On these pages you should be able to find the answers for many frequently asked questions relating to what we offer children in our school who have a Special Educational Need (SEN) This information has been put together by a wide set of people including the Head, INCo (Inclusion Coordinator), teachers and parents and will be reviewed every year. If you do not find what you are looking for then please ask us. If you have any suggestions or comments then please let us know!
If your child’s class teacher cannot help you, the best contacts are:
Head teacher: Helen Avey
Inclusion Coordinator: Antonia McConnell Smith
SEN Governor: Vickie Hellyer
School secretary: Antoinette Flavin firstname.lastname@example.org
All children can expect a fully inclusive, well differentiated education at our school, some children may need additional support during their time with us and a few children will need more precise, specialist input.
1.What should I do if I think my child may have a special educational need?
If you think that your child may have a problem at school, talk to us!
How does the school know about my child’s progress and if they need extra help?
At our school all children are continually assessed in a variety of ways and this information is used at termly Pupil Progress Meetings (PPM).
At these meetings the class teacher, the Inclusion Coordinator (INCo) and member of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) will discuss the progress of all children in the class and have an opportunity to compare against both age related expectations and also prior attainment. They will also take an opportunity to chat about the children’s general development, including aspects of their social and emotional wellbeing and include any information and concerns from parents.
Based on these meetings, decisions will be made around the current need for additional support for some children and exactly what that will look like for the child. These meetings also help us write our “Inclusion Register” a living record for the school about children, their needs and what we are doing to remove barriers to learning and happiness.
Click this link to have our pupil progress cycle explained in more detail, you will find details about Provision Maps PM and Individual Education Plans IEPs in this link.
2. How will school staff support my child and who might work with them?
All staff have a duty to support all children within the school environment and our INCo oversees the additional support that some children need.
All classes have daily support from additional staff such as Teaching Assistants, specialist TAs and Support Teachers who always work in partnership with the class teacher to provide appropriate support.
At any time the team may decide that some children require a greater level of input from these additional adults and depending upon the need this may be small group, paired or 1:1 support (child may be at Focus, Provision Map (PM) or Individual Education Plan (IEP) level- please see link to pupil progress review cycle above) This work may be supported by either the teacher or the TA.
This support is reviewed regularly and will vary according to need. Teachers will share this information regarding additional support with parents at or around the time of the termly parents’ evenings.
A few children require more specific provision and in some instances it may be appropriate to seek advice from external professionals in order to appropriately support the child in school. This may mean that the child is visited by another professional (with parental consent) or that the staff are trained or supported by the agency.
3. How will I know how my child is doing and how might I be involved in discussions and planning?
The school has two parent consultation evenings, an open evening and detailed written report in the summer term for all children. This means that each term, teachers will give you an idea of your child’s progress in relation to age related expectations, allowing you a better understand where your child fits within the ‘national picture’. When reporting progress, we will also talk to you about the child’s starting point for that academic year or Key Stage. It is important to recognise that your child can be making ‘good progress’ in relation to this starting point but still be working below age related expectations.
Some children who are on a Provision Map or an IEP will have this reviewed termly and the review and new targets will be shared with parents and children around or at the time of the consultations. Parent consultations are a good opportunity to hear how you feel your child is getting on although the short time slot can mean that a separate appointment at another time might be better. Our INCo is available on these nights to either join you and the class teacher at the main appointment, or see you separately about a concern.
The school has an ‘open door policy’ which allows for more regular updates and also the opportunity for parents to liaise with other appropriate staff, such as the INCo, either in person, on the phone or via email.
For a few children who have an external agency involved or those with a statement of SEN or EHCP (Education Health and Care Plan) the parent will be involved in review meetings.
In some instances a ‘home-school book’ or similar system may be used where increased, regular communication is thought useful to sustain over a period of time.
Feedback forms are used by the INCo following some meetings as a way of reflecting on and reviewing how well we work with parents. We value what you say and appreciate the time you take to complete these.
4.How will the learning and development provision be matched to my child’s needs?
