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SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) Frequently Asked Questions

As Parents, you probably have many questions about your childs access to education here at Heath.  Below are some of the most commonly asked questions and answers which we hope will help.  Of course, if you have anything further that you would like to ask, please do not hesitate to contact us.

How does the school know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child has special educational needs?

  • When a child has identified or suspected SEND before they start at Heath Primary school we work with the people who already know them and use the information already available to identify how we can meet their current and any emerging needs in our school setting.
  • If you tell us you think your child has SEND we will discuss this with you and investigate. We will share with you what we find and agree with you what we will do next and what you can do to help your child.
  • Our half termly pupil progress reviews will indicate whether a child is not making the expected progress and is below age expected levels. This may indicate a SEND. Staff will also raise concerns if they feel that other factors such as a child’s behaviour, self-esteem, ability to follow instructions or ability to form relationships are affecting performance or well-being.
  • We liaise with external agencies for example health professionals.

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How do I raise concerns if I need to?

TALK to us first. Firstly contact your child’s class teacher as they work with your child on a daily basis. However, if you prefer you can always ask to meet with the SENCO (Mrs Lucking), Deputy Headteacher (Mr Whatley) or Headteacher (Mrs Bowditch.)

At Heath we pride ourselves on building positive relationships with parents. We are open and honest with parents and hope that they are able to be the same with us.

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How will the school support my child and who will explain this to me?

The level of support your child receives will depend on their needs which we know can change over time. It is our aim to be responsive to any developing and emerging needs.

  • Many children will have their additional needs met through excellent targeted classroom teaching also known as Quality First Teaching (Universal Support). This means teaching where:
    • the teacher has the highest possible expectations for all pupils
    • teaching is carefully planned to build on to what the child can already do and understand so as to accelerate progress
    • different ways of teaching are put in place so the child is fully involved in learning
    • specific strategies (which may have been suggested by the SENCO or another professional) are put into place to support the child’s learning
  • Some children may take part in specific group work with a smaller group of children. Such groups are put together to address specific gaps that have been identified in a child’s learning and will be closely monitored to ensure that they are resulting in good progress for the child. These groups may be:
    • run in the classroom or outside the classroom
    • run by a teacher or teaching assistant who has had training to run these groups (usually school staff but sometimes from an approved outside agency which would only be done with a parent’s permission)
  • Some children may have needs that require one to one support. This support may be:
    • to deliver a specialist package (for example a programme devised by a speech therapist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist)
    • to access certain parts of the curriculum
    • individual teaching programmes to improve literacy or maths skills
    • support with medical/physical needs
    • support to manage social situations and emotional needs

It is at this stage that the child’s name will be officially added to the school’s Special Needs register and more individualised targets put in place through a One Page Pupil Profile, Pupil Passport, Individual Behaviour Plan or Care Plan.

For children whose needs are severe, complex and lifelong the school (or you) can request that the Local Authority carry out a statutory assessment of the child’s needs. This is a legal process you can find out more about by looking at Suffolk’s Local Offer.

After a request has been made to the Local Authority they will decide whether they think the child’s needs (as described in the paperwork provided), seem complex enough to need a statutory assessment. If they do they will ask you and all professionals involved with the child to write a report outlining the child’s needs. If they do not think this is necessary, they will ask the school to continue with the support they are providing and may make suggestions as to how this can be further improved.

If they do decide to carry out statutory assessment the reports requested by the Local Authority will be carefully collated and they will write an Education, Health and Care Plan. The Education, Health and Care Plan will outline the support the child will receive from school and any other agencies involved in their care and what strategies must be put in place. It will also have long and short term goals for the child. It will then be regularly reviewed, with you and your child providing input as to how well it is meeting their needs.

Please see flow chart below to help clarify this process.

Explaining things to you

We aim to be child and family centered so you can expect ‘no decision about me without me.’

  • When we assess for SEND we will discuss with you what we are assessing and the results of that assessment. We will also want you to share with us your perceptions of how your child is functioning in school and what their understanding and behaviour is like at home.
  • Following on from this we will plan what support might be appropriate and share this information with you.
  • Progress and the outcomes of any support will be regularly reviewed and fed back to you. Support will be adapted in light of this to ensure your child’s needs continue to be met.
  • The class teacher will meet with you at least on a termly basis to discuss your child’s needs and progress towards their targets, (this could be part of parent’s evenings but class teachers will always make an additional appointment to talk to you as the need arises).
  • The SENCO is available to talk things over with you, please make an appointment via the school office.

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How does the school know how well my child is doing?

