St Mark’s CE School Local Offer for Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Please note that this page is currently being updated. If you require further information please contact us.

At St Mark’s Church of England School we welcome children of all abilities, offering them access to a broad, balanced and relevant education. As a church school all children receive their entitlement to quality education and all that this embodies within a caring Christian community.

We have high expectations of all our children and we aim to achieve this through the removal of all barriers to learning and participation. We believe that it is important that the successes and achievements of children with SEN are recognised and celebrated by the school community. 

The following information will explain how our setting works towards meeting the needs of children with special educational needs:

What type of school are we and what special educational needs do we cater for?

St Mark’s is an inclusive mainstream school, where staff believe in, and are committed to, giving all children with SEN the same entitlement to education as all young people, wherever possible. However, it must be recognised that some children have needs which are very complex and which can only be met in a special school setting. In that situation we would work with the child, carers and professionals to obtain the most suitable setting for that child.

How does St. Mark’s know if children need extra support?

St. Mark’s is committed to early identification of special educational needs...

If we feel that a child is not making progress, we have a range of assessments which we can use to assess difficulties which a child may be experiencing. These include recognised assessments for reading, writing, spelling and numeracy such as the Phonological Assessment Battery (PHAB), Cognitive Profiling System (COPS), Lucid Assessment System for Schools (LASS) and Neale Analysis of Reading Ability (NARA).

You will be informed before these assessments are used and the results will be shared with you and teaching staff to inform teaching.

You will also be consulted and informed about any extra provision which is allocated.

If necessary, we will talk with you about referring your child to outside agencies for further assessment and support.

Mrs Stephanie Bryant, our Acting Special Educational Needs & Disabilities Coordinator works with teachers and teaching assistants (TAs) as a team to support children with particular needs. Mrs Bryant has the responsibility for managing, tracking and assessing the support/intervention. Our SENDCO is: Mrs Lauren Lambert.

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) identifies the fact that some pupils with SEN may have learning difficulties that call for special educational provision. However not all children defined as disabled will require this provision. A child with asthma or diabetes, for example may not have special educational needs, but may still have rights under the DDA. We will assess each child as required and make the appropriate provision based on individual needs.

What do I do if I think that my child has special educational needs?

If you are concerned about your child, please speak to your class teacher and/or contact the SENDCO who will be happy to speak with you about any concerns which you may have and discuss an action plan.                                           

How will both you and I know how well my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?

The progress of your child will be tracked and monitored as with all children. This will take place half termly with reviews with teaching staff and senior management.  Children with special educational needs are tracked against the national curriculum objectives in SIMS, P levels, the new pre key stage assessments, learning and behaviour targets on ‘passports’, EHCP (Education Health Care Plan) targets and on the SEN register. 

Assessment can take the form of observations, children’s application of skills in class, children’s interactions during the intervention and also formal assessments of reading and spelling ages and tracking of numeracy and literacy. As stated above, some children will have a learning or behaviour passport or if your child is looked after by the Local Authority he or she will have a personal education plan (PEP).

Progress on interventions will be assessed against individual learning and behaviour targets and PEPs. The effectiveness of an intervention will be judged against your child’s ability to function independently in class.

Reviewing of passports and PEPs will take place half termly. Progress on targets will be shared with you and your child.  You will have the opportunity to contribute at this stage.

Some children will also have objectives set on a statement or Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) and progress will be assessed against these objectives as well as on targets on IEPs/IBPs.

If it is felt that your child is not making progress after a period of time e.g six weeks, then discussion about a different intervention or next steps will take place with the class teacher, TA and SENDCO. You are always welcome to find out about an intervention and discover how to support your child at home. You will be informed about progress during parents’ evenings and reports, which are given out in the Summer Term.    

If you wish to speak to a teacher, please make an appointment directly with the teacher or through the school office. Home/school books are also used for some children to inform parents about progress and successes.

You will be provided with curriculum matrices which show you what your child will be learning during the year. You will have the opportunity to come into school to see learning in action (although currently on hold due to COVID). Parents can also take part in workshops where teaching is modelled and advice given about how to support at home.

Data on the progress of all children in the school, including those with SEN, is regularly produced by teachers and provided to senior staff and school governors to enable them to evaluate the effectiveness of provision. Reviews of each class’s performance is held between the class teacher and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT). One of the governors is a link SEN governor who reports back to the governing body.

How will your school staff support my child and how will the curriculum at your school be matched to my child’s needs?

St Mark’s is an inclusive school, where staff believe in, and are committed to, giving all children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) the same entitlement to education as all young people. The National Curriculum is our starting point for planning that meets the specific needs of individuals and groups of children.

When planning, teachers set suitable learning challenges and respond to diverse learning needs. Teachers take account of these needs and make provision, where necessary, to support individuals or groups of children. This enables them to participate effectively in curriculum and assessment activities. Some children may need additional help or different help from that given to other children of the same age.

Differentiated support and arrangements may include the use of Makaton, Picture Exchange Communication System (Pecs) and other interventions.

Effective use of differentiation will give pupils the best possible chance of learning. In each class the teacher takes into account the needs and abilities of individuals and groups of learners and plans accordingly so that learning is accessible. The aim is to help children to achieve independence and success in learning.

