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Special Educational Needs and Disability Local offer

In Hampshire, all Early Years settings that are able to offer provision for children with Special educational needs or a disability, must state what services and support they can offer the children they care for.

To see Merton Pre-School local offer please click this link: 


Local Offer in brief


Question 1:

Key people get to know your child when they first start Pre-school.  All children are offered a home visit, and this starts to help build the relationship between child and key person.  

The parents can come in the setting at anytime to discuss things with their key person, SENco (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) or the Pre-school Leader.  (Due to health and safety, we do ask parents to wait until all the children are safely inside Pre-school before letting parents in).  

After attending Pre-school for 4 weeks, parents are offered a meeting with the key person to discuss how they have settled in and if there is anything that we have noticed e.g. how well they are able to do things or anything that may need more support.  This meeting gives an opportunity for parents and key people to discuss if they have any concerns regarding special educational needs or any un-met needs the child may have.  

After this every 12 weeks, parents are offered a meeting with their key person.  Children are assessed where their skills are in relations to the Early Years Foundation Stage development matters and the key person will discuss with the parent where their next steps are.

Question 2:

The setting will support your child by ensuring their individual learning needs are tailored for.

The SENco will refer your child to the local inclusion co-ordinator who will provide them with support and strategies. They can also sign post to other agencies such as; outreach workers. In cases where additional resources or staff are needed to meet the needs of your child the setting can either apply for a SEN funding specifically for your child, or we can raise the case to our committee to ensure we have the best opportunity of gaining resources for individual children. The money will be spent on toys that meet your child’s age, stage, ability and interests.

All members of staff are Makaton trained and this is used throughout the day to provide a language rich environment for all the children. Language groups are provided each session (morning and afternoon) the SENco takes a small group of three or four children into the cabin (which is a safe, quiet space away from the noise of the main playroom) where fun language based games and songs take place to enhance all children’s language and communication skills.

Your child’s key person will be carrying out Individual Educational Plans or strategies suggested from outside agencies within their sessions. 

At the end of each Pre-school session, key groups have a reflective time, where children and key people talk about what they have been doing/playing at Pre-school and may do some games or songs.  This gives the children time to listen and talk in a supportive small group. 


The curriculum is very personalised and tailored to your child’s needs.

Before your child starts you will have a home visit from one of the settings leadership team and your child’s key person. This will give you the opportunity to fill out an ‘All about me’ booklet so we can learn all about your child.

At the 4 week meeting between you and your key person this will help Pre-school to have an initial starting point, which is how we assess the amount of learning and development that takes place every 12 weeks. They will have a learning journal which is a personal on-line learning journal which logs their journey. Your child’s key person can use their observations to support and recognise what areas of learning your child is strong in and enjoys, and where support is required.

We use Individual education plans (IEP) to support children that we have an initial concern with or who need additional support in any particular area. We understand that every child is an individual and what works for one will not work for them all. If your child struggles with any part of the routine, they are not expected to have to participate. For example; if your child struggles with small group time they do not have to join in. Staff members will work with introducing parts of the routine slowly and in a way your child understands.


Parent partnership is paramount at Merton Pre-school. We understand that parents are their child’s first educators.

To ensure a smooth communication between the setting and home, we use ‘communication books’ which are sent home and brought back with messages between parents and staff. This allows staff to share what activities your child has enjoyed during their session and so staff can see what they have been doing at home or with a child-minder/other setting. Staff can then plan activities around their interests.

If your child has an IEP they are reviewed by their key person every 6-8 weeks. This is to ensure their targets are changed to suit their interests and also to set new targets when their old ones are met. Parents are part of setting targets to ensure consistency and partnership. Parents and key people get together every 12 weeks for a progress check and an opportunity to see where your child is according to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Development matters.

We also host regular coffee mornings/stay and play sessions where parents can come in and speak to the manager, key person or SENco. Parent events also happen during a session time, where you can come in and see what a normal day looks like, joining in with activities and reading stories with groups of children.


Merton Pre-school have a range of policies and procedures to ensure that the safety of your child is our main concern.

If children are given medication or have medical needs, before your child starts Pre-school you and the Pre-school Leader will do a risk assessment to ensure that your child is supported to join in all activities where appropriate.  Once your child starts, your key person will undertake a health care plan and ensure that medication or support is adhered to daily.  At the end of a session/day you will be asked to initial that you confirm that your child was given the medication/support so that you are aware. 

In the setting we participate in a scheme called PATHS (Promoting alternative thinking strategies). PATHS is carried out in for children who need some support with their social or emotional needs once a week. This scheme promotes a positives outlook and covers the way the children look at themselves and others.

We have feelings books, fans and puppets in our quiet corner, the children can access these and show an adult how they are feeling if they do not wish to/ or unable to communicate. The children also have an input in their personal learning journals and are encouraged to help their key person. 

Children are consulted and encouraged to make choices and decisions on a regular basis e.g. what would you like for snack today? or what would you like us to buy for snack next week?  Also, children are encouraged to help with preparing snack or cooking.  The Pre-school encourage all children to make choices and will seek to find strategies that will work for the child if they need support helping them to do this, for example using visuals such as pictures of the food available to buy. 


