Special Educational Needs (SEN)

At Earlsmead, we strive to develop a welcoming and inspiring learning environment where we assert the rights of all students to learn and staff to teach. These rights bring responsibilities: we actively foster as ethos of opportunity and mutual respect and aim to ensure that each student and member of the Earlsmead community is valued.

How we know if a child/young person has special educational needs

At the start of the academic year we invite all of the parents/carers in to school to meet their child’s class teacher. We ask parents to let us know if their child has a disability or they feel their child has any special educational needs so we can discuss this and make sure the right support is in place for their child.

We value all childrenequally in our school. If they do have special educational needs or any barriers to their learning we see it as vital that they get the help they need as soon as possible.  We undertake rigorous assessments and observations on the children throughout the year so that any special needs the children may have are picked up as soon as possible. This also enables us to pick up and look out for any special needs that might develop throughout the children’s time at school at a later point.

We encourage the children themselves to contribute through our ‘About Me’ work in the first term.

We work hard to maintain home/school links and parents are always welcome to speak to us if they have any concerns.

What we do to help children/young people with special educational needs

Earlsmead has developed a wide range of ways in which we support children with different special needs or disabilities.  This is how we plan support:

  • First we identify what the particular problem is.  The Inclusion Manager and class teacher do this.  Then, if they are willing, we meet with parents to discuss their child’s needs.
  • At this point we agree a programme of support, carefully targeted on their particular area or difficulty.
  • Where appropriate children take part in Interventions(extra targeted support) to aid their learning.  For example where children are having difficulties in reading they may be given extra support in this area. The decision to take children out of their classroom for extra support is never taken lightly.
  • To make sure that the children benefit from these interventions, we use a tool called a provision map.  This sets out the interventions we offer. We think carefully before offering an intervention.  The outcomes (i.e. what we want the children to learn/benefit from) are carefully planned, if the interventions are not working we change them.  
  • Children who are on the Special needs register have regular meetings where we plan their support.  Class teachers update termly pupil profiles for the children that outline the best strategies to support their learning and the strengths the children have. 
  • For children with significant barriers to learning we have a team of specially trained special needs assistants who support children with their learning.

How we adapt our teaching for children/young people with special educational needs

Children with special educational needs are taught alongside other children but lessons are designed so that all the children in the class learn and make progress. We do this by planning what’s called ‘differentiated’ lessons in which for example both a child with special educational needs and a very able child have different learning goals within the lesson. Teachers ensure that children have the correct practical equipment (where appropriate) and the correct resources to make sure they are learning in every lesson.  The Senior Leadership Team monitor to ensure that the quality of teaching is of a high standard, making sure that lessons are well differentiated, inspiring and interesting for all the pupils in the school.  Where appropriate, teachers offer personalized learning for children who have significant barriers to their learning.

Every class teacher is involved in planning, monitoring and providing support for pupils with in their class including children with special educational needs.

How we decide what resources we can give to a child/young person with special educational needs

Part of the school’s budget is for support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. This is a fixed amount and so we have to use the money as cost-effectively as possible and make sure we can give help to all the children who need it. We have costed all the ways we support children. Decisions about which support programme is best for a child are made by the Inclusion Manager and other lead professionals in consultation with a child’s class teacher and parents /carers. We offer a range of interventions to support the children with their learning.  We aim to offer a bespoke approach when deciding and designing the interventions.  This means we look carefully at the needs of the children and work hard to support them.

 Parents are invited to contribute to planning through a meeting or if they are not able to come into the school in whatever way is best for them eg by telephone or email.

In exceptional circumstances, where we feel we are not able to meet a child’s needs from our own funds we will apply to the local authority for additional support for a child. Parents can do this too. We are happy to discuss all of this in more detail with parents.

How we check that a child/young person is making progress and how we keep parents informed

We work hard to maintain good home/school links and parents.

We have a half termly newsletter with general news about the school. We have a parents’/carers’ evening twice a year, a meet the teacher meeting at the start of the academic year and we send all parents/carers a report about their child’s progress once a year.

We encourage parents to help their children with learning at home and do this in a variety of ways:

  • At the start of each term parents are sent home‘What is my child learning’ information so that they can talk about the topics their child is learning at school.
  • We hold regular workshops in the school so that parents are kept up to date with the new ways in which we teach phonics and maths.
  • Homework is sent home weekly, that matches the learning in classroom.
  • Children have reading record cards and mental maths cards enabling parents to see how they are progressing in these areas.
  • Targets are set for the children and these are also sent home termly with the children.
  • For children with special educational needs we have a progress review each term. We welcome parents at this review and try as far as possible to arrange it at a time that will allow them to attend.

