Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
What does it mean by Special Educational Needs (SEN)?
In 2017, within primary schools across England, more than 1.2 million children were identified as having special educational needs; this is 14.4% of pupils. The term 'special educational needs' is a legal definition, referring to children who have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age. Many children will need additional support at some stage during their education and this shouldn’t be something to worry about. This additional help will usually be provided through the support of the class teacher who may liaise with the special educational needs co-ordinator (SENDCo) on occasions more specialist support may then be required from outside agencies. If your child is identified as needing additional support then they may be placed on the school’s register of pupils with special educational needs and with parents an individualised provision plan will be created, giving the child a few targets to focus on and support them in the classroom. These targets are then reviewed at certain points during the year, each time assessing the progress that has been made and deciding on next steps for the child. This may only be needed for a short amount of time for the targets to make a positive impact on the child’s learning, however in other cases a child may go through the school receiving this additional support.
What is the role of the SENDCo (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator?
At Cliffedale we ensure that children with additional educational needs and disabilities receive the support they need. The role of SENDCo is to assist teachers in identifying children that require this additional help and then co-ordinate provisions to accommodate this. A vital part of the SENDCo role is to liaise with parents whether this be supporting the family when working with external agencies, informing them of any additional support they could access or just being a point of contact.
What should I do if I think my child has additional educational needs and requires support?
If either you have a concern about your child, then the first person you need to talk to is the class teacher. The class teacher will discuss your concerns with you and will talk to you about how your child presents in school and the progress they are making. Together, you will plan what the next steps will be. The next steps may be one or more of the following:
· Close monitoring of progress for a specified period of time (this will be in addition to the routine tracking of progress of all pupils) followed by another meeting to discuss the outcome.
· A further meeting with the SENDCo.
· Additional assessments or observations, undertaken by members of the teaching team, the SENCO or, if appropriate, relevant outside agencies (e.g. the Speech and Language Therapist, Specialist Teacher, Educational Psychologist etc.) to help to determine the precise nature of any difficulties.
· Inclusion in a specific targeted intervention group for a specified period of time.
· If agreed by all concerned to be appropriate, your child may be placed on the school’s register of pupils with special educational needs and an individual provision plan will be created.
Who will support my child in school?
Your child’s class teacher will be the main person who will support your child in school and will closely monitor their progress. However, teaching assistants in the year group teaching team will also be closely involved in supporting your child’s learning. The SENDCo is responsible for coordinating the provision for children with additional needs and may work with your child to undertake assessments.
Who else might be involved in supporting my child?
If it is agreed to be appropriate (i.e. if the child meets the criteria specified for referral) we may involve a range of external agencies and we currently work closely with:
· The Educational Psychology Service.
· The Specialist Teaching Service.
· The Speech and Language Therapy Service.
· The Sensory Education Support Team.
· The Working Together Team (Specialist Social, Communication Outreach Team).
· The Community Paediatrician.
· The Education and Welfare Service.
If necessary, we can also make referrals to:
· Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
· The Early Help Team
How will the school prepare and support my child to join the school?
If your child has been identified with special educational needs before they start school, the SENCO or the Foundation Stage Coordinator will attend the review and transition meetings held at their pre-school setting. This helps to build up a clear picture of your child’s needs and is an opportunity to agree and plan the support and strategies which may need to be in place to meet their needs when they begin at our school. In addition to this the Foundation Stage teachers will also visit the pre-school settings to meet the children and to carry out any necessary observations. Your child will also have the opportunity to visit our school in the Summer Term where they will initially get to meet their teacher. If any additional visits are required to ensure a smooth transition, these can easily be arranged by contacting the school.
If your child is to join our school from another school, and has already been identified as having special educational needs, the SENCO will contact the SENCO from their current school to discuss your child’s needs and any provision currently in place.
How will the school prepare and support my child to transfer to a new setting/school?
We will talk directly to the SENDCo of the new school to ensure that all necessary information about your child’s special educational needs and the provision which has been in place at Cliffedale is passed on to them. In order to prepare the pupils for transition to secondary education, visits to their new setting will be arranged, staff from their new school will visit them at Cliffedae and transition activities will be planned so that the children have the opportunity to find out everything that they want and need to know about the next stage of their education. The SENDCo and school’s Learning Mentors will be involved in supporting children who may find the transition particularly challenging.
Thinking your child may need some extra support can often be an initial worry for parents and seeking help may seem daunting. At Cliffedale the priority is not on labelling children with different educational needs but finding a diagnosis that will ensure we are accessing the right resources to best support your child. If you have a query about your child’s learning, however big or small, it’s always best to discuss it with us sooner rather than later so that we can put in early intervention to support your child through their education. For any more information or support relating to special educational needs, please contact Miss Coley (SENDCo) via the school office, leave a message for her and she will contact you at the earliest opportunity.
The Local Authority’s website which lists all of the services available to support families and children with special educational needs: www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/SENDlocaloffer
Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum is the official independent parent carer forum in Lincolnshire, seeking to represent parents and carers of children with disabilities and Special educational Needs. Their network is open to all parents, irrespective of the age of the child: www.lincspcf.org.uk