitored and reviewed formally every term, along with your child’s PLP if s/he has one. You will be kept informed and will be involved in any reviews and planning for your child’s next steps.

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

During the time your child attends with us at Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School (Rainbow Room), staff will ensure that you are kept fully informed in relation to the progress they are making.  All pupils are assessed through the use of an assessment document linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum.  These assessments are updated and progress is shared with parents on a termly basis.

We follow a graduated approach as outlined in the SEN and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years (June, 2014).  This approach consists of four stages of action: assess, plan, do and review.

Your child will have a PP that relates to your child’s specific needs and will state the following:

  • expected outcomes;
  • appropriate interventions and support;
  • expected impact on progress;
  • review date.

This will be written and reviewed in partnership with parents and, where appropriate, will take into account the views of the child (or parents on behalf of the child).

If appropriate, a therapy programme (written by a professional, eg,occupational therapist, speech and language therapist, teacher for visual impairment/hearing impairment, educational psychologist) will be part of the intervention package for your child.

Our expectation is that parents/carers work in partnership with nursery to ensure that strategies are reinforced at home with the aim of developing sustained progress for your child.

In addition to regular liaison with nursery staff, parents/carers are invited by the nursery SENDCo to attend a meeting in the Autumn term.  This meeting is an opportunity to learn more about the role of the educational psychologist and the part they play in assessing your child's educational needs, to gain information in relation to an application being made for an education, health and care needs assessment which will lead to an EHCP being written and also to learn more about appropriate school provision available in Warrington.

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

Your child’s progress will be monitored through ongoing assessment.  We use an assessment document linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, which enables us to profile each pupil’s skills and strengths and identify areas in which they require a greater level of support.  This also enables us to record, and to celebrate, very small steps of progress and quantify the amount of progress that is made from term to term.

Each child with an identified special educational need or disability will have a Personal Plan which typically contains three targets specific to the child’s individual needs.  This plan is shared with parents and reviewed in partnership with them termly.  This enables us to plan appropriate next steps for learning and support.  The targets on your child’s Personal Plan can also be supported by yourself at home.

During your child’s time at nursery, staff will complete observations of their play and engagement, monitor their well-being and involvement and consider the level at which they are functioning.  This will further support the staff’s understanding of your child’s levels of understanding and ability and ensure that their individual needs are well supported.

Your child will also have an ePortfolio on Tapestry which nursery staff update on a regular basis.  This will contain photographs of your child engaged in play and learning experiences with practitioner comments and plans for ‘next steps’ in relation to supporting your child’s needs.  Staff may also add pieces of ‘work’ that your child has created.  Tapestry can also be used by parents to share photos, videos and information with staff in nursery.

Staff are available at the beginning and end of each nursery session to discuss any concerns you may have and to update you in relation to your child’s day to day engagement and development.  If you require a more in-depth chat, this can be arranged with your child’s teacher or the nursery SENDCo.

  1. 7.   What support will there be for my child’s overall emotional health and well-being?

At Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School (Rainbow Room), all nursery staff are experienced in working with and supporting children with a variety of additional and complex needs.  We may feel it would be beneficial for your child to be based or have more time in our ‘Specialist SEND Provision’ where we offer a higher level of staffing support. Our Specialist SEND Provision is based within four smaller, quieter rooms which have been purpose built, furnished and resourced to meet the physical, learning and emotional needs of our children.

The nursery session is structured to ensure the following:

  • safe and comfortable spaces;
  • opportunities for learning in a multi-sensory environment;
  • small group times with the aim of developing social skills, attention and listening  and communication skills;
  • specific and individualised behaviour strategies are implemented where necessary and in partnership with parents.

The majority of nursery staff at Sandy Lane are first-aid trained and are very experienced in this role.  We are used to having children attend with us who have a variety of complex medical needs and medication requirements.  We are happy to liaise with health colleagues to request training in relation to specific conditions and the administration of medication.Staff at Sandy Lane value the interests, thoughts and feelings of all children.  We endeavour to ensure that all children are given the opportunity to express their own views and opinions in a supported manner. Through our everyday observations we are able to monitor the well-being of your child.

