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SEN and Disabilities

We believe all our children are special. Many children during their school career will need a little extra support. For some it may be just for a short time, to overcome a problem with a difficult topic in class, for example, or to deal with a social, emotional or behavioural situation. For others the needs will be with them for the whole of their school life if they have medical needs or a broader learning difficulty. Such children may be supported in the classroom individually or in a small group by the teacher or by one of our team of teaching assistants.

Sometimes this support is given outside the classroom activity. Sometimes it is not work-related at all and support is given whenever might be appropriate. Sometimes children will follow a programme of learning in literacy or numeracy in particular which differs slightly from that of their class.

If the learning difficulty is more general, then the class teacher will plan a personalised programme of work for the child that may involve extra adult support. This will be discussed with parents and reviewed regularly through an Individual Plan. If we feel unable to provide adequately for the specific needs of the child, then we may involve other agencies for specific support e.g. speech therapy, educational psychology, behaviour support.

If parents have any concerns, questions or information about their child, then it is vital this information is shared with school staff. We aim to work in close partnership with parents to ensure we meet the needs of all children.

In a very few cases it may be decided to seek a Formal Assessment by a group of outside Agencies which may lead to the issuing of an Educational Health & Care Plan (EHCP). Parents are always kept involved and informed at every stage of the process.


Under the new Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (2014) schools and settings are required to produce a SEN information report known as a Local Offer. This needs to be published on the school’s website, kept up-to-date with changes and revised at least annually. 

This Local Offer clearly explains what provision the school makes for a child whose educational or physical needs are additional to and different from their peers.Local Offers for each school are available by clicking the links below. If you have any further questions please contact our Additional Needs Leader – Clare Kew or SENCO – Barbara Capper on 01297 33005.

Further information is available from Devon County Council Special Needs information website at

Question Points to cover
What is the school’s ethos/approach to teaching pupils with SEN and Disability? ●     We are a highly inclusive school and have high expectations for all our pupils, including those with additional needs.

●     Pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) are included in every aspect of school life and where necessary reasonable adjustments are made to make this possible. Children with SEND regularly attend our wide range of before and after school clubs.

●     The school monitors the impact and effectiveness of what it does on the outcomes for pupils with SEND very carefully in various ways:

●     The Head teacher scrutinises the data on attainment levels

●     The class teacher and SENCo meet every term to review and discuss targets for children in their class. Parents are regularly involved in these discussions.

●     The SENCo has an open door policy and so it is not necessary to wait for a specific parents evening to see her. Parents simply email or phone and book an appointment

●     Children with SEND are supported in a number of different ways. There may be strategies that can be used in class to support them, such as a visual timetable or a task list or they may receive 1:1 support, work in a small intervention group during school hours or be invited to attend additional booster lessons after school. The children are carefully monitored and the support is given on a needs basis.

●     Most class teaching is done with mixed ability pairs which we believe benefits all children in the class: those that are currently attaining at a higher level are given the opportunity to explain their understanding to those currently attaining at a lower level. This requires precision and a clear understanding of the subject matter. For those attaining at a lower level, it provides an additional opportunity to understand the concept or theme in question, having it explained to them by a peer.

●     A number of different resources are used for intervention support such as “Early reading” to support those children who, for whatever reason, are finding decoding a little difficult in Year 2. Much intervention work is bespoke, designed to meet the needs of a specific child or children. Support staff who lead these small intervention groups are highly trained to deliver each specific intervention.

●     We think pastoral care is very important and for this reason we have a Learning Mentor who works three days on a full time basis basis with children and their families who are facing difficult or stressful times. She runs an attachment based mentoring programme and leads a mindfullness club.

●     Class teachers  and support staff work closely to ensure that lessons are differentiated appropriately to meet the needs of all the children In each class.

●     Support staff each have an individual timetable so that they know exactly who they are working with and what they are doing at every point of the day.

●     We have put a lot of work into adapting the environment so that it meets the needs of all pupils including those with mobility issues. .

●     We have also created a number of additional rooms that are used for small group and 1:1 work without the distraction of working in a large shared area

●     The environment has been created with muted colours and structured in such a way that is calm and conducive to an alert relaxed state appropriate for learning

What expertise training and experience do school staff have in SEND? ●     All staff attend weekly Continued Professional Development (CPD) sessions on a weekly basis. Training is organised in line with the school improvement plan and on a needs basis as a result of the routine observation of staff throughout the year

●     Staff are also encouraged to attend training courses run by Achieving for Children and other external providers. For example, the SENCo recently attended a course on Attachment Disorder at the Institute for Education and will be presenting to the whole staff during a future CPD session

●     Currently and historically we have a high proportion of pupils with complex needs who have either a Statement of Educational Needs or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

●     The school supports children with cognition and learning difficulties by consistently providing high quality first teaching and, where necessary, support through intervention and 1:1 support.