All class teachers use an ongoing assessment cycle to appropriately differentiate, make the work of suitable challenge, for all children within class. Assess, plan, do, and review. Any “differentiation” is made clear on teacher’s planning and evaluations and is monitored by school.
Where additional support is in place for some children, the class teacher, support staff and INCo monitor and review progress of such interventions via a shared communication sheet.
In order to meet the needs of the pupils fully, staff may also draw from a wide variety of different interventions, strategies or services running at or available to the school.
Click this link to see Highbury current “Provision Overview” for further examples.
5. What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?
We are a happy school. Your child’s wellbeing is paramount and we pride ourselves on our inclusive environment. Class teachers are regularly reflecting on the wider wellbeing of the individuals in their class.
The School has clear policies and guidelines around such things as medical needs, personal care, equality and behaviour and bullying which you are welcome to read or discuss further as and when the need arises.
Day to day, all children’s emotional health is well supported with such things as PSHE sessions in class and some children may additionally be offered mentoring or “drawing and talking” sessions, social stories’ work or social club.
The school also has access to further services provided via the “Hitchin Partnership of schools” such as counselling and parent support workers, who help support families in our community. Do talk to our INCo if you think they can help your family.
A few vulnerable children are given “pupil passports” an “at a glance” information sheet about a child, developed in collaboration with the teacher, child and parent. These are shared with all staff including MSAs and are also available for visiting teachers in order to maintain a consistent and understanding approach towards a pupil with very specific needs.
6.What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?
The school has a bespoke response to supporting children and families and so, depending on need, we use a wide range of expertise, services and other professionals in order to ensure your child’s happiness and progress. This might include:-
School health, Speech and Language Therapy, The Educational Psychology service, The Leys SpLd Base, The Communication Disorder Team, Education Support Centre and Family and Parent support workers.
We also regularly liaise with Occupational Health and Physiotherapy, The Child Development Centre and Children’s Services.
The school currently has trained mentors, as well as ELKLAN (Speech and Language) trained staff.
7. What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND, had or are having?
The INCo has completed the SENCo Award and continues to update her knowledge regularly as the need arises. She recently attended nurture group training in order to look further into the social and emotional support offered at the school.
Click this link for more detail on our wider involvement in SEN
All staff support children with SEND to a lesser or greater degree. The school therefore has a biannual general focus for all staff on the two current major areas of need in our school: autism and dyslexia. Each in turn is revisited and “good practise” revised, reinforced and shared. We monitor our “inclusive environment” regularly.
All staff benefit from regular CPD both in school and via external providers. This training will vary depending upon the relative experience of the staff and specific needs identified both on an individual and school-wide basis. We update our epipen training every year.
TAs at our school have their own INSET day every spring. The content of this day are based around TAs own requests and areas of emerging need as perceived by the INCo and SLT.
Individual staff training takes place as need arises. This may be identified by the teacher at Pupil Progress Meetings or may be directly linked to a new or existing intervention. Where possible the teacher and TA are trained at the same time and training is facilitated in school so as to include the widest possible audience.
The school may also draw from online resources and training such as those provided by the Dyslexia SpLd Trust, Autism Education Trust or The Nurture Group Network.
The school belongs to two groups. The Hitchin Schools Partnership and the larger, North Herts DSPL (Developing Special Provision Locally) Both groups support the school and therefore the children with a range of training opportunities and access to experts.
8.How will you help me to support my child’s learning?
At our school we hold regular curriculum meetings to help you support your child. Curriculum Evenings tend to be around the areas of Maths and English and can cover such things as phonics, spelling, grammar and numeracy skills. Decisions on the content of the evening are made in response to parent questionnaires and emerging need.
You will receive regular class newsletters and curriculum plans to help you stay in touch with what the class is doing that half term.
Our website is another source of useful information and worth checking from time to time.
Parent consultations are another opportunity to discuss the support you can give your child at home but teachers are happy to discuss how you can support your child at home on a more personal basis where the need arises.
PM or IEP reviews often contain strategies and ideas that can be worked on at home.
All classes have an expectation of homework, which will vary in content and quantity from year group to year group and child to child. This should be made clear to you at the start of the year, if in doubt please ask.
