Making a positive contribution

We acknowledge that parents are the first and foremost educators of their children and form close relationships with the whole family to ensure the children reach their full potential through consistent and loving care.  Children’s enjoyment and pleasure is at the heart of our ethos and we work hard to provide an environment where the children are praised for each and every achievement – no matter how small they may seem.  The excellent communication we have with parents ensures that parents have an active role in their child’s day at nursery.  We provide opportunity for parents to access and add to IConnect (an online learning journal system) which can be shared with the extended family.  This app documents the child’s learning and development.

Orchard Barns prides itself on its strong key person and buddy system, but confidently ensures all staff have great knowledge of all the children attending the setting.  All future planning caters for each child’s individual next steps and interests. All adults work closely with the children to plan appropriate next steps and track the children’s development providing opportunities for individual learning.  Children of all ages are encouraged to make decisions and take responsibility.  Staff have the experience and confidence to select the best approach ensuring each child develops at their own pace.

Throughout the Nursery children are encouraged to be polite and respectful both to peers and adults.  Staff are consistent in their approach to managing behaviour so the children have a clear idea of what is expected.

To support all children within a fully inclusive environment, Orchard Barns has a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator who works closely with key practitioners, adult support staff and outside agencies to ensure all children are afforded the optimum opportunities for development.

We actively welcome visits from members of the community and children are able to participate in French lessons, Dance lessons, Yoga, Artist workshops, Football coaching and Forest schools.

SEND Local Offer

An overview of the Kindergarten

“What kind of nursery is Orchard Barns?”

Orchard Barns Private Kindergarten is well-established and rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted.  The Kindergarten is in Ardleigh, a small village near the thriving town of Colchester which has fast rail links to London.  It is a purpose designed building providing children with superb play and learning opportunities.  We take children from the age of three months to five years, each age group has its own separate accommodation in well furnished rooms with appropriate resources.  We are registered for seventy children to attend daily and are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. We offer a variety of attendance patterns for children over 2 year-olds within these hours.

We are an inclusive nursery focusing on the individual child.  Each child has their own dedicated keyperson and buddy who are the first point of contact for parent/carers.  We provide effective support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) starting from our first contact with parents/carers and their child.  We make sure that additional needs are identified early and offer provision suited to the child’s specific individual needs.  Our SEND co-ordinators are experienced in working with a range of professionals and outside agencies and can support parents/carers form links with the most appropriate agencies if needed.  We are familiar with how to access additional funding for enhanced provision, working in partnership with outside professionals to support children with SEND, should this be appropriate.  All staff continually have the opportunity to access E-Learning training to ensure they keep up to date with any changes. We hold regular internal meetings and offer training opportunities to keep up to date with current information and processes.

We are confident that our provision can meet the specific needs of children with SEND and provides the highest quality care and education.

Accessibility of the Kindergarten

“How accessible is the Kindergarten for children with SEND?”

The building at Orchard Barns is divided into age appropriate rooms.  We are happy to make any reasonable adjustment to our environment that may be required.

There are different outdoor play areas including two large gardens, one at the front of the building and one at the back. These can be accessed via ramps.  Both outdoor areas have purpose built play equipment which is securely fixed.  We also have two large covered outdoor classrooms which can be accessed throughout the day whatever the weather.  These areas may need reasonable adjustments according to specific needs. We have a ramp leading into the main entrance of the nursery and wide corridors for wheelchair access. Risk assessments highlight any steps needed to make the outside areas safe for all children.    All activities can be adapted e.g. brought to table height should a child be in a wheelchair.  An accessible toilet is situated in the main building and is easily accessed from all rooms.

Identifying children’s additional needs

“How will the nursery know if my child needs additional help and how will the nursery share information with me?”

A child may join us with additional needs already identified or concerns may be raised by their keyperson or other staff through continuous observations and assessments which informs all planning in the nursery.  When a child starts in our setting, a baseline assessment is conducted followed by a one month profile which highlights progression in all seven areas of learning.  Parent/Carers would always be the first point of contact and any relevant history or concerns would be discussed with them. If there were concerns, the parent/carer would be invited to meet with their child’s keyperson and SEND to co-ordinate and participate in discussions about the support proposed which would take the form of a SEN support plan and a one page profile.

The process of devising the SEN support plan starts with the parent/carers.  They will be asked what long term dreams and aspirations they have for their child to achieve by the time they leave us for school.  Using these, the SEN Co-ordinator plans smaller achievable next steps based on the parent’s wishes.  This is conducted using the assess, plan, do, review process and are reviewed once the steps are achieved.  Parents/Carers are kept fully informed during the entire process and if there is anything they are unhappy with, it will be changed.   The child’s key person and, if receiving, enhanced adult support will implement activities around these next steps at nursery.  Advice on how to support a child at home is available.

