Southview School - Early Years

EYFS-Sunshine Class
Our EYFS class is called Sunshine Class. It follows the same hours as the main school, (9.10 am-3.15 pm). In November 2020, we will have 11 children in the class. Of those 11, 2 are in Year N, and will be attending part-time, 4 are in Year R, 3 are in Year 1, and 2 are in Year 2 but whom continue to follow the EYFS curriculum as it remains appropriate for them. The classroom is bright and airy with its own outdoor space. Part of the classroom has a soft area with mats for children to be able to access their physiotherapy programmes and have time out of their chairs. Children also have access to a further outdoor area within the main part of the school which has a sensory garden. The classroom has been equipped with blackout blinds to enable those learners with a visual impairment to work intensively with lights to make the best use of their residual vision. Within the main school, there is a sensory room and school hall, therapy room for accessing individual physio, a music therapy room, and a communications base for 1:1 and small group work, all of which can be accessed by the children.
All accommodation is on one level with easy access for children with disabilities. Apart from the class itself, all rooms around school can be accessed by a push button which encourages independence.
All children have a physical and neurological impairment, and this is often combined with a sensory loss, such as sight or hearing. Learners have access to speech and language and occupational therapy, and physiotherapist provision. Advice has also been received by the specialist teacher team, including support for those learners with a multisensory or visual impairment.
Within the class, we have two nursery nurses who run the class jointly, supported by a third nursery nurse and 3 teaching assistants, all of whom have an understanding of the EYFS curriculum and record against it. One of the EYFS Leads also has a joint role as Personal Assistance Manager for the school, and is responsible for liaising between the nurse and the staff, organising medical training, and ensuring care plans are up-to-date. She is also a Deputy Safeguarding Lead for the school. The other Lead is a Family Link worker, and she provides additional support to families in the home. Two staff hold the paediatric first aid qualification.
In Sunshine Class, all the pupils follow the EYFS curriculum, which has been broken down into small steps for those with a visual impairment where appropriate.
Our EYFS class is called Sunshine Class. It follows the same hours as the main school, (9.10 am-3.15 pm). In November 2020, we will have 11 children in the class. Of those 11, 2 are in Year N, and will be attending part-time, 4 are in Year R, 3 are in Year 1, and 2 are in Year 2 but whom continue to follow the EYFS curriculum as it remains appropriate for them. The classroom is bright and airy with its own outdoor space. Part of the classroom has a soft area with mats for children to be able to access their physiotherapy programmes and have time out of their chairs. Children also have access to a further outdoor area within the main part of the school which has a sensory garden. The classroom has been equipped with blackout blinds to enable those learners with a visual impairment to work intensively with lights to make the best use of their residual vision. Within the main school, there is a sensory room and school hall, therapy room for accessing individual physio, a music therapy room, and a communications base for 1:1 and small group work, all of which can be accessed by the children.
All accommodation is on one level with easy access for children with disabilities. Apart from the class itself, all rooms around school can be accessed by a push button which encourages independence.
All children have a physical and neurological impairment, and this is often combined with a sensory loss, such as sight or hearing. Learners have access to speech and language and occupational therapy, and physiotherapist provision. Advice has also been received by the specialist teacher team, including support for those learners with a multisensory or visual impairment.
Within the class, we have two nursery nurses who run the class jointly, supported by a third nursery nurse and 3 teaching assistants, all of whom have an understanding of the EYFS curriculum and record against it. One of the EYFS Leads also has a joint role as Personal Assistance Manager for the school, and is responsible for liaising between the nurse and the staff, organising medical training, and ensuring care plans are up-to-date. She is also a Deputy Safeguarding Lead for the school. The other Lead is a Family Link worker, and she provides additional support to families in the home. Two staff hold the paediatric first aid qualification.
In Sunshine Class, all the pupils follow the EYFS curriculum, which has been broken down into small steps for those with a visual impairment where appropriate.

Quality of Education

All staff have a thorough knowledge of each pupil. Each child is unique at Southview, and has a bespoke care plan, which incorporates medical needs and manual handling actions which must be followed. In addition to this, close working relationships are formed with external specialists and therapists who work to ensure each pupil is receiving the holistic education they need and deserve. Each child is assessed on entry and over a period of time, and thoughtful activities put into place to encourage progress according to their level of need. For those children working at early levels, and with sensory loss, much emphasis is placed on the use of objects and touch cues as reference to activities and to enable them to make sense of their world. The addition of blackout blinds to the room encourages those learners with a visual impairment to focus and use light and sound to great effect.

