The SEND Faculty at The Radclyffe School
What is the new SEND code of practice?
• The Code of Practice provides statutory guidance on duties, policies and procedures relating to Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and associated regulations and applies to England.
• It relates to children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) and disabled children and young people. A ‘young person’ in this context is a person over compulsory school age and under 25.
Special Educational Needs – what does this look like at The Radclyffe School?
• We successfully cater for students with an ever widening range of need, including those on SEN support and those with Statements or Education, Health and Care Plans. Our provision is in line with all aspects of the Special Educational Needs code of practice 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014.
• We have a number of students with disabilities including physical impairments, Hearing or Visual impairments. The school site has been designed to be inclusive of those students with a disability.
• Each year we have a number of students with diagnoses of specific learning difficulties such as dyspraxia, dyslexia, Autistic Spectrum Disorders and ADHD.
• Also within the school community are students with Speech, Language and Communication difficulties and with social and emotional difficulties.
Identification and Assessment of SEND
• Often, we become aware of a child’s special educational needs before they come to us, because we have close links with a great number of primary schools. Sometimes our specialist Transition Teaching Assistants will go out to work with SEN children in their primary schools so that by the time they come to us, we already know them well. In some cases we arrange for children to visit the school several times in the run up to transition so that they are comfortable with their new surroundings.
• Sometimes, the first concern is raised by parents. In this case, we investigate whether our staff share your concerns. We will share the results with you, and keep you informed of the next steps. Every teacher in the school also has the facility to refer a student to us if they have a concern about a particular child.
• We may undertake a range of activities to assess whether your child needs some form of additional support. We may observe them in lessons or gather evidence from the work they complete over a number of subject areas. We will often use a series of tests; we have many assessments at our disposal, and will use those most appropriate for your child. Again, you will be kept informed of the process and the outcome of our findings.
• We may feel that it is necessary to involve specialists from other agencies, such as the Additional and Complex Needs service, in order to seek advice. Specialists may include an Educational Psychologist, a speech and language therapist or an occupational therapist, to name but a few. We will always seek your permission before doing this. Again, you will be kept informed of the outcome after liaising with colleagues from different agencies.
• At The Radclyffe School, we put the child at the heart of all that we do. In line with this, we seek the views of all children who have entered our school with a statement or EHC Plan, or on SEN support. We do this in the form of a person centred review, and we conduct this after the first few weeks of entering the school and we repeat the process at regular intervals.
•The school’s SENCO is Jill Melia, who can be contacted on 0161 622 3200 if you have any concerns which you would like to discuss. Likewise, Andrea Smethurst is second in department, and is also available (on the same telephone number) for parents who have queries or concerns. An appointment can be made for a meeting.
How are children with an SEND taught in The Radclyffe School?
• Our core principal and our mission statement is ‘working together for excellence’. We believe that in order for personal excellence to be achieved, each student has to be viewed as an individual; this is at the heart of all that we do. All students, irrelevant of their SEND status, have access to high quality teaching from a committed team of teaching staff, all of whom receive regular staff training regarding the best ways to make sure that all children can access the learning in their classrooms. Teaching Assistants will be able to differentiate to more personal levels to ensure that all students are able to learn in a supportive and inclusive classroom environment.
• The vast majority of students with SEND will be taught in mainstream groups, sometimes with additional support from Teaching Assistants. We do have the facility to offer a range of curriculum models for various groups of students within school, however. At both Key Stage Three (years 7 and 8) and Key Stage Four (years 9, 10 and 11) we have a variety of routes available. You will be a key part of any conversations regarding your child’s inclusion in any alternative setting within the school.
• At Key Stage 3 we have a Nurture Group, where a very small number of students – typically 6 or 7 – may be educated. They join the larger groups for some subjects such as Music, Drama, Science and Art, but spend a great deal of time together as a small group focussing on Literacy and Numeracy, with the aim of allowing them to be reintegrated into mainstream groups once their Literacy and Numeracy is of an age appropriate level.
• At Key Stage Four we have a foundation route of study. Within this, we have two distinct groups – Supported Study and Foundation Learning Group. Alongside traditional GCSEs, students on this route are able to achieve a range of alternative qualifications, such as PSE and Child Development. These groups are smaller in size than most mainstream classes and benefit from a high level of support, from specialist teachers and our team of highly qualified Teaching Assistants.
• There is another distinct group of students who may need a little bit of additional help with one or two aspects of their education – maybe with Maths, or with handwriting, or with reading comprehension. For these students we offer intensive lessons over a short period of time – typically six weeks. At the end of the process, we review whether progress has been made, and the individual child may then be exited from the process due to excellent progress having been made, or they may remain in the withdrawal group for a further block of lessons. We will always seek your permission before your child is placed in a withdrawal group, and will keep you informed of the results at the end of the process.
