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What are Special Educational Needs and how do we identify them?

Our school is an inclusive school where every child matters; we aim to address children’s needs and support their development in the most appropriate way possible and celebrate effort as much as achievement. Our school’s SEND policy document is available on this website  detailing our philosophy in relation to SEND.

The school and nursery have a dedicated SENCO, Mrs Zara Smith and assistant, Mrs Olivia Watts, who alongside class teachers, and senior leaders are responsible for identifying and providing support for children with special needs.

The definition of Special Education Needs from the SEND Code of Practice is as follows:

"A child or young person has SEND 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, or

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 or mainstream post-16 institutions."

(Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0-25 years, January 2015, p. 15-16)

High-quality teaching, differentiated for individual pupils will always be the first step in responding to pupils who may or may not have SEND.

In addition to this Kent County Council provides the following clarification of what constitutes a child needing SEN Support:

"SEN support is intensive and personalised intervention which is required to enable the child to be engaged in learning. It will usually involve significant amounts of resource from the educational setting. Each child identified as SEN Support will have Outcomes which have been agreed through a process of collaboration and discussion. A personalised programme of support will be devised and be reviewed and adjusted frequently (at least three times per year) with close child and/or parental involvement."

Early identification is key and as such we encourage you to contact us if you have any concerns. The Kent Parent Partnership offers support and advice to parents and families of pupils with special educational needs or a disability here:

Through regular meetings and collaboration, the class teacher/SENCO would gather information about a pupil and their learning needs to identify any special education needs.

Parents are always informed if school staff consider that their child has an additional need and parents and children (as appropriate depending upon age and capability) are involved in the planning to meet the need.

We often recommend initially that eyesight and hearing are checked to discount these aspects as possible underlying causes of learning issues.

At Pilgrims’ Way a range of specific, more specialised tests are used (usually by the SENCO/Assistant SENCO) to assist in the identification of an individual child’s needs in order to plan targeted programmes for them and to use as a benchmark for measuring the impact of subsequent interventions. These can include:

  • Nessy
  • Maths Screening Assessment - Basic Number Diagnostic Test
  • Language Link and Speech Link
  • Other specialised assessments which may be used in school to identify barriers to learning include
  • Social, emotional, behavioural checklists – e.g. Leuven Wellbeing Scale, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, Boxall Profiles.
  • Observation schedules e.g. for behaviour, concentration, attention.
  • Sensory Profiles
  • Assessment of hand and fine motor skills

What are the areas of Special Education Needs?

Additional and/or different provision is currently being made in school for children with a range of needs, including:

Cognition and Learning – Moderate learning difficulties; Specific learning difficulties - dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.

Sensory, Medical and Physical – hearing impairment, sensory processing difficulties, epilepsy and diabetes.

Communication and Interaction – autistic spectrum condition, selective mutism, speech and language difficulties.

Social, Emotional and Mental Health – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, attachment disorder, emotional  and behaviour regulation, social difficulties, anxiety and general ability and readiness to learn.

How do we support children with special educational needs?

SEN support arises from a four part cycle, known as the graduated approach, through which earlier decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised, leading to a growing understanding of the pupil’s needs and of what supports the pupil in making good progress and securing good outcomes.

The four stages of the cycle are: • Assess • Plan • Do • Review.

The class teachers use provision maps and personalised plans to outline specific interventions and outcomes which is regularly reviewed, evaluated and shared.

All our staff are trained each year on the needs of new students joining the school – this can include training from specialist agencies or consultants, as well as from our SENCO or other staff with relevant expertise.

SEND training forms part of the continuing professional development of all teachers and TAs and is organised in accordance with the needs of the students. The school works closely with other local schools, sharing training opportunities including INSET days and outside experts.

The SENCO meets with the Senior leaders regularly to review and plan the training, guidance and advice that staff across the school need to ensure they meet the additional learning requirements of our students.

Our school’s Accessibility Plan (available on request in school) outlines adaptations made to the building to meet particular needs and enhance learning.

How do we evaluate the effectiveness of provision for children with SEN?

The SENCO and team use provision maps to outline specific interventions and outcomes.

Class teachers and SENCO make use of assessment information/progress rates etc. pre- and post- interventions as well as making use of attainment and progress data for children with SEN across the school

Use of pupil/parents interviews/questionnaires - monitoring by SENCO – employed 3 days per week with no class commitment

An Annual Review is held for children with EHC Plans; interim reviews are also arranged throughout the year to discuss progress against outcomes and next steps.

What additional support for learning is available for children with SEN?

Some TAs are deployed in classes to support children individually or in small groups or to cover the class in order that the class teacher can provide individual or small group support.

We teach a differentiated curriculum to ensure that the needs of all children are met.

We have a large number of intervention programmes are in place for children who require additional support including:

  • NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programme) - a programme to develop reading and spelling skills
  • Precision Teaching - boosting reading potential
  • Numicon - to support maths
  • Clever Hands - for fine motor skills
  • Social Stories – supports understanding
  • ‘Clicker 6’ to support recording across the curriculum
  • Language through Colour and Communication In Print -  support writing and sentence construction
  • Drawing and Talking - a child-centred therapy focusing on prevention, early intervention and recovery of mental health issues
  • Lego/Duplo Challenge - develop and reinforce play skills and social skills
  • Sensory Circuits/diets -   supporting individuals to improve their levels of attention and focus.
  • Active Listening groups - to support effective listening and learning
  • Language Link groups - for receptive and expressive language skills  
  • Personal goals - to help manage emotions
  • 5 Point Scale/emotion support

Specific resources or strategies are in place for many children recommended by external agencies e.g. coloured overlays/exercise books, sloping boards, sensory cushions, use of ‘brain breaks’, access to area of quiet retreat, personalised timetables or now/next strips, Busy Boxes

Who can I contact?

If you wish to discuss any of the above information or a specific need for you child, please contact the office to arrange an appointment with Mrs Zara Smith SENCO

Telephone: 01227 760084