Special Educational Needs
Derek Cassells; Mareanna Ingram; Ellen Freel; Jenny Bullen
The Support Pathway incorporates all the requirements needed to assist pupils with identified needs but also includes supporting all pupils, their teachers, and families/carers.
Pupils supported through the Pupil Premium are recognised as being on the Support Pathway, although they may not be identified as having special educational needs.
The Support Pathway understands that any pupil may need support at some time, irrespective of whether they have identified learning needs.
An individual pupil’s progress on the Support Pathway is recorded and maintained by the Primary Class Teacher or, in the secondary school, by the appropriate year Mentor.
1. Mentor action/Primary Class Teacher action: At the weekly Mentor/Class Teacher meetings if two or more teachers express a concern about a pupil then the Mentor will undertake action to support that pupil. The action will be based upon the Mentor’s professional judgement and could lead to the NC&I meeting.
2. NC&I: For the NC&I meeting parents are invited into school and the meeting is conducted using the NC&I procedure with a prepared written report. This may include a physician trained in Maharishi Ayurveda.
3. School Action: The SENCO/Teacher Support will be involved in assisting teachers with the preparation and implementation of an IEP.
4. School Action Plus: Following one or two 3 monthly reviews of an IEP, the SENCO/Teacher Support may decide that an external profession person/body may be needed to further assist the pupil and their teachers.
5. LA Statement: The SENCO/Teacher Support will be responsible for ensuring that all the requirements of the statement are met.
Definition of Special Educational Needs:
(NB Special Educational Needs are always addressed at the Maharishi Free School in the context of the Support Pathway and NC&I procedure and the Aims & Ethos, and Philosophy of the School).
Pupils have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.
Pupils have a learning difficulty if they:
• have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age;
• have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age;
• in schools within the area of the local education authority; or
• are under compulsory school age and fall within the definition above or would so do if special educational provision was not made for them.
Pupils must not be regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught.
This SEN policy details how this school will do its best to ensure that the necessary provision is made for any pupil who has special educational needs and those needs are made known to all who are likely to teach them. The school will use its best endeavours to ensure that teachers in the school are able to identify and provide for those pupils who have special educational needs. Also we want to encourage and enable pupils with special educational needs to join in the activities of the school together with pupils who do not have special educational needs, so far as is reasonably practical.
The school will have regard to the Code of Practice when carrying out its duties toward all pupils with special educational needs and ensure that parents are notified of a decision by the school that SEN provision is being made for their child.
Partnership with parents (home is the basis of the children’s education) plays a key role in enabling children and young people with SEN to achieve their potential. The school recognises that parents hold key information and have knowledge and experience to contribute to the shared view of a child’s needs and the best ways of supporting them. All parents of children with special educational needs will be treated as partners and supported to play an active and valued role in their children’s education.
Young people with special educational needs often have a unique knowledge of their own needs and their views about what sort of help they would like to help them make the most of their education will be ascertained.
Identification, Assessment and Provision
In addition to the governing body, the school’s Headteacher, Deputy Head, teaching staff and assistants have important responsibilities.
The Maharishi Free School understands that all teachers are teachers of pupils with special educational needs.
Teaching such pupils is a whole-school responsibility, requiring a whole-school response. Central to the work of every class and every subject is a continuous cycle of planning, teaching, assessment and evaluation that takes account of the wide range of abilities, aptitudes and interests of the pupils. The majority of pupils will learn and progress within these arrangements. However, for pupils with special educational needs, there may be a need to provide an enhanced level of provision that supports and enhances their learning abilities.
Maharishi Free School will adopt a graduated response to meeting special educational needs that requires the initial use of classroom and school resources before bringing specialist expertise to bear on the difficulties that a pupil is experiencing.
When a young person is identified as needing support, the school will intervene as described below at Mentor/Primary Class Teacher Action, NC&I Action, School Action and School Action Plus.
Such interventions are a means of helping schools and parents match special educational provision to individual pupil needs. Maharishi Free School will record the steps taken to meet the needs of individual children.
If a pupil is known to have special educational needs when they arrive at the school, the Maharishi Free School will:
• use information from the previous school to provide an appropriate curriculum for the pupil and focus attention on action to support the pupil within the class;
• ensure that ongoing observation and assessment provides feedback about pupil’s achievements to inform future planning of the pupil’s learning;
• ensure opportunities for the pupil to show what they know, understand and can do through the pastoral programme;
• involve the pupil in planning and agreeing targets to meet their needs • involve parents in developing a joint learning approach at home and in school.
