1. What are special educational needs (SEN) or a disability?
At our school we use the definition for SEN and for disability from the SEND Code of Practice (2014). This states:
Special Educational Needs: A child or young person has special educational needs if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her. A learning difficulty or disability is a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age. Special educational provision means educational or training provision that is additional to, or different from, that made generally for others of the same age in a mainstream setting in England.
Disability: 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 includes sensory impairments such as those affecting sight or hearing, and long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and cancer.
2. The kinds of special educational needs (SEN) for which provision is made at the school
Children and young people with SEN have different needs, but the general presumption is that all children with SEN but without an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) are welcome to apply for a place at our school, in line with the school admissions policy. If a place is available, we will undertake to use our best endeavours, in partnership with parents, to make the provision required to meet the SEN of pupils at this school.
For children with an EHCP, parents have the right to request a particular school and the local authority must comply with that preference and name the school or college in the EHC plan unless:
- it would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person
- or the attendance of the child or young person there would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or the efficient use of resources.
Before making the decision to name our school in a child’s EHCP, the local authority will send the governing body a copy of the EHCP and then consider their comments very carefully before a final decision on placement is made. In addition, the local authority must also seek the agreement of school where the draft EHCP sets out any provision to be delivered on their premises that have been secured through a direct payment (personal budget).
Parents of a child with an EHCP also have the right to seek a place at a special school if it they consider that their child’s needs can be better met in specialist provision.
3. How does our school know if children need extra help?
We know a pupil needs help if:
- Concerns are raised by parents/carers, external agencies, teachers, the pupil’s previous school or the pupil themselves, regarding concerns relating to inadequate levels of progress or inclusion.
- Screening, such as that completed on entry or as a result of a concern being raised, indicates gap in knowledge and/or skills.
- Whole school tracking of attainment outcomes indicates lack of expected rate of progress.
- Observation of the pupil indicates that they have additional needs.
4. What should you do if you think your child may have special educational needs?
- If you have concerns relating to your child’s learning or inclusion then please initially discuss these with your child’s form teacher, or subject teacher if the concern is specific to one subject area. This may result in a referral to Mrs Lisa Proudlock (SENCo).
- Parents may also contact Mrs Proudlock or Mrs Webb (Headteacher) directly if they feel this is more appropriate.
- All parents will be listened to. Their views and their aspirations for their child will be central to the assessment and provision that is provided by the school.
5. How will the school support a child with SEND?
All pupils will be provided with high quality teaching that is differentiated to meet the needs of all learners. The quality of classroom teaching provided to pupils with SEND is monitored through a number of processes that include:
- classroom observation and sharing of good practice
- ongoing assessment of progress made by pupils with SEND
- work sampling and scrutiny of planning to ensure effective matching of work to pupil need
- teacher meetings with the SENCo to provide advice and guidance on meeting the needs of pupils with SEND
- pupil and parent feedback on the quality and effectiveness of interventions provided
- attendance and behaviour records.
Pupils with a disability will be provided with reasonable adjustments (such as writing slopes, enlarged text) to overcome any disadvantage experienced in schools and increase their access to the taught curriculum.
All pupils have individual curriculum targets set in line with national outcomes to ensure ambition. Parents are informed of these via the reporting system and also at events such as Parents’ Evenings.
Pupils’ attainments are tracked using the whole school tracking system and those failing to make expected levels of progress are identified very quickly. In English and mathematics these pupils are then discussed in half termly progress meetings that are undertaken between the subject teacher and Miss Laing (Head of English) or Mrs Walker (Head of KS2 maths) or Mr Slipper (Head of KS3 maths).
Additional action to increase the rate of progress will be then identified and recorded that will include a review of the impact of the differentiated teaching being provided to the child, and if required, provision to the teacher of additional strategies to further support the success of the pupil.
Where it is decided during this early discussion that special educational provision is required to support increased rates, parents will be informed that the school considers their child may require SEN support and their partnership sought in order to improve attainments.
Action relating to SEN support will follow an assess, plan, do and review model:
Assess: Data on the pupil held by the school will be collated by the form teacher or SENCo in order to make an accurate assessment of the pupil’s needs. Parents will always be invited to this early discussion to support the identification of action to improve outcomes.
