SEND Information Report

Letter from the Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Education

Update to SEN information report in light of COVID-19.

The situation in which we find ourselves is fast-moving; as such, please note that this report is based on information available on 7.4.2020 and is subject to change.

What are the entitlements of children and young people with SEN when schools are closed due to Coronavirus?

All schools have been ordered to effectively close, retaining a skeleton staff to provide education for the children of key workers, and ‘vulnerable children.’

‘Vulnerable children’ include those who have a social worker and those with an Education Health Care Plan (EHC plan). The majority of children with SEN, who receive SEN Support at school but do not have an EHC plan, would be expected to stay home, if it is safe to do so, unless they have a social worker or a parent/carer who is a key worker.

What does this mean for my child who has an EHC plan?

Government guidance published on 22nd March states:

We expect most children and young people with EHC plans will fall into the following categories:

  • children and young people who would be at significant risk if their education, health and care provision and placement did not continue, namely those who could not safely be supported at home. This may include those with profound and multiple learning difficulties, and those receiving significant levels of personal care support.
  • children and young people whose needs can be met at home, namely those who are not receiving personal care from their educational setting, or whose limited need for personal care can be met in their family home.

On 24 March 2020, the Minister for Children and Families, Vicky Ford, wrote an open letter to children and young people with SEN, their parents/carers and families, and all others who support them. In this letter, the Minister makes clear that:

  • “[…] nurseries, schools, special schools, colleges and other training providers should undertake a risk assessment to establish the individual needs of each child or young person with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. This assessment should incorporate the views of the child or young person and their parents. This will inform the decision about whether they should continue in school or college, or whether their needs can be met at home safely.
  • If needs are best met at schools or colleges, we will support their school or college to meet their needs, wherever possible. For those on SEN support, schools, colleges and local authorities have discretion to use the same risk judgement to decide whether home or school is the safest setting for these children. It is, however, important that as many children as possible remain at home during this time in order to help reduce transmission rates.”

In addition to the risk assessments noted above  (to be carried out by schools), all families with children who attend Stockport schools and have an EHC plan will have received a welfare phone call from Stockport LA SEND team by 17th April. These calls are to check that families can access appropriate help and advice during the Covid-19 situation and to ensure that any risks to a child or young person’s health, wellbeing or safety if they do not receive a particular provision or intervention, are addressed.

My child has an EHC plan - do I have to send them in to school?

Despite schools staying open for some children, the guidance is quite clear: If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.

Under the Coronavirus Act, the criminal penalty for parents failing to send their children to school will be temporarily dis-applied. (N.B. At the time of writing, the Secretary of State has not yet officially made the order under the Coronavirus Act ordering schools to close and thereby dis-applying the criminal penalty, but we anticipate this will happen very soon.)

My child has an EHC plan - does the local authority still have a legal duty to deliver provision?

From a legal perspective this remains the case. However, given the likely significant disruption to staffing, it may be very difficult for schools or local authorities to deliver the precise provision in the EHC plan over the next few weeks. The Government has just passed the Coronavirus Act 2020 which contains two key amendments to the law:

  • The absolute duty to make the provision in an EHC plan (section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014) has been temporarily amended to a lesser duty to use ‘reasonable endeavours’.  This means that during the specified period the LA needs to do whatever it reasonably can to put provision in place, but if they cannot do so, they would not necessarily be breaching the law
  • The duty on schools to admit a child where the EHC plan names that school (section 43 of the Children and Families Act 2014) can be temporarily dis- applied.

As a school, we will continue to keep in touch with you. In the meantime, as parents/carers please contact us if you have any enquiries about the provision for your child including how we can help with any therapy plans for your child. Contact the SENCO at sarah.weekes@st-thomas.stockport.sch.uk

Again, if there could be a risk to your child or young person’s health, wellbeing or safety if they do not receive a particular provision or intervention, please raise this with us without delay.

My child has an EHC plan and was due to have an annual review. What will happen now?

