St Mary of the Angels Catholic Primary School

SEN Information

As a Voluntary aided Catholic primary school within the Walsall Authority, our approach to meeting the needs of pupils with Special Educational Needs is similar to other Catholic and maintained primary schools within the Local Authority. The LA support us to facilitate the best possible progress in school for all pupils irrespective of their specific needs.

All schools are supported to be as inclusive as possible, with the needs of pupils with Special Educational Need/s being met in a mainstream setting wherever possible, where families want this to happen.

Please find below a set of 14 questions which we hope will support you in understanding what we can offer for your child and how we can work best as a team. We hope you find it useful and welcome your comments.

Please click on each question to find out more:

Q1: What kinds of special educational needs might the children at St. Mary of the Angels School have?

Special educational needs and provision can be considered as falling under four broad areas:

  • Communication and interaction
  • Cognition and learning
  • Social, mental and emotional health
  • Sensory and/or physical

Communication and interaction

Children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) have difficulty in communicating with others. This may be because they have difficulty saying what they want to, understanding what is being said to them or they do not understand or use social rules of communication. The profile for every child with SLCN is different and their needs may change over time. They may have difficulty with one, some or all of the different aspects of speech, language or social communication at different times of their lives.

Children and young people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, including Asperger's Syndrome and Autism, are likely to have particular difficulties with social interaction. They may also experience difficulties with language, communication, social interaction and imagination, which can impact on how they relate to others.

Cognition and learning

Support for learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation. Learning difficulties cover a wide range of needs, including moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD), where children are likely to need support in all areas of the curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication, through to profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), where children are likely to have severe and complex learning difficulties as well as a physical disability or sensory impairment.

Specific learning difficulties (SpLD), affect one or more specific aspects of learning. This encompasses a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.

Social, emotional and mental health difficulties

Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained. Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attachment disorder.

Sensory and/or physical needs

Some children and young people require special educational provision because they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided. These difficulties can be age related and may fluctuate over time. Many children and young people with vision impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) or a multi-sensory impairment (MSI) will require specialist support and/or equipment to access their learning. Children and young people with an MSI have a combination of vision and hearing difficulties, which makes it even more difficult for them to access the curriculum or study programme than for those with a single sensory impairment.

Some children and young people with a physical disability (PD) require additional ongoing support and equipment to access all the opportunities available to their peers.

Q2: Who are the best people to talk to in this school about my child's difficulties with learning/Special Educational Needs or disability (SEND)?

Our Inclusion Manager (including supporting SEN) - Mrs Lewis. Mrs Lewis, in conjunction and close liaison with the head teacher, takes joint responsibility for:

  • Coordinating all the support for children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) and developing the school's SEND Policy to make sure all children get a consistent, high quality response to meeting their needs in school, in line with changes at statutory and at school level, in conjunction with the head teacher.
  • Ensuring that you are:
    - involved in supporting your child's learning;
    - kept informed about the support your child is getting;
    - involved in reviewing how they are doing.
  • Liaising with all the other people who may be coming into school to help support your child's learning eg. Speech and Language Therapy; Educational Psychology; Occupational health, The LA Early Help team (who offer family liaison and support where they feel they can be of assistance); Senior advisory teachers (who can assist with advice, training and guidance for tried and tested interventions and who can signpost school to more specific support as needed.
  • Updating the school's SEND register (a system for ensuring all the SEND needs of pupils in this school are known) and making sure that there are appropriate records of your child's progress and needs.
  • Providing specialist support for teachers and support staff in the school so they can help children with SEND in the school achieve the best progress possible.

Our class teachers (sometimes this may be more than one teacher depending on which class your child is in and the overall needs of that class). They are responsible for:

  • Checking on the progress of your child and identifying, planning and delivering/co-ordinating the delivery of any additional help your child may need (this could be things like targeted work, additional support) in conjunction with our Inclusion Manager as appropriate.
  • Planning appropriately and setting achievable, measurable suitably challenging targets based on any previous progress. Sharing and reviewing these with parents termly enabling appropriate planning for the next term for all – pupil, parent and teaching team.
  • Ensuring that all staff working with your child in school are helped to deliver the planned work/programme for your child, so they can achieve the best possible progress. This may involve the use of additional adults, outside specialist help and specially planned work and resources.
  • Ensuring that the school's SEND Policy is followed in their classroom and for all the pupils they teach with any SEND.

