Special Educational Needs School Offer
Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Local Offer for Children & Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Completion Guidance
What kinds of special educational needs (SEN) do we make provision for in our school?
Darwen Vale High School is a mixed sex 11-16 academy, part of the Aldridge Education MAT.
Darwen Vale currently has 755 pupils on roll, 154 of whom are on the special educational needs register. In September 2012 the school relocated to a new, purpose built, state of the art building. In addition to striving for academic excellence and giving all pupils the opportunity and encouragement to fulfil their potential, pastoral care and emotional support are an important focus. Pupils have continuity of support during their time here, having the same tutor and head of year throughout their five years at the school; this promotes the development of productive working relationships, where expectations are clearly understood.
Darwen Vale is committed to an inclusive education for all pupils and aims to provide a learning environment which is flexible enough to meet the needs of all members of our school community. Currently, we support pupils with a variety of SEN, including autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), specific learning difficulties,(SpLD), including dyspraxia, dyscalculia and dyslexia, social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH), including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), oppositional defiance disorder (ODD), physical disabilities (PD) and medical needs.
At Darwen Vale High School every child matters.
How does our school know if your child needs help?
Pupils with Special Educational Needs may be identified by:
- Referrals from staff, parents, pupil self-referral and outside agencies.
- Primary transfer documents and primary liaison.
- Monitoring and assessment procedures within the school.
- Admission arrangements for pupils new to the school.
The type of assessments used will be in response to the nature of the need. This may be information gathering, diagnostic assessments, National Curriculum Attainments, assessments by outside agencies within the school. These assessments will then determine the need and inform the type of provision required. School based assessments include:
- Cognitive Ability Test
- Hodder Reading Test
- Edinburg Reading Test
- Graded Word Spelling Test
- Dyslexia ScreeningTest
- Dyscalculia Screening Test
- British Picture Vocabulary Scale
- Test of Abstract Language Communication
Who can you speak to at our school if you think that your child may have special educational needs?
If you have concerns about your child, you can come and discuss them at any time. You can talk to any of the following people:
- Your child’s subject teacher, form teacher, assistant head of year or head of year.
- Our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) – Mrs Elizabeth Johnson.
- Our Principal – Mr David Hallam
The SENCO should be able to advise you on appropriate next steps. These may involve assessments being carried out within the school, or a referral being made to the appropriate service. Such a referral may be done by school or, dependent upon the nature of the concern, by the GP.
How do we know what progress your child is making and how will we keep you informed?
Half-termly assessment and monitoring takes place for every pupil across all subject areas and this is reported to parents/carers in the form of a brief report three times during the year. These include effort grades and an indication of progress towards end of year target levels. Parents’ evenings take place annually and the SENCO attends all these. In addition year 7 pupils have a ‘settling in’ evening with the form tutors and head of year, also attended by the SENCO. This is usually held in October and is a valuable opportunity for any concerns to be shared, as well as for praise to be given. Year 11 pupils have an additional parents’ information evening in the Autumn term. This is an opportunity to discuss how parents/carers can assist in ensuring their child reaches their potential and to share revision and learning strategies.
Pupils who attend interventions are assessed at the start and end of each intervention cycle, enabling adjustments to be made to provision as appropriate.
Of course, parents/carers are always welcome to contact the school should they have concerns and, likewise, school will contact home should it be deemed necessary.
How will our school support your child and how will the teaching be adapted to meet their needs?
The SENCO is responsible for the coordination of provision within the school. Provision for learning support is determined by individual pupil’s needs outlined in Education Health Care Plans, Statements of Special Educational Need, or Individual Pupil Resource Agreements (IPRAs) and according to whether they are placed on the school’s SEN Register for SEN Support (SENS).
The school has developed a model of provision which is a graduated response as recommended by the Code of Practice for SEND. There are three stages to this model:
- A pupils’ lack of progress is cause for concern and requires different or additional differentiation or intervention to what is normally provided. Additional testing is carried out then a Pupil Profile sheet (PP), with targets and strategies, is produced, providing teachers with advice on how to adapt teaching in order to ensure that the pupil can access the curriculum. In class support may be offered. The pupil is placed on the school SEN register at special education needs support (SENS).
- Despite teaching adaptations, the pupil does not make progress. Advice is then sought from outside agencies. This may result in further observations and assessment by agencies leading to a greater understanding of the need together with further strategies. These are used to update the PP. Pupils may receive additional intervention programmes and access to in class support.