Plan: If review of the action taken indicates that “additional to and different from” support will be required, then the views of all involved including the parents and the pupil will be obtained and appropriate evidence-based interventions identified and recorded by the form teacher with advice from the SENCo. Interventions may be implemented by teachers and or support staff.
Do: SEN support will be recorded on a pupil support plan that will identify a clear set of expected outcomes, which will include stretching and relevant academic and developmental targets (this may include for young people, targets around preparing for adulthood) that take into account parents’ aspirations for their child. Parents and the pupil will also be consulted on the action they can take to support attainment of the desired outcomes. This will be recorded and reviewed termly.
Review: Progress towards these outcomes will be tracked and reviewed termly with the parents and the pupil. If progress rates are judged to be inadequate despite the delivery of high quality interventions, advice will always be sought from external agencies regarding strategies to best meet the specific needs of a pupil. This will only be undertaken after parent permission has been obtained and may include referral to:
- Local Authority Support Services (SENTASS),
- the Educational Psychologist,
- Kalmer Counselling (in school)
- or health partners such as School Nurse, and Children and Young Peoples’ Service (CYPS).
For a very small percentage of pupils, whose needs are significant and complex and the SEN Support required to meet their needs cannot reasonably be provided from within the school’s own resources, a request will be made to the local authority to conduct an assessment of education, health and care needs. This may result in an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan being provided.
6.How will pupils be involved in decisions regarding provision that can better meet their needs?
One-page pupil profiles are completed with the pupils and shared with all teaching and support staff. The purpose of the profiles is to encourage the pupils to identify and share their strengths, personal interests, and the action they require to be taken by the school to reduce barriers to their learning and social success. The pupil’s views gained on the effectiveness of the action taken so far to meet their needs is reviewed termly and recorded on their support plan.
7. How will the curriculum be matched to each child’s needs?
- Teachers plan using pupils’ achievement levels, differentiating tasks to ensure progress for every pupil in the classroom.
- When a pupil has been identified as having special educational needs, the curriculum and the learning environment will be further adapted by the class teacher to reduce barriers to learning and enable them to access the curriculum more easily.
- These adaptations may include strategies suggested by the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) and/or external specialists e.g. SENTASS, Visual Impairment team, Occupational Therapy.
- In addition, if it is considered appropriate, pupils may be provided with specialised equipment or resources such as ICT and/or additional adult help. All actions taken by the class teacher will be recorded and shared with parents through the pupil support plan and at review meetings.
8. How will you know how your child is doing?
- Attainments towards the identified outcomes will be shared with parents termly through feedback regarding SEN support reviews but also through the school reporting system and Parents’ Evenings.
- Parents may also find the home-school diary a useful tool to use to communicate with school staff on a more regular basis.
- Parents will be invited to a review meeting, usually with their child’s form teacher or the SENCo once a term to discuss their child’s progress. However, if there are other times when you have concerns about your child we would encourage you to contact the school directly to discuss the situation.
9. How will you be helped to support your child’s learning?
Please look at the school website. It includes links to websites and resources that we have found useful in supporting parents to help their child learn at home.
- The class teacher, subject teacher or SENCo may also suggest additional ways of supporting your child’s learning.
- The school organises a number of parent workshops during the year focussing on areas such as how best to support your child in mathematics and e-safety. You will receive invitations to these through email / letter; they will also be advertised on our website. They aim to provide useful opportunities for parents to learn more about how to support your child’s learning.
- If you have ideas on support that you would like to have access to in order to further support your child’s learning, please contact Claire Scott (Parent Support Partner) or Lisa Proudlock (SENCo) who will locate information and guidance for you in this area.
10. How will the school evaluate the effectiveness of the SEN provision made for pupils?
The effectiveness of SEN provision will be measured using both qualitative and quantitative data.
- Qualitative data will gather the views of parents and pupils on how successful the provision has been in enabling them to attain their outcomes. This may include pupil comments, photographs or video clips of your child working or accessing an intervention which can be shared with you at review meetings.
- Quantitative data will examine both progress and attainment levels compared to those achieved nationally for pupils with the same level prior learning level. This data will be shared with governors and be judged by external moderators such as Ofsted.
11. What support will there be for children’s overall well-being?
The school offers a wide variety of pastoral support for pupils. This includes:
- An evaluated Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PHSE) curriculum that aims to provide pupils with the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to enhance their emotional and social knowledge and well-being.
