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What is SEN?

“Special Educational Needs (SEN) is used in school to describe the needs of a child who has a difficulty or disability which makes learning harder for them than for other children their age.

The SEN Code of Practice (January 2015) states that:

‘A pupil has SEN where their learning difficulty or disability calls for special educational provision, namely provision different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age (6.15)

You can access Birmingham SEN Parent and Carer information here

You can access the Birmingham SEN Local Offer website here

Below is our SEN Information Report where you can find information about how we help pupils with Special Educational Needs at St Mary’s. Please click on a question to see the relevant detail.

How do I speak to the SENCo if I have a concern about my child?

  • In the first instance, please talk to your child’s class teacher.
  • Mrs Joel is our SENCo. A SENCo is a member of staff who has responsibility for coordinating support for children with additional needs. SENCo stands for Special Educational Needs Coordinator. An appointment with Mrs Joel can be arranged through the school office or by speaking to the class teacher.
  • The school telephone number is 0121 675 1729.

How will the SENCo ensure the necessary people know about my child’s needs?

Our SENCo oversees all support and progress of any child requiring additional support across the school.

    • Class teachers, the child and parent(s) will meet termly to discuss and review progress of SEN targets or One-page Profiles.
    • The SENCo will attend at least one review annually and will attend SSPP and EHCP reviews.
    • We work closely with a number of outside agencies and we will always seek consent before accessing their support.
    • Nursery will share relevant information with our school when your child moves up to us. If advised, we will visit your child in the nursery setting and chat to staff about the best way to meet your child’s needs.
    • Agencies who can help us are:

    CAT: Cathryn Thomas – Communication and Autism Team (Birmingham LA)

    EP: Amy Jamieson – Educational Psychologist (Birmingham LA)

    PSS: Erica Hewetson -Pupil and School Support (Birmingham LA)

    PDSS: Hayley Robbs – Physical Difficulties Support Service

    Sensory Support: hearing and visual impairment teams

    Speech and Language Therapy: Mrs Johnson– a speech and language therapist who is based in school every Wednesday

    Social, Emotional and Mental Health support: Miss Johnson – Learning Mentor trained in Emotional Literacy Support (ELSA)

  • -Allen’s Croft Child Development Centre (0121 466 4700)
  • -Occupational Therapy: Community OT team
  • -ADHD team: support for young people with a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • -Forward Thinking Birmingham – social and emotional mental health support
  • We support children when it is time for them to move to their new class. All relevant information will be shared with the new class teacher.
  • We fully support parents in making decisions about the secondary schools they choose for their children and work with them to ensure the transition from KS2 to KS3 is smooth.
  • We invite all secondary transition co-ordinators into school to meet with any children with SEN.
  • Visits to secondary school are encouraged and supported where necessary.
  • The governor responsible for SEN is Mrs J Mason. She meets regularly with the SENCo and reports to the full governing body.  In termly reports to governors, information is shared about the progress of SEN children.  These reports do not refer to individual children and confidentiality is maintained at all times.
  • Please refer to our SEN policy, available through our school website.

How will my child’s progress be reviewed and when will I be invited into school to discuss this? Will my child be able to give their views?

  • Please refer to our SEN policy, available through our school website.
  • Progress against SEN targets and one-page Profiles will be reviewed termly with the pupil, parents, class teacher.
  • The SENCO will also be present at review meetings for those pupils who have a Support Plan or Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP).
  • Pupils will be asked for their views before the meeting, through a discussion with an adult they are used to working with in school.
  • Parents and pupils are always encouraged to attend the reviews.

If my child needs extra support, will I always be spoken to about this?

  • Sometimes children have extra help through group work in their class. You will be told about this at parent’s evenings.  This is usual classroom practice.
  • If your child needs support in addition to usual classroom practice, you will be informed.

Will information that needs to be shared, be made clear and easy to understand?

  • Yes, targets will be shared with parents and children in a way that is appropriate to their age and development.
  • We will agree the targets and how we will work together to help the child meet them.
  • Copies of SEN targets will be sent home and this document will be used at review time.

How will school work with me to identify my child’s needs?

  • When children have had an identification of SEN before they start at St Mary’s, we work with the people who know them and use the information available to identify what their support will be most appropriate in our school setting.
  • If you tell us you think your child has a special educational need we will discuss this with you and investigate your concerns– 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.
  • If our staff think that your child has a special educational need this may be because they are not making the same progress as other children; they may not be able to follow instructions or answer questions for example.
  • We will observe them; we will assess their understanding of what we are doing in school and use assessments to pinpoint what is causing difficulty.
  • We will discuss this with you.
  • If your child needs additional support we can seek the advice of our outside agencies with your consent.

How will the SENCo ask for my permission to involve other professionals to work with my child?

  • Please refer to our SEN policy, available through our school website.
  • We will write to you and request your support. The class teachers will be available to discuss the support we would like to access to help your child.

How will I be involved in all decisions and have my views listened to?

  • We are child and family centred so you can expect “no decision about me without me”.
  • When we assess SEN 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 to make progress.
  • Where appropriate we will write and review SEN targets and one-page Profiles with children and parents/carers.
  • We suggest activities that you could do at home to support your child with their individual learning needs.
  • If you have any queries or concerns then the class teacher will be available to speak to in the first instance.
  • When a more detailed level of communication between home and school would be beneficial to the pupil, the class teacher will set up a handwritten home/school log. The children would usually be included in this as pupil voice is important, for example when a child is using a Feelings diary or has a Learning Support Plan.
  • Any complaints regarding SEN provision can be made following our Complaints Policy.