SEND is addressed at our weekly senior meetings and information is cascaded to all necessary personal.

Range of support available to my child

“What different kinds of support are available to a child with SEND”?

  • Specified individual support (SEN Support Plan)
  • Appropriate resources would be sourced e.g. specialist equipment (walkers) etc.
  • Small group activities
  • Differentiation of activities
  • Support for behaviour
  • Support for health needs
  • Support for communication needs including visual timetables, Makaton symbols and picture exchange communication systems (PECS)
  • If funded, one adult to support the child, access the learning environment around them and engage with their peers. An application for funding for such an adult would be made but we cannot guarantee allocation.  If not allocated this would be the job of the child’s keyperson.
  • Measuring children’s progress


“How will the Kindergarten know how well my child is progressing and how will they inform us about this”?

The keyperson enhanced adult support would closely monitor the child’s progress through observations and continuous assessment.  The keyperson/enhanced adult support would consider the targets in the SEN support plan as agreed with parents/carers and see if the specific targets have been met.  The plan would be regularly reviewed and updated with parent/carers involved at all stages.


“How would the nursery ensure my child was included in all aspects of nursery life?”

Great care is taken to treat each child as a person in their own right with equal rights and responsibilities.  We ensure all early learning opportunities are inclusive of children with SEND and achieve this through differentiation and support.  We acknowledge and celebrate a wide range of religious beliefs and festivals.  Children whose first language is not English have full access to early learning opportunities and are supported in their learning. The nursery ENCO plans and reviews a variety of activities each week to support children with EAL.  The child’s family would be supported as a whole, for example relevant information would be translated if required.

Specialist and Outside Agencies

“What agencies might be involved with my child?”

All external partners we work with are vetted in terms of safeguarding.  Agencies involved could include Area SEND co-ordinator, Health Visitor, Speech and Language Therapist, Hearing Impaired Support, Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist, Specialist Teacher and other agencies offering relevant support.

Parent/carers would always be consulted before we asked outside agencies to become involved and would be kept fully informed about any visits by such agencies.

Support for Parent/Carers

“What support would we receive as parents/carers?”

Daily handovers with your child’s keyperson would provide opportunities to discuss any concerns or questions.

Regular reviews of the SEN support plan to which Parents/Carers would be invited to find out their views on how their child is progressing, their hopes for what their child can achieve in the future and including any recommendations from outside agencies.  Updates, next step evidence and support plan observations are shared on IConnect which parents can access at any time.

Starting Kindergarten

“How will the Kindergarten prepare my child to attend?”

Orchard Barns has a comprehensive induction process involving as many visits as parents/carers feel are necessary.  There would be opportunities to meet the child’s keyperson and exchange information about the child and the nursery including practical matters such as holiday entitlement, fee etc.

The key person would find out as much as they could about the child including other agencies involved if any, and matters such as diet, medication etc.

Parent/carers would be invited to leave their child for a trial visit when the child would spend time with their keyperson and enable them to meet the other children in their room.

For a child with SEND a meeting with the SEND coordinator will be necessary so needs can be identified before the child starts and any reasonable adjustments to the environment made.

Once a child is settled into nursery life it may become necessary to move rooms depending on their age.  This transition is handled very carefully with visits arranged to the child’s new room and opportunity to meet their keyperson.  All relevant information including SEN support plan and one page profile would be shared at a meeting between the new keyperson and the previous keyperson.  Parent/carers would also have an opportunity to meet the new keyperson.

Transitioning to School

“How will the Kindergarten prepare my child to start school?”

When the time comes for children to move onto Primary School, contact would be made by Orchard Barns to the Reception Teacher of the relevant school.  The school would be invited to visit the Kindergarten and meet the child.

An enhanced transition package of sharing strategies, latest One Planning visits by professionals etc. would be put in place with Parent/carers involved.

They keyperson supported by the nursery SEND coordinator would pay particular attention in preparing the child for transfer to Primary School to make the transition as smooth as possible. Visits to the school with the SENCo, Key Person and child will be arranged.

Dedicated contacts at the Kindergarten

“Who should I contact if I have any questions or concerns about my child?”

  • The Key Person
  • The Manager
  • The SEND Co-ordinator
  • Relevant names and contact details will be supplied on request
  • Support and training for staff


“Have any staff received specialist training in SEND?”

We identify training needs and support all staff in relevant training.  The SEND co-ordinators have completed SEND training and have undertaken additional training.

Our SENCo is fully up to date on the 2015 SEND code of practice.