A Practical Guide to Pre-school Inclusion


Chris Dukes & Maggie Smith

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • About the Authors

    Chris Dukes is a qualified teacher with over 20 years experience. She has worked in various London Primary schools as a class teacher and later as a member of the Senior Management Team. Chris has a Masters degree in Special Needs and through her later role as a SENCO and support teacher, many years experience of working with children with a variety of needs. Chris has worked closely with staff teams, mentoring, advising and supervising work with children with additional needs, as well as with other education and health professionals. Chris currently works as an Area SENCO supporting Special Needs Co-ordinators and managers in a wide range of pre-school settings. As well as advising she writes courses, delivers training and produces publications.

    Maggie Smith began her career as a Nursery Teacher in Birmingham. She has worked as a Peripatetic teacher for an under 5s EAL Team and went on to become the Foundation Stage manager of an Early Years Unit in Inner London. Maggie helped to set up an innovative unit for young children with behavioural difficulties and has also worked supporting families of children with special needs. Maggie has taught on Early Years BTEC and CACHE courses at a college of Higher Education. Maggie currently works as an Area SENCO supporting Special Needs Coordinators and managers in a wide range of pre-scool settings. As well as advising she also writes courses, delivers training and produces publications.


    View Copyright Page


    Thanks to our families, especially Jesse, Tom, Nina, Libby and Norman for their support and patience during the writing of this book. Thanks to Stephen Muller for his creative ideas and input. Thanks also to everybody who has supported us in this exciting new adventure.


    Overheard in the Supermarket Queue
    Mother 1:How's Tom?
    Mother 2:Oh, he's fine; he'll be starting nursery soon. He's really looking forward to it – he asks me every day when he is going to start.
    Mother 1:Which nursery is he going to?
    Mother 2:He's going to Perfect Children – it's just around the corner from where we live. Your Libby should be starting soon; where's she going to go?
    Mother 1:We haven't managed to find a place for her to go yet; all the local nurseries either say they're full or that they can't cope with her because of her condition. She's still in nappies and needs help with getting around.
    Mother 2:I can't believe that! Surely it's against the law for them to say that? Nowadays there is a lot of help and support available; haven't you heard the adverts on the radio about discrimination and the disabled? Nurseries aren't allowed to just turn children away. Especially your Libby – she's lovely. Have you tried Perfect Children?
    Mother 1:Yes I did go and have a look around but they didn't seem very keen to take her. I think it's because they would have had to make a few adjustments to the room. Anyway, I want her to go somewhere where she will be appreciated and I'll feel comfortable about leaving her. To be truthful I'm really upset about it.
    Mother 2:I'm really surprised about Perfect Children's attitude and I feel a bit disappointed. Tom and Libby have known each other since they were babies. I think I may have to reconsider where Tom goes you know.

    This is the sort of conversation that we hope would never happen. Sometimes, however, it does for many different reasons, the most common being that practitioners do not feel confident enough about meeting the needs of all children.

    A Practical Guide to Pre-School Inclusion sets out to allay some of the fears that surround working with children with additional needs. The straightforward step-by-step practical guide will demystify what is meant by inclusion. In our experience pre-school practitioners always want to do the best for the children in their care.

    By working your way through the book or by using the stand-alone chapters you will:

    • Understand the benefits of inclusion
    • Be aware of your legal responsibilities
    • Create inclusive policies
    • Develop inclusive play
    • Develop an inclusive environment
    • Plan for individuals with additional needs
    Pre-School Practitioners

    Each chapter will encourage you to reflect on your setting and identify and plan for improvement. You will be supported by examples of policies, formats to use for taking stock, and ideas for recording information. These can be used as presented in the book or adapted and personalised to suit your setting. The end-of-chapter activities will provide starting points for team discussion.

    Tutors and Students

    Through reading this book you will increase your awareness of the issues surrounding inclusion; you will begin to understand the legislation and develop your own current and future practice. The end-of-chapter activities can be used as short assignments.


