School Offer for Students with Special Education Needs & Disabilities
1. How does the school know if children need extra help?
At Reach Academy, we follow a rigorous process to identify students who need extra help. Prior to admission, we consult with the child, their family, and professionals in the child’s previous setting to ascertain their educational needs. This is done through home visits to meet the child’s family, as well as visits to feeder primary schools and nurseries. The identification of a pupil with SEN is built into our overall approach to monitoring the progress and development of all our pupils.
Once students join us, the Inclusion Team carries out screenings for students who present as having special education needs. Students are selected for screening based on:
- prior data from their previous setting;
- their performance in baseline English and Maths assessments; and
- observations of students by teachers and the SENDCOs.
2. What should a parent/carer do if they think their child may have special education needs?
We have a proactive and rigorous process for identifying students with special education needs, which means that parents of students with will generally already be in regular contact with the school. If parents/carers have any additional concerns, they should contact the school on 020 8893 1099, and present their concern. This will be brought to the attention of our Inclusion Lead, Nicky McLachlan, who will follow up with the parent/carer within 48 hours to discuss the matter.
3. How will school staff support a child with special education needs?
The Inclusion Team will create Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for students with a statement/EHCP in consultation with the child, family, professionals and using information from assessments and screenings. The IEP will outline the student’s specific needs and strategies to effectively support the child, and will be shared with all staff who work with the child. The Inclusion Team will support staff to ensure that they implement the IEP appropriately, providing guidance where necessary. The SENDCO will keep the AEN register up to date for pupils with a need/s and provide strategies and guidance to staff for these children as well as providing feedback to parents on appropriate support and provision in school. We always inform parents when we are making special educational provision for their child.
4. Who will oversee and plan work with parents and children? How often will this happen?
The Inclusion Team will oversee and plan work with children and parents unless it is appropriate for the plan to be managed by a specific class teacher, or pupil and family support workers. In cases where the plan is not held by the SENDCO, the SENDCO will nevertheless be accountable for the plan and will liaise with professionals involved to ensure that the plan is implemented appropriately. The plan will be officially reviewed once every term, unless more regular reviews are needed. The staff member who manages the student’s IEP will be responsible for liaising with the child’s parents/carer at least once a term.
5. How will the curriculum be matched to a child’s needs?
Where possible the curriculum will be tailored around the child’s specific needs, with progress in Maths and English being a priority. Where significant differentiation within the curriculum is needed for these subjects, it is likely that the child will be withdrawn for these classes and will access the curriculum through a different pathway, usually in a small-group. In cases where a different pathway is not necessary, additional adults may provide in-class support so that the student can successfully access and engage with the curriculum.
6.What is the school’s approach to differentiation?
The school takes a rigorous approach towards differentiation. All teachers use varied teaching-learning approaches in the classroom to enable all students to access the curriculum. Teachers also scaffold learning activities, questions and homework so that students can successfully attempt and complete challenging and high-level work. In addition, teachers regularly assess students to ascertain their learning levels, and use this data to provide students with specific support/challenge as necessary.
7. How will the school and parents know how a child is doing?
Data is collected on each child’s progress regularly within the school, and is shared with parents once a term. Additionally, regular phone calls home and meetings will take place in keeping with each child’s need—this can be agreed as part of the child’s intervention plan. We recognize that parents may want information other than the child’s academic levels, for e.g., a student’s socio-emotional presentation and/or development, etc. Parents are always welcome to contact school to discuss this. If their child already has a designated member of staff who manages their IEP plan they can contact them. In addition, they can call the school to speak to the Inclusion Lead, and should expect the return of contact within 48 hours.
8. How will the school support parents to help their child’s learning?
We provide support in a way that considers child’s needs and family’s strengths. In Primary, a newsletter is shared with parents/carers each week which suggests ways to develop their child’s learning at home, for e.g. strategies for slipping maths into everyday life, and using a phonics-based approach for reading at home. In addition, there are regular in-person meetings for parents and the class teacher, to help parents develop the skills they need to support learning at home. For children who particularly need targeted support at home, these parent-meetings will be scheduled several times a term. Parents can also come and observe their child in class and work alongside staff allowing them to see strategies and approaches we use, which parent may then replicate at home.
In Secondary, we invite parents to come in and see their child in class/in one-to-one and small group settings, so that they can see how their child is being supported with their learning in school. Subject teachers and the SENDCOs will help parents develop complementary approaches at home.
