St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School & Nursery SEND Provision & Practice
Who should I contact if I am considering whether my child should join the school?
Contact our school Admin team to arrange to meet our Head teacher Mr Jeff Sendall who would willingly discuss how the school could meet your child’s needs.
Family Information and Services Hub (FISH)
This will help you discover what services are available in your local area as well as provide help and advice
All families in Hampshire can use the Family Information and Services Hub online directory to find a whole range of information such as:
Look at our SEN policy on our website.
Or contact IPSEA (Independent Parental Special Education Advice)
Provision & Practice
The Kinds of SEN for which provision is made-
The following categories are used to broadly identify the area of need for children at St Thomas More’s, as required by Hampshire County Council.
However, it is important to note that we treat every child as an individual with their own specific and unique profile.
Moreover, we recognise that some children will have co-occurring difficulties that overlap categories.
Assessment is therefore continuous and ongoing, accounting for and adjusting to the ever changing needs of the child throughout their learning journey up to their transition to KS3 (Key Stage 3 / Senior School).
At St Thomas More’s we work closely in collaboration with the child and their parent/guardian, to ensure that a thorough profile of that child’s needs is made; including providing support for the family where necessary. This means that barriers to learning are tackled via a holistic overview of their specific strengths and difficulties, accounting for the WHOLE child.
At St Thomas More’s (STMS) we recognise that barriers to learning come in many forms. Therefore many of our children and families receive additional support and intervention whether or not they have a Specific Educational Need, giving equal recognition to the impact of social and emotional factors that affect learning and pathways to success as any underlying specific learning difficulty or physical disability.
Our vision for children with special educational needs and disabilities is the same as for all children– that they experience Success, Opportunity and Stewardship, leaving us having achieved more than they ever expected, so that they lead happy and fulfilled lives, knowing the love and faith of a caring Catholic Community.
P&S- Physical Disabilities & Sensory Needs
This includes pupils with Physical disability (PD) Hearing impairment (HI) or Visual impairment (VI)
C&I – Communication & Interaction
This includes pupils with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) and those with Speech, language and Communication difficulties (SLCN)
C&L- Cognition & Learning
This includes pupils with a Specific Learning Difference (SpLD)- Dyslexia
SEMH- Social, Emotional and Mental Health
In addition to the support that parents can access via the school’s Pastoral Team (see details below), parents can also access support via the school’s website, which has information and links to –
the Local Offer - www.hantslocaloffer.info
and Family Information and Services Hub (FISH) - https://fish.hants.gov.uk
which provide links for parents to access support and advice on SEN. There are also leaflets in the foyer outside the school’s office providing guidance and information for help and support regarding SEN.
When is a child added to the school’s Specific Educational Needs (SEN) register?
The school follows the following criteria as stated in the SEN Code of Practice (2015)
Adjustments will be made in light of changes for the new Code of Practice (Expected 2020)
A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.
A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions
When a child is identified to be having difficulties, which requires approaches to teaching and learning or adjustments that are different form and additional to that of their peers and where difficulties persist despite appropriate support and differentiation, the graduated approach to support (assess, plan, do, review) is implemented.
At St Thomas More’s we strive to identify barriers to achievement and progress as early as possible. In assessing progress of children in the early years, practitioners use Early Years Outcomes as a tool to assess the extent to which a young child is developing at expected levels for their age. The guidance sets out what most children do at each stage of their learning and development. These include typical behaviours across the seven areas of learning:
• communication and language
• physical development
• personal, social and emotional development
• understanding of the world
• expressive arts and design.
Where a child is assessed to be falling below expectation in any one or more of these areas, staff will assess factors that have affected progress, including mitigating circumstances such as social and emotional influences on learning, absence or other external factors which may have influenced progress. Where it is establish that poor outcomes are the result of a learning ‘delay’, teachers will differentiate learning and provide short catch-up programmes in conjunction with High Quality Inclusive Teaching, to bring the child back in-line. Throughout the child’s time at St Thomas More’s their attainment and progress is closely monitored to ensure that expected progress is met. This is reviewed informally on a day-to-day basis by the child’s class teacher in conjunction with the Teaching Assistant and formally, using National Curriculum expectations to assess whether a child is meeting Age Related Expectations in November, February and May before making a final judgement of their End of Year attainment in July. This means that where a child is seen to be falling below expectation, action can be taken to plan for targeted support and intervention.
Where the teacher is concerned that there may be additional barriers affecting development and learning, they will make a referral to the SENCo.
