Governors SEND report to parents 2017
Supporting children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND)
Annual report to parents from Catherine Winzor (chair of governors)
Each year it's good practice for the Governing Body to update parents on how the school has planned for and supported children who have a special educational need and/or disability. This is a general report, as we always have to be mindful that we don't identify a particular child or children. It doesn't replace the contact parents and carers will have over the year with their child's classteacher or with Mrs Cummings in her role as Special Educational Needs co-ordinator (SENco).
As well as being chair of governors, I have an added responsibility for children in school with SEND and this report draws on the knowledge and understanding I have gained over this school year. I have tried to meet as many parents as possible and as part of that process have been trying to set up an open meeting where any parent/member of the community can find out more about children on the autistic spectrum. I am in contact with an expert in ASD who has agreed to come into school to give us all the current understanding of autism and ways we can all support those affected . Unfortunately she has not been able to confirm a date with me for this school year. She is keen to help and so (fingers crossed!) she will suggest a date early in the new school year. Watch this space!
The school SEND policy is reviewed each year and is easy to find on the school website. A paper copy is available on request from the school. It identifies 4 areas of need: communication and interaction, cognition and learning, social, mental and emotional health and sensory and physical needs. As governor I am aware of how many children each term are either identified, or under consideration, as having one of these needs. For some children it may be a short term need which some kind of support may sort out. For example, a child with speech difficulties may receive speech therapy which might resolve the problem. Some needs may be lifelong. This means that the numbers identified will go up and down.
We have to be sure that as a school the right children are being identified – a child may be progressing very slowly or have low attainment, but this doesn't necessarily mean that they have special educational needs. In some schools in the past there's been a tendency to put children whose first language isn't English on the SEN register – but although they will need some kind of support, those limitations in English are not classed as SEN. I think the simplest way to sum this up is that many children will need extra support at some time, but all these children will not have special educational needs.
The best response to any identified need is high quality teaching which targets the weakness. The child will be supported through an “assess, plan, do, review” process which will involve parents so that school and home are working together. Part of my job (on behalf of the Governing Body) is to understand the way this process is working through the pupil profile which underpins it. I have to be aware how staffing and funding is used to support these children. I have been impressed with the way Waberthwaite School uses its funding so that it can clearly demonstrate the way it uses the three levels of funding which are available. These are explained in the policy and their allocation monitored by the Finance committee. The record of the training staff have undertaken is impressive including courses on dyslexia, spelling, phonics, autism, attachment and epilepsy with many of these courses completed by all teachers and teaching assistants.
Staffing is used wisely with staff having access to specialists when necessary and some children having targeted classroom support. Where a child benefits from more frequent communication between home and school, the head and staff work hard to find a system which works, and I have seen the impact of this on children's progress. Each class teacher manages a system of “pen portraits” which records the extra support or interventions a child has received. This will include children identified as having SEND, as well as children needing a bit of a boost. Some children have an Education, Health and Care Plan (ECHP) and these are kept up to date by the school through regular monitoring and meetings which might involve other professionals. As part of my role I have been shown data on the effect a range of intervention and support programmes have had – this includes Toe to Toe, The Power of Two and IDL.
Throughout the year I have also been pleased by the access all pupils (regardless of their needs) have to the full range of school activities including residential visits and other activities which enrich the curriculum.
I have also monitored absence and exclusion rates to ensure there are no issues.
All in all, I feel that it is a very positive picture. Some initiatives are fairly new and it will be interesting to see the impact of these next year.
In the meantime, have a look at the website for more information, keep an eye open in September for the meeting on ASD and remember that if you have a specific question or concern, then Mrs Cummings and the staff are always available to help – just contact school to arrange a convenient time to meet.
To view the school Local Offer please follow the link below.
Further information about admissions procedures for pupils with identified SEND difficulties, site accessibility and equality steps taken to ensure all pupils are treated fairly and equally are available in the policies section of this website, or on request from the school office.