Frequently Asked Questions

Introduction

Welcome to our SEND information report which is part of Tanfield School’s Local Offer for learners with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).

Tanfield is proud to be an inclusive school where our young people are regarded as individuals and no effort is spared to cater for the particular interests, talents and abilities of each and every student. Indeed, personalised learning is the key to academic success and to the enjoyment of education as is the active involvement of young people in all aspects of school life.

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Inclusive High Quality Teaching

Teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of all the students in their class.

Inclusive high-quality teaching is our first step in responding to students who have SEN. This will be differentiated for individual students.

Inclusive high quality teaching

  1. Any students who are falling significantly outside of the range of expected academic achievement in line with predicted performance indicators and grade boundaries will be monitored.
  2. Once a student has been identified as possibly having SEND they will be closely monitored by staff in order to gauge their level of learning and possible difficulties.
  3. The student’s class teacher will take steps to provide differentiated learning opportunities that will aid the student’s academic progression and enable the teacher to better understand the provision and teaching style that needs to be applied.
  4. The SENDCo will be consulted as needed for support and advice and may wish to observe the student in class.
  5. Through (b) and (d) it can be determined which level of provision the student will need going forward.
  6. If a student has recently been removed from the SEND list they may also fall into this category as continued monitoring will be necessary.
  7. Parents will be informed of any concerns and the school action taking place. Parents are encouraged to share information and knowledge with the school.
  8. Concerns by teachers and/or parents will be investigated. Students will only be placed on the SEND register once the need is confirmed.
  9. Student progress meetings are used to monitor and assess the progress being made by the student. The frequency of these meetings is dependent on the individual student’s needs and progress being made.

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Tracking and monitoring progress

We will follow the graduated approach and the four-part cycle of assess, plan, do and review.

The process of Assess, Plan, Do and Review is at the heart of the graduated approach. All teachers work closely with the SENDCo and Assistant SENDCo to identify and make provision. This is an evidenced based approach to making provision and the expectation is that staff working with SEND students will have sufficient knowledge and skills to make a difference. Consultation with parents, carers and students are essential throughout the process.

Assess

Our SENDCo, Assistant SENDCo and class teacher working together to analyse needs using a range of sources including the school’s approach to student attainment, progress and attitude to learning. Consultation is key and it may be necessary to consult widely both in school, with parents and carers and with outside professionals to get the best picture of needs. Establishing close links with those responsible for assessment and home school links is also important to us here at Tanfield School.

Plan

This is when the School decides to provide SEND support. Parents are invited to a planning meeting. Interventions and support are provided in consultation with the parents, child, SENDCo, Assistant SENDCo and class teacher. The expected impact on progress, development and behaviour are agreed, and a date for review set. In this planning phase, we identify the gaps in the child’s learning and current provision and what is expected in terms of results following any provision.

Do

This involves providing effective support and interventions with regular feedback to students, parents and staff about progress. The SENDCo, Assistant SENDCo and Learning Support team support form and subject teachers in any further assessment and provide mentoring in all aspects of curriculum modification.

Review

We have regular reviews of progress with parents and students. Baseline data and outcomes will guide the review conversation and any gaps can be identified and planned for.

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Identifying SEND

We will assess each student’s current skills and levels of attainment on entry, which will build on previous settings and Key Stages, where appropriate. In 2020, we used Cognitive Abilities Tests (CATs) for Year 7 on entry.

Class teachers will make regular assessments of progress for all students and identify those whose progress:

  • Is significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same baseline.
  • Fails to match or better the child’s previous rate of progress.
  • Fails to close the attainment gap between the child and their peers.
  • Widens the attainment gap.

This may include progress in areas other than attainment, for example, social needs.

Slow progress and low attainment will not automatically mean a student is recorded as having SEN.

When deciding whether special educational provision is required, we will start with the desired outcomes, including the expected progress and attainment, and the views and the wishes of the student and their parents. We will use this to determine the support that is needed and whether we can provide it by adapting our core offer, or whether something different or additional is needed.