Please let the school know if your literacy or numeracy is an issue for you at home so that we can support you further.
9.How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?
Ours is an inclusive school and the needs of all children will be considered in the planning of any trip or event.
School trips are planned meticulously using County’s Risk Assessment format, which will include individual risk assessments where needed. Staff allocation will be informed by this process. Parents may be involved at all stages of the planning and delivery of any school trip or event to ensure success.
10.How accessible is the school environment?
Our school is built on split levels however we have been subject to certain modifications in recent times, including slopes, auditory and visual aids to allow better access for pupils and parents. We have a toilet with wheelchair access.
The classrooms are regularly reviewed to ensure they are as inclusive as possible to all children, this might include things like easily accessible equipment to support learning. Different font sizes and coloured paper are used for a few children as required.
To support parents the school also has access to a variety to interpreters including signing.
11.How will the school prepare and support my child at times of transfer?
Change can be difficult for all children to manage but can be a particular challenge for those with SEND.
The INCo works across both Highbury and Whitehill schools and so will be a consistent person in your family’s life until year 6, she has close links with both the local pre-schools as well as the 3 Hitchin secondaries. This prior knowledge and understanding of the journey so far that some children and families have made, helps to make the transition between the two schools and beyond as smooth as possible.
Pupil Passports are used for a few vulnerable children at transition times and depending on the child additional visits, parent meetings, support, mentoring, photographs and information on the new teacher or environment may also be part of supporting your child’s transition.
12.How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational need?
The School’s SEN budget allocation is predominantly used to provide additional staff support that will be used strategically to support as much identified need as possible.
A smaller percentage is used for specific training and to purchase resources and equipment as necessary; all of which is again deployed according to need.
A few children with “High Needs” that require more support than the school budget can sustain, may need the school to apply for additional funding from a County held pot of money known as the Exceptional Needs budget. An application can be submitted termly to a panel and the needs of the child will then be compared against applications from the rest of the district in order to ensure its’ “exceptionality” before agreeing the application. Parents will always be consulted if the school is to try and apply for additional funding for their child.
13.How is the decision made about how much support my child will receive?
Decisions around support allocated to children, comes from the class teacher and also as a result of the termly Pupil Progress Meetings, as well as prior knowledge of the needs of children new to the school.
Of course our decisions must form part of a whole school strategic view and take account of all the children’s’ best interests. All classes have adult support and each term we look at the picture of need and decide on groups or paired work and their focus areas, as well as any training that might necessitate.
As the INCo works at both Highbury and Whitehill she is able to predict and put into place support as the children change the Key Stages. Training needs for teachers and TAs around very specific need can therefore largely be anticipated and attended to prior to children joining the school.
Please talk to us! We truly believe that an open, honest conversation is the best way to resolve any problem you might have.
If you do not feel able to do this, The Parent Partnership Service (see below) may be able to answer any questions you have or support you in talking to us. email@example.com
We have a complaints policy that you may wish to read.
INCo = Inclusion Coordinator (responsible for SEN)
SMT = Senior Management Team (Including the Head teacher)
PPM = Pupil Progress Meeting (termly meeting with Class teacher, INCo and Senior leader)
PM = Provision Map (outline of additional provision for a child. First step on school SEN framework)
IEP = Individual Education Plan (Smaller SMART targets. Second step on school SEN framework)
Useful Things to know!
HAND-Hertfordshire Additional Needs Database (information, concessions, support groups for children and parents)
The Parent Partnership Service-an impartial information, advice and support service funded by Hertfordshire County Council for parents, carers, young people(0-25) and professionals.
Angels Support Group-For parents of children with ASD/ADHD Meeting weekly in Hitchin on a Tuesday morning.
Rainbows-An informal group run by Whitehill and Highbury Parents for parents of any child with SEND. Meeting once a month on a Friday at Bluebell Children’s Centre.
www.hertschildrenscentres.org.uk/bluebell Bluebell Children’s Centre also run other groups for parents that may be relevant to your families need. Call or see their website for details
To download this information as a pdf click here