Local Offer, SEND & SENCo

Choochoos Local Offer – Whitstable Choochoos Whitstable Railway Station, Railway Avenue, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1QS.

Choochoos approach to meeting the needs of all children and those with special educational needs and disability (SEND) is supported by the local authority (KCC), to ensure that all children, regardless of their specific needs, make the best possible progress.

The broad areas of SEND are:

  • Communication and interaction.
  • Cognition and learning.
  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties.
  • Sensory and/or physical.

What is the ‘local offer’?

The local authority local offer:

  • Children and families have become more integrated from the SEND Code of Practice 2014. From this date local authorities (LA) and schools are required to publish and keep under review information about services they expect to be available for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) aged 0-25years. This is the ‘local offer’.
  • The intention of the local offer is to improve choice and transparency for families. It will also be an important resource for parents in understanding the range of services and provision in the local area.

Choochoos local offer

The LA local offer supports us to meet the needs of SEND children, it is determined by Choochoos policy and the provision that Choochoos is able to provide.

1. Who are the best people to talk to at Choochoos about my child’s difficulties with learning/special educational needs or disability (SEND)?

All staff are responsible for:

  • Monitoring the progress of your child, identifying, planning and delivering any additional help your child may need (this could be additional support) and letting the special education needs/disabilities coordinator (SENCo) know as necessary.

Catherine (SENCo) and Debbie (deputy SENCo) are responsible for:

  • Working closely with key people, parents, carers and families to support each individual child to progress and develop.
  • Role modelling and supporting practitioners with strategies to support all children.
  • Writing individual learning pathways (target plans, personalised plans and behaviour plans). Sharing and reviewing plans with key person, parents, carers and families at least once each term and planning for the next term.
  • Creating personalised teaching and learning for your child, as identified in our Choochoos provision map, which shows what is happening and plans for your child’s individual needs.
  • Enhancing and reviewing the Choochoos SEND policy and procedure. Ensuring that Choochoos SEND policy is adhered to by all employees, parents, carers and families and fully understood.
  • Co-ordinating support for children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).
  • Collaborating with all outside agencies, families and Choochoos staff.
  • Ensuring that parents, carers and families are involved in supporting their child’s learning and are kept informed about the support their child can have or is receiving.
  • Updating the SEND register and folder (a system for ensuring that all SEND needs of children are known) and making sure that records of your child’s progress and needs are kept.
  • Providing specialist support for key people and support staff, so that they can help children with SEND to achieve the best progress possible.
  • Providing SEND training for all employees, ensuring everyone is up to date.
  • Liaising with children centres and sharing opportunities they offer.
  • Having regular meetings with Choochoos collaboration and with the collaboration of SENCos in Kent.
  • Liaising with other outside agencies in supporting Choochoos, parents/carers/families and children.

Qualifications of our staff at Choochoos is robust and of a high level with some staff holding early years professional status, foundation degrees in early years and childcare and others with level 2/3 in childcare. Catherine Austin (our SENCo) keeps up to date in regards to all SEND matters and works with outside agencies in keeping up to date any relevant policies and procedures.

2. How can I let you know I am concerned about my child’s progress at Choochoos?

If you have any concerns or worries or any questions about your child’s progress you should speak to your child’s key person or SENCo Catherine or deputy SENCo Debbie (Babychoos). You can use email, book an appointment or telephone to do this.

  • Our SENCo or your child’s key person will then try and give you the best possible advice, support and strategies to help move forward.
  • We will look at your child’s progress tracker and next steps to review what support your child may need.
  • If you continue to be concerned that your child is not making progress, you can speak to our SENCo to arrange a meeting to then work together. Then together decide on the next step with your child’s key person on how to best support your child, e.g. create a target plan, strategies, involving outside agencies, etc. This is completed with permission from you as the parent/carer.

3. How will Choochoos let me know if they have any concerns about my child’s learning at Choochoos?

If your child is identified as not making progress or showing signs of being behind in their age/stage in the early years foundation stage framework, Choochoos will set up a meeting to discuss this with you in more detail. Choochoos also provides termly parents/carers meetings to together look at your child’s progress and development, next steps, needs, routine, etc.

