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Hello again,


A little boy (who is now a rising 5), started our Pre-school in October 2003. He is a lovely lad and over time we have got to know him quite well. Mum stayed with him throughout the session for a few months while he became more familiar with our setting. He had not attended any other setting in the past as mum felt he was not yet ready for this.


He has little speech, cannot negotiate steps without help, makes little eye contact with other children, however he makes eye contact with the other adults, does not interact at all with the children and needs adult support, otherwise he is lost. We are finding it difficult to give him this as we have 26 (the maximum amount) attending daily.


Our SENCO offered advice concerning the procedures for the implementation of a statement of sen, and informed mum that this would help her son as then we could have another member of staff to help him as he really needs quite a lot of support. And could put into place an IEP for him with the support of other professionals as we can only do so much to help him.


She is a lovely mum and has been very relaxed about all this in the past, however she has now made it quite clear to us that she does not want to go down this road as it would entail him seeing too many professionals, and this would be too much for him.


Mum has got in touch with the local school regarding him commencing school in September 2005 instead of 2004 and they have agreed. He will now attend our pre-school for an extra year as she believes this will give him time to catch up, as she feels he is learning much more by being with our children and us than he would from any other professionals, very flattering. This puts us in an exhausting situation as he needs much more time with adults, and the other children are receiving less and less adult attention. Where do we proceed with this situation. Does anybody have any answers? (Mum is absolutely adamant about this). The number of children for September are high.



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Hi there Angie, what a dilemma for you.


I wouldnt pretend to have all the answers on this, just my gut reaction to your situation.


When is he 5? I am assuming soon.


First of all I wouldnt have thought that you were under any obligation to take (or keep) children once they reach 5. In the term following his 5th birthday, he should legally be in school, unless he is being 'home educated' and home educators can give more information on the logistics of this.


I am somewhat surprsied at the apparent reaction of the school- I cant see that they would just ' agree' to him starting school a year later without knowing more. Is the mum aware that if he starts school a year later, he would go into year 1 and not reception. The school would have to do an awful lot to keep him in reception (as we have done on occasions), but there are all sorts of issues over entitlement. And how would he cope with year 1?


It is possible for a child to be educatde elswhere but still be on a school register (we have that sitaution now), but there would have to be a good reason for that. If there has been no IEP, or any steps towards a statementing process, then the school would want to know why. I would be very concerned about that.


Im not suggesting that school is necessarily the best place for him. You are obvioulsy doing a great job with him, and mum apreciates all the effort you have put in. But the logistics are not as simple as all that. You also have to meet the needs of the other children in your care, you have to take their situation into account too. Im sure we all have occasions like that.


Could I strongly urge you to contact the school yourself, explaining the situation, and asking what they think. Do you have an area SENCO that you could also talk to.


Im sure other memebrs who have been in this sitaution will be able to say more.

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Oh dear ANgie poor you, what a tricky situation.


I don't know that I can offer constructive advice but several things came to mind.


I have never been in the position of having a 5yr old in pre-school and wonder would it contravene your registration? I know our registration had to be changed as we wanted to accept children from 2yrs 3mths instead of two and a half.


Assuming the registration is Ok or that it can be changed to accommodate the little chap - what about all the policies? It isn't ideal that the rest of the group will suffer due to the amount of adult input for one child. He sounds as though he needs one to one support and therefore an extra member of staff required.


Of course you have to consider Mums feelings but I don't know that the SENCO can ignore the Code of Practice. It sounds as though he should already be on Early Years Action with an IEP in place (if not action plus)


I know this is difficult when Mum is adamant it is not what she wants but for the childs benefit I dont think the current situation can continue.


It's easy for me to speculate and I realise what a diffiuclt position you are in. If it were me I would have another word with MUm, firm but kind and show you understand and accept her point of view but to be able to best help her son the pre-school needs one to one that you cannot continue to give with your current staffing levels.


Maybe she has a vision of loads of professionals bursting in and overwhelming her and her son. Probably, naturally a little bit of fear of the unknown on Mums part. Perhaps its a case of one thing at a time, seeking support for his particular difficulites, for example maybe just a speech therapist to start with ?


I hope that Mum will come to see that you are trying to work with her and help her son as much as possible.


It may be a case of saying you have little choice due to the policies of the pre-school , SEN code of practice etc but emphasising how much you want to support her son


A delicate and sensitive situation and no easy answers - I do hope it is resolved and results in a happy co-operative mum with her son getting the help he really needs.


Sorry this isnt much help - good luck and let us know how you get on.

