All Oldham Local Authority maintained schools have a similar approach to meeting the needs of children with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and are supported by the Local Authority to ensure that all children, regardless of their specific needs, achieve their potential in school.
Under the Children and Families Bill, Local Authorities and schools are required to publish information about the services they expect t be available for children and young people with SEND aged 0-25. The Local Authority refers to this as the ‘Local Offer’ and information will be available on the Oldham Council website.
The intention is to improve choice and transparency for families and to provide important information and signage regarding the range of services and provision within the local area.
The changes in the Children and Families Bill affect the way children with special educational needs (SEN) are supported in schools. This new approach began in September 2014 and places pupils at the centre of planning.
The key areas of the new legislation are:
Young people and their families should be involved in discussions about the support they need, so they can share their knowledge and feed back to the school on the young person’s progress.
Education, health and care plans (EHC) will replace statements of special educational needs. New assessments for additional educational needs will follow the EHC guidelines from September 2014. (Existing statements will remain in force until all children and young people have completed the transition, which will be within three years).
School Action and School Action Plus will cease and be replaced by a single school-based category for children who need extra specialist support (SEN Support)
There are 4 areas of SEND need:
- Communication and interaction
- Cognition and learning
- Social, emotional and mental health difficulties
- Sensory and/or physical
We are well placed to adopt these changes and work with pupils and parents/carers to ensure fully inclusive access to our learning by meeting the needs of children with SEN in a mainstream setting, wherever possible.
For more information about our school –see the questions and answers below
1. How does our school know if children need extra help and as a parent/carer what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
If your child is identified as not making progress, we will set up a meeting to discuss this with you in more detail. We will listen to concerns, plan any additional support your child may need and discuss any referrals to outside professionals to support your child’s learning. This will be done as a partnership. Also if you feel that your child has special needs ask for a meeting to discuss your concerns.
2. If my child has SEND who will be involved?
Before any SEND are identified your child’s class teacher will first make sure your child’s learning is suited to them and will adapt the type of task, the way learning is approached, or the way they help motivate your child before seeing the SENCO (see below) about the need for anything additional or different. Once SEND has been identified, they will ask you to work alongside them in the setting of targets for their learning. They will use any strategies, equipment or approaches identified as helpful to your child’s progress and liaise with Teaching Assistants about the progress of your child in class and with any intervention work they are doing with them. Your child’s views will also be sort within this process.
SENCO- Mrs Callaghan
The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) will help the class teacher in identifying children with SEND and consider what else can be tried within the classroom. Once children are identified, they then liaise with school staff and help with setting appropriate targets and choosing suitable interventions to help your child make progress. They may assess your child to help them do this and seek their view. They also coordinate the intervention from outside agencies such as Educational Psychology or a Child’s Therapist such as a Speech and Language Therapist. The SENCO will contact you regarding outside agency involvement and may contact you regarding the outcome of assessments, or your child’s needs or progress.
The Teaching Assistants support your child’s learning in class, either by directly working with them, or by working with others in the class to allow the class teacher to work directly with your child. They also take children for small group or one to one intervention work, designed to help your child make greater progress.
3. How will the Early Years staff support my child?
If a child with SEN is starting at our school in Reception, the class teacher and SENCo will visit the nursery or pre-school setting and attend any review meetings prior to your child starting school. We can also discuss a transition plan so we can meet the needs of your child immediately. This may include extra induction visits, photobooks for you to share with your child during the summer holidays or a staggered start in September.
In Reception, the emphasis is on learning through play and children progress at their own pace so activities would match the appropriate level. Extra adult support may also be needed to model some of the activities and to work one to one.
4. How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
All teachers deliver high quality teaching, and have the high expectations for all pupils in the class. The class teacher plans lessons according to the specific needs of all groups of children. All teaching is based on building on what your child already knows and understands. Different ways of teaching are in place so that your child is fully involved in learning in class. For your child this may involve using more practical learning, different resources, using technology or additional adult support. Your child’s class teacher will have carefully assessed your child’s progress informally and formally and will know where there are gaps in understanding or learning, they will decide when additional support is needed.
Specific resources may be used including:
A learning bay to limit distractions
Pencil grips to support control and to improve handwriting
Sit-fit cushion to support with posture and to reduce fidgeting
Visual prompts to remind children of learning
Visual timetables to develop sequencing of the day
Prompt cards such as ‘I need help’ or a timeout card
Individual behaviour chart
Home/school communication book
5. As a parent/carer, how will I know how my child is doing and how will school help me to support my child’s learning?
Class teachers and teaching assistants observe and assess your child throughout each lesson. This knowledge, in addition, to the information collected during planned assessments helps the class teacher to make judgments about your child’s strengths and areas for development and progress made.
The class teacher discusses the progress of each child at a termly pupil progress meeting with the Head teacher. It is during these meetings that the teacher highlights concerns about progress and identifies any difficulties within the learning. A support plan may be suggested to monitor progress which will be reviewed at the next meeting.
This information is shared with parents/carers at the parents meeting. Progress will be reviewed with your involvement and plans and targets made for the next term. This will include an element of support from home. All information from outside professionals will be discussed with you . In addition to the designated meeting, the class teacher is regularly available to discuss any concerns you may have.
The progress of a child with a statement of SEND or an education Health and Care (EHC) Plan is formally reviewed at an Annual Review with all adults involved with the child’s education.
6.What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?
Unless children are happy at school, learning is not as effective as it should be. Our school has a good history of supporting children who are struggling with emotional difficulties.
