At Stourfield Infant School, individual need is central to our approach to Teaching and Learning and our approach to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) is embedded in our Teaching and Learning practices.
From September 2014, the Government has changed how children with special educational needs and disability are supported. These changes include:
- A new SEND Code of Practice that gives children and young people with SEND in all educational settings the same statutory protection
- Making sure that children, young people and their parents and carers are at the centre of any assessment and planning
- Giving children, young people and their parents and carers the information and services they need
- Making sure that education, health and care services work closely together with families
- Replacing the statement of special educational needs (SEN) with a broader Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan
- Giving parents and young people the option of a personal budget to buy some of the support they need
- Making sure local authorities, like Bournemouth Borough Council, publish their Local Offer which tells young people and parents about all the support and services available in their area
For information regarding Bournemouth's Local Offer, please click here.
Please find below a selection of Frequently Asked Questions regarding children with SEND, the answers to which we hope may allay worries.
What should I do if I think that my child has Special Educational Needs?
At Stourfield Infant School we want to work with you to support your children’s development from the moment that they join us to the time they leave. Every teacher is available to discuss with you your child’s care, health or education every Wednesday after school.
If you have a concern and think that your child may have additional needs please initially talk about this with the Class Teacher. Your worries, thoughts or questions will always be shared with the school’s SENCo, Mrs L. McGaw or Mrs E. Foyle, Deputy Head teacher. Further meetings will then be planned as appropriate.
Together we will decide and agree the next steps to support your child; be it planning different provision within the school or the need to involve another professional such as the Community Paediatrician. All these decisions will be documented and the school team will monitor your child’s progress.
If a teacher believes that your child would benefit from additional support, this will be discussed with you, documented and monitored each school half term. Some children may need additional support for a short amount of time. For some children a period of additional support or regular alternative provision may be enough to meet their needs and ensure that they make progress. The school would put this in place but this would not necessarily mean that your child had Special Educational Needs.
If your child continued to make poor progress and additional provision needed to increase with advice from other professionals, such as the Speech and Language Service, then the school would recognise that your child has Special Educational Needs. An Individual Education Plan (IEP) would be written. The IEP will identify the main areas of Special Educational Need and the specific provision that would meet these needs.
Please read our SEN policy for more information.
How will the school staff support my child?
All staff support our children in all areas of their development, however we have a number of staff who are particularly skilled in a range of areas to meet particular needs.
Our Class Teachers have the main responsibility for ensuring that your child’s additional support is happening and that it is having a positive difference. Children’s progress is reviewed each half term and discussed with the Head teacher/Deputy Head and SENCo each term. Support is then reviewed and amended on a regular basis throughout the year. Teachers also write and review the targets on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) if one is needed. On the IEPs written at Stourfield Infant School we will put the names of the Special Educational Needs Learning Assistants, (SENLSAs), or Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) who are working with your child. Depending on the type of additional need(s) that your child has, the support may be as part of a small group or 1:1. It may happen daily or less often and it will vary in length of time. This will all be written on the IEP and discussed with you. Speech and Language Provision Many children have Speech and Language support at Stourfield Infant School and IEPs are written by the school staff based on targets set by the Speech Therapists. If it is a speech difficulty then the school aims to provide more frequent but short sessions of input from a SENLSA. If language concepts or vocabulary work need to be developed then the school would provide longer but less frequent sessions; perhaps three sessions a week of twenty minutes. Mrs A. Chilcott (SENLSA for Speech and Language) communicates directly with Dorset’s Speech and Language Service. Together with the School’s SENCo she ensures referrals are made, parents are made aware of reviews in school, and meetings between the Therapist and parents are arranged when needed. Provision for children with physical, medical or emotional needs For some children who have more complex needs, possibly including medical or physical needs, SENLSAs will provide individual support for extended periods of time during the day. The amount and type of support is always detailed on an IEP. If at any point it needs to be changed as needs require, then the IEP can be amended. We also have staff skilled in supporting Physiotherapy and Occupational Health programmes and planning Sensory diets for individuals or as part of a Sensory Circuit. There is a dedicated Family Support Worker and Nurture Group Teacher. There are also a number of staff trained in supporting children with complex and significant medical conditions. The school team is supported by the School’s Nursing Team and other Community Nurses. Sometimes events in a school day or staff absence can mean that support is not always possible, but if there is a complication with support the Class Teacher and /or SENCo will talk it through with you so that you are aware.