It is easy to assume that all is well if we don’t hear from parents. If you would like more information about anything regarding your child’s needs or progress PLEASE ASK.

  • We measure children’s progress in learning against national expectations and age related expectations.
  • Your child’s class teacher will continually assess each child and note areas where they are improving and where further support is needed. We track all children’s progress from entry in Nursery or Reception through to Year 6, using a variety of different methods including nationally standardised maths, reading and spelling levels.
  • Each child’s progress will be reviewed half termly by their class teacher and at termly pupil progress meetings. These are meetings between class teachers, phase leaders, senior leaders and the SENCO to discuss the progress each child has made over the preceding few weeks. Things that are working well will be noted and any necessary changes to the existing support will also be discussed. If any significant change is suggested for your child then you will be informed.
  • Each term the targets will be reviewed. This will involve your child meeting with their teacher or the SENCO to talk about progress towards the targets, whether they have been achieved or whether they need to be adapted. They will then set some new targets which they will bring home to share with you. Anybody who works with your child will be able to see how they are progressing towards their targets and which strategies will support their learning.

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How will I know how my child is doing and how will I know how to support them at home?

We believe that your child’s education should be a partnership between parents and teachers; therefore we aim to keep communication channels open and communicate regularly. We offer an open door policy where you are welcome any time to make an appointment to meet with either the class teacher or SENCO and discuss how your child is getting on. We are more than willing to offer advice and practical ways you can support your child at home.

  • The school has systems in place to measure children’s progress against national and age related expectations (see Section ‘How does the school know how well my child is doing?’) All children are carefully tracked throughout their time at school. This information is available to be shared with you at scheduled meetings and at any other time you may wish to request it. Class teachers continually assess children and note areas of progress and difficulty so they can be addressed on a daily basis.
  • We operate a planner which your child will bring home daily so comments from parents and teachers can be shared and responded to as needed.
  • If your child is on the SEND register they will have a one page Pupil Profile. This will contain information about them as a learner and have some individual targets set on a termly basis. These targets will be set by the class teacher in consultation with your child and the SENCO as necessary.  There will be an opportunity for you to discuss your child’s progress with the class teacher on a regular basis.
  • Homework will be set as appropriate to allow your child to repeat and practice new learning and share it with you.

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How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

All work within class is pitched at an appropriate level so that all children are able to access it according to their specific needs

  • All of our staff are trained to make work easier or more challenging so that every child is able to learn at their level.
  • We use additional schemes/materials so that we have something at the right level for children with SEND.
  • As well as adapting the learning activities to match individual children’s specific needs we use approaches that support all of the children’s different learning styles. We are aware that some children learn best when doing (kinesthetic learners), some are very visual learners, some benefit from collaborating with others while some prefer to work on their own.

We are supported by external agencies as listed in the section ‘What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?’

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What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being?

Heath is an inclusive school. We welcome and celebrate diversity. All staff believe that children having high self-esteem is crucial to a child’s well-being. We have a caring understanding team looking after our children.

  • Your child’s class teacher has overall responsibility for the pastoral, medical and social care of every child in their class on a daily basis making them a parent’s first point of contact. For children with SEND the class teacher will liaise with the SENCO for further advice and support. This may also involve liaising with outside agencies too such as health and social care professionals.
  • At Heath we have a Learning Charter which consists of Rights, Responsibilities, Rewards and Consequences. These are used throughout the school including lunchtimes and at the before and after school provision.
  • At Heath we follow the Jigsaw programme. Jigsaw PSHE (Pesrsonal, Social and Health Education) is a comprehensive and completely original Scheme of Work for the whole Primary School from Years F,1 and 2 through to Year 6. It brings together PSHE Education, emotional literacy, social skills and spiritual development in a comprehensive scheme of learning.
  • We have a part time Pastoral Support Officer (Mrs Grubb) who works under the direction of the SENCO to support children and parents with a range of different matters.
  • We have a lunchtime club for children who find lunchtimes particularly difficult. When the need arises, we also have a nurture group which operates during lesson times.
  • When a child has a medical need we will work with you and any relevant medical professionals to put together a Care Plan which we will review with you as the need arises. Miss Whittaker is our Medical Welfare Manager and Mrs Poole keeps the records up to date. 

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How will my child be able to contribute their views?

Pupil Voice is very important to us at Heath and we seek to gather pupil views when we make key decisions and as part of our monitoring processes. Research shows that pupil participation has positive benefits for behaviour and community cohesion; it develops a feeling of responsibility and helps children take ownership of their own learning.

We believe that children have clear views about their needs and what helps them to succeed and that these views need to be respected.

