Aston's Special Educational Needs and Disabilities information report
'If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn…' Ignacio Estrada
The 0 – 25 years SEN and Disabilities Code of Practice 2014 specifies the way pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are supported in schools. The approach began in September 2014 and places pupils at the centre of planning. The key principles of the legislation are:
- Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC) will replace Statements of Special Educational Needs. Assessments for additional educational needs will follow the EHC guidelines from September 2014. (Existing statements will remain in force until all children and young people have completed the transition, which will be within three years).
- School Action and School Action Plus will cease and be replaced by a single school-based category for children who need extra specialist support.
- Pupils and their families should be involved in discussions about the support they need, so they can share their knowledge and feed back to the school on the young person’s progress.
- Require schools to publish a Special Educational Needs Information Report setting out, and explaining, the SEND support in school.
Aston upholds pupils’ rights to education and recognises the diverse educational needs within its community. We acknowledge those needs may change and require a range of provision. We believe we have a duty to offer that provision where we can, to foster inclusion and provide full educational access. We recognise that some of our pupils need increased support to access learning because:
- They have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of pupils of the same age.
- They have a disability as defined under the Equality Act, which affects their ability to access and benefit from the educational opportunities generally enjoyed by pupils of the same age.
Aston looks forward to working with pupils and their families to ensure fully inclusive access to our education. We will always try to ensure that all barriers to equal access in our school are removed or overcome.
Mrs V Davies, SEND Coordinator (SENCO)
Updated January 2022
Frequently asked questions
1. What are the kinds of special educational needs for which provision is made at Aston?
Special educational needs means that a pupil could have:
- Specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia and/or dyspraxia
- Communication and interaction needs, such as autistic spectrum disorders
- Behavioural, emotional, and/or social development needs
- Mental health needs
- Sensory or physical needs, such as hearing or visual impairment
- Speech and language difficulties
- Medical or health conditions which may slow down progress and/or involve treatment that affects education.
2. How does Aston know if pupils need extra help? How are pupils with Special Educational Needs identified and assessed?
On entry to school, the Y7 Year leader and the SENCO request information from primary schools and carry out visits where appropriate. The SENCO may be invited to year 6 Annual Reviews or other meetings around the student. External agencies may contact the school at transition, regarding students who already receive their support.
We know when pupils need help if:
- Concerns are raised by parents/carers, teachers or the pupil.
- Limited progress is being made.
- If there is a marked and noticeable change in the pupil’s behaviour or progress.
The particular special educational needs and disabilities of a pupil are identified and assessed through:
- Thorough assessment of the pupil including observations, CAT Testing, screening procedures and individual diagnostic testing.
- The involvement of outside agencies who assess individual pupils and recommend interventions for school to follow.
- A constant monitoring review cycle of progress during all interventions.
- Data tracking using educational software such as SMID, SIMS and Excel tracking.
3. What should I do if I think my child may have a special educational need or disability?
The best placed staff to talk to about your concerns regarding SEND are:
The SENCO is responsible for:
- Coordinating all the support for children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) and developing the school’s SEND Policy to make sure all children get a consistent, high quality response to meeting their needs in school.
- Ensuring that you are:
- involved in supporting your child’s learning
- kept informed about the support your child is getting
- involved in reviewing how they are doing
- Liaising with all the other people who may be coming into school to help support your child’s learning e.g. the local authority's Communication and Autism Team, Educational Psychologists etc...
- Updating the school’s SEND register (a system for ensuring all the SEND needs of pupils in this school are known) and making sure that there are records of your child’s progress and needs.
- Providing specialist support for teachers and support staff in the school so they can help children with SEND in the school achieve the best progress possible
The Class/subject teacher is responsible for:
- Checking on the progress of your child and identifying, planning and delivering any additional help your child may need (this could be things like targeted work, additional support) and letting the SENCO know as necessary.
- Ensuring that all staff working with your child in school are helped to deliver the planned work/programme for your child, so they can achieve the best possible progress. This may involve the use of additional adults, outside specialist help and specially planned work and resources.
