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Special educational needs policy

Adopted: March 2016, updated November 2016

All students at Charles Darwin Primary will be entitled to support for their learning needs, enabling them to develop skills, knowledge and understanding to their full potential and maximum personal benefit.

Our vision is clear -­ that we will provide a high-quality education for all and therefore meeting the needs of all students is essential to the aims and principles of the school.

Our definition of special educational needs

 At any time in their school career, a child or young person may have a special educational need. The SEND Code of Practice defines this as:

A child or young person has SEND if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them. A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if they:
(a)   have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age; or
(b)   have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.

Levels of need

Currently, the needs of students are defined in terms of a staged level of difficulty a child has compared with the majority of children of the same age. Provision and resources will be made available at each stage to fully meet the needs of individual students.

  • Wave 1: characterised by short-­term difficulties in understanding, temporary drop in self-­esteem and minor emotional problems. Low basic skills or specific learning difficulties supported by a personalised programme.
  • Wave 2: characterised by very weak basic skills, emotional and behavioural difficulties, or specific learning difficulties supported by a personalised programme created in conjunction with external agencies.
  • Wave 3 (ECHP): characterised by very weak basic skills, emotional and behavioural difficulties, or specific learning difficulties supported by a programme prescribed by a statement of support.

Categories of Special Educational Needs

There are four Types and categories of special educational needs. The 0-25 SEND Code of Practice (2015) identifies these as Communication and interaction; - Cognition and learning; - Social, emotional and mental health; - Sensory and/or physical needs.

Physical and medical needs

Some children who experience physical and medical difficulties have no problems in accessing the curriculum and in learning effectively. There is a wide range of physical and medical disabilities and children cover the whole ability range. Some children are able to access the curriculum and learn effectively without additional educational provision. Their difficulties may mean they need some short term support, but it should not be assumed that they have special educational needs.

Students in Norfolk schools currently, with physical and medical needs include children and young people with: Leukaemia, Muscular Dystrophy, ME, Perthes Disease, loss of limbs, acquired brain injuries, Diabetes, Epilepsy and Cystic Fibrosis amongst others. This may include students who are disabled. 

The school will implement personalised support for the education of pupils with medical and/or physical needs, and also arrange a named contact to ensure communication is effective between the student, school and parents and any other agencies. This named person will be the SENCO in most cases.

Often, it is the case that students on medication may need this to be administered within school hours. The school has a policy on the administration of medicines which clearly sets out procedures related to this. 

There will be a care plan in place for students, which clearly shows what the regime is, who is responsible and what to do in the case of an emergency. Health professionals will support in the preparation and development of these plans and may offer training to designated staff.

Medical Needs can also include students with autistic spectrum disorders, ADHD, ADD and ODD. Where this is the case, personalised support will be provided.

Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs

Children may periodically display emotional, social and behavioural difficulties and some children may have a short term mental health difficulty. These difficulties may be the result of other underlying difficulties and circumstances such as a loss or bereavement.

Cognition and Learning (C+L) Needs 

Children may show a slower rate of progress in some areas of their learning than their peers.  Some children may have more difficulties than their peers with:
·         Understanding
·         Thinking
·         problem solving
·         retaining information, concepts and skills
·         communicating
These may be general learning difficulties in acquiring and retaining a broad range of skills and concepts or they may have more specific learning difficulties (e.g. difficulties with maths or with literacy).

Communication and interaction

Children and young people with SEND may have difficulties in one or more of the areas of speech, language and communication. These children and young people need help to develop their linguistic competence in order to support their thinking, as well as their communication skills. Specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia or a physical or sensory impairment such as hearing loss may also lead to communication difficulties. Those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) cover the whole ability range. They find it more difficult to communicate with others. They may have problems taking part in conversations, either because they find it difficult to understand what others say or because they have difficulties with fluency and forming sounds, words and sentences. It may be that when they hear or see a word they are not able to understand its meaning, leading to words being used incorrectly in or out of context and the child having a smaller vocabulary. It may be a combination of these problems. For some children and young people, difficulties may become increasingly apparent as the language they need to understand and use becomes more complex. 

Additional educational needs

Although these are not specifically special educational needs, the school will also be aware that students may have these additional needs and provide appropriate support where this is the case.

EAL students

Support for EAL students is very important. It will be essential for us to overcome barriers to learning for these students, in order that they will achieve their academic potential. We will seek support from the specialist Norfolk EAL support services to ensure these students’ needs are met, in addition to providing training and support for teachers so they can plan to meet students’ needs.

Children who are looked after (CLA)

The needs of these students will be varied according to the individual. It is the experience of the proposer’s group that children who are looked after, often need particular support with aspirations in order to fulfil their academic potential. The different needs of these students would be assessed and monitored. Pupil premium funding would be used to improve    outcomes.


