The Policy folder is available in the Pre-School for full list and details of our policies. Please speak to the Pre-School Manager should you need any additional information.

It is our intention to make our Pre-School genuinely accessible to children and families from all sections of the local community. In order to accomplish this we will:

• Ensure that the existence of the Pre-School is widely known in the local communities. We will place notices advertising the Pre-School in places where all sections of the community can see them, in more than one language if appropriate.

• Arrange our waiting list in order of date of birth.

• Keep a place vacant, if this is financially viable, in order to accommodate emergency admissions.

• Describe the Pre-School and its practices in terms which make it clear that it welcomes both mums and dads, other relations and carers, including childminders, and people from all cultural, ethnic, religious and social groups, with and without disabilities.

• Monitor the gender and ethnic background of children joining the group to ensure that no accidental discrimination is taking place.

• Make our Equal opportunities/Equality and Diversity policy widely known.

• Consult with families about the opening times of the Pre-School to avoid excluding anyone.

• Be flexible about attendance patterns so as to accommodate the needs of individual children and families.

• Continue to consult local parents to ensure that the group goes on meeting the changing needs of the local community.
The Pre-School’s work with children and families will sometimes bring us into contact with confidential information.

To ensure that all those using and working in the Pre-School can do so with confidence, we will respect confidentiality in the following ways:

• Parents will have ready access to the files and records of their own children but will not have access to information about any other child.

• Staff will not discuss individual children, other than for purposes of curriculum planning/group management, with people other than the parents/carers of that child.

• Information given by parents/carers to the Pre-School manager or key person will not be passed on to other adults without permission.

• Issues to do with the employment of staff, whether paid or unpaid, will remain confidential to the people directly involved with making personal decisions.

• Any anxieties/evidence relating to a child’s personal safety will be kept in a confidential file and will not be shared within the group except with the child’s key person, regular staff and owner.

• Students on Pre-School Learning Alliance or other recognised qualification courses and training, when they are observing in the Pre-School, will be advised of our confidentiality policy and required to respect it, as are all helpers, both paid and unpaid.

All the undertakings above are subject to the paramount commitment of the Pre-School, which is to the safety and well-being of the child. Please see also our policy on child protection/safe guarding children.
Parents are the primary educators of their young children. The aim of the Pre-School is to support parents in their essential role. We will:

• Involve parents in sharing record keeping/observations about their child, both formally and informally, ensuring that parents have access to all written records on their own children.

• Ensure that parents are given information on a regular basis about their child’s progress and have an opportunity to discuss it with staff.

• Ensure that all parents have opportunities to contribute their own skills, knowledge and interests to the activities of the Pre-School.

• Ensure that all new parents are aware of and can contribute to the Pre-School’s systems and policies.

• Welcome contributions of parents, whatever form these may take.

• Make known to all parents the systems for registering queries, complaints or suggestions

• Provide opportunities for parents to learn about the Pre-School curriculum and about young children’s learning, in Pre-School and at home.
The toys and equipment in Pre-School provide opportunities for children, with adult help, to develop new skills and concepts in the course of their play and exploration. The equipment we provide:

• Is appropriate for the ages and stages of the children

• Offers challenges to developing physical, social, personal and intellectual skills

• Features positive images of people, both male and female, from a range of ethnic and cultural groups, with or without disabilities

• Include a range of raw materials which can be used in a variety of ways and encourages an open-ended approach to creativity and problem solving.

• Will enable children, with adult support, to develop individual potential and move towards the required early years foundation stage end early learning goals.

• Conforms to all relevant safety regulations and is sound and well-made.

An inventory of equipment is available.
We want children to feel safe and happy in the absence of their parents, to recognise other adults as a source of authority, help and friendship and to be able to share with their parents afterwards the new learning experiences enjoyed in the Pre-School. We also want parents to feel welcomed and involved from the beginning.

In order to accomplish this, we aim to create a partnership with parents in the following ways:

• By encouraging parents to visit the Pre-School with their children during the weeks before admission is planned.

• By making clear to families from the onset that they will be welcomed and supported in the Pre-School for as long as it takes to settle their child there.

• By reassuring parents whose children seem to be taking a longer time settling into the Pre-School.

