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Dover College - Nursery Unit

Who to contact

01304 205969

Where to go

Dover College
Crescent House Effingham Crescent
CT17 9RH

When is it on?

Session Information
Monday: 08:30 - 15:15 Funded Places
Tuesday: 08:30 - 15:15 Funded Places
Wednesday: 08:30 - 15:15 Funded Places
Thursday: 08:30 - 15:15 Funded Places
Friday: 08:30 - 15:15 Funded Places
When is childcare available
Term Time Only
Carescheme Age Range:
3 year(s), 0 month(s) to 4 year(s), 11 month(s)

Other Details

ECD Type
Nursery Unit of Independent School
Cost details
Contact provider for details
3-4 Year Old Funding?

30 Hours Extended Entitlement

Registered to provide up to 30 hours entitlement
30 Hours Partner Details (These are details of any other childcare provider(s) that this provider will work with to offer the 30 hours entitlement)

Monday: 08.30-14.30

Tuesday: 08.30-14.30

Wednesday: 08.30-14.30

Thursday: 08.30-14.30

Friday: 08.30-14.30

Service status


Local Offer

Special Needs Support

The parents/carers of new pupils are required to complete an ‘All About Me’ document, which offers insight into the child, their interests and needs. Communication from any previous settings is sought to provide a seamless transition. Assessment data is gathered formatively and is used to ascertain children’s starting points. This is incorporated into initial planning, alongside ongoing teacher assessments through observations, offering much insight into children’s abilities and what support they may need. This allows staff to quickly identify any children that may be in need of additional support (either academically/pastoral or emotionally) and to arrange early intervention from the Prep School SENCO or external agencies where appropriate. If required, your child’s key person/teacher may target a specific area of development, to enable additional opportunities for your child to gain further experience in this area. Any areas for specific concern would be shared through parent/teacher meetings and followed up with a targeted plan of action should this be deemed appropriate.

We pride ourselves on our key person approach building positive relationships with each child and their parents. Where a child is identified as being in need of additional support, parents will be invited to attend a meeting with the child’s key worker and the Prep School SENCO. This initial meeting may be overseen by the Deputy Head Academic. Parents / Carers will be updated at least half-termly, although there are more regular opportunities upon request. Our door is always open for daily discussions, however we also have:

• School reports at the end of each term
• A full school report at the end of the summer term
• We pride ourselves on our excellent detailed learning journeys which contain a plethora of observations, photographs and children’s work. These learning journeys demonstrate how each child progresses throughout the year and next steps for learning
• Parent teacher meetings
• Home/school learning board which encourages learning from home to be recorded and extended within the setting
• Friday family celebration assemblies

Staff consistently strive to offer developmentally appropriate activities for each child in the setting. All Early Years staff have attended inset training on how to differentiate activities appropriately and liaise as relevant with the SENCO. The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum is versatile and staff are adept at pinpointing each child’s needs within it. Our highly-qualified team are able to adapt the curriculum within small class sizes to ensure that each child’s needs are met, these are planned through the EYFS educational framework through observations, planning and assessments and begin with the three prime areas of learning:

Communication and Language
· We work closely with speech and language therapists extending strategies on a one to one daily within the setting
· We use Speech Link, a language intervention programme
· Plan targeted small group sessions to extend speech and language
· We provide workshops which provide tips on how best to support your child at home
· We develop Wow Word boards to extend vocabulary

Personal, Social and Emotional Development
· Daily circle time sessions to draw attention to the importance of sharing, respecting others feelings, and building resilience and independence
· Show and tell sessions
· Trips and outings to extend learning
· Experienced staff who provide excellent role models