Assessment is a continual process that can identify pupils who may have special educational needs. The school will measure children’s progress by referring to:
• evidence from teacher observation and assessment; and
• standardised screening and assessment tools.
English as an additional language
The identification and assessment of the special educational needs of young people whose first language is not English requires particular care. Where there is uncertainty about an individual, the school will look carefully at all aspects of a pupil’s performance in different subjects to establish whether the problems they have in the classroom are due to limitations in their command of the language that is used there or arise from special educational needs.
Monitoring pupil progress
Teachers may conclude that the strategies they are currently using with a pupil are not resulting in the pupil learning as effectively as possible. The starting point will always be a review of the strategies being used and the way in which these might be developed. Evaluation of the strategies in place may lead to the conclusion that the pupil requires help over and above that which is normally available within the particular class or subject. Consideration should then be given to helping the pupil through School Action. The key test of the need for action is evidence that current rates of progress are inadequate. Adequate progress can be defined in a number of ways. It might, for instance, be progress which:
• closes the attainment gap between the pupil and the pupil’s peers;
• prevents the attainment gap growing wider;
• is similar to that of peers starting from the same attainment baseline, but less than that of the majority of peers;
• matches or betters the pupil’s previous rate of progress;
• ensures access to the full curriculum;
• demonstrates an improvement in self-help, social or personal skills;
• demonstrates improvements in the pupil’s behaviour;
• is likely to lead to appropriate accreditation;
• is likely to lead to participation in further education, training and/or employment.
Mentor/Class Teacher Action
At the weekly Mentor meetings (secondary school) or the Primary Class Teacher meetings (primary school), if a pupil is seen to be in need of support the Mentor or Primary Class Teacher will decide upon a course of action with advice from their colleagues. If the course of action is reviewed and not sufficiently effective after a short trial period then the next stage of the Support Pathway is engaged.
• Teacher identifies some difficulty or lack of fulfilment in the pupil
• The class teacher or Deputy Head prepares a NC&I report is prepared
• Nurturing Creativity and Intelligence (NC&I) meeting is convened to which the parents are invited which utilises the NC&I procedure. The meeting includes the class teacher, SENCO, and appropriate Deputy Head. In addition and with the parent’s agreement, a qualified, registered medical doctor who is also trained in Maharishi Ayurveda may also be invited. (If at the first ‘NC&I Action’ meeting a doctor is not present then a further meeting may be arranged with the doctor present, if it is felt appropriate.) Following the meeting the school representatives may decide that the pupil should be considered to have moved onto ‘School Action’.
When a pupil is identified as having special educational needs, Maharishi Free School will provide interventions that are additional to or different from those provided as part of the school’s usual curriculum. This intervention will be described as School Action.
The triggers for intervention through School Action could be concern, underpinned by evidence, about a pupil who, despite receiving differentiated learning opportunities:
• makes little or no progress even when teaching approaches are targeted particularly in a pupil’s identified area of weakness;
• shows signs of difficulty in developing literacy or mathematics skills that result in poor attainment in some curriculum areas;
• presents persistent emotional and/or behavioural difficulties, which are not ameliorated by the behaviour management techniques usually employed in the school;
• has sensory or physical problems, and continues to make little or no progress despite the provision of specialist equipment;
• has communication and/or interaction difficulties, and continues to make little or no progress despite the provision of a differentiated curriculum.
If the Maharishi Free School concludes that a pupil may need further support to help them progress, they will consider their reasons for concern alongside any information about the pupil already available to the school, such as standardised testing. The pupil’s subject and pastoral teachers will remain responsible for working with the pupil and their family, and for planning and delivering an individualised programme.
The nature of the intervention: the School will decide on the action needed to help the pupil to progress in the light of their earlier assessment. This might include:
• different learning materials or special equipment;
• introducing some group or individual support;
• devoting extra adult time to devising a planned intervention and to monitor its effectiveness;
• staff development and training aimed at introducing more effective strategies;
• to provide effective intervention without the need for regular or ongoing input from external agencies.
Individual Education Plans
Strategies employed to enable the pupil to progress should be recorded within an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The IEP should include information about:
• the short-term targets set for or by the pupil;
• the teaching strategies to be used;
• the provision to be put in place;
• when the plan is to be reviewed;
• outcomes (to be recorded when IEP is reviewed)
The IEP will only record that which is additional to or different from the differentiated curriculum provision and will focus on three or four individual targets to match the pupilspupil’s needs. The IEP will be reviewed at least twice a year when parents’ views on their child’s progress will be sought.