Under the Coronavirus Act, the requirement to carry out annual reviews can also be temporarily disapplied where this is considered to be “appropriate and proportionate”. (The order bringing this into effect has not yet been made but we expect it to happen imminently.)

However, currently schools will continue to hold annual reviews if at all possible. This will of course need to be carried out remotely and we will speak to you first about how this will be managed to ensure that the contribution of parents and children/young people continue to be at the heart of the process.

A request for statutory assessment has been sent in for my child - do the LA still need to carry out EHC needs assessments?

Although the Minister’s open letter suggests that the government will be seeking to amend regulations on the timescales for EHC plan processes where this is appropriate because of COVID-19 as yet, no order has been passed to this effect. 

Stockport LA will continue to carry out any EHC needs assessments. On a practical basis, the LA’s ability to comply with deadlines may be occasionally hampered by staff absence and the way EHC needs assessments are conducted may be affected by the availability of staff and restrictions on face to face contact and working from home.  However, Stockport LA will endeavour to continue to fulfil statutory duties; we can obtain information and advice and conduct virtual meetings; as such decisions about whether or not to assess will continue to be made as far as is reasonably possible.

My child has an EHC plan and is still attending school - how will my child’s learning be supported at school?

It is important to note the school will not be providing a full curriculum; they will be providing care for the children and incorporating education provision and a range of activities, but this will NOT be fully in line with a child’s EHC provision.

How can I support my child’s learning at home?

If your child has an identified SEN (EHCP or SEN Support), the class teacher will take account of their needs when planning for and providing work to be completed at home. This may include:

  • suggesting different ways in which children can present their work;
  • giving more detailed instructions;
  • providing parents with suggestions to make tasks more practical in nature;
  • providing alternative work which is targeted at their level of need where they may not ordinarily access curriculum subjects at age expected levels.

School has a number of resources available to help you support your child at home during this period. Please refer to the SALT page for further support and resources to help at home as well as the coronavirus updates page that is updated regularly with support materials and ideas for home.

There are also some helpful resources on Stockport’s local offer:

https://stockport.fsd.org.uk/kb5/stockport/fsd/advice.page?id=zPgonwIQaX0

How can I help my child cope with the changes?

We understand that this is a significant change for many families. Please give yourself time to adjust to this new routine and above all, do not place too much pressure on yourself or your child to complete schoolwork. Maintaining positive mental health and emotional wellbeing is very important. There are some helpful resources on Stockport’s local offer:

https://stockport.fsd.org.uk/kb5/stockport/fsd/advice.page?id=zPgonwIQaX0

How long are schools likely be closed?

At this stage no-one is able to say exactly how long schools will stay closed, though it seems clear it’s more likely to be a matter of months rather than weeks, depending on how the pandemic progresses. Mr Williamson told MPs he would be “guided by scientific and medical advice” on reopening.

What plans will be made for re-integration and transition to new classes/schools?

We know that any transitions, especially for many of our children with SEN, can be stressful and needs to be well planned, in advance, and should not be introduced abruptly. We understand that re-integration back in to school and/or transition to a new class or school is going to be made even more challenging following the current situation.  Furthermore, we know that children’s reactions to returning to school will vary greatly and some children will need much more additional support.

As such, our aim is to plan carefully for transition and reintegration and work closely with you as parents/carers to help prepare your child/children and guide them through these transitions carefully. The Local Authority are currently planning guidelines and processes which we will then adapt for our school and to meet the needs of your child. Once these guidelines are agreed, we will be in touch with all parents/carers, including discussing any bespoke planning for individuals. As such, although we can’t tell you what the plans for transition will look like just yet, advice will be available from the LA by the end of April and as a school, we will then be in touch to begin the planning process with you as parents/carers.

Who can I contact?

We realise that these are difficult times for everyone.  If you have any concerns or queries please contact sarah.weekes@st-thomas.stockport.sch.uk or call 0161 480 4742.

