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Special Educational Needs

Special Educational needs



A child has Special Educational Needs if she or he has some difficulty at school and needs help to make progress.

These difficulties may be any of the following:

  • Learning difficulties where the child finds it a little harder to learn than most children of their own age. 
  • Behaviour or emotional problems 
  • Social problems 
  • Medical or health problems 
  • A problem identified by a parent

About one in five children may have Special Educational Needs at some time in their school life. Most children get over their difficulties quickly. For others it may take longer.

As a parent you know your child better than anyone. If you know about any difficulties your child has or you feel there may be any other kind of problem, please speak to the class teacher.


Keep in touch with your child's teacher

Make sure your child gets enough sleep

  • Encourage your child to have breakfast 
  • Make sure your child attends regularly and arrives on time 
  • Work with your child on work they may bring home 
  • Hear your child read or read with your child regularly

Here are some tips to make reading together an enjoyable experience for both of you:

  • Try to be alone with your child in a quiet place 10 minutes per day should be enough 
  • Try to be relaxed and give lots of praise 
  • Talk about the pictures and story 
  • Allow your child to read texts that interest them
  • If your child gets stuck on a word, read it to him or her 
  • Most of all JUST HAVE FUN

Children and Families Bill 2013 and Valley Park’s offer for SEN 

The Children and Families Bill takes forward the Coalition Government’s commitments to improve services for vulnerable children and support families. It underpins wider reforms to ensure that all children and young people can succeed, no matter what their background. The Bill will reform the systems for adoption, looked after children, family justice and special educational needs.

The Bill will extend the SEN system from birth to 25, giving children, young people and their parents/carers greater control and choice in decisions and ensuring needs are properly met.

It takes forward the reform programme set out in Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability: Progress and next steps by:

  • Replacing statements and learning difficulty assessments with a new birth- to-25 Education, Health and Care Plan, extending rights and protections to young people in further education and training and offering families personal budgets so that they have more control over the support they need;
  • For pupils who currently have statements this will take place over the next 3 years
  • Improving cooperation between all the services that support children and their families and particularly requiring local authorities and health authorities to work together;
  • Requiring local authorities to involve children, young people and parents in reviewing and developing provision for those with special educational needs and to publish a ‘local offer’ of support.

What is the Local Offer?

  • The Local Offer was first introduced in the Green Paper (March 2011) as a local offer of all services available to support disabled children and children with SEN and their families. This easy to understand information will set out what is normally available in schools to help children with lower-level SEN as well as the options available to support families who need additional help to care for their child.”

What will it do?

  • The Sheffield Education Authority’s Local Offer will provide parents/carers with information about how to access services in their area, and what they can expect from those services. With regard to Education, it will let parents/ carers and young people know how school and colleges will support them, and what they can expect across the local settings. 

How does Valley Park Primary know if children need extra help?

We know when pupils need help if:

  • concerns are raised by parents/carers, teachers, teaching assistants, learning mentor, the Senior Leadership Team, the pupils themselves or pupil’s previous school
  • there is a lack of progress 
  • poor test scores
  • there is a change in the pupil’s behaviour which stems from difficulties in learning 

What should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?

  •  If you have concerns then contact your child’s teacher or Mrs Bridges (the SENCo).

How will I know how Valley Park Primary support my child?

  • Each pupil’s education programme will be planned by the class teacher. It will be differentiated accordingly to suit the pupil’s individual needs. This may include additional general support by the teacher or teaching assistants in class.
  • If a pupil has needs related to more specific areas of their education, such as spelling, handwriting, numeracy & literacy skills etc. then the pupil will be placed in a small focus group. This will be run by the teacher or teaching assistant. The length of time of the intervention will vary according to need but will generally be for a term. The interventions will be regularly reviewed by all involved to ascertain the effectiveness of the provision and to inform future planning. Teachers and teaching assistants meet with the SENCo every half term in order to assess the impact of the interventions and to determine whether a child had progressed sufficiently with the support given. 
  • These interventions will be recorded on the pupil’s pen portrait (this is a record of the interventions participated in and the needs of the pupils).. If you have any queries related to the interventions please do not hesitate to contact the class teacher or SENCo.
  • Pupil Progress Meetings are held half termly. This is a meeting where the class teacher meets with the Headteacher and the /SENCo to discuss the progress of the pupils in their class. This shared discussion may highlight any potential problems in order for further support to be planned which will be discussed and implemented by the SENCo.
  • Occasionally a pupil may need more expert support form an outside agency such as the Autism team, Speech and Language Therapy Team, a Paediatrician , Child and Adults Mental Health etc. Referral forms are then completed in conjunction with parents/carers and forwarded to the most appropriate agency. After a series of assessments, a programme of support is usually provided to the school and parents/carers.


