St Mary Magdalen's

St Mary Magdalen's Catholic Primary School

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Report

How we support children with special educational needs or disabilities

Our school vision is that we set aspirational targets for all pupils and foster an inclusive learning environment where all pupils will be given an opportunity to achieve their potential. We create a Catholic ethos where all members of staff and all pupils feel accepted, encouraged and motivated regardless of their background and abilities. We seek to offer all our pupils a creative, differentiated and varied curriculum.


Children are identified as having special educational needs through a variety of ways including the following:

  • Child performing below age expected levels
  • Concerns raised by parent
  • Concerns raised by teacher, for example behaviour or self-esteem is affecting performance
  • Consultations between class teachers and members of the leadership team where progress data is discussed.
  • Liaison with external agencies e.g. Educational Psychology Service, Autism Outreach Team, Dyslexia team, Specific Learning Difficulties team
  • Health diagnosis through a paediatrician
  • Liaison with previous school or setting, if applicable


What should a parent do if they think their child may have special educational needs?

Talk to us – in the first instance contact your child’s class teacher; if you still have concerns you can contact the SENCO, Ms Largie. We pride ourselves on building positive relationships with parents. We are open and honest with parents and hope that they are able to do the same with us.


Who will explain my child’s needs and progress to me?

The class teacher will meet parents at least on a termly basis (this could be as part of Parents' Evening) to discuss your child’s needs, support and progress.

For further information the SENCO, Ms Largie,  is available to discuss support in more detail.


How will school support my child?

  • Our SENCO oversees all support and progress of any child requiring additional help across the school.
  • The class teacher will oversee, plan and work with each child with special educational needs or disabilities in their class to ensure that progress in every area is made.
  • The class teacher will use an Individual Education Plan to set out the support your child is receiving and evaluate the success of any interventions. This will have specific targets so that it is easy to track progress.
  • Some of the teaching assistants in school specialise in a specific area. These staff may work with the class teacher to plan a specific intervention to meet a child’s needs or they may work with the child themselves.
  • We also have a Speech and Language therapist one day a week (in alternate half terms) to give advice and support, as well as working directly with some children.
  • There may be a teaching assistant working with your child either individually or as part of a group, if the class teacher sees this as necessary. These sessions will be recorded in an individual provision map, a copy of which will be given to parents.


How are the Governors involved  and what are their responsibilities?

  • One of the Governors, Pat Barber, is responsible for Special Educational Needs and meets regularly with the SENCO.
  • The Governors agree priorities for spending within the special educational needs budget with the overall aim that all children receive the support they need in order to make progress.


How do teachers match the curriculum to an individual child’s needs?

  • Class work is pitched at an appropriate level so that all children are able to access it according to their specific needs. Typically this might mean that in a lesson there would be different levels of work set for the class, however on occasions this can be individually differentiated for a specific child.
  • The benefit of this type of differentiation is that all children can access a lesson and learn at their level.


How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s Special Educational Needs?

  • We ensure that all children with Special Educational Needs are provided for to the best of the school’s ability with the funds available.
  • We have a team of teaching assistants and part of their responsibility is to deliver programmes designed to meet individual or groups of children’s needs.
  • The budget is allocated on a needs basis. The children who have the most complex needs are given the most support.


How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?

Each child’s progress is discussed with the Senior Leadership Team and together decisions are made about the best way to allocate resources.


How does the school judge whether the support has had an impact?

  • By reviewing children’s individual targets termly and ensuring they are being met. Parents will be involved in the review meeting and the setting of new targets if necessary. A copy of the targets will be given to the parent.
  • The child is making progress academically against national/age expected levels, discussed at Progress Meetings, attended by class teachers, a member of the SEN team and the Senior Leadership Team.
  • Verbal or written feedback from the teacher, parent and pupil.
  • Children may be taken off the Special Educational Needs register when they have made sufficient progress.
  • The class teacher and the SENCO will discuss the child’s needs and what support would be appropriate. Different children will require different levels of support in order to help them make progress and achieve their potential.


What opportunities will there be for me to discuss my child’s progress?

  • We believe that your child’s education should be a partnership between parents and teachers therefore we aim to communicate with you regularly.
  • You will be able to discuss your child’s progress at Parents' Evenings.
  • You are also welcome to make an appointment at any time to meet with either the class teacher or the SENCO and discuss how your child is getting on.

 How will you help me to support my child’s learning?

  • The class teacher or the SENCO can offer advice and practical ways that you can help your child at home.
  • The class teacher can provide a home / school communication book which your child will bring home daily so that comments from parents and teacher can be shared.
  • If your child is on the SEN register they will have an Individual Education Plan which will have individual targets. This will be discussed with you on a termly basis and you will be given a copy. The targets set are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time scaled) targets, with the expectation that the child will achieve the target by the time it is reviewed.
  • If your child has complex SEN or a disability they may have a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education, Health Care Plan (EHCP), which means that a formal meeting will take place annually to review your child’s progress.
  • Recommendations from external agencies e.g. a speech and language therapist, will be shared with you so that strategies can be implemented at home and school.  If a class teacher needs to discuss an issue with you, it will be done privately and strategies to support your child will be offered.
  • We also signpost parents to external support groups.


How do you measure my child’s progress?