- If there continues to be a significant lack of progress at SEN Support, the school may decide to apply for additional funding to the local authority and request a statutory assessment.The school aims to include all pupils with special needs into all the activities of the school as far as it is appropriate. However, in the best interests of the child, there may be occasions or periods of time when the best solution is withdrawal for special intensive programmes to be taught.
- The types of provision available in school are:
- Parents and pupils will be involved in discussion when these situations arise and the student’s welfare will be a major factor considered when decisions are taken.
- Students with Education, Health and Care Plans, Statements of Special Educational Need or IPRAs – a pupil may have an Education, Health and Care Plan, a statement or an IPRA which sets out the defined needs and provision needed to meet those needs
- Withdrawal for individual structured literacy and numeracy programmes designed to meet the needs of each particular child, such as Indirect Dyslexia Learning, Rainbow Readers, Nessy, Violet Brand, Wellington Square, Catch up numeracy, Read Write Inc.
- Withdrawal for speech, language and communication needs intervention, such as Key Words Across the Curriculum, Reading for Meaning, Mastering Memory.
- In-class support for learning or behaviour.
- 1:1 support.
- Withdrawal for social and behavioural difficulties, programmes including social narratives, personal safety, anti-bullying.
- Differentiated work provided by individual departments.
- Key-worker support from a Teaching Assistant.
- Support provided by an outside agency.
- Alternative curriculum at Key Stage 3 and opportunities to follow alternative pathways at KS4.
- Part-time timetable.
- Individualised timetables to accommodate specific needs, this may include disapplication from National Curriculum subjects as agreed through formal requests.
- Examination Access Arrangements.
- Access to school counsellor.
The school’s SENCO or attached key worker will:
- Work with the pupil to identify strengths, needs and targets.
- Keep teaching staff informed of any relevant information.
- Liaise with outside agencies.
- Liaise with Subject Leaders.
- Liaise with Pastoral Team when appropriate.
- Liaise with parents.
How are decisions made about the type and how much support my child will need?
Darwen Vale High School has a budget for SEN which is allocated each financial year. The money is used to provide additional support or resources identified in PPs. Additional provision will be made available if reviews and assessments identify that your child is not making the progress we and you would expect.
The types of support available may include a teaching assistant (TA), specialist input from professionals (such as an Educational Psychologist), access to the school counselor, laptops, specialist software, targeted intervention programmes, etc.
If, through discussion with yourself, the SENCO and other staff in our school, it is agreed that the school cannot meet the needs or your child through existing resources, an application may be made to the local authority for an Education, Health and Care Plan. This process can be found on the local offer website.
How will our school help you to support your child’s learning?
We actively encourage you as a parent to be involved with your child’s learning. Subject teachers and heads of year may suggest ways of how you can support your child alongside homework activities. If outside agencies or the Educational Psychologist has been involved suggestions and programmes of study provided by them are normally provided that can be used at home. We also run a number of training sessions for parents throughout the school year which are published on our website and we seek volunteers to help with learning activities.
Our school has an active Parents, Teachers and Friends Association (PTFA) and if you are interested in playing a part, please contact Cathy Kenyon on 01254 223000 for further details, or look at our website.
What specialist services and expertise are available at, or accessed by, the school?
The school works closely with all other outside agencies to focus on identification and provision for those pupils who, at any given time, have a special educational need. All services involved with the school are regarded as being part of a working partnership whose aim is to provide, as highlighted in the Code of Practice, an integrated, high quality, holistic mode of support which focuses on the needs of the child.
The following services/agencies are available where needed:
- Inclusion Support Service including physical difficulties (PD), visual impairment (VI) and hearing impairment (HI)
- Educational Psychology Service
- Education Welfare Service
- Social Care
- Health Services – including Speech and Language Service
- East Lancashire Child and Adolescent Mental Services (ELCAS), Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physiotherapy Service
- Family Wise
- Voluntary organisations eg: Brook Counseling Services
This is not an exhaustive list as students will be referred as a need arises.
How are the staff in school supported to work with children with special educational needs and what training do they have?
- The SENCO is a science specialist also having a Master’s Degree in Education, with a focus on Special Educational Needs. In addition she has extensive knowledge of, and a qualification in, Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD), Speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) where she has been ELKLAN trained and Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
She keeps up to date with legislation, policy and outstanding practice via the Department for Education website, the local authority, the BwD SENCO network, NASEN, the Communication Trust and other training providers.
- Second SENCO, who is an English specialist and KS2/KS3 trained.
- Co-ordinator for teaching and learning; she has extensive experience of working with pupils with additional needs.
- Two HLTAs. Both of these hold the HLTA qualification and both are ELKLAN trained (SLCN). In addition they have both been attended specialist training and are able to deliver lessons. Interventions and provide support and training for staff.