Access arrangements for examinations

At the end of Year 9, students are identified and assessed by a qualified specialist (approved by the LA) for exam arrangements. Students may be awarded extra time, reader, scribe, prompter, rest breaks or a combination and this will be their normal way of working in the classroom and all examinations.

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Supporting SEND students

Our school currently provides additional and/or different provision for a range of needs, including:

  • Communication and interaction, for example, autistic spectrum condition, Asperger’s Syndrome, speech and language difficulties.
  • Cognition and learning, for example, dyslexia, dyspraxia.
  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties, for example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Sensory and/or physical needs, for example, visual impairments, hearing impairments, processing difficulties, epilepsy.

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Adaptations to the curriculum and learning environment

We make the following adaptations to ensure all students’ needs are met:

  • Differentiating our curriculum to ensure all students are able to access it, for example, by grouping, 1:1 work, re-teach etc.
  • Adapting our resources and staffing.
  • Using recommended aids, such as laptops, coloured overlays, visual timetables, larger font, etc.
  • Differentiating our teaching, for example, giving longer processing times, pre-teaching of key vocabulary, reading instructions aloud, etc.

SEND students

  • This recognises students who are identified as requiring additional and different help as well as the regular differentiated curriculum. The school puts provision in place without resource to regular external advice or additional resources provided by the local authority.
  • Class teachers collaborate with the SENDCo on evidence gathering and identification.
  • Once the SENDCo has been notified he or she will make their own assessment through reviewing the evidence of identification supplied by the teacher and/or through observation and/or against formal criteria. With this knowledge the SENDCo can help with planning for future in-school support. Action that has already been taken is reviewed and altered in line with the new findings.
  • A support plan is drawn up, detailing provision. Provision is monitored regularly, evaluated and, if necessary, adjusted.
  • Following the school’s assessment, external professionals will be called to make their own assessments of the student and provide support in the planning of extended provision, continued assessment and revised action points.
  • The school will make every effort to ensure that advice from the external agencies is put into practice as swiftly as possible and will keep in regular contact with support services and parents regarding progress and targets met. External input can involve support and intervention, for example through specialist teaching or therapy. The school will coordinate this and, with the external professional, monitor, review and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.

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Supporting LAC students with SEND

When a student is a looked after child (LAC) and also have a SEND, Tanfield School put a lot of time and support in to match the needs of the individual child. They will be placed on either a monitoring register or have a SEND support plan or Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) depending on their needs. These are reviewed termly with the student, foster carer and social worker. They also are supported with a Personal Education Plan (PEP) that is reviewed every 4 months with outcomes discussed and new outcomes set. The designated teacher for LAC students is also the SENDCo at Tanfield.

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Education, Health and Care Plans

Those students who continue to have significant difficulties will be referred for Statutory Assessment. The Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) covers the needs of 0-25 year olds. The single plan will be supported by a new single assessment that involves professionals from all relevant services. SENDCos can expect to be involved in contributing to the development and implementation of EHCPs from then onwards.

The application for an EHC plan will combine information from a variety of sources including:

  • Parents
  • SENDCo
  • Assistant SENDCo
  • Teachers
  • Year Managers / Support staff
  • Educational Psychologist
  • Other professionals

Information will be gathered relating to the current provision provided, action points that have been taken, and the preliminary outcomes of targets set.

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Working with outside agencies

We are proud to offer services on the school site to students and their families. Tanfield School have access to specialist advisory teachers, 12 days of Autistic Spectrum Condition support, 10 days of Cognition and learning support and 12 days Educational psychologist time. We have a school counsellor based on site two days a week offering students 1 to 1 sessions around issues of anxiety, loss and bereavement or self-harm. Tanfield School also have a school nurse who runs a drop in session once a week and is available for appointments during the rest of the week.

