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Rode VA Methodist School is committed to providing the best learning opportunities for all children, including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. We strive to achieve this by creating a nurturing environment where success is celebrated and all children are encouraged and inspired to reach their potential.   As a member of the Frome Learning Partnership we work with other local schools to offer a broadly similar range of provision.
  
Who do I speak to for more information about SEN?
Our SENCO is Caroline Corke.  
She works in school one day per fortnight. Appointments can be made with her at any time  by contacting the school office. If your child is on our SEN register you will be invited to meet with the SENCO and class teacher at the end of each term.
For our full SEN Policy click here   
 
What support is available locally?    
All provision in Somerset ( including voluntary organisations) is listed  on the website Somerset Choices.
Follow the link:
 
Who do I speak to if I am worried about my child?
The first person to talk to is your child’s teacher, who will be able to tell you about their progress and what they can do to investigate your concerns, but if you are still worried you can make an appointment to speak to the Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO). The SENCO is a specialist teacher with additional qualifications in SEN who has oversight of all the SEN provision in the school. 
 
All children are closely monitored by their class teachers, and if children are making less than expected progress they take action to support them. If it seems that this is still not enough and they need additional or different provision from other similar children, we may carry out an assessment ourselves, or refer them to an external agency for advice. Sometimes parents may be the first to raise concerns, and teachers will follow this up.
Some children will arrive at school with detailed information about their special educational needs, and in these cases the SENCO will review the advice received in consultation with parents and will liaise with class teachers to develop effective support.
 
 However the concern is raised, we will want to meet with you and discuss what action is needed, including, when we have reached an appropriate point, making a decision about whether your child should be included on our SEND register.
For a very small minority of children with SEN, an Education Health and Care Plan may be established. This is a statutory document and you can find out more about this by visiting the Somerset choices website above. The plan outlines the provision a child requires and names the educational placement, and is subject to Annual Review
Your child’s education is overseen by their class teacher. They have primary responsibility for ensuring the day to day implementation of any additional support and provision that has been agreed for your child.
 
All teachers plan lessons to accommodate the particular needs of the children in their classes, which can be quite varied. They often plan different versions of activities so that children can work at the level most appropriate to their learning. This is known as ‘differentiation’.  In addition to this, teachers are aware of things that create barriers to learning, and work to overcome these. For example, they might use different types of teaching and learning activities so that everyone has a chance to learn in a way that suits them best. They provide extra resources that children can use when they get stuck, and they help children to use them. They also might deploy a teaching assistant to support a group or an individual child, perhaps by asking prompt questions to help them through the steps of a task, for example, or going over something again if a child has not understood.
Children are encouraged to respect each other’s learning differences and we aim to ensure that all children develop as confident and independent learners through sensitive and timely support.
In addition to this we provide additional intervention lessons  delivered by our specially trained TAs to ensure that a child is able to make good progress. These might be in small groups or 1:1, and they are provided in blocks, often of a term’s duration, with regular reviews of progress by teachers to ensure that they are working.  Our interventions can support a wide range of needs, including literacy, speech and language, social skills, motor skills and maths, and we plan these in response to current need.
We work in partnership with parents and we will tell you about any concerns we have as soon as possible.
At the end of each term we have a review and planning meeting for each child on the SEN Register ( or if we think a child may need to be on the SEN register). You will be invited to these meetings to help us identify the priorities and plan the support for the coming term, at home and at school.
This is recorded as an Individual Learning Plan and you will have a copy of this at the start of the new term from the class teacher, who is responsible for making sure it is implemented on a day to day basis.
 

What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?

We pride ourselves on offering a caring environment where all children are valued and have a contribution to make to the life of the school. The class teacher plays a key role in ensuring your child is happy at school, and will be the first person to speak to if you are concerned.

We believe that children learn best when they are given an opportunity to say what they think about their learning and what they would like to achieve.  Children with SEND have an opportunity to talk with their teacher individually about their experiences of learning and they contribute their own ideas about what helps them. This is recorded on a One Page Profile, a pictorially supported document that tells all the adults working with the child at a glance about the things that help them to learn best, their strengths and interests, particular things they find difficult and some of the key ways to help.

 

In addition to support for academic subjects, we aim to offer a nurturing environment that allows children to feel safe and secure. When children have social or emotional difficulties we will offer additional support.

We have two trained Emotional Literacy Specialist Assistants, Alexis Payne and Michele Perry, who have undertaken additional training  and work under the supervision of Educational Psychologists. This enables them to provide brief therapeutic work with individual children, for example when they are experiencing anxiety, bereavement, divorce or change in their lives. They can also work with small groups to develop social communication skills, or to work on specific issues such as emotions and behaviour, friendships or conflicts between children. If children are referred to our ELSAs for a block of intervention work you will usually be asked to contribute to the assessment process.

 

Sometimes children with SEND find it difficult to maintain socially appropriate behaviour in school. This might, for example, be due to social and emotional issues, or because of factors relating to a specific condition. When this occurs, often the school behaviour policy, or standard approach to managing behaviour, is not sufficient (just as standard literacy teaching may not be enough for some children) so we develop an individually tailored plan of support. We will seek external advice when relevant, but we will always keep you informed and we would hope to work with you to improve the situation for your child.

 

If a child has medical needs or a disability appropriate additional staff training will be provided when necessary, and we will involve you, as well as external professionals in discussions about what is appropriate to ensure your child is safe and well cared for, and record these as written plans.    You can see our medical policy here. 

