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Special Educational Needs Information

The aim at St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School is that all children will achieve to their full potential both academically and socially.

Quality first teaching is vital to ensure we fulfil this aim for our children.

For some children, however, it is necessary to provide additional support and/or resources to enable them to achieve their targets in school.

This document been produced to answer questions you may have about the additional support that is being provided to help your child in school.

SEN– roles and responsibilities

Mrs Siobhan Thomas – SENCo

I am responsible for the co-ordination of special educational needs throughout the school. It is my job to ensure that as a school we are following the Department of Educations Code of Practice well as ensuring all practice in school is in line with our SEN policy (policy is available on the school website or by request at the office). I liaise regularly with staff to ensure that the children are given the most appropriate support/resources for their individual needs. A large part of my role is to work closely with external agencies (see section below) to gain specialist advice and support for individual children. I also ensure that any requests for information on individual children are passed onto the relevant agencies and that parents are kept fully informed of this.

We work with a variety of outside agencies including

  • Educational Psychologist
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Speech and Language Technicians
  • Paediatricians
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Danecourt Outreach Service
  • School Counsellor
  • The Marlborough Outreach Service
  • Specialist Teachers

One of the biggest barriers to working together is how we communicate.

There are many SEN terms that are abbreviated which can lead to confusion for us all.

Please click the link below for a glossary of the most used SEN terms that you may find helpful.

Current SEN Updates

What is Pupil Premium?

The Pupil Premium was introduced in April 2011 and is allocated to schools to work with pupils who have been registered for free school meals at any point in the last six years. Schools also receive funding for children who have been looked after continuously for more than six months, and children of service personnel.

Why has it been introduced?

The Government believes that the Pupil Premium, which is additional to main school funding, is the best way to address the current underlying inequalities between children eligible for free school meals (FSM) and their peers.

Who decides on how the money is spent?

In most cases the Pupil Premium is paid directly to schools, allocated to them for every pupil who receives free school meals. Schools decide how to use the funding, as they are best placed to assess what their pupils need.

How are schools accountable for the spending of Pupil Premium?

They are held accountable for the decisions they make through:

  • The performance tables, which show the performance of FSM pupils, compared with their peers.
  • The new Ofsted inspection framework, under which inspectors focus on the attainment of pupil groups, for example, those who are eligible to receive the Pupil Premium.

Children and Families Bill 2013

The Children and Families Bill takes forward the Coalition Government’s commitments to improve services for vulnerable children and support families. It underpins wider reforms to ensure that all children and young people can succeed, no matter what their background. The Bill will reform the systems for adoption, looked after children, family justice and special educational needs.

The Government is transforming the system for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN), including those who are disabled, so that services consistently support the best outcomes for them. The Bill will extend the SEN system from birth to 25, giving children, young people and their parents/carers greater control and choice in decisions and ensuring needs are properly met.

It takes forward the reform programme set out in Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability: Progress and next steps by:

  • Replacing statements and learning difficulty assessments with a new birth- to-25 Education, Health and Care Plan, extending rights and protections to young people in further education and training and offering families personal budgets so that they have more control over the support they need;
  • Improving cooperation between all the services that support children and their families and particularly requiring local authorities and health authorities to work together;
  • Requiring local authorities to involve children, young people and parents in reviewing and developing provision for those with special educational needs and to publish a ‘local offer’ of support.

What is the Local Offer?

The Local Offer was first introduced in the Green Paper (March 2011) as “a local offer of all services available to support disabled children and children with SEN and their families. This easy to understand information will set out what is normally available in schools to help children with lower-level SEN as well as the options available to support families who need additional help to care for their child.”

What will it do?

  • The Medway framework will allow the Local Offer to provide parents/carers with information about how to access services in their area, and what they can expect from those services. With regard to Education, it will let parents/ carers and young people know how school and colleges will support them, and what they can expect across the local settings. During the last year, the Local Offer Steering Group has developed questions for schools, and trialled them with a small number of settings.
  • There are 14 questions, devised in consultation with parents/carers and other agencies, which reflect their concerns and interests. These will be answered by agencies, schools and colleges to provide information to parents and carers to enable them to make decisions about how to best support their child’s needs.

Below are St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School’s responses to these questions.

How does St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School know if children need extra help?

We know a child needs extra help when:

  • The parents/carers, teaching staff or the pre-school/ previous school raise concerns.
  • There is a lack of progress.
  • There is a change in the child’s behaviour, which impacts on their learning.
  • A child asks for help.

