‘Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met, and when they have positive relationships with the adults caring for them.’ EYFS Statutory Framework 2017.
We aim to create a welcoming, safe and stimulating environment in which children are able to enjoy learning and grow in confidence.
Keeping children safe is our first priority. Our Safeguarding policy outlines the procedures that we follow in order to ensure that we respond appropriately to any concerns.
Jane Draper is the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) for the whole school.
Eleanor Moody is the DSL for the EYFS and an additional DSL for the main school.
All staff take part in annual safeguarding training so that they stay up to date with local and national requirements and are able to offer appropriate support to children and families when they most need it.
Staff at St Teresa’s undergo a series of checks before they are permitted to work with children, as outlined in the EYFS Statutory Framework. This includes DBS checks and references from previous employers.
Staff qualifications, training and skills
Staff working in the early years need to understand child development in order to provide the right support to children at the right time. The mix of qualifications and experience that staff at St Teresa’s Pre-School bring to the class ensures that your child is supported to make rapid progress in our care.
Our qualified and experienced staff undertake appropriate training and professional development opportunities to ensure they offer quality learning and development experiences for children. Reflective practice combines with training and enables us to provide a service that continuously improves.
Paediatric First Aid training
Illnesses and accidents can happen at any time. For this reason, all permanent Pre-School staff are qualified to Level 3 in paediatric first aid. This exceeds the requirements of the EYFS (2017) which state that: ‘At least one person who has a current paediatric first aid (PFA) certificate must be on the premises and available at all times when children are present, and must accompany children on outings.’ Most importantly, it ensures that we have staff on hand who can respond quickly and effectively in an emergency.
A child’s key person is an important element of our approach explained here.
The EYFS Statutory Framework (2017) states that: ‘Providers must ensure that children are adequately supervised and decide how to deploy staff to ensure children’s needs are met.’ At St Teresa’s because of our commitment to children’s safety and progress, we always work well within required ratios. We take account of the changing needs of the children in our care as well as the activities in which they are participating and we make adjustments to staffing levels accordingly.
Children who feel unwell are often unable to manage their feelings and cope with the daily hustle and bustle. Whilst we understand how difficult it can be to find childcare at short notice, we respectfully request that you consider whether your child is well enough to access the learning opportunities that we offer, before you make the decision to bring a poorly child to school. Illness can spread quickly amongst very young children and we have a duty to protect the health of all children in our care.
In all cases, we ask that a child with a stomach upset (diarrhoea or vomiting) stays at home for at least 48 hours after the last episode. This ensures that children and staff are protected from contracting the illness.
Should your child become unwell in the course of the school day, we will contact you so that you can take him/her home. We will take great care of your child until you are able to collect him/her. Please be assured that, as working parents ourselves, we do not make the decision to call you without careful consideration. The immediate needs of your child are always our priority.
Please see our administering medicines policy. You should tell us if you child has been given medicine before school so that we understand any changes in behaviour as the medicine wears off.
Accidents and illness
When first aid has been administered, we record the details to share with you at the end of the day. In some cases, especially head injuries, we may call you at the time of the accident so that you know what has happened and can make arrangements for care as necessary. Please see our First Aid Policy for more detailed information.
If your child arrives at school with an injury, we ask that you complete an existing injury record because this enables us to make arrangements for care and support for your child.
Food and drink
Please refer to the section on food and drink.
If your child has an allergy, intolerance or any special dietary requirements, please let a member of staff know so that we can adjust our provision accordingly.
At St Teresa’s Pre-School, we promote a healthy diet and a healthy ‘relationship’ with food. Food is a very emotive subject and we ask that you discuss any concerns you may have about your child’s diet at school with a member of staff.
We do not allow children to share sweets and cakes with their friends on their birthday. This decision was made in response to concerns from parents, especially when several children have birthdays close together. We celebrate birthdays and help each child to enjoy their special day – we just do it without the sugar!
Children’s behaviour can sometimes have an impact on our ability to keep them and others safe. We work with you and with the children to promote positive behaviour, using a range of strategies, but never using or threatening corporal punishment (see our Behaviour Management and Exclusion Policy).
We offer workshops to support families to create an environment in which children understand and can work within given boundaries. Children who are anxious or displaying negative behaviours need consistent support. Developing a partnership between home and school enables us to provide the structure that they need to make the right choices independently. This is essential for learning, now and in the future.
