St Thomas' SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) Information Report
“All children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) should be able to reach their full potential in school. They should also be supported to make a successful transition into adulthood, whether into employment, further or higher education or training” – Department for Education.
At St Thomas’ Leesfield, we recognise that not all children learn in the same way and sometimes children may need additional support along their learning journey.
We are committed to providing high quality for all pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and those with disabilities (D). We have strong systems for the early identification of pupils’ Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and always welcome and work in partnership with parents and carers.
Our experienced staff make sure all pupils have access to quality first teaching to meet the needs of every child. We want to support and work alongside you, as parents, so together we can support your child to be the ‘best they can in the sight of God’.
At St Thomas’, we do our best to meet the changing needs of all pupils, whether they are linked to learning, social, physical or emotional needs. All pupils have the opportunity to reach their full potential and to make progress. We provide a positive, stimulating and nurturing environment with caring staff who know the children well. We believe pupils thrive when all key people in their lives work as a team.
From time to time, some children require either short or long-term additional support to help meet their needs or improve their learning. The decision to provide this support is made by the school based on how the child is doing with their learning, behaviour and discussion with parents. Support will be planned by school staff and where appropriate by external professionals. Parents/carers will be kept informed about this support and we will meet termly to look at what is working well and what we need to do next. For a child to be classed as having special educational needs, they need to have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children the same age, or a disability, which prevents or hinders them from accessing the educational facilities provided.
What types of SEND do we provide for?
We believe that every pupil, regardless of gender, race or disability, has a right to equal access to a broad and balanced curriculum. We consider it essential that the curriculum is presented in a supportive and stimulating atmosphere, which values each child and encourages them to achieve their full potential.
There are four main areas of SEND:
- Communication and interaction
- Cognition and learning
- Social, emotional and mental health
- Sensory and/or physical
How do we identify and assess pupils with SEND?
We have a number of methods to help us identify if a child needs extra help.
We receive information from pupils’ previous schools/pre-school settings and/or from other services who have worked with your child, for example a speech and language therapist. The progress of all pupils is monitored regularly by class teachers and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), so that when a pupil is not making expected progress in a particular area of learning, the school can quickly identify the need for additional support. This will then be discussed with parents/carers. If parents/carers have concerns about the progress of their child, they should make an appointment to speak to the class teacher/SENDCO to discuss their concerns. This information will be used to ensure that we meet any additional needs your child may have.
Once your child is in school, we will monitor their progress and development. If we have concerns, we may ask other professionals to give advice and support but parents/ carers are always involved in these decisions. We may ask a specialist teacher to come into school and do assessments on how a child learns, or the Educational Psychologist might offer advice on strategies for support. Each child is assessed individually according to the SEND Code of Practice and a personal, child-friendly target sheet will be developed dependent on need and reviewed termly with the child and parents.
Children who require support in terms of their acquisition of English are not considered SEND pupils but they may require additional support through Quality First Teaching and/or Interventions.
Who is our special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) and how can she be contacted?
Mrs Elizabeth Schofield is the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) and is responsible for the implementation of the SEND policy and the coordination of provision to support children with Special Educational Needs. She is also the Year 3 teacher Mondays and Tuesday and teaches Year 4 on Wednesday mornings. Mrs Schofield can be contacted on 0161 770 5710 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org . Our school governor with responsibility for SEND is Mrs Alma Roebuck and can be contacted through the school office.
How do we adapt the curriculum and learning environment?
All children receive class teacher input via effective classroom teaching. Teachers plan and teach a differentiated curriculum which is matched to the individual needs of all our learners. This includes using a variety of teaching strategies so that all children are fully engaged in learning. The teacher will have the highest possible expectations for your child and all pupils in their class: we want them to do the best they can. All teaching is based on building on what your child already knows, can do and can understand.
We teach in lots of different ways, as children do not all learn in the same way. This may involve things like using more practical learning, alternative forms of recording or providing different resources adapted for your child. All lessons are differentiated to meet the needs of your child. Grouping of ability, mixed and independent work is used to support all pupils. We put in place specific strategies (which may be suggested by the SENCO or staff from outside agencies) to enable your child to access the learning task.
