Special Educational and Disability Needs

Local Authorities must publish support that is available for children and young people with S.E.N. and disabilities and their families.

This information is called the 'Local Offer' and must include education, health and care services and must be clear and easy to understand.  

To access the Oldham Council Local Offer please click on the link below.

 

http://www.oldham.gov.uk/info/200368/children_and_young_people_with_special_educational_needs_and_disabilities

 

P.O.I.N.T. Parents of Oldham in Touch

The P.O.I.N.T. website is packed with information to support you and your child. We are determined that through our collaborations across Health, Education and Social Care, that together, we can improve the life chances and aspirations of children and young people with additional Needs and disabilities.

 

Please click on the link below.

 

http://pointoldham.co.uk/

St Thomas' SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) Information Report

At St Thomas’ Leesfield, our school motto ‘To be the best we can in the Sight of God’ means all children.

Mrs Caroline Ireland and Mrs Paula Glynn are the Head teachers and they are proud of the inclusive nature of our school, the staff and pupils. We make sure all children feel part of our school family and feel included in everything we do. All our children go on school trips, are part of extra curricular activities, enjoy performing on Sports Days, Talent shows, assemblies and being in clubs. The children support each other in their learning and behaviour choices through membership of our four Teams. We focus on ‘spotting’ pupils making the ‘right choices’ through our positive behaviour policy and special ‘Always’ badges.

Through our ‘open door’ policy in school, we actively encourage parents to come and chat to us if they have any concerns about their child’s learning or development. The class teacher should be the first person they speak to, but the school SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) Mrs Elizabeth Schofield is also available for an informal chat every Thursday, and can be contacted by email anytime on e.schofield@leesfield.oldham.sch.uk

In addition, our Learning Mentor, Mrs Laura Costello can help with any worries you or your child may have. The children often go to her if they are feeling ‘wobbly’, as she knows the children who struggle with their learning and ensures she gets to know all our children well.

 

File icon: pdf SEND Policy March 2017 [pdf 629KB] Click to download
File icon: pdf SEN Accessibility Plan 2017 [pdf 372KB] Click to download
File icon: pdf SEND Information report 2017 [pdf 1MB] Click to download

Mrs Elizabeth Schofield

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator - SENCo

Mrs Laura Costello

Learning Mentor

Our Staff

At St Thomas’ Leesfield, our school motto ‘To be the best we can in the Sight of God’ means all children.

Mrs Caroline Ireland and Mrs Paula Glynn, the Head teachers, are proud of the inclusive nature of our school, the staff and pupils. We make sure all children feel part of our school family and feel included in everything we do. All our children go on school trips, are part of extra-curricular activities, enjoy performing on Sports Days, Talent shows, assemblies and being in clubs. The children support each other in their learning and behaviour choices through membership of our four Houses: Bevan, Jones, Daniels and Thorley. We focus on ‘spotting’ pupils making the ‘right choices’ through our positive behaviour policy and special ‘Always’ badges.

Through our ‘open door’ policy in school, we actively encourage parents to come and chat to us if they have any concerns about their child’s learning or development. The class teacher should be the first person they speak to, but the school SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) Mrs Elizabeth Schofield is also available for an informal chat every Thursday, and can be contacted by email anytime on e.schofield@leesfield.oldham.sch.uk

In addition, our Learning Mentor, Mrs Laura Costello can help with any worries you or your child may have. The children often go to her if they are feeling ‘wobbly’, as she knows the children who struggle with their learning or who may need a little emotional support. She gets to know all our children well.

Our staff work hard to deliver a highly motivational curriculum and we are always looking at how well the children are learning. The Senior Leadership team (the Head teachers, Assistant Head and Key Stage Leaders) and teachers ‘track’ the children’s progress every term, making sure every child is making the progress we would expect. Many children need a little boost in an area of learning from time to time, and the tracking system we use helps us to spot these children easily and make sure they get the help they need, in the form of booster groups, clubs and catch up interventions.

Sometimes though, we might find that a bit of extra help is not enough, and we need specialist help for a child. When we feel this is the case, we involve parents straightaway, informally through a chat before or after school, at Progress Evening, or we may invite them in to see us via their child’s planner. We believe it is crucial to be open and honest with parents and value their support and insight as the people who know their child best. We appreciate what a difference it makes to the child’s development if we can all work together to support their learning.  

Support for your child

Person-Centred Review

We would arrange a ‘person-centred review’ meeting and talk about the child’s strengths and needs, their likes and dislikes and what we want to do to help them with their learning and development. We ask children to come to the meeting to tell us their ideas through talk and pictures. This means we can really focus on what’s important to the child.

This gradual response to a difficulty, trying out something to help, seeing how this goes and having a review meeting is called the ‘Graduated Response’. If children need specialist help, for example from a health professional outside school, and they are struggling to make progress, we would say they need ‘SEN Support’. SEN stands for Special Educational Need.