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Hi Angie


I would agree with the others contact the school (i cannot believe they agreed so readily with him starting a year later) and also what does your registration say (ours is 2 1/2 to 5) so we would have to contact Ofsted if we wanted to keep a child on above that.

We had a similar situation a year ago but basically i had to tell mum that if she wanted her son to come to our pre school we would need the extra help of a one to one else we phyically couldnt accomodate her child.

She eventually agreed and now could be no happier with the progess her child has made.

Talk to your senco or area senco and get some help.... :D

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It is a delicate situation which obviously you must have been handling well to gain mums confidence. As far as I'm aware children have to start "school" term after fifth birthday unless home educated. As part of your obligation to the child and famiy if you have to offer anything extra to your usual curriculum or in a way not normally used then you do need to start early years action, if the targets set on the IEP are been met then they may be no need to call on outside agencies. But maybe mum can see how invaluable the advice and support would be in helping her child to continue to make progress.

How would mum feel about the local health visitor coming into visit the little boy at pre-school?

Anyway I hope it all works out well for you.

as a pre-school we regularly have children aged five and they start at full time school but it is easier because there are usually six or seven of them

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Thanks for the advice everyone,


The supervisor (who is new to the supervisors job and is leaving in July) is also the senco, they have agreed to this arrangement. I shall look up the registration tomorrow. Also will find out his exact date of birth. If the registration states 3 - 5 years of age, does this mean a child who has just turned 5 and no more. Sorry to ask all these questions but I'm neither the senco nor the supervisor. Just the deputy.


An Early Years Action! I'm sorry but I don't know what this is or how to go about it. Perhaps the supervisor's gone down this road. I'll ask her tomorrow, delicately without treading on toes! I'll have a look in the code of practice in the office tomorrow. Although it's a heck of a lot of reading though.




Angie :)

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Hi Angie


Sorry I used the term Early Years Action without any explanation.


Under the terms of the SEN Code of Practice pre-schools should adopt "The graduated approach"


It is literally a gradual development of support for children.


Early Years Action comes into play when practitioners or the SENCO identify a child as having Special Educational Needs.


There still seems to be some confusion over what "SEN" is, there does not have to be an official diagnosis to implement the code of practice. It is more a case of identifying a child has particular or specific needs that cannot be met as part of the settings usual curriculum/policies/strategies. Often by implementing Early Years Action and an IEP a child can progress/develop to such a stage that he no longer needs additional support. Likewise with the best will in the world an accurate IEP may not succeed and it could be necessary to seek support from outside agencies which is the progression to Early YEars action plus.


I have not been involved in the full statementing process of a pre-school child but know others on this forum have and am sure they can explain more about it than I can.


A child is considered to have special educational needs if the setting has to provide interventions that are ADDITIONAL to or DIFFERENT from those provided as part of the setting's usual curriculum.


If I understood you message correctly then this is the case with the little boy in question. Your setting is giving him far more individual attention and support than would normally be given (that's not a criticism!)


The fact that the little boy requires considerable one to one adult support would be sufficient grounds for implementing Early Years Action. (Well, that is just my personal opinion!) In my pre-school, as SENCO, I would strongly recommend putting such a child on Early Years Action with an individual educational plan (IEP)


Again apologies for not saying what Early Years Action was! It's awful to read a post with terms/abbreviations you don't understand. I have met some new ones on here and I think someone started a list somewhere but not sure where!

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Hi Angie,

A really awkward situation, but I think it could be resolved by getting in touch with your Learning Support Service. They can either be found through the area SENCO, your EYDCP, or the Educational Psychologists linked to your LEA. This does not mean that you would be going down the statementing route, but rather asking for advice from qualified SEN teachers who may (as they do here in East Sussex) have funding to help pay towards a 1-1 for your little boy. The funding is not great (we get £12.48 per session) but it certainly has made a difference to the behaviours of our 2 SEN children, and the rest of the staff and children have also benefitted.

One other thing that came to mind; have you got an easy-to-read guide to SEN for your parents? We wrote one last year, just explaining what SEN could be, what help is available, what the statementing process is all about, and , most importantly, a bit about how everything remains in the control of the parents. I think, as you intimated above, many parents feel that once the ball has started to roll, they can't stop it. If they feel that they will be consulted and their opinions valued at every stage, thay may feel more in control, and therefore able to agree to your wishes to seek help from outside agencies.

If this were happening in my nursery, (and a very similar thing has!)I would try everything to persuade the mum to agree, and if all this failed, seriously consider saying that the little boy's hours/number of sessions would have to be reduced because the nursery couldn't cope with him without extra support. This worked for me! I don't like making threats of this kind, but as the others have said, you have other children and other staff to consider too. :)

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