The Ark Child Okeford

Full day care provision. Fully funded. The Ark seeks to enhance the development and education of children in a parent-involving, community-based group. We offer good quality, affordable childcare and provide a caring, safe, secure and stimulating environment for children


01258 861007


Venue address
Child Okeford Centre for Care and Learning St Nicholas C Of E Primary School
Child Okeford
Blandford Forum
DT11 8EL
North Dorset


Opening times
Mon: 08:00-18:00
Tue: 08:00-18:00
Wed: 08:00-18:00
Thu: 08:00-18:00
Fri: 08:00-18:00

Service Details

Vacancy information

Please phone for details

£4.00 per Hour
£40.00 per Day
£200.00 per Week
Cost variations
Session times and prices vary depending on age - please enquire for full details. Hot lunch £2.30. 25% discount for siblings for the after school and holiday club.
Additional Information

Provision has an inclusion / equal opportunities policy.

Age Range
0 years 0 months to 11 years 0 months

Ofsted Registered Details

Ofsted inspection result
Date of last inspectionInspection resultOfsted report
11/08/2015 Good View here
Ofsted Report notes
If a childcare provision is run by a school they may not be separately registered with Ofsted, therefore the link to their report will be for the school.
Registration details
Registration numberOfsted registration date

Early Education

Free early education places
15 Hours For 2 year olds
Yes   What is this?
15 Hours For 3 & 4 year olds
Yes   What is this?
30 Hours For 3 & 4 year olds
Yes   What is this?


Wheelchair accessible
Main entrance on level ground and access via ramp to garden entrance
Parking availability information
Drop off facilities and a disability bay. Parking available out of school hours only - unless disabled.
Toilet facility information
Ground floor toilet, wheelchair accessible toilet, facilities for intimate care for older children with additional needs.
Other Facilities
1 to 1 help. Very spacious Pre-school room. All rooms have adjustable height tables, making activities accessible for those in wheelchairs. Large outside area which is extremely well equipped, again many of which are accessible to children in wheelchairs. Staff in all rooms use Signalong to communicate with children with language difficulties.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Local Offer

Record Last Updated

SEN & Disabilities Local Offer

Local Offer Description

The Ark ensures all children are valued equally whatever their abilities and aptitude; every child is able to progress at her/his own rate in all areas of development, and this is true for children with special educational needs and disabilities. We are experienced in working in close liaison with professionals across the range of special needs.

Contact Name
Jane Scott
Contact Telephone
01258 861007
Contact Email

Local Offer - click to view

In line with the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) we observe and assess all children in our care. Assessments are linked to the Development Matters ages and stages of development, which help identify individual needs of the children. These observations will be discussed with the Room Leader, The Ark's Special Education Needs Coordinator(SENCO) and Manager. Between the ages of two and three years we carry out a Two Year Progress Check. We provide parents/carers with a short written summary of their child's development in the three main prime areas; communication and language; physical development; and personal, social and emotional development.



 How will early years setting/school/college staff support my child/young person?

We operate a Key Person system at The Ark. The Key Person's role is to develop trusting, sensitive relationships with both children and parents and to enable sharing of information. If you have any concerns about your child's development you can meet with your child's Key Person to discuss this in private. If your child's Key Person has identified a possible individual need they will discuss the matter with you in private and plan with you to support your child's learning and development.

The Ark's SENCO offers advice and support to the staff. The SENCO liaises with other professionals to seek advice and support in identifying individual needs where necessary. Support and advice from Dorset County Council's support team can be sought with parents' permission.

Reports from health care professionals such as paediatricians, health visitors, speech and language therapists, identify children's individual needs. We welcome parents and professionals sharing these reports with each other and the Key Person in order to plan appropriately to meet these needs.

 How will the curriculum be matched to my child's or young person's needs?

