If I think my child has a difficulty with her learning what are special educational needs?
If a young person experiences persistent difficulty in making progress and fails to close the attainment gap between herself and her peers it may be there is a barrier to her learning which needs investigating. The Code of Practice, which is statutory guidance for school and organisations with special educational needs, outlines four categories where a young person may have persistent difficulty.
Communication and interaction
Cognition and learning
Social, emotional and mental health
Sensory and/or physical needs
How will the school let me know if they have any concerns about my child’s learning, special educational need or disability?
If the school is concerned about your daughter’s overall progress you will be contacted by The Director of Learning. If it is a particular subject that is problematic the class teacher or Head of Department will be in touch. Should staff observations and the data indicate a learning barrier of some sort , Mrs Reid, the Senco (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) will be first contact you via the phone or e mail to offer an appointment to discuss how best to support your daughter in order to help her make progress.
Who are the best people to talk to at Sacred Heart about my child’s special educational needs, disability or difficulties with learning?
First, contact your daughter’s tutor, or the subject teacher or The Director of Learning by e mail. Alternatively, leave a telephone message with the administration staff. They will pass on the message and the staff will do their best to be in touch within 48 hours. They will listen and advise you as to whether you would benefit from booking an appointment with the Senco. Alternatively you can contact the Senco directly by either e mailing or by telephone.
How will the school consider my views and those of my child with regard to her/his difficulties with learning, special educational need or disability?
At Sacred Heart we believe it is very important for parents and carers to be involved in all areas of their daughter’s learning and we actively encourage discussions. We believe, that it is essential to understand your child’s views on any difficulties they may experience with their learning and to have a full holistic picture of what your daughter CAN do as well as what she finds difficult.
Should your daughter need to have additional learning support because she has been identified as having a particular area of need the Senco would value your views and understanding of your child to help put the strategies in place in order that they are effective. There would then be follow up contact to review progress.
If your daughter has a Statement of Special Educational Need or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) you and your child will be able to share your views at the Annual Review and at interim meetings which will take place each term. If getting into school for meetings is problematic a telephone appointment can be arranged. Schools have been given three years and one term to transfer to Education Health Care Plans.
How does Sacred Heart ensure teachers are appropriately trained to support my child’s special educational needs and/or disability?
At Sacred Heart we believe that your child’s learning needs will be met first through the high quality teaching and differentiation delivered by the teachers in mainstream classrooms.
Whole school staff training for SEN takes place three times a year in order for staff to become further skilled at responding to different needs in their classrooms. Sometimes pupils themselves have accrued out this training.
The school is able to access training programmes from different organisations including the tri-borough training and outreach team based at QE2 School.
Individual training and mentoring is also arranged when a member of staff is working with pupils in in areas such as mentoring or coaching.
How will the curriculum and the school environment be matched to my child’s needs?
At Sacred Heart we believe that your child’s learning needs will first be met through the high quality teaching delivered by her subject teachers. Whole staff inset is given three times a year in order for staff to be informed and updated about special educational needs.
We carefully plan our curriculum to match the age, ability and needs of all children.
The class teacher will adapt lesson planning and teaching to match your child’s special educational needs and/or disability.
It may be appropriate to adopt different strategies and resources in order to meet your child’s learning needs.
Additional specialist advice is sought when appropriate and, when necessary, accessibility aids and technology may be used to support your child’s learning.
Sacred Heart reviews its Disability Accessibility Plan to ensure that all reasonable adjustments are made for pupils to have full access to the curriculum as well as the school site. Sacred Heart High School is an old building so there remains restricted access to certain areas. Pupils can access the curriculum via Virtual School from The Independent Learning Centre.
What types of support may be suitable and available for my child?
This really depends upon the nature of your child’s needs and difficulties with learning, but our education provisions will match the needs of the four broad areas of need as defined in the Revised Code of Practice 2014, Chapter 6-:
Communication and interaction
Cognition and learning
Social, emotional and mental health
Sensory and/or physical needs
At Sacred Heart we have a 3 tiered approach to supporting a child’s learning.