- Ensuring that the school’s SEND Policy is followed in their classroom and for all the pupils they teach with any SEND.
The Headmaster is responsible for:
- The day to day management of all aspects of the school, this includes the support for pupils with SEND.
- He will give responsibility to the SENCO and class/subject teachers but is still responsible for ensuring that your child’s needs are met.
- He must make sure that the governing body is kept up to date about any issues in the school relating to SEND.
The SEN Governor is responsible for:
- Making sure that the necessary support is made for any child who attends the school who has SEND.
4. What are the different types of support available for pupils with SEND at Aston?
- Subject teacher input via targeted classroom teaching as part of Quality First Teaching.
- Implementation of specifically tailored support strategies or programmes into classroom based teaching.
- Appropriate differentiation of classroom based tasks and activities.
- Specific group work with a small number of targeted pupils, run in the classroom, supported by a teaching assistant.
- Specific group work with a small number of targeted pupils run outside the classroom by a teaching assistant or skilled specialist employed within school.
- Specialist groups run by, or in partnership with, specialist agencies such as the Communication and Autism Team, Educational Psychology Services etc.
- Specialised one-to-one support from specialised professionals skilled in specific areas of need, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, sensory support, counselling, or using English as an additional language (EAL).
- Peer/teacher mentoring opportunities
- Provision of specialist support equipment, IT or modified resources.
- Referral to external agencies such as child and adolescent mental health services, a school nurse, speech and language therapy etc.
- All pupils with sensory needs have access to a supportive school environment. Sensory audits of school site undertaken and recommendations implemented.
5. How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to pupil’s special educational needs?
- The SEND budget is allocated each financial year. The money is used to provide additional support or resources dependent upon an individual’s needs.
- Additional provision may be allocated after review meetings, or if a concern has been raised at another time during the academic year.
- Resources may include deployment of staff depending on funding allocation and individual circumstances.
- All resources/training and support are reviewed regularly and changes made as needed/recommended.
6. How is the decision made about how much support my son will receive?
These decisions are made in consultation with:
- Head of Year
- Senior Management Team
- Learning Support Staff
- Other support staff/agencies involved.
Decisions are based upon tracking of pupil progress and as a result of recommendations made by outside agencies. For pupils with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), decisions are taken by the local authority, using information from the Annual Review process.
7. How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
- Differentiation of work by subject teacher.
- Allocation of a teaching assistant where appropriate to support more specific needs.
- Provision of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which sets targets according to areas of need.
- Provision of specialist equipment, IT or modified resources.
- Differentiation of school curriculum under exceptional circumstances in accordance with need.
8. How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my son’s education?
All parents are encouraged to contribute to their son’s education. This may be through:
- Meetings/discussions with school teachers/support staff.
- Attendance at parents’ evenings.
- Review meetings with school and outside agencies involved.
- The SENCO is available to meet with parents to discuss pupils' progress and/or any concerns/worries parents may have. This contact can also be maintained via e-mail.
9. How will I know how my child is doing?
- You will be able to discuss your child’s progress at parents’ evening.
- Provision of reports.
- Review/progress meetings with SEND/learning support department also attending by subject teachers and Head of Year when appropriate.
- Review/progress meetings with specialist professionals and external agencies.
- E-mail communication access with all members of staff.
- Comments made by staff in a school planner.
- Students who have an Education Health and Care Plan will have Statutory Annual Reviews.
10. How will you help me support my child’s learning?
- Relevant subject teachers, Heads of Year, SENCO and specialised professionals involved with your child can suggest ways in which you can support your child with their learning.
- Through the sharing of professional reports with parents.
- School planners may be used to detail support that can be offered at home.
- Referrals to external agencies for further advice/support can be made where appropriate.
11. What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being?
The school offers a wide variety of pastoral support for pupils who are encountering emotional difficulties. These include:
- Members of staff, such as form tutor, Head of Year, head of pastoral care, counsellor, SENCO, all of whom are readily accessible to pupils who wish to discuss issues or concerns, either in person or by e-mail.