• Information about individual students who have a SEND will be circulated to staff, along with any advice for optimum learning to take place. This may include advice and strategies suggested by colleagues from other agencies such as QEST or the EP service, and will be updated as necessary to implement the latest advice.
What additional support is offered to students with special educational needs?
This depends entirely on what the individual need is, but additional support can take on the following forms:
• TAs to support individuals or groups of students within classes.
• Invitation to reading clubs before school and at lunchtime.
• Individual Management Plans (IMPs) may be written and circulated to all staff so that an overview of an individual’s needs are clear, along with helpful strategies to ensure that your child achieves the very best that they can.
• Online learning schemes such as MyMaths or Reading Eggs.
• Access to a Learning Mentor.
• A team of Personal Care Assistants available.
• Access to a range of lunchtime activities to build upon social and other skills – for example an embroidery club will reinforce fine motor skills.
• Individual care plans are available to all staff for any student with a medical need.
• Positive Steps careers advisors on site.
• Support to access enrichment activities (held half termly)
• Supported Learning Centre.
• Access to a range of appropriate qualifications to build on strengths, interests and future aspirations of students.
• Support from non-teaching Year Managers.
• Key worker allocated.
• Assistive technology such as laptop computers.
• Behaviour modification programmes
• Pupil attitude to self and school surveys
• Access to bespoke work experience placements
• Access arrangements (ie reader and/or scribe) for all examinations.
• An Outreach Centre to cater for students with social and emotional needs.
• An onsite counselling service.
• Lessons and activities designed to enhance the life skills of students.
This may include, for example, travel training to allow the student to be more independent post 16.
• Anger management sessions.
What about extra-curricular activities?
• All students, with or without special educational needs, are valued members of our school community and as such are able to participate in a wide range of activities, from sporting practices and teams to taking part in the school’s drama productions or playing a musical instrument. We have strong links with Sports Ability and each year we have a number of teams participating in a range of inter-school and inter-borough sports such as wheelchair basketball and wheelchair football.
• We have educational visits, an annual ‘Experience Day’, reward trips and residential trips. Students with SEND have equal access to all of these activities; support to access these activities can be provided.
Is additional support in place for moving on to college?
• We have strong links with the local colleges and post 16 providers, and we have a robust transition plan in place. Students are offered mock interviews and are guided through the application process by key workers and our on-site careers advisors.
• We work hard to ensure that all SEND students go on to the most appropriate form of post 16 education. For many, this process may begin during Year 10 as we start to consider, with the student and their parents, which providers can best cater for their child’s needs.
• Support is in place through the annual review process for those students who have a statement or an EHC Plan.
• You should be assured that changes in legislation mean that young people with SEND will be much better supported as they make the transition to further education. The Local Authority (LA) must make young people aware of the support that is available through the ‘Local Offer’.
How can I be involved in my child’s education?
• There are lots of opportunities for you to come into school. All students on the school’s audit of need will be invited to come and meet with their child’s key worker on a termly basis. Here you will be able to discuss ways in which you can work with your child at home to help to improve their Literacy and Numeracy levels. You will also be invited in to engage with your child’s Personal learning Guide (PLG) and meet your child’s teachers on Parent’s evening. Both of these happen once every year. Of course, you can also contact the SENCO to arrange a separate meeting should you feel it necessary.
Who will support my child?
• The SEND team consists of 8 SEND teachers, 24 Teaching Assistants and 3 Personal care Assistants. All staff undergo regular training in various aspects of their roles. We also have a family liaison officer and two family support workers; we have two counsellors employed by the school on a weekly basis.
• We are fortunate enough to have a large team of highly qualified Teaching Assistants who all undergo regular formal training. They most recently engaged in training around Social Stories, and all have a Level 2 qualification in Autism Awareness. Our Teaching Assistants are always looking for ways to improve their ability to support students, and many of them recently secured a Level 2 qualification in ICT as part of this. We have TAs who have received specialist training in Lego Therapy, Drawing and Talking Therapy and working with Visually Impaired students.
• If your child needs help with a medical condition, or with personal care, we have a school matron and a team of Personal Care Assistants available. Regular training is undertaken, often linked to the needs of a particular student.
• We have a team of very experienced Learning Mentors, and sometimes students are referred to the team for a variety of reasons, for short term interventions.
• Sometimes we need to access support for a student from external agencies, and this may come from one or a combination of the following services:
• QEST (The Quality Effectiveness Support Team)
• Educational Psychologists (EP)
• CAMHS (The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service)
• Occupational Therapy (OT)
• Social Care
• The speech and language therapy team (SALT)
• Specialist providers such as The Newbridge School and The Springbrook School
• Community nurses
This is not, however, an exhaustive list, and we will actively seek support from the agency or agencies best equipped to provide advice and support for individual students.