‘Children are well cared for in this thoughtful learning environment. They generally engage well and enjoy being involved. The outdoor area is well used, and generally well maintained’ (Ofsted, February 2017)

Pupils are assessed according to the Early Learning Goals, which have been adjusted for those pupils with additional sensory loss to enable their progress to be tracked more effectively. The age related expectations as in months and years of expected development have been removed and replaced with levels. This would seem entirely more appropriate for our children who are naturally all working below their chronological age, and may stay within a level for some time. Communication is crucial in a developing child’s progress and much emphasis is placed on this within school.

‘Children are effectively supported to develop their communication skills, especially in early phonics skills and sounds. Assessment shows a clear emphasis on developing skills that are critical for future success. Children are taught ways to express themselves, even with emerging, or very limited language skills. As a result children are confident and happy in the provision.’ (Ofsted, February 2017)

Information gathered using these assessment systems are used to plan for future activities. Data is gathered in twice a year and children are assessed using a traffic light system. Outstanding, Good, and Requires Investigation. Children in Sunshine class are making good progress against these targets (data collected at end of year 2018-19). Data was not collected for the year 2019-20 due to the Covid19 pandemic, and the children will be re-baselined during the Autumn Term 2020 due to an extended period out of school, and without therapeutic input.

‘Children make good progress in the early years because teaching, learning and assessment is good. Teachers and teaching assistants plan effectively to meet children’s needs, physically, socially, and cognitively’ They use a good range of sensory games, sounds and rhymes, as well as interesting activities, to support children to learn well, and develop independence’ (Ofsted, February 2017)

New Parents/Carers are visited at home by one or both of the Nursery Leads to ensure a smooth and happy start to school for each child. Where needed, the Family Link worker can continue to support parents through this phase and beyond. An extremely good link is forged between home and school, with books that travel between both settings and where teachers and Parents/Carers’ comments and queries can be noted and used to inform the day.

Behaviours and Attitudes

Every child at Southview is given a bespoke plan of intervention and support when they begin in the Early Years Class. Ofsted referred to this as a ‘thoughtful learning environment’, and activities are closely matched to each child. Staff work as a team to support children, and as a consequence, children feel happy and secure in the class.

Intimate care is provided by staff who have all had the correct training. Where appropriate, pupils will work towards independence, but for many, they are reliant on adults for this aspect of their care. Staff are sensitive and treat each child with dignity and respect, and a bathroom area adjoined to the classroom means that this is can be performed as discretely as possible for the child.

Children are taught how to be kind and caring to each other and this is modelled by the staff. Where, very rarely, there may be issues with behaviour, this is managed by the introduction of a Behaviour Management Plan, in conjunction with the Parents which looks at ways to consistently encourage and reward

Personal Development

Children are encouraged to be as independent as possible, and choice and decision making is valued highly. They are encouraged to actively explore their environment as much as possible, and to develop creativity. As much as staff support the pupils, they also withdraw as much as possible, and allow each learner to make their mark.

Pupils in Sunshine Class have varying degrees of independence with choosing drinks and food. Some are solely reliant on adults providing this via gastrostomy tubes, but others are learning some degree of independent feeding. Healthy choices are encouraged, and adults sensitively encourage each child to do as much as possible for themselves, whilst monitoring closely to ensure safety, and to thwart frustration.

Staff promote British values by nurturing their respect for each other, and celebrating diversity. Pupils are encouraged to share, and take turns with equipment. Early skills of tolerance, kindness and resilience are actively modelled and encouraged by staff. Decision making in our environment involves providing the necessary means of communication to our pupils, most of whom have severe language delay. An ethos of mutual respect and tolerance is evident in Sunshine class.

Leadership and Management

At Southview we create an inclusive atmosphere where every child can achieve, irrespective of their disability. We view each child holistically, and a programme of support which encompasses learning through play, combined with therapies such as physiotherapy and Speech and Language support, and music therapy, is available for each child.

Leaders ensure that staff have the relevant qualifications and training to work in the setting. Two staff hold the paediatric first aid certificate, and three are qualified nursery nurses. Training is being provided by the Specialist Teacher for children with Visual Impairments.