- One-to-one pupil or family support sessions with a school educational psychologist, either within school or at home.
- Opportunities for peer/teacher mentoring.
- Access to schools' interactive counselling website advice centre.
- Small group pastoral intervention programme (Friends for Life) which runs throughout the school year.
- Social club running at lunchtimes for those who struggle with non-contact time.
- Referrals to outside agencies can be made when needed e.g. to Forward Thinking Birmingham (formerly known as Child and Mental Health Adolescent Services or CAMHS).
- Open-door policy by SEND/Learning Support Department for all pupils during the school day.
- All staff have access to mental health awareness training.
- Liaison with school librarian.
12. How does the school cater for pupils medical needs?
Where pupils/young people with SEN also have a medical condition, their provision is planned and delivered in a coordinated way with a Health Care Plan.The school adheres to the procedures specified in the School Medical Policy as laid out in the DfE Guidance for Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions (April 2014).
13. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?
The school works alongside, and seeks support from other agencies where required, to maximise learning opportunities and potential.
Directly funded by school are:
- SENCO specialising in specific learning difficulties
- Deputy SENCO specialising in autistic spectrum disorders
- Two teaching assistants, providing in-class, group and one-to-one support to pupils with additional needs
- A counsellor
- A support inclusion officer providing support to pupils with emotional and behavioural eeds
- An EAL specialist teacher
- A dyslexia specialist teacher
- A local authority educational psychologist
- An intervention support teacher
- A lead person responsible for pupils with medical conditions
At times it is necessary to consult with outside agencies to receive their more specialised expertise. The agencies used by the school include:
- Communication and Autism Team
- Integrated Family Services
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service: Forward Thinking Birmingham
- Sensory Support Service
- Speech and Language Therapy Team
- School nurses
- Pupil and School Support Service
- Career Specialist Team
- Social Services
- Reachout Education
14. What training do the staff supporting pupils with SEND have?
Staff have a variety of specialist qualifications and expertise pertaining to SEND within school. This includes specialist qualifications and knowledge of:
- Specific learning difficulties, dyslexia
- Autistic spectrum disorders
- Social, emotional and behavioural needs
- Mental health
- Anger management
Whole school training is provided on SEND issues. Individual teachers and support staff attend in-school and external training relevant to the needs of specific pupils in their class.
15. How are pupils directly involved in the planning and delivery of whole school SEND provision?
Each is pupil is:
- focused on an individual with additional support tailored to the needs of the individual.
- able to express their own views and wishes about their learning.
- included in SEND decision making processes.
- taught according to their individual strengths and weaknesses.
- help to develop their own individual outcomes for the future.
- included in the development of outcome focused and coordinated plans, that also involve parents and all relevant professionals and agencies.
Students who have an Education Health and Care Plan will have Statutory Annual Reviews.
16. How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom, including school trips?
As an inclusive school, we aim to ensure that activities and school trips are available to all:
- Risk assessments are carried out and procedures are put in place to enable all pupils to participate. This is done in liaison with the Learning Support Department.
- Reasonable adjustments are made for those pupils with additional, medical and/or physical needs.
- If it is deemed that an intensive level of one-to-one support is required then a teaching assistant or inclusion support officer will accompany the pupil during their activity or trip.
- Appropriate provision of specialist equipment is provided such as a laptop, magnifier etc. Students who have an Education Health and Care Plan will have Statutory Annual Reviews.
- Advice and guidance from specialist agencies is sought and followed.
- Appropriate buddy systems are put in place for support during activities/trips.
17. How accessible is the school environment?
We endeavour to provide an appropriate, exciting and accessible learning environment within school. We are happy to discuss individual access requirements. Facilities we have at present include:
- Ramps around entrances to school buildings where necessary for disabled persons to gain access to facilities.
- Facilities for disabled persons use are appropriately maintained (e.g. testing of WC alarm call facilities, evacuation chair maintenance).
- Toilet adapted for disabled users
- White visibility stripes on steps
- Provision of a lift
- Radio hearing amplification devices are in use to assist hearing impaired persons.
- Braille signs are affixed to appropriate doors for visually impaired persons.
- Sensory audit of school environment undertaken annually, and recommendations followed.
- Provision of specialist equipment, adapted to pupils' need, provided where appropriate such as specifically designed chairs, specialist IT equipment, and specialist stationary.
The school's Disability Discrimination Policy implements its duties, with regard to providing reasonable access to the school and its facilities, for disabled persons. Due to the widely differing circumstances of each disabled person, there can be no single set of provisions which will cater for all disabilities. The requirements of each disabled person for access to the school and its facilities will be assessed individually, and reasonable adjustments made to cater for them.
- Ramps have been provided where necessary for disabled persons to gain access to facilities.
- Lifts have been provided and maintained, for disabled persons to gain access to different floor levels.
- Disabled toilet facilities have been provided.
- Facilities for disabled persons use are appropriately maintained (i.e. testing of WC alarm call facilities, evac chair maintenance etc).
- Radio hearing amplification devices are in use to assist hearing impaired persons.
18. How will the school prepare and support my son when joining King Edward VI Aston School or when transferring between phases of education or in preparation for adulthood and independent living?
Many strategies are in place to enable pupil transition to be as smooth as possible. These include:
- Discussions and meetings between previous or receiving schools, colleges, universities or other organisations, prior to the pupil joining/leaving. The school endeavours to pass on/receive all relevant information and records regarding pupils with learning support needs. Received information is disseminated throughout school, and appropriate recommendations/advice implemented.
- All new pupils attend an induction day in July and complete an induction programme in September. Parent/pupil information evenings and open days also facilitate transition.
- Additional visits are also arranged for pupils who need extra time in their new school
- The learning support department staff are always happy to meet parents/carers prior to their son joining/leaving the school to discuss anticipated learning needs/support arrangements.
- Likewise, school staff can also make external visits to schools/colleges/universities/organisations to plan transition arrangements in more detail.
- All pupils will participate in focused learning about aspects of transition to support their understanding and management of the changes ahead. This work is carried out in close liaison with the careers specialist team; one-to-one appointments with a career specialist are available throughout the school year, and family members are also invited to attend.
- All school SEND review meetings include transition discussions, and take advice from parents, teachers and other professionals involved.
- All pupils with an Education Care and Support Plan will complete a Transition Plan at key moments of change in their education. This is completed in liaison with the school’s careers team.
- All pupils are given the opportunity to visit new establishments that they wish to attend, and awareness visits also take place within school, informing pupils of their future options.
- Preparation for Adulthood lessons take place for SEND pupils during curriculum enhancement afternoons.
19. How does school help pupils with SEND who require additional support to access remote education?
We recognise that some pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), may not be able to access remote education without additional support. We acknowledge the difficulties this may place on families, and we work with parents and carers to support those pupils in the following ways:
- Teaching staff will monitor the academic progress and engagement of pupils with SEND and discuss additional support or provision with the SENCO as soon as possible.
- The SENCO will be responsible for ensuring that pupils with EHC plans continue to have their needs met while learning remotely, and liaising with the school Educational Psychologist and other external agencies to make any alternate arrangements for pupils with EHC plans
- The SENCO will identify the level of support or intervention that is required while pupils with SEND learn remotely via the provision of a Lockdown/Remote Learning Individual Education Plan. This will be disseminated to all staff involved with the SEND pupil.
- The SENCO will ensure that the provision put in place for pupils with SEND is monitored for effectiveness throughout the duration of the remote learning period, using the LA SEND monitoring forms; forms will be returned to LA and agencies within specified time- 10 days.
- The SENCO will liaise with the ICT team to ensure that the technology used for remote learning is accessible to all pupils and that reasonable adjustments are made where required.
