Local Offer St Matthew’s preschool


How does the preschool know if my child may need extra help and what should I do if I am concerned?

We identify children with additional needs through observations, our professional knowledge and experience. Your child’s key person keeps a Learning Journal for your child that shows development and progress in all areas of learning, you can view this and talk to the practitioner at a convenient opportunity for you both. If you are concerned at all about any aspect of your child’s learning talk to your child’s key person, the INCO/SENCO (Nicola) or the preschool leader (Liz). We will offer advice and may recommend we contact other professional bodies such as SALT (Speech and Language Therapy) or refer you to other services.


How will early years setting staff support my child?

The key person will talk with you to explain how things are progressing at the preschool and will listen to your feedback from home. It is very important to us that your child’s own interests and needs are taken into account when we plan their EYPALM or Education Health & Care plan (EHC) or Next Steps in learning. Our SENCO/INCO Nicola works closely with your child’s key person on a daily basis discussing their current needs and arranges to meet other agencies to review development to which parents are invited.

One staff member has English as an additional language and can understand most eastern European languages such as Polish & Lithuanian.


“SEN provision from my experience is very effective. It doesn’t seek to make children ‘different’ but tailors the curriculum/learning experience to the children’s needs”

St Matthew’s Preschool Parent.


How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

We believe all children should be treated as individuals and as such we use our observations to target children’s learning and play. Some children may need to have an EHC to cover all their needs – these are drawn up by Nicola and the key person with parental involvement. We offer opportunities for 1:1 learning with Nicola or in a small group to accommodate different learning styles.

The staff are very experienced in identifying the needs of my child and listened to our concerns”

St Matthew’s Preschool parent. 


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

We are always available for parents to discuss their child’s learning – there is an open door to discussion and opportunities to look through their Journals. We place the week’s planning in the small hall for parents and carers to see so that you can be involved in the activities. Once a term there is an opportunity to view your child's Learning Journal and meet with the key person in a more formal way but you may ask to see the Journal and talk to the key person at any time. Advice from Nicola and your child’s key person will help you plan activities/behaviour strategies at home.

There is a Parent’s Notice Board in our entrance detailing other agencies contact details and free leaflets offering advice.


What support will there be for my child’s overall well being?

An example of our policies and procedures are available on line to view on our website www.stmatthewspreschool.co.uk  or a fuller paper copy is available upon request so that parents can see what the aims of the preschool are.

All our practitioners undertake Paediatric First Aid Training on a regular basis. Our First Aid Kits comply with the Health & Safety (First Aid) regulations. Children’s prescribed medicines are stored in their original containers, are clearly labelled and are inaccessible to the children. Parents must give written permission for the administration of medication. We record administration accurately and parents sign the record book to acknowledge that the medicine has been given.

Our Behaviour Management person is Nicola. We work in partnership with parents to address behavioural issues. Our preschool believes that children and adults flourish best in an ordered environment in which everyone knows what is expected of them and children are free to develop their play and learning without fear of being hurt or hindered. We use positive strategies for handling any conflict by helping children find solutions in ways which are appropriate for their age and stages of development.

We recognise the need to set reasonable and appropriate limits which all practitioners will maintain in the management of children’s behaviour.

“I feel my child is very safe. There is a large number of staff, good, open, safe setting and a good range of activities available to the children.”  

St Matthew’s Preschool Parent.


What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the early years setting?

Our INCO/SENCO Nicola has undertaken training regularly to keep her qualifications up to date and relevant, she is currently completing a Level 4 SENCO qualification. She passes on her knowledge and expertise to key people within the setting at our regular staff meetings and discusses the strategies we will use with particular children. She works very closely with other agencies that are involved with children at our setting including SALT. We work closely with Social Services where needed to support families.


What training does the staff, supporting children with SEND, had or are having?

All practitioners regularly access training to further knowledge and understanding; this training includes ‘Role of the INCO’, ‘Let’s get talking’, ‘CAF training’, ‘Including all children’, ‘Understanding statements, signalong and makaton’ and ‘Working with children and families’. We seek advice from other professionals about training needs for individual children.

“It is clear and evident that staff have regular training for all children and especially for those with extra needs”.

St Matthew’s Preschool parent.


How will my child be included in activities outside the early years setting including trips?

We carry out a risk assessment for trips and ask for parents consent at registration. If a child needs additional support we liaise with the parent and take whatever measures are needed - for example we may need to take pushchairs for those finding it difficult to walk. We may also ask the parent to come with us. We always ensure there are enough adults so that all the children are safe and can enjoy the experience.

Our trips out are only in the local area for example going to the shops, the park, looking at the railway station or going to the post box . We do not take children on trips that involve any additional cost or transportation such as cars or coaches.


