Special Needs Inclusion Programme



Enabling more children to thrive in their nurseries.

We provide early support and inclusion to increase children’s independence, confidence and development.

The Special Needs Inclusion Programme (SNIP) supports preschool children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) access mainstream private nurseries and preschools.

You can find more information about the programme’s mission and aims on the SNIP page for childcare professionals.  

Any child from birth to school age with an additional need accessing a private nursery or preschool setting.  The main criteria is that the child is accessing support through two professional agencies e.g. Speech and Language Therapy, Early Years Inclusion Team, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy.

To read more of the impact of the project see our page on Raphael’s Story.

This is Harry

This short video clip helps show our work.  Support Worker, Mel, is employed by us to work alongside Harry (3 years old) to enable him to learn and play with his friends.  Without our support, Harry wouldn’t be able to access a day nursery or preschool.

A parent, professional or childcare practitioner can refer a child using a Referral Form from the Trust.  All referrals must have the parent’s consent and signature.

Once the referral is received, the Special Needs Support and Development Coordinator will ring the child’s parent/parents to discuss the process if the form has been filled in by a professional/practitioner.  She may also speak/visit the child at their childcare setting and observe any areas of need.  A report, including any recommendations from professionals involved with the child, is then presented to the Programme’s Steering Group (which happens every 6-8 weeks).

The Steering Group membership is:

  • Area Inclusion Coordinator of the Programme
  • Educational Psychologist (Education Department)
  • Early Years Area SENCO (Education Department)
  • Health Visitor (Family Nursing & Home Care)
  • Parent Partnership Officer (Education Department)
  • Parent Partnership Officer (Health Department)
  • Preschool Manager

The Steering Group then decides how many hours of support per week the child will need and this is confirmed with the childcare setting and parent in writing.

Each child is assigned a Support Worker who works on targets set by the Health and Development professionals involved.  Hours of support vary from 5 hours to 20 hours a week, depending upon the needs of the child and the setting.  The hours of support are agreed in consultation with parents, Health and Development professionals and the setting itself.  These are reviewed every 6-8 weeks at our Steering Group meeting.

Once support has been agreed, we will assign the child a Support Worker and arrange for the family to meet with them before support begins.

All our Support Workers have a minimum Level Three Childcare qualification, training in Safeguarding, First Aid, SPELL and basic Signing.  Some of our support workers also have training in Tracheostomy care, Peg feeding and PECS communication.

A day in the life of a Support Worker will give you an insight into the role.

Information about each child’s progress is regularly gathered from professionals involved, the childcare setting, the support worker and parents.  Support is then reviewed every 6-8 weeks using this information, at the Project’s Steering Group meeting.

If you have more questions about eligibility or this process, please call us.

Raphael is a non-verbal, autistic boy, who had had limited social exposure due to his high anxiety levels in social settings.  With support from SNIP, he began at a mainstream nursery with constant one-to-one support and for the first time since his diagnosis his mother felt she no longer had to fear for his future.

First steps

Raphael is a very affectionate little boy obsessed with logos, which he eagerly seeks out in magazines and points to on cars.  While he is good at making eye contact, he communicates entirely through touch, sign and gesture.

In April 2015, the professionals working with the family thought it would be hugely beneficial for Raphael to be in a nursery environment.  Up until that point he had had limited exposure to social settings due to his anxiety levels in such situations.

With the support from the Special Needs Inclusion Project, Raphael started at a mainstream nursery setting.  With funding acquired for him to attend nursery for eight hours a week, SNIP was able to offer him one-to-one support for the entire time.  Without this, Raphael simply would not have been able to cope in the busy nursery setting.

This was also a huge step for his parents whose many anxieties included his ability simply to communicate his needs to adults other than themselves.

Settling into nursery

Raphael started nursery in June 2015 after a number of home visits and settling in sessions.  When Raphael started he had to spend the first 15-20 minutes outside on his own with his support worker before he was prepared to come into the setting with the other children.  Initially he would not eat at nursery and would need a range of sensory toys to soothe him.

With intense support and the use of visual aids, Raphael began to learn the routine of the setting.  He became more tolerant of the other children and started to join in at snack time.  Raphael’s parents decided to keep him at the setting for his preschool year and in September 2015 he started to attend five mornings a week with full support.  During a progress meeting in the October his mother explained to us that for the first time since his diagnosis she was not fearful for Raphael’s future.  She could now be excited about the path ahead and her anxieties about him starting school were no longer a concern.

No longer fearing the future

By the time Raphael left nursery in August 2016, he was coming straight into the setting every morning, waving goodbye to his mum and heading straight to the book corner (his favourite area of the nursery).  He joined the other children for carpet time and ate his lunch independently with his friends.  He loved going out on nursery trips and was starting to makes requests (through the use of Pictorial Exchange Communications or PECs).  His support had been reduced from 20 hours a week to 15.  A year earlier this scenario had been unthinkable.

A fresh step in the right direction

Raphael is now at Mont à L’Abbé school, supported by Sophie Picot.  He moved with another child from his nursery who has been receiving support through the project and coped exceedingly well with the transition.  His use of signs to communicate has continued to increase as has his ability to respond to visual cues.  He is also increasingly babbling during play, using sounds with real intonation.  He engages other children and enjoys turn-taking activities with his support worker and a friend.

Raphael’s mother says she cannot believe how far he has come and she feels that the Trust has been fundamental in this change.

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