Promoting positive behaviour in young children – Guidance for parents is a useful guide that’s full of advice and pointers for improving behaviour.
Safety and suitability of premises, environment and equipment
Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility. As a team, we, the Pre-School staff, are constantly reviewing our provision, with the current children’s needs in mind, and making adjustments to keep them safe.
We operate in a purpose-built school environment. We carry out termly risk assessments of the premises and areas of provision that may be risk ‘hot-spots.’ On a daily basis, we check the premises inside and outside for factors that might impact on our ability to keep children (and adults) safe. Where potential risks are identified, we take action to minimise or remove hazards.
Supporting children to manage risk
“HSE fully recognises that play brings the world to life for children. It provides for an exploration and understanding of their abilities; helps them to learn and develop; and exposes them to the realities of the world in which they will live, which is a world not free from risk but rather one where risk is ever present. The opportunity for play develops a child’s risk awareness and prepares them for their future lives.” HSE 2012
As adults, we have relatively clear ideas about risk and danger. This enables us to assess whether or not something new or different is worth trying. Young children have a narrower range of experiences on which to draw and as a result they sometimes appear to have limited awareness of danger. Learning how to assess risk and keep safe is essential and, at St Teresa’s, we have created an environment where children learn how to assess risk, take measured risks and make informed choices.
“Play is great for children’s well-being and development. When planning and
providing play opportunities, the goal is not to eliminate risk, but to weigh up the risks and benefits. No child will learn about risk if they are wrapped in cotton wool.” HSE 2012
Listening to the voice of the child
Children who feel that their views are important are more able to talk about the things that make them feel uncomfortable. At St Teresa’s, children’s views are important. We include their ideas when we plan activities, taking account of their current interests and of their concerns. As we observe children, we look at how they use the environment and make adjustments based on their needs. Children are encouraged to express their thoughts and ideas through painting and crafts, music, in conversation and in play. Allowing children this freedom enables them to develop their thinking skills and to feel confident about contributing to the world in which they are growing up.
Fundamental British Values
As a school, we have a statutory duty to promote Fundamental British Values.
There are so many dangers outside our front doors and we all take steps to protect children from unknown danger in the wider world… and then we give them access to the internet, often with very little protection. Children who have a quick play on the phone in the waiting room or while you are getting dinner could potentially, even if they are not yet reading, access material that could harm them. It is important, even for very young children, that we provide them with the knowledge, skills and understanding that will keep them safe.
At St Teresa’s Pre-School, we often talk about keeping safe online, with the most important aspect being asking for help if something unexpected appears on screen. We also use stories to begin to educate children about keeping safe online. For example, we talk about the fox in The Gingerbread Man who pretended to be kind or the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood who dressed up as Grandma – these are stories that have been helping children to stay safe for many years and they are just as relevant in the 21st century when we are talking about e-safety.
For more information about e-safety, we encourage you to visit Thinkuknow, the education programme from NCA-CEOP (National Crime Agency – Child Exploitation and Online Protection).
Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
All children are entitled to an education that enables them to achieve the best possible educational, and other, outcomes and become confident young children, with a growing ability to communicate their own views and to make the transition into compulsory education.
There are many factors that can impact on children’s progress and learning; some can be temporary, for example, a cold might reduce hearing for a while or a house move might leave a child feeling anxious. We often notice that children’s capacity to learn is reduced around 5th November when fireworks have disturbed their sleep. Other factors may have an impact over time and may need a little extra support, but we make sure that all children receive the help that they need at the time that they need it so that every child can make progress and achieve their potential.
At St Teresa’s, ongoing assessment by our experienced staff enables us to monitor children’s progress and identify any gaps that may become barriers to their learning. A regular ‘summative’ assessment in which progress over time is also monitored, gives a more detailed overview of any emerging difficulties. In some cases, St Teresa’s staff can work in partnership with parents to provide the right level of additional support so that the children can overcome these barriers. When this is not enough, we work in partnership with parents and other professionals to ensure that we can access the expertise that we need to support the child. This is the graduated approach to supporting children with SEN and disabilities and ensures that there is no delay in making any necessary special educational provision. Delay can give rise to later learning difficulty and can have a negative effect on a child’s self-esteem, causing frustration in learning and potential behaviour difficulties. When gaps in learning are identified early and acted on quickly, there is a positive impact on future progress and outcomes for children, thus helping them to be better prepared for adult life.