Helpline for families The ‘COVID-19 Stockport Community Helpline’ will help people most in need - who do not have friends or family to support them – to access key services that will help keep them safe and well by calling 0161 217 6046, Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm and on Saturdays from 10am to 4pm.

SHOUT service is a mental health service available 24hrs/7 days a week. Text GMStockport to 85258

Useful local links:

Stockport Local Offer: https://stockport.fsd.org.uk/kb5/stockport/fsd/advice.page?id=zPgonwIQaX0

PACTS (parents and carers together Stockport): http://pactstockport.co.uk/

Further useful information

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) has launched two new email inboxes aimed to answer questions, collate resources and share information on Coronavirus and the impact on children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). They are designed to be used by professionals, practitioners, parent carers and families of children and young people with SEND.

The new ‘CDC questions’ inbox, CDCquestions@ncb.org.uk , provides the opportunity to ask questions about how coronavirus will impact on children and young people with SEND as well as other questions relating to the impact on families; the education, health, social care sectors; and the voluntary and community sector. The CDC will collate Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and share them with the Department for Education and Ministers as appropriate, in order to publish an FAQs newsflash each Friday.

The ‘CDC resources’ inbox, CDCresources@ncb.org.uk, is designed to enable parent carers, sector professionals and practitioners to share resources, to support families of children and young people with SEND and practitioners across the disabled children’s sector. The CDC will add these resources to their COVID-19 Support and Guidance webpage:  https://councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/news-opinion/news/covid-19-support-and-guidance

The St Thomas Church of England Primary School SEND Information Report

The school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator is Sarah Weekes

At St Thomas Church of England Primary school we strive to support all children to ‘Believe to Achieve’. The 0-25 SEND Code of Practice identifies 4 broad areas of need and support. Special educational needs could mean that a child has a need in one of more of the following areas:

  • Cognition and learning

  • Communication and interaction

  • Social, emotional and mental health

  • Sensory and/or physical needs.

The progress and attainment of every pupil is reviewed termly by the Senior Leadership Team at which time provision may be adjusted to meet identified needs. You will be informed about your child’s progress at termly parents evening appointments and receive a written report in summer term.

If your child has a high level of difficulty on entry to school or continues to have difficulty after interventions, they may be considered to have Special Educational Needs. A graduated approach is applied and the school follows the assess-plan-do-review cycle for children supported by an SEND support plan or Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

How does St Thomas Church of England Primary School know if children need extra help?

The purpose of identification of need is to work out what action the school needs to take to support individual children. Early identification of needs is important to enable us to put the right support in place. We know when pupils need help by:

  • Concerns are raised by parents/carers, teachers or the child;

  • Ongoing assessment identifies that limited progress is being made;

  • Classroom observations; language assessments, motor skills assessments.

  • Regular pupil progress meetings take place with the headteacher and SENDCo to identify any children who may need additional support.

  • Information from external agencies.

What should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?

If you have concerns about your child then these should be discussed with the class teacher at the earliest opportunity, please make an appointment with the class teacher that is mutually convenient.

Alternatively, concerns can be discussed with the SENDCo, Sarah Weekes, or the Headteacher, Jill Gray.

How will St Thomas’ Church of England Primary School support my child?

Our school provides a broad and balanced curriculum for all children. Teachers set suitable learning challenges and respond to children’s diverse learning needs. Teachers take account of individual requirements and make provision, where necessary, to support individuals or groups of children and thus enable them to participate effectively in curriculum and assessment activities. Some children may need additional or different help from that given to other children of the same age.

If a pupil has needs related to more specific areas of their education then the pupil will be placed in a small focus group or complete the work one-to-one with a TA in the classroom.

A pupil may receive an intervention to boost their progress in areas such as phonics, spelling, motor skills, speech and language, social skills. The length of time of the intervention will vary according to need but will generally be for a term. The interventions will be regularly reviewed by all involved to ensure the effectiveness of the provision and to inform the next step in learning.

Every child identified as SEND will have an SEND support plan or EHCP if deemed necessary by the relevant agencies.

