Special Educational Needs
Definition (SEN Code of Practice 2014)
A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.
A child of school age 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 educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream school.
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 provides a relatively low threshold and includes more children than many realise: ‘long term’ is defined as a ‘year or more’ and ‘substantial’ is defined as ‘more than minor or trivial’. This definition includes sensory impairments such as those affecting sight or hearing, and long term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and cancer. Children with such conditions do not necessarily have SEN, but there is a significant overlap between disabled children and those with SEN. Where a child or young person requires special educational provision over and above the adjustments, aids and services required by the Equality Act 2010 they will be additionally covered by the SEN definition.
Admission arrangements (Equality Act 2010)
St Johns provides for children with a range of abilities and/or difficulties, as long as we feel we can meet their needs. Places for children with or without a special educational need are allocated in line with the whole school admissions policy of the governing body.
Pupils with a statement or an EHCP are admitted into school and fully integrated unless it would be incompatible with the efficient education of themselves or other children, and there are no reasonable steps that can be taken to prevent the incompatibility.
The school provides for children with medical needs where we are able to support them appropriately.
The school is fully accessible to wheelchair users and makes reasonable adjustments for children with medical needs . The school has facilities for personal care, including toilet facilities for people with disabilities (see Accessibility Plan)
Identification and Provision (also see SEN Information report)
High quality teaching that is differentiated and personalised will meet the individual needs of the majority of children. Some children need educational provision that is additional to or different from this. This is special educational provision under Section 21 of the Children and Families Act 2014. We will use our best endeavours to ensure that such provision is made for those who need it.
The school recognises the importance of early identification of education needs. Children’s SEN are generally thought of in the following four broad areas of need and support:
- communication and interaction
- cognition and learning
- social, emotional and mental health
- sensory and/or physical needs
In identifying a child as needing SEN support, the class teacher, working with the SENCO and the child’s parents, will have carried out an analysis of the child’s needs. This initial assessment will be reviewed regularly to ensure that support is matched to need. Where there is little or no improvement in the child’s progress, more specialist assessment may be called for from specialist teachers or from health, social services or other agencies beyond the setting. The SENCO will contact them, with the parents’ agreement.
Where it is decided to provide SEN support, and having formally notified the parents, the class teacher and the SENCO will agree, in consultation with the parent, the outcomes they are seeking, the interventions and support to be put in place, the expected impact on progress, development or behaviour, and a clear date for review. Plans will take into account the views of the child, wherever possible. The support and intervention provided will be selected to meet the outcomes identified for the child, based on reliable evidence of effectiveness, and provided by practitioners with relevant skills and knowledge.
The effectiveness of the support and its impact on the child’s progress will be reviewed in line with the agreed date. The impact and quality of the support will be evaluated by the class teacher and the SENCO working with the child’s parents and taking into account the child’s views, where possible. They should agree any changes to the outcomes and support for the child in light of the child’s progress and development. Parents will have clear information about the impact of the support provided and be involved in planning next steps.
Schools may involve specialists at any point to advise them on early identification of SEN and effective support and interventions. But where, despite purposeful action, a child continues to make little or no progress over a sustained period, we will involve appropriate specialists, for example, health visitors, speech and language therapists, educational psychologists or specialist teachers. The decision to involve specialists will be taken with the child’s parents.
Education, Health and Care assessment
Where, despite having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child, the child has not made good progress, we will consider requesting an Education, Health and Care assessment by the local authority.
- For some children, SEN can be identified at an early age. However, for other children and young people difficulties become evident only as they develop. Teachers and parents need to raise any concerns with the SENCo.
- Professionals are also alert to other events that can lead to learning difficulties or wider mental health difficulties, such as bullying or bereavement. Such events will not always lead to children having SEN but it can have an impact on well-being and sometimes this can be severe. Schools ensure they make appropriate provision for a child’s short term needs in order to prevent problems from escalating.
- Identifying and assessing SEN for children whose first language is not English requires particular care. Schools look carefully at all aspects of a child’s performance in different areas of learning and development or subjects to establish whether lack of progress is due to limitations in their command of English or if it arises from a SEN or disability. Difficulties related solely to limitations in English as an additional language are not SEN.
Role of the School SENCO
The SENCO at St Johns is a Qualified teacher and has attained the National Award for Special Educational Needs.
The SENCO has day-to-day responsibility for the operation of SEN policy and coordination of specific provision made to support individual pupils with SEN, including those who have EHC plans.
The SENCO provides professional guidance to colleagues and will work closely with staff, parents and other agencies to ensure that pupils with SEN receive appropriate support and high quality teaching.
The key responsibilities of the SENCO may include:
- overseeing the day-to-day operation of the school’s SEN policy
- coordinating provision for children with SEN liaising with the relevant Designated Teacher where a looked after pupil has SEN
- advising a on the graduated approach to providing SEN support
- advising on the deployment of the school’s delegated budget and other resources to meet pupils’ needs effectively
- liaising with parents of pupils with SEN liaising with early years providers, other schools, educational psychologists, health and social care professionals, and independent or voluntary bodies
- being a key point of contact with external agencies, especially the local authority and its support services
- liaising with potential next providers of education to ensure a pupil and their parents are informed about options and a smooth transition is planned
- working with the headteacher and school governors to ensure that the school meets its responsibilities under the Equality Act (2010) with regard to reasonable adjustments and access arrangements
- ensuring that the school keeps the records of all pupils with SEN up to date