How will the curriculum be matched to meet my child's needs?
At Stourfield Infant School we aim to plan exciting and engaging learning opportunities for all our children and to adapt our teaching to meet your children’s needs. Every class teacher will use pictures and visual prompts to support the spoken word. Every teacher will model the learning experience so that all children can see and understand what is expected.
Differentiation is an important way in which the teacher can plan for the children to be as independent as possible within their own learning during a whole class lesson. Differentiation is about personalising the learning:
- Using limited language and providing additional visual prompts for a group or individual
- Providing a writing slope or a pencil grip
- Allowing additional time to think about an instruction or to complete a task
- Providing an opportunity to practise a skill or learn a new word ahead of a whole class lesson
- For some children with complex SEND, specific SENLSAs trained in Signalong and experienced with the use of PECs support children within lessons using these communication approaches
- It may be a piece of equipment that supports your child to access the curriculum – such as a switch to use the computer or a specific IT programme to develop writing.
- Additional sessions are provided beyond the classroom to support the development of a range of skills from social communication skills, phonics and fine motor skills to sessions which will support memory skills, concentration and attention and emotional development.
How will both the school and I know how my child is doing?
You are always welcome to discuss your child’s progress with the class teacher any Wednesday after school. The class teacher is often available first thing in the morning to agree an appointment time. The teacher will be able to discuss individual targets that your child is working on in key areas of the curriculum.
If your child has SEN, then an IEP will tell you the specific targets school staff are working on with your child. These are reviewed with you every term but the teacher and/or SENCo would be happy to meet with you in order to suggest additional ideas to help you support your child’s learning at home.
If we are working with a number of other professionals and there is an Early Help Assessment (EHA) or Family Common Assessment Framework (FCAF) in place then we are likely to meet with you every half term to discuss how your child is doing. We usually agree the frequency of meetings with you.
It may be helpful to you, if your child has more complex needs associated with communication difficulties, to have a Home School book in which we can write about what they are doing on a regular basis. The school holds regular coffee mornings and/or workshops to share aspects of the curriculum with parents and make suggestions on how you can encourage and help your child at home. This is in addition to the regular home learning suggestions that are put up in the classroom windows every week.
What support will there be for my child's overall well-being?
Your child’s safety and wellbeing; their personal and emotional development is at the heart of Stourfield Infant School’s nurturing ethos. All class teachers know that it is essential that your child feels safe and secure in order for them to be able to learn, and that on some days for some children this will not be easy.
We understand that there are some situations in life that will cause your child to worry or be upset and it is these worries that then become a barrier to their learning. If there is a worry we will always find some time and a quiet place for a chat.
In our school we have a range of different approaches in place which we hope will support your child in understanding their feelings and how to manage them. These include:
- Whole class Circle Times which will encourage children to talk and listen to each other
- Whole class PSHCE lessons which will focus on social and emotional learning themes
- Bubble Time which is an opportunity to talk 1:1 with an adult to share thoughts or worries
- Small group sessions to explore in more detail aspects of social and emotional learning relevant to the children in the group
- Nurture Provision- an alternative curriculum for children who may have experienced a significant trauma or event including the loss of parenting at a crucial point in their development. The school has a dedicated Nurture Group Teacher; Mrs K. Tomblin.
- Buddy Systems at playtimes
- Alternative playtime and Lunchtime provision for those children who may find the playground overwhelming
- A light sensory room
If further and more specialist support is required we can discuss this with you. If you feel that it is needed, please talk to us; your Class Teacher or Mrs K. Tomblin, the school’s Family Support Worker. If you would like to know more about our Family Support Worker we have a leaflet in the main office or ask your class teacher for one.
What specialist services are available at, or accessed by, the school?
At Stourfield Infant School we work with many specialist services from Health, Social Care, Education and the voluntary sector. Some we work with as a matter of routine, others work with us due to very specific individual needs. We will endeavour to access any service if it will help a child or their family.