Additional support for learning that is available for pupils with SEND may include;
- Putting in place specific strategies (which may be suggested by the SENDCO or staff from outside agencies) to enable your child to access the learning task.
- Support from the teaching assistant in small groups or individually
- School delivers a variety of individual and small group interventions. Examples of these might include additional phonics or numeracy support, writing booster groups or social groups. We vary these interventions depending on the need of individual children at any one time. Further details of these interventions can be obtained by speaking with the SENCO.
- Children are provided with the resources they require which are tailored specifically to their needs. These may include specialist writing equipment, sloped writing tables, adapted keyboards, equipment for maths etc.
A Target sheet will be implemented to set targets and monitor progress. This will be shared with parents/carers and reviewed twice a year to ensure that support remains appropriate. Progress is also discussed at 2 parents’ meetings (4Ps) When necessary, the school may seek support from outside services. This will be discussed with parents/carers and a referral made with their permission. All children are assessed for their suitability to sit standardised tests. School adheres to guidance set out by the DfE.
What is our approach to teaching pupils with SEN?
The school will follow a graduated approach to your child’s learning. It will follow the sequence of -Assess, Plan, Do, Review. This way we can constantly make sure that the school is meeting your child’s needs. Parents and Pupils will be kept informed and be an integral part of the process.
How do we enable pupils with SEND to engage in activities with other pupils who do not have SEN?
Every pupil has the opportunity to participate in all aspects of school life, by careful planning and differentiation throughout the day. This includes lunch times when teaching assistants are available alongside middays to support their needs. All school trips are assessed for suitability by paying attention to any areas of relevant need for individuals within the year group. Care is taken to inform the providers of any specific needs of pupils and staff will let parents/guardians know what has been put in place.
We make sure activities outside the classroom and school trips are available to all. Risk assessments are carried out for each trip and suitable numbers of adults are made available to accompany the pupils, with 1:1 support if necessary. Parents and carers are invited to accompany their child on a school trip if this ensures access. Health and safety audits will be conducted as and when appropriate.
How do we consult parents of pupils with SEND and involve them in their child’s education?
We operate an open-door policy to allow parents/carers to contact a member of staff with ease. This is supported by;
- Working in partnership with parents/carers to support each child’s well-being, learning needs, progress and aspirations.
- The first point of contact would be your child’s class teacher who may then consult with the SENCO
- We hold Parent/Carer review meetings 2 times per year alongside progress meetings and drop ins.
- Annual reports are given to parents/carers at the end of the year.
- Parents/carers are invited to become involved in school-life through a number of means eg coffee mornings, assemblies
- Our Governing Body includes Parent Governors/representatives.
- Prospective Parents are welcome to make an appointment to come and look round the school prior to their child starting school.
- Parents/carers are encouraged to give feedback to the school through evaluation forms after reports
- Parents are welcome to make an appointment with the class teacher or Head teacher.
How do we consult pupils with SEND and involve them in their education?
Children are involved every day in their own learning. They are involved in the assessment of their own learning and progress through self- assessments, fix it time and end of topic evaluations. The children are encouraged to talk about their learning in pairs and small groups. Children contribute to their Target sheet as part of the Person Centred Review Meeting process. Children’s targets are discussed with them and they take ownership of them.
How do we assess and review pupils’ progress towards their outcomes?
The school will follow a graduated approach to your child’s learning. It will follow the sequence of -Assess, Plan, Do, Review. This way we can constantly make sure that the school is meeting your child’s needs. Parents and Pupils will be kept informed and be an integral part of the process. Children on the School SEND register will have a Target sheet, updated twice a year (3 times a year for EHCP pupils) and/ or Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP). You will be invited to attend a person-centred meeting in order for us to review and set new targets together and pupil’s thoughts and views will feed into the process. The progress of children with an EHC Plan is formally reviewed at an Annual Review with all adults and services involved with the child’s education present.
