Special Educational Needs (SEN)

As a school, we encourage our students to embrace the values of love, respect, service, and courage, and our inclusive faith-based approach acknowledges the uniqueness and worth of each individual. We believe that treating everyone with kindness, dignity, and compassion, regardless of their differences, is essential in fostering a safe and welcoming environment for all our students. We cherish everyone’s unique gifts and talents to positively impact the world and approach life with a spirit of service and courage.

Psalm 139:13-14 beautifully captures this sentiment, reminding us that God creates every person with great care and attention to detail.‘For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well.’ (Psalm 139:13-14)

What are Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

Special Educational Needs (SEN) is a legal term. It describes the needs of a child who has a difficulty or disability which makes learning harder for them than for other children their age.

Around one in five children has SEN at some point during their school years. Some children have SEN right through their time in school.

The Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice identifies four broad areas of need that can contribute to a child’s need for additional support in school. These are:

  1. Communication and interaction: This includes children who have difficulties with speech, language, and communication, as well as those who have autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or other social communication difficulties.
  2. Cognition and learning: This includes children who have specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dyspraxia, as well as those with general learning difficulties or disabilities.
  3. Social, emotional and mental health difficulties: This includes children who have social or emotional difficulties that affect their ability to learn or participate in school, as well as those who have mental health difficulties.
  4. Sensory and/or physical needs: This includes children who have sensory impairments, such as hearing or visual impairments, as well as those who have physical disabilities or other medical conditions that affect their ability to learn or participate in school.

It is important to note that these areas of need are not mutually exclusive, and many children may have multiple areas of need that require additional support. Schools are required to identify and assess children with SEN and provide appropriate support to meet their individual needs.

How to identify SEN

There are several ways to identify Special Educational Needs (SEN) in children. Here are some common methods used by schools:

  • Teacher observation: Teachers are often the first to notice if a child is struggling in school. They may observe that a child is having difficulty keeping up with their peers, has trouble concentrating, or is having difficulty understanding or completing tasks.
  • Assessment and screening: Schools may use assessments or screening tools to identify children with potential SEN. This may include academic assessments, such as reading or math tests, as well as developmental assessments or screenings for speech and language or social communication skills.
  • Parental concerns: Parents may have concerns about their child’s development or progress in school, which can be raised with the school’s SENCO or class teacher.
  • Health assessments: Health professionals, such as doctors, may identify a child’s SEN during routine health assessments, such as hearing or vision screenings.

Once a child has been identified as having SEN, schools are required to carry out a thorough assessment of the child’s needs and provide appropriate support to meet those needs. The school’s SENCO will work with teachers, parents, and other professionals to develop an Individual Learning Plan (LP) or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) that outlines the child’s needs and the support required to help them make progress.

What if I think my child has SEN?

You know your child better than anyone else. If your child is pre-school, don’t wait for their next routine health check – visit your GP and ask for their opinion. If your child attends a pre-school speak to their teacher or key worker.

If your child is already in school (including nursery) talk to their teacher. Ask also to speak to the school’s Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), who organises extra help for children with SEN.

Talk to the teacher/SENCO about:

  • why you think your child has SEN
  • what the school can do to help
  • what you can do to help
  • Your child’s teacher and the SENCO will use the SEN Code of Practice to work out whether your child has SEN.

What will the school do?

“High-quality teaching, differentiated for individual pupils, is the first step in responding to pupils who have or may have SEN.” SEND Code of Practice 2014

If a child is identified as having Special Educational Needs (SEN), the school has a legal duty to provide support and make reasonable adjustments to help the child access education and reach their full potential. Here are some of the steps St Joan of Arc will  take to support your child with:

  • Identification and Assessment: We will attempt to identify and assess your child’s needs through a range of methods, including observations, assessments, and feedback from parents and other professionals.
  • Support and Interventions: We may provide additional support and interventions, such as targeted group support, facilitate a range of interventions, provided specialist resources or equipment, or make adaptations to the curriculum.
  • Regular Reviews: The school will regularly review the child’s progress and the effectiveness of any interventions, and adjust support as necessary.
  • Individual Learning Plan (LP): We will work with you and the pupil to create an Individual Learning Plan (LP), which sets out specific targets and interventions to support your child’s progress. We will review them termly and involve parents in the process and keep them informed of their child’s progress and any support provided.
  • SENCO: The school’s SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) will oversee support for children with SEN and work with other professionals, such as Educational Psychologists (EP) or Speech and Language Therapists (SALT), to provide additional support where necessary.

Overall,  we will strive to provide a supportive and inclusive environment that enables all children, including those with SEN, to achieve their full potential. The support provided will be tailored to the individual needs of each child and will be regularly reviewed and adapted as necessary.