Simon Balle All through School is proud to be an inclusive school. We want the very best educational experiences, academic and social, for all of our young people. We set the very highest expectations for all of our students albeit from their entry into reception to when they leave in the sixth form. Our school vision of “creating tomorrow’s citizens today” is just as relevant for those with SEND as all other students.

As a comprehensive school, we welcome students of all abilities and recognise that some of our young people will present a variety of learning, physical and social needs. What we do know, as research clearly demonstrates, is that the school’s ethos and values are key for all children to thrive and in particular those who present as SEND. High quality teaching and learning are equally important, using those staff who have built expertise in and knowledge of effective strategies which address these students’ needs. As a school which celebrates the individual for who they are and what they bring to the community, we endeavour to personalise our approach.

All teachers are teachers of SEND. Many of our TAs are attached to departments and their knowledge of the curriculum is important when working alongside classes. Others work mainly with identified individuals or groups of young people.  It is our ambition that all TAs will take on one of the four specialist areas of knowledge of need (communication and interaction; cognition and learning; social, emotional and mental health; physical and or sensory needs) so that they can keep up to date and share this knowledge with others.

We aim to:

  • Provide a relevant and ambitious curriculum
  • Ensure that all students will receive and retain the knowledge and skills to be active informed citizens, able to make good decisions and play a full role in society
  • Equip our young people and children to be  hopeful people and set themselves high aspirations
  • Treat everyone with respect and dignity, so that this then is shown to others, allowing us all to thrive within our community.

Our Inclusion (SEND) policy can be found on the policies page of our website.

SEND Strategic Team led by Michael Moss (Deputy Headteacher)

SEND Information Report

As part of our transition process, the school liaises closely with parents/carers, the student and their primary school or pre-school to ensure that we understand both the social and academic needs of the student.  We spend considerable time discussing the best and most effective strategies we can use to ensure the students make good progress.  If you think that your child may have learning needs or additional needs, you can talk to the class teacher, Head of Year/ senior Staff or SENCO, to see how we can investigate this further so that needs are met. We will follow a graduated response (Assess, Plan, Do, Review) when assessing needs.  This is in-line with the Code of Practice for SEND and ensures that your concerns are heard, and that the child’s needs are assessed to agree next steps. 

The staff at Simon Balle All through School work very closely with students and their families to ensure that we support their needs together.  Staff will ensure that needs and strategies are reviewed, that the student feels happy and safe. In the Primary phase, the class teacher and support staff will address any concerns parents may have while in the Secondary phase the Head of Year and Form Tutor will be involved. The Head of Year and Form Tutor play a key role in pastoral care and can address both social and academic concerns. All teaching staff and any support staff who are involved with the student will not only receive regular updates and training but also work together to ensure that the strategies being used are making the desired difference.  It is the responsibility of all teachers to address each student’s need and we are aspirational for all learners.  Therefore, teachers will regularly assess the progress of all students and seek to identify those making less than expected progress. Staff may choose to modify or adapt methods to meet individual needs before intervention is put in place.

As a school we place great emphasis upon effective, regular training, learning from educational research and best practice. We know that the most important factor for all children, but in particular for those with SEND, is high quality teaching and learning. 

Parents at Simon Balle All through School  receive regular feedback from staff.  Using our “on line” assessment and homework systems, parents are able to see how well their child is doing.  If appropriate, meetings between parents/carers and the SEND team will be arranged. Parents can contact the SEND team about any issues throughout the school year. Each year group has at least one parents’ evening and an annual report, whilst within the primary phase there are far more opportunities for contact.  It is often easier as the child has contact with one teacher for most of the week. 

Simon Balle All through School is well known for the excellent level of pastoral and academic care, alongside outstanding communication with parents/carers.  Any interventions that are provided for students involve parental consultation. These are closely monitored and outcomes are shared. Parents are encouraged to use all means of communication virtual and when able, face to face. Staff will regularly make themselves available to meet with parents if needed.

There are various levels of accountability for student progress, through line management and governance. 

We track and monitor progress to ensure that strategies are timely, relevant and have impact. Intervention may be varied; it may be used in the short term to address specific targets, or longer term as part of an overall plan. We focus on effective teaching and learning and teaching staff implement differentiated resources for all students to access within a class setting. We believe the best place for students to progress is in a classroom, with their peers, led by a subject specialist. However from time to time intervention or catch up is appropriate and the “ Assess, Plan, Do, review” model is important in identifying what needs to be in place. Our interventions are directed by educational research and often those recommended by Nasen.

The provision for pastoral care is outstanding and parents at Simon Balle All through School regularly praise us for how we deal with each individual child in a holistic way.  The school will discuss with you any specific concerns and an agreed approach will be taken.  We will explain to you the key staff who will be concerned about your child’s wellbeing and if things are not right, who may contact you. Our Director of Care and Wellbeing works with parents and professionals to support families. A number of staff are trained as both physical and mental health first aiders, and our Student support Worker offers one to one appointments.  

