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University Nursery wins national SEND award


Nursery staff accept nasen award for support for children with SEND

The University of Bradford Nursery has won a national award celebrating its outstanding work in supporting children with special educational needs and/or disabilities and learning differences to reach their full potential. 

The nursery was named Early Years Provision of the Year at the seventh annual nasen Awards at a ceremony at the Grand Hotel, Birmingham on Friday (October 6, 2023). 

The awards, held by the National Association for Special Education Needs and Disabilities (nasen), honour the work of schools and individuals across the sector. Staff at the University Nursery were recognised for their determination to create a communication-friendly and inclusive setting, making adjustments across its provision to support every child's individual needs. 

Nursery Manager Rochelle Smith said: "We feel incredibly privileged to have achieved this prestigious award. This is a credit to and reflection of our amazing staff team who continuously demonstrate their dedication and passion for early years. We ensure that all children at our nursery receive the best possible start to their early education, in a communication-friendly and inclusive setting with high aspirations for all."

Extra training and resources

Following lockdowns during the Covid 19 pandemic, staff at the nursery noticed the needs of children in their care significantly increased. To tackle this, staff were given more training to widen their knowledge of supporting children with SEND. The nursery introduced visual supports and developed a new outdoor sensory area where staff can support children on a one-to-one basis and in smaller groups to deliver interventions. 

The team also invested in new resources to support children's development and work closely with external agencies such as paediatricians, educational psychologists, speech and language therapists and access and inclusion officers, amongst others, to ensure the needs and views of each child and their parent/carer are met. 

The Early Years award was sponsored by Nursery World magazine.

Chief Executive of nasen, Annemarie Hassall, MBE, said: "The team at the University of Bradford Nursery should be extremely proud of what they have achieved. We received the greatest number of nominations this year, full of inspiring and deserving schools, colleges and settings that are working together to make a difference for children and young people. 

"All our winners, and those nominated, are true role models for the sector, shaping practice in their setting, whilst leading and inspiring others. They exemplify what is making a difference for learners with SEND and, most of all, for inclusion."

The latest honour comes just months after the nursery was awarded the prestigious Millie’s Mark award for going above and beyond the legal requirements stated within the Early Years Foundation Stage in nursery paediatric first aid qualifications. It is first nursery in Bradford to receive this award. 

The University Nursery opened in 1992 and is rated “outstanding” by Ofsted. It takes children from staff and students at the University of Bradford as well as members of the public.