Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

At Lower Willingdon Pre-School we strive to support all children in our care to the best of our ability. We have a qualified, knowledgeable and very passionate Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) who has worked with children with special needs for over 15 years.

We use visuals, Makaton, sand timers and traffic light cards for warnings of changes in routines and to support language development and understanding.  We have an easily accessible calm down box with sensory toys in which often supports children when they are anxious or upset.

We write and review setting based support plans with additional targets to support children’s development on a 6 weekly basis and will always speak with parents when writing and reviewing them so that we can all work together to support each and every child to reach their maximum potential.

We keep up to date with SEND training and go to regular inclusion support groups to ensure we are up to date with all advice, both locally and nationally.

We have clear policies and procedures in place which are reviewed regularly to ensure that our resources and environments are suitable and accessible for all and our local offer also explains more about how we identify and support children with SEND. You can find more information about this here.

We run sensory circuits which is a short and snappy sensory motor skills programme that helps to set children up for the day or to help them self-regulate. Children participate in a 10 to 15-minute session of activities designed to improve brain processing efficiency. Sensory circuits cater for all, as they aim to address the underlying sensory processes for the behaviours that make it hard for individuals to fully participate in their own activities of daily living. The circuit provides the environment and the sensory opportunities needed, to get an individual’s nervous system ready to engage in daily life.

A lot of the staff at the setting have training and experience with children with special educational needs and we have a staff member called Karen who specialises in speech and language support and does some small group work with some children.  Also both the SENCO and another member of staff have gained the SENCO level 3 accredited course.

Outside agencies that we work with:

We work alongside a lot of professionals and outside agencies which includes physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists. We also have support from the ISEND early years service.  Here is more information about the range of services:

East Sussex Children’s Integrated Therapy and Equipment Service.

There is a team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, therapy assistants and administrators who provide an integrated therapy service for children and young people from birth to school leaving age with physical, occupational or speech and language difficulties. They work in East Sussex and aim to help children reach their potential.

They support children with significant developmental difficulties that make everyday life difficult. This includes neurological or movement disorders, respiratory disorders such as cystic fibrosis and speech, language and communication difficulties. They also support children who require specialist equipment and housing adaptations. They offer assessment, training and advice and provide therapy for some children, individually or in a group. They also support us as a setting and parents and carers. Referrals are made by ourselves or other health professionals.

SEND Early Years’ Service

They provide specialist support for children in East Sussex under five who have special educational needs or disability or a medical condition. They can also support children who do not speak English as their first language, and have significant communication difficulties because of this. Support includes assessment, advice to parents and carers, support in the home and support in the nursery, pre-school or childminder.  Referrals are made by ourselves or other health professionals.

Child Development Clinic (CDC / The Scott Unit, Eastbourne District General Hospital)

The child development service supports children with the following childhood conditions:

-Physical disability

-Severe co-ordination problems

-Communication, speech and language difficulties

-Autism spectrum disorders

-Learning disabilities

-Vision and hearing problems

-Behaviour problems associated with development delay

-Statutory health assessment

-Sleep difficulties as part of a disability.

If your child is referred to the CDC they will see a clinician who is able to assess your child and make a possible diagnosis.  Referrals to this service are made via health or education professionals including ourselves.


If you have any concerns however big or small about with your child’s progress please come and speak to your child’s keyworker or Lisa (SENCO) who will be more than happy to help as early intervention is key.

If you or we feel your child would benefit from extra support we also have the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) information which gives an outline of how we will help your child to continue to develop.  Please read the following attachment for further details: SEN and disability offer


Useful websites

Integrated Therapy Service

Inclusion and SEND – Czone (eastsussex.gov.uk)

National Autistic Society (autism.org.uk)

Autism – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

National Deaf Children’s Society | Supporting deaf children (ndcs.org.uk)

ISEND Services | East Sussex County Council Local Offer

Children’s Integrated Therapy Service (kentcht.nhs.uk)

What Is Global Development Delay? Find Out More | Mencap

East Sussex and Brighton Family Information (escis.org.uk)

Information for families including Family Hubs

I-go (eastsussex.gov.uk)

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children: Overview – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)