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

  • Teachers differentiate the class teaching according to the needs of all of the pupils within their class. 
  • If a pupil is struggling/finds the work too easy it will be adapted accordingly.
  • Teaching Assistants may be allocated to work with the pupil in a 1-1 or small focus group to target more specific needs or the teacher may work more closely with these children.
  • If appropriate specialist equipment may be given to the pupil to use within school to support them in the classroom, e.g. laptops, coloured overlays, tablets, pen/pencils grips or easy to use scissors.

How will I know how my child is doing?

  • You will be able to discuss your child’s progress at Parents Evenings.
  • Appointments can be made to speak in more detail to the class teacher or SENCo.
  • IEPs (Individual Education Plans) are sent home each half term. Targets are usually set by the class teacher. Parents/carers are encouraged to contribute their input to be included on the IEP. 
  • Pupils with a statement of Special Educational Needs will have an annual review each year. 

How will you help me to support my child’s learning?

  • The class teacher may suggest ways of supporting your child’s learning through phone messages, letters, messages, at parents’ evenings or if you are requested to attend a meeting.
  • Mrs Bridges, the SENCo may meet with you to discuss how to support your child. The class teacher, the Learning Mentor or a member of the Senior Leadership Team may meet with you discuss strategies to use if there are problems with a child’s behaviour/emotional needs.
  • If outside agencies or the Educational Psychologist have been involved suggestions and programmes of study are normally provided that can be used at home.

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 the class teacher, teaching assistants, SENCo, learning mentor are readily available for pupils who wish to discuss issues and concerns. Where appropriate mediation sessions are carried out.
  • Pupils who find lunchtimes a struggle are supported by Mrs Herring (Learning Mentor) TAs or teachers when needed. Games and activities are run by the midday supervisors to help provide the pupils with social skills to enable them to form friendships. 

Pupils with medical needs

  • If a pupil has a medical need then a detailed Care Plan is compiled by Mrs Herring in consultation with parents/carers. These are discussed with all staff who are involved with the pupil. All staff are made aware of which pupils have a care plan.
  • A number of staff in school have full first aid training. 
  • Where necessary and in agreement with parents/carers medicines are administered in school but only where a signed Medication agreement in line with the medication policy is in place to ensure the safety of both child and staff member. 

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?

At times it may be necessary to consult with outside agencies to receive their more specialised expertise.

The agencies used by the school include:

  • Autism Team
  • Child Protection Advisors
  • Educational Psychologist
  • CAST (Child & Adolescent Support Team)
  • CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service)
  • AAP  (Attendance Advisory Practitioner previously known as Educational Welfare Officers)
  • Physical & Sensory Service to support pupils with hearing/visual Impairment
  • Inclusion Team
  • Social Services
  • Children’s Therapy Team (Speech & Language/Occupational Therapy)
  • Learning Support Service
  • Play Therapy 

An Educational Psychologist is allocated to each school. He/she would normally only work directly with pupils who needs are felt to be quite considerable and have not responded well to the interventions previously put in place for them. Our educational Psychologist is Kathy Charles.

This involvement is generally planned at the School Review. These are meetings held throughout the year between school staff and where appropriate, other professionals. The aim of these reviews is to gain an understanding of and try to resolve a pupil’s difficulties. This may be a structured conversation or a full review with the SENCO and other professionals.