How will my child be involved in decisions about their learning?

  • Please refer to our SEN policy, available through our school website.
  • Children are invited to attend their review meetings.
  • Teachers discuss the targets with your child and check that they are finding them helpful.
  • We actively seek pupil views and reflect on any changes that need to be made.

How will I be given support in contacting organisations who can give me advice and support?

Our SENCo will be able to support you with this.

    • Our Lead Practitioner for Autism (Mrs Thomas) will be able to support parents of children with autism. This can be either through the regular parent support group or through informal chats.
    • Miss Johnson is our speech and language therapist. She visits our school on alternate Mondays and is able to offer speech and language advice to children and their families.

    For further information and to see Birmingham’s Local SEN Offer please visit: www.birmingham.gov.uk/localoffer

How will my school ensure that parents and children with additional needs are fully included in all school activities?

  • We have a number of before and after school activities, available to children with SEN.
  • We have regular educational visits and the children of years 4 to 6 are invited to attend a residential. Children with SEN are included in these opportunities.
  • We review activities and provide additional staff support on trips and residentials, if necessary to ensure children have the opportunity to access a full range of activities.
  • The school site is wheelchair accessible with two accessible toilets. The school is on two levels with a lift between floors.
  • Please refer to our SEN policy, available through our school website.

How will my school provide good teaching for my child and extra support when needed?

  • The SENCo oversees all support and progress of any child requiring additional support across the school.
  • The class teacher will oversee, plan and work with every child with SEN in their class to ensure that children are making progress.
  • There may be a Teaching Assistant (TA) working with your child either individually or as part of a group.
  • The class teacher continually assesses each child and notes where they are improving and where further support is needed.

How are staff trained to support the needs of my child?

  • The SENCo has achieved the National SEN Award.
  • Staff have received level 1 training to support children with Autism.
  • Our Lead Practitioner for Autism (Mrs Thomas) provides in house expertise.
  • Staff have received Dyslexia Awareness training and training in suitable strategies to support children with Dyslexia.
  • All staff receive annual training on support for medical needs, this includes administering an Epi-pen, asthma awareness and allergy awareness. Where a child has a specific medical need, we liaise with relevant health professionals for advice and training.
  • Speech and language training is delivered in house, as well as through outside support.
  • We are able to access training as required to support physical needs through our link with the Physical Difficulties Support Service (PDSS).
  • Medical needs are discussed on an individual basis.
  • The school would liaise with the school nurse as appropriate to create a Care Plan.
  • The school follows the Administration of Prescribed Medicines Policy to manage medicines on the school site.

How is work set at the right level to make sure my child makes good progress?

  • All our staff are trained to make materials and work easier or more challenging so that every child is able to learn at their level. This is called adapted practice.
  • We use a range of schemes and materials so that we have something at the right level for children with SEN. For example, we use interventions such as “Numeracy Ninja”, “Precision teaching”, “Circle of Friends”, “Colourful Semantics” and cued spelling. If you wish to know more about these interventions, please speak to your child’s class teacher.
  • All our staff are trained in a variety of approaches which means we are able to adapt to a range of SEN:  such as specific learning difficulties (including dyslexia); Autistic Spectrum Condition; Attachment Disorder, speech, language and communication needs and social emotional and mental health difficulties.

What types of learning resources are available for my child?

  • All classes use a visual timetable.
  • Speech and Language support is available though our therapist, Mrs Johnson.
  • Autism support is available through our Lead Practitioner, Mrs Thomas. We also have close links with the Communication and Autism support team.
  • Dyslexia and literacy support is available.
  • Small groups and individuals might work on the following programmes; Little Wandle keep up, Precision teaching, Power of 2, Wellcomm, Reciprocal Reading, Cued Spelling.

What resources does the school offer if my child has significant social and or communication needs?

  • Speech and Language support is available though our therapist, Mrs Johnson.
  • Autism support is available through our Lead Practitioner, Mrs Thomas. We also have close links with the Communication and Autism support team.
  • The school uses a variety of approaches to support children with their communication, including “Wellcomm” and word mats.
  • We use “social stories”.
  • Children can join a “Circle of Friends” or a “Lego Therapy” group.
  • Your child’s class teacher will be happy to discuss any of these approaches with you.

What support is available if my child needs support with managing behaviour or dealing with social situations?

  • We are an inclusive school; we welcome and celebrate diversity. All staff believe that high self-esteem is crucial to a child’s well-being.  We have a caring, understanding team looking after our children.
  • The class teacher has overall responsibility for the pastoral, medical and social care of every child in their class, therefore this would be the parents’ first point of contact. If further support is required, the class teacher would liaise with the SENCo.  The Learning Mentor is also available.
  • Please refer to our Behaviour Policy for our whole school approach.
  • If a child has Social, Emotional or Mental Health needs a support plan  is written by the SENCo or Learning Mentor alongside the child and parents. This plan will identify the specific areas of difficulty and set targets accordingly.  Relevant support is put in place and the plan will be reviewed half-termly.
  • Families and children can also access support from the Learning Mentor.
  • There is a group of teaching assistants who are trained as Youth Mental Health First Aiders.