SEN Support

Person centred learning

SEN Graduated Response

What is SEND Support?

Children who need additional help in school, whether this support is planned and delivered solely by staff in school or involving services such as Speech and Language Therapy outside school, are receiving SEN Support. The Children’s and Families Bill uses the term ‘SEN Support’ to talk about children who are not making the progress we would expect. These children often need the help of professionals outside school, such as Health services, to help them do the best they can.

At St Thomas’ Leesfield, once we have identified a child who needs some ‘SEN Support’, we make a plan of how to help them. This is called a Target sheet and it tells us what works best for the child, what they need to help them achieve and small steps or targets to work on. The targets are decided on together at the ‘person-centred review’ meeting, so that the child understands what they are working on and parents know what we are trying to do and why. Every term, we will have a review meeting to talk about how things are going and share the successes of the plan. We will set new targets and consider what is working well and what needs developing.

When a child comes to the end of a Year group, we plan their ‘transition’ or moving on to their new class carefully. Teachers and teaching assistants go through the child’s Target sheet talking about what works and what doesn’t work with the new teacher and teaching assistant. Parents are welcomed into school to meet with new teachers at our ‘Parent’s drop in’ evening to discuss moving on in July. In addition, we plan extra visits to new classrooms and make ‘My New Class’ books where appropriate with photographs to keep over the summer holidays, so children are familiar with their new settings when they return in September. In the early part of the Autumn term, teachers host a special welcome meeting to go through any concerns and the general expectations for the class. At these meetings, parents can ask questions privately at the end of the meeting.

Small Group Activities

Using computers 1:1, independently, and in small groups; from Reception to Year 6.

Numicon – a practical maths resource.

A story board to help structure writing.

Additional support for some tricky time work in Year 2, and practical phonics learning in Year 1, which all children receive.

 

 

Transition to Secondary School

Transition to secondary school is very important and we have worked hard to establish links with local secondary schools to enable our children to have extra visits and meet pupils from other schools who will move up with them. We are continuing to develop these support groups with more schools in the area.

We are lucky to have an experienced and lovely, caring staff at St Thomas’ Leesfield, who have worked successfully with children with lots of different Special Educational Needs. We have lots of high quality resources in school such as games, practical maths activities, activities for improving speech sounds, listening games, activities to help with finger control and balancing and co-ordination, to name but a few.

Staff Training

The staff have all attended training to support children with these activities, as well as more general special needs training and we support all the children in their learning through small group work, some through 1:1 support and using specialist equipment including computers. School has invested in ipads to support individual learning and we also use computer program to help children develop specific skills.

Staff have had training on:

  • Numicon – a practical maths resource
  • PIVATS- a tool for looking at exactly where a child is up to in their learning so we can help identify their next steps
  • Team Teach- a programme for keeping children safe
  • Multi sensory difficulties- Looking at helping children who find lights, sounds and movement a distraction from learning and concentrating
  • Autism
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • The 2014 Special Educational Needs Code of Practice
  • Dyspraxia
  • Dyslexia
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes
  • Narrative Therapy, Lego therapy
  • Memory development strategies
  • Multi-sensory learning

Resources

We have lots of high quality resources in school such as games, practical maths activities, activities for improving speech sounds, listening games, activities to help with finger control and balancing and co-ordination, to name but a few. 

Teachers' Planning

The teachers plan meticulously to meet the needs of every child and we are proud of our ‘SEN friendly’ classrooms. We plan different work for each group of children in the class to make sure all children are challenged but not frustrated. Individual children will have different tasks so they are included in our curriculum on a level they understand. They may need pictures to help with their learning, or a special ‘topic’ picture chart.

Children may complete an activity using ICT or do more practical learning. 

If a child finds writing difficult, their curriculum may require more worksheets and making storyboards, doing research or having a teaching assistant to scribe for them to reduce the need to write. If they find maths (numeracy) difficult, we may support them with practical work such as using the coloured number tiles (Numicon). Other children may need a quiet area of the classroom to work in, or may need a ‘movement break’; time to wriggle about before learning. Many children need focused, specific instructions followed by a simple reward to motivate them. Some children need help with their social skills or life skills and we may support the development of these by playing games or going out into the local community, to shops for example and crossing roads safely with a teaching assistant. We would monitor how well all these strategies were working at the review meetings each term.

Every year, the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator), Mrs Elizabeth Schofield looks at all the children we have in school with additional needs and the new children that will come in September. In discussions with teachers and teaching assistants, we think carefully about the needs of these children and what resources we need to purchase to support children’s learning in meeting their next steps or targets.

Mrs Schofield, Mrs Ireland and Mrs Glynn spend a great deal of time planning where each teaching assistant will work each year. We look at particular strengths of our staff and match these to the children. We consider what type of support, the learning programme and resources in review meetings with the child and parents. This way, we are directly matching what the child needs and what is working with what we are providing. We are flexible with our staff and can move teaching assistants around when it is necessary to match the needs of our children and address what’s not working for each individual. However, due to the careful planning for the future year, it is unusual to move staff during the year.

