Specific Needs Policy
A child has specific educational needs if they have a learning difficulty that calls for additional provision to be made for them. This means provision which is additional to or different from, that generally provided for children of their age, in a mainstream school.
Children have a learning difficulty if they:
- have significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age.
- have a medical or behavioural difficulty or physical or mental disability that prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities generally provided for children of the same age.
As a school we aim to support and integrate pupils with specific educational needs, to enable them to have access to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum, which is differentiated to meet individual needs and abilities. We encourage pupils and parents to express their views, which are respected and valued. The knowledge, experience and support of parents is vital to the school to ensure all pupils are well motivated to learn and have a high self-esteem. The school follows the graduated approach to intervention to help children who have SN as set out in the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (see appendices). The identified personnel and record keeping forms and procedures are attached to this policy as appendices.
The school’s commitment, philosophy and practice aim:
- to identify pupils with SN as early as possible;
- to assess, record and regularly review pupils’ specific educational needs;
- to create an environment that meets the specific needs of each pupil;
- to ensure all pupils have access to a broad, balanced, differentiated and relevant curriculum;
- to ensure all pupils foster a sense of self-worth, self-confidence and self-awareness, enabling each child to maximize his/her personal qualities and to develop a positive attitude to life;
- to encourage pupils to be fully involved in their learning;
- to enable every child to experience success;
- to ensure parents/guardians are kept fully informed and are engaged in effective communication about their child’s SN.
- to encourage parents/guardians to take an active part in supporting their child’s learning and development at all stages;
- to make effective use of support services and agencies;
The recognition, understanding and aims of all our work in specific needs is underpinned by a number of fundamental principles, which are:
- some pupils find some aspects of learning difficult and have different educational and behavioural needs and aspirations;
- pupils learn at different rates;
- identified pupils may need some modification of activities, requiring different strategies for learning;
- identification and recording of concerns, well matched learning objectives and targets, plus regular reviewing of these targets, are essential features of good SN provision and focussed, effective learning;
- all pupils should have access to all the curriculum and the broader aspects of school life;
- pupils work best in a positive and supportive environment.
The provision for children with specific educational needs is the responsibility of all members of staff. Teachers respond to all pupils’ needs by planning for them to have the opportunity to succeed by:
- providing support in all curriculum areas through thoughtful identification of activities and matching work;
- using alternative materials or recording and giving the opportunity for the use of all senses and experiences;
- planning with teaching assistants to provide additional support and activities for individual or small group instruction;
- having realistic but challenging expectations of individual pupils;
- planning for pupils to manage their behaviour, enabling them to participate effectively and safely in learning;
In addition to opportunities within the classroom, some children may work individually or in a small group with a teaching assistant, learning mentor or teacher. Such provision would be made to:
- provide particularly focussed learning;
- promote self-esteem, confidence and independence;
- enable a particular programme of learning to be followed.
The school endeavours to support pupils with specific educational needs by offering:
- differentiated work or activities within the classroom;
- a PSP (personal support plan) with appropriate SMART targets which is reviewed half termly or more often if necessary;
- appropriate classroom organisation and teaching style:
- a variety of approaches when recording work and ensuring expectation of outcome is well matched to the child;
- individual or small group work by a teacher, learning mentor or teaching assistant in or out of the classroom, focusing on the specific needs of the pupils;
- a teaching style which places emphasis on independence and self-organisational skills:
- specific programmes of work e.g. Talkboost, Speechlink, IDL;
- one to one support, if necessary, for pupils with a statement/ Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) or non-statutory funding, where the sharing of provision is inappropriate;
If necessary additional advice is sought from the Specialist teaching service and other agencies such as the educational psychologist, Speech and language therapy department etc.
Class teachers, teaching assistants and additional teachers are responsible for monitoring and ensuring the progress of pupils with specific educational needs towards achieving the targets set out in their PSP’s as well as the work covered in the classroom. This follows the schools approach to assessment for all pupils. This includes SMART targets set for all pupils to ensure progression and to identify next steps. It also includes short-term assessments and observations made by teachers and teaching assistants, medium-term assessments taken at the end of each half-term to measure progress and to help planning for the next term and formal summative assessments taken at the end of Year 2 to Year 6 which assess progress against school and national targets.
A SN (Specific Needs File) is maintained by each class teacher and monitored by the SENCO. All pupils have target set, reviewed and new targets set each half term, with specific needs or support programmes identified as necessary. Those children with a statement of additional needs / EHCP will have a Personal Support Plan, outlining their specific needs and provision. The class teacher and SENCO in collaboration with the child’s parents are responsible for writing and ensuring the implementation of all PSPs.
The overview information kept in the class specific needs file is also stored on the school’s computer network to enable easy access for the Head, SENCO and all other relevant staff. Individual targets and reviews are kept in the SN file. Notes for annual reviews and non-statutory applications are also kept on the network.
PSPs are reviewed half termly in when new targets are set and strategies for the implementation of new targets are recorded. Parents are invited to meet with the SENCo or class teacher to discuss and contribute to the PSP’s termly, with targets sent home in the interim. Pupils are encouraged to take an active part in the implementation and reviewing of PSPs.
Previous provision and targets are archived and these are kept by the SENCo. They may contain correspondence, Annual Review notes and other relevant documentation particularly for those children who have accessed other agencies. It is essential that any new entrants to the school be added to the file and the SENCo and head teacher informed.
In addition teaching assistants are encouraged to keep records/diaries on a daily/weekly basis, of the work covered with groups and individual pupils in order to provide feedback to class teachers and the SENCo and to provide an evidence base for PSP’s, target setting, annual reviews and any other procedures.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The SENCo and headteacher are responsible for the overall organisation and management of specific needs in the school. The headteacher is responsible for how the allocation of funding for specific needs is distributed and informs the governing body of this. The headteacher and SENCo meet regularly to discuss the effectiveness of the resourcing and provision for specific needs in the school, which is monitored as part of the on-going process of self-evaluation in school.
Admission and Transfer
As an inclusive school all pupils are welcomed and the headteacher, SENCo and Governing body endeavours to secure appropriate provision for pupils identified as having specific educational needs. The LA admissions policy and criteria are adhered to. In support of parents of pupils with specific educational needs the school provides information about the Parent Partnership service for all pupils with specific educational needs. The website also provides the links to the County’s Local Offer.
Informal and formal meetings are held with the SENCo and class teachers of the relevant schools in the summer term concerning all transferring pupils. In some cases additional integration sessions are arranged to provide additional support and to enable more vulnerable pupils to become familiar with their new situation. When pupils transfer to or from the school, midterm, or are new to the area, pupil records and telephone conversations are used to establish concerns, needs and provision as necessary.
In - Service training
School, County and individual agency training is used within school and out of school according to initiative introductions, the school and staff development needs.
Parents have a statutory right to make a complaint if they feel the provision for their child’s learning and assessment have not been met. Any complaints should be addressed to the Chair of Governors of the school and/or Learning Support Services, Nan Tait Centre, Abbey Road, Barrow in Furness.
All policies are developed, drafted and agreed through consideration of practice, previous documentation, current advice, relevant reference materials and consideration and discussion of teaching staff and governors. Parental contributions are welcomed and achieved through parent governor representation and school letters, which inform parents of any particularly relevant policy development and how they might be involved.
All school policies are working documents and will be reviewed should there be any organisational or management changes, if the focus is highlighted as an area for development within the continual self-review and/or as identified in the School Management Plan.
K. Griffiths & A. Conlong