Definition of SEN
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 compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty 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 facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions. SEN Code of Practice (2014, p 4)
Definition of disability
Many children and young people who have SEN may also 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’ SEN Code of Practice (2014, p5)
The kinds of SEN that are provided for
Our school currently provides additional and/or different provision for a range of needs, including:
- Communication and interaction, for example, autistic spectrum disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, speech and language difficulties
- Cognition and learning, for example, dyslexia and dyspraxia
- Social, emotional and mental health difficulties, for example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attachment disorder
- Sensory and/or physical needs, for example, visual impairments, hearing impairments, processing difficulties and hypermobility
- Moderate/severe/profound and multiple learning difficulties
Identifying pupils with SEN and assessing their needs
At Four Elms Primary School we monitor the progress of all pupils three times a year to review their academic progress. We also use a range of assessments with all the pupils at various points, for example Y1 phonics screening, KS1 and KS2 SATs, speech link, language link, spelling age and reading age.
Where progress is not sufficient, even if special educational needs have not been identified, we put in place extra targeted/specialist support or provision to enable the pupil to catch up. Some examples of extra support are; group interventions, individual interventions, boosting sessions, counselling, speech and language support, social communication groups, emotional understanding groups, Lexia, Jump Ahead, BEAM, Numicon interventions, additional reading support etc.
Some pupils may continue to make inadequate progress, despite high-quality teaching targeted at their areas of weakness. For these pupils, and in consultation with parents, we will use a range assessment tools to determine the cause of the learning difficulty. At Four Elms Primary School we are experienced in using the following assessment tools; Dyslexia Portfolio, Dyscalculia Toolkit, BEAM, Jump Ahead, The Boxall Profile, Speech Link, Language Link and Language for Learning. We also have access to external advisors (specialist teachers, speech and language therapists, educational psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists) through LIFT who are able to use a variety of additional assessment tools.
The purpose of this more detailed assessment is to understand what additional resources and different approaches are required to enable the pupil to make better progress. These will be shared with parents, put into a SEN support plan and reviewed regularly, and refined / revised if necessary. When deciding whether special educational provision is required, we will start with the desired outcomes, including the expected progress and attainment, and the views and the wishes of the pupil and their parents. We will use this to determine the support that is needed and whether we can provide it by adapting our core offer, or whether something different or additional is needed. At this point we will have identified wether the pupil has a special educational need because the school is making special educational provision for the pupil which is additional and different to what is normally available. Slow progress and low attainment will not automatically mean a pupil is recorded as having SEN.
Progress is not limited to academic areas. Within Four Elms we also monitor areas of learning such as social needs and development. Similarly to the areas listed above, we will follow the same process of assessing development, monitoring progress and planning for targeted support when necessary. When this is not successful we will utilise outside expertise, initially through LIFT and sometimes by accessing outside agencies such as Early Help or Emotional Wellbeing Service.
If the pupil is able to make good progress using this additional and different resource (but would not be able to maintain this good progress without it) we will continue to identify the pupil as having a special educational need. If the pupil is able to maintain good progress without the additional and different resources he or she will not be identified with special educational needs. When any change in identification of SEN is changed parents will be notified.
We will ensure that all teachers and support staff who work with the pupil are aware of the support to be provided and the teaching approaches to be used.
The person responsible for monitoring all of this is our Inclusion Manager/SENCo, Adele Solomides. Contact can be made via the school number 01732 700 274 or via email: email@example.com. Alternatively you can contact the Executive SENCo for the federation via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Consulting and involving pupils and parents
All parents of pupils at Four Elms Primary School are invited to discuss the progress of their children on 3 occasions per academic year and also receive a written report 3 times per year. When children are receiving additional support, whether this be short term booster support of targeted support which is additional and different to what is normally available, a letter will be sent with their school report detailing this provision. Parents are invited to come and discuss this provision with SENCo/Class teacher. However, we are always happy to arrange meetings outside these times and actively encourage parents to come in and meet with the SENCo to discuss concerns or provision and be a part of the whole process.
