Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Vale School Special Educational Needs Information Report (supporting the West Sussex Local Offer) - Last Updated March 2022

In line with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2014, this Special Educational Needs Information Report details the provision in place at Vale School to support children with Disabilities and Special Educational Needs (DSEN). This document is in addition to the school DSEN Policy.

How does the school know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

In line with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2014, a child will be identified as having a Disability or Special Educational Need (DSEN) if they have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age or if they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools, such as access to rooms/areas or equipment used in subjects such as Information Technology, Food Technology, Design Technology and Physical Education.

Identification of such needs could occur in a variety of ways:

  • Upon starting school, all Early Years children and parents/carers are met in advance of enrolment and members of Vale School staff will discuss children with staff from the nursery/pre-school they attended, if they did so.

  • If children join the school after Early Years, meetings are held with parents/carers, and Vale School staff will consult with previous schools to discuss the child.

In both cases, concerns regarding identified or suspected DSEN will be discussed with the Vale School Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCo) Mrs Catherine Bourne.

If children’s needs become apparent as they move up through the school, class teachers will discuss these with the SENCo, and discussions will be held with the child’s parents/carers. If the child is found to have needs that meet the criteria in the Code of Practice, the child will be listed on the school’s Disabilities and Special Educational Needs (DSEN) Register, and additional provision will be put into place. The SENCo maintains the DSEN register and oversees provision. The school’s DSEN register is an internally held document, the aim of which is to ensure that teachers are aware of children’s additional needs. The progress of children on the DSEN register is closely monitored by the school’s Senior Leadership Team and their achievement in tests at the end of Key Stage 1 (Year 2) and Key Stage 2 (Year 6) can be reviewed as a group, e.g. by Ofsted, to ensure that the school’s provision is working for children with additional needs.

If at any point parents/carers have concerns about their child’s progress or attainment, or suspect the child may have additional needs, they are encouraged to make an appointment to discuss their concerns with the child’s class teacher and/or the SENCo, as appropriate.

How will school staff support my child?

Day-to-day teaching and support of children with DSEN is managed by their class teacher. The SENCo will offer support, advice and guidance, will maintain the DSEN register and will coordinate any additional DSEN Team and/or external support put into place for a child. Information regarding children’s needs and provision will be recorded on relevant Provision Maps. Children with statements of SEN or Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans will have their needs and provision recorded in accordance with the most recent Disability and Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. Children may receive support from Teaching Assistants (TAs), Learning Mentors and/or the SENCo. External specialists can also support children as part of their provision. Referrals will be made to external specialists as the school deems appropriate in consultation with parents/carers, though parents/carers are welcome to request referrals.

We have a Governor for DSEN, who has responsibility within the reporting process. The school monitors the progress and attainment of children using internal processes such as classroom observation, test results and discussion with parents/carers.

Any complaints about provision should be made to the child’s class teacher, the SENCo, or if unresolved, in accordance with the school’s Complaints Policy; a link is provided at end of this report for School Policies.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

We aim to personalise the curriculum to cater for children’s needs, finding the balance between tasks that are challenging but also achievable. Tasks can be differentiated in the classroom setting or by interventions such as small group or one-to-one sessions. The aim is to provide children with learning opportunities that lead them to make progress at a pace appropriate for them and based on their individual starting point. Please see our DSEN Policy for more detail; a link is provided at end of this report for School Policies

How will school staff and I know how my child is progressing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?

If a child is identified as having DSEN, their progress will be closely monitored by their class teacher and the SENCo, as well as through normal monitoring processes within our Curriculum Policy. Progress and attainment will be reported to parents/carers through informal reporting, such as a note in their reading diary or a phone call home, and through formal reporting, including the annual report. If a teacher has concerns about a child’s learning they will discuss this with parents/carers and the SENCo as appropriate. See link at end of this report for School Policies.

If DSEN are identified, parents/carers will be invited to meet with the child’s class teacher and the SENCo as appropriate to discuss this and plan provision for the child. Parents/carers will also be supported in helping at home, and will be provided with resources where appropriate. Parents/carers are always welcome to arrange a meeting with the class teacher or SENCo to discuss any issues or concerns about work at home. If relevant, the school will run workshops and evening events to help parents/carers further their skills and knowledge in supporting their child’s learning. There are also groups who provide support and information to parents/carers supporting children with additional needs. See the West Sussex County Council local authority ‘Local Offer’ for more information – details below at the end of this report.

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

The Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and the SENCo are responsible for the monitoring of pastoral needs and provision across the school, with the class teachers having main responsibility for the pupils in their care. All school staff have a responsibility to report to a senior staff member or the SENCo any concerns they may have for a child. We have an in-school Learning Mentor to support children, and have access to specialist provision from the Local Authority. In addition, we access external provision through agencies such as ‘YourSpace’ for play therapy and Forest School.

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?

At Vale School we have a rich and varied range of experience and expertise in our teaching and support staff, who are trained to support children with many types of DSEN, including:

  • Speech, language and communication difficulties

  • Autistic Spectrum Condition

  • Physical therapies (if a programme has been provided by an external health specialist)

  • Hearing impairment

We also have access to many external services, including:

  • Learning and Behaviour Advisory Team

  • School Nurses Service

  • Speech and Language Team

  • Education Welfare Officer

  • Early Help

  • Police Liaison Officer

  • Children’s Services

  • Parent Partnership Services

  • Educational Psychology Service

  • Play Therapy Services

  • Forest School

What training is available to staff supporting children and young people with DSEN?