  • We have a school Council whereby pupils can express their views on all aspects of school life.
  • Children on the SEND register have a One Page Pupil Profile, they will regularly discuss their learning and progress with their class teacher. They will also work together with staff to set their targets.
  • When formal meetings are held between parents, school staff and any outside professionals pupils will be encouraged to contribute their views by either attending the meeting or expressing them to an adult prior to the meeting who will then deliver them on the child’s behalf. We try to encourage children to take part in this process but remain sensitive to their age and their individual needs. We recognise that children taking part in formal meetings is something that we will need to build up to gradually over the years so that children develop their confidence in being able to take part in formal decision making.

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What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?

At Heath we work closely with any external agencies that we feel are relevant to individual children’s needs.

Relevant agencies include the following:

  • Support from Local Authority Advisory Team (Please see Suffolk Local Offer SuffolkInfoLink)
  • Behaviour Support Service (BSS)
  • County Inclusive Resource Outreach for Autistic Spectrum Disorders
  • County Resource Outreach for Dyslexia
  • Pupil Referral Unit Outreach for a range of behavioural needs
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Educational Psychology
  • Social Services
  • Integrated Team
  • GP
  • Paediatrician
  • School Nurse
  • Parent Partnership
  • Mental Health Service for Children and Young People in Suffolk (CAMHS)

Any discussions with the above professionals include parents and the child as appropriate. Together we review the child’s progress, agree what everyone will do to make learning more effective and set appropriate targets.

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What training have staff had regarding special needs?

We have a strong commitment to continuous staff training and development. We consider it very important to keep up to date with the most recent research and its findings regarding SEND.

  • Staff have specific training to meet the needs of the children they are working with, this is regularly reviewed and updated.
  • All staff have basic autism awareness training.
  • Some staff are trained to deliver specific programmes such as Wave 3 Literacy, ELKLAN (speech and language), Gym Trail.
  • Our SENCO has a level 5 Diploma in Teaching Learners with Specific Learning Difficulities (Dyslexia).  
  • A Pastoral Support Officer works to support families and individual pupils who may be having a difficult time for a whole range of reasons.
  • The school has a continuous programme of auditing the skills and expertise of staff and providing the relevant training to fill any gaps identified

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How accessible is the school environment?

  • Our school is wheelchair accessible. The school is all on one level, with the exception of some offices which parents and pupils do not need to access, with ramps at specified fire exits.
  • Emergency evacuation plans are drawn up for any wheelchair users/people with limited mobility with a designated route and an alternative route clearly identified.
  • We have an accessible toilet in the main school and in the Year 2/3 block.
  • Accommodating children who need adaptations to the school environment is carefully considered each year when children move classes and changes/adaptations made as necessary.
  • We strongly advise parents to meet with us as soon as possible so we can explore the accessibility of the school with your child’s needs in mind and make any additional changes identified.
  • We regularly audit the school’s accessibility with a range of other professionals (e.g. physiotherapists, occupational therapists, health and safety officers.)
  • We liaise with advisers from the Equalities and Minority Ethnic Attainment Team (EMEA) to assist us in supporting families with English as an additional language.

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How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?

  • All children are included in all parts of the school curriculum and we aim for all children to be included on school trips and choose visits that are accessible to all. We will provide the necessary support to ensure that this is successful.
  • A risk assessment is carried out prior to any off site activity to ensure everyone’s health and safety will not be compromised. Where a child has additional needs this will be taken into account at this stage and additional control measures put in place to enable them to participate fully. For children with significant needs they may require an individual risk assessment. We understand that including parents to ensure that a child is able to take part in any trip or activity successfully may make both the parent and child feel more at ease. We will talk to you about what will work best for your child.

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What support is there for behaviour, avoiding exclusion and increasing attendance?

  • We have a very positive approach to all types of behaviour with a clear rewards and consequences system that is followed by all staff and pupils.
  • After any behaviour incident we expect the child to reflect on their behaviour with an adult.
  • If your child has on going behavioural difficulties we will talk to you and your child together. We will often write an Individual Behaviour Plan and carry out a risk assessment to identify the specific issues and how best to manage them. It will include the sort of support the school will be giving your child. Short term, achievable targets will also be set for your child and these will be reviewed regularly with you. We will meet with you as often as necessary to do this, even if it is as much as once a week. We will also endeavour to provide brief daily feedback if this is considered helpful. This will be done through a brief word on the playground or a quick note in the home/school book.
  • If your child’s behaviour is likely to result in a fixed term or permanent exclusion then a Suffolk Pupil Support Framework may be put in place. We will set targets and meet with you and your child every two weeks to discuss progress.
  • Please see or Behaviour Policy for further details.
  • The attendance of every child is monitored on a daily basis by the Office Team. If your child is absent and you haven’t written or called to tell us why you will be contacted by us.
  • Lateness and absence are recorded and reported upon to the Senior Leadership Team. The registers are also inspected regularly by the Education Welfare Officer. Our Pastoral Support Officer will work with any family who is struggling with lateness and attendance to support them in overcoming the difficulties.

