SEND – Special Educational Needs and Disability Policy and Offer

Children with very complex needs may have an Education, Health and Care Plan issued by the Local Authority. Their needs and provision will be very specifically detailed in this EHC Plan, which will be monitored and reviewed regularly. Children and parents are fully involved in this process.

SEND Policy 2017

Accessibility Plan 2017

Please find below the school’s ‘SEND offer’, detailing the Special Educational Needs provision that St Benedict’s C of E VA Junior can provide, in accordance with 2014 reforms. We hope that you will find this helpful, and that you will not hesitate to contact the school with any questions.

ST BENEDICT’S C of  E (VA) JUNIOR SCHOOL, GLASTONBURY School SEND Offer for Pupils with Special Educational Needs 2016-17, incorporating SEN Information Report.See also Special Educational Needs Policy (Jan 2015)
Who should I talk to in this school about my child’s special educational needs?
If your child has special educational needs (SEN) or is experiencing difficulties with their learning, the first person to talk to is their class teacher. They may arrange a meeting with the school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), Mrs Shena Caston via the school office 01458 831811, who will be able to support you and your child as necessary. Families considering joining the school may wish to discuss provision with the Headteacher, Mr Steve Gumm.
What kind of special educational needs are provided for?
Our school welcomes and provides for children with a range of special educational needs, currently including dyslexia, autistic spectrum condition, hearing and visual difficulties.

  • Learning and cognition: lessons are differentiated so that children can access a broad and balanced curriculum. Progress is monitored on a half-termly basis. Extra support may be available from a teaching assistant in the class. Where an intervention is needed to accelerate progress, this may be delivered to an individual or to a small group.
  • Communication and interaction: we work in conjunction with the Speech and Language Therapy Service to help children with problems in this area. Where specific advice has been given, our specialised teaching assistant delivers those programmes. The Autism Service offers advice on adapting the curriculum and other aspects of school life so that autistic children can access learning and be integrated with their peers.
  • Social, emotional and mental health: where children are experiencing long-term or short-term problems, teachers will put support in place to enable learning and foster friendships. Mrs Newbury, our Learning Mentor, runs a part-time Nurture Group, and with the rest of her timetable offers support and counselling.
  • Sensory and physical: we have an adapted main building and playground which is wheelchair accessible. There is a disabled toilet. We have a hearing loop to be used with radio aids. We provide for visual impairment with, for example, enlarged text and a writing slope.
How are special educational needs identified?
As we are a junior school, special needs have very often already been identified at an earlier stage. However, it is not unusual for a need to arise or become apparent whilst children are with us. Academic progress and behaviour are monitored by class teachers. If there are any concerns, teachers will in the first instance discuss them with parents. Following this meeting, provision in the classroom or at playtimes may change to meet current needs. If necessary the class teacher will involve the SENCO, and we may undertake ‘in-house’ assessments (for example, for dyslexia). If we feel we need more specialised advice we may refer to one of the other services available to us, such as the Speech and Language Therapy Service or the Social, Mental and Emotional Health Support Service.
What support is available for children with SEN?
All our class teachers are responsible for the progress and well-being of the SEN pupils in their class. This is firstly achieved by quality first teaching, which will include appropriate differentiation. A programme of additional, targeted group work may be designed to address need in a class or year group, for example extra phonics or reading comprehension. If it is felt that your child requires further support, they may have access to an individualised intervention. All our classes have class teaching assistants who are able to support groups of children. Children with an additional learning need will have a personalised Pupil Passport which will outline strengths, and set small, achievable targets. Parents will receive a copy of their child’s Pupil Passport, and targets will be reviewed and updated each term.
How do we involve children and their parents in learning at St Benedict’s?
Children with special educational needs will be involved in drawing up their ‘Pupil Passport’, which takes the place of an old Individual Education Plan. They will be asked about their likes and interests, about what they find hard and what helps them to learn. We agree targets to be worked towards in the current term, and review them together. Parents have three formal opportunities annually to consult with teachers. Longer and more thorough reviews of need and progress will be necessary for children who have special educational needs. Children in receipt of Higher Needs Funding will have an Annual Review following the Somerset format.

