Frequently Asked Questions

How does Newton Hill Community School know if my child needs extra help?

Children have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty or disability that calls for special educational provision to be made for them. A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:
(a) has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
(b) 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. In Early Years Foundation stage (EYFS) information is sought r/e special needs from the parents of a particular child or a previous setting. Where a child appears to be behind expected levels, or where a child’s progress gives cause for concern, Foundation Stage staff along with the SENCo and parents will consider all the information about the child’s learning and development from within and beyond the setting, from formal checks, from EYFS observations and from any more detailed assessment of the child’s needs. From within the setting information on a child’s progress in communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development will be considered. Where any specialist advice has been sought from beyond the setting, this will also inform decisions about whether or not a child has SEN. All the information will be brought together with the observations of parents and considered with them. A delay in learning and development in the early years may or may not indicate that a child has SEN, that is, that they have a learning difficulty or disability that calls for special educational provision. Equally, difficult or withdrawn behaviour does not necessarily mean that a child has SEN. However, where there are concerns, there should be an assessment to determine whether there are any causal factors such as an underlying learning or communication difficulty. If it is thought housing, family or other domestic circumstances may be contributing to the presenting behaviour, a multi-agency approach, supported by the use of approaches such as the Early Help Assessment, should be adopted. Identifying and assessing SEN for young children whose first language is not English requires particular care. Early year’s practitioners should look carefully at all aspects of a child’s learning and development to establish whether any delay is related to learning English as an additional language or if it arises from SEN or disability. Difficulties related solely to learning English as an additional language are not SEN.
What should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?

If you have any concerns about the needs of your child please contact their class teacher as first point of contact. You can make an appointment through the school office. The class teacher will liaise with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator to discuss an appropriate course of action. At all times Newton Hill Community School feel it is essential to involve the parent/carers and the child, where appropriate, in making decisions about suitable next steps.
How will Newton Hill Community School support my child?
The school will support your child through a clear joint plan of action this sometimes takes the form of a ‘Supporting Me to Learn Plan. A ‘Supporting Me to Learn Plan’ outlines the support and strategies used with your child in order to meet their needs. This is shared with all adults in school through regular Special Educational Needs meetings, Staff Meetings and team briefings. 

Teachers refer closely to the SEN Code of Practice, July 2014. 
As the child moves through school any action taken/support given with regard to SEN is recorded & kept in the child’s file & SEN folder if necessary. If initial concerns have been expressed about a child, the class teacher and SENCO make a joint decision about placing the child on the SEN Register. (We also maintain a separate Additional Needs Register). Academic progress against the National Curriculum age related expectations is monitored on a termly basis by the Senior Leadership Team however a Supporting Me to Learn Plan can be monitored as frequently or infrequently as all parties involved feel necessary.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

All pupils should have access to a broad and balanced curriculum. Teachers set high expectations for every pupil, whatever their prior attainment. Teachers use appropriate assessment to set targets which are deliberately ambitious. Potential areas of difficulty are identified and addressed at the outset. Lessons are planned to address potential areas of difficulty and to remove barriers to pupil’s achievement. Planning will mean that pupils with SEN and disabilities will be able to study the full national curriculum in order to achieve this the teacher may need to prepare additional support including specific resources, prior intervention and adult guidance as appropriate.
How will I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?

All children throughout the school are monitored regularly to ensure they continue to access the curriculum successfully and to help early identification of any area of concern. A range of evidence is collected through the usual assessment and monitoring arrangements, as well as regular formal discussions between the SEN Coordinator and the class teachers. For children with SEN progress can be monitored in relation to their additional needs this may be fortnightly, monthly or half termly.
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?

The school adopts the levels of intervention as described in the SEN Code of Practice, July 2014. The Code of Practice advocates a graduated response to meeting pupils’ needs when they are identified as having SEN. These are often described as Waves of Intervention: 

WAVE 1: Quality first teaching through differentiation in English and Maths lessons. 
WAVE 2: Small group support for those pupils who are achieving below age expected levels. 
WAVE 3: Focused, individualised programmes for pupils working well below age expectation.

Intervention is characterised as such when they are different from or additional to the normal differentiated curriculum. 

Wave 2 intervention can be triggered through concern, supplemented by evidence that, despite receiving differentiated teaching, pupils: 

  • Make little or no progress
  • Demonstrate difficulty in developing Reading, Writing or Mathematics skills
  • Show persistent emotional/behavioural difficulties which are not affected by behaviour management strategies
  • Have sensory/physical problems, and make little progress despite the provision of specialist equipment Experience communication and/or interaction problems and make little or no progress despite experiencing a differentiated curriculum
  • The child is working below age related expectations.

Support Plans
If the school decides, after consultation with parents, that a pupil requires further support in addition to good quality first teaching and interventions to make progress, the SENCO, in collaboration with teachers, will support the assessment of the pupil and have an input in planning future support. The class teacher will remain responsible for planning and delivering individualised programmes. Parents will be closely informed of the action and results. At this stage there may also be involvement of external services. Placement of a pupil at this level will be made by the SENCO after full consultation with Class Teacher and Parents. External support services will advise on targets for a Supporting Me to Learn Plan and provide specialist input to the support process. The circumstances under which we would begin a Supporting Me to Learn Plan are, pupils: 

  • Still makes little or no progress in specific areas over a long period
  • Continues to work at National Curriculum levels considerably lower than expected for a pupil at a similar age
  • Continues to experience difficulty in developing literacy/numeracy skills
  • Has emotional/behavioural problems that substantially impede their learning
  • Has sensory or physical needs requiring additional specialist equipment or visits/advice from specialists.
  • Has communication or interaction problems that impede the development of social relationships, thus presenting barriers to learning.

Parental consent is sought before any external agencies are involved. The resulting Supporting Me to Learn Plan will incorporate specialist strategies. These may be implemented by the class teacher but involve other adults.

Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP): Where, despite having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the SEN of the child, the child has not made expected progress, we or the child’s parents will consider requesting an Education, Health and Care needs assessment. A decision for a pupil to have an EHCP is “Needs Led Not Diagnosis Led” and the school will have the following information available to show the SEN Support that has already been given: 

  •          The interventions at Wave 2
  •          Current Supporting Me to Learn Plan and previous One Page Profiles
  •          Information on the pupil’s health and relevant medical history
  •          Assessment information (including National Curriculum levels (if appropriate)
  •          Other relevant assessments & reports from external agencies
  •          The views of parents
  •          Where possible, the views of the pupil.

An Education, Health and Care Plan will normally be provided where the LA considers the pupil requires provision beyond what the school can currently offer. However, the school recognises that a request for assessment does not necessarily lead to an Education, Health and Care Plan or increase in financial provision.