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Dorothy Gardner Centre Mary Paterson Nursery School Queens Park Children’s Centre 4th January 2021 Dear Parents/Carers, PLEASE READ THIS LETTER TO THE END – IMPORTANT INFORMATION ENCLOSED I hope that you are well and have had a peaceful and safe holiday so far. Yesterday, the National Education Union met to discuss the reopening of schools in England. SAGE has advised the Government that schools should move to remote learning in order to help reduce the rate of spread of the Covid 19 virus. As a result the NEU has advised members that it is unsafe for staff to attend the workplace at present. Therefore I have taken the difficult decision that from Wednesday 6th January the school will be open for critical workers and vulnerable children only. For all other children we will move to remote teaching from this date. The nursery will be open from 9am until 3pm. Children attending will come for their usual session whether that is FT, morning or afternoon.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions our coffee mornings this year are online.

Look out for the text reminders and emails with the link to join us.

Coming up: Sleep

Help your SEND child thrive

Early Years Curriculum Focus


Autmn Term 2020-2021

This term we have managed to organise 3 coffee mornings using TEAMS.

Thank you to everyone who bore with us and a huge well done to Sarah, who navigated the complex technical difficulties and made it happen.


19th November 2020

Applying for Primary Schools- with input from Douglas Shaw the Bi-borough Admissions team manager and Westminster IASS talking through the process and support available.


Please do contact if a member of the Federation team if you have further questions, or if you would like to have a chat.


3rd December 2020

Toilet Training with advice from the Health Visitor Team and Helen Chin-Fatt Deputy Head Queens Park Family Hub

“The most important point is to remember that very child is different and may be physically and psychologically ready for toilet training at different times”

Please do speak to your child’s Family Worker or Key Person if you are starting toilet training as it is important to have a consistent approach between Nursery and home. We can help you to develop a plan for your child.


10th December 2020

An Introduction To Local Services for SENDWe had representatives from a range of local service who introduced themselves and talked about their role and how to access their services. These were: Family Lives, Parent Child+ programme, Make It Happen- Westminster Parent Participation Group, Westminster IASS, and the Westminster Local Offer.


19th November 2020- Applying for Primary Schools

Douglas Shaw, who is the admissions manager for the bi-borough (Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea), joined us to outline the application process, in particular how to use the online application service, key dates and things to consider when choosing schools. He shared some helpful slides which are attached. Douglas mentioned that last year 98% of the applications were submitted online, however if you are struggling with the website you can phone them and they will send you a paper form instead. The contact details are on the slides.


Douglas showed us the Westminster Primary School Admissions brochure which has information on all the Primary schools in Westminster (this is attached). He mentioned that every borough produces one of these so look online for the Kensington & Chelsea or Brent admissions brochure too if you are close to the borough border. You can select schools from a different borough to the one you live in.


Go to our 'Latest News Documents' page to view the slides.


Mahalia Smith also joined us from Westminster Information, Advice and Support Service (IASS). If your child has any special educational needs and you would like information about starting school you can get lots of information on their website or call and make an appointment to have a chat. The email is and the number is 0207 641 5355. She suggested helping your child get ready for school in advance, for example by talking to them, taking them on a walk to the school, getting into routines such as bed-time, getting used to the uniform before starting. She suggested investigating the school's transition and settling in policies, for example do they produce a welcome pack? do they do home visits?


If your child already has an Education, Health and Care Plan which is finalised, the school placement will be done separately through Westminster SEN department. If your child requires an EHCP but it is not yet finalised you will need to apply to school through the normal process (as outlined by Douglas in the slides) and then you will have the option of selecting a more specialist or specific school later when the EHCP is finalised by the Westminster SEN department. In the meantime, though you should apply for and accept a school placement through the normal process.


We are very aware that it is not possible to visit schools at the moment and that this would normally be our first piece of advice to you. It is important to try to get a feel for schools and which school will be right for your child. Ideas for gathering information about schools are:

  • thinking about what are the priorities for you and your child​

  • talking to other parents with older children at schools

  • exploring school websites - do they have a video?

  • calling the school and asking questions

  • walking to the school- trying out the journey, having a look from the outside

  • making an appointment to have a chat with your child's family worker/ key person or a member of the Nursery team

  • You might want to consider things like the size of the school, the ethos and priorities of the school (their vision), how play-based the Early Years curriculum is, what enrichment opportunities they offer (forest school, trips etc.), how they support children with additional needs (read their SEN Information Report), what community events they have, and so on.