Q6: 6. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting / school / college?

In the setting we have a trained SENco and SENco assistant.  

 We also have staff trained in the 5 to thrive approach which supports children’s behaviour by understanding that all behaviour is a type of communication and how everything a child experiences is linked to their brain and body development.

The setting work really hard to try prevent negative behaviour before it occurs and deal with most situations with conflict resolution.

 The role of the SENco is to oversee the children with SEN and to ensure appropriate tools are in place for them. Her job is to ensure an inclusive setting for all of the children that attend.

We also have a communication lead practitioner who has attended the ‘keep on talking’ project to help promote good communication and language skills. If there is a concern about your child’s speech the SENco can refer to a speech and language therapist.

All staff are Makaton trained and are able to use this to enhance communication throughout the sessions. 

Q7: What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had? Are any being trained currently?

The SENco and SENco assistant has attended ‘special educational needs’ induction training, this was held it explained in depth the role of the SENco, how to write IEP’s and how to communicate effectively with parents. Our SENco  has also attended ‘let’s share the care’ which was a course with working with parents to ensure the best outcome for their child.

A member of staff have been on the ‘keep on talking’ project. In the setting we use Makaton to communicate with all our children; 1 member of staff has the advanced Makaton training, another with the foundation training and the remainder of staff have had the Makaton taster session. All of the staff at the setting have attended ‘communication friendly spaces’ which looks at making spaces in all areas of the setting where children can sit and observe their surroundings. 

Q8: How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?

We go on regular trips around the local community.  All trips are risk assessed and available on the Pre-school’s website.  If your child needs extra support or aids when going on trips parents and the Pre-school Leader will write up a personalised risk assessment.

The Pre-school go on a theatre trip once per year and again this is risk assessed.  Again if your child needs support to attend please talk with the Pre-school leader who will make sure that all children are supported in order to be able to attend.

If your child needs support on a trip we can provide 1:1 with an adult, walking straps or pushchairs.

Q9: How accessible is the setting / school / college environment?

All staff use Makaton, and we have a display poster each month of signs that parents can use in the home environment.

 We have a large visual time table for all of the children to use and refer to during the day. However, if your child likes routine and likes to know what is coming up next in the day, an individual time table can be made for their reference.

All our equipment and toys in the setting are labelled with pictures and words which makes it easier for the children to make their own choices in play and enables them to self-select. Key people make choosing boards for some children that find it hard to access all of the curriculum. This allows them to make their own choices in regards to what activities they would like to do.

The garden is on a flat surface and children are able to freely access this during free flow.

We are able to accommodate where needed extra ramps/railings if your child would require support in order to access the curriculum and outdoors.

Q10: How will the setting/school/college prepare and support my child/young person to join the setting/school/college or the next stage of education and life?

The setting is attached to a school and has good links with catchment schools in the area. Parents are invited to attend meetings at their chosen school where they get a chance to meet the teachers. In the last term before your child goes to school, your key person will have a meeting with your child’s new teacher to share their learning journal, strengths and areas for development.

If your child needs more support going in to school transition meetings or Transition Partnership Agreement meetings will be held. This involves an agreement between the current setting, the receiving school and parents. It is then written up and adhered to going in to school. If a strategy has worked well for a child we will share this at the meeting and try our best to send up resources that have worked with it. We will share any recent IEP’s and trackers with the school so they can carry on with methods that have been working.

Q11: How are the setting's/school's/college's resources allocated and matched to children's/young people's special educational needs?

We have a selection of different age and stage toys and equipment available for the different children that we have in the setting. We take the children’s interests into account when selecting toys and equipment, we also let them for vote for particular items that they would like.

We have access to a resource library where we can borrow items that benefit individual children.

Q12: How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?

We use IEP’s in the setting as an effective tool to support our children. The IEP’s are wrote with parent involvement and a discussion will take place to ensure the targets are small achievable steps. IEP’s are reviewed every 6 weeks by key people who will evaluate whether they are working or being achieved. They can then be changed or adapted. IEP trackers are completed fortnightly for us to track the achievements of the children and see the changes as they happen. A copy of these are sent home for the parents. The SENco will review all of the children’s IEPs and trackers to monitor improvements and reflect on the support that is being given.

Q13: How are parents involved in the setting/school/college? How can I be involved?

Parents are welcome to volunteer in the setting and see how our routine pans out and work with the staff.

You can be involved by joining our committee and having your say about the Pre-School with termly meetings.

Parents are welcome to volunteer on our trips and provide support for the children going. We also hold parent coffee afternoons where all staff are available to talk to you whilst your child plays.

Merton Pre-School also have their own Facebook page which only parents of children who attend can be part of. We place copies of our letters on there for parents to view electronically. Parents also can write on the ‘wall’ to inform staff of absences or any activities that have been enjoyed at home.

Another fantastic way of sharing the progress that your child is making is using Tapestry (Online learning journey).  Parents and Key people can add their photos and observations of what their children are accomplishing.  

 Support for Parents


Leaflet for communication support_Please click here