(Special Education Needs & Disabilities)
What are special educational needs?
A child has special educational needs if he or she experiences greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age and if that difficulty calls for special provision.
The sorts of things that result in special needs include:
- Physical impairment
- Specific learning difficulties of various kinds, e.g. dyslexia
- Behavioural or social difficulties.
Where the provision of a mainstream school is appropriate we provide an inclusive education for children who have a range of needs under these broad headings.
Should I worry if my child has special needs?
Most children with special educational needs are able to learn well in mainstream schools, such as Nursteed Community Primary School. If you have a child who is finding learning difficult you should not be unduly concerned. We will adapt our teaching to suit your child's needs and, if appropriate, we will draw on expert help. It helps everyone - not least your child - if we at school can work in partnership with you at home. We will keep you informed and we will offer guidance as to how, together, we can support your child's learning.
How do we identify children with special educational needs?
Before starting school a child may have already been identified with a special educational need or disability. If so, we work closely with parents and any agencies already involved to ensure a smooth transition into school. We review and continue any existing support plan so that good progress is made by that child.
Teachers make regular assessments of children’s attainment and progress, mindful of national age-related expectations. All school adults monitor children’s emotional well-being and behaviour. Also we listen to views and concerns expressed by parents and carers. Where any of these observations suggest a child may need additional support, we use our professional judgement to consider if he/she may have a special educational need or a disability.
If we consider a child may have a special educational need we discuss this with his/her parents or carers (if we haven’t already done so). In agreement with parents we assess the specific issue that is preventing the child from learning to his/her full potential. Parents are kept informed and included in the decision making process, and we involve the child throughout (in an age-appropriate way).
Levels of Support
Children identified as requiring extra support have a an 'SEN Support Record' made. This lists desired outcomes and ways of progressing towards them and is followed and reviewed regularly within school.
If it is considered that support is required from an outside professional (e.g. educational psychologist, or speech and language therapist) a single agency referral form (SARF) is completed.
If progress continues to be a concern an SEN support plan is put in place alongside the support record. This is used as evidence if continuing needs prompt a request for specialist assessment and an application for a statutory 'Education and Healthcare Plan' (EHC). The EHC Plan, known in Wiltshire as a 'My Plan' replaces what was previously known as a statement of special educational need.
The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo)
Mrs C Malley has responsibility for leading provision for children with special educational needs and disability. She can be contacted in school in the usual ways
Where we have an initial concern it is likely that your child’s class teacher or Miss Walsh will approach you to arrange a chance to discuss the issue and consider what to do next. If outside agencies become involved in supporting your child you’ll be invited to attend a meeting three times a year to discuss the provision in place. If your child is provided with an 'Education and Healthcare Plan' there is an additional formal annual review. In all likelihood there will be more frequent informal contact so that you are fully in the picture about what’s being done to help your child. We’ll always gladly meet with you at your request.
Class teachers consult regularly with children who have individual outcomes planned for them, to consider how they are progressing to meet those outcomes. Children are also part of review meetings and are asked to give their views, either on paper (a teaching assistant or teacher might work with a child to complete any written evidence) and/or in person at the review meeting.
Near the end of each school year, class teachers meet to share information to help make transition from one year group into the next as smooth as possible. Children also experience some time with their new class teacher. Any specific needs (e.g. for a child who finds change challenging) are identified and planned for. For a child with an 'Education and Healthcare Plan' a formal transition meeting is held during Year 5 in order to look forward to the move to secondary education, and to find the best possible setting for this next phase in his/her education.
For Year 6 children, the class teacher and SENCo meet with teachers and/or heads of year plus SENCo’s from receiving secondary schools and a suitable plan for transition is made. Where desirable or necessary the children concerned meet these adults. Some children may be offered additional, supervised visits to their new school to smooth the transition.
Teaching children with special educational needs or a disability
We expect that all children will strive to reach their potential. For some children, including those with special educational needs or a disability, this may require that, for example:
- Teachers adapt plans, so that individuals have individualised learning outcomes
- Children are withdrawn from class for individual teaching (e.g. interventions like Numbers Count)
- Extra adult support is provided in class to allow children to access the curriculum fully
- External agencies are consulted so teachers receive the best advice on specific teaching strategies
- Premises are adapted, e.g. amplified sound for children with hearing difficulties, or reorganised seating arrangements
- Specialist furniture or resources are provided, e.g. specialist IT equipment, or enlarged text.
(All areas of the school building have wheelchair access.)
We endeavour always to involve parents and children themselves so that children have the best possible school experience.
Teachers and teaching assistants have received training regarding a wide variety of needs, e.g. dyslexia, speech and language, autistic spectrum disorders, ADHD, hearing impairment, social skills, behaviour support. Training to meet identified needs is provided each year, for individual members of staff or for the whole teaching team. The school is well supported by outside agencies when necessary, formally and informally.
Class teachers and other school adults meet periodically to review progress against planned outcomes.
Pupil performance data for all children is analysed regularly. Part of this analysis focuses specifically on the performance of children with special educational needs so that any shortcomings are identified and addressed by modifying provision appropriately.
The SENCo also monitor planning and other evidence to ensure that children with special educational needs or a disability are receiving a full and inclusive entitlement.
Special educational needs and disability provision and policy is formally reviewed annually to ensure that it remains fit for purpose.
Consistent application of the school’s ‘Behaviour Policy’ helps children behave well, so that they can concentrate fully on learning. What we expect is made explicit: rewards and sanctions reinforce this. We have a trained teaching assistant (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant, or ELSA) who provides regular support for individual children who need guidance in developing social skills. In addition, we access a counselling service provided by the local cluster of primary schools when this is helpful.
Where there is an identified need and a multi-agency approach is required we invite families to participate in the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) process. This means we can refer to relevant agencies, as necessary: examples include Social Care, Speech and Language advice, Educational Psychology, Behaviour Support.
In the first instance we ask that parents/carers raise their concerns in conversation with the class teacher, our SENCo or the head teacher. It may be a straightforward matter to understand concerns and put things right. If this fails to resolve an issue we have a clear complaints procedure to follow (available to download from this website).
We identify the abilities and aptitudes of all our pupils, including those who are gifted and talented. In the classroom, all teachers recognise that there is a variation in the ages and abilities of the pupils and know that it is inappropriate to try to teach all children the same topic at the same rate. Activities are differentiated and extension activities are provided for those who require them.
When necessary we are able to liaise with specialists to organise special programmes of work. Each year there are additional learning opportunities for gifted and talented pupils provided locally (day and short residential courses). We actively signpost these activities to children we have identified as being suited to them.