Every child in school has a One Page Progile to ensure pupil views and opinions are central to our inclusive provision.

It may be appropriate for a pupil to receive more expert support from an outside agency. A referral will be made by the SENDCo, with your consent and forwarded to the most appropriate agency.

Our SENDCo oversees all support and progress of any child requiring additional support in school.

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

When a pupil has been identified with special needs their work will be differentiated by the class teacher to enable them to access the curriculum more easily. Teaching Assistants (TAs) may be allocated to work with the pupil in a 1-1 or small focus group to target more specific needs. We have a pastoral lead, specialised LSA’s and an intervention teacher who can work with individual children on a needs basis.

If a child has been identified as having a special need, they will be given a SEND Support Plan. Targets will be set according to their area of need such as: cognition and learning; social emotional and mental health, sensory and/or physical needs; communication and interaction. Targets will be planned collaboratively with parents/carers and pupils then monitored by the class teacher and appropriate provision, as outlined in the plan, will be implemented.

If appropriate, specialist equipment may be given to the pupil e.g. writing slopes, pen/pencils grips, fiddle toys.

The classroom environments are dyslexic and autism friendly, for example, the use of visual timetables and brain break are incorporated into the day to support children.

We are committed to implementing Stockport’s SEND entitlement framework.

How will I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?

If your child has an SEND support plan or an EHC plan their targets will be shared with you, either by the class teacher or SENDCo, at least once per term and will usually be discussed at parents evening. In addition to the normal reporting arrangements there may also be a monitoring review with the SENDCO and other professionals to discuss needs further.

If your child has an EHCP you and your child will be involved in an annual review of needs or a Secondary School transfer review if they are in Year 5, the review will include reviewing the plan and sending review notes to the Local Authority.

Teachers will liaise with parents at the end of the school day if there have been any issues that have been raised during the school day. There are opportunities for all parents to attend curriculum mornings or afternoons throughout the school year, please see half-termly planners for more information. It is important school work closely with parents/carers to ensure progress of individual children is supported and monitored.

The class teacher may suggest ways you can support your child at home, this may be in addition to the homework grids. Specific advice can be given to support your child if they are receiving an intervention such as SERI or Motor Skills United.

What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being?

The school offers a pastoral support for pupils who are encountering emotional/mental health difficulties. Members of staff such as the class teacher, Pastoral Lead, PSHE lead (Naomi Sparkes), SENDCO and Headteacher are available for pupils/parents who wish to discuss issues and concerns. Our school is committed to ensuring children develop resilience and are ‘mentally healthy’, teachers participate in regular training and are committed to providing an environment where children are valued, feel safe, have a sense of belonging and promote positive mental health.

Specialised support for some pupils is available through Primary Jigsaw or Primary Behaviour Support Service.

Pupils with medical needs

We aim to provide all children with all medical conditions the same opportunities as others at school. Pupils with medical conditions at this school will be supported so they have full access to education, school trips and physical education. We will help to ensure they can:

  • be healthy

  • stay safe

  • enjoy and achieve

  • make a positive contribution

  • achieve economic well-being

If a pupil has a medical need then a detailed Individual Care Plan is compiled with support from the school nurse in consultation with parents/carers. Where necessary and in agreement with parents/carers medicines are administered in school but only where a signed Medicine consent form is in place to ensure the safety of both child and staff member. We offer the flexibility to meet the needs of children with medical conditions. (Please refer to School Medical Conditions Policy for further information)

Behaviour

Our school is a restorative school, we use restorative questions to help repair harm/conflict, enable children to reflect on their behaviour and relationships with others.

We have a positive approach to behaviour management and consistent system of rewards and sanctions. Pupils can earn dojos and the pupil with the highest number of dojo points receive a prize at the end of the week. We have a weekly celebration assembly, which parents are invited to attend, to celebrate achievements and good behaviour during the week.

The majority of inappropriate behaviours are initially dealt with by the member of staff in charge. If a child fails to respond to the action taken above they will be sent to the Headteacher, or in her absence, the most senior member of staff available.