A child is disabled if he is blind, deaf or dumb or suffers from a mental disorder of any kind or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity or such other disability as may be prescribed (Section 17 (11), Children Act 1989). However some students with disabilities may also have a learning need. This is not always the case, for example a student may have a physical disability and need a wheelchair, but this may not affect them in terms of learning. (Provided the necessary adjustments to the school environment are made of course.) We will provide support according to a student’s personal needs.


  • All students are entitled to a broad, academic and differentiated curriculum that fully meets individual learning needs through realistic and achievable methods. All students are entitled to access the school curriculum fully. Whilst personalised intervention will be implemented, this will never mean withdrawing a student fully or significantly from the curriculum. Our aim will always be to ensure that we support students in being part of mainstream lessons within the school. Our curriculum has been specifically designed so that this is possible.
  • The culture, practice, management and deployment of resources in the school will be designed to ensure all students’ needs are fully met.
  • Interventions for each student will be reviewed regularly to assess their impact, the student’s progress and the views of the student, their teachers and their parents.
  • Students’ learning should happen alongside their physical, emotional and spiritual development.
  • All teachers at the school are responsible for meeting the needs of the students they teach, with support from key staff such as the SENDCO and LTAs.
  • Parents have an important role in deciding suitable support. Our staff and parents will work in partnership. This approach is supported by the recent SEND Green Paper
  • We will work together with other agencies to ensure that any child’s special educational needs are identified early. We will ensure there is close co­-operation between all the agencies concerned.
  • Governors have a responsibility for ensuring the school implements its special needs policy.

These principles are in line with the 'Critical Success Factors’ set out in the SEN Code of Practice.


Where a special educational need is identified, the provision that is put in place will be in addition, or different, to the support provided for other students within the school, although much of our general student support provision, such as academic mentoring will also be of significant benefit to students with special needs.

All students will be part of our 1:1 mentoring programme and will benefit from the highest standards of pastoral and academic support, but some students will need different and additional support. If in place, our provisions will provide support in line with that set out in a student’s statement of special educational needs or EHCP.

The school will adhere to the Equalities Act (2010) and the SEN Code of Practice.

Support for students

Some of the structures and systems that may be used to support students with different needs are:

  • Literacy and/or numeracy intervention programmes including masterclasses and 1:1. This can take place during morning reading time or independent learning time so as to not impact negatively on a student accessing the full curriculum.
  • Reading, comprehension and inference support  delivered alongside the morning reading programme. This might include guided reading or a phonics programme for example.
  • Individual sessions working on ALP (Access to Learning Plan) targets.
  • Personalised curriculum e.g withdrawal from additional language for literacy intervention.
  • In-class support from LTA (learning and teaching assistant) or mentor.
  • Enhanced mentoring.
  • Planning meetings with all staff involved.
  • Review of progress at each data point (half termly).
  • Training for teaching and support staff.
  • Support from external agencies as required.

If the student continues to make little or no progress this will be discussed with teachers, SENCO and parents at each review of the child’s ALP or academic achievement plan. Intervention, or a referral for further support will be implemented as needed.

The triggers for intervention will be that despite receiving individualised support, the child:

  • Continues to make little or no progress in specific areas.
  • Continues working at national curriculum levels substantially below that expected of children of similar age.
  • Continues to have difficulty in developing literacy or mathematical skills.
  • Has emotional or behavioural difficulties which substantially and regularly interfere with the child’s own learning or that of the class group despite having an individualised behavioural management programme.
  • Has sensory or physical problems and requires specialist equipment or regular advice or visits by a specialist service.
  • Has an ongoing communication and/or interaction difficulty that impedes the development of social relationships and causes substantial barriers to learning.

Students with Educational Health Care Plan will be supported by LTAs in class support, as outlined in their Plan. A programme of additional support, in line with their specific needs would then be implemented. Annual reviews and half termly PLP reviews would monitor progress carefully.

Roles and responsibilities

Role of teaching staff

It is the role of teaching staff to ensure that they:

  • Provide support which is additional or different from those provided as part of the school’s usual differentiated curriculum offer and strategies. They are required to read ALPs and academic achievement plans and use these, alongside additional prior attainment data to plan effectively to provide this support.
  • All teaching staff have a responsibility to be familiar with the school’s inclusion database and register of special educational needs. They also have a responsibility to provide the necessary resources a student might need in order to learn and progress effectively.
  • With regard to students with care plans, they have a responsibility to read and be familiar with the care plans of all students in the school, not just those that they teach.
  • Teaching staff also have a responsibility to seek advice and support from the SENCO or their line manager, should they feel they require further support or training in order to meet the needs of all students highly effectively.
  • Monitor prior attainment data and information on student groups, ensuring that concerns are reported to line managers.

