Castle Hill Pre-School
We are an inclusive pre-school that welcomes children and families from all backgrounds and cultures. Staff are well qualifiied and have a wealth of experience in education and care. We work in partnership with parents and aim to be as flexible as possible to meet their needs.
Who to contact
- 01256 355719
Where to go
Fort Hill School
- RG23 8JQ
- Accessible changing, Secure environment, Disabled parking
- Contact provider for vacancy details?
- 3 & 4 year old funding
- 2 year old funding
- When is childcare available
Visit & Outings
Messy Play Area
- Ofsted Inspection Report
- Link to latest ofsted inspection report
- Inspection history
Latest Inspection Inspection Date Inspection type Inspection Outcome 23/02/2018 Inspection (Early Years Register) Good
- Has Provision
- Experience with
Social development impairment
- Caters for children with special needs.
- Age Ranges
- 0 to 5 years
Time / Date Details
- Session Information
4 Hours or More Per Day
5 Days or More Per Week
School Term Only
- Makaton, Sign supported English
- How will early years setting/school/college staff support my child/young person?
At Castle Hill Pre-School, we have training and significant experience in working with children with special needs or disabilities; including autism, speech and language difficulties, social communications difficulties, hearing or sight impaired children, selective mutism and experience with dwarfism. We use Makaton signing with all the children, to assist communication. Our key carers care for, teach, and observe their key children daily; evaluating their learning, and planning for their next developmental steps and individual needs. They will discuss your child’s progress with you formally at parents evening, but we aim to chat informally with parents on a more regular basis. Any individual or additional needs are brought to the SENCo’s attention. Our SENCo supports staff with key children who have special educational needs or disabilities. She liaises with the Services for Young Children Area Inclusion Coordinator and other professionals; attends the professionals’ SEN support groups and makes referrals for specialised help for children, where necessary. In collaboration with the manager and the key carer, the SENCo will gather essential information to put suitable programmes in place for your child, either within the pre-school, with the advice and help of other professionals, or for referrals to outside agencies. Constantly reviewing the progress that your child makes, shows us when programmes are effective and when and how to adapt them to further their development.
- How will the curriculum be matched to my child's/young person's needs?
The educational programme that we use to guide and evaluate your child’s development is the Early Years’ Foundation Stage curriculum. This curriculum is adaptable for children of various ages and developmental stages, and can be personalized for individual children. In our overall planning, we ensure that all activities and experiences are accessible to every child at their different levels of ability. All staff, including key carers and the SENCo, give feedback from their observations of individual children. This is discussed with the whole staff team and informs our planning for the next planning period. Key carers maintain online learning journals for each of their key children which parents can access freely for their child. Through the use of photographs and written observations, the key carer will track your child’s achievements, evaluate these, and in conjunction with you, plan your child’s next steps. Every child with special educational needs and disabilities has an individual education plan (IEP). The observation, assessment and planning cycle mentioned above, is also used to inform your child’s IEP.
- How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child's/young person's learning?
We pride ourselves on our partnership with parents and families. We consider forming close working relationships essential for every child’s development. Parents are a child’s first educator and can provide us with considerable knowledge of their child. We make the effort to chat to parents informally on a daily basis at drop off and collection times. Parents are always welcome to book an appointment to see a particular staff member if more time is needed, or if they are not the ones that ‘do the pre-school run’. We keep in touch with parents through the use of phone calls, texts and emails, newsletters and through http://www.castlehillpreschool.co.uk - our website. Key carers are in regular contact with parents through Tapestry (the online Learning Journal) to discuss their children's progress and next steps. If additional meetings are required to plan or share relevant information, or to meet the child’s needs in any other way, these can be requested by either party at any time. A parents’ evening is held halfway through the spring term, and written reports are issued towards the end of the summer term. We provide information sessions for parents, to share ideas on how they can help their child at home, and we hold frequent informal, fun events, where parents are invited in to come and play and learn together (currently suspended due to the pandemic).
- What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall well being?
Castle Hill Pre-School has policies and procedures in place to ensure the wellbeing of your child in all areas. Various safety and security policies address all aspects of our procedures from health and hygiene to a safe environment and secure day to day practice. Our recruitment and staffing policies ensure that the staff are safe and suitable to be working with your children, and all staff and their daily practice is supervised closely by our experienced management team. Our behaviour management policy explains how all parties work together to encourage positive behaviour with all the children, and how we support individual children to overcome behavioural difficulties through various techniques like firm boundaries, distraction, humour, positive reinforcement, reward systems, etc. We also strongly believe in the importance of encouraging self-esteem, self-confidence, and age-appropriate independence in the children, and an important part of this is making sure that the children’s voice is heard and taken account of. Your child’s emotional development is another aspect of care that we consider essential in preparing them for future challenges. We help every child to recognize and express their emotions in an appropriate manner, and to acknowledge the feelings of those around them too. For further information on our numerous policies and procedures, please go to [http://www.castlehillpreschool.co.uk our website].
- What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting/school/college?