- Small group evidence-led interventions to support pupil’s well-being are delivered to targeted pupils and groups. These aim to support improved interaction skills, emotional resilience and wellbeing and include support from:
- Social Stories (Mrs Kennard)
- LEGO therapy (Mrs Proudlock)
- WING programme (Mrs Good)
- FRIENDS programme (Claire Scott)
- BU Project (Claire Scott)
- School Counsellor (Kate Wood)
- Behaviour specialist teacher (Mrs Ann Pearson)
- Pupils who find outside class times difficult are provided with alternative small group opportunities within the school and action is taken to develop their social interaction skills. In individual cases, pupils can be provided with a lunchtime activity timetable and have ‘fixed’ lunch sittings.
- The school has gained Healthy School status which evidences the work undertaken within the school to supports pupils’ well-being and mental health. A particular focus of children’s wellbeing this year is to encourage good sleep habits.
- Pupil voice is listened and responded to through the pupil school council. As well as this, for children on the SEND register, pupil views are collected through meetings with their form teachers, learning support assistants and/or the SENCo in order to inform actions and interventions that take place. Ideas and comments shared by pupils are recorded on the pupil support plans.
- Parent voice mechanisms are also in place through means of a Parent Council. Further information at http://gosforthcent.newcastle.sch.uk/parents/parent-council/
12. Pupils with medical needs (Statutory duty under the Children and Families Act)
Pupils with medical needs will be provided with a detailed Individual Health and Care Plan, compiled in partnership with the school nurse and parents and if appropriate, the pupil themselves. •
- Staff who volunteer to administer and supervise medications, will complete formal training and be verified by the school nurse as being competent.
- All medicine administration procedures adhere to the LA policy and Department of Education (DfE) guidelines included within Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions (DfE) 2014 and identified in the School Medicine Administration Policy.
13. What training do the staff supporting children and young people with SEND undertake?
- The SEN department team of learning support assistants are included in training opportunities relating to special educational needs and disabilities, and have a wealth of experience and expertise to offer children with SEN at our school.
- Staff supporting pupils with SEN are qualified teachers or learning support assistants.
- All teachers and learning support assistants undergo yearly appraisal procedures.
- Enhanced training has been provided to some learning support assistants and teachers on how to:
1) support pupils with dyslexia and literacy difficulties
2) support pupils with attachment disorder
3) deliver Lego therapy intervention groups
- The SENCo or Head of Inclusion attends the termly SENCo network update meetings.
- Specialist training is being provided to the SENCo on the SEN Coordination award.
- The school has regular visits from SEN specialist teachers and the Educational Psychologist who provide advice to staff support the success and progress of individual pupils.
- The NHS Speech Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists visit termly to assess and plan support for targeted pupils. These programmes are then delivered by a trained Teaching Assistant.
- All staff receive comprehensive and on-going training in meeting the needs of our pupils, including safeguarding and medical.
- At GCMS, we value lifelong learning, and as a staff, we use training opportunities to reflect critically on our practice in the classroom with children, including those with SEND.
14. How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?
- Risk assessments are carried out and procedures are put in place to enable all children to participate in all school activities.
- The school makes every possible effort to ensure that no child with SEND is excluded from any school provided activity.
15. How accessible is the school environment?
- Disabled parking bays located next to the school reception.
- All steps edged with yellow to ensure they are easier for those with visual impairments to negotiate.
- One toilet has been adapted to ensure accessibility for visitors with a disability.
- Two toilets, one in key stage 2 corridor and one in the key stage 3 corridor are suitable for pupils with a disability and have wheelchair access.
- A medical room has been provided in order to enable a safe place for insulin testing/injections.
- Our Accessibility Plan describes the actions the school has taken to increase access to the environment, the curriculum and to printed information is available via the school website.
16. How will the school prepare/support my child when joining or transferring to a new school?
A number of strategies are in place to enable effective pupils’ transition. These include:
- A planned introduction programme is delivered throughout the Spring and Summer terms to support transfer for pupils starting school in September.
- Parent/carers are invited to a meeting at the school and are provided with a range of information to support them in enabling their child to settle into the school routine.
- The SENCo meets with all new parents of pupils who are known to have SEND at transfer review meetings held during the Summer term at feeder first schools. This allows concerns to be raised and solutions to any perceived challenges to be located prior to entry.