●     The school works closely with the Speech and language therapist attached to the children in our school to provide support for those children with communication and interaction difficulties.

●     Children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties are supported by the class teachers and support staff and where necessary may work with our learning mentor or attend resilience training.

●     We make reasonable adjustments for those children with physical and sensory needs.

●     If we are unable to put support in place for a particular child or require further assessment and advice in order to provide appropriate support, we will refer them to the appropriate external service, typically the speech and language therapist, the educational psychologist, the occupational therapist, physiotherapist or CAMHS (Child and Adult Mental Health Services). We also make referrals to The Emotional Health team or Family Support Workers

How will I know how my child with SEN is doing in school or if they may have SEN? The school tracks the progress of all children very closely. It is our job to identify need, assess need and meet need. This is referred to as the “graduated approach”.

·         The importance of early identification, assessment and provision for any child who may have special educational needs cannot be over-emphasised.

·         Every term the SENCo meets with class teacher and support staff to review children’s targets and set new ones following the graduated approach with a  “assess, plan, do, review” cycle

·         The school monitors pupils’ progress carefully not just in terms of academic progress but also social and emotional as well. This is done in collaboration with parents and pupils.  For examples: termly target meetings, half termly assessments which is added to the online tracking systems

·         Teachers and parents meet on a regular basis and the SENCo is available to meet with parents most afternoons.

·         If a teacher is concerned about a pupil’s progress he or she will discuss this with the SENCo and parents and steps put in place to support the child’s learning. These may be discrete in class strategies or additional support outside the class room depending on the level of need.

How does the school know if its SEN provision is effective? The school takes great pains to ensure that the support given to children has maximum impact.

●     The school has recently taken part in the “Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants” and has put measures in place to ensure that there is consistently outstanding practice across the school

●     Throughout the school regular formal assessments are completed by the children and these, along with teacher assessments, are used to allocate additional support.

●     The school uses a comprehensive and thorough tracking system to monitor pupil progress in class and in intervention groups

●     Support given is monitored closely to ascertain whether it is having the necessary impact and, if not, it is modified to ensure that children make optimum progress

●     At all times we look at the whole child rather than simply the academic.

●     Every year each Key Stage holds a review. The key stage undertake a self-review and then a day is spent when the Head, Deputy, SENCo, our School improvement advisor and at least two governors, lead a review of teaching and learning. This day includes lesson observations, monitoring the deployment of support staff,  work book scrutinies as well as pupil and parents interviews.

●     Findings of these reviews are reported to staff and parents and feed into the School Improvement Plan and the regular CPD training schedule.

What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being or behaviour? ●     If staff are aware that a child is undergoing a difficult time at home or at school, he or she can, with parental consent, see Polly, our learning mentor. Polly talks through different strategies to support the child and if necessary can refer onwards to outside specialists

●     The behaviour policy is applicable to all children but we understand that a child with certain types of special educational needs may find it harder to understand and follow the playground rules than a child who is typically developing and support is put in place and allowances are made for this

●     Key children have “communication passports” that are shared amongst staff so that they are aware of these children and are able to approach and communicate with them in a way that best supports their needs

●     We try extremely hard to deal with issues and help support children rather than excluding them for their behaviour. A fixed term exclusion is a very rare occurrence and has only applied to one pupil in the last ten years.

●     The school focusses a great deal of time on developing the children’s social and emotional skills. Beginning in the Nursery and Reception, a major focus is helping the children to understand the routines and behaviour expectations of school. From the Early Years through to Key stage two the daily timetable (often with visual supports) is on the board so that the children are aware of what is coming up.

●     We also use a behaviour reinforcement system that is readily understood by all starting in Nursery with the golden flower approach to reward good behaviour.

●     As well as the resilience groups, a number of “social thinking” groups are also in place throughout the school where those children that find reading social situations and cues difficult, have a forum to explore expected and unexpected behaviours, thinking using their eyes and appropriate social responses to different situations. The speech and language therapist allocated to our school supports and trains school staff in running these.

●     The school does not tolerate any form of bullying. Where behaviour may be construed as bullying the culprit is spoken to in the strongest terms and will be expected to write out the behaviour policy of the name calling policy where appropriate.

How will I be involved in discussions about, planning for, and involvement in, my child’s education? ●     We place the utmost importance on positive working collaboration between school and home: all staff place a high value on keeping parents informed of their child’s progress.

●     We strive to include parents in every part of the assess, plan, do, review cycle by inviting them in to meet with teachers on a regular basis. Parents meet with the class teacher at least three times a year but invariably much more frequently with parents of children with SEND.

