Special Educational Needs Policy
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SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS POLICY
Winchelsea School’s Policy for Special Educational Needs (SEN) shows how the school has responded to the changing special educational needs of our children and young people. Winchelsea has responded to local and Government guidance including “Removing Barriers to Learning”- the DfE (Department for Education) SEN strategy (2004), the five outcomes from Every Child Matters (DfE 2005), the Disability & Discrimination Act (DDA 2001, 2006), the Children’s Plan (DfE 2007), the Equality Act (DfE 2010) and more recently, the SEN Green Papers (DfE March 2011 and May 2012) and the SEN Code of Practice (DfE and DfH (Department for Health) 2014 – 2020 Update).
In November 2019 the DFE commissioned a Review into the system. The Review wanted to understand why, despite the intentions of the Children and Families Act 2014, the system was struggling. In particular, the system was becoming financially unsustainable and delivered a variable set of experiences for children and families, not always resulting in positive outcomes.
In March 2022 the Review was published as a Green Paper paving the way for legislative change. This was followed by a consultation phase to ensure a wide range of stakeholders could deliver feedback. This ended on 22/7/22. As at the time of writing (Jan 2023), the results have not been made public and the way forward has not been signposted.
Notwithstanding the current ‘hiatus’, the School continues to aim to promote a caring and happy community in which all pupils can thrive and feel valued. We strive to make their learning a pleasurable and rewarding experience which is personalised with opportunities for all pupils to develop as high a standard of achievement as individually possible.
This SEN Policy underpins all other school policies.
SEN Policy Objectives
- To discuss with parents the needs of their child, and seek to obtain their trust, support and help in the education of their child.
- To promote parent partnerships by enabling parents to share their child’s learning journey at Winchelsea, for example by helping with pupil targets or accessing support from the school’s Pupil Participation Team.
- To identify effectively in consultation with other agencies that have a legitimate interest in the child’s welfare, the needs of each pupil and endeavour to ensure that the school provides appropriate provision to meet those needs.
- To develop curriculum planning, in a variety of time scales, so that an effective and appropriate curriculum may be delivered to meet individual learning needs.
- To provide access to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum to include the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum, the National Curriculum and the Literacy and Numeracy Frameworks. In addition, pupils aged 14 – 18 have opportunities for Work Related Learning and Business Enterprise.
- To provide a range of external accreditation opportunities to support individual learning pathways.
- To provide statutory provision for Independent Advice and Guidance for pupils’ future options.
- To further develop personalised learning throughout the school and to develop individual programmes of study which reflect the complexities and variety of individual need.
- To ensure appropriate differentiation in all curriculum areas.
- To set challenging academic targets that stretch pupils and enable them to do their best.
- To provide Annual Review Targets that relate directly to the objectives on the statement and which support pupils’ personalised learning needs.
- To use Total Communication (speech, signing, visuals, written, pictorial etc) for those pupils who need targeted support to develop their receptive and expressive language skills.
- To monitor pupil’s progress and revise plans and programmes as necessary.
- To support all staff through appropriate continuing professional development, including whole school and personal training and development.
- To continue to develop and maintain a range of appropriate resources and materials including information technology to meet both individual needs and curriculum requirements.
- To maintain accurate and up-to date records of assessments relating to the pupils (Annual Review Targets, progress data, attendance and behaviour data).
- To monitor pupil progress through a range of assessments techniques including Learning Journeys, EYFS statutory assessment, Speaking & Listening Steps and accreditations.
- To liaise effectively with all appropriate outside agencies to ensure the safeguarding of our pupils and promote the Fundamental British Values.
- To promote the UNICEF Convention of the Rights of the child through the award of ‘Rights Respecting School’.
- To formally review each pupil’s Education, Health & Care Plan on an annual basis.
- To invite parents and all agencies who have a legitimate interest in the pupil’s welfare to such reviews in line with the SEN Code of Practice.
- To maintain positive links with other establishments and provisions.
- To help prepare our pupils for adulthood and employment.
Categories of Need
At Winchelsea School we welcome pupils from a wide geographical area and support a comprehensive range of Special Educational Needs. Winchelsea is a School for children with Special Needs, catering for pupils between the ages of 4 and 19. Our children and young people’s learning difficulties are likely to have been assessed within the Categories of Need from the SEN Code of Practice (DfE, 2001) as:
Cognition and learning needs, which includes:
- moderate learning difficulties (MLD)
- severe learning difficulties (SLD)
- specific learning difficulties (SPLD)
Communication and interaction needs, which includes:
- speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)
- autistic spectrum disorders (ASD)
Sensory and/or physical needs, which includes:
- visual impairment (VI)
- hearing impairment (HI)
- multi-sensory impairment (MSI)
Many children and young people at Winchelsea have special educational needs that arise from a combination of learning difficulties, e.g. MLD with a SPLD (e.g. dyslexia), or SLD with an SLCN. More recently, Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (CLDD) has been recognised in law and the new definition includes:
“Children and young people with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (CLDD) have conditions that co-exist. These conditions overlap and interlock creating a complex profile”.
The school has classrooms that can accommodate up to a maximum of 12 pupils and a number of specialist rooms, including a life skills centre, Creative Arts room and a Food Technology room. Winchelsea has resourced provision for Speech and Language Therapy, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration Therapy, Behaviour Support and Pastoral Care. The school also has a well-resourced Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) base.
How the Special Educational Needs of Pupils are Identified and Reviewed
In partnership with parents, outside agencies such as the Educational Psychology Services, Paediatricians from the Health Service and Community Learning Disability Services play an important part in helping to identify need. An expression of concern that a child is showing signs of having special educational needs may result in a Statutory Assessment of Special Educational Needs as per the SEN Code of Practice ((DfE, DfH 2014).) or a Statutory Assessment for an Education Health and Care Plan (DfE, DfH 2014). This in turn may lead to Winchelsea being named as appropriate provision to meet those needs.
A child cannot be considered for admission to Winchelsea School without an Education, Health and Care Plan. This plan will describe the child’s learning difficulties identified during statutory assessment, and describe the child’s functioning. The plan should give clear guidance regarding the specific needs of the child. The school’s own policy of assessment, recording and reporting will compliment this original assessment.
Pupils are subject to an annual assessment of their progress and individual needs. At such times their statements are reviewed and amended as appropriate, in the light of any further or changing needs that may have become apparent.
The annual review focuses on what the child has achieved as well as on any difficulties that need to be resolved. Targets are set and regularly reviewed. The child’s progress towards achieving the targets is formally reviewed annually at the annual review meeting. Winchelsea School has developed a pupil voice report that enables pupils to be at the centre of their own future and planned provision.
Particular concerns regarding factors other than learning difficulties, such as medical conditions, health and safety issues, or behavioural matters may be identified, and consideration is given to what further provision may be needed. Support will usually come from within the school’s resources; however, additional support may be sought from the Local Authority to ensure appropriate or enhanced provision is available in the light of any new identified needs.
Increasingly, Outreach staff from Winchelsea work with staff from local mainstream schools to provide advice and support for pupils with SEN. This service is accessed via referral through the Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole’s SEN Department.
In addition, Winchelsea School is proactive in raising the profile of children and young people with SEN by taking part in and hosting community events.
Arrangements for Providing Access by Pupils to a Balanced and Broadly Based Curriculum
We seek to provide access for all children to a balanced and broadly based curriculum. Each class teacher should seek to enable children to access the curriculum through a sensitive understanding of pupils’ needs, effective differentiation and by offering a variety of teaching styles that match pupils’ learning styles. All children have an entitlement to be taught well and at Winchelsea School this is through personalising their learning and providing appropriate challenge.
The school recognises that all our pupils are entitled to appropriate access to the curriculum and that this will involve the use of Education, Health and Care Plans and enabling pupils to take greater ownership of their own learning.
Governor Monitoring and Scrutiny of Provision
The Governing Body is acutely aware of its responsibilities and maintains a supportive as well as constructively critical stance in relation to the curriculum and the quality of education provided by the school. The Governing Body as a whole accepts it duty to evaluate the effectiveness of the education provided, but entrusts aspects of this responsibility to the Governor responsible for Standards and Curriculum, The mechanism through which evaluation takes place involves:
- Governors scrutinise the School Improvement Plan to gauge the extent to which the objectives stated have been fulfilled.
- Governors, alongside the Senior Leadership Team review samples of work representative of a Key Stage or curriculum initiative made available for consideration.
- Governors receive direct feedback on aspect of school improvement from the Senior Leadership Team.
- Governors attend relevant school training events alongside teachers.
- Governors receive direct feedback from Subject Leaders regarding curriculum.
- Governors undertake link Governor Roles in line with the four Ofsted headings – Leadership and Management, Pupil Achievement, Quality of Teaching and Learning, and Behaviour and Safety.