How accessible is the early years setting environment? (Indoors and out).


St Matthew’s preschool is set in a church hall on one floor with wide doorways and no steps to negotiate, it accommodates wheelchair users.

 We have accessible toilets and potties for the under 5’s and a disabled toilet for adults. The outside area is flat; there is a covered play area with soft flooring and a large grassed area which offers lots of room to move.

All our equipment is risk assessed for the children’s needs and some items may be removed as presenting a risk for individual children.

We do our best to communicate with all parents & carers no matter what their language.

“The entrance is completely accessible. The preschool is inclusive and endeavours to see to all needs whether they are a disability, cultural, spiritual or emotional.”

St Matthew’s Preschool parent.



How will the early years setting prepare and support my child to join the setting and transfer to a new setting/school?

We encourage parents and carers to visit as often as possible before the child is due to start to get to know the practitioners and our routines. With parent agreement we can contact other professionals before a child starts so that we can gather advice and put into place any special requirements – this might include buying specialist equipment or removing some of our toys that might pose a risk.

Before children are due to apply for school places we produce an information paper giving details on how to apply and offering advice about preferences. Reminders to apply in time for a school place are included in our newsletter near the time. Key people talk to parents/carers when children are dropped off or collected to support any who need advice or a reminder to complete the application.

Children with additional needs are also offered the chance to visit the school of their preference with either the SENCO/INCO Nicola or their key person and parent to give support and encouragement. Teachers from local schools visit the setting once places are allocated to talk to practitioners and see the children. We visit two local schools that are within walking distance of St Matthew’s preschool with the children due to start in the following September.

Children with additional needs may need to have a Transition Meeting which involves the SENCO, key person, teachers and other agencies if required. This puts into place any special requirements/needs your child may have and acquaints their new teacher with them.

In the summer term we set up the role play area with school uniforms, different types of paper and writing implements; we display pictures of children wearing the uniforms of local schools and create a wall display of those children who are leaving for school. During this time we read stories about going to school that deal with fears and uncertainties and reinforce the positive aspect.



How are the early years setting’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?

We risk assess all our equipment to make sure it is safe for all children and if we decide that additional equipment is needed for a particular child we do our best to provided it. The setting may receive additional funding for items such as large cushions or appropriate toys and we may also be provided with specific equipment from outside agencies. When money is available we do purchase toys and equipment with special needs in mind.

Most of our funds for special needs are spent on providing one-to-one support with our SENCO Nicola. For children with complex specific needs we would review spaces that are available as we can only offer one-to-one support for one child at a time.



How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?

We would invite you and your child in for a visit to discuss what support you would like for your child, this discussion would include the SENCO and another practitioner. During this meeting we would hope to reach a decision on how best to meet the child’s needs. We would contact the other professionals to ask their advice and to enquire whether any additional support from other agencies would be needed.

The SENCO would use this discussion to produce reports for EYPALMs and  Education Health & Care plan (EHC) that would be shared with the parents and all practitioners within the setting; this is reviewed regularly to judge whether targets have been met and if needs have changed.


How are parents involved in the early years setting? How can I be involved?

We welcome parent and carer input, you can speak to us at any time or make an appointment for a discussion with the SENCO Nicola and your child’s key person. We use feedback forms for parents to make comments and suggestions (anonymously if you want).

 In the lobby we put up a notice detailing what activities will be available for the week, you can ask about the activities we do from any practitioner.

We welcome volunteers! If you wish to volunteer speak to the manager Liz and she will explain the procedure and expectations of the preschool.

Twice a year we do some fund raising through simple activities that all the children can take part in – we choose a charity for donating to for one occasion and the other is for raising money for St Matthew’s to buy specific equipment for the preschool.

“Constantly informing us of activities through letters and the amazing information at the preschool entrance”

St Matthew’s preschool parent


Who can I contact for further information?

“It is a very supportive and sensitive environment which benefits whole families”

St Matthew’s preschool parent

  • If you wish your child to attend St Matthew’s preschool you can contact us via our website www.stmatthewspreschool.co.uk where there is a quick link to our emails
  • Or come in for a chat
  • or telephone us on 01903 218071
  • Or write to St Matthew’s preschool, 101 Tarring Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN11 4HB.

Our named SENCO/INCO is Nicola Lambsden and you can contact her through the same channels.

If you visit the West Sussex website on www.westsussex.gov.uk you can find additional information about other professionals, the Family Information Service (FIS) and other agencies; or you can telephone the service on 01243 777807.

Abbreviations used:

SEN = Special educational needs

SEND = Special educational needs & disability

SENCO = special educational needs co-ordinator

INCO = Inclusion co-ordinator

SALT = Speech and Language therapy.

EHC = Education Health & Care plan

CAF = common assessment framework