Randolph Beresford is a state-maintained nursery school and children's centre in an area of high social and economic deprivation, with approximately three-quarters of children known to be eligible for free school meals.
The nursery caters for 120 children, with an emphasis on affordability to maximise the number of parents who can afford to access this support. The majority of places for under-threes come from referrals from the local authority.
Children have a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, with families representing 22 different ethnic groups. More than half the children speak English as an additional language. All these children are monitored during their first term and, where beneficial, children are assigned to short intervention groups focused on language as part of stimulating activities, in addition to a therapeutic music group to improve children's confidence in talking.
The proportion of children with special educational needs is much higher than the national average, with 13.5 per cent having high needs, three-quarters of whom are on the autistic spectrum, and 23 per cent receiving special educational needs support.
The nursery has a team of highly trained learning support staff with the expertise to provide accurate professional support to ensure children meet desired outcomes.
The nursery goes out of its way to support the individual needs of children and families, whether providing medical support for a child, asking a member of the family support team to help with completing an application for Disability Living Allowance, or offering psychotherapy and art therapy to both children and parents.
Honesty and transparency are key, and staff support and empower parents to navigate systems successfully to gain the right level of support for their child. Recently, the nursery agreed with the local authority to keep a young boy on for an additional year when his family was struggling to find suitable provision for him.
The setting acts as an advocate and supporter for children in its community, with a strong local reputation for helping those in need. Families who leave the nursery often later return for further help.
All children are included in the general nursery offer, including Forest School visits to Wimbledon Common.
A sensory room and heuristic play room provide a wealth of experiences to stimulate the senses, emotional expression and exploratory skills, while on-site gym facilities help develop gross motor skills, and are also offered to local NHS physiotherapists.
The training programme for staff is extensive, including speech development, adult-child interactions, autism, hearing impairment and Makaton, and there are also opportunities for teaching staff to cascade their training to others.
Practice at Randolph Beresford is shared with other settings in the PVI sector, with the nursery asked to act in an outreach role to support SEND provision.
“Inspiring, informal provision
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Open to services or projects that promote equality of opportunity and the best outcomes for children, regardless of ethnic origin, special needs, background or disadvantage