3rd December 2020- Toilet Training

Health Visitors Joy and Adetola talked about the ERIC website an evidence-based approach to toilet training that the health visitor team use when advising families.

They emphasised that every child is different and may be physically and psychologically ready for toilet training at different times. They talked about the importance of looking for the signs that your child is ready, then involving your child in developing their skills of independence and self-awareness around toileting. Reading books, talking and showing your child by example are good ways to do this.They recommended staying calm and using praise.


See the Potty-training website (ERIC) link:

Go to our 'Latest News Documents' page to view the potty training guide.

You should contact your health visitor if you would like additional support They can help you with a specially tailored plan for your child

Call: 0207 266 8722,


Or Look in your red book for the details for your health visitor


Helen Chin-Fatt recommends being very consistent, for example once you transition to wearing pants try to stick with it. She suggests getting your child motivated by taking your child out to choose pants, role-playing with a doll and keeping it positive and fun. She also advised to think about the physical skill of pulling clothing up and down and practicing developing grip, for example using sponges and play-dough. Support your child to be independent in following a toileting routine by giving them easy clothes, such as elasticated waistbands. If your child is showing signs of being distressed, they are not ready.


Sarah recommended the guide on the National Autistic Society website which has advice on particular issues which you may find helpful. There is a NAS guide attached and you can visit the website:


Go to our 'Latest News Documents' page to view the toileting guide.


It may be easier, if your child finds changes difficult, to skip the potty or pull-up nappies stage and move straight to the real toilet and pants so that you are only doing one change. There are supports you can buy such as inner rims for your toilet seat and small steps to enable your child to use the toilet independently.


For children with additional needs, Batoul suggested using a visual story about going to the toilet which Nursery can provide. Using a visual schedule to show your child the steps involved in using the toilet and hand washing can then be followed at Nursery and at home. See attached examples.


Go to our 'Latest News Documents' page to view the potty training social story and visual schedule images.


10th December 2020- An Introduction To Local Services for SEND

'Make It Happen' Westminster Parent Participation Group

Hend Rahman spoke and shared a power-point presentation which is attached. This is a service run by parents of children with disabilities or additional needs who have been through that journey themselves and are here for a chat and to help you navigate the SEN system. If you are interested in getting in touch don't hesitate to get in contact.


Contact: or email Tel: 02076412314

Go to our 'Latest News Documents' page for the 'Make it Happen'.


Nia Bellot spoke and shared a presentation. This is an excellent programme for young children under the age of 2 and a half who may not be 'typically' developing along the lines of speech delay or social/emotional difficulties. It involves weekly visits home by a practitioner to develop learning through play and distribute 46 books and toys to each family over a period of 12-15 months. It has had great results in increasing the play and talk of children at an early stage and increasing confidence of parents.


Contact: Via Family Lives at the Queens Park Children's Centre/Family Hub (see contact details below)


The Westminster Local Offer

Steve Comber the Head of SEN Local Offer, showed us the Westminster Local Offer Website (which can be translated into different languages using an option at the top). Attached is a flyer for this. I highly recommend exploring the information on the website as it is an incredibly helpful source of information and support for young people from 0-25 years with SEND and gives an up to date directory of local services. There is also a specific page all about support for Autism.




Go to our 'Latest News Documents' page to see our local offer leaflet.


Westminster Information Advice Support Service

Rahmin Chowdhury shared a power-point presentation about this support service for Westminster residents - please find attached. It is a statutory requirement for the Local Authority to provide this service for parents to help you to understand your rights as set out by law with regards SEND. All the advisors are legally trained on the SEND legal system so they are an excellent source of information about the support you are entitled to and how to get it.


Contact: Tel: 0207 641 5355 Email:


Go to our 'Latest News Documents' page to view Westminster Information Advice Support Service presentation.


Family Lives

Kiki Bourcha introduced this supportive service for families which runs from the Queens Park Children's Centre. There is a power-point presentation attached with more information. They can help families with all sorts of issues, from helping secure grants for children's needs, sign-posting to other services to the 'Befriending' service which involves weekly supportive visits at home.


Contact: Westminster Family Information Service /Family Lives:


Contact: Kiki Bourcha |Senior Outreach Worker Mobile: 07753446174 | Email: Queens Park Children's Centre/ Family Hub: 88 Bravington Rd, London W9 3AL, Tel: 020 7641 4850

Family Lives Website

Family Lives' Westminster Services