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Special Educational Needs & Disabilities


What is SEN?  


Special educational provision is educational or training provision that is additional to or different from that made generally for others of the same age. This means provision that goes beyond the differentiated approaches and learning arrangements normally provided as part of high quality, personalised teaching in the classroom. 


Areas of Special Educational Need  


Special educational needs and provision can be considered as falling under four broad areas: 


1. Communication and interaction 

2. Cognition and learning  

3. Social, mental and emotional health  

4. Sensory and/or physical  


Many children and young people have difficulties that fit clearly into one of these areas; some have needs that span two or more areas; for others the precise nature of their need may not be clear at the outset. Behavioural difficulties do not necessarily mean that a child or young person has a SEND and will not automatically lead to a pupil being registered as having SEND. However, consistent disruptive or withdrawn behaviours can be an indication of unmet SEN, and where there are concerns about behaviour, there will be an assessment to determine whether there are any causal factors such as undiagnosed learning difficulties, difficulties with communication or mental health issues.  


Communication and interaction


Children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) have difficulty in communicating with others. This may be because they have difficulty saying what they want to, understanding what is being said to them or they do not understand or use social rules of communication. Children and young people with ASD, including Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism, are likely to have particular difficulties with social interaction. They may also experience difficulties with language, communication and imagination, which can impact on how they relate to others.  


Cognition and learning 

Support for learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation. Learning difficulties cover a wide range of needs, including moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD), where children are likely to need support in all areas of the curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication, through to profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD). 

Specific learning difficulties (SpLD), affect one or more specific aspects of learning. This encompasses a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.  


Social, emotional and mental health difficulties  

Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained. Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attachment disorder. 



What to do if you think your child has a SEND 


Your main point of contact at school should always be your child’s teacher who will will be able to discuss your concerns and pass these to the relevant parties. 


The SENCO at Our Lady’s Primary School is Miss Cunningham.  

She can be reached via 


Our Lady’s is committed to early identification of Special Educational Needs (SEN).  


  • Our school adopts a graduated response to meeting SEN and Disability (SEND) in line with the SEN Code of Practice 0 -25, 2014.  

  • All children throughout the school are monitored regularly to ensure they continue to access the curriculum successfully and to help early identification of need. A range of evidence is collected through assessment and monitoring arrangements, as well as regular formal discussions between the Special Education al Needs Coordinator (SENDCO) and the class teachers.  

  • Strategies, evidence based interventions and additional support is put in place to support these children.  

  • The assess, plan, do review model is used to implement and carry out interventions. Once the support is put into place and pupils are not making the expected progress, or their needs have changed, the class teacher will invite the parents/carers to school to discuss these additional needs with the SENDCO.  

  • Following this, the class teacher and parents/carers, work with the SENDCO in order to decide if, or how, additional provision is implemented. This could be introducing outside agencies such as Speech and Language or Occupational Therapy. Ongoing discussions with parents and school will continue to evaluate the impact of provision put into place. 


Our School’s SEND Provision 


Differentiated school support  


We recognise that there are children of widely different abilities in all classes, and we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this by:  

  • Setting tasks which are open ended and can have a variety of responses  

  • Grouping children by ability in the class, and setting different tasks to each ability group  

  • Setting different tasks which allow children to succeed  

  • Providing resources of different complexity, according to the ability of the child  

  • Using classroom assistants to support the work of individual children or groups of children. 



Provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs:  


  • Pupil’s strengths interests and preferred learning styles are identified and used as motivators to develop skills and knowledge.  

  • All staff have received some training or have access to information on approaches to consider when working with learners who may have for example dyslexia, ADHD or ASD. Pupils with such difficulties are in particular taught and encouraged to present work in a variety of ways such as mind maps, flow charts and labelled diagrams.  

  • The school is committed to developing the expertise of all staff in SEN to enable them to meet the needs of all pupils. Inset is provided for the whole staff via SENCO, the Link teacher, Behaviour Support Team.  

  • The SENCO seeks advice for teachers and teaching assistants when previous strategies have not been successful.  


The SENCO also meets regularly with the teaching assistants to discuss teaching strategies targets and progress of particular pupils.  

Waves of Intervention

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How will school staff support my child?  


We will endeavour to support children with SEN as best we can in our school and, in partnership with parents and carers, find the solutions to difficulties that arise by accessing the expertise we have both here in school and in the Local Authority. We provide different types of support to children to ensure that both their well - being and their academic progress are provided for. We offer Nurture support to children whose needs are social or emotional; Reading, Writing, Mathematics and Spelling support to children who need a catch up programme and Dyslexia Friendly support. We meet termly with Educational Psychology and the TESS team to review our children’s needs so that we can offer therapeutic support for children and up to date training for staff. Wherever possible, we will seek the support needed for our children and at every step, we will consider the views of parents and carers to ensure the best outcomes for the child. 


How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs and how are school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s needs?  


