Our Local Offer for Children with SEND

How we identify individual special educational learning needs at Woodlands

  • When pupils have an identified special educational need or disability before they join our school, we work very closely with the people who already know them and use the information already available to identify what the possible barriers to learning may be within our school setting and to help us to plan appropriate support strategies.
  • If you tell us you think your child has a special educational need we will discuss this with you and assess your child accordingly.  Often these assessments will be carried out by the school, sometimes school seek advice from more specialised services such as Educational Psychology or Speech Therapy – we always share our findings with you and the next steps we need to take.
  • If teachers feel that your child has a special educational need this may be because they are not making the expected rate of progress or have other more specific concerns regarding speech and language, emotional and social interaction, behaviour, sensory or physical needs. These issues would be discussed with relevant staff and the school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). The earlier we take action and modify our provision, the sooner we can resolve concerns and help children towards success. We will observe your child’s learning characteristics and how they cope within our learning environments, we will assess their understanding of what we are doing in school and where appropriate use tests to pinpoint what is causing difficulty. This will help us to decide what is happening and why.  If school becomes concerned about your child a discussion will be held with their class teacher or the school’s SENCO. Following the current SEN guidelines and SEN indicators a decision will be made as to whether or not your child has a Special Educational Need and an ILP will be put into place.

How we involve pupils and their parents/carers in identifying special educational needs and planning to meet them

  • When we assess special educational needs we will discuss with you if your child’s understanding and behaviour are the same at school and home; we take this into account and work with you so that we are all helping your child in the same way and helping them make progress.
  • Where appropriate Individual Learning Plans and reviews will be written in collaboration with pupils and parents/carers, a copy will always be available for you.
  • We hold a meeting every term (including parent’s evenings) that allows school staff, and family or carers involved with a child, to share information, celebrate progress and achievement and agree to the planned next steps. Other professionals may be invited to attend specific meetings if relevant.
  • We may use home learning to repeat and practice activities that are new and presenting a challenge to a pupil. If you have any concerns about home learning please see your child’s class teacher.
  • Staff are generally available at the end of every school session to discuss any concerns you may have about your child, or to share information that either party feels would be useful to the other.
  • Children with communication difficulties may be provided with a home-link book. This tells you about the sort of activities your child has been undertaking at school, so that you can discuss these at home.
  • A home-link book may also be used to support behaviour issues. This enables school and parents to be able to support one another and reward as appropriate.
  • Each child has a reading diary. Teachers will write comments for parents to read at home, and we encourage parents and carers to add observations of their own.

How we use other adults in school to support pupils with special educational needs or disabilities

  • Our SENCO leads a team of talented support staff who are all trained to support pupils with a wide range of educational, social and emotional needs.
  • Our SEN team are able to undertake small group work or one-to-one support as appropriate to meet the needs of pupils with special educational needs or disabilities.
  • We have created good links with a range of specialist outside agencies whom we can call upon to support staff and pupils.
  • Our Parent Support Advisor is a very supportive member of the team with an excellent knowledge of how to support our children and their families.
  • Our assessment co-ordinator and teachers analyse pupil performance data every half-term to ensure every child is making the best possible progress.
  • We have a dedicated Educational Psychologist and Advisory Teacher, who visits our school regularly to observe and assess pupils, and offer advice and support to both home and school. We also have a Speech and Language Therapist that works in school one day every other week.

How we use specialist resources to support pupils with special educational needs or disabilities

  • We have a dedicated nurture area that is available for one to one or group ‘special time’. They would meet regularly with a mentor to discuss concerns/worries they may have in or out of school.
  • We have trained staff to develop social and language skills and work with identified children individually and in groups.
  • Our SEN team make bespoke individual resources for pupils with special educational needs that support their specific learning targets and needs, and reflects the learning undertaken by their peers.
  • We have a wide range of reading material (books, digital stories, newspapers) to appeal to both aural and visual learners, and specialist ‘catch-up’ schemes to revise lost learning.
  • We have a wide range of ICT equipment available to help motivate pupils and access learning. These include a I-pads, laptop computers, microphones, programmable toys, talking postcards, talking buttons and educational computer games.
  • We use workstations, picture and symbol timetables and equipment such as countdown timers for pupils who need it.
  • We seek advice and equipment from outside agencies as and when the need arises, such as specialist seating, and steps in toilets.
  • We encourage children to practice basic skills and work towards becoming independent learners.
  • Makaton signs on small cards to aid children with communication difficulties are used in foundation stage and key stage 1.
  • Risk assessments and Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPS) are written to ensure the environment is appropriate for children with disabilities and alterations to routine or environment are altered accordingly to meet the needs as best we can.

