At Medmerry Primary school, we believe that all pupils should be equally respected and valued and are entitled to a good education.
We use our best endeavours to make sure that all pupils:
• Receive high quality teaching
• Have access to the full school curriculum which is adapted to meet individual needs
• Can learn and make progress according to their individual developmental needs
• Are assessed using appropriate assessment tools and guidelines
• Have access to the resources, provision and interventions they need
• Feel positive about themselves and their learning
A pupil is considered to have Special Educational Needs (SEN) where their learning difficulty or disability calls for us to provide something that is different from or additional to what is normally available to pupils of their age.
Additional support is usually organised from the school’s resources but pupils may also require support from specialist services available outside of school such as Speech and Language Therapy.
All class teachers have a responsibility to provide appropriate and high quality teaching for all pupils in their class on a daily basis. The class teacher monitors pupils with Special Educational Needs who are working on specific programmes in small groups or one-to-one.
The school Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) is responsible for co-ordinating provision for SEN across the school as well as supporting class teachers in assessing individual pupils, problem solving and deciding how best to meet a child’s needs to ensure progress.
The following information explains in more detail how we work and what support is available in our school.
How do we know if children at Medmerry School have Special Educational Needs and need extra help?
A child may be identified as having Special Educational Needs (SEN) at any point during their time with us. There are a number of possible ways we might decide this:
Information from another school or pre-school
Information from external agencies such as the Speech and Language Service, an Educational Psychologist, The Child Development Centre
Medical/health diagnoses e.g. from a GP, Occupational Therapy, a paediatrician.
A child is performing below the national expected levels for their age
A teacher raises concerns e.g. about lack of progress, emotional needs, physical difficulties
A parent raises concerns.
Class teachers continually assess each child to make sure they are learning and making expected progress. If a child appears to be experiencing difficulty, we take two actions: Firstly, we provide different or additional resources targeted at raising achievement within a given time frame. At the same time the class teacher, in consultation with the Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), makes a more detailed assessment to see what is preventing the child from making progress-the barriers to learning. Parents will be informed and invited to contribute to our thinking either while we are assessing or after assessment has taken place when we have a clearer picture to share.
If progress remains an issue despite additional help, or if our assessments highlight a specific difficulty, then we may decide that at this time the child has Special Needs. At this point, we consider what further support the child needs and what we are able to provide in school. We also consider if any outside agencies could help us to gain more information or to decide what actions to take and may then make a referral (with parental permission).
Areas of Special Educational Need
There are four main areas that cover Special Educational Needs:
1. Communication and Interaction. This includes Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)
2. Cognition and Learning. Children may have difficulties with the skills needed for effective learning. This area includes specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia or dyscalculia.
3. Social, mental and Emotional needs. This includes anxiety, low self-esteem and attention difficulties (ADHD/ADD).
4. Sensory and Physical needs. This includes hearing or visual impairment, specific medical conditions, physical impairment, and self-care needs.
What should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
Please come and talk to us. Start by making an appointment with the class teacher and coming in for a chat. Then, if you would like more information, contact our Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO). We will listen to you and take your concerns seriously. If we need to, we will agree an action plan and a time to meet again to share findings or review progress.
How will Medmerry School staff support my child?
The class teacher oversees, plans for and works with each child with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) in their class to ensure that progress is made in all areas. The SENCO or Inclusion Manager and the class teacher work together to plan additional support, usually drawing up an action plan with clear targets, actions, resources and a review date. The plans are shared with parents and pupils. Where possible, children are encouraged to contribute so that they feel a sense of ownership and want to make it work. Likewise, we encourage parents to contribute with suggestions and to support the plan with actions at home.
Once a plan is in place, the class teacher is responsible for the day-to day actions but also feeds back information to the SENCO who monitors the provision and progress of the child. It may be that the plan needs some adjustment as it goes along.
School support staff: As part of the action plan, a Teaching Assistant, SEN Support assistant or Learning Support Teacher may work with your child in a group or on their own for an agreed period of time. This will be specified in the action plan so you will know what is going to happen and who with. Please come and talk to the class teacher or SENCO if you have any suggestions, concerns or questions while the plan is being carried out.
How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
All work within a class is pitched at an appropriate level for each child according to their different needs. Typically in a lesson, there could be three different levels of work set for the class and some children may need their work set individually. This means that all children are learning at their level.
Teachers may also adapt the work bearing in mind what we know about an individual child’s strengths and needs; for example, a child who has difficulty remembering instructions may be given their work in small chunks or have pictures of tasks.
How do we know how well a child is doing?
We use The National Curriculum to plan for all children, to mark work, to make sure that children are making progress and to check their attainment against the national expected level for their age.
Children with Special Educational Needs or disabilities may need their learning broken down into smaller steps or may need additional targets, depending on what their needs are. Sometimes, for example, we also want to improve learning behaviours such as independent working, concentration, asking for appropriate help, listening well.
