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Thorley Pre-School

Childcare type: Pre-School Playgroup

Thorley Pre-School was graded Outstanding by OFSTED in October 2017.  The group has been in operation for over 30 years but were re-registered (for Charity structure purposes) in 2015 - nothing changed for the children and families apart from our OFSTED and Charities numbers.    The staff at Thorley Pre-School are all highly qualified and undertake continuous professional development to ensure that they give the best early education to the children possible.

The Pre-School constantly evaluates and adjusts practice and structure to suit the families and children on roll and will always put the child's needs and wellbeing first.    We offer 6 hour sessions to a small group of children to support parents back to work, but will work with parents to ensure that the child is happy and settled in the setting before taking this option of sessions.

Even though in rented premises and a packaway setting, we ensure that the setting is bright, clean and inviting to all the children with a vast array of toys and equipment to stimulate them and enhance their education through play.   We have a large, well stocked, vibrant outside play area that the children access on a daily basis where there are opportunities to tend plants, pedal bikes, read, paint, play with sand, play with PE equipment, enjoy imaginative play as well as continuing with all other areas of learning from the EYFS such as maths and literacy.

Thorley Pre School has experience of working with children with SEN ranging from visual, hearing impairment, speech and language, medical/developmental delays and works with other professionals to support these children and families - our Local Offer is attached to this information or from the Pre-School directly.


Please see our other listing for Thorley Tree Tots - this is a group for children and parents to attend for one session a week before they start in Pre-School.   We have found this to be a fantastic introduction and settling tool for the children starting at Pre-School

Who to contact

Contact Name
Jean Palfreman
01279 503895
07722 129073

Where to go

Thorley Christian Centre
Vicerons Place
Bishop's Stortford
CM23 4EL
Get directions

Other Details

5.70 Per hour
30 Hours Provider
3-4 Year Old Funding?
2 Year Old Funding?
Age Range
2 years to 4 years 11 months


Ofsted URN
Latest Inspection:
Latest Inspection
Inspection DateInspection TypeInspection Judgement
17/10/2017Inspection (Early Years Register)Outstanding

Local Offer

Early Years Extended Local Offer Response

1. How does the setting know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?

At Thorley Pre-School every child is treated as an individual – initially through the settling process, working with parents to help their child settle in the best way for them. 

We work very closely with other professionals such as health visitors, speech and language therapists, Educational Psychologists, Advisory Teachers, Children’s Centre, other Early Years Settings etc to support children especially with specific needs.   The Manager/SENCO has acted as Lead Professional for many families using the Early Support system ensuring that all professionals work in a joined up way to support families and children.

Ongoing observational assessments are made of all children and are linked to the Typical Behaviours’ highlight sheets.  All staff are highly qualified and very experienced in noticing if a child has a delay or possible extra need and will discuss their concerns initially with the SENCO who will suggest various other observational tools which can be undertaken to gather evidence.    The SENCO and/or child’s key person will discuss these findings with a parent and signpost the parent to the relevant professionals for further advice and assessment.

If a child joins us before their third birthday, the keyworker will undertake a ‘What I Can do at Two” progress check which supplies parents/carers with a short written summary of their child’s development in the 3 main prime areas and helps staff to determine if there may be an extra need:

  • Communication and language;
  • Physical development; and
  • Personal, social and emotional development. 

All children will be assessed using the WellComm speech and language tool after their first half term at Pre-School and information shared with parents.   This tool enables us to support children and parents with any language difficulties before referring to Speech and Language Therapy.

If you think that your child may have Special Educational Needs, initially you should approach the Manager/SENCO for a confidential conversation where your concerns will be listened to and the best way forward discussed and agreed on.

2. How will setting staff support my child?

We believe strongly in Early Support, the Manager/SENCO has been Lead Professional for many families – organising Team Around the Family meetings to ensure that all Professionals involved work together to support the family.

If other professionals are not involved, the SENCO will (with parent’s permission) start the process for assessment and involvement - each stage will be discussed with parents and as much information shared and explained as possible.

