Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
What are Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)?
SEND means that a child requires some kind of help with their education to ensure that he/she is able to make good progress.
Who might have SEN?
A child who, after being taught in the usual way, is still finding it difficult to speak, read, write or do some other kind of work may have additional needs. This child may benefit from having a special programme of work to help them to learn. S/he may work with a small group of other children to learn some of the skills s/he is having difficulties with. Sometimes these groups are called ‘intervention strategies’ or ‘target groups’. A child may work with an adult by themselves, to help them learn new skills. This is sometimes called ‘one-to-one support’. A child may have a physical disability which means that it is difficult for them to do things independently, like climb up the A-Frame in P.E. or hold a pencil correctly. A child may have a disability which requires a full-time helper (or Teaching Assistant) to make it possible for them to stay in a mainstream school, like a child who is blind or deaf. All of these things may mean that a child has SEN and there are many more reasons too.
Who might help your child if s/he has SEN?
There are lots of professionals who may work or support your child, like the class teacher and teaching assistants. Usually, it is the teacher who ensures that your child accesses the correct curriculum to help them to make progress. Your child’s teacher is very skilled at identifying the needs of individuals and then preparing work to meet these needs.
Who is the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)?
In every school, there is someone who is specially trained to co-ordinate the provision for children with SEN. This person works closely with the class teacher, the teaching assistants and other professionals (like speech and language therapists, school nurses, hospital staff etc) to make sure that every child is able to access the curriculum as fully as possible and make good progress. At Albany Infant and Nursery School, the SENCO is Christine Wood.
The SENCO may liaise with other professionals such as: speech and language therapists; specialist teachers of the deaf; specialist teachers of autism; specialist behaviour and emotional experts; opticians; educational psychologists.
How do you know if your child has special needs?
There are lots of indicators as to this. The most common is that the teacher or parent notices that the child is finding some aspects of the curriculum difficult and usual methods of teaching are not successful. They may be struggling with learning to read. We have to remember that all children are different and they learn to read (and do other things) at different times and in different ways. So sometimes, the teacher will try different ways of teaching. Sometimes, because a child is very young, the teacher may wait and observe for a while. If a child has a physical disability (e.g. s/he uses a wheel chair), provision will be made before they start at the school to make sure that they can access the curriculum. A child can develop SEN later, too. If something quite traumatic happens in a family (e.g. someone close to the child dies, there is domestic violence in the home etc) a child can begin to find things difficult and this could result in emotional or behavioural issues or becoming very quiet or ‘withdrawn’ from school life. This will have an impact on the child’s learning too.
What happens if your child has SEN?
The school will begin to make provision to help your child at school. The class teacher will monitor the child closely and will adapt the curriculum to meet his/her needs. The child may access interventions (or target groups) along with other children of similar ability. This is called ‘Class Concern’ and, following the monitoring and adaptations, the child may not need any further interventions. Sometimes, special programmes of work are needed to help a child to succeed. The class teacher will work closely with the SENCO and the child’s parents to support and help. This is called ‘SEN Concern’ and it shows that something additional is being done to help your child. So, for example, the child may have a behaviour support programme or s/he may access additional support from a staff in school. If a child needs more specialist help, they move onto ‘SEN Support’. This usually means that an agency outside of the school (like a speech and language therapist) works with the child too. If a child’s needs are such that they are not able to access the usual curriculum (perhaps due to a disability), or that they make very little progress, sometimes there is funding available to employ someone to support the child for a little while during the school day (like for literacy) or to work with a small group of children who have a similar need. If a child needs some one-to-one support to help them access the curriculum (which means that without this support they would be unable to attend a mainstream school), sometimes a child receives a EHC (Education, Health and Care) Plan from the Local Authority. An adult is then employed to help care for the child at school. If you are worried about your child, or need some advice, speak to your child’s class teacher or ask to speak to the school SENCO. They will be able to help and reassure you and together, your child’s needs will be met and they will be fully-supported.
The documents below outline how we meet the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities. Please feel free to download any copies that may be useful: