Special Educational Needs Local Offer for Families
Our School Offer for SEND
Mells C of E First School is committed to providing the best learning opportunities for all children, including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. We strive to achieve this by creating a nurturing environment where success is celebrated and all children are encouraged and inspired to reach their potential.
We welcome all children, regardless of special educational need or disability.
As a member of the Frome Learning Partnership we work with other local schools to offer a broadly similar range of provision.
Who do I speak to for more information about SEND at Mells First School?
Our SENCO is Caroline Corke. She works in school one day per fortnight. Appointments can be made with her by contacting the school office. You can also speak the Headteacher.
We hold termly parents forum meetings for SEN when all parents are invited to attend and have an opportunity to speak to our SENCO and contribute to discussions about the development of SEN in our school. These are advertised in the Newsletters.
For the Somerset local Offer, click here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who do I speak to if I am worried about my child?
The first person to talk to is your child’s teacher, who will be able to tell you about their progress and what they can do to investigate your concerns, but if you are still worried you can make an appointment to speak to the Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO). The SENCO is a specialist teacher with additional qualifications in SEN who has oversight of the SEN provision in the school.
how does mells c of E First school KNOW if CHILDREN need extra help?
All children at Mells C of E First School are closely monitored by their class teachers, and if children are making less than expected progress action is taken quickly to support them. Initially this may take the form of simple adjustments to teaching. Sometimes children have temporary difficulties and catch up, but if it seems that they may need additional and different provision from other similar children, we may request your permission to carry out an assessment, or refer them to an external agency for this purpose. We then look at all of the evidence, from assessments and from how a child is performing at school, to make a decision about including them on our SEN List. You will always be informed about this.
Some children will arrive at school with detailed information about their special educational needs, and in these cases the SENCO will review the advice received in consultation with parents and will liaise with class teachers to develop effective support.
how will the curriculum be matched to my child's needs?
Your child’s education is overseen by their class teacher. As the person in daily contact with your child they are responsible for the day to day implementation of any additional support and provision for your child, with the support of our teaching assistants.
All teachers plan lessons to accommodate the particular needs of the children in their classes, which can be quite varied. They may often plan different versions of activities matched to where children are with their learning, and there are a wide range of resources provided in classrooms that are intended to help pupils to overcome any barriers to their learning, which they are taught to use.
Children are encouraged to respect learning differences and we aim to ensure that all children develop as confident and independent learners through sensitive and timely support.
In addition we provide additional intervention lessons that are designed to tackle specific areas of need and accelerate progress. These might be in small groups or 1:1, and they are provided in blocks each term, with regular reviews of progress by teachers and the SENCO to ensure that they are working.
how will i know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child's learning?
We always want to work in partnership with parents and we will tell you about any concerns we have as soon as possible. If you child has SEN we will invite you to meet with the class teacher and the SENCO each term to discuss how they are getting on. We also want to hear your views about what you think your child needs, and together we will try to plan how to help them at school. We will write this up as an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) and you will have a copy.
As part of this meeting we will discuss ways you may be able to support your child at home and this will be written into the plan if you agree.
what support will there be for my child's overall well-being?
We pride ourselves on offering a caring environment where all children are valued and have a contribution to make to the life of the school.
We believe that children learn best when they are given an opportunity to say what they think about their learning and what they would like to achieve.
Children with SEN have an opportunity to talk with their teacher individually about their experiences of learning and what helps them. They also contribute ideas for the development on a One Page Profile, a pictorially supported document that tells all members of staff about the things that help them to learn best, their strengths and interests, and particular things they find difficult.
In addition to support for academic subjects, Mells C of E First School aims to offer a nurturing environment that allows children to feel safe and secure.
We have two trained Emotional Literacy Specialist Assistants, who have undertaken additional training under the guidance of Educational Psychologists. This enables them to provide both short term therapeutic work with children, for example supporting children experiencing anxiety, bereavement, divorce or change in their lives, and as work with small groups using nurturing principles to develop social communication skills and secure relationships in school.
If a child has medical needs or a disability staff training will be provided, and we will involve you, as well as medical professionals in discussions about what is appropriate to ensure your child is safe and well cared for.
What does the school do to support transition to new settings?
Transitions between settings are often a difficult time for children and we work to ensure as smooth a transition as possible for all pupils.