Support we offer for children’s/young people’s health and general wellbeing

Children need to be happy and be able to behave appropriately to learn well so all our class teachers work with children in their class on social skills, behaviour and wellbeing. We place great emphasis on this in our school. Our monitoring systems enable us to to identify whether a child has a particular difficulty, early on and we have a range of measures in place to support them.  We have a team of Learning Mentors who run daily sessions supporting individual children and groups with their well being and behaviour. Children can also go and see the learning mentors if they need guidance or support at any time. We also employ an independent behaviour consultant to support individuals and groups as well as to offer ongoing training to the staff team. Support from Senior Leadership Team, Learning Mentors, Phase Leaders, Inclusion Manager and other specialized teaching assistants aim to identify the cause of behaviour problems and support children so that they are not disrupting their own or others’ learning with the ultimate aim of preventing exclusion. If a child is at risk of exclusion, they are subject to a Pastoral Support Plan that enables the school, other relevant agencies, the family and the child to contribute to a regularly reviewed plan to prevent this happening.

Attendance and punctuality is very good at Earlsmead due to the support of the Learning Mentors who make daily contact with parents if children are late or are not in school and who in partnership with The Education Welfare Service, build positive relationships with families to target support in order to assist their good punctuality and attendance, for example by encouraging them to attend Breakfast Club. Families are also invited to Attendance Surgeries where any difficulties families experience in terms of attendance and punctuality can be resolved.

A Higher Level Teaching Assistant manages the administration of medicines and provides personal care within the school for those children who need it. 

When appropriate we make contact with the school nurse who provides support and training for staff on children’s health and well being.  For example staff have had training on how to use an epipen.

We have a group of Peer Supporters who are children trained in conflict resolution in the playground.  All members of the school use a system of restorative justice when dealing with conflict resolution.

Our School Council has class reps from each year group. Council representatives meet with the PSHE every fortnight to discuss issues that pupils wish to raise about any aspect of school life.

Earlsmead Primary School has a designated member of staff responsible for Pupil Voice.  Pupil Voice uses range of strategies and questionnaire aimed at ensuring the voices and opinions of the children in the school are listened to and acted upon.

Specialist external services we use when we think extra help is needed

Sometimes a child’s will have needs that will benefit from additional help from specialist outside the school. Depending on a child’s needs we may draw on support from:

  • Speech and Language Service
  • Language Support Team
  • Autism Team
  • Child and Mental Health Services
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Educational Psychologist Service
  • Hearing and Visually Impaired Service
  • Social Services
  • Family Support
  • Parent Partnership
  • Police Community Support
  • School Nurse
  • Social Communication Clinic

We always communicate with parents if we think additional support is required and before we contact other specialists.

The training our staff have had or are getting

Every year we have 5 staff training days and weekly INSET after school. The school is committed to the professional development of the whole staff team and uses a range of training providers to train staff in order to meet the needs of the children in the school. We have a rolling programme of training led by The Inclusion Manager but with support from the Local Authority that seeks to ensure that all staff;

  • understand the different special educational needs that children may have.
  • know how to plan and teach their lessons in a way that is appropriate for children with special educational needs
  • know how to support the emotional needs of children with special educational needs
  • understand how important it is to work closely with parents/carers

Inclusion has also been whole school priority for this academic year and for the previous one.  As well as an increased amount of training sessions for the whole staff, an important part of this priority has sought to ensure that key professionals in the school have more detailed training in specific areas of special needs. For example professionals working in the early years have had training led by the Local Authority on Autism and Makaton.  The Numeracy Leader has had certified training on Dyscalculia.  The Inclusion Manager has also had certified training from the dyslexic society that has focused on reading, spelling and writing. 

Special Needs Assistants have also had targeted training on behaviour and de-escalation from the Behavioural Consultant that working in the school and The Inclusion Manager.

How we include children/young people in activities and school trips

Any trips or outings we plan always include children with special educational needs and/or disabilities. We use part of our budget to make sure that any support needed can be provided. We always consult with parents/carers before arrangements are finalised.

Our school environment

The main body of our school is housed in a Victorian School that was built in 1897, with a new building that was built in 2000.  More recently we added a Children’s Centre which opened in 2008.

The new building, that houses Reception and Year 1, can accommodate children with mobility issues well, as it has a lift. This would be more difficult in the older, Victorian part of the school as Years 4 -6 are on the second floor.  If necessary we can move our classes if in order to accommodate a child who joins the school.

There are disabled toilets available close to the Reception and in the new building.  We have an area to change children.

