Special Needs Information

St. Alban’s is a mainstream Church of England (Aided) primary school, welcoming children from within the deanery of Havant. Our vision is to celebrate each child’s unique and special place in the eyes of God. (Our Admission Policy can be found on the school’s web-site.)

This information should help answer questions you may have about:

  • How we identify children with Additional Needs
  • How we aim to meet their needs
  • What extra support we can provide and access
  • How to get extra help for your child
  • How the school checks that children are making progress
  • How parents are involved in school

The person in school responsible for coordinating additional needs is called the Special Educational Needs Coordinator, (SENCo.) At St. Alban’s this is Mrs Meades. She works with parents, teachers and other professionals who may be involved in supporting children within our school.

  • 1. How does the school know if children need extra help?

    Throughout their time at school many children need some form of extra help and we have several ways of identifying those who may need it. Initially, before a child starts in Reception class (YR) the class teacher visits the child’s home; this may be the first opportunity for parents to let us know their child’s strengths and needs. We also liaise with pre-school leaders to enable a smooth transition. It is often at these meetings that the school becomes aware of a child’s additional needs. All class teachers use the first few weeks to assess children’s abilities and learning needs.  All teachers continually assess their pupils and if there is any concern, they monitor it closely and keep a note of it . Not all concerns need additional provision; some are just part of children’s normal development. However, if it is considered to be more than the teacher usually plans for, the SENCo usually becomes involved. This may be just a conversation or it may lead to planning together for ways to support the child

    In-school we use a variety of assessments as well as standardised tests to measure children’s progress; these begin in YR with a language assessment, through to National Curriculum Assessments and standardised reading and spelling tests throughout KS1 & 2. We have a wide range of other assessments, including dyslexia screening, which are used depending on the needs of the child.

  • 2. What should I do if I think my child has additional needs?

    If, at any time a parent has a concern about their child needing additional help, they should initially contact their child’s teacher who may suggest a course of action or have a conversation with the SENCo.

  • 3. How do you know if my child is making progress?

    If a child has significant additional needs, the class teacher and SENCo will put together a plan of support. This is called a Pupil Plan. We review the plan termly to see whether it is working and plan the next steps forward. If progress is less than we anticipated we will consider whether a child needs a different or more regular form of support. The progress of all children is discussed with the class teacher at termly pupil progress meetings with the head teacher. Our leadership team and governors evaluate children's progress and attainment and national benchmarks are used as a comparison.

    Our SEN Governors meet with the SENCo twice a year to discuss and monitor our SEN provision, however names are not disclosed so confidentiality is maintained.

  • 4. How does the school let parents know how well their child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?

    All parents are invited to support their child’s education whether or not an additional need is recognised.  It is anticipated that parents will listen to their child read each day, help them learn words to spell and practise maths knowledge (e.g. multiplication tables.).  For pupils with an Individual Education Plan (IEP,) parents are asked to support their targets in specific ways which are written on the bottom of the IEP.  Before each IEP review, parents are asked for their views of their child’s progress and their response is used in the review process since it gives a parent's perspective on their child’s progress and needs. Occasionally a two-way diary, called a 'Home-school link book', is made. This is for a specific purpose e.g. monitoring behaviour and this is always discussed with parents first.

    Every half-term all parents are given a half-termly schedule with the topics being addressed in their child’s class; this is helpful not only to inform parents of the topics their child may be covering, and enables them to give informed support. Our formal written report is provided in the summer term, we also report to you on your child’s progress at parent consultation evenings in the autumn and spring terms.  An open door policy enables parents and teachers to share regular progress updates and we are happy to talk through with you any queries or questions you may have.

  • 5. How will the school staff support my child?

    All adults in school are motivated to help your child do well. Whilst class teachers have responsibility for their children’s learning, they work closely with the leadership team, Teaching Assistants (TAs) and other support staff to provide the best possible education for your child. The way in which we support children varies according to their needs and the provision available; sometimes just a short targeted intervention is needed to close the gap in their learning.

    The Primary National Strategy introduced a three-tiered approach to support called Wave 1,2 & 3 and this generally signifies the support a child may receive. Wave 1 is high quality differentiated teaching by the class teacher which every child receives. This is characterised by planning which is inclusive to all pupils within the lesson.  For children it might include working in a group with an adult or having tasks differentiated. Wave 2 refers to additional short term interventions to support pupils who are under-achieving, have a gap in their learning, have a specific learning need or have English as an additional language.  Wave 3 implies individualised additional provision which may be 'One-to One' or may be long-term. We measure the effectiveness of any support by the progress a child makes during the course of the intervention.  Quite often we have found that the accelerated progress a child makes during an intervention results in an increased confidence in what was an area of weakness and this is frequently carried through into later years.

    Occasionally a child's behaviour causes concern and a Behaviour Management Plan is written; this is shared with parents, teaching and non-teaching staff in order that consistency of approach can be maintained. We are pro-active in maintaining high standards of behaviour and respect through the consistent application of our Behaviour Policy in conjunction with the Christian ethos of the school.

    Sometimes we need advice from agencies outside school; parental permission is needed for this. With parent's agreement this could include contact with agencies such as Speech and Language Therapy, Behaviour Support Team, The Educational Psychology service, Child and Mental Health Service (CAMHS) as well as many others.

    Where pupil’s needs are complex and need long-term outside-agency involvement, a Statutory Assessment may be requested which could  lead to an 'Education, Health and Care Plan,'(EHCP), being granted, (formerly a Statement of Special Educational Needs.)