When other professionals are involved, they are welcomed to the setting to observe the child and meet the parents.  Information provided will be fed into an Individual Education Plan (IEP) to ensure that all staff are working to the same goals for the child.    Observations, assessments and evaluations also contribute towards IEP’S and your child’s key person and SENCO will oversee the targets on the IEP. 

We will work in partnership with parents, reviewing the IEP targets, planning new ones together and giving ideas to use at home to support your child.  We promote an ‘open door’ policy to ensure we are welcoming and respectful to all.

3. How will I know how my child is doing?

The regularity of meetings between staff and parents will depend on your child’s level of need and the support in place.   When other Professionals are invited into the setting, parents are asked to return early to meet with them (when professionals time allows) – if this is not possible, the SENCO will hold a meeting with parents to pass on information on observations and assessments.

If your family has been registered on Early Support then Team Around the Family meetings will take place at least once per term and if necessary more often.

The Manager/SENCO is always available via email and will happily answer any questions/queries you may have.    We believe that it is important that parents are aware of what is happening when their child is away from them and often will provide ad hoc photographic evidence of key events or achievements that may have happened during a session.

4. How will the learning and development provision be matched to my child's needs?

Every child regardless of their need and abilities has a Learning Journey which contains observations, targets and photographs of the child’s progress and development – you are welcome to see your child’s learning journey at any time.

If your child has a further need, an IAELD (Individual Assessment of Education, Learning and Development) will be completed an IEP (Individual Education Plan) will be written for them and shared with you to support your child in their targets at home.

All staff will be aware of the targets on your child’s IEP and will ensure that they adhere to them during the sessions – regardless of whether or not your child’s keyperson is working directly with them.    We ensure that activities are differentiated to all children’s abilities and include activities that we know they enjoy to boost their self-esteem and confidence in their own abilities.

We will follow advice from other Professionals on how to support your child’s particular need and the SENCO will ensure that training is accessed for staff as and when necessary and possible. 

5. What support will there be for my child's overall wellbeing?

We will involve other professionals i.e. health visitor, outreach workers from the Children’s Centre etc to ensure that we are support your child in all areas of their development – not just their learning.    We believe that if a child is happy, settled and trusting, they will start to build on their learning and development.   

We will support you and your child with toilet training; building on their self-help and independence and with any issues regarding eating, sleeping etc – either from our own knowledge and experience or alternatively we will seek advice from other professionals on your behalf.

6. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by setting?

The staff at Thorley Pre-School have a lot of experience of working with children with various additional needs.   They are particularly highly attuned to children with speech and language delays and disorders and with children on the Autistic Spectrum.

We work closely with Advisory Teachers; Autism Specialists; Speech and Language Therapists; Health Visitors; Special Needs Health Visitors; Advisory Teachers; Educational Psychologists; Children’s Centre; Physiotherapists; Hearing and Visual Impairment Teams and any other professionals that may be required.    The SENCO sends reports to Paediatricians (with parent’s permission) prior to assessments and in some cases will attend appointments with parents and children.

We use Makaton sign language as a matter of course with all the children and have words of the week that staff focus on.   All parents are offered the opportunity to receive copies of words of the week to support their children at home.   We have the database of Makaton signs and symbols held at Pre-School so can also look up words to support individual children.

7. What training and/or experience do the staff, supporting children with SEND, have?

As mentioned above, the staff at Thorley Pre-School have extensive experience working especially with children with Speech and Language delays and disorders and children on the Autistic Spectrum.      

We have worked with Hearing and Visual Impairment teams to support children with various levels of visual and hearing impairment.   

Training is always sought (where possible) prior to a child starting at the setting with a need that is unknown to us.     Additionally, the Manager/SENCO will spend time with parents prior to the child starting at the setting to ensure that as much information on how to support the child is gathered.

8. How will my child be included in activities outside the setting?

Whenever activities take place outside of the setting, we ask for parental help as we operate a ratio of at least 1 adult to 2 children.   When necessary, 1-1 support is given to children on outings or even 2-1 support.   We ensure that this takes place discreetly and individual children are not discussed with parent helpers.      