During our SENCo meetings, our SENCo will:

  • Listen to any concerns you have.
  • Plan any additional support your child may need, including ideas for home.
  • Discuss with you any referrals to outside professionals to support your child’s learning.
  • Signpost you to other help available.

4. How is extra support allocated to children & how do they progress in their learning?

  • Choochoos can give extra support to your child by completing daily strategies, tasks or activities to help them develop and progress. These may be captured in your child’s next steps or target plan/behaviour plan. All closely monitored and reviewed. Any further support needed for your child could include Choochoos contacting outside agencies for advice.
  • Choochoos can make links with local specialist provisions, advisors and outside agencies for advice and support.
  • We attend specialist information sessions at least termly including (LIFT) local inclusion forum team meetings to gain/request additional support/funding.
  • Also available is (SENIF) request, (Special educational needs inclusion funding) at a universal level, to enable us to provide the appropriate resources/training identified to meet your child’s needs.
  • (DAF) Disability accessibility funding can be accessed for children who are eligible, to help to support with their development and progress, while at nursery.

5. Who are the other people providing services to children with SEND at Choochoos?

Within Choochoos the people who are providing support/services to your child are:

  • Area manager, manager, SENCo and early years practitioners.

The local authority provision services that are provided at Choochoos are:

  • Autism outreach service.
  • Educational psychology service.
  • Parent partnership service.

The health provision services that are provided at Choochoos are:

  • Additional speech and language guidance.
  • Language therapists to provide a higher level of service to Choochoos.
  • Community nurse.
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Physiotherapy.
  • Portage.
  • Paediatrician.
  • Consultant, doctor or nurse.

6. How are key people at Choochoos helped to work with children that have SEND & what training do they have?

  • The SENCo role is to support the key person in planning for children with SEND. Creating individual support and strategies.
  • The SENCo and the Choochoos team provides training and support for all employees, to enable them to provide outstanding teaching and learning for all children, including those with SEND.
  • Individual key people attend training courses run by outside agencies that are relevant to the needs of specific children in their group, e.g. from the autism outreach team (AOT) service and specialist teaching and learning services.

7. How will the teaching be adapted for my child with SEND?

  • Your child’s key person will plan personalised next steps and strategies to ensure that your child’s needs are met. These will be created together with you and you can support at home.
  • The key person, with the support and the direction of the SENCo, can adapt planning to support the needs of your child where necessary.
  • Specific resources and strategies will be used to support your child individually and in groups.
  • Planning and teaching will be adapted on a daily basis, if needed to meet your child’s learning needs with a range of strategies based around your child’s individual needs.
  • Planning for your child will come from their interests observed from our practitioners in their daily play.

8. How will we measure the progress of your child at Choochoos?

  • Your child’s progress is continually monitored by his/her key person and manager.
  • Your child’s progress is collected on our eyLog progress tracker, reviewed and monitored regularly. This is underpinned from observations documented on your child.
  • His/her progress is reviewed formally every term in all areas of the early years foundation stage.
  • Children may have a target plan, a personalised plan or a behaviour plan, which allows us to also monitor their progress. These are reviewed each term and a future plan is made if required.
  • The progress of children with a statement of SEND/EHC plan is formally reviewed at an annual review, with all people/agencies involved with the child’s education. The SENCo will also check that your child is making good progress within any individual planning/observations and in any group that they take part in.
  • Your child’s development is shown in their eyLog learning journey, a collection of observations, photographs and videos.

9. What support do we have for you as a parent/carer & family of a child with SEND?

  • The key person/buddy is regularly available to discuss your child’s progress or any concerns you have. You can also share information about what is working well at home and at Choochoos, so similar strategies can be adopted.
  • The SENCo is available to meet with you to discuss your child’s progress or any concerns/worries you have, to create a plan of ways to move forward to help support your child.
  • All information from outside professionals will be discussed with you or where this is not possible, in a report.
  • Targeted, personalised and behaviour plans will always be reviewed with your involvement.
  • Helpful leaflets are available to support you.
  • Referral or we can signpost to your local children centre or other areas of need.

10. How is Choochoos accessible to children with SEND?

The building and grounds are accessible to all, including those using wheelchairs or walkers via a slope access to the front of the building. Choochoos ensure, where ever possible, that equipment used is accessible to all children regardless of their needs.

  • Provision is accessible to all children including those with SEND.
  • Toilets are suitable for all.
  • We provide guidance from a highly qualified team, with a wealth of knowledge and experiences.
  • Reasonable adjustments to suit all children, e.g. ramps, rails etc, are in place.
  • Risk assessments are carried out on all areas of the building inside and outside space, alongside care plans individual to the child if needed.

11. How will we support your child when they are leaving Choochoos? Or transitioning into another room?

We recognise that transitions can be difficult for a child with SEND and take steps to ensure that any transition is supported and is as smooth as possible.

When your child is starting new with us:

  • We arrange meetings with yourself and any professionals already involved with your child to discuss concerns/plan for a smooth transition into nursery. This includes ensuring we can meet your child’s needs and provide the care that is suited.
  • Time with the manager/SENCo to complete starting paperwork (parent pack) will be arranged. This gives you the chance to ask any questions and gather all the information you need. Dates for your child’s settles will also be confirmed.
  • A home visit will be provided by your child’s key person, so that your child can start to build the relationship/bond in an environment in which they feel safe and secure. Home visits are an important part of the settling process and greatly supports the transition from home to nursery.
  • Your child will visit on several occasions to familiarise themselves with the environment, known as settling sessions along with their parents/carers.
  • Your child’s transition and the three settling sessions we offer in our welcome package within nursery, will be individual to them and their needs will be carefully monitored as their time in nursery is increased.

When your child is moving rooms:

  • We will hold meetings with yourself and any professionals already involved with your child to discuss concerns/plan for a smooth transition into your child’s new room.
  • Dates and times will be shared between rooms.
  • A show around of your child’s new room is offered to parents/carers and families.
  • A home visit will be offered by your child’s new key person, so that your child can start to build the relationship/bond in an environment in which they feel safe and secure.
  • The new key person/buddy will visit your child in their current room. This helps with the transition to their new room. The key person/buddy can also observe your child in their existing play environment and speak with the current key person to help gain knowledge about your child. All information about your child will be shared and passed between rooms.
  • Your child will visit their new room on several short occasions to familiarise themselves with the environment, known as settling sessions, along with parents/carers and other friends that may be making the same transition.

If your child is moving to another provision/school:

  • Parent/carer permission is gained to share relevant information with the new provision or school.
  • Choochoos will contact the school SENCo to ensure they know about any special arrangements or support that needs to be made or put into place for your child.
  • The manager then invites the teacher in to Choochoos to meet your child to have informal discussions with your child’s key person, to begin building a picture about your child.
  • A record of transfer document is created, along with any care/medical/safeguarding/SEND plans are passed to the school as soon as possible.
  • Where possible your child will visit their new school on several occasions with a with yourselves as parents, carers and families and/or Choochoos where/if possible.
  • Outside agencies are invited as part of a TAC (team around the child) meeting to ensure a team around the child approach is paramount.
  • If a child attends another provision, we communicate regularly to share the child’s progress and development.

12. What emotional & social development support do we have for a child with a SEND?

  • We recognise that children with SEND may have social, emotional and mental health needs, that will require support at Choochoos.
  • The emotional health and well being of all of our children is very important to us and all staff continually monitor children and as a team share information relating to children’s well being at staff meetings.
  • Choochoos embeds the well being and involvement approach (WBI) to monitor children’s well being and involvement. This is included in observations completed for the child. Any concerns will be shared with the parents/carers and if we feel your child’s well being is low, we will consider why this may be and make actions specifically tailored for your child with the aim of improving your child’s well being. A child’s well being can be low for a number of reasons including moving house, a new arrival to the family, transition, etc.
  • A key person and buddy approach is in place at Choochoos and staff receive full training within this.
  • We monitor observations, next steps and have a progress tracker for every child, which is shared with parents/carers during parent meetings termly.
  • Choochoos has a robust child protection policy in place. We ensure we follow national & local authority guidelines. There is a designated safeguarding lead on site at all times.


Please contact our SENCo for further information by email whitstable@theoldstationnursery.co.uk or telephone 01227 280077.