Where we feel a child is not making progress in a certain area, or we feel they need special help, we will ask parents and discuss what to do. We may ask a specialist teacher from the Quality Effectiveness Support Team (QEST) to have a look at a child in class or do an assessment of their learning or development. This can help us to identify how we can help a child in school and advice is also useful at home. For example, they may suggest using pictures to help a child sort out what they need to do, a strategy that can be used at home too. We may also ask an Educational Psychologist to look at how a child learns to give us ideas to use in class. Health professionals such as Speech and Language therapists can look at children who are having difficulties with literacy or speech and understanding, and Occupational Therapists support us in helping children who struggle to concentrate on their learning.

Additional Services

School can access lots of services to support children and we would involve parents fully in deciding which service is best. Many parents find it helpful to chat to Lucy Simm, our School Health advisor and she is available on 0161 622 9091. Lucy can advise parents on all services available to parents and the local authority can also support parents as detailed on the LEA Local Offer.  See link above.

St Thomas’ Leesfield have worked hard to make school more accessible to all, but we do acknowledge that our traditional school building has lots of stairs! Some children find this difficult, but we plan carefully to support children safely up and down stairs at safer times and we do have some children who go downstairs just before the bell goes.

We enjoy positive relationships with parents at St Thomas’ Leesfield and welcome parent helpers, new members of our ‘Leesfield FUNdraising’ and parents coming into school for our special Wednesday and class assemblies. Our FUNdraisers raise lots of funds for school and the School council decides what to spend the money on. They recently helped refurbish our Reflection Room: a special quiet area where children can take ‘time out’.

As a church school, we often share special celebrations with Reverend Disley and we welcome parents to our church services. We are proud of our ‘open door’ policy and the support we receive from parents, as we truly believe we cannot achieve ‘the best we can in the Sight of God’ unless we all work as a team. The Children’s and Families Bill makes it clear that:

  • Families are at the centre of everything we do in schools- we, children and their families should be involved in discussions about the support they need, so they can share their knowledge and feed back to the school on the child’s progress.

Children who need lots of support in their learning may need special additional help and funding to deliver this. Few children in schools have these complex, long term needs that have a big impact on their learning and we would discuss how we go through the process of getting this extra help with parents and children.

Until recently, when children have this special extra help, it was called having a ‘Statement of Educational Need’. With the 2014 Bill, children who currently have a Statement will have it replaced by an ‘Education, Health and Care Plan’ (EHCP) by 2018. Children who the Local Authority, school and parents feel need special funding from September 2014, will have this new Education Health and Care Plan.

The new changes to how we work with Special Education Needs children and their families will bring lots of challenges, but in Oldham schools, we have been working as a ‘path finder’ authority, and have been able to change how we work gradually. At St Thomas’, we also work in a small group of schools called the Saddleworth Collaborative, sharing good practice and support. This means we can share resources and training at a reduced cost for school.

In addition, we have access to a hugely successful service called POINT (Parents of Oldham in Touch) in Oldham. This is a team of parents working to support families of children with Special Educational needs and Disabilities (SEND) in Oldham. It is a service run by parents for parents helping them get the right advice and support. It also runs activities and fun days at Mahdlo which have been hugely successful. The work of POINT has been recognized by the Prime Minister, so we are very proud to have such a successful service in Oldham run by parents Andrew and Elaine Robinson. Their website is http://pointoldham.co.uk/ (see link above) and contact number is 07546454580 or 07514 041628 They also have a very informative Facebook page, keeping parents informed of all up and coming events on www.facebook.com/pointoldham.

Oldham Local Authority Parent Partnership is also run by POINT and can be accessed on www.oldhamparentpartnership.co.uk.

At St Thomas’ we are truly proud of all our children and how much they enjoy our exciting curriculum. We have a dedicated staff team, strong leadership who really get to know the children and a caring, positive environment. This enables all our children to be ‘the best they can in the sight of God’.

Accessibility Plan and Disability Equality Scheme

The school has an up to date Access Plan which is reviewed annually in line with the Disability Discrimination Act. Our plan ensures that disabled pupils are not treated less favourably, that we make reasonable adjustments to ensure these pupils are not disadvantaged, and that we aim to increase access to education for disabled pupils.

Through our plan, we aim to improve access to the school curriculum. Over the current three year plan, we are introducing 'talk boxes' as an aid to children who struggle with their literacy skills. We have purchased some special cushions to improve stability when sitting. We are also working on improving physical access to the school building and have built a ramp to enable improved access to the main entrance for wheelchair users.

All staff are continuing to improve their expertise around the area of disability. We are continuing to work through the government funded Inclusion Development Programme which is raising awareness and understanding of a range of additional needs.