9. How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child's learning and development?

If Early Support is suggested for your child, then you will be invited to meet with all Professionals working with your child.  Your questions, concerns etc will be sought before the meeting by the SENCO to everything is discussed with relevant Professionals.   You will be asked to proof read the minutes of the meeting before they are sent to other Professionals.

If Early Support is not needed (dependent on the amount of professionals involved) you will be invited to meet with your child’s key person and/or SENCO to discuss IEP’s, observations and achievements – the regularity of these meetings will depend on your child’s level of need and the input by other professionals at the time.

10. How accessible is the building / environment?

The building is primarily one large room – it is all on one level.   Equipment is placed either on the floor or on child height tables.    This is adjusted depending on the children’s needs – i.e. when children with visual impairment were attending, fewer toys were on the floor so as to minimise trip hazards.

There is a step down to the playground but all children are supported in entering and leaving the building via this door.      The edge of the step has been marked with a wide red line to ensure that the edge is clearly visible for children with visual impairment.      For children in wheelchairs or with mobility issues, it would be possible to access the playground with a member of staff via the front door and main gates.

The toilets are located at the back of the building and all children are accompanied.   There is a disabled toilet which could be used – the needs of each individual child would be discussed with their parent/carer and the setting adjusted appropriately (where possible).

11. How will the setting prepare and support my child with transitions between home, settings and school?

We work very closely with parents ensuring that trust is built on both sides as we are often the first outsiders to look after their children. We believe that if a child sees that their parent/carer is happy and confident with the staff and environment then they will settle easier and start to learn.

The Manager ensures that each family is welcomed through a variety of ways - visits prior to starting; Induction Evenings or Open Session with their children.   We believe that parents know their children best and rely on them to provide information on their learning, development and characteristics to enable us to help them settle and build on their skills. 

Prior to starting at Pre-School, each parent is given an ’All about Me’ sheet and ‘Parental Information Sheet’ to fill in about their child. This will help us to share information about your child’s strengths and needs.    We will work with you to support your child together, listening to you, your concerns and share your child’s achievements.

Each child is given a photo book about Thorley Pre-School and a T-shirt once they are registered at the setting – we advise that this book is shared regularly with each child to talk about Pre-School and what they can expect.   When necessary, extra settling sessions can take place before your child starts at the setting and the amount of time they are left can be built up until they are happy – we firmly believe that a child should have a happy hour rather than a miserable 2½ hours and will suggest building up the amount of time they are left with us.  

For children that are finding it harder to settle, we use a “voice recording card” where parents can record a message and put a photo on a talking card for the child to keep with them at Pre-School.    This also works well with children with English as an Additional Language, SEND or those who just find separating a little difficult to start with.

During your child’s time at the Pre-School we encourage you as parents to be involved in their learning and share achievements and milestones with us – we provide “magic moment” and “wow” sheets that you can complete – with or without photos – so that we can share these important times with your child and build on what they are learning at home.

When it is time for your child to leave Thorley Pre-School, we will invite your child’s next setting in to visit them in a familiar environment.    The SENCO will often visit the new setting prior to this to discuss your child’s needs.   They will be invited to Early Support TAF meetings in the term before they are moving on.

Depending on your child’s needs, we may arrange settling sessions with their key person at the next setting (meeting parent/carer there rather than taking the child ourself).    We will attend meetings with parents and next setting to pass information and be on hand to support parents.

12. How will [the setting's] resources be used to support children's special educational needs?

Toys and equipment are differentiated for all children and their individual needs.    We will seek to borrow specific equipment needed for specific needs i.e. walkers; chairs; various other resources when necessary.

Your child’s needs’ will be discussed with you and advice taken from other professionals as to how best to support your child.   

13. Who can I contact for further information about the Early Years Offer in the setting?

Please contact Jean Palfreman – Manager and SENCO on:

01279 503895 / 07722 129073

Last updated on 01/07/2019
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