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Special Educational Needs and Disabilities: Your Questions Answered

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  • What is a Special Educational Need or Disability? 

    The following section is taken from the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (January 2015):

    xiii. A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.


    xiv. A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

    • has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or

    • has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions


    xv. For children aged two or more, special educational provision is educational or training provision that is additional to or different from that made generally for other children or young people of the same age by mainstream schools, maintained nursery schools, mainstream post-16 institutions or by relevant early years providers. For a child under two years of age, special educational provision means educational provision of any kind.


    xvi. A child under compulsory school age has special educational needs if he or she is likely to fall within the definition in paragraph xiv. above when they reach compulsory school age or would do so if special educational provision was not made for them (Section 20 Children and Families Act 2014).


    xvii. Post-16 institutions often use the term learning difficulties and disabilities (LDD). The term SEN is used in this Code across the 0-25 age range but includes LDD.

  • How does the school know if my child needs extra help and what do I do if I think my child may have Special Educational Needs?

    At St Botolph's, we carefully and contiuously monitor the progress, attainment and well-being of all children. If your child's teacher begins to be concerned about your child's progress or their ability to cope in school, they will discuss their concerns with you, the parent.

    Class teachers may also seek advice from the SENco, the Special Educational Needs Coordinator, who will support in monitoring, supporting and assessing the needs of your child. The SENCo may observe your child's learning in class.


    What to do if you are worried about your child:

    1. Don't panic! We are here to do the very best we can for your child and we will work with you to support them.

    2. Speak with the class teacher to see if they share any of your concerns - if the teacher has not approached you, your child may be coping well in school. Be clear about what you are worried about, to give the class teacher the best chance of supporting you.

    3. With the class teacher, discuss and agree what can be done at home and in school. The SENCo will happily attend this meeting if you wish.

    4. Keep talking to the class teacher. If your child does not improve following a period of agreed support from school and home, meet again with the class teacher to decide on a different approach. Ask for the SENCo to be present at this meeting.

  • How will we know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child's learning?

    Each term you will be given a progress report for your child. The first two will be delivered and explained in person at Parent Consulation meetings, then you will receive a full written report at the end of the year.

    If you have any questions about how your child is getting on at any other point during the year, just ask your child's teacher. The best time to discuss this may be after school, so you ay wish to make an appointment or request a call back.

    If your child has a Learning Passport to support their Special Educational Need, your class teacher will invite you to a review meeting each term. At this meeting, you will discuss how your child has been getting on with their learning targets. You will also talk about what has worked well or what may need to be approached differently next term.

  • How do you involve parents?

    Parents are very important to St Botolph's and we try to help them to feel part of our community by involving them in different ways:

    • At St Botolphs we work with parents and carers to create a smooth transition from Playgroup to Reception right through to Year 6 when children will transiton to Year 7 at Hartismere School. We make provision for all children.
    • Parents of our new Reception (school starters) children are invited to a new parents meeting to meet the Headteacher and Reception Class teacher and be introduced to the school.
    • Each class has an open class assembly each term, in which they share with parents what they have been learning about.
    • In each year group, parents are invited in to a sharing session, where they come in to join in with some fun activities with their child.
    • Mums and Dads, and even grandparents are invited in to school for special lunch days during the school year, when they are given the opportunity to eat and spend playtime with their child.
    • Parent-Teacher Consultation meetings are held in the Autumn and Spring term. In addition to this, parents are encouraged to make an appointment to speak to their child's teacher whenever they feel it necesary.
    • If your child has a Learning Passport, you will be invited to review meetings to discuss your child's progress at least once per term.
    • We have a very active PTA! Please speak to the Office if you wish to get involved.
    • If  you would like to volunteer to help in school, speak to the office. It may not always be appropriate to help regularly in your child's class, but if not there may be opportunities to help on trips or elsewhere in school. Volunteers may need to have applied for a Disclosure and Barring Service check first - the Office Angels can advise you about this.
    • A Parent Forum is held regularly. Mr Cobbold meets with parents to discuss and listen to their views, as well as to invite them to offer opinions on decisions within school.
    • Come along to one of our many events, such as the amazing Music and Arts Festival in July.
    • Parent Questionnaires are available to fill out on our website.
  • How accessible is the school?

    Our school is all on one floor with accessible facilities for wheelchair users, including a shower and toilet area. The majority of the site and playground is accessible for a child with restricted mobility. There is a terrace area  on the playground that is accessed, in the main, via steps, however this terrace can be accessed  through an alternative route more suitable for wheelchairs and large buggies. We also make every effort to ensure children with SEND are included in activities outside the classroom such as clubs and trips, including residentials.

