Head of Department
Ms J Knowles – SENCO
- BA Hons in History
- PGCE in Secondary Education and History
Support for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
At Pleckgate, we ensure that every student with SEND gets the support that they need; this means doing everything possible to meet the needs of the children and young people. The guiding principle of the Learning Support Department is to put the student and their family at the centre of all we do. We ensure that, wherever possible, children with SEND have opportunities to engage in activities alongside students who do not have SEND.
The SEND Code of Practice makes it clear that all class and subject teachers are responsible for SEND. They must make every effort to meet the needs of all the children and young people in the school, however diverse in nature these might be. Due to this approach, most students with SEND will have their needs met through universal, mainstream education provision.
Assess – Plan – Do – Review
The SEND Code of Practice is specific in its guidance about good practice, once a potential need is identified. There four types of action that are implemented to ensure that effective support is in place. This is the ‘graduated response’ and the four stages are:
- Assess: the class teacher and SENCO should gather information from a range of sources and clearly analyse a child’s needs before identifying them as needing SEND support. A well-informed decision is essential in making this judgement.
- Plan: the school must notify parents whenever it is decided that a child is to be provided with SEND support and parents should be involved in planning towards an agreed set of outcomes. In addition, advice should be sought from advisory teachers and appropriate professionals; for example, speech and language therapy and physiotherapy.
- Do: strategies and advice are shared with the class or subject teacher, who remains responsible for working with the student on a daily basis. Where the interventions involve group or individual teaching away from the main class teacher, he/she retains responsibility for the student’s progress.
- Review: the school must review the effectiveness of the support in line with an agreed date included in the plan. At Pleckgate, this is done by the regular monitoring of students’ progress by the SENCO, following which there is liaison with teachers, TAs and students themselves.
These four steps ensure that the school follows a ‘graduated approach’ to meeting the needs of SEND students. This cycle will be continually revisited for as long as the student has identified SEND.
All students are monitored and their progress tracked. Differentiated learning opportunities are provided across all areas of the curriculum and with all ability levels. Parents/carers and students are consulted and kept informed of any action taken to support their child; the school uses a range of evidence-based interventions and outcomes are reported on. These inform future planning and provision.
Bespoke Curriculum Provision
The Learning Support Department has a bespoke curriculum pathway. The aim of this is to allow every student, regardless of their need and ability, to leave school having met their social, physical and academic potential. The department delivers a fluid curriculum for students that is responsive to the need of the individual. This includes speech and language development, motor skills and physiotherapy, as well as a focus on building skills for life and developing independence. The curriculum taught within the Learning Support Department is linked to subject departments’ schemes of work and is appropriately differentiated. Students are taught in stage, not age groupings, enabling more effective differentiation and providing students with greater opportunity to work independently; this promotes increased self-esteem. In addition to enrichment topics, English, maths, science, history, geography and RE are taught to all students working within Learning Support.
The curriculum is built on a foundation of literacy and maths; the other curriculum subject areas act as vehicles for enhancing these core skills. Cognitive development is promoted to improve memory and retention of knowledge and our curriculum is well sequenced to create opportunities to revisit and consolidate prior learning. Students who need the greatest support, for example students with little speech and language acquisition and who require full-time 1-1 care, follow a wholly personalised timetable. This is based on the Early Years curriculum and includes basic life skills with a focus on developing independence and confidence. Preparedness for adult life is an important part of our curriculum; we aim to ensure that all students leave Pleckgate with the life skills required to participate as fully as possible in adult life.
Transition Support for students with SEND
The focus on progression is especially important for students with SEND at transition from KS2. The SENCO ensures that detailed information on vulnerable students and all those with SEND, is gathered from both primary schools and parents/carers, with meetings held as required. This allows for provision to be in put in place prior to the students joining Pleckgate, enabling a smooth transition and ensuring that the curriculum is designed around the students’ needs. Transition between KS4 and KS5 for SEND students is led by the SENCO, facilitating bespoke taster sessions as well as CEIAG to allow continuous learning for all students.
Nothing is more important to the department than the students’ happiness and meeting their needs, so that they can reach their potential.