Our Headteacher - Mrs O'Hara. She is responsible for:

  • The day to day management of all aspects of the school, this includes the support for children with SEND and the co-ordination of the role of SENCo.
  • Delegating responsibility to the Inclusion manager and class teachers whilst still ensuring that your child's needs are met within the setting that St Mary of the Angels offers.
  • Communicating appropriately to the Governing Body to make sure that they are kept up to date about any issues in the school relating to SEND.

SEN Governor - Mrs Wilkinson. She is responsible for:

  • Making sure that the necessary support is made for any child who attends the school who has SEND.

Q3: What are the different types of support available for children with SEND at St Mary of the Angels?

Class teacher input via quality, differentiated, targeted classroom teaching also known as Quality First Teaching

For your child this would mean:

  • That the teacher has the highest possible expectations for your child and all pupils in their class.
  • That all teaching is based on building on what your child already knows, can do and can understand.
  • That the teacher is also aware of the need to revisit, revise and consolidate as appropriate within the differing groups in her/his classroom.
  • Different ways of teaching are in place so that your child is fully involved in learning in class. This may involve things like using more practical learning.
  • Specific strategies (which may be suggested by the SENCO or outside staff) are in place to support your child to learn.
  • Your child's teacher will have checked on your child's progress and will have identified gaps in their understanding/learning; this will then trigger a need for some type of extra support to help them make the best possible progress.

All children in school should be getting this as a part of quality classroom practice when needed.

Specific group work with in a smaller group of children

This group, often called an intervention or booster group in school, may be run

  • in the classroom
  • in a smaller teaching area in school;

and may be facilitated by a teacher or a Teaching assistant, who has had appropriate training to run these groups.

For your child this would mean:

  • He/she will engage in group sessions with specific targets to help him/her to make more progress regularly for an identified period of time.
  • A Learning Support Assistant/teacher or outside professional (like a Speech and Language Therapist) will run these small group sessions using the teacher's plan.

This type of support is available for any child who has specific gaps in their understanding of a subject/area of learning. It is used across an identified fixed period of time(usually between 8-10weeks) before children are re assessed and targets are reviewed as appropriate. Parents are kept updated on progress and next steps.

Specialist groups or individual support for your child run by outside agencies, eg. Speech and Language therapy, Educational Psychologist advice and consultations, Occupational therapy groups, etc

These are groups or individual support for children who have been identified by the class teacher/Inclusion Manager/Senior Management team as needing some extra specialist support in school from a professional outside the school. This may be from:

  • Local Authority central services such a Educational Psychology or the Sensory Service ( for students with a hearing or visual need).
  • Local Authority central services such as the Speech and Language therapy.
  • Other outside agencies such as CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service) and other Senior Advisory services and teaching bodies such as the B'Ham LA Advisory SEN Support service.

For your child this would mean:

  • Your child will have been identified by the class teacher/Inclusion Manager/Senior Management team (or you will have raised your worries) as needing more specialist input instead of, or in addition to quality first teaching and intervention groups.
  • You will be asked to come to a meeting to discuss your child's progress and help plan possible ways forward.
  • You may be asked to give your permission for the school to refer your child to a specialist professional, eg. a Speech and Language Therapist or Educational Psychologist. This will help the school and yourself understand your child's particular needs better and be able to support them better in school.
  • The specialist professional will work with your child to understand their needs and make recommendations, which may include:
    - Making changes to the way your child is supported in class, eg. some individual support or changing some aspects of teaching to support them better.
    - Support to set better targets which will include their specific expertise.
    - A group run by school staff under the guidance of the outside professional, eg. a social skills group.
    - A group or individual work with outside professional.
  • The school may suggest that your child needs some agreed individual support in school. They will tell you how the support will be used and what strategies will be put in place.

This type of support is available for children with specific barriers to learning that cannot be overcome through Quality First Teaching and intervention groups.

Specified Individual support each week in school

Until September 2014 this support was provided via a Statement of Special Educational Needs. Government legislation now means that all new assessments will be via an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Walsall Local Authority in their most recent SEN Newsletter (July 2014) advised parents and schools that existing statements will be converted to EHCP, across a 3 year period, with ample notification in advance to all. In the mean time, here at St Marys, we will continue to implement the advice identified on all statements in place currently.

This type of support means your child will have been identified by the class teacher/ Inclusion Manager/ Senior management team as needing a particularly high level of individual or small group teaching which cannot be provided from the normal budget available to the school.

Usually your child will also need specialist support in school from a professional outside the school. This may be from:

  • Local Authority central services such as Educational Psychology or Sensory Service (for students with a hearing or visual need).
  • Local Authority central services such as Speech and Language therapy, Early Help team (who offer family liaison and support where they can be of assistance).
  • Other outside agencies such as CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service)and other Senior Advisory services and teaching bodies such as the B'Ham LA Advisory SEN Support service.

For your child this would mean:

  • The school, parent or Early Help representative (if your child is receiving support from the Walsall Early help or Family support teams)) can request that the Local Authority carry out the new assessment towards developing an EHCP. A key worker will be appointed at this stage to assist in ensuring that the correct information is appropriately forwarded to the LA SEND department for assessment. This may be a member of school staff.
  • The assessment will be made based on the evidence presented by all professionals. Children's views feature strongly in the new approaches to assessing needs. Schools are now much more involved in shaping the provision for children and parents are much more involved, in consultation with schools, in decisions about resources to support children's progress.
  • The time taken to produce an EHCP plan, should the request be successful, is now 6 weeks shorter than the old statementing process, and should take 20 weeks.
  • In the event of a request being unsuccessful, parents will be informed and advised on next steps by the LA.

This type of support is available for children whose learning needs are:

  • Severe, complex and lifelong.
  • Need considerable weekly personal support.

Q4: What do I do if I am worried about my child's progress in school?

  • If you have concerns about your child's progress you should speak to your child's class teacher initially.
  • If you are not happy that the concerns are being managed and that your child is still not making progress you should speak to the Inclusion manager or Head teacher.
  • If you are still not happy you can speak to the school SEND Governor.

Q5: How will the school let me know if they have any concerns about my child's learning in school?

If your child is identified as not making progress the school will:

  • set up a detailed meeting to discuss this with you;
  • listen to any concerns you may have too;
  • discuss/plan any additional support your child may receive;
  • discuss with you any referrals to outside professionals to support your child's learning.

Q6: How is extra support allocated to children?

  • The school budget, received from Walsall LA, includes money for supporting children with SEND.
  • The Headteacher, in conjunction with the Senior leaders of the school, decides on the budget for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in consultation with the school governors, on the basis of identified priorities for the best possible progress.
  • The Headteacher, the Senior management team and the SENCo discuss all the information they have about SEND in the school, including:
    - the children getting extra support already;
    - the children needing extra or different support;
    - the children who have been identified as not making as much progress as would be expected;
    - expertise of staff.
    These are then discussed at an IPM meeting (Improvement partnership meeting) and decisions are made as to what resources/training and support is needed for staff and for children and who can best support those needs across a term. These meetings take place 3 times each year.
  • All resources/training and support are reviewed regularly and changes made as needed.

Q7: Who else might my child have support from, professionally at St Mary's?

  • Educational Pyschology service - these are a team of Educational Pyschologists who offer expert advice in assisting children who have problems progressing with their education as a result of emotional, psychological, cognitive (learning) or behavioural issues. They can assist with many specific and complex needs including ASD and dyslexia; they can support children with social and behavioural difficulties and recommend/ support appropriate interventions . We receive a core entitlement from the LA but also fund additional visits from this service on a termly basis.
  • Speech and Language service - these are a team of Speech and Language experts who assist in helping children to reach their maximum potential in communication. They also support young children who have issues with eating or drinking and can make referrals and request assessments as they deem appropriate, in conjunction with the picture school and parents present. We receive a core entitlement from the LA but also fund additional visits from this service on a termly basis.
  • Pupil support services (B'Ham LA) - PSS teachers visit schools across the city. As the name of the service suggests, they help staff in schools in supporting individual pupils as well as providing assistance to schools in establishing effective systems for including children with special educational needs. They also are effective in signposting school to appropriate specialist support in Dyslexia and/or ASD as required. We buy into this service as Walsall no longer provide schools with a core entitlement. We receive regular visits.

Other specialist services we can and do call upon as required include:

  • Occupational health and Occupational therapy - these two providers offer specific courses for identified children based on their own assessments- they also provide advice and monitor this as needed - reporting to school and parents. They also support school to deliver interventions and individualised programmes depending on children's needs.
  • Sensory Service for children with visual or hearing needs.
  • Our designated school nurse - she provides support in updating medical training, Individual Medical care plans and any specific training pertaining to these.
  • CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental health) - these are a group of professionals who support a variety of children with needs which have resulted in their referral to CAMHS by either parents, doctors etc. They work alongside staff, parents and children identifying next steps in progress and supporting effective monitoring of interventions.

Q8: How are other adults in school used to support pupils with special educational needs or disabilities?

  • We have a team of able Teaching Assistants who are trained at differing levels to support pupils with a range of educational, social and emotional needs.
  • Our team of Teaching Assistants are able to effectively support individuals or groups of children in the classroom and undertake small group or one-to-one support, as appropriate, to meet the needs of pupils with special educational needs or disabilities.
  • We have a Speech and Language Therapist and an Educational Psychologist who work in school each half term to advise and support children and staff.
  • Our Inclusion Manager is an important member of our team who, although new to the school, works along teaching assistants and class teachers to support and monitor the progress and general experiences for children with SEND at St Mary's. She has an excellent knowledge of how to support you and your child and is able to identify needs of individuals and or groups of children and/or staff as they arise.

Q9: How is teaching adapted for children with SEND?

  • Our Class Teachers plan lessons according to the specific needs of all groups of children in their class, and will ensure that your child's needs are met.
  • Our Support staff with specific areas of expertise can adapt the teachers planning to support the needs of your child, where necessary.
  • Specific resources and strategies are used to support your child individually and in groups.
  • Planning and teaching is adapted on a daily basis as appropriate to meet your child's learning needs.
  • We use class and personal visual timelines to help children to understand what activity is coming next.
  • Our support staff and staff are able to use basic Makaton signs.
  • We promote dyslexia friendly approaches to handwriting at KS2 and in Autumn 2014 we will be furthering these approaches to include Y2-Y6.
  • Our creative curriculum weeks celebrate the different learning styles of all pupils and support inclusion and differentiation addressing the needs of all of our pupils. We give children the opportunity to record their work in a range of different forms which suits their needs and enables them to experience success.
  • Our curriculum aims to bring learning to life and wherever possible enables the child to experience and be a part of their learning. We encourage educational visits for all and arrange for visitors to come and enable all children to access and benefit from this learning.

Q10: How will my child's progress be measured in school?

  • We offer an open door policy where you are welcome to make an appointment to meet with either the class teacher or SENCO and discuss how your child is getting on. We can offer advice and practical ways that you can help your child at home.
  • We believe that your child's education should be a partnership between parents and teachers, therefore we aim to keep communication channels open and communicate regularly, especially if your child has complex needs.
  • If your child is on the SEND register they will have individual targets put in to place to support their needs. These will be discussed and reviewed, with staff, parents and pupils, on a termly basis. The targets set are SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, Time scaled) targets with the expectation that the child will achieve the target by the time it is reviewed.
  • As a school we measure all children's progress in learning against national expectations and age related expectations.
  • These are shared with Governors and specific groups, including SEND children, are tracked carefully within each year group and over time.
  • The class teacher continually assesses each child and notes areas where they are improving and where further support is needed. As a school, we track children's progress from entry through to Year 6, using a variety of different methods.
  • Where progress is not what we expect, staff use a variety of more specialised assessment tools to monitor rates of progress in a more detailed way, using nationally recognised alternative scales which compliment and dovetail into current levels of attainment and expected progress measures.
  • Children who are not making expected progress are picked up through termly pupil progress meetings with the class teacher, relevant support staff, Head teacher, DHT and SENCO, where appropriate. In this meeting a discussion takes place concerning why individual children are experiencing difficulty and what further support can be given to aid their progression.
  • When the children's targets are reviewed the impact of the interventions are recorded and next steps identified.

Q11: How are the teachers in school helped to work with children with SEND and what training do they have?

The Inclusion Manager's job is to support the class teacher in planning for children with SEND.

The school has a training plan for all staff to improve the teaching and learning of children including those with SEND. This includes whole school training/specific training on SEND issues such as ASD, Downs Syndrome, Dyslexia and Speech and language difficulties.

Individual teachers and support staff attend training courses run by outside agencies that are relevant to the needs of specific children in their class. Providers of these vary from local providers such as our external specialism support teams, to Rushall SEN support and Walsall LA courses; from B'ham Catholic Partnership and B'ham LA courses and further afield to well established successful providers such as Staffordshire Regional College courses.

In 2013 2014 this CPD encompassed:

  • Child protection training Level 1 and 2
  • Asthma and Epi–pen training
  • Safe Guarding Level 1 and 2
  • Occupational Health training for identified staff members in an Occupational Therapy intervention called Cool kids-The programme is aimed at building up the motor skills of under achievers so that they can develop in physical activity and improve their ability to modulate their arousal levels
  • Autism awareness
  • Supporting children with emotional and behavioural difficulties in the classroom
  • Setting SMART targets
  • Using cued spelling effectively for children with dyslexic traits
  • Training and updates in using Precision reading and spelling to support children with dyslexia effectively
  • A focus on basic makaton - our support staff also delivered training for another school setting o Initial Training on SALT intervention groups for identified support assts o Forest schools training for Early Years Practitioners- this uses a Multi sensory approach to learning and builds particularly on kinaesthetic hands on approaches to learning in the early years setting, which can be developed further into the rest of the school.
  • Developing/Comparing the use of Social Stories for identified children and sharing/collating/pooling existing or adaptable social stories centrally.

Q12: What support is there for me as a parent of a child with SEND?

The SENCO will work closely with any external agencies that we feel are relevant to individual children's needs within our school including:

  • The class teacher is regularly available to discuss your child's progress or any concerns you may have and to share information about what is working well at home and school so similar strategies can be used.
  • The SENCO is regularly available to meet with you to discuss your child's progress or any concerns/worries you may have. She also runs regular coffee morning/drop in sessions to address concerns changes or new innovations in the curriculum or provision for your child.
  • School provide various workshops throughout the year identifying aspects of core curriculum teaching, including differentiation, which parents are encouraged to attend - these are always well attended and information is publishes on our website - the most recent example being the Phonics workshop run in June 2014.
  • All information from outside professionals will be discussed with you, with the person involved directly, or where this is not possible, in a report.
  • All target review meetings (formerly IEP meetings) will be reviewed with your involvement each term.
  • Specific booster clubs are successfully organised targeting pupils who experience difficulties with Basic mathematical concepts in Number, Phonic blending, reading comprehension or reading acquisition. Outcomes of such interventions are shared with parents.
  • A home/school contact book may be used to support communication with you, when this has been agreed to be useful for you and your child.

Q13: What other activities are available for pupils with SEN in addition to the curriculum?

  • We have a before and after school club with trained staff from school to support the needs of all children.
  • We operate personalised approaches to lunchtimes with identified children to ensure that they are inclusive, in a way that they can raise their self esteem and feeling of self worth and that does not exclude or impact on others.
  • We have a Supercoach who works with all children across the week to develop team spirit co-operation, challenge and resilience.
  • We have a number of lunchtime and after school clubs which cover a range of interests which include: dance, rugby, football, athletics, rounders, multi skills, cookery, music and gardening. Pupils with SEND are welcomed and included, additional support is offered as necessary to support access.

Q14: How will my child be supported when they are leaving this school or moving to a new class?

We recognise that transitions can be difficult for a child with SEND and take steps to ensure that any transition is a smooth as possible.

  • Children who join in Nursery are welcomed into our school community with a personal home visit by nursery staff. A series of parent and child taster sessions follows in preparation for their September start.
  • If your child is moving to another school:
    - We will contact the school SENCO/ Head teacher and ensure he/she knows about any special arrangements or support that need to be made for your child.
    - We will make sure that all records about your child are passed on as soon as possible.
  • When moving classes in school:
    - Information will be passed on to the new class teacher in advance and in most cases, a planning meeting will take place with the new teacher. Where possible new teachers and support staff will be invited to attend the target review meetings prior to the transition. Where appropriate and purposeful, a transition book with photographs and sometimes accompanied by Social stories, will be prepared and shared with parents for familiarisation over holiday periods.
    - Moving up preparatory visits to each classroom will be made for all children- those with SEND will be informed of times etc.
  • In Year 6:
    - Transition meetings with relevant outside agencies school staff parents, where possible and Secondary colleagues such as SENCO and Y7 tutors are facilitated. Relevant targets and transition worries/concerns are openly discussed and documented.
    - All children will have opportunities to complete focused learning about aspects of transition to support their understanding of the changes ahead.
    - Where possible all children with SEND will visit their new school on at least two occasions and in some cases staff from the new school will visit your child in this school.
    - A transition book will be facilitated and given to parents to share during the holidays.