Changes in the Children and Families Bill have affected the way children with special educational needs (SEN) are supported in schools. The new approach began in September 2014 and places pupils at the centre of planning.
The key principles of the new legislation are:
Children and their families should be involved in any discussions about the support they need so they can share their knowledge and feed back to the school on the child’s progress.
Education, health and care plans (EHC) will replace statements of special educational needs. New assessments for additional educational needs will follow the EHC guidelines from September 2014. (Existing statements will remain in force until all children and young people have completed the transition, which will be within three years).
School Action and School Action Plus have ceased and have been replaced by a single school- based category called Additional School Intervention (ASI) for children who need extra support, including specialist support.
Special educational needs provision at The Downs Primary School
The Downs Primary School is a fully inclusive school, which aims to ensure that all pupils achieve their potential: personally, socially, emotionally and academically in all areas of the curriculum, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, social background, religion, sexual identity, physical ability or educational need.
School Governing Body
The Downs School has a strong Governing Body (GB) which is actively involved in all aspects of school life. It is the responsibility of the GB to ensure that all members of our school community are safe and have the equality of opportunity. The GB works with school staff to support school improvement and monitor the impact of projects and initiatives.
How children who may have an SEN are identified
Often, it is the parents who give the initial indication that their child may have a special educational need before they join our school. We closely work families and with outside agencies including: Health Visitors, Social Services, School Nurses and Family Solutions to provide the best support we can for children who have a specific need identified before they start our school.
Special educational needs and provision can be considered in four broad areas:
- Communication and interaction
- Cognition and learning, including: dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia
- Social, mental and emotional health
- Sensory and/or physical
The law defines Children who have a Special Educational Need as:
A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for a special educational provision to be made for them. A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if they have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age or have a disability which prevents or hinders them from educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools.
Early Excellence is our baseline provider. Children entering our Reception Classes are assessed at the beginning of the Autumn Term to determine their level of development. We also use the Wellcomm Language Assessment Tool as part of the initial assessment.
The school uses the ‘EYFS Profile for children aged 0-5’ to track their development through Nursery and Reception. Pupil progress meetings/discussions are held every half term in school between the Class Teacher (CT) and members of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) to track the progress of all the children across all areas of the curriculum. Children identified as being below the expected range in English and/or Mathematics may need an early intervention programme drawn up to close the gap between them and their peers. Where this is the case, parents and children are invited to meet with the class teacher to share information and draw up a support plan together to accelerate progress and boost achievement.
In Key Stages 1 and 2, Pupil progress meetings between the Class Teacher (CT) and members of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) are held every half term to check that all children, including children with SEN, are making at least expected progress. During these meetings we track and identify children who are not making expected progress. Children identified as being below the expected national curriculum expectation range may need an early intervention programme drawn up to close the gap between them and their peers. Where this is the case, parents and children are invited to meet with the class teacher to share information and together they draw up a support plan called ‘The One Plan’ aimed at accelerating progress and boosting achievement.
We have a number of diagnostic tools in school to help identify specific learning needs.
- The Dyslexia Screening Test
- Speech and language Assessment Tool (SPLAT)
- The YARC Reading and Comprehension Test
- Sandford Mathematics Assessment Tool
We also use The Wellcomm Language Toolkit to identify language development needs in The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
Provision made for children with SEN; with and without an EHC Plan
We are a fully inclusive school, which aims to ensure that all pupils achieve to their full potential, this starts with high quality whole class teaching. Meeting the needs of all children in the class may be supplemented through differentiation, small group work or through short sessions of 1:1teaching.
For those children identified as benefiting from intervention/support, a plan (normally time limited) is put into effect. The effectiveness of the plan is monitored and the progress made against agreed outcomes are regularly assessed. Parents views, and where appropriate, the views of the child, are central to the plan.
Where appropriate, the school will endeavour to seek support from outside agencies including: specialist teachers, the School’s allocated Educational psychologist (EP), counsellors and health professionals to help provide effectively for children identified as having a high level of need, including those who may need an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan).
This includes children with:
- Learning Difficulties and Disabilities
- Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties
- Autism and Social Communication Difficulties
- Speech and Language and Communication Needs
- Physical and Neurological Impairment
How the school adapts the curriculum and learning environment for children with SEN?
Our aim is that all staff provide high quality teaching which allows children to learn effectively through using a range of teaching and learning strategies to ensure that they can access the curriculum effectively.
The curriculum and teaching steps are adapted to meet the needs of the individual.
The school takes all reasonable steps to modify/adapt the learning environment to meet the individual needs of children.