How we modify teaching approaches for individual pupils

  • All our staff are trained in a variety of approaches which means that we are able to adapt to a range of SEN: – specific learning difficulties (including dyslexia); Autistic Spectrum Disorder; speech, language and communication needs; and behavioural, social and emotional difficulties.
  • Most of our key stage 1 staff are able to use basic Makaton signs.
  • For children with communication difficulties we may create personal reading books using individual children as characters, or create books around our own school themes that match personal abilities and needs. (social stories)
  • We are a dyslexia friendly school.
  • We use a number of teaching methods that are adapted to the needs of both, groups and individual pupils, intensive interaction and individual workstation tasks.
  • We are a very inclusive school. Wherever possible children are taught alongside their peers whether this be in mixed ability or clearly differentiated groups. Teachers adapt their teaching constantly in order to cater for their pupils’ needs, and plan individual timetables where necessary. When appropriate, staff are deployed to give children additional support in small groups outside the classroom, or to provide specific one-to-one support.
  • All our staff are trained to adapt resources to either offer a greater level of support or to make learning more challenging so that every child is able to achieve their very best.
  • We use additional schemes/materials so that staff can use as a resource to ensure work is always at the right level for pupils with special educational needs, or those who are gifted and talented.
  • We run a number of ‘booster’ groups for children who are in danger of falling behind their peers. These usually consist of phonics ‘catch-up’ groups at the beginning of years one and two, and groups to develop language, reading and basic maths skills.
  • We offer a wide range of in-house communication groups; these usually focus on Attention and Listening, Speech and Language and Social Communication.
  • We use personal visual timelines or object timelines to help children understand what activity or part of the day is coming next.

How we assess and review pupil progress

  • In the Foundation Stage we track progress against the Early Years Development Matters.
  • In Key Stage One we continue with EYFS tracking or use P scales where appropriate to assess progress that is in smaller steps than the usual national curriculum levels.
  • We use an online tracking system to monitor pupil attainment and progress against targets. This is updated every half term.
  • We gather views of parents and carers at our termly parent consultation meetings and make notes of important points so that they can be revisited at each successive meeting to review progress.
  • Parents of children with Special Educational Needs are invited to a review meeting each term where we discuss progress and set individual education plans outlining small step progress targets. These are set in consultation with parents and other professionals involved in the care and education of the child.
  • Our assessment co-ordinator and teacher analyse the progress of every child each half term. Each teacher plans targeted interventions for all children whose progress is causing concern, and writes an individual larning plan for children whose needs fall outside normal classroom differentiation. We adapt our teaching to suit the needs of individuals wherever possible.
  • We regularly use staff meetings to get all teachers to moderate pupils’ work
  • We set challenging targets that are based on nationally agreed guidelines on progress
  • We check how well a pupil makes progress in each lesson.

What extra support we bring in to help us meet SEN :- services; expertise. How we work together collaboratively.

  • We can access support from specialist teachers and support staff for advice about accessing the curriculum and SEND related needs such as speech, language and communication; hearing impairment; visual impairment; behaviour related needs; severe learning difficulties and autism.
  • The local authority services inform school about training, policy and funding.
  • Our local authority provides Educational Psychologist Support for assessment, advice and training.
  • Our local authority provides an Early Years Advisory Teacher who supports children with SEN when they make the transition to our nursery from pre-school settings.
  • We have a Specialist Advisory Teacher who works closely with staff and pupils to input suggestions to improve learning strategies.
  • We get support from speech and language therapy (SALT) to advise on strategies and programmes. We refer pupils for assessment if we believe they need a period of therapy. We have staff who are specifically trained to deliver programmes of work for more intensive speech therapy.
  • We liaise with the School’s Health Advisor when required.
  • We get support from occupational therapy for pupils who need assessment for issues such as special seating or advice about exercise programmes. They guide school staff in meeting the needs of pupils with disabilities.
  • We can access Outreach for support from schools in the area who have specialised skills and equipment to support a particular need as it arises.
  • Together we review your pupil’s progress and agree what everyone will do to make teaching more effective and learning easier. We include your child in these discussions when appropriate.

What other activities are available for pupils with SEN in addition to the curriculum?