9. When will parents be able to discuss a child’s progress?
Parents/carers will be invited into school for meetings with subject teachers (Secondary) and class teachers (Primary) at least three times annually. For parents and carers of children with special needs, there will also be one annual meeting to discuss progress made and a development plan for the year ahead. Some parents/carers will be invited to meet the SENDCOs and other staff at other times where this is considered necessary. In addition, parents and carers are invited to contact school staff with any concerns whenever needed, and can expect a response within 48 hours.
10. What support will there be for a child’s overall wellbeing and pastoral care?
At Reach a child’s overall wellbeing is of paramount importance. We pride ourselves on close relationships with children and families, and each aspect of school day is planned to maximise a positive and safe experience. For example we have a family model of dining where staff and children eat together, and in break-time teachers participate in activities with students. Form-time, enrichment, activities and residential trips are designed mindfully for students to form positive and trusting relationships with their peers and with staff.
We invest heavily in relationships with our students and their families. As a result, we find that children/families will report wellbeing concerns to us directly. Given that we are a small school (there are just 60 children in each year group), each and every child is known well by their teachers, and there are designated adults (e.g., form tutors, head of year, SENDCOs) who are responsible for pastoral care and ensuring students’ wellbeing. Teachers regularly speak to all students, and observe their interactions, emotions and behaviour. In cases where there is a wellbeing concern, staff will act immediately to address this—the child would be supported by their form tutor/class teacher, Head of Year, Inclusion Team as appropriate, and referred for additional support if necessary.
11. How are students’ medical and social-emotional needs addressed in and out of school?
Medical: The majority of staff members are first aid trained. Staff members are informed of students with specific medical or dietary needs, and medicines can be kept on the school-site for students. Where a child has complex medical or dietary need, parents can expect to create a healthcare plan with the Inclusion Lead.
Social-emotional needs: As outlined in Question 10 above, we have a wide range of strategies to create a safe and positive atmosphere at Reach. In addition we offer the following:
- We offer Place2be to students at Reach. These are regular weekly 50 minute counselling sessions, usually for the duration of one academic year. Students and families can self-refer for Place2Be, and staff can also refer students. As part of the counselling offer, 5 appointments are also available for parents/carers over the period of time child is in session.
- Students can self-refer for a 15-minute lunchtime counselling slot with our Place2Be lead.
- Our pupil/family support workers provide individualized support as per students’ need, this might include: small group social skills work, one-to-one targeted home-school check-ins to support organization/behaviour at home; support from the family-links parenting program on how families can better meet their child’s emotional needs, etc.
- We also refer to the CAMHS where the child needs more specialist support, and liaise with CAMHS professionals as per each child’s needs. We work with other providers inside Hounslow, for e.g. , Targeted Youth Support, Intensive Family Support and the Let’s Talk program.
12. What specialist services and expertise are available or accessed by the school?
Reach regularly accesses special services. For e.g., Hounslow Educational Psychology; Hounslow Speech and Language Therapy; Hounslow Disability Support team; Physiotherapists; CAMHS; Let’s Talk; Occupational Therapy and Music Therapy.
13. What training will the staff supporting children and young people with SEND have had or receive?
We are a new school, adding two year groups each year (one in Primary and one in Secondary) and therefore have high numbers of new staff joining us each year. Our SEND training evolves year on year to best meet the needs of our growing school and our students who present with need. Where children need specialist support, relevant members of staff will be trained in how best to meet their needs. This might involve liaison with specialist professionals in the local area including NHS and CAMHS staff. It may also include external training such as Read Write Inc. and Talk Boost. Further, professionals who deliver specialist input, e.g. speech and language therapy, occupational therapy or physiotherapy will also come into school to support children. The SENCOs and School leaders discuss staff training needs each term and plan appropriate trainings.
14. How will children be included in activities outside the classroom, including school trips?
We aim to include all children who have SEND in all activities outside the classroom and on residential trips. We are able to do this through ensuring higher staff ratios to support students with additional needs. Out of school learning opportunities are planned with students’ needs in mind and risk assessments are completed for all children. Children with severe social, emotional and behavioural needs may not be taken on school trips if their level of anxiety/stress means that they cannot successfully undertake the trip. In such cases, alternative education is provided on the school site, with teachers working on project/enterprise based skills with these students during this time.
15. How accessible is the School environment?
In September 2014 we moved into a brand new purpose built school. We have functioning lifts, and classrooms that will be accessible for wheelchair users. Floors are arranged in chronological phases.
16. How will the school prepare and support a child to join the school?
Transition to Reach Academy is a carefully planned process. We visit every child at home to meet them and their family before they join Reach. The objective of this home visit is to start building a positive relationship with the child and their family, to share our expectations, and to ease any concerns. In addition, we contact the child’s previous setting to gather relevant information. We also visit the child in their previous setting and consult with professionals there regarding the child’s development.
