St. Matthews SEN Information Report / School's Offer
At St Matthew’s C of E Primary School we are committed to ensuring that all of our children achieve their full potential. We work hard to remove any barriers that may be affecting learning and aim to provide them with the support they need to make progress and succeed. However, we understand that children learn at different rates and that some children require more personalised help (sometimes referred to as SEN Support). This report aims to answer any questions you may have about this and signpost you to where you can find out more information.
What does SEND mean?
SEND stands for Special Educational Need/Disability. It is a term used in schools to describe a child who needs extra help with their learning and/or support to access the curriculum.
How does the school identify children who may have a SEND?
· Some children have already been identified before they start with us. This is usually done by a Health Visitor, doctor or pre-school setting. If this happens, we work with the people who already know the child, before they start school, and use this information to plan what they might need in our school setting.
· We rely heavily on parents. YOU know your child best. If you have any concerns regarding their progress or general development, we want to know. We will then look into it and share with you what we find.
· All staff in school observe and assess children regularly. If we notice that your child is not making the same progress as other children, we will give them some extra support (sometimes called ‘intervention’). If this does not help as much as we would like, we will ask you to come into school to discuss next steps.
What happens if school have a concern about your child’s progress?
We will ask you to come into school so that we can talk about our concerns and find out more information from you. Often, you as parents can ‘shed more light’ onto the difficulties your child is having, which then helps us to identify a way forward. At this stage, your child will be categorised as requiring ‘SEN support’, but please do not worry about this – it is not a label that will stick with your child for the rest of their lives. In many cases, it is a temporary issue that resolves itself once the right support has been given.
What happens once a child has been identified as needing SEN Support?
Together with parents we identify the main areas of difficulty and set approximately 3 targets to focus on initially. These targets will be specific and measurable. We will also set out everything we, as a school, will do to help your child to achieve their targets, along with ideas/strategies that you can do at home. These are just suggestions though – we won’t be checking up on you to make sure you’ve done them! However, you may find them to be a useful way of supporting your child’s learning in the home environment. Please let us know if these strategies work – it’s really useful to hear your feedback too.
If children require SEN support, what will school provide for them?
Support can be provided in lots of different ways. Some of these include:
- Small group sessions in Reading, Writing and Maths.
- Activities to develop social interaction with others.
- Targeted interventions – following advice from other agencies (e.g. Speech & Language therapists, Educational Psychologists, Occupational therapists, etc.)
- Pre/post-tutoring – talking through new topic before and after they are taught, to consolidate understanding.
- Access to assistive technology, i.e. a laptop with special software (especially if a child struggles with handwriting and/or spelling.)
- Extra help in lessons, from the teacher or a teaching assistant.
- Using a range of resources, e.g. Numicon (to develop understanding of number).
- Providing a place for children to ‘calm down’ if they need it.
- Giving children someone to talk to about their feelings (i.e. the school counsellor or another adult they feel comfortable with.)
Support is allocated according to the needs of the child. However, there is not a bottomless pit of money that school can access. Therefore, it sometimes becomes necessary to prioritise children with more complex needs.
How will the curriculum be matched to a child’s need?
All staff in school are trained to identify aspects that children find challenging. We then adapt our approach so that children are able to access learning at their level. This may be via a different task/activity; modified resources or a higher degree of adult support.
How will school know if the extra support is working?
We monitor children even more closely and regularly assess how well they are doing. We also meet with parents at least termly to review how things are going.
What happens if the support that school provides does not appear to be working?
If this is the case, we will call upon the advice of other agencies, with your consent. These include medical professionals (i.e. Speech and Language therapists, the community paediatrician, Occupational therapist, Healthy Young Minds, etc.) as well as Educational Psychologists and QEST (a service who can complete assessments and give more specialised SEN support.) Before any referral is made, we will talk to you about why we think this kind of involvement will be useful. It will not be forced upon you, if you do not agree. We may also formulate an IAP (Integrated Assessment Plan), which is a more specific/measurable way of reviewing progress and planning next steps. The SENCO will go through this with you, if the need arises.
What happens if my child has high level needs that require more specialised support and/or funding?
At this point we will need to consider applying for an EHC Assessment. This is a process where we have to submit evidence to an external panel, to determine whether an EHC plan is a suitable way forward (see below for an explanation of an EHC plan). If this is agreed, and an EHC plan is produced, school will receive additional money into school for which to support the child. This money can be spent on a range of things, including adult support, resources, etc. This should hopefully then lead to a faster rate of progress.
What is an Education & Health Care plan?
This is also known as an EHC plan. It is a co-ordinated way that different agencies can come together, to support the child. This replaces a Statement, for any child with high-level needs.
What training do school staff have, in supporting children with SEN?
Training is based upon the needs of individual staff and individual children. As a school, we make sure that any member of staff who is supporting a child with SEN has access to relevant training and support, so that they are better able to cater for the child’s personalised needs. Recent training has included specific speech and language programmes (Narrative training, Social skills development, etc.)
Will my child be left out of any activity because of his/her SEN?
St Matthew’s C of E Primary is fully inclusive, which means that we take steps to make sure that ALL children are included in every aspect, regardless of a particular difficulty. We select activities and trip destinations that all children can access and make adjustments, if necessary, to enable full participation.
What happens if/when my child moves to a different school?
School staff will liaise with people from your child’s new school and inform them of their needs. We will also explain what steps have been taken to support them, including whether or not external agencies have been involved. In addition, we will give them copies of any reports/action plans, so that they are ready to support the child once they move on. If it is a Secondary school transition, we will invite parents, and a representative from the new school, to a meeting in school. This will give you an opportunity to ask any questions you might have about how your child will be supported as they move up.
Where can I find out more information?
You can speak to our school SENCO – Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (Mrs Eyres); your child’s class teacher; the Headteacher (Mr Moore) or the SEN governor in school (Mrs Atkinson). Please contact the school office, who will then direct you further.