    Use this book to support pre-schools to become more inclusive. Stand-alone chapters can be

    used as the basis of training or as an audit and planning tool.

    The end-of-chapter activities will provide discussion points for staff teams.

    A Note on the Text

    The case studies included in this publication are a composite of numerous children in various settings, compiled over the authors’ many years of experience, and are not specific to any one child, practitioner or setting.

    Throughout this book you will see this CD icon used this tells you that there is an electronic version of the material you are looking at available on the CD Rom that accompanies the book.

  • Glossary

    • Augmentative Communication: This is any system of communication which supports and complements the spoken word, such as Makaton.
    • Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA): Legislation which has applied to the provision of day care since 1996. The coverage of the DDA was extended by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act of 2001, to include education and associated services. From September 2002 it has been unlawful to discriminate against disabled children in the provision of any services.
    • Early Years Action: Part of the ‘graduated response’ outlined in the Code of Practice. When a child is identified by a practitioner and SENCO as having additional needs which require interventions that are additional to or different from those usually provided these are recorded in an Individual Education Plan.
    • Early Years Action Plus: Part of the graduated response outlined in the Code of Practice. When a child is identified as having a special educational need and advice and/or support is provided by outside specialists or professionals. Interventions which are additional to or different from the strategies provided at Early Years Action are put into place. An Individual Education Plan is written.
    • Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS): The proposed title of the early years curriculum which combines the Birth to Three Matters guidance and the Foundation Stage Curriculum.
    • Foundation Stage: The Foundation Stage begins when a child reaches three and lasts until the end of the school Reception year. There is a Foundation Stage Curriculum which pre-schools follow encompassing six areas of learning.
    • Graduated Response: A model of action and intervention designed to help children with special educational needs. It recognises that there is a continuum of needs which sometimes calls for increasing levels of specialist advice and support.
    • Individual Education Plan (IEP): This is a plan of action designed to meet the additional needs of individual children. It contains targets and strategies to help children meet those targets. It is a working document that is usually reviewed each term.
    • Makaton: A system of signs and symbols used to support those with speech and language difficulties.
    • Ofsted: The Office for Standards in Education is a government department. It takes responsibility for inspecting and reporting on the standards and performance of all educational settings.
    • Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO): The person responsible for the day-to-day operation of a setting's special needs policy and procedures.

    Appendix A

    Sample Admissions Policy

    Annual record of children with special or additional needs

    Weekly record of progress towards targets

    IEP/Review meeting checklist

    Appendix B: Contacts, Training and Resources

    Curriculum Guidance and Advice


    Sure Start

    Email: birth-to-3-matters.mailbox@dfes.gsi.gov.uk


    The Early Childhood Unit


    QCA (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority)

    Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage

    Sets of materials on diversity and inclusion


    Northern Ireland

    Pre-school guidance


    Children's services: Northern Ireland



    Scottish Qualifications Authority


    Children in Scotland


    Learning and Teaching Scotland



    Qualifications Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales


    Children in Wales


    Further Reading
    Department for Education and Skills (DfES) (2001) Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. Nottingham: DfES Publications.
    Disability Rights Commission (2001) SEN Disability Discrimination Act. London: DRC.
    Disability Rights Commission (2002) DDA Code of Practice: Rights of Access to Goods, Facilities, Services and Premises. London: DRC.
    National Children's Bureau (2003) Early Years and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995: What Service Providers Need to Know. London: NCB.
    Pre-school Learning Alliance (2004) Working Towards a Better Practice: Special Educational Needs and Impairments. London: Pre-school Learning Alliance.