In school we have a range of equipment designed to support the development of children’s coordination and motor skills in class but if any child needs additional equipment we will get this through specialist services for example Occupational Therapy.

Earlsmead Children’s Centre is in the school grounds and is accessible both from the school and from its own entrance on Wakefield Road. It is a one-story building, which is very accessible to children and adults with disabilities. The main entrance has step-free access, and all fixtures and fittings are accessible to wheelchair users. It has toilet and baby-changing facilities which are designed for disabled centre users. 

How we prepare for children/young people joining our school and leaving our school

Children joining our school from the nursery visit their new classroom in ‘Big School’ a couple of times before the start of the new school year and their new teacher will go and visit the children in the nursery during the second half of the summer term. Children who are new to the school are invited to attend the Reception Open day in June to meet the Reception staff and see their new classroom. Also, before children start school both parents and child have an individual interview with the Reception staff to find out more about the child at home All children start on the same day at our school. If a child has special needs we ensure that they have visited their new class more frequently than other children.  They are also made a special book with information and photographs of their new class and teacher.  They can take this home to look at and read with their parents before they start school and over the long six weeks holiday. Reception teachers have also gone to visit children at their settings prior to coming to Earlsmead if they have a SEN and other settings have also brought children to visit us.

We have close working relationships with other pre-school providers and services in the local area and we encourage them also to visit to help prepare children who will be joining Earlsmead. Where children are known to have special needs, starting at Earlsmead in Reception and are attending these other providers we put a more detailed transition in place.  Where possible The Inclusion Manager visits the child at his/her current setting and meets the parents.  She will liase with the child’s current key worker and put together a transition plan.  This plan will also involve a book that shows them their new class and teacher but also other factors that will be important when this child starts their new school.  We operate a similar transition for children with special needs that are leaving Earlsmead’s Nursery to attend other schools inside and outside of our borough.

Earlsmead’s Children Centre offers the Two-Year-Old Nursery Programme, which is a project extending the Early Years Free Entitlement to families in receipt of Income-based or Workless benefits, or with additional needs where it is considered that the child or family will benefit from Nursery provision. Many of the children who attend transition to Earlsmead School nursery in the academic year following their third birthday. We offer a comprehensive transition for these children, beginningin the summer term of their time in the Two-Year-Old Programme. In the rare occasions when a nursery place is not immediately available to these children in the term following their third birthday, they are able to remain in the Children’s Centre nursery under the Early Years Free Entitlement, gradually transitioning when a place becomes available.

As mentioned before, we invite all the parent/carers of children joining the school to meet their child’s class teacher before their children start at the school. We also ask parents to let us know if their child has a disability or they feel their child has any special educational needs so that we can make sure the right support is in place for their child.

The transition from Primary School into Secondary School can be an anxious time for both parents and children.  In particular if you have a child with special needs, then this can be all the more anxious.

We help older children prepare for secondary school through a class project in Year 6 ‘Getting Ready for Secondary School’. This takes place in the summer term and helps the children understand for example how a typical day works in a secondary school, what their timetable might look like, how to find out who to go to for help if they need it.  All children take part in this project.

For children with special needs or for children that we think would benefit we offer a longer and more detailed transition for them.  They attend is a weekly group where the children focus in more detail on what happens at secondary school.  The aim of these sessions, that run for an academic year, is to ensure that the children learn the organizational skills they will need and also to support any worries or anxieties the children might have.  We also link with the Secondary Schools in our local area, making sure that they have the full profiles of these children.  These children will have extra visits to their secondary school to help with this transition.

How parents are involved in school life

At Earlsmead we believe in working with parents/carers as partners and we hope that our parents will share that belief.

We are always ready to speak to parents about any concerns they have about their child. The Headteacher , other members of the Senior Leadership Team and The Inclusion manager are all available and extremely approachable at any time.  If, for any reason they cannot speak to you at a given moment, then they will always make a further appointment with you or the school office can make an appointment

There is a Parent/Teacher Association and parents/carers are represented on the school’s Governing Body.

When we write to parents/carers, we try to write in plain English. We have a group of bi- and multi-lingual staff and parents/carers who offer translation and interpretation in community languages for parents and carers who need help with English.

Who to contact for more information or to discuss a concern

  • Your child’s class teacher
  • The Inclusion Manager and Assistant Headteacher, Mrs Drummond
  • A senior member of staff – Ms Head Headteacher , Ms Shah, Deputy Headteacher or Mr Mckenna, Deputy Headteacher
  • Parent/Carer governors: Louis Fisher, Natalie King, Zahra Halane, Karen Bennett, Ana Bras
  • The SEN Govenor
  • If in doubt, ask or e-mail the school Reception. Our contact details can be found here