- If pupils are transferring from another setting, the previous school records will be requested immediately and a meeting set up with parents to identify and reduce any concerns.
Transition to the next school:
- The transition programme in place provides opportunities for Year 8 pupils and their parents to meet staff in the new school. These opportunities are further enhanced for pupils with SEND.
- The annual review in Y7 for pupils with an Education, health and care plan (EHCP) begins the process where parents are supported to make decisions regarding school choice.
- Parents will be encouraged to consider options for the next phase of education and the school will involve outside agencies, as appropriate, to ensure information provided is comprehensive but accessible.
- Accompanied visits to other providers may be arranged as appropriate.
- For pupils transferring to Gosforth Academy, the SENCos of both schools will meet to discuss the needs of pupils with SEN in order to ensure a smooth transition.
17. How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
The school receives funding to respond to the needs of pupils with SEND from a number of sources that includes:
- A proportion of the funds allocated per pupil to the school to provide for their education called the Age Weighted Pupil Unit.
- The Notional SEN budget. This is a fund devolved to schools to support them to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.
- For those pupils with the most complex needs, the school may be allocated additional educational needs funding from the Local Authorities High Needs SEN Funding allocation.
This funding is then used to provide the equipment and facilities to support pupils with special educational needs and disabilities through support that might include:
- Targeted differentiation to increase access to text (desk copies of information, work buddy, accessible text, ICT resources and programmes, different recording strategies, additional time etc.)
- In class, adult or peer support aimed at increasing skills in specific area of weakness (learning behaviours, organisation, etc)
- Out of class support (relationship building, social, emotional skill development)
- Small group tuition to enable catch up (subject or targeted at additional need)
- Specific support, advice and guidance is provided to parents and families to improve pupil’s readiness for learning (relating to pupil’s difficulties in attendance, behaviour, physiological and emotional needs etc)
- Provision of specialist resources or equipment (use of ICT, sloping board, electronic versions of text etc)
- Access to targeted clubs, for example: homework club, and clubs targeted at improving literacy and numeracy skills, increasing resilience and improving social and communication skills. These take place at various times throughout the school day: before school, during registration time and lunchtime and after school.
- Access to the school nurse and wider health professional support (responding to mental and physical health issues, speech, language and communication needs, motor control and mobility needs)
- Access to support from in-school sources e.g. learning mentors (peer or adult) or from charities (e.g. NSPCC, Barnardos)
- Implementation of strategies from support agencies
- The Pupil Premium funding provides additional funding for pupils who meet the eligibility criteria outlined by the Department for Education (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pupil-premium-information-for-schools-and-alternative-provision-settings). The deployment of this funding is published on the school website.
- If parents wish to discuss the options available for their child, they are welcome to make an appointment to see the class/subject teacher, SENCo or a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
18. How is the decision made about how much support each child will receive?
- For pupils with SEN but without a statement of educational need or EHCP, the decision regarding the support provided will be taken at meetings with the class teacher and / or SENCo and parent.
- For pupils with a statement of educational need or EHCP, this decision will be reached in agreement with parents when the EHCP is being produced or at an annual review.
19. How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child’s education?
This will be through:
- discussions with the form teacher or SENCo
- during parents evenings,
- meetings with support and external agencies.
20. Who can I contact for further information or if I have any concerns?
If you wish to discuss your child’s special educational needs or are unhappy about any issues regarding the school’s response to meeting these needs please contact the following:
- Your child’s form teacher,
- Mrs Proudlock (SENCo)
- Mrs Good (Head of Inclusion and Assistant Headteacher)
- Mrs Webb (Headteacher)
For complaints, please contact our School Governor with responsibility for SEND: Mrs Jane Thorpe.
21. Support services for parents of pupils with SEND
- Newcastle Directory of Support for Families
- For parents who are unhappy with the Local Authority or school responses to their child’s SEND, parents may seek mediation from the regional mediation services. Information on this free service is located here http://preview.tinyurl.com/qx5a8vq
- Parents and carers can also appeal to the Government’s SEND tribunal if you disagree with the Local Authorities decisions about your child’s special educational needs. You can also appeal to the tribunal if the school or council has discriminated against your disabled child. Information on this process is available here http://preview.tinyurl.com/ovg4so3
22. Information on where the Local Authority’s Local Offer can be found
Newcastle Local Authorities Local Offer can be found at the following website. This provides families with information about local services and how to access them.