Physical Development
· Our setting is set in the beautiful grounds of an independent school with a plethora of opportunities to extend physical development
· Forest school activities where children have the opportunity to have hot chocolate cooked over the campfire, learn how to use tools for example; a saw and       hammer to build a hedgehog house, bird house or dens
· We offer accessibility to our ground floor nursery, playground and Forest School
· Our small class sizes enable children to settle in a family environment which is calm and tranquil
· Visual timetables are used throughout the early years to provide children with the information on what is happening next
· Regular access to a variety of outdoor spaces
· Planned physical education sessions taught by qualified teachers encourage children to extend their physical skills in a stimulating and safe environment
· Daily home cooked meals cooked by our in-house chefs to meet each child’s dietary requirements
· The NHS Fizzy Training Programme is designed to work on specific skills within the classroom through planned activities
· Working closely with specialists for example; occupational therapists


Children with SEN and/or disabilities achieve the best possible outcomes within Muddy Knees Nursery and Forest School and Dover College’s Pre-Prep class. Strategies depend upon the level and/or type of need, adopting the approaches recommended as part of the child’s targeted plan. Our environment is planned according to each child’s needs and the classrooms benefit from light neutral colours which feel calm and airy. The classrooms are well resourced with clearly labelled containers with text and pictures for children to choose what they would like to access. If a child has recommendations or specific strategies from outside agencies interventions will be put in place alongside a targeted plan.

We use the Best Practice Guidance document to support our teaching which has been devised by the Specialist Teaching and Learning Service and is divided into universal, targeted and personalised bands which enables the staff to support children. This document provides strategies, ideas and visual resources on how best to support your child.

The areas of need are identified in the SEND code of practice 0-25 years in the following areas: Communication and Interaction, Physical and Sensory Difficulties, Social Emotional and Mental Health and Cognition and Learning

Children with SEND and/or additional needs are offered timely, targeted interventions and input from the Prep School SENCO as appropriate. Strategies to support these children are developed as per the assessments of the SENCO, parents/carers and class teacher or key worker. These typically include, though are not exclusive to, the use of a visual timetable, tactile resources, pre-teaching of key vocabulary, social stories and use of Makaton to support communication. The targeted plan will be reviewed frequently and if required after a period of interventions parents will be asked to provide permission to access external services, such as a Paediatrician or a Speech and Language Specialist. This process will be supported by teaching staff and the school SENCO.

The setting monitors each child’s progress through the following means:

• Assessment Data Trackers – this is collected twice every term and is moderated internally and evidenced within Learning Journeys through observations, photographs and practitioner knowledge. It demonstrates consistently that all children make good to excellent progress.
• Learning Journeys – the children’s learning journeys show their development from their starting point within the school to their current level. These are maintained meticulously and kept current to ensure progression for each child. The Early Years team pride themselves in these excellent learning journeys where parents from each cohort have demonstrated great pleasure in this special keepsake and files of memories.
• Children’s work, observations and photographs are taken from each child’s first day.
• Parent feedback – Verbal feedback, Parent meeting feedback sheets (written evidence) and feedback from Letters and Sounds, Maths and information and Curriculum workshops.
There are formal opportunities for parents to be involved in this process – the opportunity to attend parent consultations and additional meetings set up as part of the child’s support structure, for example. In addition to this, there are less formal processes, such as completion of ‘good news from home’ forms, contact book dialogue and conversations held at drop off and pick up times.
The Teacher/key person will invite you to discuss the learning journeys and to discuss progress, this is also an opportunity to discuss any concerns.
Assessments are made every six weeks and the Pre-Prep class also have the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile which is a statutory assessment. If your child is delayed in any of the seven areas of learning you will be invited to discuss them.

Staff will liaise with the Prep School SENCO, as well as relevant external agencies such as KCC and Speech and Language professionals, to ensure that children with SEND are offered the same opportunities as all children. Outings and trips are designed with all children in mind and the Early Years Department very much adopt a ‘can do’ attitude with regards to inclusion. A thorough risk assessment will be carried out, consultation with parents and additional adult support for the visit may be arranged. This allows those children’s outcomes and progress to be in line with what is expected of their age and stage of development. All staff members are Paediatric First Aid qualified, the first aid box and emergency contact details are always taken on outings.