• By encouraging parents, where appropriate, to separate from their children for brief periods at first, gradually building up to longer absences.

• By ensuring plentiful opportunities for parents to inform the Pre-School about their children’s current achievements and interests.

• By creating opportunities for the exchange of information, using among other resources, a copy of the Pre-School’s prospectus and completion of the registration form.

Your child will be allocated a key person to help with settling in and to liaise with parents. The key person and manager will be responsible for developmental records and for sharing information with parents on a regular basis.

A progress check will take place between the ages of 2 years and 3 years and this will be shared with parents.

Children cannot play or learn successfully if they are anxious and unhappy. Our settling procedures aim to help parents and children to feel comfortable in the Pre-School, and to ensure that children can benefit from what the group has to offer and feel confident that their parents will return at the end of the session.
Safeguarding is the responsibility of all adults, especially those working or volunteering with children. The setting aims to help protect the children in its care by working consistently and appropriately with all agencies to reduce risk and promote the welfare of all children.

We comply with the procedures approved by the Local Safeguarding Children Board. We intend to create in our Pre-School an environment in which children are safe from abuse and in which any suspicion of abuse is promptly and appropriately responded to. Any children can be abused anywhere at any time. Children with disabilities are especially vulnerable. Children can be abused by anyone - adults or other children. Abuse can take several forms, such as:

Physical abuse: When children are hurt or injured by others, for example by hitting, shaking or squeezing.

Sexual abuse: When children are used by others to meet their own sexual needs. This might include sexual activity involving the child or showing the children pornographic material on videos or the internet.

Emotional abuse: When children are persistently denied love and affection. Children will suffer if they are shouted at, made to feel stupid and unvalued or live in a violent environment.

Neglect: Where no one meets children's basic needs for food, warmth, protection, education and care, including health care.

Some of the signs of the above named forms of abuse are:

Physical Abuse
• Unexplained injuries, bruises or marks
• Fear, watchfulness, over-anxiety to please
• Small, round burns or bite marks
• Frequent absences from school

Sexual Abuse
• Comments about sexual activity
• Sexual knowledge or comments which are not what you would expect from a child. Sexual behaviour which is not what you would expect from a child
• Unexpected reaction of fear or wariness to people
• Repeated urinary or genital infections
• Pregnancy/sexually transmitted diseases

Emotional Abuse
• Unexplained gifts of money
• Withdrawn, anxious behaviour, lack of self-confidence
• Self-harm and eating disorders
• Demanding or attention-seeking behaviour
• Unwillingness to communicate
• Repetitive, nervous behaviour such as rocking, hair twisting

• The child's clothes are often dirty, scruffy or unsuitable for the weather
• No one seeks medical help when the child is ill or hurt
• The child has poor hygiene (smelly, dirty)
• The child is left alone with unsuitable carers
• The child is thin, pale, lacking in energy
• The child is exposed to risks or dangers, such as the home being unsafe or drugs or needles being left around

The Prevent Duty and Promoting British Values
The Prevent Duty and Promoting British Values came into effect from June 2015. It put a statutory requirement on all schools, registered early years childcare providers and registered later years childcare providers and subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter -Terrorism and Security Act 2015; in the exercise of their functions, to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

The Pre-School is aware of its duty to protect children from radicalisation and any form of violent extremism in line with government guidance “Prevent Duty” (June 2015).

In fulfilling this duty; we will work closely with the Local Safeguarding Children Board and we will have regard to:

• Assessing the risk of children being drawn into terrorism, including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology. This will be based on an understanding, shared with partners, of the potential risk in the local area. The setting will protect children from being drawn into terrorism by having robust safeguarding policies in place to identify children at risk, and intervening as appropriate

• Continuous staff training so that members of staff have the knowledge and confidence to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism, and to challenge extremist ideas which can be used to legitimise terrorism and are shared by terrorist groups. Staff should know where and how to refer children and young people for further help

• E- Safety and IT policies will ensure children are safe from terrorist and extremist materials when accessing the internet by establishing appropriate levels of filtering.