Leaders ensure that teachers and support staff maintain high standards through termly lesson observations and learning walks, and any improvements are based on this evaluation. Our latest Ofsted report (February 2017) made the following observations;

Teachers have a thorough understanding of the early years foundation profile, and have adapted this so they can show the individual steps that children achieve towards the wider early years goals.

The EYFS leads are included in regular phase meetings in the Primary department where collaborative planning is done and children causing concern are discussed, either because their progress requires investigation, or they are making rapid progress and need to be stretched.

Pupils at Southview get the best possible start to their school life in Sunshine class. They have the opportunity to mix with older pupils at the school during assembly times, and they are always included in Christmas and Easter performances for parents along with the rest of the Primary Phase. Moving up a class is transitioned well; new staff are fully trained in individual approaches and medical issues, and is as seamless as possible for each pupil.

‘The interaction between staff in the different phases in the school means that the children are well supported to move into Year 1, and do so with little concern or distress’ (Ofsted, February 2017)

One of the Leads is also a Deputy Safeguarding lead for the school and has level 3 training. All other staff have been trained in how to protect children in our care from radicalisation and extremism through the ‘prevent’ policy. British values are taught through allowing children a voice in decision making about their environment and what they choose to do.

At Southview we have a multi-agency approach to our work with each pupil, owing to the complexity of their disabilities. Leaders work in partnership with other agencies, parents, and with the Specialist Teacher Team. The advisory teacher for the Visually impaired works alongside the pupils and staff offering her expertise. Speech therapy and physiotherapy occur as part of a pupil’s daily life and are interwoven into the fabric of their day. An occupational therapist is also available to give advice on equipment and positioning, and some sensory issues.
The environment in the classroom is being continually adapted to meet the needs of pupils and this requires good planning and sensitivity to the individual needs of each pupil to be taken into account. This includes the outdoor area which is fully utilised.
Pupils are encouraged to achieve as much independence as possible, and this will look different for every child. Leaders have a passion that every child will be treated as an individual and will develop the physical, social, and communication skills they needs to be able to lead as independent a life as possible in the future. This important work begins in the first class at Southview.
Leaders ensure that all staff are knowledgeable on EYFS current legislation and practice, and staff have visited other EYFS provisions judged to be outstanding to learn and to share good practice

New members of staff are trained by the nursery leads in the Early Learning Goals and how to assess against them. They are trained in how to capture the tiny steps of progress that our learners make, and use it to plan for future activities.
There is currently one child for whom we receive pupil premium funding. Leaders ensure that targeted support is put into place for these children, and lesson observations both in the classroom, and with those providing the support, continue to show good and outstanding practice at all times. The impact of funding is carefully measured and has been shown to be very beneficial for them.

Leaders work alongside parents and carers to set challenging yet realistic targets for each child to enable them to make the best start to their school lives.

Parental Views

Parents/carers are invited each term to a parents meeting after school hours to discuss their child’s progress. They are also invited in for informal gatherings such as coffee mornings, where they are able to meet other parents. Parent’s views are gathered via a questionnaire which is sent out every year, and they are encouraged to contribute to the EHCP transfer meetings and subsequent reviews. During these, specific issues can be addressed and future objectives and targets worked on collaboratively.

In addition to this, one of the nursery leaders runs a School for Parents. This meets one morning a week to support families of pre-school children with motor and associated learning difficulties. Well-planned activities which meet the targets laid out in the EYFS are provided, and this gives parents/carers an opportunity to share support and information with each other. Parental feedback from this has shown, unanimously, that they consider it to be an outstanding extra provision.

‘I love SFP; it is a lifeline for us. Not only do they support XXX but me as well. They offer advice, support with therapy and a forum for honest chat between parents’

‘It’s amazing, so much support and good advice’

(Parents responses via questionnaire, July 2019)

Parents have an opportunity to stand for election as a school Governor. There are currently no parents/carers from the EYFS on the Governing body.

Pupils give their views if they are able to, and staff will scribe for them/make contributions on their behalf if this is appropriate as part of the review process. Staff know the pupils in the class extremely well, and a wealth of opportunities are given throughout the day for them to make choices. Giving each child ‘a voice’ is actively encouraged. Our pupils use a wide variety of means to communicate, including sound, gesture, facial expression, objects of reference, signs, symbols and electronic devices.
We work closely with the Specialist Teacher Team, in particular those who are able to support pupils with visual and multi-sensory impairment. They offer both staff training and direct work with appropriate pupils. They also offer an annual ‘drop-in’ session for parents to offer advice.
Pupils will also be assessed by the physiotherapist, occupational therapist and Speech and Language therapist, and individual programmes put into place to support each learner as appropriate.