  1. 8.   What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the education setting?

We are fortunate to have highly trained and experienced staff based within Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School.  Our staff team consists of:

  • an experienced Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCo);
  • a team of qualified teaching staff;
  • and a large team of qualified and experienced teaching assistants.

We work in close partnership with health services based at the NHS Child Development Centre (CDC), eg, the speech and language therapy service, physiotherapy, occupational health, in addition to colleagues based within the sensory support service, social care, the educational psychology team and children’s centre services.

Referrals to Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School Specialist Provision and Outreach Service are made by CDC health professionals, eg, paediatrician, speech and language therapist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist.

The SENDCo and Deputy SENDCo co-ordinate the daily management of the SEND specialist services at Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School and provide the following:

  • support to parents in making decisions regarding appropriate nursery/school placements;
  • overseeing transitions into the early years/school setting;
  • liaison with other education and health professionals;
  • assessment of individual child’s needs:
    • guidance and support for staff within the child’s early years setting;
    • experiences for children which adhere to the SEND Code of Practice;
    • support and involvement in devising and reviewing personalised plans;
    • support staff in other early years settings to ensure that quality inclusive learning experiences take place;
    • monitoring to ensure that the needs of the individual child are being met by nursery staff;
    • signposting parents and practitioners to appropriate agencies and services, including children’s centre.
  1. 9.   What training do the staff supporting children with SEND have or are having?

Staff within the nursery are trained in the following areas:

Speech and language

  • Makaton
  • PECS
  • Using visual prompts, including signs and symbols
  • On-body signing
  • ‘Every Child a Talker’


  • Use of specialist equipment, eg, specialist seating, standing frames and walking frames
  • Use of hoist
  • Manual handling

Diagnosed conditions

  • Autism
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Visual impairment
  • Hearing impairment
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • We are always keen to undertake training specific to children’s individual needs


  • Massage
  • Aromatherapy
  • Using a sensory room
  • Sensory integration


  • Administration of specific medication, including oxygen
  • Paediatric first aid
  • Bespoke training relating to specific diagnosed conditions


  • Behaviour plans


  • Safeguarding disabled children

10. How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom, including school trips and provision for access to after-school clubs?
As part of our weekly nursery routine, children access a variety of out of classroom activities including the following:

  • community walks;
  • visits to the local café/shops;
  • children’s centre library;
  • visits to the park;
  • Forest School.

During these activities, a high adult to child ratio is in place, risk assessments are used and health and safety policies are adhered to.  We endeavour to include all our children in these activities wherever possible, taking into account their individual developmental and physical needs.  We have a range of transportation options suitable to the needs of the children in our care.

In addition to these experiences, all children take part in educational visits which enhance learning.  We ensure that transport is appropriate to the physical needs of all children and accessible for specialist equipment.  Risk assessments are completed in advance, taking into consideration the needs of all children.  This takes place in consultation with parents who are also always invited to accompany their child during the visit.

11. How accessible is the education setting environment?
Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School is a modern, single storey building and was purpose built to accommodate children who may have specialist seating and equipment.  Within nursery, there are wide doorways, level flooring and a number of ramps to ensure easy access for all.  Within our alternative provision, we have disabled toilet facilities and a large rise and fall changing bed.

The classrooms are designed to offer calm, relaxing spaces with specific areas for multi-sensory experiences to take place and we have a large hi-tech multi-sensory room on site. There are low level windows to enable the children to see the outdoor space and furniture appropriate to the children’s size and needs.  We are able to make physical and sensory adaptations as and when required.

We are fortunate to have a large, landscaped garden area which offers a variety of inclusive play experiences, eg, beach area, dry river bed, mud kitchen, multi-sensory pathway, water pump and troughs, storytelling area, village on stilts, willow walkway, wild exploratory area, large basket swing, slide and sheltered areas for all weather play.  We have an on-site forest which all children access at some point during the school year.

For the children in our specialist provision, we have a smaller outdoor play area available should they not choose to access the larger space.

To ensure we meet the needs of children with EAL (English as an Additional Language) or language delay, we utilise a variety of visual cues and prompts and display these in the nursery environment.