If there is also an action plan, we will be picking out very specific targets where we see a particular difficulty or block to learning that we think can be improved with some concentrated work. We will review progress against these targets at specific intervals and keep you involved and informed.
The governors of Medmerry School:
use their best endeavours to make sure that all our pupils with SEN get the support they need
ensure that children with SEN engage in the activities of the school alongside pupils who do not have SEN
designate a qualified teacher to be responsible for co-ordinating SEN provision – the SEN co-ordinator, or SENCO
make sure that parents are informed and involved when their child is considered to have Special Educational Needs
delegate a governor to have specific oversight of the school’s arrangements for SEN and disability and to report to the full governing body
monitor the progress made by pupils with special educational needs as a core part of the school’s performance management arrangements
have due regard to their duties to promote disability equality under the Equality Act 2010 and ensure that reasonable adjustments are made, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services for disabled children, to prevent them being put at a substantial disadvantage.
How will I be kept informed about my child’s learning and progress?
Class teachers offer all parents appointments twice a year, in October and February, to discuss your child’s needs, support and progress. You will be told how well your child is progressing in relation to the national expected levels for their age. In the summer term you receive a written report.
Children with complex needs may have an Education, Health and Care plan which will be formally reviewed with you, at least annually.
In addition, you are welcome to make further appointments with the class teacher or SENCO at any time. Sometimes we use a home/school book to communicate informally on a more regular basis or we may agree weekly or monthly review meetings as necessary.
We aim to communicate with you regularly and clearly and we hope to work in partnership with you. We hope you and your child will feel able to contribute to action plans and express any thoughts or concerns you have.
What support is there for my child’s overall well-being?
We aim to support and value all children in our school and to achieve a sense of positive wellbeing for all. We are committed to creating a friendly, caring, fair and understanding community; our behaviour systems are based on a positive approach using the principles of Restorative Justice to build a culture a culture of respect and discipline. (https://www.restorativejustice.org.uk/early-intervention)
Peer mediation is used to ensure that peer friendships are maintained and no pupils feel isolated. Children are also encouraged to tell an adult if they have any problems or concerns and that adult will follow this up as necessary and feedback to the child what action has been taken.
Class teachers have overall responsibility for the well being of every child in their class and are usually the first point of contact for parents. Each class has a timetabled weekly lesson of Personal, Social and Emotional education, which is also an opportunity for children to discuss any worries or concerns.
Each class has representatives on our School Council. Issues arising from classes can be brought to the council meetings for discussion and further action. Pupil questionnaires are also used to let us know how pupils are feeling.
Children who need more support with social skills or managing behaviour may have an individual support plan which aims to maximise the amount of time a child is included in all activities whilst reducing any risks of harm to self or others. We work very hard to avoid excluding children and to make sure that all children attend school whenever possible. If there are barriers to this, we do our best to support families from our own resources as well as seeking external advice and support when we can.
Medicines and personal care
The school has a policy regarding the administration and management of medicines on the school site. Parents need to contact the school office to discuss this and if agreed complete a form: Parental Agreement for School to Administer Medicines.
Some children may need a care plan, to be agreed with the school, the relevant health service professional and the parent/carer.
What specialist services and expertise are available at or can be accessed by Medmerry School?
As a school we work with any available external agencies that we feel are relevant to individual children’s needs within school. Sometimes we consult with experts, such as a Speech and Language Therapist or Educational Psychologist, who may offer advice or suggest resources to try. Sometimes parents/carers are asked to take their child to a base, usually in Chichester for a meeting or assessment. This is mainly the case for Health Service practitioners such as Physiotherapy. Schools cannot directly refer children to some agencies and you may have to ask your GP for a referral.
We ask for your written permission before discussing your child with any outside agency. The agency may ask us to complete a report or questionnaire before an external assessment takes place.
What training have support staff had or are having?
Our Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) regularly attend training in school and are also able to attend appropriate courses elsewhere. All support staff have training in safeguarding, first aid, use of Epipen, basic Makaton, Positive Behaviour Management and Restorative Justice. Most have attended training in supporting pupils with Dyslexia, Autism, maths difficulties (Dyscalculia) and speech and language difficulties. Most of our support staff have undertaken specific training for classroom assistants and have NVQ 2, NVQ3 or Higher Level Teaching Assistant status (HLTA). Three support staff have a BA Degree in Childhood Studies and a fourth is currently studying for a degree. Some of our support staff have specific training to deliver interventions including Sppech and language sessions, Jump Ahead groups (for concentration and co-ordination), Precision teaching, social and emotional Skills groups and specific reading, phonics, writing and maths catch-up programmes.
How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?
All children at Medmerry are included in all parts of the school curriculum and we aim for all children to be included on school trips. We provide the support necessary to make that possible.