- Three Level 3 teaching assistants (TAs). Each of these leads on a specific area:
- SpLD and SLCN
- Social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH)
- Autistic spectrum disorders (ASD)
These TAs access both internal and external training to enable them to carry out this role. Each manages a team of Level 2 TAs. One of these TAs holds the HLTA qualification and two hold the Cache Level 3 qualification; one has a BA in SEN.
- Level 2 TAs. Currently there are seven Level 2 Learning Support Assistants who provide support and differentiation for identified students. They work both within the Inclusion Zone and mainstream classrooms. The majority of TAs have the Cache Level 2 qualification and three have the Cache Level 3.
We have an extensive programme of training and development available in our school for both teaching and support staff. All staff undertake training in relation to safeguarding and SEND and are fully aware of their responsibilities under the SEND Code of Practice (2014). Areas of SEND where training has taken place this year are:
- Executive skills.
How will our school ensure that your child is included in activities outside the classroom, including physical activities and school trips?
Activities and school trips are available to all pupils in our school. A risk assessment will be carried out with you and procedures put in place to ensure that your son/daughter can participate.
Lunchtime supervision is provided by teaching and support staff to help if your child requires support during break and lunch times. Staff are also available before and after school to help your child. We have a wide range of clubs that take place during lunch time and after school; a full schedule is available from your child’s form tutor.
How will our school support your child’s overall wellbeing?
Each year group at Darwen Vale has a Head of Year and an Assistant Head of Year. These individuals remain with their year group throughout their time at this school, enabling them to get to know your child well and be able to support them.
Every pupil has a form tutor who is responsible for the pastoral needs of your child on a daily basis. Your child’s form tutor should be the first person you contact if you have concerns over their wellbeing or if you have information that you feel you need to share to ensure your child is supported. The Pastoral Team is led by an Assistant Head Teacher.
Our open door policy and proactive approach to dealing with any concerns or issues that your child is facing enables us to provide a positive and caring environment where your son or daughter can thrive.
Within our Inclusion Zone, we have an area designated to supporting the emotional wellbeing of your child. We call this “Pupil Advice That Helps”, referred to by all pupils as PATH. In this area pupils can access the School Counsellor and the PATH coordinator, Katrina Leigh. In addition, the School Nurse, Family Wise and Connexions are all based here. The area is also used by outside agencies, such as the East Lancashire Child and Adolescent Service. At breaks and lunchtimes, the area is “teacher free” and pupils may drop in should they have any concerns.
How accessible is our school both indoors and outdoors for children with special educational needs?
Darwen Vale High School is committed to providing accessibility for all stakeholders and this evolves with the communities changing needs. There is lift access to all areas. Each toilet area has a dedicated disabled toilet. Each curriculum area is identified by a specific colour which improves accessibility
The main entrance can be accessed via a ramp and the side entrances are all approached by level ground. In the event of an evacuation staff are trained to support the buildings users to leave safely. Where needed, we use translators, sign language and braille for meetings to meet the needs of the community. There are dedicated disabled parking bays close to the front entrance. All outside areas can be accessed without using steps.
Full details are available in our Accessibility Policy.
How will our school prepare and support your child when joining our school and when transferring to Post-16 education?
Before your child joins our school from year 6, we run a number of taster days and enrichment activities. We also provide additional supported days for pupils identified as having additional needs that may cause the transition to high school to be more challenging than for other pupils. There is also a summer school to which your child may be invited. During the last six weeks of Year 6, we run a programme called Moving on to High School (MOTHS) where support staff work with small groups identified by their primary school. This is based at the primary school and aims to address many of the concerns that pupils have about high school. There will also be visits from their Head of Year and Assistant HoY.
These activities are designed to build confidence about the move to the secondary phase.
Advice on careers and post- 16 courses is made available. Connexions offer appointments on request to produce individualised action plans. We encourage our pupils to visit colleges and sixth forms to find out what is available and invite them to send representatives to school to speak with interested pupils. Colleges and sixth forms are invited to our KS4 Parents Evenings where they are available to answer any questions.
Who can you contact for further information?
If you have concerns relating to the school provision, please speak to the Principal, Mr David Hallam, or the SENCO, Mrs Elizabeth Johnson. Both can be reached via the school telephone number, 01254 223000- alternatively you can email Mrs Johnson at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The formal complaints procedure can be accessed via the school website.
Blackburn with Darwen’s local offer sets out a range of support and services available to you and your child. This can be accessed at www.bwd-localoffer.org.uk