Tier 1 Mainstream - this is the quality first teaching your child will receive from her teachers which may include language friendly classroom resources and auxiliary aids to match learning needs such as a soundfield system to aid hearing loss. We do not have teaching assistants at Sacred Heart as our teachers go into targeted classes to give support. This means that whilst there is less provision of time spent with a young person in class, the pupil does have the opportunity of being supported by a teacher.
Medical Needs:If your child has a medical need our School Nurse will have a Health Care Plan in place; and staffs are regularly updated with epi pen training and made aware of pupils who need to use an asthma inhaler or a diabetic pump. The nurse can be contacted by e mail and is in school twice a week. We have 12 staff from teaching and administration trained in First Aid.
Tier 2 Targeted - post observations and Individual Pupil Monitoring (IPM’s) it may be appropriate to consider making additional short term special educational provision to remove or reduce any obstacles to your child’s learning. This takes the form of a graduated four part approach of a) assessing and understanding your child’s needs, b) planning with you and your child the most effective and appropriate intervention, c) providing this intervention and d) reviewing the impact on your child’s progress towards individual learning outcomes.
Tier 3 Specialist – it may be necessary to seek specialist advice and regular long term support from a specialist professional in or outside the school in order to plan for the best possible learning outcomes for your child. This may include our school counsellor, our school nurse or perhaps tri borough services such as educational psychology, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy or the child development service and CAMHS. (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.) The school may need to prioritise referrals to these services. For a very small number of pupils access to these specialists may be through a Statement of SEN or an EHC Plan.
How will you support my child to reach his/her learning goals?
Our Mission Statement has always sought to promote the education of young women and academic excellence and strive to enable all pupils to aspire to achieve, the journey will be the same for young people with special educational needs, however we recognise that she may need additional provision to enable her to manage school, aspire and achieve.
The strategies to improve outcomes may be short (such as revision classes, peer tutoring, after school sessions) or long depending on the progress your daughter makes. (Early morning reading warm ups, peer mentor support, Homework Club and mentoring by a member of staff.) This provision will be reviewed termly either in a meeting, by parent mail or via telephone conversations with parents. Parents may want to see the data and records that demonstrate outcomes for the provision, this data can be both quantitative and qualitative.
External agencies and specialists will also review your child’s progress and adapt their planning accordingly.
What if my daughter is put onto the SEN Register, will this be a label for ever? If your daughter has persistent difficulty with learning , post assessment and parent consultation, she will added to the Special Education Register which acts as an alert to all staff that this young person needs additional support, the reasons why and methods for supporting her in class. The aim of the school is to put the right provision in place so that the he young person makes good progress and can be taken off the register. However, whilst on it the register acts as an insurance that the young person will receive the necessary provision to help her have good outcomes in spite of having a barrier to learning like for example dyspraxia or speech and language difficulties. When your daughter makes good progress she will be taken off the register and, for an interim, put on a monitoring list as often young people need temporary support again when experiencing transition to exam work.
There are a few young people who need to remain on the register for a variety of reasons, for example; their medical needs are a long term condition or they need on-going long term support for their mental health.
What is an EHC Plan and who can request one for my child?
The purpose of an EHC Plan, which replaces Statements of SEN, is to make special education provision to meet the special educational needs of a child or young person, to secure improved outcomes for him/her across education, health and social care and, as her gets older, prepare for adulthood. An EHC Plan will contain;
the views and aspirations of you and your child,
a full description of his/her special educational needs and any health and social care needs,
establish outcomes for your child’s progress,
specify the provision required and how education, health and social care will work together to meet your child’s needs and support the achievement of the agreed outcomes
You, your child, (if 16years old and over) the school, usually the SENCo or Head teacher, can request that the local authority conduct an assessment of your child’s needs. This may lead to an EHC Plan.
How will you help me to support my child’s learning?
Sacred Heart can guide you to professionals or charities who will give assessments, information and subsequent support. At home there is technology such as Read and Write Gold and Show Me My homework available which will help with independent learning and organisation. If your daughter is unwell for a long period of time the Virtual Learning programme can be used and the Pastoral Support Managers will co-ordinate work to be sent home. At school, subject teachers and Heads of Departments will help parents if there is a particular difficulty in a subject area.