 

 

What does the school do to support transition to new settings?
Transitions between settings are often a difficult time for children and we work to ensure as smooth a transition as possible for all pupils.
If your child with SEND is starting school and we are made aware of this we will hold a Pre School Entry Meeting with you ,the pre school and other relevant professionals.  This sets out what we need to do to support your child and is reviewed in the first term after they have started school.
When your child with SEN moves to a new class we consider carefully what we need to do to prepare them for this and plan accordingly.  This might include special time with a new teacher, visiting the new classroom and joining special activities, or sometimes sending home pictures to talk about at home. You will be involved in these discussions through the termly meeting process.
When children move on to a new school at the end of Year 4 there are transition days for all children , and if appropriate extra visits for pupils who need them. We have full discussions with the SENCOs of the Middle schools during year 4 and share up to date information with them. We also encourage parents to attend information days at the Middle schools and make an appointment to meet their SENCOs if they wish for more information about the support that will be available.  In some instances we may suggest that a School Entry Plan meeting is held with the Middle School SENCO, parents and ourselves.

 

 In the latter part of the summer term we offer a short block of transition group work for children who are anxious or have SEND, with special activities to build awareness and confidence. We try to do this in conjunction with the Middle school, and it often involves extra visits.
When children leave or arrive  at other times we will always try to ensure that the most current information is obtained from the previous school or given to the receiving school. We will meet with you, or you can request a meeting, as your child starts at our school, if your child has been on the SEND register in another school and we are made aware of that.

 

What training do staff have in relation to SEN?

The SENCO has a Post Graduate Diploma in Complex Specific Learning Difficulties, a Post Graduate Certificate in Special Educational Needs and holds Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA).

All teachers  and TAs receive regular training relevant to SEN, which is planned in response to an audit of needs each year.  In particular, we ensure that staff responsible for delivering small group and individual interventions have appropriate training and mentoring to enable them to deliver high quality provision.

 

We liaise with a wide range of professionals and agencies in relation to individual children.
Sometimes this has been organised through a referral sought by parents themselves, eg to a Paediatrician. At other times we may make a referral ourselves. If we do so it will be with your knowledge and consent.

 

If we want to make a referral to an external service, we have to provide clear evidence of need, showing what has been done or tried already. Sometimes this means that we will first put in some actions of our own for up to a term before making a referral, because this means that the referral is more likely to be accepted and the advice we receive will be considerably more useful. Decisions about this form part of the discussions at our termly meetings with you, as described above.
 
Here are some of the main services we use:
Somerset Support Services in Education(SSE)
·         Educational Psychologists
·         Learning Support Advisory Teachers
·         Physical impairment and Medical Support team
·         Hearing impairment advisory teachers
·         Visual impairment advisory teacher
·         Autism and Communication Advisory Teachers
NHS Integrated Therapy Service
·         Speech Therapy
·         Occupational therapy
·         Physiotherapy
Frome Learning Partnership
Parent and Family Support Advisor (PFSA)
Behaviour and Vulnerabilities team
Parents as Teachers  ( PAT) workers
 

All activities, including visits and outings, are inclusive for all pupils, but if it is appropriate a risk assessment will be completed and adjustments may be made for a pupil to enable them to participate safely.

 
Rode is an older school building which presents some challenges in terms of accessibility, but action has been taken to make the site as accessible as possible. There is a toilet and changing facility for users with disabilities.
We provide resources and equipment that are designed to have accessible content for all children, and specific additional equipment for children who need it.  When children have specific needs we will seek advice about how to make appropriate adaptations to the school environment before or as soon as possible after they arrive.
You can find our accessibility plan here

 

Like all schools, we receive  funding from the Local Authority for SEND pupils as which is made up as follows:

Element 1 – an amount of money allocated based on the total number of pupils in the school – this is the basic funding for all pupil places, regardless of need.
Element 2 – an additional amount of money allocated to the school which is derived from a national formula in relation to the Local Authority budget. This is the money which pays for almost all of the additional SEN provision on offer in a school.
Element 3 – this is additional money to top up the funding available for a pupil where Elements 1 and 2 are insufficient. It is generally available only to children with Education Health and Care Plans.
 
We allocate our SEN funding as fairly as possible, based on  an overview of the needs of all pupils in the school with SEN at any given time.  One key way in which we do this is by using our termly review and planning meetings  with you (for pupils on our SEND register) to identify what provision is required across the school.
 

There is evidence from recent research that simply providing a 1:1 teaching assistant to work alongside a child all day is not the most effective approach and can even interfere with their progress unless it is highly directed. Because of this we are very careful to identify very specifically what 1:1 support is aiming to achieve and we keep this under constant review. Generally 1:1 support would be offered for a specific purpose or activity identified in the child’s Individual Learning Plan.

 
What if I have a complaint about SEN?
We very much hope that any concerns you have will be easily resolved by speaking to your child’s teacher, and that the termly meetings we hold will also give you an opportunity to raise anything that you are not happy about.

If you want to make a complaint,  make an appointment to meet the SENCO to discuss the issue in the first instance.  If this does not resolve your complaint speak to the Head Teacher.   If your complaint is still not resolved you can contact the Governing Body ( the SEN Governor in the first instance). You can request their contact details through the school office.

This information has been co-produced by the staff, governors and parents based on frequently asked questions and with advice from Somerset Parent Carers Forum.

It was last updated in  July 2017.