In order to help understand the pupil’s educational needs better, the psychologist will generally meet with the parent and give feedback after the assessment has been completed.

He/she will offer advice to the school and parent/carers on how to best support the pupil in order to take their learning forward.

What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or are having?

All staff have received some training related to SEND.

These have included sessions on:

  • How to support pupils with Autism.
  • Some of our teaching assistants and teachers have been on training to deliver Speech and Language programmes written in consultation with the Speech and Language therapy team.

How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?

Activities and school trips are available to all. 

  • Risk assessments are carried out and procedures are put in place to enable all children to participate. Where needed individual risk assessments are completed. All risk assessments are reviewed by the Headteacher
  • However, if it is deemed that an intensive level of 1:1 support is required a parent or carer may be asked to accompany their child during the activity.
  • All Y4 children take part in the school’s swimming programme and all children take part in PE lessons 

 How accessible is the school environment?

As a school we are happy to discuss individual access requirements.

Facilities we have at present include:

  • Access into school to make the building accessible to all.
  • 3 Disabled toilets in total, at both ends of the school,  

How will the school prepare and support my child when joining Valley Park Primary or transferring to a new school?

The staff at Valley Park understand what a stressful time moving schools can be, therefore many strategies are in place to enable the pupil’s transition to be as smooth as possible.

These include:

  • Meetings between the previous or receiving schools prior to the pupil joining/leaving. 
  • Mrs Bridges, where appropriate, attends the previous school’s review meeting.
  • Pupils attend a Transition Day where they spend the day with their new class teacher (if this is appropriate)
  • Additional visits are also arranged for pupils who need extra time in their new school.
  • Mrs Bridges is always willing to meet parents/carers prior to their child joining the school. 
  • We support transition for vulnerable pupils with the secondary schools. 
  • Secondary school staff visit pupils prior to them joining their new school.
  • Mrs Bridges and the Y6 staff meet the SENCo from the secondary schools to pass on information regarding SEN pupils.
  • Where a pupil may have more specialised needs (currently SA+ or a statement) a separate meeting is arranged with Mrs Bridges, the secondary school SENCo, the parents/carers and where appropriate the pupil. 

How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?

  • The SEN budget is allocated each financial year. The money is used to provide additional support or resources dependent on an individual’s needs.
  • The additional provision may be allocated after discussion with the class teacher at pupil progress meetings or if a concern has been raised by them at another time during the year.
  • If any concerns are raised on completion of the assessments Mrs Bridges will investigate further support or advice from outside agencies if required. 
  • Individual Pupil Premium payments are used to support that pupil’s learning – see the Pupil Premium section of the school website to view how this money is spent in school.


 How is the decision made about how much support my child will receive?

  • When the children join the school support is allocated on the information provided by the feeder school. Usually, in consultation with teacher, the SENCo will allocate teaching assistants to individuals or small groups to support in class or in other focus groups tailored to the pupils’ needs.
  • During their school life, if further concerns are identified due to the pupil’s lack of progress or well-being then other interventions will be arranged.  
  • Parents/carers will be able to see the support their child is receiving on a provision map which will be sent home three times a year. A provision map is a record of support that the pupil is receiving. 

How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child’s education?

All parents are encouraged to contribute to their child’s education.

This may be through:

  • Discussions with the class teacher.
  • During parents evenings.
  • During discussions with Mrs Bridges or other professionals.
  • Parents are encouraged to comment on their child’s IEP with possible suggestions that could be incorporated. 

Who can I contact for further information?

If you wish to discuss your child’s educational needs please contact your child’s class teacher or myself.

Please read the school’s SEN policy on the ‘About us’, ‘Policies’ section of the school website.

I hope these have answered any queries you may have but do not hesitate to contact the school if you have further questions.


Talk first to your child's teacher who is the one who knows your child best. Your child's teacher may suggest a meeting with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator or the Headteacher.

You may like to have an independent person to speak to. If you are still not happy, you may contact the Parent Partnership, School will supply you with this number.


Mrs Bridges – SENCO, June 2014 


13 Oct 2014, 07:12