    When a child enters the school with specific disabilities, the school contacts the appropriate professionals for assessments, support and guidance. We also recognise that parents have lots of valuable personalised information about their child which the school can draw upon.

  • How will St Botolph's Primary support my child?

    Our school is a close community and our ethos is to support every child as a complete and individual person. The school community works together to monitor the children's wellbeing in all areas of school.

    Each term, every class teacher identifies children in their class who might need support with an area of their learning. They decide where adjustments and extra provision may be necessary for these children, and plan how this will be provided using a provision map. All provision maps are monitored and evaluated by the school SENCo.

    Follow this link to see an example of a whole school provision map, that shows the types of support that might be in place to support different needs across the school: Whole School Provision Map.(See below for an example.)

    Provision will be reviewed and adapted regularly until it meets the needs of your child. If we feel that we need help from a specialist to support your child, we will discuss this with you and refer to an appropriate specialist for advice and support. These are some of the specialists we have worked with recently:


    • Speech and Language therapists
    • Learning Support Advisors
    • Dyslexia Outreach
    • Behaviour Support Service
    • County Inclusive Resource (for Autism Spectrum Disorders)
    • Educational Psychologist
    • Family Support Worker
    • School Nurse
  • How is the decision made about what and how much support my child will receive?

    The class teacher and SENCo carefully monitor and assess the needs of your child. Each term, a class provision map is drawn up which outlines what support will put in place for different children, and distributes focused adult support to those children who need it. In partnership with you, they will decide what type and level of support your child may need. Support will be offered in a graduated approach. Where support has been in place and has not proven effective, a different approach may be taken or a higher level of support, depending on what is appropriate to your child.

    It is rare for a need to be so great that it requires more support than the class teacher and allocated teaching assistant/s can provide; however, should this happen, the Senior Leadership Team (including the SENCo) will discuss options for next steps and share them with you as the parent. Possible options may include:

    • directing additional SEN teaching assistant time to offering additional intervention to your child.
    • referring to Outreach Provision, or requestiong a temporary placement with a specialist school.
    • requesting an Education, Health and Care Plan assessment.


  • How are the resources matched to the children's Special Educational Needs?

    We are very lucky in that every class at St Botolphs has a teaching assistant every morning and most or all afternoons, who can be directed towards delivering intervention support where appropriate. We also secure a number of additional hours from a qualified teacher and trained teaching assistants, to direct to providing additional support to key groups of children across the school. 

    We have a range of intervention resources which are shared and distributed across the school to match the needs of the children. Resources are audited annually and new resources are obtained where necessary. 

    Each class has access to a wide range of practical resources which are used to support all children with their learning.


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


    Each teacher works hard to develop a good understanding of what your child can do and how they learn best. The staff have received a lot of training and support to enable them to adapt, tailor and differentiate activities to suit the needs of individual children. We will always aim to start from where your child is, and to make good progress from their individual starting points. 

    Teachers have a good understanding of the building blocks of learning. The learning journey is like a tower of building blocks in that if one layer of learning blocks is incomplete (i.e. the child does not have secure understanding of an aspect of learning), the child's future learning cannot be secure, until previous gaps have been filled in. Teachers seek to identify any gaps in learning and to support the child to fill them and move on to the next level securely. Teachers have a knowledge of the steps of learning across the whole curriculum, from Early Years to Year Six, and will identify appropriate targets for your child, where they differ from the Nationally Expected level. 

    A range of resources may also be employed to support your child to make sense of their learning. In maths, this maths include a range of practical resources such as Numicon, bead strings, counters, cubes, number lines, hundred squares, Dienes blocks and many more. In Literacy, your child may be provided with phoneme (sound) mats, word banks, alphabet strips, talk tins or talking clipboards, whiteboards, writing frames and technology. 

    Children with emotional, social, mental and health needs may also need adaptations to their curriculum, or arrangements to make their learning more accessible to them, and we endeavour to consider their needs carefully.  


  • What specialist services and experts are available to or accessed by the school?