Children with very complex needs may have an Education, Health and Care Plan issued by the Local Authority. Their needs and provision will be very specifically detailed in this EHC Plan, which will be monitored and reviewed regularly. Children and parents are fully involved in this process.

How are the curriculum and learning environment adapted for children with special educational needs?
At St Benedict’s we recognise that all our learners are individuals; we aim to accommodate their differences and remove barriers to learning. Teachers aim to make their lessons engaging and multi-sensory, differentiating so that all children can access the subject at the appropriate level. If a child needs a particular approach or equipment to access the curriculum then we undertake to make suitable arrangements. For example, a child with hearing difficulties might benefit from a portable hearing loop; a child with limited language might benefit from support from a teaching assistant trained in Somerset Total Communication.
How do we assess and review the progress of children with special educational needs?
We have high expectations of all our learners and assess their progress half termly. In addition, the impact of interventions with be regularly reviewed, and ceased, adapted or continued as necessary. The Pupil Passport will reflect next steps to be made, and will be shared with parents. Children with a higher level of need will have a formal Annual Review with parents, teachers and other professionals involved, looking at progress towards long-term outcomes.
What can I do to help my child?
Parents of all children are asked to support them in regular reading and homework activities. At St Ben’s, we offer an open door policy, enabling parents to talk to their child’s class teacher either before or after school. If you need to discuss your child at length, an appointment can be made to talk to your child’s teacher either by phoning the school office or by arranging a convenient time with their teacher. The teacher will then be able to suggest ways in which to support your child. You will receive your child’s Pupil Passport which will set targets specific to your child’s needs. The class teacher will be able to discuss this with you and support you in helping your child achieve their targets.
What support will there be for my child’s wellbeing?
The class teachers monitor the well-being of every child in their class. They plan Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) or Circle Time activities, giving the children opportunities to develop their social and emotional well-being. Children are encouraged to respect and take care of each other both in the classroom and in the playground. Our Learning Mentors Mrs Newbury and Mrs Flagg run a Nurture Group during the afternoons for children who may need to further develop their social and emotional skills. Children are supported in small groups; Year 4 on Mondays and Tuesdays, and Year 3 on Wednesdays. The Learning Mentors also offer small weekly groups for Social Skills in Years 5 and 6, and may also provide mentoring or counselling as appropriate for individuals. They are very keen to liaise with parents over their child’s wellbeing. We also have a Parent Family Support Advisor (PFSA), Mandy Thorpe, who works with both pupils and parents to support the well-being of the child and their family. All families are able to access this support by either asking your child’s class teacher or the SENCO Mrs Shena Caston.
What measures does St Benedict’s have to prevent bullying?
Through assemblies, PSHE sessions or Circle Time, and daily interaction with the children, we aim to promote an ethos of kindness and teamwork. Restorative Justice is often used. There is a team of Peer Supporters in the playground who are very effective in listening to children and settling some issues. We also work with Children’s World on projects – last year our leavers produced a film about bullying in the playground, which took a powerful message to the whole school. If a child or parent thinks that bullying is taking place, the first person to contact is the child’s teacher. They will try to resolve the issue, and can count on the support of the Learning Mentor Mrs Newbury, and the Headteacher and Deputy. Please refer to the school’s Anti-Bullying Policy 2016-2017
What specialist services can be accessed by the school?
As a Local Authority maintained school, we have access to an Educational Psychologist, a Learning Support Advisor and Social and Emotional Advisor. We can also access support from a Speech and Language Therapist and Occupational Therapist. The class teacher will make the decision to involve these specialist services in conjunction with parents and the SENCO. We can also access support from the Visual Impairment Team and Hearing Support Team when necessary. Useful information is available on the website of the Integrated Therapy Service for Somerset, if parents have questions or concerns in the areas of Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Physiotherapy.
What support can the school offer to parents, carers and families?