Where concerns are raised regarding progress in any aspect relating to the child, we will have an early discussion with the pupil and their parents when identifying whether they need special educational provision. These conversations will make sure that:
- Everyone develops a good understanding of the pupil’s areas of strength and difficulty
- We take into account the parents’ concerns
- Everyone understands the agreed outcomes sought for the child
- Everyone is clear on what the next steps are
Following this, we will also contact parents to discuss the use of internal or external assessments which will help us to address these needs better. From this point onwards the pupil will be identified as having special educational needs because special educational provision is being made and the parent will be invited to all planning and reviews of this provision. Parents will be actively supported to contribute to assessment, planning and review.
In addition to this, parents of pupils with a statement of SEN / Education, Health and Care Plan will be invited to contribute to and attend an annual review, which, wherever possible will also include other agencies involved with the pupil. Information will be made accessible for parents.
Assessing and reviewing pupils' progress towards outcomes
Every pupil in the school has their progress formally tracked six times per year and pupil progress meeting are held between class teachers, the Head Teacher and the SENCO. During pupil progress meetings, pupils making inadequate progress are identified, barriers to learning are discussed and targeted/specialist support and interventions are planned for. In addition to this, pupils with special educational needs may have more frequent assessments. Using these, it will be possible to see if pupils are increasing their level of skills in key areas.
If these assessments do not show adequate progress is being made the SEN support plan will be reviewed and adjusted. To do this we will follow the graduated approach and the four-part cycle of assess, plan, do, review.
The class or subject teacher will work with the SENCO to carry out a clear analysis of the pupil’s needs. This will draw on:
- The teacher’s assessment and experience of the pupil
- Their previous progress and attainment and behaviour
- Other teachers’ assessments, where relevant
- The individual’s development in comparison to their peers and national data
- The views and experience of parents
- The pupil’s own views
- Advice from external support services, if relevant
The assessment will be reviewed regularly.
All teachers and support staff who work with the pupil will be made aware of their needs, the outcomes sought, the support provided, and any teaching strategies or approaches that are required. We will regularly review the effectiveness of the support and interventions and their impact on the pupil’s progress.
Supporting pupils moving between phases and preparing for adulthood
At Four Elms Primary School we work closely with the educational settings used by the pupils before they transfer to us in order to seek the information that will make the transfer is a seamless as possible. As part of this process, the class teacher and the SENCo will visit the previous setting to discuss the child’s needs and also to observe them in an environment they are familiar with. We will also complete a home visit (when children are joining in Reception) to gain additional information for the parents and the child. Children will also be given the opportunity to participate in ‘settling in’ sessions to gain familiarity and during this time the class teacher and SENCo will assess any provision that may need to be put in place in preparation for their arrival in September. This will all be done will the full involvement of parents. We do this because we firmly believe that the smoothest transitions happen as part of a partnership where everyone, adults and children, feel happy, safe and at ease. Where children join the school mid-year, meetings will be held with both parents and pupils to establish any provision which will need to be implemented.
Transitions are carefully planned for all children at Four Elms Primary School as they move from year to year, Key Stage to Key Stage and from one phase to the next. Where a high level of support is in place, careful transitions are planned for. For some children transitions can pose specific problems in themselves and personalised arrangements can be made to support children to ensure smooth and successful transitions both within and between schools.
We also contribute information to a pupils’ onward destination by providing information to the next setting. We will share information with the school, college, or other setting the pupil is moving to. We will agree with parents and pupils which information will be shared as part of this. In addition to sharing information, we encourage secondary schoosl to visit Four Elms to meet with the SENCo to discuss pupils in full. Additionally, this gives them the opportunity to meet with the pupils where they feel comfortable and confident. We involve the children in all transition plans that are formulated. Often this includes additional visit days and the opportunity to take photos of the new environment and staff.