How do we support pupils moving between different phases of education/life?
We have very strong links with local nurseries and secondary schools and the SENCO team in Saddleworth has established a Transition Group where children can meet pupils from other school in Year 6 for a range of activities in preparation for transition to secondary school. When children have an identified SEND before they start school, we work with parents and the people who already know them and use the information already available to identify what their SEND provision will be in our school setting. Additional visits can be arranged for children starting Reception class, or moving on to secondary.
How do we support pupils with SEND to improve their emotional and social development?
We have an inclusive approach to education and understand that good social and mental health is key to children’s development. We offer a range of extra curricular clubs to support children and classes use mindfulness and yoga to support children with their behaviour, social skills, low confidence and low self-esteem. The well-being of all of our pupils is extremely important. Our Always rules are well-established in each class and children have ownership of these. They can be spotted and earn house points and can use the ‘worry welly’ and ‘suggestion sock’ for concerns and ideas as to how we can do even better. Some children have completed the Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends programme for developing and improving friendships. We adapt the Always rules to suit individuals where appropriate and use individual sticker charts, tokens etc to earn rewards.
Our Positive Behaviour and Anti Bullying Policy; which includes guidance on expectations, rewards and sanctions is fully understood and implemented by all staff. We regularly monitor attendance, support pupils returning to school after absence and take the necessary actions to prevent prolonged unauthorised absence through our Learning Mentor, Mrs Costello.
To promote pupil voice, we have an active School Council. All classes have representatives who attend meetings where issues on aspects of school life are discussed.
What expertise and training do our staff have to support pupils with SEND?
Through attendance at local collaborative meetings, the SENCO keeps up to date with national and local updates in SEND policy and practice to enable them to support children and staff effectively. Staff are trained in key areas enabling them to support all children effectively. Examples of these include Team Teach, Numicon training and Partnership for Children training. Staff receive regular training and support in response to children’s needs. The governing body is responsible for ensuring that funding is used appropriately, and for monitoring teaching and accessibility. There is a designated SEND Governor who liaises with the SENCO. They also report to the governing body. If a child has a particular need, we ensure that relevant staff are trained in dealing with it by consulting with the relevant health professional or attending specific training if necessary. School has a number of appropriately qualified first aiders who are on site each day and up to date with training requirements. All staff have received basic first aid training and are familiar with the procedure to follow in case of a medical emergency.
What support services are available to parents/ children?
At times, school may need more specialist advice and may need to do a referral for additional advice/ support on how best to support a child. We may need to ask for a Speech and Language assessment, an Occupational Therapy assessment or to have a specialist teacher or psychologist come into school for example. Where referrals are necessary, we always speak to parents and explain fully our reason for the decision. School would always seek parental consent for referrals.
Where children need medication or have allergies, all staff are made aware and photographs of the child displayed. If children need specialist equipment in school, the SENCO will arrange for this to be monitored and checked by the Physical Disability Team.
School can access:
- Healthy Young Minds – for mental health
- Early Help- a team to support the family
- Mrs Costello- our Learning Mentor
- SALT- Speech and Language Therapy
- Educational Psychology- to observe, assess and make recommendations for children with SEN
- Specialist Teacher service (QEST)- Supporting children with specific needs such as dyspraxia
- POINT- Support, advice and training for parents of SEN children in Oldham
- Counselling service- run in school
- Team for Physical Disability- to help with physical needs and specialist equipment
- Occupational Therapy- to assess sensory processing, balance and special awareness
- School Health Advisors/ School Nurses
How do we evaluate our SEN Provision?
St Thomas’ have robust tracking systems in place for every child. We are constantly reviewing progress and looking at what is working well for a pupil and what requires improvement. We consider the pupil views carefully at each review, looking at how they learn well. This informs the planning of future targets and how we will work together to achieve them.
We take any complaints very seriously and always welcome feedback from parents/ carers. We operate an open door policy and any complaints will be dealt with as part of the school complaints procedure.