- Monitoring calls/emails will be made to all SEND families during periods of Lockdown/remote education.. Where necessary/applicable home visits will be undertaken by no fewer than two members of trained DSL/SEND staff. A collaborative problem-solving approach will be used and encouraged.
- SEND pupils and their families will be provided with a means of contacting the DSL and the Learning Support Dept -this arrangement will be set up by the DSL prior to the period of remote learning.
- Laptops will be provided to all SEND pupils with no access to remote learning at home.
- Information sheets compiled by SENCO guiding staff on effective ways to teach/engage SEND pupils during periods of remote learning are available and accessible to all via a centralised library.
- Catch-up funding will be used to support SEND remote learning and facilitate access to supportive software
20. What are the school admission procedures for pupils with an Education, Health and Care Plan?
Where the school has been named on a child’s Education, Health & Care Plan (EHC) the child will be admitted. The naming of the school is undertaken after a statutory consultation with the school so as to consider whether the school is suitable for the child’s age, ability, aptitude or special educational needs. The school would require and expects to see cogent evidence that the child’s ability is of the requisite academic standard as part of that process. Usually this will be evidenced by the child having achieved the qualifying score in the admission test. This is not an oversubscription criterion but the Admission Number will reduce accordingly for all other applicants.
21. What arrangements are made by the governing body or the proprietor relating to the treatment of complaints from parents of pupils with SEND concerning the provision made at the school?
Aston takes its responsibilities towards pupils and parents of pupils with special educational needs very seriously. However, should parents ever feel that things are going wrong, then we recognise that it is very important to be able to use informal and formal complaint procedures to remedy the situation as soon as possible.
In the first instance, parents should contact the SENCO. A meeting will be arranged to discuss the complaint and to agree an acceptable resolution to the problem. The Headmaster and other staff of the school and the Foundation Office can also assist at this stage in settling the complaint to the agreement of all involved.
Should this not be the case, and the complaint cannot be resolved, the school Governing Body recognises its duty to comply with The Education Regulations, 2010 and the procedures specified in the School Complaints Policy should be followed.
22. How does the Governing Body involve other bodies, local authority support services and voluntary organisations in meeting the needs of pupils with SEND and in supporting the families of such pupils?
The school's governing body does its best to secure the necessary provision for any pupil identified as having special educational needs. The SEN Governor monitors and reports on this provision, and works closely with the SENCO and senior leadership team to ensure that all relevant bodies, local authority support services and voluntary organisations are working effectively with school to assist in meeting the needs of pupils with special educational needs, and in supporting the families of such pupils. The Link Governor also assists in this role. The School SEND Policy is approved and authorised by the School Governors.
23. Who can I contact for further information about Special Educational Needs at King Edward VI Aston School?
The SENCO is happy to give parents contact details for organisations who can give you and your child advice and support.
24. Where can I get further information about Special Educational Needs support services for my child?
- Autism West Midlands, Regent Court, Edgbaston, B15 1NU www.autismwestmidlands.org.uk
- British Association for Counselling, 1 Regent Place, Rugby CV21 2PJ www.bacp.co.uk
- Birmingham education support services https://www.birminghameducationsupportservices.co.uk/Page/16955
- Birmingham SEN Parent Partnership www.birmingham.gov.uk/senparents
- Contact a Family www.cafamily.org.uk
- Dyslexia Information www.bdadyslexia.org.uk
- Dyspraxia Foundation, Hitchin, Herts SG5 1EG www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk
- Forward Thinking Birmingham (formerly known as CAMHS) www.forwardthinkingbirmingham.org.uk
- SENDirect www.sedirect.org.uk
- SEND Gateway – www.sendgateway.org.uk
- SENAR (Special Educational Needs Assessment and Review Service) www.birmingham.gov.uk/senar
- The information in this report forms part of Birmingham’s Local Offer which contains further information and a directory for all support services in the area for parents of pupils with SEN. This Local Offer is available to access via www.localofferbirmingham.co.uk