Our approach to teaching pupils with SEN
High quality teaching, differentiated for individual pupils, is the first step in responding to pupils who have or may have SEN. Additional intervention and support cannot compensate for a lack of good quality teaching. Schools should regularly and carefully review the quality of teaching for all pupils, including those at risk of underachievement. This includes reviewing and, where necessary, improving, teachers’ understanding of strategies to identify and support vulnerable pupils and their knowledge of the SEN most frequently encountered SEN Code of Practice (2014, 6.37)
In Four Elms Primary School the quality of teaching is judged to be good in the last OFSTED inspection. (Please see website for full report).
We follow the Mainstream Core Standards advice developed by Kent County Council to ensure that our teaching conforms to best practice.
The Mainstream Core Standards for Kent can be found here: https://www.kelsi.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/117256/Special-educational-needs-mainstream-core-standards.pdf
Parental version of the Mainstream Core: Standards: https://www.kelsi.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/117257/Special-educational-needs-mainstream-core-standards-guide-for-parents.pdf
In meeting the Mainstream Core Standards the school employs some additional teaching approaches, as advised by internal and external assessments e.g. one to one tutoring / precision teaching / mentoring, pre-teaching, small group teaching, use of ICT software learning packages such as Clicker 7. These are delivered by additional staff employed through the funding provided to the school as ‘notional SEN funding’
Teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of all the pupils in their class.
Adaptations to the curriculum and learning environment
We make the following adaptations to ensure all pupils’ needs are met:
- Differentiating our curriculum to ensure all pupils are able to access it, for example, by grouping, 1:1 work, teaching style, content of the lesson, etc.
- Adapting our resources and staffing
- Using recommended aids, such as laptops, coloured overlays, visual timetables, larger font, etc.
- Differentiating our teaching, for example, giving longer processing times, pre-teaching of key vocabulary, reading instructions aloud, etc.
At Four Elms as well as following the Mainstream Core Standards provided by Kent, we also incorporate the advice provided as a result of assessments, both internal and external, and the strategies described in Education, Health and Care Plans. Teaching is differentiated and personalised to enable children to access learning. Sometimes this means children will be taught from a programme of study which is different to their year group. The aim is always to secure children’s next steps in learning, to improve rates of progress and to close the attainment gap.
Classrooms can be configured to meet identified needs for example where children need a designated ‘chill out space’ or a work station. The school building has been made more accessible through the addition of a disabled toilet. The school accepts its responsibility to prepare for pupils who may have a wide range of difficulties and disabilities and to make reasonable adjustments.
Additional support for learning
As part of our budget we receive ‘notional SEN funding’. This funding is used to ensure that the quality of teaching is good in the school and that there are sufficient resources to deploy additional and different teaching for pupils requiring SEN support. The amount of support required for each pupil to make good progress will be different in each case. In very few cases a very high level of resource is required. The funding arrangements require schools to provide up to £6000 per year of resource for pupils with high needs, and above that amount the Local Authority should provide top up to the school.
Teachers and TAs have undergone a variety of training. Training expertise includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Autistic Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Dyslexia, Makaton, Clicker 7, Connecting to the disconnected, Dyscalculia, Attendance, Grief, Loss and Bereavement, Speech and Language, Closing the Gap in children’s attainment (PP), Transition, Lego Therapy, Sensory Impairment, Beam, and Jump Ahead.
Where a training need is identified beyond this we will find a provider who is able to deliver it. Training providers we can approach are, Valence School, Educational Psychologist, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, specialist teachers etc. The cost of training is covered by the notional SEN funding.
Expertise and training of staff
Our Federation Executive SENCO, Lyndsay Smurthwaite, has over 7 years of experience in this role and has worked as a class teacher within Surrey and Kent since 2007. She gained her NASENCo Qualification in 2017 adn her NPQSL in 2022.
Our SENCO, Adele Solomides has been working in inclusion for a range of schools across Kent and Medway for the past 5 years and has been teaching since 2007. She is allocated a Wednesday to manage SEND provision at Four Elms.
We have a team of 5 teaching assistants which include both full time and part time. Our TAs are sent on training courses to keep their skills and knowledge up to date and to ensure that they can meet the needs of the pupils.