The Key Person and other staff in the room your child is based in will get to know her or his needs during the initial settling visits to nursery. Communication is key between parents and staff to support your child's care and well-being. The Key Person will regularly liaise with the parents. The parents will be asked to fill in an 'All About Me' form and to highlight an EYFS sheet. The Key Person will observe your child in the first few weeks of them settling into nursery and will also highlight an EYFS sheet based on their observations. These will be clearly marked as starting points. Based on your child's needs, the SENCO and Key Person, will write your child an IEP (Individual Education Plan). This will include any advice from other professionals. We will involve your child, enabling them to make choices and engage in activities/experiences that are of interest to them. Through ongoing observations and knowing your child, we will have a clear understanding of what your child likes and the level of their involvement.

We will create support within the environment, such as the use of a visual timetable to support the child to understand the routine, as appropriate. The SENCO will aim to seek additional training for staff, where appropriate, to meet your child's needs. 

 How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child's/young person's learning?

We have an assessment system in place. Each child has a Learning Journey which contains observations and photographs of your child's progress and development, which you will be able to access at any time. If your child has particular identified needs we will work in partnership with you and other professionals involved in order to support your child. The SENCO and Key Person will discuss with you how they are supporting your child's learning and development within The Ark and how to support your child's needs at home.

Observations, listening, assessments and evaluations all contribute to Individual Education Plans (IEPs). We will listen to you as well as your child. Our SENCO will explain how children's individual needs can be met by planning support using an IEP. She will also explain who may become involved in your child's development and their role. The Key Person will work with the SENCO to oversee the IEP targets for your child. They will identify individual needs and plan next steps, accessing additional support from others where necessary e.g. Speech and Language Therapist (SALT) Portage, Educational Psychologist, Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapy, or applications for additional funding. This will enable us to access additional resources to further support your child; additional staffing to observe and support your child or additional resources for training as laid down in the SEN Code of Practice. IEPs will be reviewed with parents. The Key Person's role will foster relationships with and understand the individual child. The SENCO will maintain an overview of experiences and progress. She will also work with other practitioners to ensure provision is relevant/appropriate and seek support when needed. They will identify individual needs and plan next steps, accessing additional support from other professionals where necessary. 

 What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall well being?

The Ark staff are welcoming and friendly, providing an inclusive, sensitive and positive environment for all children. We provide a flexible approach to routine which is based around the needs of the children. Staff act as good role models for positive behaviour and a continuous positive approach to behaviour management is maintained. The Key Person builds relationships with child and family and they provide personal care to all children. During the daily routine visual timetables are used to support children in understanding routine. There are sensitive, warm interactions between adults and children. Should your child display unwanted behaviour we will work with you and your child to provide a consistent and planned approach to improve behaviour.

Personal health care plans can be adopted if necessary and staff will be trained in giving the appropriate medication for your child if required. Should your child require prescribed medication then you will be required to fill out and sign a 'medication form'.

Activities will be adapted to ensure your child is able to interact fully with their environment and visual strategies, such as a visual timetable and the 'now and next' board will be used to help them understand our routines.

 What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting/school/college?

We are able to refer children to a number of services available in the locality linked to the child's identified needs. These include: Portage (a setting and home visiting educational service for pre-school children who have additional support needs and their families); speech and language therapist; physiotherapist; occupational therapist. The Ark has good links with local children's centres and staff can access available support for parents. With parents' permission advice can be sought from the Early Years' Advisory Teacher. If the child's needs are identified as a specific need then the team with the expertise in this area will take up the support for the child and the setting in meeting the child's needs, for example the physical sensory medical team.  


 What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND have had or are having?

Within the setting there is a trained SENCO who attends regular training to keep up to date. All staff have completed child development training and have experience of working with children within the Early Years age range. Staff have also attended behaviour training, equality, diversity and inclusion training. Communication and language training has been attended by other staff members. Some staff have also attended other relevant training such as practical inclusion, welcoming a child with complex needs, welcoming a child with social communication needs and 'Signalong' to use basic sign language. Senior staff members have attended training linked to specific needs, for example autism, visual or hearing impairment.