• Actively promote fundamental British values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs. All of which are embedded in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum.
The sharing of refreshments can play an important part in the social life of the Pre-School as well as reinforcing children’s understanding of the importance of healthy eating. The Pre-School will ensure that it fulfils all the requirements of the registering authority and that:

• Snacks provided are nutritious, avoiding large quantities of fat, sugar, salt, additives, preservatives and colourings

• Before a child starts to attend the group, the registration form is filled in correctly with any special dietary needs

• Water is constantly available

• The dietary rules of religious groups and also vegetarians/vegans are known and met in appropriate ways

• A child is offered a snack in session

• Pasteurised milk or water is provided for the children
The Pre-School Learning Alliance is committed to helping Pre-Schools provide equality of opportunity for all children and families and take positive action to eliminate discrimination in all areas of their work. As a member of the Alliance, St Margaret’s Pre-School, works in accordance with all relevant legislation, including:
• Disability Discrimination Act 1995/2005
• Race Relations Act 1976
• Sex Discrimination Act 1986
• Children Act 1989
• Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001
• Equality Act 2010

We believe that the group’s activities should be open to all children and families, and to all adults committed to their education and care. We aim to ensure that all who wish to work in, or volunteer to help with our Pre-School have an equal chance to do so.

The Pre-School is open to every family in the community. The waiting list is not operated on a first come, first served basis but on a fairer system. We use the following system for accepting children from the waiting list:

• Date of Birth and Day/s of the week requested to attend Pre-School.

Families joining the Pre-School are made aware of its equal opportunities policy, which is regularly reviewed.

Any vacancies will be advertised. The Pre-School will appoint the best person suitable for the job and treat fairly all other candidates.

Commitment to implementing the groups Equal Opportunities Policy will form part of the job description for all workers.

The Pre-School recognises that many different types of family group can, and do so successfully love and care for children. The Pre-School aims to offer support to all families. The Pre-School offers a flexible payment system for families with differing means.

Our aim is show respectful awareness of all the major events in the lives of the children and families in the Pre-School, and in our society as a whole, and to welcome the diversity of backgrounds from which they come.

In order to achieve this:

• We aim to acknowledge all the festivals, which are celebrated in our area and/or by the families involved in the Pre-School.

• Without indoctrination of any specific faith, children will be made aware of the festivals which are being celebrated by their own families or others, and will be introduced where appropriate to the stories behind the festivals.

• Before introducing, a festival with which the adults in the Pre-School are not themselves familiar, appropriate advice will be sought from parents and other people who are familiar with that festival.

• Children and families who celebrate at home festivals with which the rest of the Pre-School is not familiar will be invited to share their festival with the rest of the group, if they themselves wish to do so.

• Children will become familiar with and enjoy taking part in a range of festivals, together with the stories, celebrations and special food and clothing they involve, as part of the diversity of life.

The Curriculum
All children will be respected and their individuality and potential will be recognised, valued and nurtured.

Activities and the use of play equipment offer children opportunities to develop in an environment free from prejudice and discrimination. Management of resources within the Pre-School will ensure that both girls and boys have full access to all kinds of activities and equipment and are equally encouraged to enjoy and learn from them.

Appropriate opportunities will be given to the children to explore, acknowledge and value similarities and differences between themselves and others.

These will be chosen to give children a balanced view of the world and an appreciation of the rich diversity of our multi-racial society.

Materials will be selected to help children to develop their self-respect and to respect other people by avoiding stereotypes and by using images and words which reflect positively the contribution of all members of society.

Special Educational Needs and Disability
The Pre-School recognises that children and adults have a wide range of needs which differ from time to time, and will consider what part it can play in meeting these needs as they arise. Planning for Pre-School meetings and events will take into account the needs of people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Discriminatory Behaviour/Remarks
Any discriminatory language, behaviour or remarks by children, parents or any other adults are unacceptable in the Pre-School.

Our response will aim to demonstrate support for the victim(s), to help those responsible to understand and overcome their prejudices and to make it clear that such behaviour/remarks will not be tolerated.

Basic information, written and spoken, will be clearly communicated in as many languages as are necessary and possible.

Bilingual/multilingual children and adults are an asset to the whole group. Parents will be encouraged to speak to children in their first language at home.

Children and parents who have English as a second or additional language (EAL) will be valued and their languages recognised and respected in the Pre-School.

Working in partnership with parents, children’s medical, cultural and dietary needs will be met; by obtaining adequate information from parents/carers that would help us tailor our provision to meet the needs of such children.

