Special Educational Needs
From September 2014 there have been a number of changes to improve services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The changes are a result of the introduction of the Children and Families Act 2014 which became law on the 13th March 2014.
The act aims to improve how different agencies and services work together and create a more joined-up approach to the statutory assessment process for children and young people with the most complex needs. The new approach will also give children and young people with complex needs and their families more choice and control about which services they can access. These changes are being introduced in order to create quicker and easier access to support and more joined-up working services. This will help achieve better outcomes for children and young people with SEND, helping them to achieve successful and fulfilling lives. At St Joseph’s, we understand the importance of this act and believe that this will achieve the best outcomes for our children.
We have a highly inclusive ethos. All of our team share high expectations and aspirations for all of our pupils. We work hard to ensure that every child in our school will reach their full potential.
Our focus is on early intervention, starting from the transition process into KS1 and on raising attainment in order to ‘close the gap’ as much as possible. We achieve this through responding to the individual needs of our learners by providing carefully planned and targeted interventions. We ensure appropriate intervention and support is provided as soon as it is identified. Our approach is flexible and creative, always aiming to enthuse and engage our learners as well as boost progress. We believe that emotional wellbeing is vital for children to flourish educationally and this is an integral part of our school ethos and SEND provision.
The school is effective at leading on SEND. Our SENCo, Miss Sharon Ford is a full time member of staff and member of the school Senior Leadership Team. She is fully supported by both the Head Teacher and Deputy Head Teacher. Our Learning Mentor takes a lead in our social skills and emotional wellbeing intervention programme, supported by our SENCo. Our valuable team of support staff lead their own small group interventions and 1:1 work where appropriate. We monitor, review and evaluate our SEN provision at least termly as part of a continuous cycle. SEND Registers are updated; Personalised Plans are reviewed and amended. Attainment is closely tracked and progress is monitored and analysed termly. Following this analysis, our SENCo works closely with class teachers to action plan for future improvement. We meet with the parents and carers of children with Personalised Plans regularly to give progress updates and to ensure that they can make their contribution to their own child’s Plan. Our SENCo meets termly with our SEN governor where they work collaboratively to write reports, which are shared with the Governing Body, showing what provision looks like across school and how children with SEN are performing in school.
Within school, we receive funding for children with SEND. Some of this supports children with adult support when it is required. Sometimes children will receive support on a 1:1 basis; other times children will be supported in small groups for set times in the day. Additional resources may be purchased, e.g. visual aids. Interventions take place every day throughout our timetable and this is different for every year group depending on the needs of the learners within that group.
You will find the following policies on our website:
- Inclusion and SEND
- Teaching and Learning
- Child Protection
- Health and Safety
Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
We have a challenging and exciting curriculum that meets specific needs of our pupils, and all pupils are able to access their learning. Our provision within the curriculum for pupils with SEND begins with quality first teaching. Our classrooms are stimulating and effective learning environments which we make accessible for all the learners in the group. Our class teachers make effective use of appropriate resources and assistive technology is used as required to ensure access to the learning for all of the pupils. Planned outcomes are challenging but appropriate for each individual child and tasks are differentiated effectively. Within these lessons the children actively work towards the outcomes of their Personalised Plan, supported by an adult when required. A range of interventions are then provided should a child require this additional support. These are carried out on both a 1:1 and small group basis and are personalised based on the needs of the individual learners within that class. We have good transition arrangements in place from Reception class to Year 1 and then from Year 6-7. Additional transition programmes including visits take place for the pupils who need them. There are extra pastoral support arrangements to support and develop the social, emotional and behavioural needs of our children- this work is led by our Learning Mentor. Our whole school ethos encompasses all parts of emotional well-being and includes measures to prevent bullying.
Assessment is on-going and takes place within every lesson. More formal assessments take place every half term. This data is summarised and analysed by the Senior Leadership Team. Pupil Progress Meetings will then take place with all staff where the progress of every child is discussed. All children that working below national expectation are tracked and monitored by the SENCo. It is at this point when Personalised Plans are updated and the effectiveness of the current intervention programme is evaluated and any amendments are made. For some of our pupils with additional needs we use the PIVATS to help structure their programmes and to measure progress.