Children who are starting in nursery, reception or Year 7 in September can expect to have an experience on the school site, usually towards the end of the previous academic year, to prepare them for the year ahead.
In Reception, the child is invited in to school for an hour to join in with other children from their year group and the year above for an opportunity to experience carpet learning and free play. In addition, teachers who will work with the child from September speak to parents and carers, helping them to feel comfortable about the transition to Reach. For pupils with particular needs we will frequently invite them in several times before their first day.
In year 7, children are invited to attend summer school, which involves 8 days of morning sessions from mid to end July. During summer school, students have a chance to familiarize themselves with the routines and processes at Reach, as well as get to know their peers and their teachers. During this time, students are screened for special education needs, so that appropriate support can be planned and made ready for them by the time they start Year 7 in September.
In addition to these experiences, some children may require a more individualized program and extra support before they join, and we plan this based on the needs of the individual students. Multi-professional meetings may also take place before transition so that the transition can be planned with expert advice.
17. How will the school prepare and support a child to transfer to a new school or the next stage of education or life?
As a new school we do not expect children to transition to another school in whole class groups (currently our oldest primary students are in year 3 and secondary students in year 10). Where individual students might leave for other schools, we would work with professionals in the new school to ease the transition
At Reach, we want all our students to be academically successful and lead lives of opportunity and choice. We ensure students have numerous experiences to prepare them for adult life, this includes building their readiness for university, as well as helping students to become independent and responsible young people. We do this in numerous ways, for e.g., setting high expectations within school for our students, taking them on trips to university, inviting guest speakers into school from a wide-range of professions to share their stories, taking students on residential trips, expecting students to manage budgets, etc.
18. How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s’ special education needs?
We take care to ensure that resources are allocated and carefully matched to students’ needs. Where a child has a statement, the resource allocation is done in consultation with the child’s family, educational psychologist and any other professionals involved through the annual review process. For other children with need, the SENCO and school leaders work together to maximise the level of specialist provision we can give for the broadest number of students in the most rigorous and efficient way to maximise their progress and well-being.
19. How is the decision made about the type of support, and how much support a child will receive?
The SENCO consults with the child, family, class teachers, external professionals and other school staff to be able to determine what the child’s needs are and what support they will therefore need. The SENCO then meets with the school’s leaders to agree on the type of support the child will receive. This is then confirmed with the child’s parents and carers. The SENCO reviews each child’s individual case each term based on data, staff feedback and observations.
20. How are parents involved in the school, and how can they become involved?
We welcome parents and carers into our school wherever it benefits the educational experience of our students. Parents and carers are always welcome to observe their child in classes. We also welcome parent volunteers to support with children’s reading, although this would not ordinarily be within the child’s year group. We are working to develop structured opportunities for parents to become involved in school life – for e.g. participating in cultural events and our sports offer.
21. Who can parents contact for further information, or to raise concerns?
If parents/carers have concerns about their child’s learning and progress within school, they should contact the SENCO in the first instance. They can also contact the Principal if they feel this is appropriate. Of course parents may also contact the person who is delivering the child’s extra provision, where appropriate.
22. How does the school listen to pupils’ views?
The school values students’ views, and believes that they should actively participate in and take responsibility for their learning.
As part of any intervention, professionals (SENCO, teachers, external specialists etc.) will ask the child for their strengths and weaknesses in order to design an intervention that is valuable to them. Professionals will also ask students for feedback on the effectiveness of the intervention. Where any pupil does not make progress within the lesson, the adult/teacher has a conversation with the child to work out how they could be supported further. Equally where a child is particularly successful, strategies that the pupil reports as effective will be shared with other teachers. Often it will be appropriate for children to attend meetings with their parents/carers and other professionals, and they are regularly invited to do so.
Children know that they can always speak to any member of staff. They also know the designated adults, for e.g., their form tutor/clas teacher, Head of Year, SENCO etc., who are responsible for supporting them in school. In addition, the school actively encourages student voice through a variety of ways, for e.g., student leaders.
23. How do Governors monitor attainment and progress of SEN pupils, ensuring their needs are being met by the school?
The SENCO reports on pupil progress and SEN provision to governors. The SEN governor also meets with the SENCO each term to discuss/review the effectiveness of SEN provision within the school.
24. How do pupils gain admissions to specialist units/provision on the school site?
Reach does not have any specialist units on school site. However, at various times within the school schedule we will provide specialist provision, and pupils gain access to this based on their need; this is determined through the IEP process.