Abbey 345 Pre-School Crowland given 'Portage' and Caring2Learn status for work with children
A Crowland pre-school has received double recognition for its work with vulnerable and special needs children.
Abbey 345 Pre-School now holds the National Portage Association's (NPA) "Stamp of Approval" after adapting its early years teaching programme to cater for youngsters with learning difficulties and disabilities (SEND).
The pre-school, judged outstanding in all areas by Ofsted in October 2016, is thought to be the first pre-school in Lincolnshire to receive NPA accreditation for its use of the so-called "Portage" model, an educational service for SEND children and families usually provided through home visits.
Kathy Crouch, the pre-school's manager, said: "Myself and a colleague attended portage training which then allowed us to put NPA principles in at Abbey 345.
"Portage services normally help families at home but this was a way for us to provide much greater consistency in supporting our children with additional needs, alongside the support they get from a specialist teacher.
"But although the Portage work is invaluable when it comes to helping SEND children, it's also a system with transferable skills to help all children.
"So we've cascaded our Portage training down to all the staff in order to make them more confident in helping our children to reach their full potential."
Alongside its NPA recognition, the pre-school also received a gold Caring2Learn Award from Lincolnshire County Council children's services.
The award is part of a countywide scheme which brings together schools, care homes, social services, foster carers and adoptive parents to help disadvantaged children in need of additional support and protection.
Mrs Crouch said: "As with the Portage accreditation, we are the first pre-school in Lincolnshire to be awarded Caring2Learn status.
"We did the project based on the same system used for primary schools because there wasn't a separate one for pre-schools.
"Lincolnshire County Council is now bringing in a special pilot for pre-schools, using what it has gained from ourselves and other pre-schools that are attached to primary schools in the country.
"I believe that both the NPA accreditation and the Caring2Learn Award are validation of all the hard work that we've always done, and will continue to do, to improve the lives and learning of our children in the county."
Coun Patricia Bradwell, the county council's executive member for children’s services, said: "Lincolnshire schools and other educational settings are committed to nurturing vulnerable children and young people to achieve better than expected progress.
"The Caring2Learn Awards showcase schools, foster carers and residential homes that are dedicated to supporting children and young people in their care.
"It is important that all our looked after children and young people feel safe and comfortable in their home and school so they can have the confidence to learn and achieve their potential."
More by this authorWinston Brown