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Outside agencies working in Tanfield School

We are proud to offer services on the school site to students and their families. Tanfield School have access to specialist advisory teachers, 15 days of Autistic Spectrum Disorder support and 12 days Educational psychologist time. We have a school councillor based on site two days a week offering students 1 to 1 sessions around issues of anxiety, loss and bereavement or self-harm. Tanfield School also have a school nurse who runs a drop-in session once a week and is available for appointments during the rest of the week.

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Parent and child involvement

Tanfield School puts working with parents/carers and students at the centre of its work. Students are regularly involved with reviewing their progress and encouraged to express their needs and concerns with relevant staff. Students with SEND are encouraged to express any concerns they may have to the SENDCo, Assistant SENDCo, Learning support Assistant, their Advisor, their Year Manager or any other member of staff with whom they feel comfortable to talk about their concerns.

Parents and carers are equally at the centre of supporting their children. They are fully involved in decisions about support for their child, including decisions to investigate a potential diagnosis, referral to external agencies, planning and evaluating support. They are encouraged to contact any member of staff at school if they have any concerns about their child. The SENDCo is always pleased to discuss any concerns involving SEND with parents and carers.

Feedback is very important from parents about the support that their child receives at Tanfield. This is done through Weduc and a copy of their child’s updated SEND support plan each term. This ensures parents are fully aware of the support and attainment of their child as well as providing an opportunity to share what they feel is going well and any concerns that they may have. This is essential to help the school adapt practices and support to make sure we get it right for the individual child.

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Equality (incl. accessibility)

‘All schools have duties under the Equality Act 2010 towards individual disabled children and young people. They must make reasonable adjustments to prevent them being put at a substantial disadvantage.’ ‘Schools also have wider duties to prevent discrimination, to promote equality of opportunity and to foster good relations’ (Quotations taken from the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years. Published August 2014 for implementation in September 2014.)

Tanfield School is an inclusive school and actively seeks to promote the inclusion of students with SEND. We use our best endeavours to ensure that all students with SEND are able to fully participate in the life of the school, both in their learning and in the wider provision and life of the school. Adaptations and provisions are made for SEND students to enable them to participate in all school trips and other out of class activities.

Students with SEND are actively encouraged, supported and given opportunities to become involved with extra-curricular activities. For example, current students with SEND have been involved with the following clubs: lunchtime clubs, homework club, various music clubs, science club, sports clubs, and live performance events. SEND students have also participated in student panels for student council, new members of staff and Year 6 transition support.

Admission arrangements

The admission arrangements for all students are in accordance with national legislation, including the Equality Act 2010. This includes students with any level of SEND; those with EHC plans and those without.

All SEND paperwork and relevant information will be gathered by the Learning Support team and Year Manager from the primary schools and any agencies working with the student as soon as possible. The SENDCo will attend Year 6 students Annual Review meetings so that the targets set are SMART and can be worked on from the outset of the students start date at Tanfield.

The school will do its best to ensure that the necessary provisions and preparations are made prior (where possible) to the start of the student’s school year. The student will be closely monitored from the start of the new school year to ensure that all the appropriate provisions are in place.

Click here to view our Accessibility Plan.

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Transition

We will share information with the school, college, or other setting the student is moving to. We will agree with parents and student’s which information will be shared as part of this.

Tanfield School understands that transition between schools and other establishments is sometimes an anxious time for parents/carers and students, especially for students with SEND.

For students coming into Year 7 at Tanfield School, the SENDCo , Assistant SENDCo and Year Manager for Y7 endeavour to visit all primary schools where there are students coming to Tanfield School. They meet with Year 6 teachers or leaders to gain as much information as possible about these students, including SEND information. For students with SEND, the SENDCo receives all relevant Year 6 information, including SEND files. The SENDCo is also responsible for overall transition and currently offers Y4, 5 and 6 students’ Open evenings, online events, transition days, and additional visits.

