How do Stowmarket Children’s Centres cater for children and families with special educational needs and/or disability?
Children's Centres are for families with children under five. In Suffolk we have combined our Children’s Centres and our Health Visiting Teams, as we believe this will provide you with the best care and support. The Health and Children's Centre teams are made up of Health Visitors, Staff Nurses, Family Support Practitioners and Support and Information officers.
The Stowmarket Children’s Centres are committed to promoting and providing high quality learning and play opportunities. We believe in valuing and respecting each individual in a welcoming, accessible and inclusive environment. The centre has an equal opportunity policy which is reviewed annually. We offer a range of universal and targeted support and services which are designed to meet the needs of all users.
Where possible, all of our group activities are planned to meet individual children’s needs. We work within the Early Years Foundation Stage framework, and will aim to capture evidence of your child’s progress as she/he attends the centre. Play sessions will offer activities which can be adapted to meet individual’s needs. All of our toys are suitable for children aged 0 to 5 years and we have a range of specialist resources, including sensory equipment.
We offer a range of parenting courses and groups to help support parents in managing their children’s needs and possible challenging behaviours. Please see our timetable for a full list of groups. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
How will staff support my child's needs?
Staff are available during our activities and can offer help and support as required. One-to-one support is available for families in the home and we will work in partnership with you and other agencies in helping you to meet your child’s and your family’s needs. Your child is at the heart of our service, and should you require additional help, we will work with you to help identify any areas of concern, ensuring your child’s wishes and feelings are at the centre of the support.
We are trained to use the Common Assessment Framework to ensure that we are able to undertake a thorough assessment of your child’s needs, recognising and building on his / her strengths.
Information, advice and guidance is available and we can help to signpost you to other relevant local services and support as required. These can include:
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) which provides information, advice and support to young people and children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) or disabilities aged 0-25 and their parents, about education, health and social care.
Suffolk Early Learning Together Service
Speech and Language Therapists
Behavioural Support Services
When it is time for your child to start attending nursery or school, we can support you in the transition period as we know that this can be both a challenging and an emotional time.
We work closely with other agencies in the community and have good links with Stowmarket Opportunity Group, which offers families a range of support services and where children with Special Educational Needs can access play activities. We jointly run a ‘Sing and Sign’ group, held at the Stowmarket Opportunity Group on Friday mornings.
Each week, two Quality and Access Advisors run a ‘Little Stars’ group at Acorns Children's Centre to support parents whose children have social communication difficulties.
What arrangements are in place to ensure that Stowmarket Children’s Centres are accessible for children and families with special educational needs and/or disability?
Our Children’s Centres are fully accessible from all entrances and exits.
Our outdoor play areas have ramped access and consist of some concreted areas, softer outdoor flooring and grass. Within the centres we have accessible toilets with baby change facilities. All of the rooms have a mixture of vinyl non slip flooring and / or carpeted areas.
The furniture within our three centres is entirely moveable and adaptable allowing us the flexibility of creating and moving spaces if required. All resources and equipment are displayed at child-height, and are fully accessible, allowing children to make independent choices about their play.
What training or experience do the staff supporting children and young people with SEND have?
The Children’s Centres are inclusive settings with staff who are experienced and trained in early years care and education.
Staff training includes:
ECAT – Every Child a Talker
Autism Awareness and supporting families
WelComm – staff are trained to undertake WelComm (Speech & Language) assessments and support parents in helping their child’s language development
Elklan – training to support staff working with children with speech, language and communication needs
Relationships build brains
Build and maintain relationships
Characteristics of effective learning
Children, trauma and violence
Helping parents who misuse substances
Incredible years 0-5
Ages and Stages assessments
Schedule of Growing Skills Assessments
Staff can also refer to community paediatricians, speech and language therapists, audiologists, physiotherapists and the early years team.