12. How will the education setting prepare and support my child to join the education setting, transfer to a new education setting or the next stage of education and life?
If appropriate, your child will receive a home visit and, as part of your initial meeting with your child’s key worker, we will endeavour to find out as much as possible about your child to ensure a smooth transition into nursery. This is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about our setting and your child’s future experiences.

Your child will be offered an initial visit to nursery (usually one hour).  During this visit, parents are invited to stay with their child as they become familiar with the nursery setting and staff members.  We appreciate that starting nursery may be difficult for some children and, in response to this, we are flexible in relation to the number/length of transition visits each child has.  Parents are welcome to stay within the building until it is agreed that the child is settled and happy.

When the time comes for your child to move to reception class, the staff at the receiving school will be invited to spend time with your child at Sandy Lane, observe them in a familiar learning environment and share information with key staff members.  Following this, a transition meeting will be arranged involving parents/carers, current teaching staff, new teaching staff and any named health professionals currently supporting your child.  It is usual that the receiving school invite you and your child to spend time in the new school prior to the summer holiday.

Any information collated at Sandy Lane will be forwarded to the new setting and staff are welcome to contact us for support and guidance in September should this be needed.

13. How are the education setting’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
The school budget, received from Warrington LA, includes money for supporting children with SEND.

The headteacher decides on the budget for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in consultation with the school governors, on the basis of the needs of the children currently in the school.

The headteacher and the SENDCo discuss all the information they have about SEND in the school, including:

  • The children getting extra support already
  • The children needing extra support
  • The children who have been identified as not making as much progress as would be expected

They will decide what resources, training and support is needed. All resources, training and support are regularly reviewed and changes made as needed.

14. How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
Within Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School, support for individual children is allocated in response to individual needs.  Your child’s keyworker and SENDCo will assess how best to support your child and liaise with you to discuss their observations of your child and talk about their recommendations.

Through regular observations, assessments and evaluations of your child’s PP, we will be able to realise the impact of any additional support, interventions, etc, on your child’s progress. These will be discussed with you and will determine future programmes of support to ensure progress for your child.

15. How are parents involved in the school/setting? How can I be involved?
We are committed to working in partnership with parents.  We believe that parents have the most knowledge and understanding of their child and we ensure that each parent’s voice is heard and responded to.  The effective relationship we establish between parents and nursery staff enables each child to achieve their individual potential.

Parents/carers are consulted throughout the year in an ongoing manner, both informally and formally.  Staff are happy to speak with parents before or after each nursery session.  For parents who are working, we are able to communicate via the telephone or email.  We also hold many parent events, including a parents’ evening, celebratory evening and information-sharing events, as stated above.

We have a parent group for the parents of children with SEND which is well attended and is a huge source of support for many of our families.

16. Who can I contact for further information?
If you have any queries or questions about your child, we have a large and approachable team of staff who will be happy to speak with you and offer support if required.  These are as follows:

  • Named key person/team (first point of contact)
  • Nursery teacher
  • Nursery Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCo)
  • Teaching assistant based within nursery
  • Headteacher
  • Governor for SEND

Impartial advice and guidance can be obtained from the Parent Partnership Service.  Contact details are available from nursery and/or the Local Authority Offer.

Link to Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School SEND Local Offer


The Local Offer
Local authorities have a duty to publish a Local Offer, setting out in one place information about provision they expect to be available in their area across education, health and social care for children and young people in their area who have SEN or are disabled, including those who do not have EHC plans.
The Local Offer has two key purposes:
• To provide clear, comprehensive, accessible and up-to-date information about the available provision and how to access it; and
• To make provision more responsive to local needs and aspirations by directly involving disabled children and those with SEN and their parents, and disabled young people and those with SEN, and service providers in its development and review.

Other useful links:

Visit https://askollie.warrington.gov.uk/localoffer/

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Diary Dates

Ofsted Outstanding Provider
Warrington Inclusion Hub: Committed to Inclusion: 2018-19
Leading Parent Partnership Award: 2023-26
Leading Parent Partnership Award: 2023-26