 How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?

All outside activities or trips will be planned in order to include all our children. We will endeavour to include parents in the planning of any activities away from The Ark, to identify the strengths and needs of your child. We will carry out a risk assessment linked to the visit and the needs of all the children prior to our trip. We will also take with us any aides or medication your child may need.

 How accessible is the setting/school/college environment?

The Ark is a modern, purpose-built setting and is completely accessible for all. All policies and procedures are current and reviewed regularly. We provide multi-sensory experiences as part of our core provision. We provide sensory play equipment and use visual aids.

 How will the setting/school/college prepare and support my child/young person to join the setting/school/college or the next stage of education and life?

We believe that transition periods should be slow. Children need to feel secure throughout the process. We assign each child a Key Person who will form a relationship of trust and support with the parent and the child during settling sessions. During the settling period we will discuss your child's individual needs, interests and care plans and ask you to complete admission forms. If other agencies are involved in the child's development we will arrange meetings to discuss any specific transition needs.

If required, staff will attend training related to a child's needs before they attend the setting. The Key Person and SENCO will agree a consistent approach with parents to ensure continuity of care from home to setting.

The term before a child is due to start school, we hold a planning meeting in order that the school SENCO and reception teacher can meet the parents, The Ark's Key Person, SENCO and any other professional involved, to discuss the child's strengths and needs and share necessary information. Any resources necessary can then be put in place before transition begins. When a child is transitioning their views and feelings will be shared through photographs reflecting what they have done, achieved and enjoyed. Learning Journeys, IEPs and other relevant documents are passed on to the receiving setting. If necessary we will create a photographic social story about your child starting at the new setting/school that a child can share with parents/Key Person on a regular basis before  the move.

 How are the setting's/school's/college's resources allocated and matched to children's/young people's special educational needs?

Inclusion funding and two year old funding can be applied for to support the child's inclusion in the setting. Delegated budget will be used to provide additional resources or to adapt existing resources.

 How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?

Decisions made about how much support a child will receive are assessed through observations made by the Key Person of the child in the setting and then discussed with parents, SENCO, and Manager. Observational assessment linked to the EYFS and knowledge of child development will be used to identify what support is required. Extra support will be put in place if necessary with the aim of enabling the child to become independent within the environment. Ongoing partnership working with parents by the setting and other professionals involved with the child/family will support the decision making process. The SENCO will advise on the process of applying for extra support which may involve assessment by a Portage worker. The inclusion funding process will identify the level of need based on the evidence submitted from the setting and other professionals working with the child/family. Reports from health care professionals or others working with the child and family will be used to plan support within the setting. The area SENCO or the Early Years' Advisory Teacher or other professionals working with the setting SENCO will support the decision making process linked to planned targets on the IEP. The IEP will be written with parents and will include how parents can support their child at home. Staff meetings within the setting will ensure all staff working with the child knows the child's needs and how to support them.

 How are parents involved in the setting/school/college? How can I be involved?

Parents are welcomed from the start, we encourage parents to stay for the first few sessions and ensure both they and their child feel secure within the setting.

The Ark places great emphasis upon the Key Person System, your child is allocated to a member of staff who will complete: observations, assessments and a Learning Journey during your child's time at nursery.

Information is shared on a daily basis with parents about their child's day. It is important to share relevant information with your child's Key Person at any time.

Learning Journeys at the Ark are completed through Tapestry, a software package specifically designed for EYFS, and are available for parents to access from home at any time.

The Ark has good working relationships with outside agencies and regularly updates and shares relevant information to ensure your child receives the best possible care and education in order that they achieve their potential.

Journey Planner

Address: Child Okeford Centre for Care and Learning  St Nicholas C Of E Primary School  Child Okeford  Blandford Forum  Dorset

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