High quality teaching is that which is differentiated and personalised to meet the needs of the children. Our curriculum is differentiated appropriately to ensure that every child’s learning needs are catered for and the progress of children who have SEND is monitored regularly. We have a Governor who oversees SEND in the school, who meets regularly with the SENCO to monitor provision. We have a cycle of ‘plan, do, review’ in school which involves pupil progress meetings with the teacher and the SENCO. During these meetings, children with SEND are reviewed in light of the help they have received and its impact judged. We then match the expertise we have in school with the child’s needs and make decisions about what help the child should receive going forward. The SENCO and the Head Teacher together allocate time and staff to these extra provisions, prioritising children with the greatest needs; this is then shared with parents through our individualised intervention grids.  


Accessibility of the school environment due to a physical disability  


Disability is defined by the Equality Act (2010) as: ‘A person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day to day activities.’ The SEN and Disability Act 2014 extended the Equality Act 2010 to cover education.  

Since September 2002, the Governing Body of Our Lady’s R.C. Primary School has had three key duties towards disabled pupils: 

  • Not to treat disabled pupils less favourably for a reason related to their disability  

  • To make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils, so that they are not at a substantial disadvantage  

  • To plan to increase access to education for disabled pupils  


More information regarding accessing the school environment can be found in our Accessibility and Disability policy. 


SEND in each subject 


Religious Education   


Our RE curriculum supports SEN children as it is inclusive of all children sharing the same Catholic values which are demonstrated through gospel stories and bible teachings. Children have the opportunity to participate and lead in worship and prayer, uniting as one group. This builds self-confidence and awareness, as well as reinforcing their understanding of the world they live in, as individuals and members of different community groups. We approach Religious Education with a range of teaching strategies such as role-play, drama, stories and art. This allows children who may find writing difficult to take on an active role in lessons. Children are also given opportunities to visit places of worship.  Children have opportunities to find out about other religious beliefs through food tasting and exploring the clothing of other religions in a very practical way. Having both teachers and teaching assistants in the classroom allows SEN children to be supported in the lesson.  Subject leaders are kept up to date with key changes in the curriculum by going on training and this knowledge is passed to other members of staff in staff meetings.   As a subject leader, the assessment data is analysed with a focus on SEN and PP, this allows subject leaders to ensure these key pupils are being supported in order to achieve in the subject.   



Art and design supports SEN children as it allows them to show individual creativity in their own form. It doesn’t focus on the formal elements of learning e.g. reading and writing. It focuses on our opinion and creatively exploring different art forms in a free, creative way. We support our SEN learners through 1:1 support and clear demonstrations within specific skills of art. Those who struggle within certain aspects of art can be supported by peers or staff. In a recent meeting we also explored the use of tracing paper and taking turns when practising certain skills so the children are encouraged to have a go. We support our SEN and PP children through allowing them to experiment with a range if the arts and incorporate gallery and museum visits into our Art curriculum. 



Our Computing curriculum supports SEN children as it allows our children to become advanced users of technology. This often supports children who find it difficult to write things down in a clear way as they can use technology to support this. Within computing lessons SEN children can be paired with more able children in the class to allow them to be supported by their peer. We also support our SEN children with Teacher and TA support within lessons. We do find however that some of our SEN children flourish within certain aspects of computing as they are often using technology at home. Our Teach Computing curriculum allows us to show visuals and set challenges within our lessons. Through our teaching of E-Safety using the Common Sense Media scheme we ensure we keep up to date with the current issues with children working online in order to keep them safe. Within subjects, assessment data is analysed with a focus on SEN and PP pupils to ensure these children are being supported and are able to achieve well. 



Maths at Our Lady’s is a subject in which we would like all children to achieve. We strive to maintain an inclusive learning environment with all children working mixed ability. We have developed a curriculum where all children access their year group objectives without the need to differentiate. This enables us to support gaps in their number knowledge without extending them. A multi-sensory approaches, including information and communication technology is welcomed with a hands on, concrete apparatus focus with children being able to ‘see’ the maths they are needed to understand. We then work towards a pictorial and then abstract approach, scaffolding as we go. Educational apps such as Mathletics, Numbots and Times Table Rock Stars are also used to enable children with different working styles to learn number facts. Children have support from many additional adults inside the classroom with interventions being chosen for their evidence based results. We often use partner talk and ask children to reason their answers to support peer relationships. Reasoning sentence stems are placed upon the every changing working walls to support vocabulary retention and to guide children to use small steps when working out different calculations. Memory and consolidation is also a way in which we want to bridge the gap for children with extra need and snappy maths each day supports the repetition and sticky knowledge needed by the children. This ensures we provide a broad and balanced curriculum for all children. 



Music can be seen in many aspects across school, not just in an individual music lesson. Music can be used in classrooms to ‘settle’ children entering the hall for assembly and can significantly reduce incidences of low-level disruption on such occasions. It can also be found as a useful, calming influence in classrooms to begin or end lessons. 

