Our qualified Special Educational Needs Coordinator is Mrs C Hutchinson and Mrs H Storey is the Deputy SENCO. You are welcome to contact Mrs Hutchinson or Mrs Storey through the school office (0191 4202588) to discuss any aspect of the support we offer to our pupils.
For contact details of some of the services we use, please click here.
- Who do I speak to if I want to discuss my child’s needs?
In the first instance, parents should speak to their child’s class teacher if they have any concerns about their child’s progress or development. Staff are available to speak informally to parents before and after school on the yard, and appointments can be made for more detailed discussions at any point throughout the year.
Mrs Hutchinson is the Special Needs Coordinator and she can be contacted via the school office (telephone 0191 4202588).
- What kinds of Special Educational Needs provision is provided at Toner Avenue Primary School?
Toner Avenue is an inclusive school. We aim to meet the needs of all of our children, whether they have a special educational need or not. We cater for a range of special educational needs including:
- Specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia;
- Sensory difficulties such as hearing or visually impaired children;
- Emotional and social difficulties, such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other behavioural difficulties.
- Communication difficulties.
We have also supported children with a range of complex needs.
Please contact Mrs Hutchinson on 0191 4202588 if you would like to discuss your child’s specific areas of need.
- How does the school identify and assess pupils with Special Educational Needs?
As part of our commitment to ensuring each child reaches their full potential, staff at Toner Avenue are constantly assessing the children in their class. We also collect data at specific points throughout the year to ensure children are making the progress we expect.
There are times when all children find something tricky. If a child has found a particular concept difficult, staff will intervene immediately to support the child and help them ‘catch up’. This may mean a change to planned activities or short, additional booster lessons during an assembly or at another point in the school day.
Where a child is experiencing recurring difficulties in a specific area (e.g. spelling), the teacher may decide to plan an intervention. This will mean that the child will work with an adult (either the teacher or a teaching assistant) on a regular basis for short, focussed sessions to address their area of difficulty. This will be recorded on an ‘Intervention Plan’ and parents will be given a copy of the plan. The progress will be monitored closely and evaluated after a period of time. If good progress has been made at the end of the intervention, the child will no longer be included in the intervention. If there are still concerns, an Action Plan may be written for the child which will include details of strategies and techniques which will be used to support the child.
Children who are experiencing difficulties in more than one area will be given an Action Plan. These contain personalised targets with details of the additional or different strategies that will be used to support the child. These targets may be academic or behavioural and again, these will be shared with parents. Where advice from other agencies has been received (e.g. advice from Occupational Therapy) this will be included. If the advice is to support the child in accessing the curriculum rather than moving forward in their learning, this will be recorded on the action plan as ‘continuous provision’. Action plans are evaluated after no longer than 12 weeks and the outcomes shared with parents.
We work on a plan, do assess, review principle. Action Plans and targets are evaluated and new ones set as appropriate.
We use the Local Authority’s SEND Ranges to help us effectively and consistently determine the needs of our pupils who have additional needs. The SEND range descriptors provide a core framework for all professionals working with the pupil and give greater clarity for parents/families/carers in terms of what the needs of their child are and what their child is receiving. These interventions are tracked on the Provision Map. For more information on the South Tyneside SEND Offer, please click here.
Mrs Hutchinson meets formally with staff on a termly basis to discuss the progress of all pupils and is available to meet informally with staff who have concerns. She monitors the quality of interventions and reviews action plans before they are sent to parents to ensure the targets will support the children in their learning.
- How do we include children with Special Educational Needs?
We believe that quality first teaching is vital when ensuring progress for all learners, regardless of whether they have SEND or not. We make every practical effort to include children with Special Educational Needs. We have made effective use of technology to support children with visual impairment or with motor skill difficulties. We provide opportunities for children with emotional difficulties to receive regular support in school and we also ensure we provide a broad and balanced curriculum which is personalised to the children’s interests and abilities.
- What expertise and training have staff had to support children with Special Educational Needs and what other specialist expertise can be secured in school?
Staff development and training are a central part of our work to support children with additional needs.
During the past year, staff have received extensive training from specialist teachers in ways to support children with specific learning needs and are able to assess children and plan specific interventions based on this screening. This has meant that children do not need to wait for a specialist teacher to deliver the interventions.
Staff have also completed training in supporting children with attachment difficulties, behavioural difficulties and speech and language therapy.