Fully inclusive practice enables all children to access the EY curriculum catering for each individual. Your child’s key person will ensure your child reaches their full potential through daily adult directed and differentiated plans, child initiated opportunities, a well-equipped provision and spontaneous planning which enables staff to develop interests in the moment.

The nursery and Pre-Prep classes are situated on the ground floor level for easy access and the outdoor playground is easily accessible with safety play surfaces. Wherever possible, Dover Prep School will make reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of children and parents.

This is a particular strength of the early years team, whether the children are beginning their school life at Dover College or at an alternative school, school transition is discussed as a broad topic and so all children are included. Experiences, concerns and ideas are shared between children and adults in the setting. Transition is explained and eased through the use of story books, video clips, circle time discussion, talks from older children within the school who have already experienced it and other means (depending on what is appropriate at the time). In terms of social preparation, the children are integrated into the whole school family from the start. This gives them the opportunity to be part of a wider community and to socialise with children of different ages from their very first day. The majority of the children within the setting are socially prepared and show very little anxiety about starting school as regular contact with all teachers from the Prep School and in particular the Pre-Prep teacher helps this natural process. Teachers from other schools are invited into the setting towards the end of the Summer term to observe children and meet with teachers to ease the transition process if a child is not staying at Dover College. If this cannot be arranged, then the EY Manager will contact the new teacher by phone to ensure the teacher is prepared and a smooth transition is organised for each child.

Within the setting, the main transition is from Muddy Knees into Pre-Prep, then Prep 1. This happens organically as the children spend a great deal of time together (at play times, meal times, music, discovery garden, Forest School, lessons etc) and the move does not present any difficulty for children. It is, of course discussed and children are offered the opportunity to raise concerns and show their emotions about the transition but, in the most part, this is accepted with positivity. Muddy Knees is run by the EY manager who prepares each child socially and emotionally for their transition whether staying at Dover College or beyond. The teachers are supported by Early Years assistant at all times. These children are emotionally secure and ready for this smooth transition. If your child is not ready for the transition parents have the opportunity to defer their child’s start date for a year either in the nursery or in the Pre-Prep class. This is on the condition that pupils stay within the independent sector.

The transition from Muddy Knees to Pre-Prep and from Pre-Prep to Prep 1 is seamless. Staff from all these age groups work extremely closely together to gain a better understanding of the following year’s expectations. All Prep School staff have a close link with staff and children in the Early Years and have regular contact which adds to the seamless transition as each child already knows and has formed a relationship with their next teacher.

The setting conducts weekly Early Years meetings to review and assess the successes and limitations of their practice across many areas, including SEN Provision. These are an opportunity to reflect and adapt practice moving forwards.

Parents of children receiving additional support will be given plentiful opportunities to discuss their views with their child’s key worker/teacher as well as the Head of Early Years/Deputy Head Pastoral. Staff within the setting are approachable and parents/carers are aware that they are able to directly email, book a meeting with or simply talk to members of the Early Years team at their convenience.

Contact should be made via the admissions team on where you can arrange a tour of our beautiful setting. Full details can also be obtained on our school website: Dover College. Your child will be offered a taster session with additional taster sessions offered if necessary. Arrangements can be made to discuss any concerns with the Early Years Manager and school SENCO.

All complaints are taken seriously and the relevant staff are happy to discuss any concerns or issues that you may have. We welcome any feedback through emails, questionnaires or letters. We are glad to say that we have very few complaints but, we are often receiving positive feedback and praise. Below are just a few examples of recent feedback:

“The school and teachers have been amazing, I cannot speak highly enough about how fabulous Dover College is and how our little girl has developed into a confident, outgoing and bright girl!”

“Thank you to all the staff at Dover College, my three boys are extremely happy and they receive outstanding care on so many levels. The teachers provide the boys with a strong and stable environment in which they are all flourishing. As a parent, I feel the teachers have excellent communication skills, they listen and are excellent teachers. I recommend Dover College to everybody.”



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