Our SEND offer

Chelwood's offer to children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

In line with new Government requirements, this statement identifies what the school can offer children with SEND, in terms of what is ‘additional to’ and ‘different from’ Chelwood’s already inclusive provision, offered to all children.

At Chelwood Nursery School we are committed to providing high quality and inclusive Early Years education enabling all children to learn through first hand experiences and play. We welcome children into our school community, recognising and celebrating each and every child’s strengths and unique approaches to learning. We start by developing our understanding of each child – their interests, how they like to play and their needs – to plan exciting, motivating and challenging learning experiences for all.

By personalising the curriculum in this way we aim to meet the diverse needs of individual children and remove many of the potential barriers to learning that they might otherwise experience.  At the same time we take great care to identify additional needs and difficulties at an early stage and work hard, in partnership with parents and carers, to ensure that every child makes good progress with carefully devised interventions and strategies and targeted support for children with SEND, which are integrated into whole school provision.

We have qualified Early Years specialist staff in all teams across the school, who have expertise in how young children develop and learn.

Our Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) is full time, and provides continuous support to staff teams. The SENCo works closely with outside professionals to ensure that we bring all available expertise into our work with children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Our staffing levels are above statutory requirements, and this enables us to be responsive to children’s needs and to provide more focused small group interventions and specific individual support when required. 

Teaching and learning environments both inside and outside are constantly adapted and reviewed with individual children’s needs in mind.

As described in the SEN code of Practice, children’s needs may be identified broadly as:

  • communication and interaction
  • cognition and learning
  • social, emotional and mental health
  • sensory and/or physical needs


Whilst these areas give an overview of the range of needs that should be planned for we know that individual children may have needs which cut across all these areas e.g. children with an Austism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We know also that children’s needs are not fixed but may change over time. The special educational provision we make for individual children is based on understanding their individual strengths and needs rather than on a simple fit into one of these broad 4 areas.


The school has embraced the ‘graduated response’ approach to identifying children’s needs swiftly and work closely together with parents and families to produce SEN support plans when we understand that SEN provision is needed  – if children require additional support in a cyclical and regularly reviewed process: Assess, Plan, Do, Review. Families can expect the involvement and support of the SENCO as well as class teachers throughout this process. Our SENCO liaises with outside professionals and specialists and draws on their expertise as required into the SEN Support planning process. We currently work with the Educational Psychology service and have a link EP, the Drumbeat Outreach Team  (social communication and interaction and Autism team), speech and language therapy service, Occupational therapy service and the Sensory team (for support for children with visual and hearing impairment), the Special Needs Nursing team (who can advise with continence issues). We also have links to our local Children’s Centres who provide advice and support to families and have offered parenting courses.

When a child requires more support we will apply to the local authority for assessment of their Educational, Health and Care needs. Families will be supported though out this process.

Interventions and strategies for children will always be personalised to the individual children and may include:

Communication and interaction

  • Visual timetables, prompts and routines to support understanding, independence and access.
  • Regular ‘Talking Tigers’(speech and language intervention) sessions.
  • Total communication approach with staff trained to use Makaton signing, as well as visual symbols, prompts and cues to support understanding and communication.
  • 1:1 adult supported activities including surprise bag and treasure box sessions to develop shared attention and early language skills.
  • Paired play experiences supporting social skills and interaction.
  • Close working with speech and language therapists including making referrals to their service and integration of advice into our interventions and support in school.

Cognition and learning

  • Early identification of a child’s needs and difficulties through staff with child development expertise.
  • Small group, paired and one-to-one sessions, take place regularly to meet individual and groups of children’s specific needs.
  • We buy into the Lewisham Educational Psychologist (EP) Team services and utilise this expertise to meet individual needs
  • We work closely with the Drumbeat ASD Outreach Team to meet individual children’s needs.
  • We make referrals, as required, to the Paediatricians based at Kaleidoscope with parental consent to support a deeper understanding through assessment of individual children’s development and draw on their advice and expertise.

Social, mental and emotional health

  • All class staff are trained in their observation of children, and make regular assessments of children’s emotional well-being and involvement.
  • Specific teaching of social skills and language to enable social engagement eg. turn-taking and  sharing, adult-supported paired play, taught phrases “Can I have a turn?”
  • ‘Look what I can do!’ books promote positive self esteem and involve families in celebrating children’s achievements.
  • At Chelwood each child and family has a named Key Person whose role is to develop a close and supportive relationship with the child and family.
  • Role play, puppets and stories are used to target emotions issues and support expression of anxiety.
  • We draw expertise from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service to support children and families with emotional needs
  • Curriculum which emphasises use of outdoor space and nature in promoting well-being.
  • Flexible use of the school environment to meet children’s social emotional needs eg. creating cosy safe places, utilising non classroom areas.
  • Use of the ‘empathetic approach’ to support children with expressing feelings and regulating their emotions

Sensory and/or physical

  • Use of Sensory boxes to support sensory stimulation.
  • Close working relationship with professionals including Sensory Team for those who are visually or hearing impaired, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists, to inform planning for individual children and to advise if additional adaptations to the physical environment are needed.
  • Specific planning for children’s physical development inside and outside.
  • Staff trained in the link between early physical experiences and brain development which informs planning of physical learning experiences and support of families.
  • Commitment to provide extensive fine manipulative, malleable and tactile sensory experiences for children eg. messy play

Family Partnership

We are committed to working closely with families, utilising the role of the Key Person, and prioritising support for families in order to remove barriers to their children’s learning. We have a well-established approach to drawing in professionals to provide this through the Team Around the Child (TAC). We meet with all our families before they start to gather information and draw on the expertise that parents have of their children and where there are already specialists involved we will organise TAC meetings before children start so that we can make plans and any adjustments that might be needed so that they make a smooth transition into Chelwood.

For further details on London Borough of Lewisham’s local offer please follow this link


Other useful information

SEN co-ordinator, Inclusion & Diversity Leader
Michaela Loebner
Inclusion and Diversity Leader and  SENCo
Chelwood Nursery School
020 7639 2514