Children who persistently find it difficult to respond to the actions taken and consequently have many recorded incidents (via CPOMS) will be brought to the attention of the SENDCo/Primary Behaviour Support Service/Pastoral lead so that an Individual Behaviour Plan or My Plan can be implemented. Parents will be invited to be involved in this process. Outside agencies may also be contacted. Exclusions will only be used as a last resort. If it is considered necessary to exclude a child from school we will follow the Stockport LEA guidelines. (Please refer to school Behaviour Policy for more information)

What specialist services and expertise are available or accessed by the setting?

At St Thomas’ we work closely with a range of agencies which include-

  • Learning Support Service (LSS) teacher at school for half a day per week to work one-to-one with children with cognition and learning needs, as identified by the SENDCo/headteacher.

  • Primary Behaviour Support Service teacher once per week, works with individual children/groups.

  • An Educational Psychologist is allocated to the school, she normally works with children who have significant and complex needs, who have an EHCP or are in the process of an EHCP referral.

  • Let’s Communicate speech therapist one day per week to work assess children, refer to the core SALT service, provide individual or group intervention.

  • In addition to the above agencies, we also work closely with Speech and Language Therapy, Primary Jigsaw, Occupational Therapy, Sensory Support Service and make referrals where necessary.

  • We work together with the school nurse and social services, the schools DSL (designated safeguarding lead) is the Headteacher.

At times it may be necessary to consult with other agencies which include: GPs, Paediatricians, Physiotherapists, Ethnic Diversity Service, Signpost Young Carers, Social Services, School Age+ Workers, Health Visitors, Parent Partnership, HYMS.

What training are the staff supporting young people with SEN having/had?

The SENDCo has completed the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordinator.

The SENDCo and SEND learning support assistant have received training to implement three highly successful interventions; SERI (Stockport Early Reading Intervention); Motor Skills United; Motivational Maths. Training within school is being provided to teaching assistants to enable them to also deliver these interventions within the classroom.

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 on SEND issues such as ASD and Speech and language difficulties relating to using visuals and social stories.

Individual teachers and support staff attend training courses run by outside agencies that are relevant to the needs of specific children in their class.

All staff have received training on social and emotional wellbeing and mental health (September 2020)

All staff have received Attachment training delivered in partnership with Virtual Schools. (January 2020)

How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom?

We will endeavour to include all children in all activities; special arrangements can be made for children with additional needs.

How is St Thomas’ accessible to children with SEND?

The building is accessible to children with physical disability via ramps. The ground floor of the building is accessible to those with physical disabilities.

We ensure that equipment used is accessible to all children regardless of their needs. Specialist equipment is used for children on an individual needs basis.

After school provision is accessible to all children including those with SEND.

Extracurricular activities are accessible for children with SEND.

What support does St Thomas Church of England Primary School offer for transition?

Transition between key stages is planned and delivered effectively; there is a transition unit to support all children moving from the EYFS to Key Stage 1.

Transition to Secondary School: For children with SEND a transfer review is arranged with the receiving Secondary School. A transition plan will be devised where necessary and extra visits to the secondary school can be arranged as appropriate. Transition to Secondary School is managed sensitively and with the support of pupils and parents/carers. Outside agencies can offer support and advice when appropriate.

Arrangements for admission

Please refer to Stockport’s School Admission Policy.

If you have any contributions to our school offer or would like any further advice, please inform the SENCo.

Inclusion policy

SEND policy

What to do if I have a complaint:

All complaints will be taken seriously and treated with care and sensitivity.

If you have any comments or concerns please address them to the SEND Lead or the Senior Leadership Team in the first instance. The majority of concerns expressed by parents are dealt with on an informal basis within the school itself. If you feel the situation isn’t resolved then the next step is to contact the Headteacher. If it cannot be resolved at this stage, the parent / carer is directed to the Chair of Governors. 

Stockport SEND Local Offer

For further information about SEND in Stockport please visit their Local Offer page