    We access and identify key professionals as needs arise in school. Here is a list of some of the specialist services and expertise most commonly accessed by schools:

    • Speech and Language Therapy
    • Advisory Learning Support
    • Behaviour Support Service
    • County Inclusive Resource
    • Outreach, such as Dyslexia support from Leiston
    • Family Support Worker
    • Social Services team
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Teachers for the Deaf
    • Educational Psychology
    • CAMHS - Child and Adult Mental Health Services
    • School Nurse
    • Local SENCo Networks and fellow teaching professionals
  • How will you support my child's overall wellbeing?


    Our school is a close community and our ethos is to support every child as a complete and individual person. The school community works together to monitor the children's wellbeing in all areas of school.

    School strategies to encourage the children to support each other:

    • Friendship Stop on the playground for children who have noone to play with
    • FAB leaders to support play at lunch times
    • Year 6 Buddies for new Reception children - older brother and sister figures to keep a watchful eyes

    Whole school and in class strategies:

    • PSHE
    • Assemblies
    • Visitors
    • Circle time

    Intervention for specific support:

    • Time to Talk
    • County Inclusive Resource
    • Family Support Worker
    • Circle time
    • Social stories
    • CAMHS


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

    We pride ourselves on delivering excellent transition opportunities to our new Reception children and to our Year 6 leavers.

    We have a good relationship with Botesdale playgroup, whose children regularly come over to spend time in Reception Class with Miss Clements or Mrs Taylor. They are invited to special school events like Christmas plays. New starters from alternative nurseries or playgroups are warmly encouraged to join us on two specific transition mornings in July, when they are given the opportunity to get to know the school and staff.

    The whole school has a move up day in July, when they spend a day getting to know their new teacher and their new classroom.

    In the past the Reception class get to know Mrs Fitch during Forest School sessions. They then spend an extra morning in Year One, to give them more time to get to know the staff and the Year One environment. Year One staff also invites new Year One parents to a meeting before the summer holidays, to explain what it will be like for their child in Rabbits Class.

    In addition to this, the Year One and Two teachers participate in a story swap on one afternoon a week during the last half term. This gives them the opportunity to read a story to their new class and build a relationship with them.


     When joining or moving on to a new school we will arrange extra transfer visits for your child. Parents are encouraged to visit the new school.  The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) and/or headteacher will always communicate with the new school to ensure that all information is passed on about your child. If a CAF (Common Assessment Framework) is in place, staff from the new school will be invited to a meeting, so that the parents can have the opportunity to speak with them together with any other professionals involved.

    For transition to Hartismere High School or any other high school in the area, any child on the Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities register or any child with an additional need is discussed both with the Year 7 liaison teacher and the SENCO from the high school. Usually the specialists at the high schools are keen to meet or have a discussion with parents and these usually start towards the end of Year 5, especially if the needs are complex and additional provision would need to be put in place to support transition.

    Throughout Years 5 and 6, all children have many opportunities to visit Hartismere High School either through curriculum activities, planned transition events or to watch activities put on by the older students.

    There are termly meetings for all SENCOs from the local schools to get together to discuss latest issues, share information and update our plans for transition,

  • What training have the staff who are supporting children with SEND had?

    Our teachers regularly attend a range of training courses. We are also very lucky to have some very skilled teaching assistants working with us at St Botolphs. Our teachers and TAs have received training in many areas, including the following:

    Catch Up Literacy

    Elklan Speech and Language Support

    Early Literacy Support

    Brain gym

    Hand gym

    Dyslexia support

    Autism Spectrum Disorder support

    Supporting children with hearing difficulties

    Letters and Sounds Phonics



    Effective Assessment

    First Aid

    School Safe


    All staff receive regular training as part of Professional Development days. In September, we received more training on how to support children with literacy difficulties, which was delivered by a specialist from Leiston Dyslexia Outreach. Our most recent PD days consisted of i) School Safe training, which trained all staff on correct and safe behaviour management techniques, ii) phonics training (focusing on pure sound pronunciation and Jolly Phonics actions) and iii) an intervention audit.

  • Who can I contact for further information?

    Please contact the school office who will direct you to the correct person. We always advise that you speak with your child's class teacher first, however, where you wish for additional advise you can speak to the SENCo or the Headteacher. We may not be able to speak with you straight away, but we are happy to call you back or arrange a meeting.

    Should you feel that you need to make a formal complaint please click here to find our policy and procedure for complaints.


    School telephone - 01379 890 181

    School email - admin@st-botolphs.suffolk.sch.uk


    School Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator:

    Mrs N. Hunt (Temporary cover while Mrs E. Fitch is on maternity leave)



    Mr Mark Cobbold

Reviewed: 13th January 2016                              Next review: January 2017

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