In the last academic year, training has included but is not limited to Attachment Disorder, ELSA, BEAM, Dyscalculia, MyConcern, Blooms Taxonomy and Rights Respecting Schools.
Securing equipment and facilities
Where external advisors recommend the use of equipment or facilities which the school does not have, we will purchase it using the notional SEN funding, or seek it by loan. For highly specialist communication equipment the school will seek the advice of the KCC Communication and Assistive Technology team.
In addition we have engaged with the following agencies:-
Local Inclusion Forum Teams (LIFT) for access to the specialist teaching and learning service (STLS)
Access to the local authority’s service level agreement with Speech and Language Therapy Services / Occupational Therapy Services / Physiotherapy Services for pupils with requirements for direct therapy or advice
Professional networks for SENCOs e.g. NAS, SENCO forum, NASEN etc
Evaluating the effectiveness of SEN provision
We evaluate the effectiveness of provision for pupils with SEN by:
- Reviewing pupils’ individual progress towards their goals each term
- Reviewing the impact of interventions after each term
- Using pupil questionnaires
- Monitoring by the SENCO
- Using provision maps to measure progress
- Holding annual reviews for pupils with statements of SEN or EHC plans
Review of progress is a collaborative process which includes support staff, class teachers, parents and the child. Reviews may also involve any external professionals involved in setting targets and delivering or offering advice on support, such as a speech and language therapist or specialist teacher. Provision will be set out in the class provision map which will be personalised for children on the SEND register or on a Personalised Plan for children with High Needs Funding or an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) At each review we aim to see that children are meeting their next steps targets and are making good progress within national curriculum expectations in relation to their starting points. A range of formal and informal assessments can be used to evidence and evaluate progress alongside teacher judgments and observations.
The SEN Code of Practice (2014, 6.17) describes inadequate progress thus:
- Is significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same baseline
- Fails to match or better the child’s previous rate of progress
- Fails to close the attainment gap between rate of progress
- Widens the attainment gap
For pupils with an EHCP there will be an annual review of the provision made for the child, which will enable further evaluation of the effectiveness of the special provision. The evaluations of effectiveness of interventions and SEND provision will be reported to the governing body.
Enabling pupils with SEN to engage in activities available to those in the school who do not have SEN
All clubs, trips and activities offered to pupils at Four Elms Primary School are available to pupils with special educational needs either with or without a statement of special educational needs / Education, Health and Care Plan. Where it is necessary, the school will use the resources available to it to provide additional adult support to enable the safe participation of the pupil in the activity. All pupils are encouraged to go on our residential trip(s). All pupils are encouraged to take part in sports day/school plays/special workshops, etc. No pupil is ever excluded from taking part in these activities because of their SEN or disability.
Please see our school Disability Policy and Accessibility Plan for more specific information.
Support for improving emotional and social development
The school's approach is pre-emptive, recognising that there is rising concern about the mental health of young people in the wider society. We have sought to address this need through continued focus on children's emotional well-being. Support can be offered at a number of different levels but high importance is placed on early recognition, a high level of awareness and simple but effective low level strategies as a first line of response.
Mrs Smurthwaite has completed Mental Health First Aid training in order to raise awareness of a wide range of emotional and social issues and to gain practical advice in supporting the mental health and well-being of all pupils as a first line of support as well as those who may have identified needs in this area.
Parents are encouraged to liaise closely with school staff over their children's emotional well-being. It is important for parents to recognise that when there are changes in children's circumstances outside of school, even when these are minor and temporary, that this can result in differences in children's ability to concentrate and learn in school. Parents are encouraged to notify the school as soon as possible about any changes and this information will be treated with appropriate discretion by school staff.
Pupils are also supported through direct teaching for instance PSHE and Circle time and through specific initiatives such as anti-bullying ambassadors. Pupils are supported indirectly with every conversation they have with adults throughout the day.