School Action Plus
School Action Plus is characterised by the involvement of external services such as special needs advisory teachers, educational psychologists etc. A request for help from external services is likely to follow a decision taken in consultation with parents, at a review of the child’s IEP. At School Action Plus external support services will usually see the child, so that they can advise subject and pastoral staff on new IEPs, with fresh targets and accompanying strategies, provide more specialist assessments that can inform planning and the measurement of a pupil’s progress, give advice on the use of new or specialist strategies or materials, and in some cases provide support for particular activities. The triggers for School Action Plus could be that, despite receiving an individualised programme and/or concentrated support, the pupil:
• continues to make little or no progress in specific areas over a long period;
• continues to have difficulty in developing literacy and mathematics skills;
• has emotional or behavioural difficulties which substantially and regularly;
• interfere with their own learning or that of the class group, despite having an individualised behaviour management programme;
• has sensory or physical needs, and requires additional specialist equipment or regular advice or visits, providing direct intervention to the pupil or advice to the staff, by a specialist service;
• has ongoing communication or interaction difficulties that impede the development of social relationships and cause substantial barriers to learning.
When school seeks the help of external support services, those services will need to see the pupil’s records in order to establish which strategies have already been employed and which targets have been set and achieved. The external specialist may act in an advisory capacity, provide additional specialist assessment or be involved in teaching the pupil directly. The resulting IEP for the pupil will set out new strategies for supporting the pupil’s progress with the strategies specified in the IEP, implemented, at least in part, in the classroom setting. Delivery of the IEP will remain the responsibility of subject teachers.
If the teacher and the external specialist consider that the information gathered about the pupil is insufficient, and that more detailed advice must be obtained from other outside professionals, then the consent of the pupil’s parents will be sought.
Request for statutory assessment
For a few pupils the help given by schools through School Action Plus may not be sufficient to enable the pupil to make adequate progress. It will then be necessary for the school, in consultation with the parents and any external agencies already involved, to consider whether to ask the LA to initiate a statutory assessment. Where a request for a statutory assessment is made to the LA, the pupil will have demonstrated significant cause for concern and the school will provide written evidence to the LA detailing:
• the school’s action through School Action and School Action Plus;
• individual education plans for the pupil;
• records of regular reviews and their outcomes;
• the pupil’s health including the pupil’s medical history where relevant;
• views of the parents and of the pupil;
• involvement of other professionals; and
• any involvement by the social services or education welfare service
When the LA receives a request for a statutory assessment, it must decide within six weeks whether to carry out such an assessment.
Statutory Assessment of Special Educational Needs
Statutory assessment involves consideration by the LA, working cooperatively with parents, the child’s school and, as appropriate, other agencies, as to whether a statutory assessment of the child’s special educational needs is necessary. A child will be brought to the LA’s attention as possibly requiring an assessment through a request by the child’s school, from a parent or a referral by another agency. Where the evidence presented to the LA suggests that the child’s learning difficulties have not responded to relevant and purposeful measures taken by the school and external specialists and may call for special educational provision which cannot reasonably be provided within the resources normally available to mainstream schools, the LA will consider the case for a statutory assessment of the child’s special educational needs. The LA may decide that the degree of the pupil’s learning difficulty and the nature of the provision necessary to meet the child’s special educational needs is such as to require the LA to determine the child’s special educational provision through a statement of special educational needs.
A statement of special education needs will include:
• the pupil’s name, address and date of birth;
• details of all of the pupils special needs;
• identify the special educational provision necessary to meet the pupil special educational needs;
• Identify the type and name of the school where the provision is to be made;
• Include relevant non-educational needs of the child;
• Include information on non-educational provision.
All children with statements of special educational needs will have short-term targets set for them that have been established after consultation with parents. These targets will be set out in an IEP and be implemented, at least in part and as far as possible, in the normal classroom setting. The delivery of the interventions recorded in the IEP will continue to be the responsibility of the class teacher.
Annual review of a statement of special educational needs
All statements will be reviewed at least annually with the parents, the pupil, the LA and the school to consider whether any amendments need to be made to the description of the pupil’s needs or to the special educational provision specified in the statement. The annual review should focus on what the child has achieved as well as on difficulties that need to be resolved. The annual review held in year 9 is particularly significant in preparing for the pupil’s transition to employment, the further education sector, work-based training, higher education and adult life. The aim of the annual review in year 9 and subsequent years is to review the young person’s statement and draw up and review the Transition Plan.