The SENCo will then work alongside the teacher and parents, conducting assessments and making referrals to outside agencies in order to get a holistic picture of the child’s personal profile of strengths and difficulties, so that their needs can be met via a targeted Personal Plan for Progress.
Where necessary the SENDCo will liaise with the schools Community Support Officer and ELSA to ensure that support and provision tackles barriers beyond cognition and learning. This can include in-house support which encompasses- FEIPS (Framework for Enhanced Pastoral Support), ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support), PPP (Positive Parenting Partnership), coffee mornings with the school nurse or personalised consultation meetings to establish a plan of action for more holistic support.
It is important to note that progress and learning is extremely complex and that identifying a child’s difficulties is equally complex; there is very rarely one simple ‘right way’ to support a child as each child’s profile of strengths and difficulties is unique to them and moreover needs shift and change as they grow and develop, necessitating ever-changing approaches to ensure success. One size most definitely does not fit all and we work very hard at St Thomas Mores to find what suits your child. This takes time and involves undertaking a great deal of detective work, assessing every potential barrier as well as getting to know their individual strengths. This is why it is essential to have child, teacher, parents and where necessary outside agencies all working in collaboration to get things right.
The SEND Code of Practice states that high quality teaching is the first step in responding to pupils who may have SEN. Inclusive teaching is about meeting the needs of all pupils and having high expectations for all pupils.
At St Thomas More’s High Quality Inclusive Teaching involves adjustments and differentiation as part of day-to-day teaching and learning and includes-
High expectations, which are made explicit for all pupils
Differentiated planning and success criteria
Adjustments to class environment and access to a range of resources, tailored to the needs and requirements of the pupils, providing support for independent learning
Support requirements being carefully monitored & adjusted within and between lessons
Pitch and pace being adjusted to the learning needs of the pupils, ensuring effective challenge
A range of effective teaching strategies, to engage and support individual needs
Modelling, explanation and examples being used to support understanding and make expectations clear
High levels of interaction and engagement
Encouragement and praise used to engage and motivate
Effective feedback to highlight successes and enable progress
Giving pupils strategies to confidently and accurately engage in self/peer assessment to identify next steps for learning
A range of opportunities for learning (group/ pair/ independent)
A range of activities to enable multiple pathways to learning (multisensory- kinaesthetic/ practical activities, writing, watching, listening)
If High Quality Inclusive Teaching (HQIT) and differentiation fails to support a child to succeed and difficulties persist, teaching staff make a referral to the SENCO, so that a thorough investigation into barriers to learning can be made. This may involve referrals to outside agencies for advice and support.
Where a child meets the appropriate criteria as set out in the Hampshire SEN model of assessment and identification (http://documents.hants.gov.uk/education/sen-support.pdf) the child is added to the SEN register so that a Personal Profile can be agreed in conjunction with the child and their parents and a plan made for additional support and intervention to target their specific profile of strengths and difficulties.
Please note that there are many pupils receiving support and differentiation to meet their needs on a day-to-day basis as part of the schools drive to provide HQIT or all our pupils. Some pupils, for example, may have experiences, difficulties or illness that affect their learning on a short-term basis, which requires short-term support and intervention. Others may simply require ‘catch-up programmes’ because of a delay rather than a specific difficulty. Many pupils will therefore receive short term targeted support to ensure they remain on-track to achieve expected progress but do not meet the criteria for SEN.
At St Thomas More’s (STMS) we recognise that barriers to learning can be multiple and complex and we are continually striving to ensure that provision and practice accounts for the needs of our children from a holistic perspective, by attempting to account for social, emotional, educational, personal, environmental, cognitive and genetic factors as necessary to meet the needs of all. We therefore liaise and work in close collaboration with the child, parent’s/guardian’s and a wide range of outside agencies to ensure the best possible provision for all.
What Provision is Provided for pupils with SEN?
Every child at STMS is treated as an individual, with their own profile of strengths and difficulties. Rigorous assessment of need examines the child’s barriers to equalities of access via a holistic overview of needs. Each child on the SEN register has their own-
The Personal Plans are delivered by the child's teacher through High Quality Inclusive Teaching and Learning and where necessary, is supported by additional Intervention, delivered by our fantastic team of Teaching Assistants.
The Personal Plans are written and reviewed regularly (at least termly) in collaboration with the child and their parents but staff assess and review progress on a day-to-day basis in order to ensure that support and intervention is targeted appropriately to a child's needs.