Each staff member is fully qualified to a minimum of level 3 or above in child care, with the manager qualified to level 5. They are all first aid trained, and have attended safeguarding training (with ongoing informal training at the weekly staff meetings), health and safety training and training in food hygiene. The staff also undertook basic Makaton training and this is brought into many aspects of our daily routines like snack, communicating with one another, group times, etc. Signs and symbols are displayed around the setting to support the children’s communication skills, and we use a visual timetable to support the children's development and understanding of our routines. The pre-school’s SENCo has received induction training in special educational needs and attends termly SENCo network meetings which contain important changes, legalisation or new ideas and resources to support children with SEND. The manager, who was a teacher in Key Stage One for 20 years prior to moving to early years, has received training in various areas like Autism, Dyslexia, Speech and Language difficulties, hearing and sight impairment, behaviour management and so on. Many of the other staff have received training in specific areas of need too. Some of the specialist services that we access are the Children’s Centres, speech and language therapists, Portage service, health visitors, social workers, and specialist teacher advisors. However, we will access any services that are available to support your child’s needs fully.
- What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had? Are any being trained currently?
Please see previous response.
- How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?
Trips and outings are currently suspended due to the pandemic, although we still access the secure school field.
Trips and outings are arranged in conjunction with our planning, and as mentioned previously, we plan so that every child can access the activities and experiences at their own level. This means that all outings are carefully thought out and their suitability considered before they go ahead. If your child needs special provision to be able to access the outing, this would be discussed with you in advance and an action plan drawn up to ensure the correct level of support is in place for your child. This could be additional equipment that is needed, for example, a pushchair, or additional adult support may be required; in which case, we would often ask parents to accompany us on the outing. Parents are usually invited to join us on outings, to increase our adult to child ratio whilst out.
- How accessible is the setting/school/college environment?
The building is wheelchair accessible with a ramp to the main door, and the indoor and outdoor environments each on one level. There is a disabled toilet available, and one of the children’s toilets has a step and a frame to provide accessibility. We have extensive experience in working with families where English is not their first language. In addition to the languages that we can access amongst our culturally diverse staff, we try to learn some essential words in the new language and include these in our communication and in the environment to help both the child and family feel welcome, and to show them how important we consider their first language. Where necessary, we try to help the family find an interpreter to aid communication. As a charity, not-for-profit pre-school, funds are not readily available to purchase very specialized equipment, but we will always do our best to access the necessary equipment through other means (borrowing, secondhand, charities, funding, etc.).
- 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?
New children and parents attend ‘taster’ sessions before starting. This helps children become familiar with the new environment and people. It creates an opportunity for you to start building a positive relationship with the key carer, giving your child confidence when they start attending on their own. Parents receive our ‘Welcome booklet’ and written information about the transition into pre-school. We hold an Information Evening to discuss how parents can support their child’s learning at home. Parents of children who start later in the year are given comprehensive notes from this evening. We have good relationships with local infant schools and visit them throughout the year. The infant teachers also visit the children at pre-school, providing an opportunity to see your child in a familiar environment where they are confident. We also play ‘schools’ in the role play area; dressing up in school uniforms, taking turns being teacher and pupils, and doing ‘school work’. We remind parents about the various infant school meetings and we arrange transition meetings with schools for children who have been identified with special needs. This enables us and parents to meet with teachers, school SENCos, and outside professionals; to share pertinent information to help the child’s smooth transition into school.
- How are the setting's/school's/college's resources allocated and matched to children's/young people's special educational needs?
Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) funding is allocated where it will benefit your child the most. This could be additional staffing to support your child through certain times or situations during the day; it could buy resources that would develop your child’s learning or support accessibility; it could be changes to the environment to accommodate your child’s individual needs. Through discussions with the parents, the key carer, the SENCo and any other professionals that are supporting your child, the management team, working together with the parents, will decide the best use of the special needs funding.
- How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?
Once your child’s needs have been identified, and discussions held (as for previous response) with parents, key carer, SENCo, management team and any other professionals who are involved, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be drawn up for your child, focusing on what he or she can do, what level and type of support they will need, and what the next steps for your child will be. This plan is put into action at pre-school and at home, with specific dates being set to review it. When the plan is reviewed, all parties look at the progress your child has made, to what extent your child has achieved the goals that were set, and whether these next steps should be continued, adapted, extended or new ones set. This process of ‘plan, do, review’ continues throughout your child’s time with us.
- How are parents involved in the setting/school/college? How can I be involved?
Parents are encouraged to become involved in the pre-school in whatever capacity they feel comfortable with, and there are numerous options open to parents. Our committee, which is responsible for the pre-school, is made up of parents and ex-parents. They meet approximately once every term to make important decisions about matters like finance, policy, etc. As a charity, not-for-profit pre-school, their fundraising efforts are also much appreciated.
Although this is temporarily suspended due to the pandemic, parents are usually invited in for special days and events like our Christmas craft days, Easter Bonnet parade, our road safety events and so forth and they also help out when we go on outings, or when we need extra hands for specific activities. Some parents work at the pre-school on a voluntary basis for a few hours a week, providing a most welcome extra pair of hands. Parents who help out on a voluntary basis, are checked through the Disclosure and Barring Service, to ensure they are safe to be working with children. We encourage families to come in and share their culture too. This could be telling stories, showing photographs, sharing songs, dance, music or language, or cooking a sample of food for us all to taste. We have recently had some lovely meals, including a Diwali celebration, Chinese New Year, and a Christmas Dinner. These were initiated by parents, and those parents and / or staff supplied and prepared a sample of their culture’s food, for all the children and other parents to taste.