We do all we can to ensure that all children, regardless of ability, have full access to a wide range of suitably challenging educational opportunities which are appropriate to their needs.
We ensure that all members of staff understand that they are all teachers of children with special educational needs.
Additional support for children with SEN
The school provides various interventions/support that meet the individual needs of all children. Children who may require higher levels of support have access to appropriately trained support staff.
Support available for ensuring the emotional and social development of pupils with SEN
Children access the SEAL (Social Emotional Aspects of Literacy) curriculum. We have two learning mentors who work with small groups and individual children who have a higher level of need.
Named contacts for SEN
Mrs C Samson is our Inclusion Manager and Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO). She is supported by:
Mrs C Stammers - Speech and Language Teaching Assistant and Learning Mentor
Mrs. S Brannon – Emotional and Social support Teaching Assistant and Learning Mentor
Specific expertise available to children with SEN
All teaching staff are encouraged to attend courses (accredited and non-accredited) to increase their knowledge and expertise to support individual and groups of children in their charge.
All teachers and TAs who take regular RWI groups, or support children in 1:1 sessions have been fully trained by accredited RWI trainers.
All staff delivering other interventions are appropriately trained through in-school CPD sessions.
Specialist equipment and facilities available for children with SEN
All areas of the school are accessible to children with SEND. The school is housed in two separate buildings linked by a covered walkway. The older part of our building, which accommodates our Yr1 – Yr4 classes is on one level. Our new building, which is on two levels, has a lift to facilitate accessibility. All areas are accessible by wheelchair.
We run an Early Birds Club before school which provides Gym Trail and Finger Gym activities for children with gross and fine motor control difficulties.
Small specialist equipment, such as pencil grips, writing slopes, balance cushions, weighted shoulder pads etc. are available for children who need them.
The school would endeavour to make reasonable adjustments, where possible, to facilitate the needs of an individual child who wishes to come to our school.
Arrangements for consulting and involving parents of children with SEN
Parents are actively encouraged to be partners in their child’s education through; planned meetings, informal discussions, telephone contact, home school diaries, The One Plan discussions, progress reviews and yearly written reports.
Regular meetings between staff, parents and children with SEN are planned and usually take place at the end of each term. These meeting provide opportunity to discuss and celebrate progress. When appropriate, new targets are also set at these meetings. Pupil and parental views and expectations play an important part in the assessment and evaluation process.
Arrangements for consulting children with SEN about, and involving them in, their education
All children, regardless of SEN, are aware of their next steps. Children who have additional needs have targets which are shared, discussed and worked upon with those members of staff who are providing their additional support.
Dealing with complaints
Parents who wish to complain are strongly encouraged to initially speak to the Head Teacher regarding their complaint. If the issue can’t be resolved at this level or the complaint is regarding the Head Teacher the parent will be directed to the schools complaints procedure. This information is also available on the school’s website.
Meeting the needs of children with SEN and supporting their families?
Where a child has a high level of individual need the school will endeavour to work with and seek advice from an educational psychologist, advisory teacher, speech and language therapist or health colleague to support the child’s academic and social progress.
Contact details of support services for the parents of children with SEN
Parents can access support and advice from Essex Parent Partnership Service.
tel: 01245 436036
IPSEA (Independent Parental Special Education Advice) is a national charity and offer parents support and advice providing free legally based advice to families who have children with special educational needs.
Other useful contacts:
- Speech & Language Therapy Service - 01279 827 620
- Planning and Admissions – 01245 436 737
- SENCAN - 01279 781 550
- EP Parent Helpline - The EP helpline is available every Monday afternoon during term time, between 1pm and 5pm, on 01245 433 293.
- PACT for Autism (Parents and Children Together) - 01279 430300
- Behaviour Support Parent Line - 03330 139 795 (available Mondays between 9.30 – 11.30)
- Dyslexia Society - http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk
A for supporting children with SEN in transferring between phases of education
Start school for the first time, or moving to a new school is an important event for any child and their families, even more so for or those with SEND. To ensure that the transitions to and from our school are as smooth as possible, opportunities are provided for parents and children to visit and prepare for this important moment in their education. These include:
- Consultation between teaching staff and parents/carers on how we can best meet the emotional needs of the child.
- Consultation with teaching staff, support staff and other lead professionals as to how we can best support the academic, medical and social needs of the child.
- Opportunities for the child and parent to have supported visits to our school or to their new school if they are moving on from us.
Link to the Local Authorities Local Offer
For further information on available provision for children with SEND in the local area, please use the following link:
Link to LA Website - http://www.essexlocaloffer.org.uk/