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How will the school prepare and support my child when joining the school and transferring to a new school?

We place huge importance on ensuring that children are well prepared for the next stage in their education and feel comfortable and supported through any transitions.

We encourage all new children to visit our school prior to starting when they will be shown around and meet their teachers. A series of induction events are planned for pupils and parents for all children starting in Nursery or Reception.

  • We produce Pupil Passports for children for whom it is considered transition may prove difficult or especially worrying. These include key information about the new setting and relevant photographs of staff and parts of the school building. They will also focus on any key areas of change that may be causing anxiety.
  • We recognise that some children, including those with SEND, will need something in addition to our planned transition programme. Such pupils will have an extended transition programme put in place that is tailored to meet their individual needs. This may include additional visits to the school or new classroom to assist with the child becoming more familiar with their new surroundings and new key adults. Staff will accompany children on any of these additional visits to support them and work through any questions or specific issues that arise.
  • Staff from the receiving school will liaise with the staff from the feeder school to discuss each child’s specific needs and hand over any paperwork. Staff from the receiving school will also visit pupils in their existing school to meet them in a familiar setting and observe how their current teachers manage their individual needs. This also includes visiting pre-school settings when children first join us in Nursery or Reception. Where staff and parents feel there is a need we will hold a Transition Meeting prior to transition to ensure that the child’s needs are fully understood and that we have the correct provision in place.
  • The SENCO is available to meet with you at the end of each academic year to discuss your child’s transition into the next school or year group to explore any concerns and adjust plans for meeting the child’s needs.
  • Most of the secondary schools our pupils move on to run extended transition programmes for any vulnerable pupils. Whether or not such a programme would be beneficial for your child will be discussed with you and your child at the relevant time.
  • If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan or a Statement of Special Educational Need the SENCO from the school you wish your child to attend after leaving us will be invited to attend your child’s Annual Review in their final year at Heath.

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How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s additional needs?

  • We receive funding for all children who have SEND and will use this funding to meet the needs of each individual pupil as best as we possibly can. This includes the cost of some of the learning support assistants, the delivery of some interventions, staff training and additional equipment if required.
  • Suffolk also has a system for securing High Tariff Needs top up funding for pupils whose needs match specific criteria and whose needs are considered greater than can be met through the school’s general SEND allowance. If the school can provide evidence of the child’s needs meeting the strict criteria set then extra funding will be secured. This funding is set out in bands with the amount awarded increasing as they complexity of need increases.
  • Children with an Education, Health and Care Plan will have resources allocated appropriately and carefully depending on the content of the plan. If the plan identifies something that is significantly different to what is usually available, there will be additional funding allocated. Parents will have a say in how this is used. You will be told by the Local Authority if this means you are eligible for a personal budget. This must be used to fund the agreed plan.

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How can I be involved?

At Heath we understand that as a parent you are the expert on your child and have a valuable contribution to make regarding your child’s needs and wishes

  • We aim to involve you in every decision making process.
  • We encourage you to meet with us as often as you feel necessary. Your child’s class teacher will be happy to share information about your child’s progress and listen to what you have to say about what your child is doing at home. We hope that this will make sure that we are doing similar things to support your child at both home and school and that we can share what is working well in both places.
  • The SENCO is available to meet with you and discuss any worries or concerns you may have.
  • All information from outside professionals will be discussed with you so you are aware of any recommendations they have made. If you do not have a face to face meeting with the relevant professional and receive a written report instead, the SENCO will be happy to meet with you and discuss the contents.
  • Any homework set will be adjusted to meet your child’s needs and we would appreciate your support in completing it with your child.

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Who can I contact for further information?

The SENCO or Senior Leaders would be happy to expand further on any of the information given above. Please contact the school directly. 

Access Unlimited, the One Stop Shop for Suffolk children and young people with additional needs and disabilities. 

Provides information, support and services for people with Autism (including Asperger syndrome) 

Afasic supports parents and represents children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. 

  Offers support and advice for deaf communities and those using BSL. 

Advice and support for helping dyslexic learners. 

  in Suffolk (formerly Parent Partnership)

Providing confidential, impartial support and advice to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged up to 25, and their parents/carers.

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