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Additional Needs

Additional Educational Needs at Westmeads

 

At Westmeads we believe that all children are special - they develop skills at different speeds, for a variety of reasons, and like us, have strengths and weaknesses. Some children may need the opportunity to extend skills while others may need support in certain areas. We believe it is very important that all children are given the opportunity to achieve their potential and that any problems are identified quickly so that appropriate help can be given.

 

Early identification of any difficulty is important and we encourage Parents/Carers to contact us before their child is due to start school and tell us if they feel their child may need extra help, or if they have a social, emotional or medical problem. This will be kept confidential to those who teach and help the child.  Every effort will be taken to provide additional help and support where necessary, so that the child’s time at school is happy and enjoyable from the start.

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Our Deputy Head teacher, Mrs Kate Gowing, is our Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo), and is based in the Rainbow Room and can be contacted through the main school office.

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At regular times in the school year the class teachers meet with the SENCo to monitor progress & to plan additional individual or small group support. This support may be called ‘SEN Support’ and includes where assessments are made by school staff and also where a higher level of support, usually with advice from other agencies such as Speech Therapy, is required. Sometimes, a child might undergo ‘Statutory Assessment’ while at the school and might have an ‘Education and Health Care plan’, requiring a higher level of multi-agency support.

 

A child who is having difficulties can get help in different ways. The class teacher can make everyday tasks a little easier or put the child in a small group for some extra help with a teaching assistant, under the guidance of the class teacher. Teaching Assistants (TAs) can also be allocated to do specific work with them in order to help them catch up where they may have got a little behind on something, or to work with them to pre-teach skills, so that they are prepared when the rest of the class learns something new. Indeed many children receive additional support with their learning from adults in 1:1 or small groups, who do not have special educational needs but are merely in need of support in a particular area of the curriculum.

 

In line with the current ‘Code of Practice for SEN’ we believe in involving all children actively in their own learning. Our policy is to work in partnership with Parents/Carers, involving them with planning, giving suggestions of how they can support their child at home, and also a review of targets set. This ensures they feel able to take an active part in helping their children at home. We also listen to Parents/Carers’ knowledge of their child, so that school and home can work together to better understand and support learning. By continually tracking progress we are able to adjust support to meet the child’s needs at that time.

 

When appropriate, we involve outside agencies for their expertise. These include Speech Therapists, an Educational Psychologist and Specialist Teaching and Learning Service etc. Parents/Carers are always included in any decision to request this type of extra support for their child.

 

Class teachers also identify children who are working at a greater depth in any area of the curriculum. These children are supported and challenged in their area of strength and are given opportunities to practice and share their talents. Through lunchtime and after school clubs, children are encouraged to try different activities and develop their skills and interests.

 

We advocate inclusion and celebrate diversity at all levels. We encourage all adults and children to support and respect each other. Within this positive atmosphere we aim to provide equality of opportunity for all children.

 

There is a full copy of the SEN Policy available in the school office and on our school website. Its effectiveness is reviewed annually, the purpose of which is to ensure that all our children are given the opportunity to make the most of their abilities before they move to Junior School.

Admission arrangements for pupils with SEND

At Westmeads we can make provision for every kind of frequently occurring special educational need without an Education, Health and Care Plan, for instance dyslexia, dyspraxia, speech and language needs, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, learning difficulties and social, mental health and emotional difficulties. The staff has a wealth of experience when dealing with many different types of special educational need and will always give its best endeavours to meet the needs of all pupils.

 

The school also currently endeavours to meet the needs of pupils with an Education, Health and Care plan with the following kinds of special educational need: cerebral palsy, visual or hearing impairment, severe and profound speech and language disorder.  Decisions on the admission of pupils with an Education, Health and Care plan are made by the Local Authority.

 

The admission arrangements for pupils without an Education, Health and Care Plan do not discriminate against or disadvantage disabled children or those with special educational needs.

Please read the agreed policy for SEN. We have involved staff, parents and governors in a consultation process, including a meeting with all parties to discuss this policy. Amendments and suggestions have been taken on board. 

This policy reflects our current practice and complies with the new SEN Code of Practice 2014.  

Local Offer

Every local authority must publish a Local Offer. The SEND Local Offer tells you what support is available for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities, and their families. It should include information about education, health and care provision. It should also tell you about training, employment and independent living for young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Kent's Local Offer is all about making it easier for people to find out about services available to 0-25 year olds with special educational needs and disabilities.

What is the Local Offer?

The Local Offer was first introduced in the Green Paper (March 2011) as a local offer of all services available to support disabled children and children with SEN and their families. This easy to understand information will set out what is normally available in schools to help children with lower-level SEN as well as the options available to support families who need additional help to care for their child.

What will it do?

The Kent framework will allow the Local Offer to provide parents/carers with information about how to access services in their area, and what they can expect from those services. With regard to Education, it will let parents/ carers and young people know how school and colleges will support them, and what they can expect across the local settings. During the last year, the Local Offer Steering Group has developed questions for schools, and trialled them with a small number of settings.

There are 17 questions, devised in consultation with parents/carers and other agencies, which reflect their concerns and interests. These will be answered by agencies, schools and colleges to provide information to parents and carers to enable them to make decisions about how to best support their child’s needs.

The arrangements made by the governing body relating to the treatment of complaints from parents of pupils with special educational needs concerning the provision made at the school

 

The normal arrangements for the treatment of complaints at Westmeads are used for complaints about provision made for special educational needs.  We encourage parents to discuss their concerns with the class teacher, SENCo or Head teacher to resolve the issue before making the complaint formal to the Chair of the governing body. This can be done by emailing the SENCo, Kate Gowing, directly: kgowing@westmeads.kent.sch.uk or by making an appointment via the school office on 01227 272995. If the issue is not resolved, please email the Head teacher, Helen Lambirth, directly on headteacher@westmeads.kent.sch.uk. The Chair of the governing body can be contacted via the school office.

 

If the complaint is not resolved after it has been considered by the governing body, then a disagreement resolution service or mediation service can be contracted.  If it remains unresolved after this, the complainant can appeal to the First–tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability), if the case refers to disability discrimination, or to the Secretary of State for all other cases.

 

There are some circumstances, usually for children who have an Educational, Health and Care Plan, where there is a statutory right for parents to appeal against a decision of the Local Authority. Complaints that fall within this category cannot be investigated by the school.

Please read below the letter from the Department for Education regarding the new arrangements for supporting children with SEN from September 2014.
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