Inclusion at Kindergarten

At St Mary’s we are proud to provide a safe, stimulating and inclusive learning environment where every member of our community is valued and respected.

Each session provides opportunities for everyone to achieve and succeed regardless of their individual need. We celebrate our achievements, gifts and cultural diversity, irrespective of individual differences within the protected categories of the Equality Act of 2010. At St Mary’s Kindergarten, we believe that all children have the right to experience their early education alongside their peers regardless of their needs. We are committed to working with parents and external agencies to enable each individual to develops to be the best that they can be.

1. How does St Mary’s know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?

At St Mary’s we continually observe and assess all of the children within our care. The observations and assessments are linked to the developmental stages of learning, and the EYFS framework, which can help us identify the individual needs of the children. The observations will be discussed with parents, the SENCO (Mrs Adamson), the setting’s Kindergarten Manager. (Ms Violett) and Director of Lower School (Mrs Stanhope)

We operate a Key Person system at St Marys, with each child having a Key Person/teacher. Their role is to develop trusting, sensitive relationships with parents and children to enable respectful sharing of information. If you have any concerns about your child’s development you can ask them for time to discuss matters in private. If your child’s key person, teacher or SENCO has identified a possible individual need, they will discuss the matter with you and plan to support your child’s learning and development. Mrs Adamson, St. Marys trained SENCO can offer advice and support to the key person/teacher. The SENCO will liaise with other professionals to seek advice and support in identifying individual needs if necessary. Support and advice from the Area SENCO and the Early Years Advisory Teacher can be sought with parents’ permission. Reports from other health care professionals such as health visitors and speech and language therapists can identify children’s individual needs. The setting welcomes parents and other professionals sharing these reports with them in order to plan appropriately to meet the individual needs of each child.

2. How will St Mary’s staff support my child?

At St Mary’s we have a settling in period where strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes are shared and discussed between all the interested parties. If your child is not meeting their age appropriate developmental stages a Personal Education Plan (PEP) will be devised with parents, the child, key person/teacher and SENCO all providing an input. Observations, listening, assessments, evaluations all contribute to PEPs. We will listen to you as well as your child. The SENCO will explain how children’s individual needs can be met by planning support using a PEP alongside the advice from the Area SENCO. She will also explain who may become involved in your child’s development and their role. The key person will work with the SENCO to oversee the PEP targets for your child. PEPs with be reviewed on a termly basis. The key person’s /teacher‘s role will foster relationships with and understand the individual child. The SENCO will maintain an overview of experiences and progress. She will also work with other practitioners to ensure provision is appropriate and seek support when needed.

3. How will St Mary’s create learning and developmental opportunities for individuals with SEND?

The setting works within the framework of the EYFS. Both the Kindergarten and Prep classrooms are resourced according to the age phase and needs of the children within them. At St. Mary’s we use the Statutory Guidance for the EYFS to plan provision and activities for the children within their care. The EYFS identifies three prime areas of learning and development and four specific areas of learning and development. Activities and provision are adapted to suit the needs of the children in each age phase, differentiating the activities and the provision that is on offer to meets the needs of the children. For some children a greater level of differentiation is required because they have additional or special educational needs. We are sensitive to the developmental needs of the children in our care so that all children are able to access the setting in a way that is appropriate to their needs. We ensure there are resources available that overlap with the age phases so that children who are developing at different speeds can access resources or material appropriate to their stage of learning and development.

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

St Mary’s has an open door policy and you are welcome to speak to us at drop off and pick up about your child’s development. Our learning journeys and developmental phase band assessments provide us with a monitoring tool that enables us to identify any additional support required. In Kindergarten keyworkers meet with parents termly to discuss progress and more often if required. In Prep written reports are issued twice a year and the summer report reflects on the three prime areas and four specific areas of learning. In addition to this we offer a parents’ evening each term. Both these methods of reporting aim to get parents fully involved in their child’s progress. Our highly experienced and qualified staff ensures all children’s needs are quickly identified and supported, which in turn is cascaded to parents.

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

St Mary’s has detailed policies and procedures in place that ensure your child’s well-being. We have clear policies for the administration of medication, and for providing personal care. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive provision ensuring children with SEND are supported and included in the setting. Through close relationships with the children and their teacher/key person we ensure all children feel valued and supported. Staff receive regular training to ensure a consistent approach is given to all children.

6. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by St Mary’s?

Our staff are highly qualified with a minimum requirement of a level 3 qualification in Early Years Education. In Prep we have a full time Practitioner and teacher. We have access to outside agencies, and have formed close links with the Area SENCO.

7. How are staff trained to support children with SEND?

The SENCO has completed the new SENCO training. The Director of Learning is responsible for ensuring our staff team has training in all areas. This ensures training plans are completed and relevant training sessions are attended when required. The SENCO attends termly network meetings to remain up to date with current policies and procedures.

In addition to the child’s learning journey we also undertake the 2-3 year progress check. This is a requirement of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and is done for all children in this age group. The EYFS requires us to report to parents on their child’s 2-3 year progress check; discussing and identifying strengths as well as concerns. If the progress check suggests that a child may be experiencing some difficulties or delay in their development, it is shared with the parents and options/appropriate next steps are discussed.

We have regular staff meetings, peer observations and appraisals for all staff. We value opportunities to support their further professional development and all staff are encouraged to seek opportunities for this.

8. How will my child be included in activities outside St. Mary’s including school trips?

We include all children in trips and outings. Where necessary any additional support is put in place through discussion with the parents and by carrying out thorough risk assessments and pre trip visits.

9. How accessible is St Mary’s?

St Mary’s Kindergarten is accessible to all with additional facilities where necessary. Accessible building and toilet/changing facilities are available. Limitation of the main building can be explained. We support families whose first language is not English and additional support from outside agencies will be sourced if required. All policies and procedures are current and reviewed regularly. Signs, posters and annotated pictures are used around the setting. We provide multi-sensory experiences as part of our core provision. We provide sensory play equipment and use visual aids. We seek advice and support from the area SENCO, when necessary.

10. How will the setting prepare and support my child to join the setting, transfer to a new setting or the next stage of education and life?

Joining St Mary’s: On induction the key person /teacher and parents will meet and share information about the strengths and needs of the child. The child will have agreed trial sessions and/or attend the pre prep induction proKindergarten gramme to become familiar with staff and the environment. The child will always be at the heart of all we do. We work with the parents and support the child together. Each child is assigned a key person/teacher and their role will be explained. Parents and the key person/teacher should agree a consistent approach to ensure continuity of care from home to setting.

Transition to school or next setting: If a child is moving on to a new setting, the SENCO will contact the new setting if required and discuss the child’s strengths and needs. The Key person and SENCO can attend meetings and share targets on PEPs and minutes of review meetings.

If your child is transitioning into Prep, liaison meetings between the child, teachers, key person, parents and SENCO will happen in the term before the move happens to ensure a smooth transition.

11. How are the St Mary’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?

Children’s individual needs are closely monitored and any additional equipment required is purchased or sourced by accessing additional funding if necessary. We regularly review all our equipment to ensure that it supports the Early Years Foundation Stage appropriately.

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

The decision is made through ongoing detailed assessments. Personal Education Plans will be monitored and reviewed termly. We would involve any additional support considered or deemed necessary.

13. How are parents involved in St Mary’s? How can I be involved?

St Mary’s has an open door policy and we promote and value parents’ views and opinions. We encourage parents to talk and to email or telephone us directly if they have any comments or concerns. We encourage ongoing dialogue with their child’s key person or teacher and there is a newsletter.

14. Who can I contact for further information?

Communication between parents and staff is key in order to support the child’s overall care and wellbeing. A parents’ first point of contact is their child’s key person/teacher. St Mary’s has an open door policy and parents and carers are welcome to come in at any time to discuss their child’s progress, face-to-face. We welcome comments and suggestions from parents, and take seriously any complaints or concerns that may arise. Appointments can be made to discuss progress in more detail at a mutually convenient time with the required parties.

  • Please discuss any concerns with the following staff:
  • Your child’s key person/teacher
  • Kindergarten Manager – Ms S Violett – Contact 01206 211242
  • SENCO/Assistant Head of Lower School (Pastoral) – Mrs D Adamson – Contact 01206 211242
  • Head of Lower School – Mrs E Stanhope – Contact 01206 211242
  • Supported by Area SENCO – Debbie Juniper

Our Locations

St Mary's Colchester
Two St Mary's Lower School pupils sitting in a Library holding books and laughing
Additional places now available

Due to increasing demand at St Mary’s, additional places are now available from September.


Enquire today to find out more: