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Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

  • SEND Definition

    Definition of SEN

    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 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. SEN Code of Practice (2014, p 4)

    Definition of disability

    Many children and young people who have SEN may also 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’ SEN Code of Practice (2014, p5)

  • Identifying and assessing pupils with SEN
    Identifying and assessing pupils with SEN

    At Halstead Community Primary School we monitor the progress of all pupils six times a year to review their academic progress. We also use a range of assessments with all the pupils at various points. In their first year at school children are routinely assessed for acquisition of language, early literacy and maths skills. The school uses Speech Link and Language Link computerised assessments to screen for any possible language difficulties as well as spelling and reading assessments. Every child will undergo the year 1 phonics screening assessment. Observations are used to form secure judgements about children’s progress in all areas including academic, social, emotional and physical development.


    Where progress is not sufficient, even if special educational need has not been identified, we put in place extra support to enable the pupil to catch up. Examples of extra support are:

    Reading and writing

    • Better Reading Partnerships (any age)
    • “Fresh Start” reading and comprehension (from year 2)
    • Additional fine motor and handwriting skills
    • Phonics booster (from Reception)
    • Acceleread Accelerwrite on the ipad


    • Maths Matters group (year 1 and 2)
    • Closing the Gap with Numicon (Key Stage 2)
    • Dyscalculia Solutions (Key Stage 2)
    • Plus One/ Power of Two Individual support (Key Stage 2)


    • BEAM (Balance Education and Movement) and BEAM Plus
    • Sensory Circuits

    Speech & Language and Social Communication

    • “Talk Boost” Speech & Language group (Reception & Key Stage 1)
    • Speech Link
    • Language Link
    • Time to Talk “Ginger Bear” group (Key Stage 1 only)
    • Black Sheep
    • Language for Thinking
    • Box Full of Feelings
    • Sound Linkage
    • Sound Around
    • Recognising Emotions
    • Comic Strip Conversations


    • Draw for Talk
    • Lego Therapy
    • CBT

    Some pupils may continue to make inadequate progress, despite high-quality teaching targeted at their areas of weakness.  For these pupils, and in consultation with parents, we will use a range assessment tools to determine the cause of the learning difficulty.  At Halstead, we are experienced in using the following assessment tools:

    Reading Assessments – YARC, PhAB2

    Maths – Sandwell Early Numeracy Test

    Speech, Language and Communication – Infant Speech and Language Link, Talk Boost, “Language for Learning” and Dyslexia Assessments.

    Physical – BEAM assessments

    In addition to this we have access to external advisors who are able to use a range of assessments in order to identify the needs of individual children more precisely. Referral is on an individual needs basis. Examples of such specialists are Educational Psychologists or Specialist Teachers. Additional specialists are available through the Health Services, such as Speech & Language Therapists or Occupational Therapists. Health service referrals can be done either directly via the child’s own doctor or via the school Inclusion Manager/ Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator where appropriate.

    The purpose of more detailed assessments are to understand what additional resources and different approaches are required to enable the pupil to make better progress.  These will be shared with parents, put into a SEN support plan and reviewed regularly, and refined / revised if necessary.  At this point, we will have identified that the pupil has a special educational need because the school is making special educational provision for the pupil which is additional and different to what is normally available. 

    If the pupil is able to make good progress using this additional and different resource (but would not be able to maintain this good progress without it) we will continue to identify the pupil as having a special educational need.  If the pupil is able to maintain good progress without the additional and different resources he or she will not be identified with special educational needs. When any identification of SEN is changed, parents will be notified.

    We will ensure that all teachers and support staff who work with the pupil are aware of the support to be provided and the teaching approaches to be used.

  • Our approach to teaching pupils with SEN
    How the school evaluates the effectiveness of its provision for pupils with special educational needs

    Each review of the SEN support plan will be informed by the views of the pupil, parents and class teachers. The assessment information from teachers, plus any additional assessments undertaken, will show whether adequate progress is being made.

    The SEN Code of Practice (2014, 6.17) describes inadequate progress thus:

    • Is significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same baseline
    • Fails to match or better the child’s previous rate of progress
    • Fails to close the attainment gap between rate of progress
    • Widens the attainment gap

    For pupils with or without an Education, Health and Care Plan there will be an annual review of the provision made for the child, which will enable an evaluation of the effectiveness of the special provision.  The collation of all annual review evaluations of effectiveness will be reported to the governing body (see also section 7).

    The school’s arrangements for assessing and reviewing the progress of pupils with special educational needs

    Every pupil in the school has their progress tracked six times per year.  In addition to this, pupils with special educational needs may have more frequent assessments of reading age, spelling age etc.  The assessments we use at Halstead Community Primary School have been detailed in section 2. Using these it will be possible to see if pupils are increasing their level of skills in key areas.

    If these assessments do not show adequate progress is being made, the SEN support plan will be reviewed and adjusted.

    The school’s approach to teaching pupils with special educational needs

    “High quality teaching, differentiated for individual pupils, is the first step in responding to pupils who have or may have SEN.  Additional intervention and support cannot compensate for a lack of good quality teaching.  Schools should regularly and carefully review the quality of teaching for all pupils, including those at risk of underachievement.  This includes reviewing and, where necessary, improving, teachers’ understanding of strategies to identify and support vulnerable pupils and their knowledge of the SEN most frequently encountered.” SEN Code of Practice (2015, 6.37)

    In Halstead Community Primary School the quality of teaching was judged to ‘Requires Improvement’ in our last Ofsted inspection, November 2019. ‘Teachers adapt the curriculum well for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Well-trained staff support these pupils. The SEND leader oversees class  support effectively, ensuring that pupils with SENDcan experience success across the curriculum.’

    We follow the Mainstream Core Standards advice developed by Kent County Council to ensure that our teaching conforms to best practice.


    In meeting the Mainstream Core Standards, the school employs some additional teaching approaches, as indicated by internal and external assessments. These could be in the form of targeted support in class using precision teaching, small group teaching or the use of ICT software learning packages. In addition, one to one tutoring or interventions such as those detailed in section 2 may be used. These would be delivered by various staff employed through the funding provided to the school as ‘notional SEN funding’.

    How the school adapts the curriculum and learning environment for pupils with special educational needs

    At Halstead Community Primary School we follow the advice in the Mainstream Core Standards on how to adapt the curriculum and the learning environment for pupils with special educational needs.  We also incorporate the advice provided as a result of assessments, both internal and external, and the strategies described in Education, Health and Care Plans.

    As part of our requirement to keep the appropriateness of our curriculum and learning environment under review, staff training is held regularly to meet the identified needs of pupils. A record of staff training is maintained. The curriculum is also adapted to the needs of individual pupils when required. The Governors, in consultation with the Headteacher, plan and regularly review a programme of improvements to the school premises that are viable within budgetary constraints. We have diasbled access via a ramp into the office area and key stage 1 building. There is also disabled access into the hall, library and disabled toilet. Further aspects for improvement have been identified to improve disabled access to different areas of the school.

  • Additional support for pupils

    As part of our budget we receive ‘notional SEN funding’.  This funding is used to ensure that the quality of teaching is good or better in the school and that there are sufficient resources to deploy additional and different teaching for pupils requiring SEN support.  The amount of support required for each pupil to make good progress will be different in each case and the interventions we offer that pupil are detailed on class provision maps.  In very few cases a very high level of resource is required.  The funding arrangements require schools to provide up to £6000 per year of resource for pupils with high needs, and above that amount the Local Authority should provide top up to the school. The top up is accessed through an online “High Needs Funding” application made by the school, but the amount provided is at the discretion of the Local Authority.

    All clubs, trips and activities offered to pupils at Halstead Community Primary School are available to pupils with special educational needs either with or without an Education, Health and Care Plan.  Where it is necessary, the school will use the resources available to it to provide additional adult support to enable the safe participation of the pupil in the activity.

  • Support for improving the emotional and social support for pupils with SEND

    At Halstead Community Primary School, we actively support pupils to develop emotional resilience and social skills, both through direct teaching, for instance during PSHE and circle time, and indirectly with every interaction adults have with pupils throughout the day. 

    For some pupils, with the most need for help in this area, we also can provide the following:

    • consistent positive behaviour strategies detailed in our behaviour policy
    • a time-out space for children to use when upset or agitated
    • personalised behaviour strategies according to need
    • Draw for Talk
    • CBT
    • Lego therapy
    • training in the development of social skills through programmes such as “Talk Boost”
    • referral to external support agencies such as the Bromley mentoring and befriending service, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMs) or other services accessed via the Common Assessment Framework (CAF)/ Kent Family Support Framework.

    Pupils in the early stages of emotional and social development because of their special educational needs will be supported to enable them to develop and mature appropriately.  This will usually require additional and different resources, beyond that required by pupils who do not need this support.

  • Expertise and training of staff

    Details of additional training staff have undertaken to meet the needs of pupils are available from the Inclusion Manager and Head teacher.

    Where a training need is identified beyond this we will find a provider who is able to deliver it.  Training providers we can approach are:

    • Specialist Schools and schools with specialist units in Kent
    • The Educational Psychology Service (Edukent)
    • Kent Integrated Care & Therapy Co-ordination Services for Children (ITACC) which include Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy.
    • School Nursing Service
    • Dyslexia specialists

    The cost of training is covered by the notional SEN funding.

  • Arrangements for consulting parents of pupils with SEND

    All parents of pupils at Halstead Community Primary School are invited to discuss the progress of their children twice a year and receive a written report once per year.  In addition we are happy to arrange meetings outside these times. As part of our normal teaching arrangements, all pupils will access some additional teaching to help them catch-up if the progress monitoring indicates that this is necessary; this will not imply that the pupil has a special educational need.  All such provision will be recorded, tracked and evaluated on a Provision Map. Any additional provision will be discussed with parents at the start of a seasonal term.

    Following this normal provision, if improvements in progress are not seen, we will contact parents to discuss the needs of their child further. The use of internal or external assessments may be required, which will help us to identify and address the child’s needs better.  In agreement with parents, from this point onwards the pupil will be identified as having special educational needs, because special educational provision is being made. The school records this as “SEN with Support” on the school’s register of Special Educational Needs. The parent(s) will be invited to all planning and reviews of this provision.  Parents will be actively supported in contributing to assessment, planning and review at least three times per year.

    Some children, with the very highest levels of need, may require an Education Health and Care Plan (formerly known as a Statement of Special Educational Needs). Any application for an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will only be made with the full consent and involvement of parents. The issuing of a plan is entirely at the discretion of the Local Education Authority and the school cannot guarantee the success of an application.

    If the child is granted an EHCP, parents will be invited to contribute to and attend an annual review. Wherever possible this will include other agencies involved with the pupil. Information will be made accessible for parents.

  • Support Services for Parents

    Information, Advice and Support Kent (IASK) provides free, impartial, confidential, advice, support and options around educational issues for parents who have children with special educational needs or disabilities (0-19).  They empower parents to play an active and informed role in their child’s education.  They can be contacted on:

    HELPLINE: 3000 41 3000. Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

    Office: 03000 412 412

    E-mail: iask@kent.gov.uk

  • Local Offer

    The Local Authority Offer

    The local authority’s offer is published on https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/special-educational-needs

    Parents without internet accessshould make an appointment with the SENCo for support to gain the information they require.

  • Mainstream Core Standards

    We follow the Mainstream Core Standards advice developed by Kent County Council to ensure that our teaching conforms to best practice.