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Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND)

SEND at The Mirfield Free Grammar and Sixth Form

We believe that every child and young person has the right to expect a good education  and the support they need to become independent adults and succeed in life.

The SEND Code of Practice (2014) makes it clear that each and every teacher is a teacher of students with special educational needs.  High quality teaching, differentiated for individual students, is therefore the first step in responding to students who have or may have SEN. We regularly and carefully review the quality of teaching for all students, including those at risk of underachievement. This includes reviewing and, where necessary, improving, teachers’ understanding of strategies to identify and support vulnerable students and their knowledge of the SEND most frequently encountered.

The following information is designed to give parents and young people an overview of the approach to SEND at The Mirfield Free Grammar and Sixth Form and is presented in the form of questions which are most frequently asked. There is also information available on Kirklees’ SEN Local Offer via the following link - www.kirkleeslocaloffer.org.uk

What is SEND?

A child or young person has SEND if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them. This means that they have a much greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or they may have a disability which means that they cannot make full use of facilities provided.

Who should I talk to if I think that my child needs extra support?

You should start by talking to your child’s form tutor or individual subject teacher, or the special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO). We have three SENCOs with responsibility for distinct areas:

Years 5-7 and transition                                                                      Mrs D Sykes

Years 8-10 and overall responsibility                                                Miss S Ryan

Years 11-13 and transition to Higher and Further Education       Mrs D Sykes

Vice Principal with responsibility for SEND                                      Mrs G Armstrong-Smith

How do we identify that a student has additional needs?

The earlier that students are identified as having additional needs, the earlier that we can work to support these needs and this is why we have a SENCO who maintains links with our partner primary schools to work with the primary teachers of students who have expressed a wish to come to us in Y7.  We engage in a lot of transition work which means that we have a very good understanding of all students coming to us, even before they start in September, and this allows us to put in some intervention work before the start of term.

On entry to the academy each student’s abilities are assessed and we continue to monitor these as the child progresses through the academy. Assessment data will include records from primary schools and discussions with primary school teachers, information from parents, performance in KS2 SATS, cognitive ability tests taken at the start of Year 7, reading and spelling age tests, reports from external agencies such as Speech and Language, evidence from form tutors and subject teacher observations and assessments.

How are parents and young people consulted and involved?

The roles of parents and young people are vital in the process and are a key component of the SEND Code of Practice. Views of parents and students are taken into account at all stages.

How do we support students with additional needs?

High quality teaching, differentiated for individual students, is the first step in responding to students who have or may have SEND. Additional intervention and support cannot compensate for a lack of good quality teaching so we regularly check our standards of teaching within the classroom. In addition to this we have 17 Support for Learning Assistants (SLAs) who are employed in a variety of ways to support SEND. This may involve working with individual students or small groups, and working in subject areas on the development of specialised resources. Students are screened for examination arrangements so that we can apply for additional support, for example, extra time, use of a scribe, or use of a reader or laptop. We have a full time counsellor on site in our Well-being Centre who is available for staff, students and parents and we run relaxation and stress management programmes. Outside agency support from the Educational Psychologist, Speech and Learning Therapist, Occupational Therapist or Sensory Services is also available.

The Graduated Approach

The SEND Code of Practice 2014 involves a graduated approach to meeting students’ needs. The Special Educational Needs Coordinators and teachers will review the approaches adopted and students and parents will be at the centre of this process with full involvement at each and every stage.

  • Normal class provision with quality teaching including differentiation is the first stage.
  • Additional Support: Where support additional to that of normal class provision is required in order for your child to catch up with peers, the child will be given Additional Support. This will usually involve your child working on an accelerated learning intervention programme for a set period of time and may include additional classroom support with a Support for Learning Assistant. Sometimes it is felt that advice from an external professional is needed.
  • Education, Health and Care Plans: Where concerns remain despite sustained intervention, the academy will consider requesting an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan). The EHC Plan sets out the student’s strengths and needs and details the provision for the student in the areas of education, health and social care. Those students who currently have a Statement of Special Educational Needs will gradually transfer to a EHC Plan. The Local Authority has a timetable for this and all Statements have to be transferred by April 2018.

How do we support students at transition times?

The Achievement Coordinator for Y7 visits our partner primary schools and we have a SENCO with designated responsibility for transition. This means that there is consistency year on year with strong links being established between ourselves and our feeder primary schools.

We have additional transition days for those students who are identified as needing extra support, for instance, because they are feeling nervous or vulnerable.

After GCSEs we have a SENCO with responsibility for transition to our Sixth Form who again meets with the feeder school teachers. Transition onwards to further education and training or careers is also facilitated by this SENCO. We also have a careers advisor who works with parents and students to advise on suitable progression routes at all levels and who attends all review meetings for our students with EHC plans from Y9 onwards.

How do we make sure that staff in school have the expertise and training to support students with SEND?

All new teaching staff receive training on SEN as part of their induction programmes which take place weekly from September to March. In addition, we have whole school training sessions every Monday after school and Teaching and Learning with an SEND focus features regularly. Our Support for Learning Assistants have weekly training after school. We also have morning staff meetings in which we feature a ‘SEND spotlight’ that covers information on particular students or teaching and learning strategies.

How do we check that students are making progress?

Three times throughout the academic year, teachers complete assessment data for all students. Parents receive a ‘Creating Futures’ report which clearly indicates whether or not students are making progress towards targets. The SENCOs and Vice Principal analyse these reports to assess the effectiveness of interventions and to identify students who may need further support or interventions. Students with EHC Plans/statements will have regular reviews including an annual review where progress is reported to the Local Authority.

How accessible is the environment at The Mirfield Free Grammar and Sixth Form?

Every effort is made to give equal access to all students and we work closely with parents, students and outside agencies to meet individual needs. There have been many recent improvements in recent years so that all parts of the academy are accessible to wheelchairs. We also have modified seats, use of netbooks or laptops to record information and the use of ‘dyslexia friendly’ fonts and backgrounds for resources.

Which other services may be involved in supporting students?

Specialist support may be put in place, depending on individual needs and in consultation with students and parents. These may include educational psychology, autistic spectrum disorder support, sensory service for hearing or visual impairment, speech, language and communication support, occupational therapy support, physiotherapy support, school nurse, and links with specialist provision establishments.

How do we deal with concerns of parents about the provision made at school?

Any complaints or concerns about provision made at the school should be addressed to Vice Principal Mrs Armstrong-Smith or directly to the Local Authority. We always strive to work with parents to ensure that they are satisfied with the level of provision and quality of teaching at The Mirfield Free Grammar.

Updated September 2016

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