- A Speech and Language Therapist who aims to visit the school every half term.
- The school has an allocated SENLSA who can deliver the programmes.
- We also work with Linwood and their Outreach Team to develop our speech and language provision for children with ASD.
- Poole CDC team - Physiotherapist and Occupational Health Team who will visit the school to advise on programmes and specialist equipment if necessary.
- The school runs its own Sensory Circuit provision for children with specific physical needs.
- The school can get advice from the School’s Nursing Team in relation to completing Health Care Plans if needed.
- Child and Adult Mental Health Service (CAMHs) – Nursing Team
- The school regularly accesses Bournemouth’s Educational Psychology Service and makes referrals to the Learning Support Service if specific difficulties with English and Maths persist. These usually take place during Year 2 before the children move to Key Stage 2.
- Southbourne and Pokesdown Children’s Centre Team work alongside school colleagues to support families and children
- Vision and Hearing Support Service
There are many organisations available to support families and with whom we have worked over the years:
- SENDiass (Special Educational Needs Information Advice and Support Service formerly known as Parent Partnership) - Providing Information, Advice and Support for Children & Young People with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND) and Parents/Carers of Children with SEND
- The Parent Practitioner Team who have hosted courses at the school and have supported families in our school
- MOSAIC – Supporting Bereaved Children & Young People throughout Dorset
- Coping with Chaos
What training do the staff supporting children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities have?
All teaching staff experience a range of training opportunities with a focus on supporting the needs of children with SEN or Disabilities. Some training is carried out within school as Stourfield Infant School is part of a Teaching School Alliance and as such offers training to other schools such as Sensory Circuit provision.
The list below recognises some of the training received by staff at our school:
- Team Teach – a positive approach to supporting behaviour and heightened emotional needs
- Signalong – Outreach courses provided by Linwood School
- PEIC-D – (Promoting Early Interactive Conversations)
- Individual consultations and advice – Autism, Downs Syndrome (Linwood/Springwood School Outreach)
- Manual Handling Training
- First Aid training specific to individual medical conditions; Epilepsy, Anaphalaxia and use of Epipens
- Including the child with a Hearing Impairment
- PECs training
- Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA)
How accessible is Stourfield Infant School's environment?
Our school environment is fully accessible. Significant parts of the school, including one classroom in every year group, are acoustically treated. These areas include the school hall and ICT room.
Disabled parking is available in the shared car park next to Beaufort Community Centre. The school has two disabled toilet facilities; one for an adult and one for a child with additional changing facilities. Additional adjustments have been made in other toilets including hand rails.
The school has also used the services of a translator to support families with English as an additional language. This has been to help with the understanding of specific letters and reports.
Any additional equipment that is necessary to support a child in their access is used as appropriate and as directed by specialists. This could include hearing aids, walking frames and seating equipment.
See our school Equality Policy and Scheme of Work.
How will my child be included in activities outside of the classroom, including school trips?
All our children are expected to be included in all our activities and day trips. In some very specific cases, and following a specific incident which would make it unsafe for a child to be on a trip, restrictions may be put into place.
Every trip is planned to be fully inclusive.
How will Stourfield Infant School prepare my child to start school and support them to move on to the next class and school?
We know that transitions and change can be a challenge for any child and their family, and we take great care to ensure that your child with SEN or a disability has a transition into school that is as smooth as possible. What is written here is a matter of routine but there may be additional things that only you or your child’s current setting know about that will help your child. These can of course be planned once we have met you.
Joining us from another school or pre-school/nursery setting
- An initial transition meeting at school or in the Nursery/Pre-school with you and the staff who currently support your child.
- Key staff will visit your child in their current setting, perhaps with our Speech and Language SENLSA, if appropriate.
- The SENCo/or Deputy Head will attend Annual Reviews in the term prior to starting school if your child already has an Education Health Care Plan and our school is to be named.
- A short, simple “social story” can be written about our school and given to you and your child.
- Arrange additional short visits to our school; perhaps just spending time in our playground playing on the Pirate Ship!
- If appropriate, arrange an accessibility visit with your child’s Occupational Therapist.