The Personal Plans allow the child, parents and teachers work collaboratively in-
The Personal Files hold one page profiles, summarising strengths, difficulties and adjustments for the individual child. They also contain the personal profiles, documentation from outside agencies and evidence of success, such as work samples or assessments, which tracks the child’s progress and celebrates achievement. The files ensure that the child, the parent/guardian, members of staff with a duty of care for that child and outside agencies have access to all pertinent information for the child in one accessible place.
Provision and Practice is overseen by the SENCo and other members of the Leadership Team.
STMS have the same high expectations for our SEN pupils as we have for all pupils in our care and are uncompromising in our efforts to ensure that every child achieves to the best of their abilities. Staff at STMS work as a whole- we believe that every member of staff has a role to play in providing Success, Opportunity and Stewardship.
Please see more details on specific support and intervention provided in sections below, associated with specific areas of need.
The Pastoral Team
The Pastoral Team-
STMS have the same high expectations for our SEN pupils as we have for all pupils in our care and are uncompromising in our efforts to ensure that every child achieves to the best of their abilities.
Staff at STMS work as a whole, with every member of staff having a role to play in providing Success, Opportunity and Stewardship.
Children are supported by an effective team, which includes, where necessary, support before and after school hours as well as during break and lunchtimes.
We recognise that success and progress often requires a holistic system of care and support. In addition to support from outside agencies, the Pastoral Team at STMS provides a range of services to support our children and their families.
The Pastoral Team includes-
Specific Needs Co-ordinator: Laura Flanagan
In addition to overseeing the provision and practice from a curricular perspective, Mrs. Flanagan will also make referrals and liaise with in-house staff and/or outside agencies, to ensure that children and their families have access to appropriate help and support.
Outside Agencies include -
Child and Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
Communication and Language Team Specialists
Specialist Teacher Advisors
Riverside Support Team
Speech and Language Therapists
NHS staff- e.g. Nurses, GPs and Paediatricians
(NB- this list is not exclusive)
Community Support Officer: Rosie Miller
Mrs. Miller works tirelessly, ensuring opportunities for our children that includes organising a wide-range of clubs (from Sudoku and Chess clubs to art and sports), ensuring that every child's interests and needs are catered for.
These clubs provide opportunities to develop friendships and social bonds, promotes emotional and physical health and well-being and encourages individual growth as well as team-work.
She actively works with our disadvantaged pupils and those who need a boost to their self-esteem, providing opportunities to shine by taking part in activities or encouraging them to take on important roles and responsibilities such as Fire Wardens, Junior Road Safety Officers and Playtime Buddies. She also works with members of the School Council to promote matters important to the children at STMS.
In addition to this Mrs. Miller meets regularly with parents experiencing difficulties at home both personally and with their children. She provides a friendly and welcoming service, supporting parents and pointing them in the right direction for help by referring to in-house support, including Positive Parenting courses and outside agencies as well as providing much needed time to talk-through worries and concerns.
ELSA- Emotional Literacy Support Assistant: Laura Griffin
Miss. Griffin sees pupils experiencing social and emotional difficulties on a 1:1 basis, providing bespoke support dependent on a child's individual circumstances.
She carries out assessments of emotional need and advises/ makes recommendations for support to teachers so that needs can be met within the classroom.
Each member of this team plays a crucial role in supporting the needs of our children and their families and we are very proud of our success.
100% of the families who responded to a recent questionnaire (Oct 2017), described the service and outcomes provided by the Pastoral Team for the academic year 2016-17 as 'Very Good', 'Excellent' or 'Outstanding'.
Provision for pupils with
Communication & Interaction (C& I) difficulties, including those with speech and language needs.
The support provided for a child with Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) or Communication and Interaction difficulties (C&I) will depend on the child’s specific profile of needs, the severity of that need and specific difficulties associated with a diagnosis or profile commensurate with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC).
SLCN is an umbrella term. Children with SLCN can have a range of difficulties. These can include difficulties with fluency, forming sounds and words, formulating sentences, understanding what others say and using language socially.
At St Thomas More’s, we are careful to distinguish between children for whom speech and language is a difficulty due to language and communication delay, for whom provision can be met through High Quality Inclusive Teaching and those who have a specific difficulty arising from, for example autism, learning disability or cerebral palsy. These children may have unusual or disordered speech, language and communication. They need specialist support to reach their full potential, requiring additional support and intervention and are identified on our SEN register.