Role of SEN co-­ordinator

The special educational needs co­-ordinator is responsible to the vice principal. The responsibilities of the SEN co­-ordinator include:(as set out in the SEN code of practice):

  • The day-to-day operation of the school’s special educational needs and disabilities policy
  • Drawing up a strategic plan for the development of SEND provision at the school
  • The deployment of support staff e.g.  LTAs
  • Liaising with and advising fellow teachers
  • Initial assessment and diagnosis of students including liaison with primary feeder schools
  • Advising on and arranging INSET with regard to SEND issues
  • Updating and overseeing the records of all students with special educational needs and sisabilities, including those with medical needs
  • Writing ALPs in consultation with teaching and support staff
  • Monitoring and reviewing ALPs
  • Working in partnership with parents of students with special educational needs and disabilities
  • Liaising with external agencies
  • Arranging and chairing the annual review of students with statements
  • Making referrals for a statement of education and providing sufficient evidence
  • Making special arrangements for SEND students undertaking assessments with subject teachers and examinations officer
  • Monitoring the progress of students in terms of the development of basic skills
  • Monitoring the progress of students across the curriculum using evidence that comes from the half-termly data tracking

Role of the governing body

It is the role of the school’s governing body to be up-to-date and knowledgeable about the SEND provisions available, including how funding, equipment and personnel resources are deployed. There will be a nominated governor for SEND. It is their role as governor to ensure that the SEND provision is an integral part of the school's annual development plan and that the quality of the SEND provision is continually monitored. The governing body will also hold the school, through the Principal, to account regarding the provision for and progress made by all students who have a different or additional need.

Role of the support staff (LTAs)

  • To take responsibility for supporting named students with identified special needs and/or statements.
  • To support the student(s) in class and/or withdraw in order to meet their ALP targets, under the direction of the SENCO.
  • To keep accurate records of each student’s progress in line with the school’s tracking and reporting procedures.
  • To liaise with the SEN coi­ordinator.
  • To be active in seeking further training provided by the Academy.
  • To be available to contribute to the annual statement review and achievement review meetings.


ICT will be key to our support for the different needs of students. This will take three different forms:

  • The use of ICT for specific students within lessons e.g. dyslexic students might be able to access the curriculum more effectively if they use a laptop in lessons. ICT can be effectively used to engage student if it allows them to experience success and overcome potential barriers, such as handwriting issues or physical barriers such as undeveloped motor skills.
  • Software packages that will be used for 1:1 or small group interventions. For example, we will consider using ‘Lexia’ software to support reading   intervention.
  • ICT will also be crucial to our monitoring and tracking systems, through our use of a student information management system.
  • Through our independent study programme we will also ensure that students from deprived backgrounds have access to ICT so that they are not disadvantaged.

The deployment of ICT resources to support the different needs of students will be the responsibility of the SENCO if that child has an special educational need or disability, whilst the maintenance and setup of ICT resources would be the responsibility of our ICT technician. The deployment of ICT resources to support students with different needs e.g. a background of deprivation will be the responsibility of the class teacher.

Other agencies

The school will have a named school nurse, educational psychologist and counsellor to whom references are made. A ‘pay as you use’ service is offered by Norfolk. Similarly, contact will made with the social services department and education welfare service as appropriate. As needed, we also work with the relevant services provided centrally by the local education authority and the health authority. This might include:

  • Speech and language therapy services
  • Specialist EAL support
  • Sensory support team
  • Medical needs team
  • ADHD support unit
  • Physiotherapy
  • Disability co-­ordinator
  • Paediatric occupational therapy team
  • CAMHS (Child and adolescent mental health services)
  • Travelling children services
  • Short Stay School for Norfolk (Whilst we do not see this as a service we would necessarily need, this support is available for Norfolk free schools on a ‘pay as you use’ basis)
  • Norfolk Advisory Services (a range of INSET is available to train staff as required)
  • Critical incident support service


  • As part of the Inspiration Trust, we will have links with all the schools which are part of the group. This gives us access to considerable experience and knowledge, which will be invaluable when ensuring we meet the needs of all students.
  • Our partner organisation, The Guild of Teaching, will have access to experts in all fields of SEND and will be able to provide INSET and support for teaching staff as required.


Our aim, when supporting the needs of all students will be to ensure that they can access the curriculum and be able to achieve academic success. Our curriculum is carefully designed so that aspects of the school day can be adapted to meet individual needs.

Our tracking systems will allow us to monitor the progress and attainment of all students closely. This will aid the identification of different needs and also allow us to monitor the progress and attainment of students already identified as having a need highly effectively.

Our pastoral care systems and also our approaches to improving behaviour, attendance and wellbeing will also support the varied needs of students.

Overall it is our clear vision, for all students to be able to achieve academic success and also the belief that all students have the right to a high-quality education that will enable us to provide exceptional support for the different needs of all our students.