- Discuss and plan for any appropriate training including medical training if necessary.
- Ensure that any reports and/or records are transferred to the school.
- Attendance at Team Around the Family (TAF) meetings where an EHA (Early Help Assessment) or FCAF (Family Common Assessment Framework) is open.
Moving classes within school
- Information is always transferred onto the new Class Teacher by the previous teacher; this will include Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and any medical information.
- Social stories describing what will change and what will stay the same can be written for your child.
- Additional visits to the new classroom can be planned for some children and the new class teacher will meet them too.
- The children will have a taster session in their new classrooms with their new teacher in the Summer Term before the holiday. You will also be invited to meet the new teacher before the end of term in the new classroom.
In Year 2 and moving to another school
- Your child’s teacher attends a transition meeting with the teachers at Stourfield Junior School and discusses all information relating to your child in person.
- All SEN records are passed to the SENCo at Stourfield Junior School at the end of the Summer Term. This will include targets for your child’s new IEP.
- The SENCo, Mrs L. McGaw, will discuss the specific needs of your child with the SENCo of the new school and in many cases a transition meeting can also be organised for you to discuss your child with them too.
- Your child will visit the Junior School on a number of occasions over the course of the Spring/Summer Term to join different activities and to familiarise themselves with the school
- Additional visits to the new school can be arranged supported by familiar staff and we will also arrange for key staff from the new school to visit your child in this school.
- Social stories can be written with your child; perhaps using photographs that your child has taken on their visit to the new school and/or questions that your child may have about their new school.
- If your child transfers to a new school at any point we will always contact the new school to speak to the SENCo, organise visits if timely and ensure that records and information are sent to the key members of staff. We will always invite staff from the new school to visit your child here.
- If your child has an Education Health Care Plan, an Annual Review will be held in Year 2. Key members of staff, including the SENCo, from the new school are always invited and we hope that you and your child will take this opportunity to share your questions and thoughts about the move to the new school with them. We can then plan to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.
How are school resources allocated and matched to children's Special Educational Needs?
Pupil progress and their outcomes and needs are reviewed every term. It is this termly review that will determine how school staff are deployed.
Each year we review provision across each of the three year groups and the whole school and we are then able to calculate the cost of SEN provision. As part of this review cycle if specific provision, involving additional adult support, is needed for a child in order to meet their needs the school will put this in place.
If more complex needs are identified, and an Education Health Care Plan is in place for a child, the school will ensure that an initial threshold of £6000 of support is put in place. This would then be appropriately supported by funding allocated in agreement with the LA and detailed in the plan.
Resources are kept in a number of central places for easy access including the Speech and Language resource room. These resources are available for use with any child about whom there is a professional concern. Children’s individual resources are kept in the child’s own classroom.
How are decisions made about what type of support, and how much support, my child will receive?
Decisions about how much and what type of support is needed follows discussion and advice from professionals and through a process of ongoing review and will be amended accordingly. This will always be discussed with you and your child, where appropriate.
As a result of these discussions you should have a good idea what will help your child in school. If there are a number of professionals giving us advice about your child’s Special Educational Need or Disability we are likely to meet regularly to review how your child is doing, whether the support is enough and your child is happy in school, making appropriate progress and growing in independence.
If your child has complex, long-term needs which requires an Education Health Care Plan, then resources and support are discussed and written into the EHCP. These are reviewed every 6 months until your child turns five and then annually.
Fiona May is the school’s SEN Inclusion Officer from Bournemouth LA and she will usually attend a child’s first Annual Review in Reception and then a transition review in the Summer Term of Year 1.
How are parents involved in the life of Stourfield Infant School? How can I be more involved?
At Stourfield Infant School parents have the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of school life and we both welcome and encourage it.
- We have an active Parents’ Association that organises successful community events throughout the school year.
- Parent Volunteers support children within the classroom and accompany them on school trips and outings.
- A Family Council meets to consider aspects of school development.
- Parent Directors sit on the Board of School Directors.
- If you have a particular skill or talent don’t be shy, let us know and you may find yourself involved in enhancing our curriculum and making it even more exciting!
As parents/carers you are an important voice for your child, so please remember to keep talking to us.