Overall Effectiveness

Leaders consider that our EYFS provision is good and rapidly moving towards outstanding.

Covid Response

During the Summer Term 2020, all the children in Sunshine group stayed at home, with one pupil returning for a few sessions towards the end of that term. Staff in Sunshine Class offered activities every day during lockdown virtually, including sensory stories and TacPac. Some were group activities, some were individual, and a service was also offered to the pre-school cohort through School for Parents. Since returning, class leads have worked creatively to return to the full curriculum offer despite having a shortened day with a staggered start. (October 2020). A Covid Action Plan has been created in conjunction with school leaders which has identified priorities moving forward, to continue to ensure a high quality education.

 

EYFS Curriculum

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is how the Government and early years professionals describe the time in a child’s life between birth and age 5. The EYFS Framework explains how and what your child will be learning to support their healthy development.

Your child will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development. Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development

These prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning. As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas. These are:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Espressive arts and design
  •  

These 7 areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting your child will make sure that the activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. This is a little bit like a curriculum in primary and secondary schools, but it's suitable for very young children, and it's designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child's unique needs and interests. Children in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.

The EYFS class has a high ratio of staff to children. The education team form part of a wider multidisciplinary team with speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and medical staff. Together this team works very closely with parents to create individual learning and care programmes for children. We value the knowledge parents have about their children and recognise the importance of supporting children’s learning and development at home as well as at school.

Mathematics

Numbers:

  • Using rhymes, songs and practical activities pupils develop their understanding of numbers
  • Working within their own unique area of development pupils are encouraged to work on the next step for them

Shape, Space & Measure:

  • Pupils hear and experience language about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare objects and solve problems
  • Each child works on this at their own level of development
  • Alternative Augmentative Communication resources are used depending on individual needs to support understanding and expression

Literacy

Reading & Writing:

  • Class themed books are bought to life throughout the half-term. Pupils use a sensory, cross curriculum approach to enable them to understand and learn the context of stories and words. They are engaged in the context of the story through a hands-on approach which brings the context of the book alive
  • Individual and small group activities are set to ensure each individual is able to develop at their own level
  • Literacy activities are incorporated into the EYFS curriculum

Communication and Language

Listening and attention:

  • Develop listening skills in a range of situations
  • Developing their attention to what others ay and developing their ability to respond appropriately
  • Build their skills to listen and attend to stories, key events, key activities in their routine and respond to comments, questions and actions

Understanding:

  • Develop pupils ability to follow instructions using appropriate resources to enable them to understand ideas and actions and be able to respond

Speaking:

  • Develop individual means to express themselves effectively

Working closely with families, the school multidisciplinary team will identify and implement the most appropriate Alternative Augmentative Communication resources to support the individual’s understanding and expressive needs.

Expressive Arts and Design

Exploring & using media and materials:

  • Through songs, singing, music therapy, music, drama, and exploration pupils safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques

Being Imaginative:

  • Through creative aspects of the curriculum, dance, role play and drama pupils will learn about uses and purpose of media and materials

Understanding the World

People and communities:

  • To develop their understanding of themselves within their family, their class and their school; to recognise and celebrate special events To understand that other children and families do and enjoy different things Understand they have similarities and differences

The World:

  • Develop understanding of similarities and differences of places, objects, materials and living things

Technology:

Recognise and use a range of technology and understand how this can help them

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Making Relationships:

  • Forming positive relationships with adults and other children

Self-confidence and self-awareness:

  • Developing confidence to try new things and express their likes and dislikes
  • Developing their ownership of their learning, sharing ideas, choosing resources and saying when they do and do not need help

Managing feelings & Behaviour:

  • Understanding their own feelings and that of others
  • Work as part of a group, in class and developing understanding of themselves in these setting

Physical Development

Moving and handling:

  • Develop pupils control and co-ordination in large and small movements developing independence and self initiation in all possible movement activities and actions Use appropriate equipment and tools effectively

Health and self-care:

  • Individual physical needs, nutritional needs and safety are planned for with families and other health care professionals who together ensure the pupil is supported to thrive and be as independent as possible in all aspects of self-care