  • We offer a breakfast club and after-school provision with trained staff capable of looking after pupils with both special educational needs and disabilities.
  • We have a number of extra-curricular clubs such as dance, judo, choir, multi-skills, drama, and many more. Pupils with SEN are included, and one-to-one support where needed to help access can be arranged if required.
  • We have educational visits throughout the year, and many other visitors to school bring our curriculum to life. Pupils with special educational needs and disabilities are always included in these and we provide staff to support their full involvement if needed. We always choose enhanced school provision to be accessible by all.
  • We run a specific year group exercise intervention to enhance readiness for learning. Some specific children receive a one to one exercise programme to tackle more specific needs. (Open-Doors Therapy; Pragmatics, Learning Mentor Support and various intervention groups)

How we support pupils in their transition into our school and when they leave us

  • Children who join our school in nursery are welcomed into our school community with a personal home visit by the nursery staff, followed by a meeting in school. A series of parent and child ‘taster’ sessions follow in the second half of the summer term in preparation for their September start. At these meetings parents and pupils have a “Woodlands Learning Pack” that contains equipment, resources and ideas on how to learn alongside your child. There are documents on how to read with your child and how to begin writing.
  • Pupils that are in other settings are visited by Woodlands staff at home and in their settings.
  • Transition into new classes begins after half-term in the summer term. This consists of every child moving into their new class to meet their new teacher. English and maths lessons are taken as are lunches for children new to school.
  • We liaise very closely between year groups to ensure that the transition between year groups is as smooth as possible.
  • Parents and children who are joining our school mid-term are expected to visit the school before they start.
  • When we are aware that pupils joining us from other settings have identified special educational needs, we routinely arrange a visit to observe them in their familiar environment and invite them to spend short periods of time in the new setting with a familiar member of staff.
  • We write individual transition plans in collaboration with staff from the previous school or setting and key professionals who are already familiar with the needs of the child. This ensures a smooth and supportive start to life at Woodlands.

How additional funding works

  • Schools receive funding for all pupils with special educational needs and we are able to provide what pupils need from this (including equipment). The local authority will top-up funding for pupils with a high level of need.
  • If a pupil’s education, health and care 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 if this means you are eligible for a personal budget. This must be used to fund any agreed plan formulated by professional advisors, parents and school.

Where pupils can get extra support

  • We listen to what children tell us about how they like to learn. Their views and feelings are important to us and have an impact on our practice.
  • Our children are made aware of the support that surrounds them in school. They know who to talk to if they are worried or have any concerns they want to share. Our open door policy means that they have access to a member of the senior management team (within reason) throughout the school day.
  • We have a high level of staffing at unstructured times such as lunchtime, to ensure children are well supervised and well supported. Dedicated play-leaders involve children in play opportunities.
  • We have a buddy system that promotes peer-to-peer support. These children are trained by school staff and supported in their work.
  • The school always welcomes parents into school and encourages them to discuss any issues however small they feel they are. A problem shared is a problem halved. A problem identified is a problem solved.
  • Parents are welcome into school as volunteers in learning rooms, providing a vital extra pair of hands that enhances our provision and celebrates our partnership working. An up to date DBS is essential, an induction meeting follows with a senior member of staff where expectations, safeguarding, health and safety and confidentiality are discussed.
  • We have a Parent Support Advisor who is available to support parents AND pupils.

Where parents/carers can get extra support

  • Our inclusive philosophy aims to support parents of children with special educational needs or disabilities so that their child’s journey through our school is smooth, successful and anxiety free. Our practice is enhanced by your views, it is important that people listen to them and we strive that you are satisfied with what happens as a result of our collaboration.
  • The Walsall Parent Partnership Service can offer advice and support to parents of pupils with special educational needs or disabilities. Their telephone number is 01922 650330.
  • Our SENCO and our Parent Support Advisor can put parents in touch with a wide range of support groups as appropriate to the specific needs of your child. Please come into school and discuss your needs.
  • We have produced a range of bespoke parent information leaflets that set out our practice. These are readily available on our website or from the school office.

What parents/carers can do if they are not satisfied with a decision or what is happening

  • Our school operates an open door policy. Your first point of contact is your child’s class teacher, who is generally available at the end of every school day. In addition, our Parent Support Advisor or our SENCO are here to listen to your concerns. If you are not satisfied that your concern has been addressed then you may speak to the head teacher at any time. If she cannot solve your issues, then you may speak to any of our school governors. We have a governor responsible for SEND who may be contacted through the school office.
  • If your concern is with the local authority you are advised that you contact them direct.
  • The local authority has a multi-agency panel who consider unresolved issues. You are entitled to appeal against any decision made about your child that you are not in agreement with. They will offer you an independent mediator if you are still not satisfied. The mediator will try to help you to agree a resolution with the local authority that you are happy with. Telephone 01922 686200. Alternatively, the Parent Partnership Service (01922 650330) provide independent information and advice.

In the creation of this document, parents, children and staff have been given the opportunity to share their views.

Additional Resources

Below are a list of additional resources which may be helpful to you.  Please note that Woodlands Academy of Learning is in no way affiliated or endorsing these external organisations.

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