What is classed as a special educational need or disability?
A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her. A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:
- has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age
- has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools.
Many children and young people who have SEN may have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 – that is ‘…a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. This definition provides a relatively low threshold and includes more children than many realise: ‘long-term’ is defined as ‘a year or more’ and ‘substantial’ is defined as ‘more than minor or trivial’.
Any child who is making significantly slower progress than their peers or may need special provision to access the curriculum in any of the following areas is deemed as having a Special Educational Need:
- Communication and Interaction
- Cognition and Learning difficulties
- Social emotional and mental health
- Sensory and/or physical needs
How do we identify when a child has a Special Educational Need (SEN)?
Additional needs may become apparent at any time in a child’s school life. Additional support may be triggered when children are making less than expected progress given their age and individual circumstances and where the child:
- Is making progress significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same baseline
- Fails to match or better the child’s previous rate of progress
- Fails to close the attainment gap between the child and their peers or widens the attainment gap.
Early identification of a child’s special educational needs is very important. The progress made by children is regularly monitored and reviewed by all class teachers, the SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) and the Head teacher and regular communication is maintained with parents. Advice is sought via specialist professionals such as educational psychologists, Occupational therapists, Physiotherapists where appropriate.
If my child is identified as having a SEN how are they supported in school?
At Yanwath we teach as a whole school, rather than in defined year groups or key stages and the majority of children will have their needs met through normal classroom arrangements and careful target setting, which may include short-term support. We organise our curriculum with interests and abilities in mind and adapt the curriculum through careful planning which is differentiated to individual needs. Staff members work together to ensure that lessons include a range of tasks and ways of working, and extra-curricular activities are accessible to all pupils. Additional support is provided through an Assess, Plan (Individual education Plan), Do, Review model which is monitored and reviewed regularly. Views are sought from all pupils regarding their learning and are done in a variety of ways depending on needs and ability. Targets are made and agreed with the child and their parents on a termly basis.
Additional support is provided on a needs-led basis through additional adults, information technology, small group and 1:1 interventions. Resources are allocated to children with special educational needs, from statutory and non-statutory funding, grants and the school budget.
A range of standardised and non standardised tests are used to gain an understanding of a child’s current level of attainment in a specific area and then reviewed at a set point in the future to ascertain rate of progress. This gives us information about the effectiveness of the teaching strategies and can be used to inform future planning.
In order to provide an appropriate learning environment advice may be taken from external specialists such as Specialist advisory teachers, the educational psychologist, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists. Adaptations can include things such as the use of information technology, seating and classroom organisation.
Social and emotional development is very important to us and is therefore 1 of Yanwath’s 4 school drivers underpinning all aspects of learning. The ethos within the school promotes key competencies in communication, working together, managing situations and how to relate to people. Specific strategies currently in use where appropriate include:
- The Social and emotional aspects of learning programme (SEAL)
- An in-school parent support advisor
- Nurture and ‘Chatting’ groups
We are fortunate that our staff bring a wealth of experience and are trained in many support and intervention strategies which include Reading Intervention. Maths Recovery, Makaton Level 2, Hearing impaired awareness level 1, Speech and Language, Team teach, Smart Moves, autism
All staff members take part in an ongoing training programme.
How are parents involved?
Parents know their child better than anyone. The school has good relationships with parents, who are welcome in school at almost any time. The parents of children with an additional need will be involved, through discussion, at all stages of identification, assessment, plan do and review and where appropriate teachers will adapt and try out the ideas of parents. The school is sensitive to the needs and requirements of parents, and will support them in their reinforcement of school work at home. The school provides information about the Parent Partnership service to all students with special educational needs on request.
As a matter of course all parents are invited into school for a meeting with the teacher twice yearly. This is seen as a crucial aspect of communication between parents and teachers. For those children with an identified need more regular meetings are held within school and involve all those professionals who have involvement with the child.
Who is responsible for ensuring that my child is supported?
The SENCO is responsible for the operational management of the specified and agreed resources for special needs provision within school, including the provision for children currently with statements or EHCP’s (Education Health Care Plans). The Headteacher informs the Governing Body of how the funding allocated to support special educational needs has been employed. The Headteacher and SENCO meet regularly to agree how to use funds, including those directly related to statements. The effectiveness of the resources for special needs is monitored as part of the on-going process of self-evaluation in school.
Who do I contact if I have any problems or issues?
For any question or query about your child your first contact would be made with your child’s class teacher. However complaints by a parent of a child who receives SEN provision can be made to the Headteacher, class teacher, or SENCO in discussion, by letter or by telephone. The nature of the complaint will be noted and within ten working days either a resolution will be offered, or a meeting will be convened to discuss an agreed way forward.
Local authorities must make disagreement resolution services available to parents and young people. When parents disagree with the local authority they must make known to parents the possibility of resolving disagreements across education, health and social care through disagreement resolution and mediation procedures. These are made known to parents and young people through the local authority’s information, advice and support service.
How will the school prepare and support my child to join the school or transfer to a new school or the next stage of education and life?
The ethos of Yanwath School is very much focused on preparing children for their continuing journey through education and into adulthood. Therefore good transition is very important. The school currently starts transition in January before your child begins school. This is so that we really get to know your child well and provides good continuity. We have worked closely with a number of local nurseries to ensure good transition.
We also work closely with all secondary schools during the transitional period for the older members of our school. This can start as early as is necessary but normally begins in Year 5. We listen to children and talk about their worries and involve them in future planning and plan additional visits where appropriate. Strategies such as communication passports, learning to purchase dinners, using timetables and planners, meeting staff and key workers and familiarising themselves with the setting are very important within this.
How do we ensure that our provision is effective?
As a school we continually look at how our curriculum can be organised and adapted to ensure that children with SEN are achieving as well as they can considering their starting point and barriers to learning. Children with any need over and above that of their peers have individual educational plans which are reviewed on a regular basis and children are planned for on an individual basis. Children know what they are good at and what their next steps are and can explain their individual targets.
Our school values are clear and:
- We have good partnerships with other agencies
- We routinely work on developing partnership with parents and the feedback they give us.
- We annually embark on moderation with other schools within our local area.
- We will also gather information from the local offer, collaboration with local schools and others.
The contact details of support services for the parents of pupils with SEN
The Local Offer is a directory of all of the services available within Cumbria. To access this please click here.
The website for the Cumbria SEND Improvement website is available here.
The member of staff with responsibility for co-ordinating Special educational need within the school is:
SENCO contact information:
Millie Seger-Bernard, SEN Lead
Mrs Sue Newstead, SENCo