●     Some children with SEND have a home-school communication book that is used to pass on key information.

●     All staff: teachers, ANL, Head are happy to arrange a meeting with parents to discuss their child’s progress at a mutually convenient time. Staff across the school see parents either as their child arrives at school or at dismissal and short key messages may be conveyed at these points but these are busy times and so are not suitable for longer discussions. If this is necessary, staff are only too happy to book a more convenient time to meet.

●     The SENCo works a part time week but is available with prior notice to meet at a range of different  times to suit parents.

Who, outside of school, can I turn to for advice and support? Devon’s SEND Local Offer is the education, health and social care services and support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) from birth to 25. We also have links to the SEND Local Offers from neighbouring authorities.       

The type and range of support offered includes:

·         Information regarding the local offer, local policy and SEN/ disability law from independently trained staff

·         Advice for parent/carers, children and young people on gathering, understanding and interpreting information and applying it to their own situation

·         Personalisation of personal budgets

·         Information on the local authority’s processes for resolving disagreements, its complaints procedures and means of redress

·         Signposting children, young people and parents to alternative and additional sources of local and national information, advice and support

·         Individual casework and representation where needed including support in attending meetings, contributing to assessments and reviews and participating in decisions about outcomes for the child or young person.

·         Support for parents and young people in managing mediation and appeals to the SEND Tribunal

Other voluntary and charitable groups include:

*SEND Family Voices are a volunteer parent-led charity, formed in June 2014, in response to the opportunities offered by the SEND reforms; these are the changes in law which aim to create equal partnerships between families of children and young people with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) and the professional services.

*Action-attainment is about enabling children with speech, language, communication and sensory needs to achieve and have active lives. Led by Samantha Silver, the organisation builds on Sam’s personal and professional experience of supporting children, and their families, to have fun and learn in and out of school. Action-attainment works directly with families, professionals, schools and with community groups to provide understanding, strategies and opportunities for learning, play and friendships.

*Knots Arts’ mission is to create inclusive, friendly and fun sessions were children and young people feel safe and supported to develop their communication skills and build friendships. By meeting others who understand the challenges that social communication difficulties can bring, children are able to work together to embrace their differences and overcome any obstacles that they may present.

*For other support groups, please look on the local offer:

What advice is available for school staff regarding SEND? How does the school get that advice? ●     The ANL is a parent’s first port of call after their child’s class teacher if they are concerned about their child. The SENCo works both as a teacher generally either in a 1:1 or small group setting and in a managerial and liaising role. She liaises with outside agencies who are working with children in the school, scheduling visits and ensuring that their recommendations are put into practice. She is well placed to advise parents on necessary referrals to the following professionals. After discussions with parents, she can make the appropriate referrals.

●     The Educational Psychologist (EP) attached to our school is referred to when support we have put in place for children does not seem to be having the required impact or there are specific concerns for which we require additional advice. We may refer to the Educational Psychologist for more in depth assessment of a perceived difficulty or for a consultation with him or her for further advice on how to best support a child. We have a limited number of EP hours per term which are allocated on a needs basis.

●     If there are concerns about a child’s language development or their speech sound production we can make a referral to the Speech and Language Service.  We usually ask for a pre referral consultation with the therapist who visits our school to see children who have speech and language therapy as part of their SEN provision on their EHCP. She will then suggest whether she thinks a referral is appropriate. Those children with speech sound difficulties will be seen in clinic and may be offered a block of sessions and given some activities or exercises to practise at home and at school. Those children with language difficulties can be assessed in school. The therapist will then make recommendations and provide strategies for support. At times the school have bought into enhanced SLT provision when the therapist is then able to deliver more training to staff and support in the leading of various language groups across the school.

●     If there are concerns about a child’s fine or gross motor skills, their sensory needs or organisational skills we can make a referral to the Occupational Therapy service. The child and parents will then be invited to an Advice Clinic where the issues are discussed, the OT can observe the child participating in various activities and then make support recommendations. If the needs are complex, the OT may make a visit in to school to observe in the school environment and thereafter make recommendations for support strategies.

●     The school can also refer to the school nurse for physical or mental health concerns.

●     If there are social, emotional or mental health concerns that go beyond the capacity of the school’s professionals we can make a referral to CAMHS through the single point of access. This is also our child protection referral route. A referral to CAMHS may be for a variety of reasons: if the child is undergoing or has undergone a trauma or if we are seeking further assessment of their social communication skills or emotional difficulties. Children and parents are usually seen together at Exeter hospital for an initial meeting and a decision is then made whether on going assessment or further work is appropriate. The learning mentor has close links with CAMHS and can seek advice and has monthly supervisions sessions with a senior CAMHS psychotherapist.

