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St Francis Church of England Aided Junior School

"To be the best we can be"

What will happen if staff think my child has extra needs?

How we identify children with special educational needs

Early identification is vital. The class teacher informs the parents/carers at the earliest opportunity to alert them to concerns and enlist their active help and participation.


Children’s SEND are generally thought of in the following four broad areas of need and support:

  • Communication and Interaction
  • Cognition and Learning
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health
  • Sensory and/or Physical needs


These areas give an overview of the range of needs however, individual children often have needs that cut across all these areas and their needs may change over time. The class teacher and the SENDCo assess and monitor the child’s progress in line with existing school practices. This is an on going process.


Short Term Support - Quality First Teaching Short Note

The class teacher will discuss their concerns with you and together you will decide on the outcomes for your child (e.g. to complete formal subtraction independently), the interventions and support to be put in place, the expected impact on progress, development or behaviour and a clear date for review. At this review the class teacher will evaluate with you if your child has met the outcome or if your child needs longer-term support (SEN Support Plan).


Longer-Term Support - SEN Support Plan

Where it is decided to provide SEN support, and having formally notified the parents/carers, school staff will agree with parents/carers the outcomes they are seeking, the interventions and support to be put in place, the expected impact on progress, development or behaviour and a clear date for review. Plans will take into account the views of the child. The support and intervention provided will be selected to meet the outcomes identified for the child, based on reliable evidence of effectiveness, and provided by staff with relevant skills and knowledge.


Parents/carers will be encouraged to be involved in planning support and, where appropriate, in reinforcing the provision or contributing to progress at home. This will be discussed with the SENDCo at the Review Meeting. The SENDCo oversees SEN Support Plans and ensures classroom teachers and support staff work closely with parents/carers and the child to plan an appropriate programme of support and follow the cyclical approach (Assess, Plan, Do, Review)


Triggers for SEN Support Plans to be put in place are often characterised by progress which is:

  • significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same baseline
  • fails to match or better the child’s previous rate of progress
  • fails to close the attainment gap between the child and their peers or widens the attainment gap
  • significantly slower progress in areas other than attainment-for instance where a pupil needs to make additional progress with wider development or social needs


It is important to note that slow progress and low attainment do not necessarily mean that a child has SEND. Conversely, it should not be assumed that attainment in line with chronological age means that there is no learning difficulty or disability. Some learning difficulties and disabilities occur across the range of cognitive ability and, left unaddressed may lead to frustration, which may manifest itself as disaffection, emotional or behavioural difficulties.


The assessment of children reflects as far as possible their participation in the whole curriculum and hidden curriculum of the school. The class teacher, the SENDCo and support staff often break down the assessment into smaller steps in order to aid progress and provide detailed and accurate indicators. P levels are used to assess the achievements of pupils working below National Curriculum expectations.


It is important to note that some children and young people will have their special educational needs met in mainstream schools through good classroom practice. This is called Quality First Teaching. At St Francis' we follow a graduated support approach which is called, 'Assess, Plan, Do, Review'.

This means that we will:

  • Assess a child’s special educational needs
  • Plan the provision to meet your child’s aspirations and agreed outcomes
  • Do put the provision in place to meet those outcomes
  • Review the support and progress


If it is felt, after discussion with parents and relevant school staff, that the child’s difficulties or barriers to their learning are impacting on pupil progress, then the child’s class teacher will implement appropriate short term interventions. These will aim to address the area of need and activities will be planned to develop the skills needed. 


Classroom staff keep a record of the outcomes (targets) the child is working towards and the level of support that will be given to help them achieve these targets will be recorded as interventions, strategies and recommendations. Short term interventions will be discussed with parents/carers and the child at termly meetings.


Examples of the type of support may be as follows, but will depend on the nature of the child’s needs:

  • Differentiation of work in class (and homework).
  • Some additional small group support with the teacher or Teaching/Support Assistant.
  • Additional resources e.g. word banks, number squares, use of commercial schemes etc.
  • Teaching activities to be adapted to the preferred learning style of the child, e.g. a multisensory, practical approach or use of visual cues.
  • Use of computer programmes/iPad apps to support learning.
  • Individual behaviour systems/charts.
  • Adaptation of the curriculum or classroom organisation/layout.
  • Alternative methods of recording e.g. mind mapping, pictures, cut and stick activities, ICT, use of audio equipment etc.


Liaison with the school SENDCo and parents/carers will focus on sharing information and suggesting strategies to use linked with the special educational needs and disabilities guidance in each class SEND Guidance file, on how to ensure the child can be helped to make progress, build their confidence and achieve their targets. We strongly believe the involvement of parents/carers is crucial in helping us meet the needs of all children and ensuring they reach their potential. Sharing information with parents/carers allows us to use the child’s strengths to help us overcome difficulties and aspects of school life they find challenging.


If it appears that a child needs a higher level of support then school staff will discuss this with parents/carers and the school will seek parental permission to seek further advice and (sometimes) assessment from an external agency.


The agency involved would depend upon the area of concern and teaching staff would discuss this with the SENDCo and parents/carers before any action is taken. External agencies working with pupils and their families are invited to meetings in school and the SENDCo attends meetings off site to coordinate provision for pupils.


A small percentage of children and young people with significant learning difficulties might need an assessment that could lead to an Education, Health and Care Plan. Full details can be found on the Local Offer website. The Local Authority seeks a range of advice when a request for an Education Health Care Plan assessment is placed. The needs of the child and their family are gathered (My Story) where families are invited to share their personal journey so far in a document that can be read, with their permission, by all professionals working with their child. This piece of work is considered to be paramount in identifying strengths and difficulties and planning outcome focused targets that reflect shared high expectations. New procedures are in place in Durham Local Authority and High Needs pupils will have their specific needs formulated in an Education Health Care Plan (EHC). The Local Authority has a time period of three years, two terms to change Statements of Special Educational Need to Education Health Care Plans.


External Agencies

The SENDCo has established strong links with a range of external agencies and uses them effectively to support staff in meeting the needs of children with SEND. These include involving support from:

  • Educational Psychology Service
  • Emotional Wellbeing and Effective Learning Team (EWEL) to support pupils with Social, Emotional and Behavioural difficulties
  • Durham Virtual School and Darlington Virtual School (Looked After Children Education Services)
  • Education Health Needs Team
  • Full Circle
  • Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Team (SEND) for support/advice on areas such as specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia
  • Crisis Response
  • Occupational Therapy Service/Physiotherapy Service
  • One Point Service
  • CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).
  • School Nurse
  • School Learning Mentor
  • Other medical professionals
  • First Contact

For children with a more significant level of need and/or difficulty school staff take into account advice from other professionals and put this into practice. To maximise opportunities to make progress such children will require further differentiation of activities or increased small group/individual report.

There is a range of ways this can be done, for example:

  • Termly Pupil Progress meetings
  • Ongoing discussions with a class teacher and/or SENDCo
  • An ‘open-door’ policy, where parents and carers are welcome to come into school to discuss any concerns they may have
Through a review of a child’s SEN Support Plan or the Annual Review of their Statement of SEN or EHC Plan.