Social and Communication Difficulties + ASC was a key are of focus on the SEN Action Plan for 2016-17 with staff receiving specific training and support via courses run by the Hampshire Educational Psychology Team, the Riverside Outreach Programme and in-house specialists, who provided training in knowledge and understanding of the needs of these children as well as adjustments required in approaches and environment throughout the school day to account for individual needs, including, where necessary adjustments required for difficult behaviour requiring specific policies for the health and safety of our children (see school web site for details).
Not all pupils with speech and language difficulties are on the schools SEN register. Indeed it is important to note that many children at St Thomas More’s are starting EYFS (Reception Class) with delayed language skills, due to a range of reasons, including social disadvantage, which means their communication is inadequate for starting formal learning. These children may have a small vocabulary, be just starting to join words together, find it hard to listen and may sound like a much younger child. With the right support, they may catch up with their peers.
Pupils causing concern, where difficulties beyond a language delay are identified, are referred to the NHS Speech and Language advisor, who will conduct observations and assessments of needs and advised on the provision and support required.
These children are supported through High Quality Inclusive Teaching and differentiation and where appropriate specific support by a Teaching Assistant, who will use a range of resources including Online Computer Resources, Resources from the School Therapy Pack and Black Sheep Programme or specific individualised resources tailored to the child’s needs- following whatever advice is provided by SALT.
The school also uses Specialist Teacher Advisors who can support and advise on specific medical needs affecting speech such as difficulties associated with cleft palate.
The range of support offered to pupils experiencing social communication difficulties is dependent on specific circumstances and needs. We respond to the needs of home/school circumstances and the changing day-to-day needs of our pupils as necessary; planning for and providing support and preventative measures so that school is a safe and happy environment for all our children.
Support or these children and their families includes-
e.g. Quiet Zones/ Time-Out/ Safe Space Zones (outside class and during lunch breaks), Visual Timetables, Individual work stations, theraputty/ emoji balls (to ease stress/anxiety and account for proprioceptive and/or sensory needs)
e.g. chunking work into manageable amounts, sand timers, additional support to explain expectations/ instructions from Teacher or Teaching Assistant. Movement/ sensory breaks
- Child Consultation Meetings
- Specific support for social communication difficulties via school Therapy Pack e.g. Pragmatics and Lego Therapy
- Referrals to outside agencies e.g. Educational Psychologist, Communication and Language or Speech and Language therapists and/ or Child and Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
- Referrals to family Support
e.g. School Family Liaison Officer (See Pastoral Care Section of Document), PPP Positive Parenting Course, Who’s In Charge, Early Help Hub, Barnados and schools own Supernovas family support group.
- Adjustments during lunch breaks, including buddy systems and supervised, timetabled play zones as well as a specific Quiet Zone with games/activities chosen by pupils experiencing social communication difficulties and/or social and emotional difficulties.
Children with an Educational Healthcare Plan that require specific support with communication and interaction difficulties are supported by both the Speech and Language Therapy Service (SALT), Specialist Teacher Advisors and/or the Communication and Language Team (CAL) who provide specialist support, advice and assessment on a termly basis. Parents are supported by regular meetings with the CAL team and staff are undergoing specific training with the CAL team during twilight sessions planned this academic year.
The CAL Team Supports St Thomas More’s with –
Provision for pupils with
Cognition & Learning (C&L) difficulties, including Specific Learning Difference (SpLD/ Dyslexia)
St Thomas Mores strives to identify children with (SpLD) at the earliest opportunity.
The Dyslexia Early Screening Test (DEST) is used during the Summer Term of Reception and the Dyslexia Screening Test-Junior (DST-J) is used to blanket-assess pupils in Year3, to establish whether a child is potentially ‘at risk’.
The SENCo is a member of the British Dyslexia Association and is qualified as a specialist teacher and assessor of Specific Learning Difficulties/ Dyslexia. Where there is concern that a child’s profile suggests they have a Specific Learning Difference (Dyslexia) the SENCO conducts a diagnostic assessment or makes a referral to an Educational Psychologist.
Staff are currently undergoing training in support of pupils with Dyslexia (an area of priority on the SEN Action Plan 2017-18), including multi-sensory approaches, specific adjustments and structured, cumulative teaching to support reading, writing and spelling. In addition to specific intervention programmes [Fisher Family Trust reading recovery programme (KS1) and the Rapid Reading Programme (KS2)], the school also provides specific resources to support to support children in tackling difficulties more independently, including ACE spelling dictionaries, Talking Tins, Visual overlays/ reading rulers and coloured writing books as well as dyslexia friendly books by Barrington Stoke books being available in school library.
