Special Educational Needs and Disability

Dorchester Primary School currently supports children with a diverse range of special educational needs and disabilities.

The school has vast experience of supporting children from all four broad areas of special educational needs as outlined in the SEND Code of Practice 2014.

We will endeavour to meet the needs of each child, providing a broad and balanced curriculum for its pupils within an inclusive environment.

Further information for parents:

The best thing to do is to make an appointment to have a chat with your child’s class teacher. They will listen to your concerns and talk about what your child is like at school.

Together you will decide what needs to happen next. This might simply be a case of monitoring the situation, or together you might decide to put some extra support in place. Sometimes it might be appropriate for you to have a chat with the SENCO (special educational needs co-ordinator); the class teacher will discuss this with you.

If your child’s class teacher has any concerns about progress they will arrange to meet with you to talk about what those concerns are. They will be interested in hearing your views too, and might ask you questions about what your child is like at home, what their strengths are as well as their weaknesses. They might also ask you questions about their earlier development.

Together you will decide what needs to happen next. This might be a case of monitoring the situation, or together you might decide to put some extra support in place. Sometimes it might be appropriate for you to have a chat with the SENCO (special educational needs co-ordinator); the class teacher will discuss this with you.

To decide whether or not a pupil has special educational needs we look at the legal definition of SEN in the SEND Code of Practice 2014. This says that:

“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 has a learning difficulty or disability if they;

  • Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age; or
  • Have 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.”

Our decision is based on lots of things. Your views are very important, as are the views of your child and the class teacher. We look at progress and the work in books. We observe pupils both inside and outside the classroom. We sometimes carry out a range of tests so that we have a better understanding of your child’s strengths and weaknesses. This helps us to target support more effectively.

The type of support your child receives will depend upon their individual needs and is tailored to help them to achieve positive outcomes. The type of support currently offered in school includes:

  • Differentiation and scaffolding – this is when the class teacher modifies work to enable pupils to do similar work to the other children in the class
  • Small group work – either in or out of the classroom with adult support
  • One to one support
  • Specialised programmes for pupils with particular learning difficulties such as reading, spelling or mathematical difficulties
  • Life skills groups
  • Social skills programmes
  • Communication programmes for pupil with interaction difficulties
  • Language enrichment groups for pupils who need to develop their vocabulary
  • Speech and language therapy programmes
  • Fine and gross motor skills programmes
  • Behaviour programmes

Many pupils with SEN have an individual education plan (IEP) which provides details about the extra support they are receiving in school, and helps parents to support their child at home. The class teacher and SENCO will also be happy to help you with ideas for home.

Most of the time your child will work with their class teacher. Whoever else works with your child, the class teacher retains responsibility for their education. Other adults who might work with your child could include:

  • An ASA (Acheivement Support Assistant)
  • The Emotional Well-Being Worker
  • Another teacher from the same year group
  • The SENCO
  • Specialists from outside the school such as the educational psychologist, teachers of children with physical and sensory difficulties, teachers of children with learning difficulties, speech and language therapists, the school nurse, family practitioners.

We will always let you know before someone from outside the school works with your child.

You will be invited to attend regular progress meetings with your child’s class teacher. At the meeting you will have the chance to discuss the progress that has been made and together you can plan what the next steps are. If you have concerns about your child’s progress, however, you don’t need to wait until the next progress meeting. Simply contact the school to make an appointment to see your child’s class teacher.

Some pupils can find it difficult when they make the move from one class to another at the start of a new school year. This can be a very worrying time for parents too, especially when pupils move from one key stage to the next or from primary to secondary school.

For pupils who would benefit from additional support we make special transition arrangements. These can include:

  • Preparation of a transition book which includes photographs of key people and places in the new classroom or setting, as well as other useful information
  • Short visits to the new classroom or setting
  • Introducing new staff to pupils in familiar surroundings
  • Communication Passports containing important information about the child to share with new staff

“Leaders have continued to prioritise the teaching of phonics and reading.”

Ofsted

“As soon as children start school, leaders check their speech and language needs so that extra help can be provided, where it is required.”

Ofsted

“Leaders’ subject monitoring has led to a consistent and successful approach to the teaching of phonics across the early years and key stage 1.”

Ofsted

“In subjects such as history, teachers use assessment skilfully to find out what pupils know before they start to teach a new unit of work.”

Ofsted

“Leaders use assessment well to ensure that the books pupils read match the sounds they already know.”

Ofsted

“Leaders have ensured that pupils have plenty of opportunities
to design, make and evaluate projects using different materials.”

Ofsted

“In the short term, leaders have placed a greater focus on subjects such as
English and mathematics.”

Ofsted

“School council representatives attend School Stakeholder Group (SSG) meetings to share their views.”

Ofsted

“Pupils now use mathematical vocabulary with accuracy.”

Ofsted

“In the early years, mathematics is a high priority. Daily ‘carpet time’ is used to teach children
mathematical concepts”

Ofsted

“Strong, cross-curricular links with subjects, such as science, give pupils the opportunity to apply their skills and
knowledge when making products.”

Ofsted

“Leaders have created an ambitious curriculum that sets out clearly what pupils should
learn and when.”

Ofsted

“Leaders ensure there is a focus on developing pupils’ mathematical vocabulary.”

Ofsted

“Knowledgeable and highly trained leaders ensure that pupils get the support they need to achieve.”

Ofsted

“Pupils are clear about the school rules.”

Ofsted

“One pupil told inspectors that ‘teachers are really caring, we know if we ask for help, we will get it’.”

Ofsted

“Leaders ensure that opportunities for pupils to apply their mathematical understanding are provided in the activities pupils
complete.”

Ofsted

“Pupils spoke with enthusiasm about the school garden they are developing and of their plans for the fruit and vegetables they will grow.”

Ofsted

“Leaders have rightly reorganised their curriculum to make up for learning that has been
lost during the COVID-19”

Ofsted

“Leaders have established ‘hive’ provision for pupils who need it. These well-resourced, intimate settings provide the intense support that a significant minority of pupils need.”

Ofsted

“Leaders provide ‘chatterpacks’ to parents so that they have the age-appropriate resources they need to support their child’s
reading.”

Ofsted

“Democratically elected roles, such as house captains and school councillors, enable pupils to contribute purposefully to school life.”

Ofsted

“The mathematics curriculum is clearly sequenced. Teachers provide opportunities for pupils to continually revisit and review previous learning.”

Ofsted

“Teachers provide lots of opportunities for pupils to rehearse and say the sounds they are learning aloud, which helps them to remember them.”

Ofsted

“In other curriculum
areas, such as design technology (DT), the curriculum is improving rapidly.”

Ofsted

“The help that leaders provide for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) is a strength of the school.”

Ofsted

“Children are
taught to read as soon as they start in the early years.”

Ofsted

“Pupils feel that they are being listened to and that their views help leaders to improve the school.”

Ofsted