    Also see end-of-chapter references


    Chris Dukes and Maggie Smith (authors of the Hands on Guides)


    Action for Leisure

    Tel: 020 8783 0173

    Email: enquiries@actionforleisure.org.uk

    Provides information, advice, training and publications


    50-52 Great Sutton Street

    London EC1V 0DJ

    Tel: 020 7490 9410 (administration)

    Tel: 0845 355 5577 (helpline)


    Alliance for Inclusive Education

    Unit 2, 70 South Lambeth Road

    London SW8 1RL

    Tel: 020 7735 5277


    British Council of Disabled People

    Litchurch Plaza

    Litchurch Lane

    Derby DE24 8AA

    Tel: 01332 295551


    British Diabetic Association UK

    10 Parkway


    London NW1 7AA

    Tel: 020 7424 1000


    Brittle Bone Society

    30 Guthrie Street

    Dundee DD1 5BS

    Tel: 01382 204446


    Centre for Accessible Environments

    Nutmeg House

    60 Gainford Street

    London SE1 2NY

    Tel: 020 7357 8182


    Children in Scotland

    5 Shandwick Place

    Edinburgh EH3 4RG

    Tel: 0131 228 8484


    Disabled Living Foundation

    Tel: 020 7829 6111

    The DFL offers a free advice service on specialist equipment to people with impairments and their carers

    Down's Syndrome Association

    155 Mitcham Road

    London SW17 9PG

    Tel: 020 8682 4001


    Dyspraxia Foundation

    8 West Alley


    Hertfordshire SG5 1EG

    Tel: 01462 454986


    Epilepsy Action

    Tel: 0113 210 8800



    117-123 Golden Lane

    London EC1Y 0RT

    Tel: 020 7454 0454


    Muscular Dystrophy Campaign

    Tel: 020 7720 8055


    National Association of Toy and Leisure Libraries

    Tel: 020 7387 9592

    Email: admin@natl.ukf.net

    National Autistic Society

    393 City Road

    London EC1V 1NG

    Tel: 020 7833 299


    National Deaf Children's Society

    Tel: 0808 800 8880


    Information, training and advice

    National Early Years Network

    77 Holloway Road

    London N7 8JZ

    Tel: 020 7607 9573

    Parents for Inclusion

    Unit 2

    70 South Lambeth Rd

    London SW81RL

    Tel: 0208 7735 7735

    Pre-school Learning Alliance

    Tel: 0208 7833 0991 (National)



    Tel: 0845 1306225


    Advice and support for children with hand and arm deficiencies

    Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB)

    105 Judd Street

    London WC1H 9NE

    Tel: 020 7388 1266


    Advice, support and information for parents and carers the blind and partially sighted

    Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID)

    19-23 Featherstone Street

    London EC1Y 8SL

    Tel: 020 7296 8199



    6 Market Road

    London N7 9PW

    Tel: 0808 800 3333


    Sickle Cell Society

    54 Station Road

    London NW10 4UA

    Tel: 020 7272 7774



    Tel: 0208 7233 600

    Email: info@whizz-kidz.org.uk

    Whizz-Kidz is a national charity aimed at improving independence for children with mobility difficulties.


    Toys, Play Equipment and Furniture

    Davies Sports (Sports equipment suitable for all children)

    Tel: 0845 1204515


    Edventure Playtime Games (Specialists in playground games)

    Tel: 01323 501040



    Tel: 01799 530412

    Email: fledglings@btinternet.com

    Formative Fun (Equipment and information on toys and games to support children with a wide variety of needs)

    Tel: 0845 8900609


    Fun Junction (Toys and equipment to look at before purchase)

    Tel: 08700 423584


    HELO (Childcare products – baby change/high-chairs and seats)

    Tel: 01284 772400


    James Leckey Designs

    Tel: 0800 318265



    Tel: 0114 285 3376


    Happy Puzzle Company (Purpose-built puzzles and games especially good for children with dyspraxia)

    Tel: 0870 873 8989


    Tel: 0800 387 475


    Rompa Educational (Supplies sensory resources)

    Tel: 0800 056 2323



    Tel: 01274 581007

    Email: enquiries@spacekraft.co.uk

    Step by Step (Resources to encourage physical development)

    Tel: 01430 410515



    Tel: 01299 827820 (Special needs toys)


    TOCKi (Specialist toys and equipment to suit a wide range of special needs)

    Tel: 01430 410515


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