Special Educational Needs
From time to time, most if not all children will need something additional to or different from other children. This might be some extra time to talk and share when their pet rabbit has died or some additional support learning about ratio and proportion!
Our school has well established procedures and practices so that all children can have access to the support they need at whatever point this need occurs and for whatever purpose.
Each classteacher will oversee the needs and progress of all children in their class and they will usually be the first person to talk to if you have a concern. If staff in school have any worries about the progress your child is making, they will talk to you about it, either at parents' evening, or at another suitable time. School will talk and share with you their views on what they have observed and together we will make a plan for next steps. Should it become necessary, we might involve our school specialist, known as the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) who will suggest ways forward. Sometimes it may be appropriate to invite (with your permission) other professionals into school to assess your child or make recommendations).
The following is a fictitious example to show how school might address the special needs of an individual.
Leo’s teacher (Miss Smith) in Year 1 notices that Leo takes instructions very literally and is sometimes upset when the class routine changes. At parents' evening Miss Smith talks to parents and asks if family has noticed this at home. Parents say that this is only really evident when eating, and that Leo is very reluctant to have food on his plate touching each other. It is agreed to monitor carefully and to meet again in a couple of months time. Leo is an only child.
At next meeting a month later, Leo seems less worried about changes in school and there is no further concern.
At the beginning of Year 2, when Leo’s new teacher meets with family, it appears that Leo has found the change of teacher difficult, and he shows some signs of being agitated when a new child joined the class or when a visitor had been in school to show the class some mini-beasts. In addition Leo has on a couple of occasions upset other children when he has pushed them out of the way. He has told the teacher that it was ‘his turn’ in the role-play area and seems to find it difficult to understand that he has upset someone. The Year 2 classteacher offers a meeting with the school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator.
A meeting takes place with family, classteacher and family. Leo’s behaviour patterns are discussed and the SEN coordinator suggests that it could be useful to refer Leo to a speech and language therapist.
A referral form is completed and shared with family and as a result, the school’s Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) visits and assesses Leo. She makes some recommendations of things which the school can do in terms of preparing Leo for changes to routine as well as exposing him to situations where he is supported in dealing with new situations. In addition the SLT suggests that school staff do some work with Leo on social stories and that he becomes part of a nurture group session due to be run by the Educational Psychologist. Family agree and the work takes place in school with regular feedback to the family. This results in Leo being better able to deal with new scenarios and gives school staff (and family) strategies to use when Leo is anxious about something new.