How will my child’s progress be reviewed, and who by?
• Each term you will receive a progress report for your child. Progress will be reviewed by subject teachers. At each assessment point, the SEND team scrutinise the progress of all SEND students. Where there is a lack of progress, a member of the team will contact the staff member responsible for teaching that lesson in order to find out why the progress is lacking. At this point, we may arrange to observe the child in lessons, or may use an intervention programme to compliment the whole class teaching and to bring progress levels to a more acceptable standard.
• Where a child is supported in class by a Teaching Assistant, their progress will be constantly under review; any sign of a lack in progress will be identified as early as possible and strategies implemented immediately, after dialogue with the student and the class teacher. Likewise, Teaching Assistants are encouraged to keep parents updated when a student has made progress, even small step progress. They do this by sending home positive postcards outlining what the achievement is.
• Where an intervention is required, either from internal or external sources, this will operate on an assess-plan-do-review cycle. Targets will be set for progress after thorough assessments have been undertaken. The intervention will then take place, after which there will be a review to ascertain whether progress towards the targets has been made. At this point, decisions will be made about the next course of action. You and your child will be an important part of this process, and all interventions will be recorded to ensure accountability.
• If your child has a Statement or an ECHP, progress will also be reviewed against the targets from their individual report. This will be discussed and shared at your child’s annual review meeting. From time to time, an emergency or additional review may become necessary; you will, of course, be kept informed of, and involved with, this.
Which other agencies may be involved with my child?
• We have strong links with colleagues from many agencies including those from Health, Education and Social Care. During your child’s stay with us it may be necessary to involve one or more of these services, and you will usually be part of a discussion before this occurs. For many agencies, we cannot involve them without your written permission, so we may ask for this from time to time.
How do I complain about the provision made for my child?
• We would seek to rectify any issues promptly and with minimum disruption to a child’s education. Your first point of contact should be the class teacher, Year Manager, SENCO or Headteacher. You should explain your concerns to them in the first instance. In the unlikely event that you are not entirely satisfied that your complaint has been addressed, you should follow the school’s complaints procedure.
• You can access the school’s complaints procedure here. For support with this procedure, parents may wish to contact POINT (Parents of Oldham In Touch). Their website and contact details can be found here. Another source of support for parents of children with SEND is Oldham SEND Information Advice and Support (IASS) Service. Their website can be found at http://www.iassoldham.co.uk/ or by telephone on 0161 667 2055.
How will the school ensure that equipment and facilities are available for my child?
• The Learning Support Faculty is housed in a wing of the school and comprises six classrooms, all equipped with interactive whiteboards and computers. Additionally within our wing are situated the Supported Learning Centre, the Learning Mentor Base and the Careers room. There are several disabled toilets within SEND and also around the school, and disabled changing facilities within PE.
• Lifts are available to ensure that students with limited mobility have access to all areas of the school; students are always accompanied by a member of staff whilst in a lift.
• There is a fully equipped medical room which is staffed by the school matron along with our team of Personal Care Assistants.
• We liaise with colleagues from external agencies and ensure that equipment needed by individual students (for example visualisers for some visually impaired students, or the loop system microphone for some hearing impaired students) is in place. There is braille signage around the school.
• We receive funding for all pupils including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, and these needs are met from this.
What is the school’s policy on bullying?
• The school’s anti-bullying policy can be found here.
What is the admissions policy for disabled students?
• Disabled students apply to the school in exactly the same way as all other students. The admissions policy can be found here.
How does the school ensure that disabled children are not treated less favourably than other students?
• Disabled students are fully immersed into life at The Radclyffe School, and have involvement in all aspects of events and education at the school in the same way that a child without a disability has. Reasonable adjustments are made in all areas of curricular and extra curricular activities to ensure that all students, regardless of their special educational need and/or disability are able to access all aspects of school life.
• We have plans to appoint Departmental Prefects from Key Stage 4, who will liaise with their peers and take any issues to the Student Voice forum.
Where can I find the school’s accessibility plan?
• The School’s Accessibility Plan ensures that adjustments are made to facilitate access to school buildings for those who are disabled. When students enter the School with specific disabilities identified, the Learning Support Department ensures that the requirements of the students are passed on to all staff. This may involve support from external agencies; wherever possible, any additional staff training, linked to a special educational need or disability which is required is undertaken prior to transition.
• Please follow this link to the school’s accessibility plan.
How can I find out what Oldham’s Local Offer is?
Information about Oldham’s Local Offer can be found here: http://www.oldham.gov.uk/info/200368/children_with_disabilities