The Pre-School will make every effort to ensure that if any meetings take place the time, place and conduct of meetings will enable the majority of parents to attend so that all families have an equal opportunity to be involved in and informed about the Pre-School.
We believe children and parents are entitled to expect courtesy and prompt, careful attention to their needs and wishes. Our intention is to work in partnership with parents and the community generally and we welcome suggestions on how to improve our group at any time. Many concerns can be resolved quickly by an informal approach to the appropriate member of staff. If this does not achieve the desired result, the following procedures should be used.

How to complain
• A parent who is uneasy about any aspect of the group’s provision should first of all talk over any worries and anxieties with the Pre-School Manger/Supervisor.

• If this does not have a satisfactory outcome within a couple of weeks, or if the problem recurs, the parent should put the concerns or complaint in writing to the Pre-School Manager /Supervisor.

• The next stage is to request a meeting with the Pre-School Manager/Supervisor. Both parents and the Manager/Supervisor should have a friend or partner present if required and an agreed written record of the discussion should be made.

Parents will be informed of the outcome within 28 days of making the complaint. When the complaint is resolved, the summative points will be logged in the Complaint Investigation Record.

Most complaints should be resolved informally or at this initial stage. However, you have the right to contact the Ofsted Early Years Directorate at any time on issues which concern you, if you feel we have not resolved a problem to your satisfaction. The contact for Ofsted with which we are registered is:

Applications, Regulatory & Contact (ARC) Team
Piccadilly Gate
Store Street
M1 2WD

OFSTED Helpline: 0300 123 1231

• If the matter is still not sorted out to the parent’s satisfaction, the parent should again contact the Pre-School. At this point, if parent and group cannot reach agreement, it might be helpful to invite an external mediator, one who is acceptable to both parties, to listen to both sides and offer advice. A mediator has no legal powers but can help define the problem, review the action so far and suggest further ways in which it might be resolved.

• Staff or volunteers within the Pre-School Learning Alliance will be available to act as mediator if both parties wish it.

• The mediator will keep all discussion confidential. S/he will meet the group if requested and will keep an agreed written record of any meetings that are held and of any advice s/he has given.

The involvement of a mediator represents the final stage in the complaints procedure.
Our Pre-School aims to have regard to the 0-25 SEND Code of Practice (2014) on Special Educational Needs and disabilities, The Early Years Foundation Stage framework and the guidelines supplied to private and voluntary providers of Pre-School education of reforms to the Children and Families Act 2014. We aim to provide appropriate learning opportunities for all children.

• Children with special needs, like all other children are admitted to the Pre-School after consultation between parents, Pre-School supervisor and keyperson.

• Our aim is to provide for the developmental needs of each child in the group.

• All children in the group, irrespective of their special needs, are encouraged wherever possible and appropriate to participate in all the group’s activities.

• Our system of observation and assessment, which operates in conjunction with parents, enables us to monitor children’s needs and progress on an individual basis.

• The needs and progress of children who have special educational needs are monitored by our setting’s special educational needs co-ordinator.

• We work closely with the parents of all the children in the group to ensure that

o the group draws upon the knowledge and expertise of parents in planning provision for the child.

o the child’s progress and achievements are shared and discussed with parents on a regular basis.

o parents know the identity of the group’s special educational needs co-ordinator.

o parents are aware of the arrangements for the admission and inclusion of children with special educational needs.

o confidentiality will remain of paramount importance.

o The premises will allow for easy access of wheel chairs through double doors and is on one level, with no steps and disabled toilet facilities.

• If it is felt that a child’s needs cannot be met in the Pre-School without additional support and/or equipment, funding will be sought to ensure that provision is appropriate to the child’s needs.

• We share information and work in liaison with relevant professionals and agencies outside the group to meet the child’s specific needs through each stage of the Graduated Approach, Statutory Assessment and the Education, Health and Care Plan process. (EHC Plan)

• Children with SEND are appropriately involved at all stages of the Graduated Approach.

• Our staff attend, whenever possible, in-service training on special needs arranged by the Essex County Council, the Area SENDCo and other professional bodies.

• Adults with special needs will also be welcomed and supported within the group.

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