What should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s progress or wellbeing in school, please pop in to speak to the class teacher, who will direct you to Mrs Thomas, the SENCo for further discussion if this is needed.

How will I know how St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School supports my child?

  • Class teachers have overall responsibility for the planning and teaching of the curriculum for all children, which is monitored by senior leaders in our school. You will receive a termly letter to show you what your child is working on in school. Homework tasks will be sent home to enhance your child’s learning.
  • You will also be kept informed about your child’s progress and the support in place through parent consultations (usually held in Terms 2 and 4) and your child’s annual school report (Term 6).
  • Should your child require additional support, they may be included in a focussed intervention group. These will be run by the class teacher or a teaching assistant and will take place either within the classroom or in a quiet area close by. These interventions will usually last for a term (6 weeks).
  • Specific, planned interventions may be provided for your child in consultation with the head teacher, during pupil progress meetings or with the SENCo. All interventions will be recorded on the class provision map and for children who receive School Support; they will have an individual provision map to show the support they are currently receiving in school. These will be shared with you at least three times a year and will have suggested activities for you to work on at home. If you have any queries regarding the provision map, please speak to the class teacher in the first instance and then the SENCo.
  • Occasionally a child or family may need more specialist support from an external agency and as a result may be chosen for discussion at our In School Review (ISR). These meetings are held three times a year and are an opportunity for the SENCo to seek advice and support from external agencies.
  • If a referral to an external agency is recommended, this will be completed in conjunction with parents/carers and then sent on to the relevant agency. Referrals are usually recommended once the school has provided a high level of support for a child over a sustained period of time. In some cases, however, specialist advice may be required immediately due to the nature of the concern e.g. a child who has significant speech and language difficulties.
  • The Governors of St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School are responsible for entrusting a named person, Mrs Alma Myatt (Head Teacher) to monitor Safeguarding and Child protection procedures. She is also responsible for monitoring and correct administration of the Disclosure and Barring service procedures and the school’s Single Central record. The Governors ensure that the school is as inclusive as possible and treat all children and staff in an equitable way. They monitor and review the accessibility plan and all other statutory policies as defined by the DfE (Department for Education).

How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

  • All children are entitled to quality first teaching, which will be adapted to individual children’s needs to enable them to access the curriculum.
  • Class teachers and/or teaching assistants may be allocated to work with your child either 1-1 or in a small group to target more specific needs.
  • If appropriate, specialist equipment may be provided for your child e.g. writing slopes, privacy boards, spring-loaded scissors, pencil grips, sit and move cushions.

How will I know how my child is doing?

  • Every child is given a reading contact book in which messages can be exchanged between the adults working with your child in school and yourself. However, we would prefer letters or face to face meetings. Staff always welcome discussions with parents. If your child is in the Nursery, you will have daily contact with the staff to share information, if required.
  • Your child’s class teacher will be available at the end of the day if you need to have an informal chat. If you wish to speak in more detail, please request an appointment with them. Appointments can be made with the SENCo by contacting the school office.
  • You will be kept informed of your child’s progress through parent consultations (usually held in Terms 2 and 4) and your child’s annual school report. (Term 6).
  • Individual provision maps are provided for parents three times a year with details of interventions and targets.

How will you help me to support my child’s learning?

  • Your child’s teacher can suggest ways in which you can help at home through meetings with you, on your child’s provision map or at parent consultation evenings.
  • Mrs Thomas, the SENCo, may meet with you to discuss ways in which you can support your child’s progress.
  • If external agencies have been involved, a report is usually provided with recommendations and ideas that can be used at home as well as in school.

What support will there be for my child’s overall well being?

The school offers a variety of pastoral support for all children including those who may be experiencing emotional difficulties. These may include:

  • Opportunities for children to talk to members of staff such as the head teacher, teachers, teaching assistants, and midday meal supervisors, if they have any concerns.
  • Social skills groups run by teaching assistants.
  • We have a qualified school counsellor who works one day a week. Mrs Knight works with individuals or siblings who have been referred by member of staff or parent.
  • Support from external agencies such as play therapists and BSS may be provided if this is deemed appropriate.

Pupils with medical needs:

  • Teachers, in consultation with the parents/carers, will complete a detailed care plan for children with specific medical needs.
  • School staff members receive specific training delivered by the school nurse when need arises i.e. children with diabetes, epipen training, tube feeding etc.
  • Where necessary and in agreement with parents/carers medicines are administered in school but only where a signed care plan is in place. This is to ensure the safety of both the child and staff member.