We hold a pre-school entry planning meeting with you and relevant agencies and pre-schools if your child is starting school and has already been identified with SEN.
When your child with SEN moves to a new class we consider carefully what we need to do to prepare them for this and plan accordingly. This might include special time with a new teacher, visiting the new classroom and joining special activities. You will be involved in these discussions through the termly meeting process.
When children move on to a new school in Year 4 there are transition days for all children which may be extended for SEN pupils who need it. We have full discussions with the SENCOs of the middle schools and share up to date information with them. We also encourage parents to attend information days at the Middle Schools and make an appointment to meet their SENCOs if they wish for more information about the support that will be available.
In the latter part of the summer term we offer a short block of transition group work for children who are anxious or have SEN, with special activities to build confidence.
When children leave or arrive at Mells at other times we will always try to ensure that the most current information is made available from the previous school or given to the receiving school.
what training do staff have in relation to send?
The SENCO has a Post Graduate Diploma in Complex Specific Learning Difficulties, a Post Graduate Certificate in Special Educational Needs and holds Associate Membership of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA).
All teachers and TAs receive training relevant to SEN. The school is currently working towards an Inclusive Dyslexia Friendly Award which involves training for all staff in Inclusive and Dyslexia Friendly teaching and learning approaches.
In addition members of staff are trained in Somerset Total Communication, ASD and Emotional Literacy Support, as well as being trained in the use of particular interventions used to support children with SEN.
what specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by school?
We can call on a range of external agencies to support us in understanding the needs of children. This may be through a discussion for general advice, or through training, or through an individual piece of work relating to a pupil.
Their involvement with your child is always with your knowledge and consent, and most frequently they would hope to meet with you, and involve you in decisions about any actions taken.
The services we mainly use include, but are not confined to:
Somerset Support Services
Learning Support Advisory Teachers
Physical Impairment and Medical Support Team
Hearing Impairment Advisory Teachers
Visual Impairment Advisory Teacher
Autism and Communication Advisory Teachers
NHS Integrated Therapy Service
Frome Learning Partnership
Parent and Family Support Advisor (PFSA)
how will my child be included in activities outside the classroom INCLUDING school trips?
All activities, including visits and outings, are inclusive for all pupils, but if it is appropriate a risk assessment will be completed and adjustments may be made for a pupil to enable them to participate safely.
HOW ACCESSIBLE is the school environment?
We provide resources and equipment that are accessible for all children and specific additional equipment for children who need it. We have a disabled toilet and some accessible classrooms.
Mells is an old and unusual school building which is listed and presents some difficulties in terms of steps and narrow passageways. For details of the accessibility plan please speak to the Head Teacher, Lara Tatam.
How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to the special educational needs of the children?
Mells C of E First school, like all schools, receives funding from the Local Authority for SEN pupils as follows.
Element 1 – an amount of money allocated based on the total number of pupils in the school – this is the basic funding for all pupil places, regardless of need.
Element 2 – an additional amount of money allocated to the school which is derived from a national formula in relation to the Local Authority budget. This is the money which pays for almost all of the additional SEN provision on offer in a school.
Element 3 – this is additional money to top up the funding available for a pupil where Elements 1 and 2 are insufficient. It is available through an audit process, whereby the school submits evidence using specific criteria, demonstrating a high level of need and the effective use of existing funding. This money is held centrally by schools for this purpose. When the application is successful funding will be offered for a set number of years with re-application required at later stages.
We allocate our SEN funding as fairly as possible, based on the needs of all pupils in the school with SEN at any given time. A central part of this is to use the termly review and planning meetings involving parents, teacher and SENCO to identify the provision required.
What if I have a complaint?
We very much hope that any concerns you have will be easily resolved by speaking to your child’s teacher, and that the termly meetings we hold will also give you an opportunity to raise anything that you are not happy about.
If you want to make a complaint, make an appointment to meet the SENCO to discuss the issue in the first instance.
If this does not resolve your complaint speak to the Head Teacher.
If your complaint is still not resolved you can contact the Governing Body of the school.
This information has been co-produced by the staff, governors and parents from Mells C of E First School based on frequently asked questions and advice from Somerset Parent Carers Forum.
This was last updated in April 2016.
Please click here for a printable copy.