Support staff are also trained to provide specific intervention training to support Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH); such as Lego Therapy or social communication groups. For some pupils with the most need for help we can also access external agency support through Early Help; Early Help intervention workers can offer 1:1 support to children and their families and children can also be referred to Young Healthy Minds (through Early Help) who offer focused counselling support for a specific number of sessions. Where children's emotional needs are such that they are in significant danger of hurting themselves or others then a referral to the Children and Young Peoples service (CHYPs)- formerly CAMHS, can be made.
Pupils in the early stages of emotional and social development because of their special educational needs will be supported to enable them to develop and mature appropriately. This will usually require additional and different resources, beyond that required by pupils who do not need this support.
Working with other agencies
The governing body have engaged with the following bodies:-
- Free membership of LIFT for access to specialist teaching and learning service
- Link to Disabled Children’s Service for support to families for some pupils with high needs
- Access to local authority’s service level agreement with Speech and Language Therapy Services / Occupational Therapy Services / Physiotherapy Services for pupil with requirement for direct therapy or advice
- Ability to make ad hoc requests for advice from Communication and Assistive Technology Team, etc
- Membership of professional networks for SENCO eg NAS, SENCO forum, NASEN etc
As a school, to ensure that we give children and families the best possible provision and support, we currently access (but are not limited to):
- LIFT which includes access to Specialist Teaching and Learning Services, Educational Psychologists, Speech and Language Services, Occupational Therapy representatives, Early Help representatives
- Senco Forum
- AEN updates
- Schools Health Team
- Emotional Wellbeing Service
- Early Help and Preventative Team
Complaints about SEN provision
The normal arrangements for the treatment of complaints at Four Elms Primary School are used for complaints about provision made for special educational needs. We encourage parents to discuss their concerns with the class or subject teacher, SENCO, or Headteacher to resolve the issue before making the complaint formal to the Chair of the governing body.
If the complaint is not resolved after it has been considered by the governing body, then a disagreement resolution service or mediation service can be contracted. The parents of pupils with disabilities have the right to make disability discrimination claims to the first-tier SEND tribunal if they believe that our school has discriminated against their children. They can make a claim about alleged discrimination regarding:
- Provision of education and associated services
- Making reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services
There are some circumstances, usually for children who have a Statement of SEN where there is a statutory right for parents to appeal against a decision of the Local Authority. Complaints which fall within this category cannot be investigated by the school.
Contact details of support services for parents of pupils with SEN
Information Advice and Support Kent (IASK) provides a free and confidential, information, advice and support service, for parents of a disabled child or child with special educational needs and to children and young people up to age 25 who have a special educational need or disability.
Trained staff can provide impartial legally based information and support on educational matters relating to special educational needs and disabilities, including health and social care. The aim is to empower parents, children and young people to fully participate in discussions and make informed choices and decisions. Also to feel confident to express their views and wishes about education and future aspirations.
They can be contacted on :
HELPLINE: 03000 41 3000
Office: 03000 412412
Contact details for raising concerns
Mrs Liz Mitchell – Executive Headteacher
Miss Jess Fermor – Head of School
Mrs Lyndsay Smurthwaite – Executive SENCo
Mrs Adele Solomides - Inclusion Manager
All of the above can be contacted on 01732 700274 or via email email@example.com. However we would always actively encourage anyone with concerns to make contact with the school in person as soon as possible so that issues can be addressed in the most timely way possible.
The local authority local offer
The local authority’s local offer is published on http://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/special-educational-needs and parents without internet access should make an appointment with the SENCO for support to gain the information they require.
Parents without internet access should make an appointment with the SENCO for support to gain the information they require.
This report links to our policies on:
- Accessibility plan
- SEND Policy
- Equality Policy
- Behaviour Policy
- Complaints Procedure Policy
- Disability Policy (which sets out the arrangements for the admission of pupils with disabilities, the steps we have taken to prevent pupils with disabilities from being treated less favourably than other pupils and the facilities we provide to help pupils with disabilities to access the school
- Supporting pupils with medical conditions