In addition to the high quality class teaching, we run specific programmes for small groups of children. These may be delivered in the classroom or in a learning area, they are most often run by a teaching assistant but under the direction of the classteacher or the SENCo. These include social skills groups such as ‘Time to Talk’. We use these sessions to focus on targets to help make progress in specific areas. We also use individualised programmes usually on a one to one basis, often supported by outside agencies.
We have a learning & nurturing mentor- Sarah Wilson who works with a number of children. We use a range of different strategies to support the children, these include playing games and reading specific stories.
7. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by our school?
We use a wide range of services to support our children and families- for more information visit the Oldham council website.
We are currently involved with (or have been in the past):
QEST ( quality and effectiveness support )
Speech and language therapy (SALT)
Visual impairment team
Child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS)
Parental support advisor
Jigsaw ( behaviour management)
8. What training are the staff supporting children with SEND had or are having?
The Head teacher/SENCo attends relevant training in order to keep her knowledge of SEND and the strategies and interventions up to date along with current developments with SEND.
She currently chairs the Saddleworth and Lees SENCo group and the Oldham Schools Alliance SEND workhub. She is also a coach for Achievement for All.
She has achieved a post certificate and diploma in specific learning difficulties, notably dyslexia and has achieved level 3 accreditation from the Autism Education Trust. She is a trainer for Early Support Key Working and working in partnership with parents.
Her role is to deliver or organise training relevant to the needs of the school, to all members of staff.
During recent years the staff have received training in:
Autism level 1
SEN in Maths
Development of social skills
Development of social and emotional skills
Early support key working
Elklan Speech and language
BLAST speech and language
- ASQ SE
9. How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?
As an inclusive school, every child has the opportunity to access all areas of the curriculum. Therefore provision for trips and activities will be adapted to meet individual needs, this includes our residential. Any child needing specific help will have this discussed between school and home before any visit or activity.
10. How accessible is the school environment?
Our school was built in 1824 and is on a steep slope site. We have steps at each entrance so regrettably our building is not suitable for children requiring wheelchair access.
11. How will school prepare and support my child to join our school, transfer to a new setting or the next stage of education and life?
We recognise that transitions can be difficult for a child with SEND and we take steps to ensure that any move is as smooth as possible.
Any child joining our school or moving to another school
We will contact the SENCo and ensure we get all the relevant information for the child starting with us or will pass on all records and information to the new school so any special arrangements and support can be put in place.
Moving classes within school
Because of the size of our school, transition is only an issue from Reception into Year 1 and from Year 2 into Year 3. We create a transition plan for any child who may need support. Extra visits are scheduled and time allowed to meet the new staff. If appropriate the teaching assistant may move with the child.
In Year 6
We make sure all relevant information is discussed and sent to the SENCo of the secondary school. We invite them to a review meeting to meet parents and discuss needs. As part of the Saddleworth and Lees SENCo group, we organise extra visits to the local secondary school for children with SEND so they can become familiar with the layout and routines. They go with a member of our staff, have lunch, meet key members of staff and make friends. This has been very successful.
12. How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
The school budget, received from Oldham LA, includes money for supporting children with SEND. The Head Teacher decides on the deployment of resources for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in consultation with the school governors, on the basis of needs in the school. The Head Teacher as SENCo looks at all the information the school have about SEND , including the children getting extra support already, the children needing extra support, the children who have been identified as not making as much progress as would be expected and decide what resources/training and support is needed
We identify the needs of our children on a school provision map which identifies all resources/training and support are reviewed regularly and changes made as needed. We do have limited funding to support our children with SEND.
13. How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
If your child continues to make little or no progress, despite high quality teaching targeting their needs, the class teacher and the SENCo will assess whether the child has a significant learning difficulty. Where this is the case, in consultation with yourselves as parents/carers, an agreement about the level of SEND support that is required will take place. The support will be carefully monitored to look at the impact. If there is no or very little impact, it may be necessary to apply for an Education Health and Care plan to further support the child’s needs.
Schools receive funding for all pupils including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and they meet pupil’s need from this (including equipment). The local authority may contribute if the cost of meeting an individual pupil’s needs is more than £10,000 per year.
If the assessment of a pupil’s needs 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 the agreed plan
14. How are you as parents/carers involved with the school?
We are child and family centred so you will be involved in all decision making about your child’s learning. We arrange termly meetings to review progress. We discuss what is working in school and how this can be adapted at home. We set and review targets together with parents/carers so we work very much in partnership.
15. Who can I contact for further information?
For initial concerns contact the class teacher, then the SENCo.
Oldham’s parent/carer forum is called POINT (Parents of Oldham in Touch). This is an umbrella organisation for all parents and carers of children & young people with Special Educational Needs, disabilities and complex medical needs. They work with Oldham Council, education, health and other providers to make sure the services they plan and deliver meet the needs of disabled children and families
16. What to do if you as a parent/carer are not happy with the decision or what is happening?
Your first point of contact is always the person responsible – this may be the class teacher; then the SENCo / Head teacher. Explain your concerns to them first. If you are not satisfied that your concern has been addressed speak toone of our Parent Governors.
If your concern is with the local authority, contact the Complaints and Representations Officer, contact details as follows:
Complaints and Representations Officer
Freepost – RRGY-TJSR-GHGZ
PO Box 40
Level 8, Civic Centre
Oldham, OL1 1XJ
Tel: 0161 770 1129
Formerly known as Parent Partnership, Oldham Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Information Advice and Support (IAS) Service is a FREE confidential, impartial and independent service operated by POINT Services.
Follow the link to the Oldham Council Local Offer