We sometimes run parent/carer workshops in school to help you understand the strategies and technology used in school. In addition, we may be able to offer you individual training in specific support strategies relevant to your child.
How is support allocated to children and how do they move between the different levels of support in school?
Sacred Heart High School receives funding from the Education Funding Agency and the local authority. These funds include money to support the learning of children with SEN and/or disabilities.
The Head Teacher, in consultation with the school Governors, decides the budget for SEN provision on the basis of the needs of the young people in the school.
The Senior Leadership Team ,together with the Senco, discuss the effectiveness of the school’s current interventions and provisions and prioritise an action plan, which may include additional or alternative interventions, staff training and equipment needs.
How are pupils supported in exams? Support for public exams is determined by conditions set out by the exams boards. The process for determining whether your daughter will be eligible for support in her public exams begins in Y9 as all schools must demonstrate to the exam boards a history of need. At the beginning of Year 10 the Senco makes the ultimate decision if a pupil is eligible for exam concessions having carried out assessments in both cognition and learning. The boards only give concessions if there are scores in standardised assessments of 84 and below. If a young person has a medical condition that is long or short term , providing a letter from a GP or hospital is given to the to verify the circumstances, rest breaks and laptops can be given without needing to go through the exam board.
Provision is reviewed regularly to ensure the best possible intervention is provided to those young people who require additional support to learn.
As with all pupils who come to Sacred Heart we aspire to enable each pupil to attain their predicted targets and to have a happy and fulfilled experience in the school community.
How will the school know that the support has made a difference to my child’s learning and how can I and my child be included in this review process?
Your daughter’s progress will be assessed both in terms of her regular learning within the school and with regard to specific intervention programmes.
The impact of the support given is carefully measured to ensure that the learning outcomes have been achieved and if not, what adaptations are necessary. It may be decided that a further period of support would be beneficial for your child.
You and your daughter will be part of the review process so that recognition of goals achieved and decisions around further intervention can be discussed.
What support will there be for my child’s happiness and well -being at Sacred Heart school?
We believe that the happiness and well- being of all our young people is paramount. At the same time it is necessary to acknowledge that adolescence can be a challenging time for young people who such a lot of physical, mental and spiritual change.
Who should you contact if you are concerned? All members of staff have a duty of care towards the young person however, it is best to first contact your daughter’s tutor, the Pastoral Support Managers, The Directors of Learning or the SENCo. Young people can also self -refer to our highly qualified School Counsellor. All are available to listen to and discuss with both you and your daughter why she is feeling in need of support and what would be the best plan of action.
Should the concerns be persistent it may be necessary for a referral to be made to an outside agency such as the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. (Camhs)
You should also feel free to contact your daughter’s subject teachers if you have any concerns.
Opportunities for pupils to learn how to look after their well- being and mental health are introduced through PSHE.
How is my child included in all the same activities as his/her peers at school?
The school will make reasonable adjustments to ensure that children with SEND are included in all activities as part of their learning experience.
There are a variety of clubs, activities, day trips and residential trips available to pupils at Sacred Heart at different stages of their school life.
How will Sacred Heart support my child in transition stages?
Prior to deciding whether your daughter will thrive at Sacred Heart there are open evenings in September. Parents of a young person with SEN are also welcome to contact the Senco to discuss any aspect of provision and to have a tour of the school.
The school makes arrangements to ensure there is a smooth transition when your child transfers to her secondary school through interviews, primary school visits and the possibility of coming to Summer School although pupils given pupil premium are given priority.
While at school we try to ensure that during transition points (between classes each year and at the end of Key Stages,) all staff are aware of individual pupils needs, learning progress and best support strategies.
If your child has an Education Health Care Plan, we will participate and/or facilitate the review in sufficient time prior to her moving between key phases of education. You will be kept informed of these arrangements and asked to attend the reviews.
If I have any other questions about my child at Sacred Heart, who can I ask?