Music can also be used as a tool to aid memory across the assembly. Musical times-tables, ‘alphabet tunes’, and other musical tunes are used across school to support learning in all subjects. Creating raps about scientific objectives or grammar facts is often used to help pupils to remember what they have learned. Music at Our Lady’s is also used to create an atmosphere to support and regulate emotions. To support all our different learners, Music has an important part to play in kinaesthetic learning. In science, for example, students may learn about the difference between the behaviour of molecules in solid, liquid and gaseous form by moving about in groups. Slow background music represents solids. It quickens as the groups become liquids, and becomes more manic as groups representing gas molecules bounce off each other.


When teaching music lessons, teachers support with visual aids using our support of Charanga on the screen. We often think about the layout of our rooms by placing chairs in a semi-circle around a piano, keyboard or other instrument to make a focus point for pupils entering the room. We keep instruments, beaters and other musical equipment in the same place with clear labels and symbols to improve independence in school. 

Music lessons keep to a similar lesson plan across and by maintaining the same set-up, pupils find it easier to accept a change of focus within the lesson. 



At Our Lady’s we ensure English is a subject where all children can thrive. We promote all pupils’ progress in speaking and listening, reading and writing. We teach and adapt this is suit a range of learners to ensure they are competent – they can communicate through English in a range of contexts and using different modes, they show their creativity − making connections, creating new effects, using imagination and problem solving, their work has a cultural understanding − gaining a sense of how ideas are portrayed differently in different texts and how English varies locally and globally, and we develop and ensure children have a critical understanding where they are engaging with ideas and how they are represented, exploring others’ ideas and developing their own ideas. 

Pupils with SEND are likely to demonstrate very different attainments against the different indicators so as teachers it’s important to focus on the pupils’ strengths as well as identifying areas where they need more help, practice and consolidation. Pupils should have the opportunity to develop all the concepts, regardless of their needs. We adapt our approaches to these concepts differently with different groups of pupils; this depends on the pupil’s age, their stage of development, their strengths and any requirements they have in terms of communication − for example, hearing loops. In English, pupils with SEND will be able to take part in the same way as their peers however some modifications or adjustments will need to be made to include everyone. At Our Lady’s, we ensure our environments and teaching is inclusive by: 

  • Using a ‘parallel’ activity for pupils so that they can work towards the same lesson objectives as their peers, but in a different way − eg using an ICT-based means of recording information to compensate for difficulties with handwriting. 

  • Different activities, or towards different objectives, from their peers. 

  • Sound and light issues are thought about - interactive whiteboards are non-reflective to reduce glare and backgrounds are never white to be dyslexia friendly. 

  • Pupils’ seating and the main board position are planned for the shape of the room to ensure pupils can see and hear clearly, as necessary: " the teacher " each other, and " the board/TV/screens. This seating allows for peer or adult support. 

  • Learning resources are readily available including on the tables and display boards.  

  • Multi-sensory approaches are thought about when teaching. Pupils’ preferred learning styles are identified and built on eg visual, tactile, auditory and kinaesthetic approaches are used. 




We ensure that Geography lessons are accessible for all children. We have clear working walls within our classrooms that are visual reminders of learning for children to refer to during lessons. Teachers ensure that these are updated with relevant photographs, pictures, vocabulary and maps if necessary. The children are encouraged to work with their peers during geography lessons (particularly fieldwork activities) to provide suitable support where appropriate. Our children are assessed at the end of their topic and any areas that the class teacher thinks the child has struggled with will be considered when planning for the next topic. Children are given time to respond to marking and feedback and this gives the teacher/TAs time to work with individual groups to ensure good progress. 




We ensure that history lessons are accessible for all pupils. The children are often provided with practical experiences within history lessons (looking at artefacts, enrichment activities etc) which provides opportunities for visual/kinesthetic learners. The children are directed to use the working walls within the classroom where necessary that include lots of information to support their learning such as key words/pictures etc... We encourage all teachers to provide appropriate feedback for children to respond to, giving teachers time to work with select pupils that need more support. Children are encouraged to enquire about the past and think like historians therefore we are giving all children opportunities to voice their opinions about the past alongside written work. 



Our Science curriculum supports children with SEND in a range of ways. We are beginning to introduce QR codes to enable pupils to verbalise the task they have completed and discuss what they have learned. This is beneficial for pupils who find writing difficult. We use a range of visuals to support children’s memory retention, such as Explorify and concept cartoons; this is encourages child-led discussion. We encourage children with SEND to work alongside their peers and give pupils the chance to work in groups and investigate for themselves. In order to make the curriculum accessible, we use a range of quality first teaching strategies such as scaffolds, direct questioning and partially completed models to support pupils who may need it. We use sticky knowledge tasks to give all pupils the opportunity to recall and reflect on previous learning. Children with SEND are often supported by a TA in class but we believe that all children should also be given the opportunity to work independently and alongside others in science.   


Who can I contact for further information?  

Parents’ first point of contact if they wish to discuss something about their child should be the class teacher. The SENCO may then become involved to further discuss concerns and how together we may address them. You may access the Local Authority’s ‘Local Offer’ here:

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