At St Ben’s, our open door policy enables parents to talk to teachers, if convenient, at the start or end of the school day. The Headteacher, Steve Gumm, can be contacted on 01458 831811. We also offer parents’ evenings in November and March, and teachers are happy to arrange meetings at other times should the need arise. The SENCO is also available to discuss any concerns or answer any SEN questions. We are also able to make referrals and suggest appropriate support for children or families. The SENCO works very closely with the class teachers to monitor progress and support. The Parent Family Support Advisor (PFSA) Mandy Thorpe also offers support for children, parents and families and she also works closely with class teachers and the SENCO. She is also able to access further support and advice from other services when necessary.
How accessible is the school?
The school has been adapted for wheelchair access, with ramps outside and a wheelchair lift in the main building. We have a disabled toilet.
What training do staff receive?
Provision for special educational needs forms a focus for staff meetings during each term. Recent input has been from the Autism adviser, and training around the renewal of our Dyslexia Friendly Schools status. We have a range of specialisms amongst our teaching assistants, including Autistic Spectrum Condition, Speech and Language, and hearing impairment. As need arises we seek advice and training from other agencies to provide for specific needs. Teaching Assistants are also trained to deliver interventions such as Read/Write Inc. or Acceleread Accelewrite.
How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to a child’s special educational needs?
The child’s class teacher will decide on the resources needed for individual children with special educational needs in conjunction with the SENCO. If these are not available in school they can be ordered by the SENCO or subject leaders. A large portion of the school budget is spent on support staff (Teaching Assistants) and through careful monitoring of data and progress by the Headteacher and SENCO, appropriate support will be planned. This may be in the form of a group or individual intervention, or the child may receive additional support within class). The school has a range of resources to support children with SEN and these will be accessed by class teachers when necessary.
How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom, including trips?
All pupils are encouraged to access all activities, including external visits. A higher staff pupil ratio is offered if it is considered necessary. A risk assessment is undertaken prior to any trip and additional risk assessments may be carried out for individual children. School will consult parents to help us accommodate individual needs.
How does the school support children who are looked after by the local authority and have special educational needs?
St Benedict’s aims to provide looked-after children with essential stability and continuity, whilst communicating effectively with their carers and other agencies. Class teachers monitor the day-to-day wellbeing and academic progress of children, and our Learning Mentor Mrs Newbury provides one-to-one sessions if needed. A time-out or calming space can be made available. The Headteacher, SENCO, and other school staff attend regular meetings with carers and social workers to ensure that the child’s current needs are being met in the best way possible. When the child moves on, we work hard to plan a smooth transition – for example, with visits to the receiving school accompanied by a familiar adult from St Ben’s, and picture books or social stories about the new setting.
How does the school support a child when joining or leaving?
Prior to the September when Year 3 children join our school, we carry out extensive liaison and transition work with our feeder school, St John’s C of E Infant School. Teachers meet to discuss individual needs and transition activities take place at both sites. If it is felt that a child will benefit from extra visits and preparation, these are arranged.If a child joins the school with special educational needs during the academic year, contact will be made with their previous school to ensure we have a clear understanding of the child’s needs. Support will where possible be put in place prior to them starting at St Ben’s.When a child leaves St Ben’s in Year 6, this transition will be well supported. Year 6 staff and the SENCO meet with the tutors and SENCO from St Dunstan’s, and several transition activities are arranged for all children.  Extra transition sessions may also be planned for children who require extra preparation.The SENCOs from each of the three schools are happy to help parents of children with special educational needs to ensure the smoothest transition possible.
What extra-curricular activities are available to my child?
School staff provide a range of after-school activities which changes every term. These clubs include football, tag rugby, athletics, netball, cross country running, chess, Scrabble, arts and crafts, and gardening.
What should I do if I have a complaint?
In the first instance, please talk to your child’s teacher; alternatively you can talk to the SENCO, Mrs Shena Caston, or the Headteacher, Mr Steve Gumm.  If the matter is not resolved and you wish to pursue it more formally you should refer to the school’s Complaints Procedure.
Who can I contact for further information about special educational needs in Somerset?
The Somerset parent support group SENDIAS, which is for general SEN, whilst Somerset’s Local Offer can be found by following this link