- Governors monitor and agree statutory policies.
Arrangement for Considering Complaints from Parents / Carers
The school aims to provide a high quality education and service for all its pupils. Complaints and concerns regarding provision are treated seriously and are seen as a constructive part of school development. Parents should approach the class teacher in the first instance. If parents concerns cannot be satisfied the Headteacher is always prepared to investigate parents’/carers’ complaints. Should parents feel that they have not received satisfactory responses or actions from the school the Governing Body may be informed and asked to play a role: ultimately the Local Authority may be advised of the complaint. The school has a Complaints Policy available for further information.
Continuous Professional Development of Staff
The school is a learning environment for both staff and pupils. Staff are keen to continue to develop their range of skills within the field of special educational needs and teaching in general. The School Improvement Plan outlines areas for development and the training schedule relates directly to this. All teachers have an action plan linked to improving their own teaching and learning. In addition, senior and middle leaders have action plans that are associated with their additional areas of responsibility, which again link directly to the School Improvement Plan.
The training schedule is a balance of in-house and external support and is developed to meet the needs of all staff. Governors are invited to take an active part in all relevant staff training events.
External Agency Support
External agencies and support services play a crucial role in the provision offered by Winchelsea School. Successfully meeting the needs of children requires a team effort with the school best placed to accept the responsibility of orchestrating the many facets of external help. The school welcomes the support of all external agencies.
The Educational Psychological Service gives particular support by providing Educational Psychologists to work closely with staff and help the needs of the pupils or respond to behavioural concerns. The Educational Psychologist for individual pupils may also be contacted to give particular advice or assist in assessment.
The school has very close links with the health service and a Paediatrician holds regular clinics at the school, which parents / carers attend. The school also has a school nurse who supports the school in writing medical care plans and protocols. The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) liaise very closely with us, with a number of pupils being seen by the CAMHS team. The school also works closely with the Local Authority to support the attendance of pupils.
Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists work alongside the school in assessing pupils’ needs and providing individual programmes for school to implement.
The school has very close links with Social Care and the school’s Child Protection
Coordinator works very closely with this service to support both the pupils and their families.
We believe that parents are the primary educators of their children. We strive to build and maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect and dialogue in which the needs of the children are paramount. We believe firmly in the need for the involvement of parents in the education of their children throughout their school career at Winchelsea.
In addition to the annual review meetings we have a range of Parent Consultation meetings at regular intervals to discuss progress, issues and keep parents fully informed. Parents are also welcome to make an appointment with the Class Teacher, Subject Leader, Senior Leader or Headteacher, at any time of the year. Through this policy of open dialogue it is hoped that parents feel well informed and play a full part in their child’s education.
The composition of the Governing Body affords for four Parental Governors. As Parental Governors they will participate in monitoring and evaluating the quality of teaching and learning, pupil progress, behaviour and the quality of leadership and management.
It is the responsibility of all staff for maintaining and improving communication with parents and all outside agencies, and the school will endeavour to ensure the high priority of parental involvement.
Transitions In and Out of Winchelsea
The admission of pupils to Winchelsea usually follows discussion at a Special Admission Panel. Prior to the meeting the opportunity is given to become fully acquainted with all relevant documentation including that arising from the various stages completed in accordance with Code of Practice. A decision is then made as to whether Winchelsea is an appropriate provision to meet the needs of the child.
The school provides its own 6th Form provision for children with Moderate Learning Difficulties and as such is able to continue to support the further education of a significant proportion of its pupil base.
When a child leaves Winchelsea all his/her records are sent on to the next school. These records should be sent within two weeks of a request for records being received. If for any reason the school is not given the address of the receiving school, or no request is forthcoming, then the Education Welfare Service are informed, so that the pupil’s whereabouts can be traced.
The school has strong links with Brockenhurst College, Kingston Maurward College, Linwood School and Beaucroft School 6th Forms. Pupils, who transfer to these following the completion of their school career at Winchelsea, have the opportunity to visit and become involved in a link course or transition course. As part of their preparation close contact and dialogue between the school and the college / 6th form is maintained on behalf of the pupil.
The school works very closely with our Careers Adviser to ensure that the pupils’ best interests are considered, and that they are, as far as possible, along with their parents fully involved in the decision making process.
The careers events / information sessions are organised in the Spring Term to help keep parents fully informed of all available options post Winchelsea.