  • As a school we measure children’s progress in learning against national age related expectations.
  • The class teacher continually assesses each child and notes areas where they are improving and where further support is needed. We track children’s progress from their admission through to Year 6, using a variety of different methods, including milestones based on age related expectations and some standardised tests, as appropriate.
  • Children who are not making expected progress are identified through the termly Progress Meetings. In this meeting a discussion takes place about those pupils experiencing difficulties and what further support can be given to aid their progress.
  • When a child’s Individual Education Plan is reviewed, comments are made against each target to show what progress has been made.
  • If the child has not met the target, the reasons for this will be discussed, then the target may be adapted into smaller steps or a different approach may be tried to ensure the child does make progress.


What is the pastoral, medical and social support available in the school to ensure my child’s overall well-being?

  • The school entrance is staffed with adults who greet and welcome pupils and their families each morning. This ensures a smooth transition between home and school each day.
  • The class teacher has overall responsibility for the pastoral, medical and social care of every child in their class, therefore this should be your first point of contact. If further support is required the class teacher liaises with the SENCO for further advice and support. This may involve working alongside outside agencies such as Educational Psychology.


We have a caring, understanding ethos and are an inclusive school; we welcome and celebrate diversity, and believe that high self-esteem is crucial to children’s well-being. As a nurturing school, all our vulnerable pupils are known to staff.


How does the school manage the administration of medicines and personal care?

  • We have a policy regarding the administration and management of medicines on the school site.
  • Parents need to contact the class teacher if medication is recommended by Health Professionals to be taken during the school day.
  • Staff have regular training regarding conditions and medication affecting individual children so that all staff can manage medical situations if the need arises.
  • If a child requires personal hygiene care this will be managed through an individual care plan.


What support is there for behaviour, avoiding exclusion and increasing attendance?

  • We have a positive approach to behaviour management with a clear Behaviour Policy that is followed by all staff and pupils. We are an inclusive school and we make every effort to include all pupils in learning sessions with their class. We also take every opportunity to include pupils socially at break and lunch times.
  • As a school, we follow the Zones of Regulation programme to help children learn to identify and regulate their emotions. 
  • Lateness and absence are recorded and reported to the Head Teacher and the Governing body.
  • After any serious behaviour incidents we will inform you about what has happened. We would then expect the child to reflect upon their behaviour with you; this helps to identify why the incident happened and what the child needs to do differently next time to change and improve their behaviour.
  • Class attendance and punctuality are celebrated in our weekly newsletter.


How will my child be able to contribute their views?

  • We value and celebrate each child’s views on all aspects of school life. This is usually carried out through the School Council and the Children’s Faith Committee.
  • If your child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education, Health Care Plan their views will be sought at the review stage, if appropriate.


What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?

The school employs a speech and language therapist for one day per week.

We also work closely with any external agencies that we feel are relevant to individual children’s needs within our school. These may include: GP, School Nurse, Educational Psychologist, Paediatrician, Autistic Spectrum Outreach team, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and Social Services and Social Workers.

Our SENCO has a Post-Graduate Certificate in Autism and also Career Guidance.


What training have the staff supporting children with special educational needs, had or are currently having?

All of our teaching assistants have regular training.

Some Teaching assistants have had training in specific interventions such as running booster groups, Lego therapy.


How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including day and residential trips?

We aim for all children to be included on school day trips and residential stays. We will provide the necessary adaptations, having consulted with you, to ensure that this is successful.


How accessible is the school environment?

The school site is fully accessible with a disabled toilet and a chair lift.

Risk assessments are carried out for any off-site activity to ensure everyone’s health and safety will not be compromised.  In the unlikely event that it is considered unsafe for a child to take part in an activity then alternative activities will be provided in school.


How will the school prepare and support my child when joining the school or transferring to a new school?

  • We encourage all new children to visit the school prior to starting with us.
  • For children with Special Educational Needs or a disability we may facilitate a phased transition to help your child to acclimatise to their new surroundings. We would also visit them in their current setting if appropriate.
  • We write social stories with children to help explain and prepare them for any major transition.
  • When children are preparing to leave us for secondary school, we arrange visits for them.
  • We liaise closely with staff when receiving and transferring children to different schools, ensuring all relevant paperwork is passed on and all needs are discussed and understood.
  • If your child has a Statement or an Education, Health Care Plan and is changing to a new school we will, whenever possible, arrange a review meeting with relevant staff from the receiving school.
  • Our SENCO will also help you when choosing schools and completing forms.


How are parents involved in school life?

  • We have a very active PTA.
  • Parents are also welcome to help out as volunteers, for example, listening to readers.
  • For children with special needs or a disability, parents are often invited to help support their child on a school trip.
  • We hold termly parent forums to share the curriculum that their children will be learning that term.  


Who can I contact for further information or to discuss a concern?

  • The first point of contact would be your child’s class teacher to share your concerns.
  • You could also arrange to meet with the SENCO.
  • Look at our Special Educational Needs policy on our website.
  • Lewisham Special Educational needs and Disability Advice and Support Service ( SENDIAS)  is an organisation that provides independent advice and support for families.


Who should I contact if I am considering whether my child should join the school?

  • Contact the school office to arrange a meeting and tour of the school.
  • If your child has a Special Educational Need or a disability you could contact the SENCO, Ms Largie, who will discuss how the school could meet your child’s needs.