In addition, where a child is receiving specific therapeutic treatment, e.g. from occupational therapy, class teachers will meet with therapists to gain an understanding of how they can support the child in class.
We have a trained bereavement councillor on our staff who also works with children who are suffering with their emotional wellbeing needs for a variety of reasons (e.g. bereavement, low self- esteem, family circumstances etc.)
We are also very lucky to have Mrs McBarron who is a qualified ‘ELSA’ (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) on our staff. Mrs McBarron offers 1-to-1 sessions to specific children to address any emotional concerns they may have. This can include issues at home. This can be short term or long term depending on the needs of the child and is often used as a short term intervention whilst children are waiting for appointments with Lifecycles etc.. Staff are able to make referrals to the ELSA programme. Please contact Mrs Hutchinson if you feel your child would benefit from ELSA work.
Where necessary, referrals can be made to access specialist interventions or support from a range of services such as: Educational Psychology, Speech and Language, Specialist teachers, Visual Impairment Team, Hearing Impairment Team, Emotional Resilience Team, Behaviour Support Team
- What equipment and facilities are available to support children with Special Educational Needs?
We have a range of equipment which we use to support our children. This includes ‘simple’ resources such as overlays, pencil grips, wiggle cushions, coloured exercise books etc. and more ‘technical’ resources such as alpha smarts and IPad to support children for a variety of reasons.
- How are parents consulted or involved in the education of their child?
We believe that parents are the key to a child’s success. Parents views are sought on an informal basis e.g. through discussions and more formally. Children are given a ‘passport’ on an annual basis (or when they are first identified with a special educational need). This is sent home and there is a section for parents to share their feelings, thoughts and concerns about their child.
Parents receive copies of Action Plans or Intervention Plans at the beginning of the process and are encouraged to come to school and discuss aspects of the plan. They are also given evaluations of the plan to share progress made. This progress is also discussed at parents’ evenings.
- How are children with special educational needs consulted or involved in their own education?
We use ‘passports’ to capture children’s feelings about what is going well in school, what they find difficult and which strategies they find most useful. These passports are sent home to be completed with parents on an annual basis or when a child is first identified as having a Special Educational Need.
Action plans contain details about what the pupil can do to support themselves in their learning – this is discussed with the child as appropriate to their age and level of understanding.
- How does the governing body support the provision made at the school? (Including complaints)
The Governing Body has a Special Educational Needs ‘Link Governor’ (Mrs Telford) who works in close partnership with Mrs Hutchinson in all areas of provision. The Chair of Governors also meets regularly with Mrs Hutchinson to discuss the progress of all groups of learners, including those with Special Educational Needs.
It is very rare that we receive complaints about our provision; however, if parents have suggestions to improve things, they are welcome to speak to Mrs Hutchinson at any time. Where parents have a complaint about the provision, they should contact Mrs Hutchinson or follow the complaints guidance, a copy of which can be found here.
- How do the governing body involve other agencies in meeting the needs of families of pupils with special educational needs?
The Governing Body fully supports the school in seeking advice and guidance from other agencies to support children with Special Educational Needs. We have bought into Local Authority Services to support children (e.g. Educational Psychology Service, Emotional Resilience Team).
- How can I contact support services?
Mrs Hutchinson can provide contact details of a range of services. Please contact her on 0191 4202588.
- How does the school support pupils with special educational needs when they transfer between phases of education?
The transition between phases of education is incredibly important for all children, but especially for those who have additional needs. This time is often stressful for both the pupils and their parents. We work closely with the Transition Support Team, who can provide additional support for those children who find transitions particularly difficult. The team facilitate additional visits to secondary schools and work closely with children to address their fears and anxieties in the run up to transition. They also support children in the first weeks of their new school year, acting as a consistent point of contact.
We also realise that transition between classes can be difficult for children with specific emotional needs. To support children in this, we provide children with a ‘transition booklet’ towards the end of the academic year. This contains information and photographs showing exactly what the child will need to know in their new class (e.g. where resources will be kept, who the adults will be, who will be supervising them at lunch time, etc.). In addition to the ‘transition day’ we have for all children, we also provide informal transition opportunities for children with additional needs to ensure they have started to form a relationship with their new class teacher before they break up for the summer.
- Where can I find more information about special educational needs in South Tyneside?
Further details about Special Educational Needs in South Tyneside can be found here.