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

    Children who have additional needs are taught in a variety of ways and initially the class teacher plans for inclusive teaching, taking into consideration the needs of the whole class.  For some children, it may be more beneficial that they have a differentiated task, or are placed in a small group with a teacher or TA.  We want all children to have access to the whole curriculum and make every effort to make sure this happens.

  • 7. How do you decide how to support my child?

    The SENCo and class teacher together decide the nature of support children receive, depending on their attainments and levels of need. This may be in-class support, small group support, or may be a 1:1 intervention programme delivered by a teacher or trained Teaching Assistant.  The SENCo is always available at Parent’s evenings for consultations and is happy to discuss any issues parents may have

    Sometimes children with SEN can be granted additional time or other support in Statutory Assessments but this depends on meeting a specific set of criteria.

  • 8. How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom as well as school trips?

    As a school we very much promote learning through first-hand experiences. This often takes the form of learning outside, in the school grounds but also includes off-site visits. Where a pupil has additional needs consideration is given so that all pupils access the same experiences. Joint planning usually enables a child to participate in the same way as the rest of the class. We have a range of before and after-school clubs and make provision for all children to take part.

  • 9. What support is there for my child’s overall well-being?

    We are fortunate in having two trained and experienced Emotional Literacy Support Assistants, (ELSAs.)  Children are likely to have time with one of them where there is a pastoral, emotional and social need. In addition our ELSAs support families who struggle with punctuality or attendance. Their work is confidential (unless a disclosure relating to safety is made.) Both ELSAs work with individual children and small groups, depending on the need. We also run ‘Social Skills’ groups, led by trained TAs. The safety and well-being of children underpins all we do in school and we foster an environment of courtesy, respect and self-confidence.

    If a child has to take medication, both the school office staff and Senior Lunch time Supervisor are authorised to dispense it. The staff have regular training and updates of conditions affecting individual children so that all staff are confident to manage any medical situation. (A copy of the school’s Medicine's policy is available through the office or on the website.)

  • 10. What training have staff had?

    Our SENCo is specially trained to support children with additional needs and she regularly attends professional development courses. We are fortunate in having very experienced teachers and teaching assistants, all of whom work with children with additional needs. We make sure that those who deliver intervention programmes or who work closely with children have the training necessary for their task. We receive regular training through our Educational Psychology Service; in the past few years all TAs and KS1 staff have received training in Articulated Spelling and Precision Teaching (which can be applied to all literacy and numeracy.) The SENCo has delivered training on Dyslexia and Autism to all staff and to the governing body and we have trained teachers and TAs who deliver ‘Catch Up’ Reading. Several of our TAs have professional qualifications and all have attended courses to support children in their classes. Two members of staff are trained to deliver the MyTY maths programme. Every two years all staff receive training in first aid, with additional training for the Early Years teaching staff.

  • 11. What services are available through the school?

    Depending on a child’s individual needs, we will seek advice from, or liaise with, professionals from a range of outside agencies including speech and language therapy service, occupational therapy service, educational psychology, CAMHS etc. We are also able to access a variety of other professional services. If parents are seeking additional support and services for their child, the SENCo has access to a number of organisations which may be helpful. Contact her through the school office.

  • 12. How accessible is the school, indoors and outdoors?

    The school is on two levels; the ground floor is fully accessible for wheel chair use and there are disabled toilet facilities. Two classrooms are located on the first floor; additional banisters have been installed to ease their accessibility. We have had experience in supporting children with physical impairments and have worked closely with the Teacher Advisors and parents to ensure inclusion at every level. It is our aim to include every child in all aspects of the curriculum both on and off-site and so we consult parents in the planning stage to make this happen.

  • 13. How are parents involved in the school? How can I get involved?

    Parents are invited to be actively involved in supporting their child, through parents’ evenings, through dialogue with the SENCo and class teacher and through specific ways identified on the Pupil Plan. We also hold Literacy and Numeracy days so parents can see how the subjects are taught; many parents help in classes throughout the school, sometimes supporting individual children. We have a very active HSA which supports the school in a multitude of ways and is also a means of support for many parents.

  • 14. How do you help when my child moves on?

    We make provision for all children to visit us prior to starting with us; they usually spend time in class with their new teacher. When a child is ready to move schools (usually Y6/7) the SENCos from both schools have a conversation to plan the transition, sometimes a social story is written for children for whom this change may potentially be difficult.  Secondary schools differ in their styles of transition, but may include a series of ‘taster sessions’ during the school day or special days to help familiarise pupils with the many new aspects of school they are likely to experience.  All school records are sent to the Secondary School ahead of the new term so that support can be in place from the very first day. If a child transfers to St Alban’s or moves away, liaison between the two schools is a necessary part of a smooth transition.  Parents are asked to be as informative as possible in helping this to take place in order that any necessary preparations are made.

  • 15. What should I do if I am worried?

    If you are worried about the way we support your child, we would encourage you to initially have a conversation with the class teacher, SENCo or Head teacher.  It is often reassurance that is needed and a conversation is usually sufficient to address this.  However if parents wish to take a matter further , a letter of formal complaint can be sent in writing to the Governing Body; the school office can provide further information should you need it.

In conclusion...we hope that this information answers the questions you may have and, if not, would be very happy to meet you personally.

The Special Needs support at St. Alban’s is part of a broader offer of support, information and advice through the local authority, called the ‘Local Offer.’  The Hampshire Education Local Offer is available on the South East 7 website:www.se7pathfinder.co.uk/se7-local-offer