How does the school involve children/young people with SEND in their education and in the decision making process? ●     We aim to include the opinions and thoughts of children at the heart of the learning process. To this end every term the children set their own targets in conjunction with their teachers and support staff, work towards these and review their progress on a regular basis.

●     Every term the class teachers, support staff and ANL meet to discuss individual children and to review their progress. Whilst it might not be appropriate for the child to attend the whole meeting, his/her targets and progress is discussed with them and opinions shared at this meeting.

●     Key stage reviews are scheduled on a regular basis, usually annually. A Central part of this is interviewing pupils for an overview of their opinions about learning and the learning environment at school. The reviews then feed into the school improvement plan. (SIP)

●     Each class also elects two representatives for the school council which meets regularly and puts forward ideas for improvement. These also feed into the SIP. In the past ideas have included improvements in the provision of playground equipment  or the choices available in the school lunch hall.

How will the school support my child when they move classes, move schools or move towards adulthood? ●     The school has worked extremely hard in recent years to ensure that there is a smooth transition between each year group and Key stage (KS) particularly the move from Early Years (EYFS) to KS1 and then from KS1 across the road to the KS2 site.

●     The transition from EYFS to KS1 is carefully managed by initially maintaining the Reception timetable and layout of the class rooms in the Year 1 classes. The transition to the Year 1 timetable and structure is gradually put into place over the first term.

●     Whilst children from EYFS upwards regularly visit the KS2 site for music and PE sessions, careful thought is put into preparing them for the move from KS1 to KS2. They visit the classrooms and teachers they will be having towards the end of the summer term and have their lunch in the KS2 dining room and play in the playground so that they are familiar with the environment before September.

●     Children who would benefit from more visits prior to the end of Year 2, will visit the KS2 site more regularly, take photographs so that they have a visual reminder of the new surroundings and where their cloakroom is before the end of the summer term.

●     When children are moving to secondary school we again endeavour to make the transition as smooth as possible: the Year 6 teachers and the SENCo liaise closely with the local secondary schools. For those children we consider vulnerable we ask the SENCo from the receiving secondary school to come in to meet with staff and the child.  We fully support children’s attendance at transition days that the secondary schools organise. Where there are schools to which more vulnerable children are transferring, we coordinate a more thorough transition programme.

●     Should a child transfer to our school mid-year we strive to make them feel as comfortable as possible as soon as possible. Children are given a buddy to help them navigate around the school and may also have the support of our learning mentor to help them feel comfortable and settle well. All staff in the school are told if new children are starting so that they are aware of new faces and can be supportive.

Where can I find information about Local Authority provision for children and young people with SEND? This is a link to the SEND information section of the Achieving for Children (AfC) website.


This section of the AfC website provides information on local services and support available for families including children and young people aged 0 – 25 years with special educational needs or disabilities.


How should complaints regarding SEND provision be made and how will they be dealt with? We hope that your child is happy at our school.   Occasionally, however, a problem may arise. We hope that we will be able to resolve any concern speedily, in a helpful, informal manner. We accept that on occasions our initial attempts to resolve an issue may be unsuccessful and the person raising the concern remains dissatisfied and wishes to take the matter further. A staged procedure is outlined below. This has been created to ensure that all problems and difficulties can be resolved.

The general procedure for dealing with complaints of any kind, is summed up as follows:

1)   In the majority of circumstances the matter should be raised with the classteacher.

2)   If a satisfactory conclusion is not felt to have been achieved, then an appointment should be made with the Deputy Headteacher or Headteacher. This meeting should take place as soon as possible and normally within three working days.

3)   Occasionally the person complaining may be of the view that the complaint should go directly to one of the senior professionals at the school. If this is the case the matter should be raised in the first instance with the Deputy Headteacher or the Headteacher.

4)   If a satisfactory conclusion is not reached after a meeting with the Deputy Headteacher or the Headteacher  a second follow up meeting can be requested.

5)   If the matter remains unresolved following this a formal letter should be made to the school’s Chair of Governors. The letter should be addressed to the Chair of Governors, sealed and left at one of the school offices.


This is the link to the full Complaints Policy


Who in school do I contact for further information and support re SEND? ●     The ANL at Axminster is Mrs Clare Kew

●     Clare works full time. She can be easily contacted on her email:

●     The full SEN policy is on the school website:


When was this information last reviewed and when will it be updated next? ●     Report published in October after consultation with school staff (at school leaderships meeting), governors (at the Teaching, Learning and Inclusion sub-committee meeting) and parents (parents of children currently on SEND register)

●     To be reviewed October 2018.



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