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?

At times it may be necessary to engage the support of external agencies to seek their specialist advice and recommendations. These agencies may include:

  • Autism Outreach Team
  • Child Protection Advisors
  • Educational Psychologist
  • CAST (Child and Adolescent Support Team)
  • CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service)
  • AAP (Attendance Advisory Practitioner)
  • PASS (Physical and Sensory Service) to support children with hearing/visual impairments.
  • Inclusion Team
  • Social Services
  • Children’s Therapy Team (Speech and Language/Occupational Therapy)
  • MAGIC (Medway Autism Group and Information Centre)
  • Paediatricians (Medway Hospital)
  • School Nurse

The school has an allocated Educational Psychologist, Colm Lonergan. He attends all of the In School Reviews and will act on any recommendations made during these meetings to assess individual children who may not have progressed despite the interventions that have been put into place for them.

What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or are having?

All staff at St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School have access to regular training in relation to special educational needs.

The SENCo, Mrs Thomas has completed the National Award for SEN Coordination. She regularly attends training via the Medway SENCo forums and keeps up-to-date with any new SEN reforms.

The school also has access to specialist schools in Medway who can provide specialist advice, training and resources as and when required.

How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?

Activities and school trips are available for all children. Risk assessments are carried out and procedures are put in place to enable all children to participate.

If a health and safety risk assessment suggests that an intensive level of 1-1 support is required a parent or carer may be asked to accompany their child during the activity in addition to the usual school staff.

How accessible is the school environment?

As a school we are happy to discuss individual access requirements and will, wherever possible, make reasonable adjustments to meet these requirements.

The school has an up-to-date Accessibility plan, which highlights what we already have in place and the plans we have for future developments.

Facilities we have at present include:

  • Ramps into school and onto the playground to make them more accessible for all children, staff and visitors
  • Toilets for adults and children with disabilities.
  • Visual strips on stairs/steps etc to support children/adults with visual impairments.
  • Wide doors in most areas of the building.

How will the school prepare and support my child when joining St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School or transferring to a new school?

St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School understands that moving schools can be a challenging experience and, therefore has strategies in place to support this transition. These include:

  • Meetings between the pre-school or receiving school prior to the child starting/leaving, wherever possible.
  • Liaison with the Individual Children’s Support Service (ICSS) for pre-schoolers with additional needs moving to St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic School.
  • Mrs Copperwheat, our Foundation Stage leader and/or Mrs Thomas will visit the main feeder pre-schools/nurseries if required.
  • Additional visits as well as the usual induction procedures will be arranged for any children who may need extra time in their new school.
  • Transition booklets will be provided for children who may need visual aids prior to starting – these will include photographs of the new teacher/classroom and other areas of the school.
  • The SENCo liaises with the receiving school’s SENCo to share information regarding any children with special educational needs.

How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?

  • The SEN budget is used to acquire resources such as sensory equipment and speech and language activities to support special educational needs throughout the school.
  • The money provided to the school by the Local Authority for children with special educational needs is used to provide support for individual children dependent on their needs. Additional resources may be purchased for individuals or groups of children.
  • Specialist advice/support may be bought in to support individual children.
  • Individual Pupil Premium payments are used to support the children who qualify for this payment.

How is the decision made about how much support my child will receive?

  • When children first join us, additional support for children with special educational needs is allocated using the information provided by the pre-school/previous school. The class teacher will then carefully monitor progress and in consultation with the head teacher and assistant head teacher at pupil progress meetings, together with the SENCo, will adjust the level of support accordingly.
  • During their school life, if further concerns are identified due to the child’s lack of progress or well being then other interventions will be put in place.
  • Parents/carers will be able to see the support their child is receiving on their provision map (see Questions 2 and 4).

How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child’s education?

All parents are encouraged to contribute to their child’s education. This may be through:

  • Discussions with the class teacher.
  • During parent consultations.
  • In discussions with the SENCo, Head Teacher or other professionals.

Who can I contact for further information?

If you wish to discuss your child’s educational needs or are unhappy about something regarding your child’s schooling, please speak with your child’s class teacher in the first instance. If you then need further clarification, please contact:

  • Mrs Thomas – SENCo (thoms773@st-thomascanterbury.medway.sch.uk)
  • Mrs Gallagher – Head Teacher
  • Mrs Clark– Chair of Governors

I hope these have answered any queries you may have but do not hesitate to contact the school if you have further questions.