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Special Educational Needs

We believe that every child is an individual who brings something special to the school community. All students regardless of their ability, personality or background have a right to take part in and enjoy every aspect of school life and to have the opportunity to meet their full potential.

Our aim at the academy is to ensure that the barriers are removed and offer all our students the opportunity to participate in and benefit from all of the many wonderful experiences that are available to them as a Harpenden Academy student.

Within our Inclusion Faculty we provide specialist support and opportunity to help students feel valued and be better equipped to make positive choices, so that they can play an active role in the life of the school community.

At Harpenden Academy, children are identified as having SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) through a variety of ways, usually a combination, which may include some of the following:

  • Liaison with previous school or pre-school setting
  • Child performing below ‘age expected’ levels or equivalent
  • Concerns raised by a parent
  • Concerns raised by a teacher
  • Liaison with external agencies e.g. for a physical/ sensory issue, speech and language
  • Use of tools for standardised assessment such as, Lucid Assessment Test, Wide Ability Reading Test 4 and Cognitive Profiling test in the primary phase
  • Children with a Statement / EHCP (Education Health and Care Plan) already have many of their needs clearly identified. Their placement at our school is a decision that is made by the Local Education Authority

Academy’s arrangement for assessing and reviewing the progress of pupils with special educational needs

  • A school we track and analyse the children’s’ progress against national expectations and age related expectations and will send a report home to parents in the Summer Term. In addition to this there are termly parents evenings where children progress is discussed.
  • The class teacher continually assesses each child and notes areas where they are improving and where further support is needed
  • Pupil Progress Meetings are held each term in the primary phase between each class teacher, Key Stage Coordinator and the Deputy Headteacher and SENCO. In these meetings, a discussion takes place concerning children who are not making expected progress and possible actions and support strategies are discussed
  • Where specific needs are apparent, the school has a range of assessment tools which can be used to explore a child’s strengths and difficulties in more depth, for example CTOPP(Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing)
  • The SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator)  reports regularly to the Governing Body regarding the progress of the students.
  • There is a governor who is responsible for SEN

Academy's approach to teaching pupils with special educational needs

  • The class teacher will oversee, plan and differentiate the material to support the need of children with SEND in their class and to ensure that appropriate progress is made in every area
  • All lessons are differentiated, taking into account the primary needs of the learners. Teachers implement specific strategies that have been identified for specific students
  • The SENCo, who is a member of Senior Leadership, oversees the progress of any child identified as having SEND
  • Every class in the primary phase has a Teaching Assistant who works collaboratively with the classroom teacher.
  • All learning activities within the classroom are planned and differentiated, so that all children are able to access learning according to their specific needs.
  • The class teacher, alongside the SENCo will discuss a child’s needs and what support will be appropriate
  • Children with SEND will have access to the appropriate resources needed in order to help them to make progress, such as support mats, coloured overlays and strategy cards
  • The SENCo reports to the Head teacher and Governors regularly to inform them about the progress of children with SEND and how resources are being used. Information provided will never name individual children in order to maintain confidentiality at all times

Additional support for learning for students with special educational needs

Behaviour for Learning

  • Nurture Group in Primary to support the social skills

Mastering Memory and Fine Motor Skills

  • Students who have difficulties with their short term working memory or their fine motor skills are supported using one to one specialised programmes

The arrangements for consulting parents of children with special educational needs

  • The class teacher, SENCO are available to meet and discuss children’s progress, the support in place and any questions the parents may have
  • An appointment can be made with the SENCo to discuss support in more detail
  • The SENCo is present during Parents’ Consultation evenings 

The involvement of external bodies in the meeting the needs of students with special educational needs

  • Some students are supported through the counselling service to help them work through issues which impact on their readiness and capacity for learning
  • Partnership with Links academy to provide outreach support
  • Support from Educational Psychologist
  • Close liaison with family support workers
  • Speech and Language to assess and offer support strategies
  • Autistic Advisory Team
  • The Hertfordshire Local Offer can be accessed through Hertfordshire Directory at the following address: (http://directory.hertsdirect.org/kb5/hertfordshire/directory/localoffer....)
  • If parents/carers would like to use the Local Offer, but they cannot access the internet, they can contact their local library, or Children’s Centre
  • If further assistance is needed, the customer service centre can be contacted on 0300 123 4043  

Physical environment of the academy

We have, in consultation with the relevant expert bodies, aimed to make as much of the school accessible to those with mobility needs as possible. However, challenges due to the building designs and site layout do remain. Any parent wishing to know more about this and to discuss specific case needs is encouraged to contact the Head teacher, Ms Lisa Davies.

At present:

  • All areas of the school are accessible by wheelchair 
  • Accessible toilet facilities are available
  • There is a lift that allows access to the top school
  • There are new handrails around the site
  • Strips are painted on the edge of the stairs

How the academy includes all students in activities outside of the classroom, including school trips

  • All children are included in all parts of the school curriculum and the aim is for all children to be included on school trips. We will provide the necessary support to ensure that this is successful and when required will discuss this with parents in advance. It might be appropriate for a parent/carer to accompany a child on a school trip, depending upon the child’s individual needs
  • A risk assessment is carried out prior to any off site activity to ensure everyone’s health & safety will not be compromised and ensure suitability of the activity
  • There are a variety of after school clubs provided during lunchtimes and after school for all students
  • The Inclusion department offers a quieter space in school made available to the children if the playground environment becomes overwhelming. The sensory room is always open to our children with sensory challenges as and when they need it

Expertise and training of staff with relation to children with special educational needs

  • Within the school we have a culture of sharing good practice and expertise, through an accredited CPD programme
  • All TAs have had training to deliver Letters and Sounds Phonics System, and Cognitive Profiling Tests
  • As a school we work closely with any external agencies that we feel are relevant to supporting individual children’s’ needs within our school including: Primary Behaviour Services, Health services including: GPs, school nurse, CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service), clinical psychologist, paediatricians, speech and language therapists, occupational and physiotherapists; Children’s Services, social workers; educational psychologists and specialist advisory teachers

Early Years Foundation transition

  • All students who are allocated a place at Harpenden Academy will receive a visit from a member of staff
  • Those students, who need extra support have extra meetings with one of the members of the Inclusion team and the parents/carers to put in a place a plan of support prior to attending the academy
  • The identified students will join the Nurture Group in September  

Other phases

  • Students who have an EHCP will work closely with various external agencies in planning their next phase in education

Who to contact if there are any questions

  • Speak/ email the class teacher/form tutor in the first instance
  • Contact SENCO via the office email
  • General information relating to SEND can be found within the SEND policy. This can be found on the policy page of the school website
  • The school has a complaints policy, which is available on the policy page of the school website