Where a child has more complex needs, such as Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) or co-occurring difficulties, the SENCo makes a referral to an Educational Psychologist, who will provide advice and guidance and/or conduct appropriate assessments to provide a profile of strengths and difficulties so that learning support can be appropriately targeted to the child’s individual needs.
Provision for pupils with Physical Disabilities & Sensory Needs-
The school ensures that provision is planned for, so that reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services, are provided in order to ensure that disabled children are not at a substantial disadvantage compared with their peers. As a Catholic school we have an ethos which actively teaches and promotes regard for the need to eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and foster good relations between disabled and nondisabled children and young people.
In order to ensure equality of access and inclusion, the school follows the advice and guidance of the Disabilities Act (2010) and SEN/ Disabilities Code of Practice (2015) which states-
“Many children and young people who have SEN may have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 – that is ‘…a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. This definition provides a relatively low threshold and includes more children than many realise: ‘long-term’ is defined as ‘a year or more’ and ‘substantial’ is defined as ‘more than minor or trivial’. This definition includes sensory impairments such as those affecting sight or hearing, and long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and cancer. Children and young people with such conditions do not necessarily have SEN, but there is a significant overlap between disabled children and young people and those with SEN. Where a disabled child or young person requires special educational provision they will also be covered by the SEN definition
Where a child has a Physical Disability, the school makes any necessary adjustments to the environment and/or practice, to ensure equality of access. This is done on an individual basis and in accordance with the SEN and Disabilities Code of Practice (2015).
The school is on one-level and has provision for assisted access of disabled children, with ramps and disabled toileting and shower facilities.
Resources such as wobble cushions, adjustable posture/ height chairs and posture packs have been purchased to meet individual difficulties and resource allocation is constantly monitored and adjusted to account for needs.
Where necessary the SENCo takes advice and guidance form the Hampshire County Council Health and Safety team, who can advise and carry out an audit assessment in order to ensure provision is made for a specific need or disability. The SENCo carries out an audit annually; although should changes be necessary mid-year then adjustments are made as necessary.
The SENCo also liaises with Health Service Professionals and other relevant outside agencies for specialist advice and ensures that staff with a duty of care for children with physical and or sensory needs are aware of the child’s needs and requirements.
The schools Therapy Pack is used to support pupils requiring intervention for physical or proprioceptive needs as advised by Occupational Therapists such as ‘hand gym’ and ‘sensory support’.
Further detailed information can be accessed on the school’s policy documents and via- https://api.excellencegateway.org.uk/resource/etf:2478
Provision for Children with Medical Needs that are not SEN
The school follows the SEN and Disabilities Code of Practice (2015) when making provision for pupils with medical needs.
Please see details on the school’s Medical Needs Policy available via the school website.
Children with more complex developmental and sensory needs are identified by a range of Health services, including paediatricians, the family’s general practitioner, health visitors/ nurse practitioners and Portage services. The school works closely in collaboration with the family and liaises closely with any relevant outside agencies to ensure that provision and practice meets the needs of the child.
During a child’s Early Years support can take a number of forms, including specialist support from health visitors, educational psychologists, speech and language therapists or specialist teachers and advisors.
All staff have a duty of care for our children’s Health and Safety. For example, where a child has a life-threatening illness such as anaphylaxis, all relevant members of staff are providing wrap-around care for these pupils have regular Epipen training, to ensure the safety of these pupils.
Medicines are kept in a secure location but are easily accessible to adults in-case of emergency.
Where children have ongoing medical needs such as diabetes, relevant staff with a duty of care for these children are provided with training and advice from specialist nurse advisors on a regular basis. Parents are involved in planning for and meeting the requirements of our children with medical needs.
The SENCo liaises with all relevant outside agencies and ensures staff area aware of children’s individual needs.
How will I know when my child meets the criteria to apply for an Education and Healthcare Plan (EHCP)?
Details of the EHC application process can be found at-
When a child has been on the SEN register and has failed to make progress following rigorous differentiation and support through the schools SEN support for 2x cycles of intervention and support – known as- the ‘Assess, Plan, Do, Review Cycle’, the teacher will consult the Hampshire criteria to establish whether the child meets the threshold for an EHCP application. The criteria is specific to each area of need -
See link (Can we get a link to EHC criteria- saved on system under 1SEN EHC criteria)
The teacher will ..
Parents should note that an EHCP is not a guarantee of 1:1 support but should be reassured that the school will always do whatever is practicably possible provide appropriate adjustments and support.
Parents can also make an independent application for an EHCP.