Inclusion has a high priority at our school. Regular meetings take place between teaching staff, support staff, the SENCo and the Senior Leadership Team to discuss pupil progress and the intervention programme. Staff are supported and trained appropriately so that they are able to effectively meet the needs of the individual pupils that they are working with. Both our teaching and support staff have the opportunity to attend training where necessary. There is an expectation that once staff have participated in training that this expertise will be disseminated throughout school and that the impact of this be recorded and evaluated. We are well equipped to support families within our community.
We have built up strong relationships with teams and outreach services that we work collaboratively with to continuously improve outcomes for our pupils with SEND. These currently include the Educational Psychology Team, the School Improvement Team, attendance officers, and Specialist teachers from SENST, Behaviour and Inclusion, CAMHS, BEST, Visually Impaired Team, Teachers of the Deaf and Speech and Language Therapy. Our SENCo attends the SEN network meetings for our area where good practice is shared and training takes place. We currently work alongside TAMHS and Family Support Workers to support our families when needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What do I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
Please contact our school SENCo - Miss Sharon Ford firstname.lastname@example.org
2. How accessible is the school?
We have wheelchair access at the main entrance point and a disabled care facility. Our school has very few steps which do not affect accessibility as classrooms in all year groups can be easily accessed.
Children have access to ancillary aids where required and we work closely with relevant professionals to ensure that our pupils have any resources that will help them to be able to access their learning.
3. How will I know how well my child is doing and how will you help me support my child’s learning?
If you ever have any queries or concerns about your child we are always available to discuss this. Please contact our SENCo (details above), your child’s class teacher or our Headteacher to make an appointment. As a parent you will have input into the outcomes of your child’s Personalised Plan. This will be done through an initial meeting to write the plan, followed by a review in the Spring term and a final evaluation and transition meeting in the Summer. Some of this will be done through our biannual Parent’s Evenings as well SEND review meetings. If your child has an Educational Health Care Plan or top-up funding there will be a formal annual review meeting held in the Autumn term. Our class teachers report to parents formally at the end of every year.
We offer curriculum evenings and workshops for parents to help you to support your child with their learning at home and class topic newsletters which will also support you at home.
4. How are parents and carers involved in the school?As well as the regular consultation that will take place with regards to your own child’s progress, all parents and carers can become members of our Parent Teacher Association (Friends of St Joseph’s) and letters will be sent out to everyone to ensure that everyone knows what is happening and when and where meetings are taking place should you wish to be involved.
Parents and carers are regularly invited into school for special assemblies or exhibits of children’s work and are kept well informed through our newsletters. Our governing body has parent representatives that are elected by our parents and carers.
5. What services and expertise are available or accessed by the school?Access to our trained staff and the interventions we put in place at a school level are open for all children if and when required. Access to some services is also universal, for instance the school nurse.
Other services are available at a ‘targeted’ level (for those who need additional support) for example Educational Psychologists, SENST and Speech and Language Therapists to name but a few. In these cases a child sometimes needs to meet certain given criteria and referral forms need to be completed.
Access to some services are available at a ‘specialist’ level (for those with complex needs).
6. How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom?
All children will be included in activities outside of the classroom. School trips take place in every year group and Year 6 take part in a 3 night residential, Year 5 in a 2 night residential. If your child has complex needs we would consult with you in order to help plan effectively for any activities outside of the classroom.
7. How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to the children’s needs?
Resources are allocated on a ‘needs led’ basis. We always strive to make pupils as independent as possible but do recognise that for some children additional adult support may be required to help them to fulfil their potential. This support can sometimes be given as part of a small group intervention that will be delivered for a number of weeks; it might be necessary for some personalised work to be delivered on a 1:1 basis. These decisions are made by our Senior Leadership Team who will always consider the views of all stakeholders involved, particularly the parents and carers, the pupil and any recommendations made by any relevant professionals.
Paper copies of information on our website are provided to parents and carers on request without charge.