A risk assessment is carried out prior to any off-it activity in order to ensure everyone’s health and safety will not be compromised. We may involve parents/carers in helping us to plan trips and activities. In the unlikely event that it is considered unsafe for a child to take part in an activity, alternative activities which will cover the same curriculum areas will be provided in school.
How accessible is the school environment?
Medmerry School is situated on one floor and all areas can be accessed by wheelchair. We also have a disabled toilet. Specific resources needed to assist access are generally purchased or loaned to us following advice from external agencies. Examples of this might be a special chair or grab rails.
The school has access to the Ethnic Minority Achievement Service (EMAS) who may be able to assist us in supporting families with English as an additional language. With permission, we may also ask other bilingual parents to assist with home/school communication.
How will Medmerry School prepare and support my child to join the school and to transfer to secondary school?
Starting school – for all children starting with us in Early Years, we have an important transition programme which prepares the teachers, the parents and the children for a successful start to school:
Teachers visit the children in their pre-school settings and talk to the staff about each child.
Children are invited into school for 4 half-day visits to the classroom.
Parents are able to look around the school in the autumn term before making their choice of school
There is an introductory meeting for parents with the headteacher and Early Years teacher where you are given all the information you need and can ask any questions.
Five weeks into the first term we have a breakfast meeting where you can meet staff and support and community groups come along.
Children with additional needs may benefit from extra visits and parents or the school may feel the need for more meetings to help us all to prepare for a successful start to school. External agencies may attend meetings or forward paperwork to the school about an individual child’s needs.
When children transfer to us from elsewhere, we receive relevant paperwork and records and we pass on our paperwork when children leave us.
Going to secondary school
We want our pupils to be excited and confident about starting their next stage of education. In the term before children go to secondary school we have a programme to prepare them and the schools to ensure a smooth and confident transfer:
All children have visits to their new school. Vulnerable pupils may have additional visits as necessary.
Our SENCO meets with the secondary school SENCOs to pass on information about the needs of children with SEND. All relevant paperwork is transferred to the secondary school SENCOs.
Parents are invited to visit the secondary schools and can express their concerns.
At Medmerry School we have a transition programme for all children in the summer term and pupils are asked to complete a questionnaire about their worries or concerns, which can then be dealt with in school.
Where necessary the SENCO may attend further meetings at the secondary schools after the children have transferred to secondary school to offer further support for the child.
How are resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
A portion of the school budget is allocated to Special Educational Needs. We try to ensure that all children with SEN have their needs met to the best of our ability with the funds available. We often allocate a Special Needs Assistant or trained teaching Assistant to deliver programmes designed to meet individual or groups of children’s needs. An example of this is our Booster Reading Comprehension group programme in Key Stage 2.
The budget is allocated on a needs basis.
How is the Decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
Using data on progress and from other assessments, the class teacher and the SENCO will discuss the child’s needs and possible additional support. Different children will require different levels and types of support in order to help them to bridge the gap to achieve age-expected levels. Support can come in different forms and last for different lengths of time. For example, we might provide a sloped desk-top to help with handwriting throughout the year or we could timetable additional handwriting instruction in a small group for 6 weeks. When we are planning support we think about the children as individuals first and we regularly check to make sure that any support is effective. We talk with children about their learning and encourage them to contribute to discussions about progress. We also hope to engage parents in ongoing discussions about support at school and at home.
How can parents be involved in the life of Medmerry School?
Opportunities exist to become more involved with the school for those parents who have time. You could volunteer to help regularly in school, for example as a reader or with art or craft activities or with an after school club or you could offer to help with a day trip. There is a thriving fund-raising group called The Friends of Medmerry who are always pleased for offers of help with activities. Children love to have their parents there at events such as Sports Day, Harvest and Christmas services, end of year and nativity plays. As well as after school clubs for children, there is an adult choir for staff and parents, which is very sociable and anyone is welcome to join.
Who can I contact for further information?
Your first point of contact is your child’s class teacher, either at the end of the school day or by appointment if necessary. You could also arrange to meet with Mrs Tozer, our Inclusion manager. The best way and quickest way to make an appointment is by contacting our school office.
Outside of school, you could contact Parent Partnership for support and advice (firstname.lastname@example.org) or look at the West Sussex Local Offer to see what other help is available.
Local authorities and other services have set out a local offer of all services available to support children who are disabled or who have SEN and their families. The local offer will enable families to understand what services they can access and what support they can expect from a range of local agencies, including from the local authority, health services, schools, leisure services and the voluntary sector. The offer will include provision from birth to 25, across education, health and social care.
The West Sussex Local Offer can be accessed at
We want this information to be clear and accessible to all. If you have any comments or suggestions to make about this document, our SENCO will be pleased to receive them.