Parents/carers of students with SEND in primary schools whose child will be coming to Tanfield School are always welcome to contact our SENDCo who will discuss your child and their provision on the telephone or arrange a meeting for you (and your child if appropriate) to come in to discuss this.

All Year 6 students who will be attending Tanfield School, are invited in for 3 transition day’s in the summer term, when they spend the day’s in their advisory class and take part in activities to help them adjust to life at Tanfield School. We also have an online Hub which Y6 students and their families can access throughout the summer term and the summer break. Many students with SEND are invited in for extra transition sessions to introduce them to life at Tanfield School to try to allay any anxieties as much as possible.

For students with Education, Health and Care Plans, the SENDCo will attend their Year 6 EHCP review meetings to begin to understand the needs of these students and plan their transition. For students with high transition needs, the SENDCo will put in place a more personalised transition programme, in conjunction with the primary school and parents/carers. Parents/carers of students with EHCP’s of Special Educational Needs and disabilities in Year 5 who are considering a placement at Tanfield School are very welcome to contact the SENDCo at Tanfield School at any time to discuss their child’s needs or arrange a meeting or visit to the School.

Transition between Key Stages is also supported closely by the SENDCo and Learning Support Department. A review meeting can take place with parents / carers of a student with SEND to ensure the right options are chosen for their Key Stage 4 provision. If a student has an EHCP then transition is supported by the SEND Casework team during their year 8 review to ensure Key Stage 4 is well planned for and Post 16 is starting to be considered.

For students leaving Year 11, the SENDCo works with our Post 16 Provision Coordinator, Careers advisors and the One Point service to ensure that all students have thought through their next steps and have appropriate applications to post-16 providers. We also liaise with their next provider to ensure that they understand about a student’s support needs. All students with an Education, Health and Care Plan will have access to the above services from Year 10 onwards.

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Funding for SEND and Tanfield School

The Local Authority funds schools to support their SEND provision. Each individual school receives their own SEND funding from the Local Authority. Each school identifies specific interventions to use this fund and their impact is monitored and reviewed by the school. We, at Tanfield School, use our professional judgement to ensure that the funding is distributed to have the greatest impact on our SEND students. We regularly review this at school level to ensure maximum effectiveness and efficiency. We strive to ensure equity, transparency and clarity within the Academy for the monies spent on all learners and their needs.

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Anti-bullying

Tanfield School is committed to creating a safe environment in which everyone is appreciated for themselves, and in which care and consideration for others is nurtured within a community. Emphasis is placed upon the development of a school culture and expectation that bullying is unacceptable, challenged and resolved. For more information about how our school responds to bullying incidents, please refer to our Behaviour Policy in the policies section of our website.

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Staff: Key staff working with students with SEND are as follows:

SENDCo: Mrs Sarah Johnson

Responsible for implementation of the school’s SEND policy, management of the day to day support, progress and inclusion of all students with SEND, identification of students with SEND, liaison with parents, students and outside agencies, special exam access arrangements, providing support and training for all school staff on SEND needs and liaising with feeder schools.

Assistant SENDCo: Miss Caroline Dixon

Teaching Assistant: Mrs Nikki Malia, Mrs Lynsey Kerr and Mrs Laura Shotton

Year Manager - Year 7: Mr Matthew Smith

Year Manager - Year 8: Mr Graeme Davison

Year Manager - Year 9: Mrs Niqui McConnell

Year Manager - Year 10: Mr Grant Parker

Year Manager - Year 11: Mrs Marie Farrell

SEND Governors: Miss Christine McGough and Mr Clive Smith

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Support for parents/carers

Families are welcome to contact the school and share their concerns, a multi-agency approach may be required and the SEN department and pastoral team will initiate an Early Help referral or any other support networks which are appropriate.

The main port of call for parents/carers is the Local Offer site:

http://www.countydurhamfamilies.info/kb5/durham/fsd/localoffer.page

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