Teaching and support staff receive regular training through our scheduled programme of In-Service Training (INSET) and meetings in school time. There are also various opportunities to attend external courses which cover many aspects of DSEN teaching and Learning. Internal training is provided by the SENCo and any staff who have experience or training in specific aspects of DSEN, such as speech and language development. External trainers also provide specialist input, encompassing areas such as social communication difficulties (including Autistic Spectrum Condition) and Attachment Disorders.

How will children with DSEN be supported in accessing trips and other in-school activities, such as visitors and workshops?

Vale School staff will always use their best endeavours to ensure that trips are fully accessible to children with DSEN. We will seek to make reasonable adjustments to trips and activities where required. This may include asking parents/carers to assist on a trip, or preparing alternative routes or opportunities in order that children can access the same learning as their peers.

The Deputy Headteacher, SENCo, Class Teacher and TAs will liaise together as required and with parents/carers in the planning of additional support and provision for activities outside the classroom. Where required, a risk assessment will be completed to ensure provision is appropriate.

How accessible is the school environment?

Due to our location on the side of a hill, the school is spread across several different levels. The majority of areas are wheelchair accessible. In the case of fire, an evac-chair is required to evacuate wheelchair users who cannot walk supported downstairs from our first floor classrooms. We have ramps, electric ramps and lifts to gain access to the various levels of the main school building. Most areas are also accessible through the use of push-button or automatic doors. Parents/carers of children with physical disabilities are encouraged to visit the school and discuss their child’s needs in detail with the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher in advance of enrolment.

The school has an Accessibility Policy and improvement plan, for which a link is provided at end of this report for School Policies.

We are able to access support for children and parents/carers for whom English is an additional language from the West Sussex Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service (EMTAS) and through local interpreter and translation services.

How will the school prepare and support my child when joining the school and when transferring to a new school?

If children are joining us in the Early Years, Vale School staff will meet with parents/carers and, if children have attended nursery or preschool, staff from those settings, to discuss any concerns and arrangements for transition. Children joining Vale School in any year group will be welcome to visit the school to familiarise themselves with the environment and meet key staff. Where appropriate, they will also be provided with key information, such as staff photographs and a list of routines of the day.

We have a successful transition programme to prepare children for the move into a new year-group, including taster sessions and open evenings for parents/carers. Children with Autistic Spectrum Conditions, or particular difficulties with change, will be provided with additional resources for starting school, moving to a new year group or moving on to Secondary School. These include additional visits, “Moving On” packs or “Pupil Passports” which contain photographs of key staff members and key parts of the new building or area. We also run social skills and/or nurture groups to support children we identify as vulnerable during transitions.

Children with an Education, Health and Care Plan will have their Annual Reviews held at least one full term before they leave Vale School in order that their needs can be reviewed and appropriate provision put into place for their transition.

How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s Special Educational Needs?

The school budget for DSEN is calculated by the Local Authority and is allocated by the school in accordance with the needs of the children on roll. This budget is carefully monitored and the spending is adapted according to the changing needs of the children across the whole school. The allocation is decided by the Senior Leadership Team, in collaboration with the SENCo.

How is the decision made about what type of and how much support my child will receive?

The type and amount of support a child receives will be dependent on their individual needs at any given time, and will be re-assessed continually by the class teacher and the SENCo. Consideration is given to their rate of progress, their attainment and their general wellbeing. Support for children will be discussed with parents/carers. Where appropriate in terms of age and personal development, children will also be involved in the decision-making process, e.g. through meetings with their class teachers and/or the DSEN team.

Any complaints about provision should be made to the child’s class teacher, the SENCo, or if unresolved, in accordance with the school’s Complaints Policy. See link at end of this report for School Policies.

How are parents/carers involved in the school and how can I become involved?

At Vale School we welcome parents/carers to be involved in all aspects of school life, including coming into school to hear children read, helping at events such as the Summer Fair or by becoming a school Governor. Parents/carers are encouraged to join our Friends of the Vale team, who organise and run fundraising events. We encourage parents/carers to participate in decision-making where appropriate and parents/carers have the opportunity to ask questions and contribute their views at any time, through our Governors or in person.

Who can I contact for further information?

For children already in school, the class teacher is the first point of contact regarding DSEN, though the SENCo is also available to meet with parents/carers. If your child is due to join the school, the SENCo Mrs Catherine Bourne or the Headteacher (Mr Martin Garratt) would be your first point of contact, via the school office.

For more information, please visit our school website. Useful documents available there include:

  • Disability and Special Educational Needs Policy

  • Accessibility Policy

  • Curriculum Policy

  • Behaviour Policy

  • Intimate Care Policy

  • Management of Medicines Policy

  • Public Sector Equality Duty Policy

  • Pupil Restraint Use of Reasonable Force

  • Complaints Policy

The West Sussex Local Offer

West Sussex County Council are the responsible local authority for our school, and their ‘Local Offer’ is accessible via the following link: https://westsussex.local-offer.org/

The direct link to our school’s page: https://westsussex.local-offer.org/services/121-vale-primary-school