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?

The SENDCO are responsible for the overall support of SEND and will allocate resources, including TA time, appropriately. St. Mark’s works with many outside agencies such as the Southampton Advisory Outreach Service, Speech and Language, educational psychology and Occupational Therapy. We take advice from these agencies in order to help staff support your child.

If your child is the subject of a statement or Education Health Care Plan (EHCP), he or she will receive funding from school for the first 12 hours of SEN support and any extra hours will be funded by the local authority.

Children on EHCPs and statements receive allocated SEN support which can be one to one and/or group support from teaching assistants. Support can also take the form of specialist resources and these will be provided and resourced according to the needs of the child. The forms of support can change during the child’s time at St Mark’s. We believe in encouraging children to become more independent as they learn, without constantly needing a teaching assistant. This has been as a result of the findings of the DISS report (Deployment and Impact of Support Staff).

We follow a graduated approach to providing for the needs of our pupils with SEND, as outlined in the SEN Code of Practice. This follows a cycle of ‘assess, plan do and review’ whereby after consultation with staff, parents and children an appropriate intervention is planned and implemented. Another assessment will take place to see the impact on the pupil’s progress, after a set period of time. If progress is still limited next steps will be considered e.g. another intervention. If progress has still not been made the pupil will be placed on the SEN register and will receive a learning or behaviour passport. This will only be done after consultation with parents or carers.

Additional support may also include a range of specialist interventions for numeracy, literacy and speech and language difficulties.

During tests and public examinations, children with SEN can be given extra time and support depending on their needs. Children who need extra time during Statutory Assessment Tests (SATS) will be assessed in accordance with regulations.  If your child is given extra time or adult support for reading they may be allocated particular adults and given a quiet area to work in. You and your child will be informed about any such arrangements. Some children may be withdrawn from Sats due to severe learning difficulties or their particular need or disability. Parents/carers will be informed of this decision.

How will my child be included in activities including trips?

Staff at St. Mark’s make every possible effort to involve children with SEN in all activities, both in school and externally.

We will involve you in planning, assessing possible difficulties and discussing how to overcome barriers. If necessary, you will be invited to take part in outside activities if this makes it possible for your child to participate. Whenever possible, school staff will be allocated to particular children during school trips.

Certain children with SEN will have adult support during breaks and lunchtimes. This will be dependent on their level of independence and particular needs.

What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?

St Mark’s is committed to the social and emotional development of all children. This includes participation of all children in the school council, choir, sports teams and trips. 

Some children will have one to one support throughout the school day. This is generally because of physical and medical needs.

Discreet, individualised care is devised for matters such as the administering of medicines, nappy changing and other aspects of personal care and an intimate care form will be filled in which you will be asked to sign.

The school produces risk assessments to cover any child who has particular medical or behaviour issues. 

Miss Laura Slade is our Year R-6 Lead Practitioner for Vulnerable Children and Mrs Sam McDonald is our Lead Practitioner for Vulnerable Children for Year 7, they both monitor the attendance of children and works with parents and carers and children to improve attendance. The lead practitioners are also a Designated Safeguarding Officers who will refer pupils deemed to be at risk to Children’s Services.

The Educational Welfare Officer (EWO) can work with a member of the school staff to support families where attendance is an issue.  We can also access an emotional welfare development officer (EWDO) through the educational psychology service and ‘Simon Says’ bereavement counselling service when required.  During personal, social and health education (PSHE) time each class holds circle time to allow children to discuss general issues such as friendships. Every child is able to talk confidentially to any member of staff.                                       

The SENDCO & Lead Practitioner for Vulnerable Pupils work with families and all staff members to identify behaviour difficulties and prevent escalation into exclusion when at all possible. 

What training is provided for staff supporting children and young people with SEND?

Our SENDCO is Lauren Lambert, she is responsible for the management and on-going training in SEN for our TAs and teachers to ensure that the school is fully able to teach your child with special educational needs. Training includes raising awareness of children who are on the autistic spectrum. All staff have mandatory Child Protection training.

All our TAs are expected to have training or to undertake training to ensure they have the skills to meet the needs of the children they are supporting. Knowledge of basic literacy and numeracy skills are a prerequisite. Training is also provided by teachers or outside providers if areas are identified which need to be addressed. This includes training and advice from speech and language services.

Members of staff have visited Springwell and Vermont School to explore ways to support children with learning and behaviour issues.

Any member of staff who is working one to one with an autistic child can have support and training from Springwell and if necessary, Autism Hampshire.

As a school we access support from Autism Hampshire as we have a growing number of children on the autistic spectrum.

There are many opportunities for staff to develop expertise in particular areas.

We are registered as an RRSA School (Rights, Respecting Award School) and all children will have opportunities to explore and consider their rights as outlined in the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child).

Some of the rights to be explored are particularly pertinent to SEN such as Article 12 (Respect for the views of the child), Article 17 (Access to information; mass media): Children have the right to get information that is important to their health and well-being and Article 23 (Children with disabilities): Children who have any kind of disability have the right to special care and support, as well as all the rights in the Convention, so that they can live full and independent lives.                                             

How accessible is your education setting?

St. Mark’s is accessible ramps to all entrances, and lifts within the Secondary and Primary Wings of the building are wheelchair accessible. However, we make every possible effort to ensure that children are included in all areas of school life given the nature of the building.

Careful thought is given to placing children with physical disabilities in downstairs classes. Collective worship is held on the ground floor.

In the classrooms we ensure that access is given to children moving around the classroom when finding resources.

We try to ensure in classrooms that there are areas which are conducive to children who are on the autistic spectrum or with ADHD who may find displays overwhelming and need ‘quieter areas’.

We have two disabled toilets to which children can have access. This is done discreetly and with help offered to access the toilet if required.

In certain areas there are ramps for wheelchair users.

Provision is made for wheelchair users in case of fire. Particular children with disabilities will have a PEEP (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan). We monitor corridors to keep them free of obstacles to ensure easy access.

When your child with a disability comes to St. Mark’s, we will meet with you and your child to discuss their needs and make necessary provision where we can, taking into account the limitations of the school environment. We also access outside agencies to advise, help and provide equipment and advice. This includes occupational therapy, hearing and visual impairment services.

Wherever possible we will include children with disabilities on day and residential trips.

If you have a physical disability, we will ensure that meetings with you are held in accessible places.                                           

How are parents/young people currently involved in our education setting? How can I get involved and who should I contact?

We strongly believe that it is only by working together with parents, carers and young people that we can make a difference. Your views and those of your child are extremely important to us.

We have regular parents’ meetings and open evenings along with times when you are invited to come into class to share activities with your children.

We have open evenings for new parents and children where individual meetings can be arranged with particular staff such as the Mrs Lambert.

You will be invited in regularly and given the opportunity to meet with your child’s class teacher and Mrs Lambert.

Children on the SEN register have the opportunity at parents’ evenings or at other times to meet with Mrs Lambert and/or class teacher to discuss their child’s progress. IEPs, IBPs, EHCPs, statements and PEPs are shared with parents and children and are reviewed during the year.

You and your child will be invited to annual reviews of EHCPs and statements and asked for your views. At the annual review your child can share their reports with the help of an adult.

Parents are also welcome to meet with outside agencies. Outside agencies such as the Southampton Advisory Outreach Service  and Educational Psychology also contact parents to discuss progress.

What steps should I take if I have a concern about the school’s SEND provision?

You are most welcome to discuss any concerns with your child’s class teacher, the SENDCO or another member of SLT if you have any concerns. Meetings can be arranged for outside agencies to be involved in discussions.

We recommend that you contact Southampton Information and Advice Services (SIAS) (formerly Parent Partnership), particularly for help with EHCPs and tribunals.

If you remain concerned you can access the complaints policy on the school website and contact the relevant governor to make a formal complaint.                                           

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?

At St. Mark’s we have access to a wide variety of outside services. We work with occupational therapy, physiotherapy, school nursing, educational psychology, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), SIAS (Southampton Information and Advisory Service), SAOS (Southampton Advisory Outreach Service), Autism Hampshire, ’Simon Says’, the anti-bullying officer, the Education Welfare Officer, Buzz Network, Young Carers and visual and hearing impairment services.

Contact details for all these services can be obtained from school.

We adopt the TEACCH approach with visual timetables and the use of PECS for some children who are on the autistic spectrum or have associated difficulties.

We work closely with our Speech Therapist and local authority Salsa to support our children. We can have between 20 and 30 children receiving speech and language therapy. We have our own school Salsa (Miss Wall) who has received training and is supported by the NHS Salsa and speech therapist. Every child has their own individual targets which are regularly reviewed. Children can be taken off the speech and language register but are then supported in class to maintain progress. Parents are encouraged to come and meet the Salsa and speech therapist to discuss children’s progress and targets.

We also have a qualified school counsellor who will work with children and parents.

Families can also access the school nurse for hearing and eyesight difficulties.

Children who receive support from the local authority occupational therapist (OT) or physiotherapist will have some of their targets worked towards at school. This will be monitored by the local authority OT and the SENDCO.

How will the school prepare and support my child to join the school, transfer to a new school or transition to the next stage of life?

When your child joins the school you will be shown round by the head teacher or a member of the leadership team. You are welcome to talk to children and teachers and ask any questions that you may have.

Staff visit preschools, nurseries and Primary Schools to see children joining the school and find out about particular needs.

Year 6 staff and the SENDCO liaise with staff from secondary schools. Extra visits are often arranged to help children to become familiar with their new school. When a child transfers during the year information is exchanged between schools and visits sometimes made.

At the end of the year, children will spend time with their new teacher usually for a morning. Some children will have additional visits depending on their needs.

Transition booklets are often made for particular children who need reminding and reassurance about their new class and teacher.

Where can I get further information about support for my child?

Your first point of contact is the school where staff will be able to sign post you to other services and/or help with referrals.

Children’s Information Services are available for information about a variety of resources and services which are available.

You can go onto to the local authority website to find out more about Southampton’s local offer. 

SEN information is provided as part of the local offer.  

Click here for the Southampton Local Offer.