Professional development and training is key to our success at Simon Balle All through School, and as such is a key driver for our continuous improvement. Leaders keep up to date with both educational research alongside pedagogic approaches. In addition, professionals attend seminars and training which specifically addresses identified SEND needs. From time to time staff embark upon professional qualifications in this area. Where there is a gap, or more specialised help is needed, we refer to professionals and work alongside them. They advise and provide further strategies.

The school is committed to using a range of external services including medical, social, mental health professionals as appropriate.

We believe that students will only be making progress and be successful if we work in close partnership with parents and carers.  It is our aim to develop some level of independence so that all of our students, from Reception to Y13, can take appropriate responsibility for themselves.  We hold a number of events and meetings for all parents/carers so that they can support and understand their children’s learning and sometimes this is specifically aimed at those parents who have children with SEND. Parents/carers will be informed regularly about SEND provision for their child.

Our local SEND hub (DSPL3) frequently organises courses for parents whereby the focus is on  a specific issue, for example, autism or speech and language. 

Right from the beginning of their child’s educational journey at Simon Balle All through School, all parents/carers of SEND students will be expected to work closely with us.  We will talk with you and organise an appropriate transition programme. Your views will always be listened to as we continue to work cooperatively with all parents/carers in making key decisions for your child.

During Key Stage 3, parents will be involved in a number of ways, both in terms of educational progress but also in terms of future planning.  Each parent/carer will meet with a senior member of staff to discuss options and curriculum provision at transition points.  We use “Connexions” to help us with this work, particularly as your child moves through KS4. If your child has an EHCP the annual review is a key meeting to review needs. 

Simon Balle is an inclusive school and we ensure that all children can access trips and other extra-curricular activities such as our extensive selection of lunchtime and after-school clubs. Some children or young people who have SEND needs may require a “risk assessment” to be made if they are able to attend events off site or residential activities. This would be shared with parents. 

The school tries to ensure that the campus is accessible to all students.  We have a lift to access upper storey classrooms and there are disabled toilet facilities. Key markings feature visibly around the school for visually impaired students and relevant policies are on our website.

For this academic year, 2020-2021, we are in a period of transition. As Simon Balle All through School is growing, there is a need to reorganise structures and staffing, and with the sudden departure of our established SENCO, we are creating an SEND team, which in the longer term, will be led by a new SENCO.  Our SEND Manager Ms Craik is highly experienced and will be working with senior leaders to ensure that there is excellent provision. Equally, she is very happy to discuss any further needs you may have with you. If your child is in the primary phase, in the first instance discuss with the class teacher or Mrs Kirk (Vice Principal) or Mrs Hall (Primary SEND lead), who will signpost you to the appropriate person. If a secondary student, please talk with Miss Craik or the Head of Year.  All children, including those with SEND thrive when teaching and learning is of the highest quality, so please contact your child’s teacher(s) regarding their academic learning.  

 If you are not happy with our provision, please contact us at school to sort this out as soon as possible.  We usually find that problems and concerns are best discussed face to face.  If resolution is not possible, the last resort is the Complaints Policy. We would hope that communication of any issue would be held straight away so that solutions could be found immediately. 

We manage all transition phases in consultation with providers and parents/carers. We organise a personalised programme for each SEND child or young person so that you are familiar with the new setting, prior to the official transition. This will include a tour of the school, meeting new key staff and a meeting with parents to discuss needs. The child is usually visited in their prior setting and there is close communication between professionals.  Those with SEND moving on from Simon Balle post 14, will be supported by our implementation of 14- 19 Preparing for Adulthood Young Person’s Transition Plan led by the ‘Connexions’ service.

At each stage of the child’s educational journey we review with parents the needs of the young person. Many parents choose Simon Balle All through School because of its ethos- high quality teaching and learning, coupled with a deep sense of caring and dignity for all. Whilst we do from time to time withdraw children and young people from the classroom and we do employ a number of specialised teaching assistants and mentors, most children thrive in the classroom, having access to adults but not being over-directed in their learning. We have high but realistic expectations and aspirations for all of our students and we expect a level of independence from all. We value our teaching assistants, buy specialised resources, allocate time to certain students for personalised programmes and train staff to meet needs. 

From September 2020, EHCPs will be moderated and banded centrally in Hertfordshire to determine a level of funding. We will work with parents if additional resource is given to look at the best way to allocate said resource. 

The decision on how much support is a very serious and important one.  This will be discussed with parents/carers.  We will use our professional judgements, external advice and also the child’s views, alongside those of parents/carers to put together a plan. However we always take a flexible and realistic approach for often high support is initially needed but following a review it may need to be changed. 

At Simon Balle we have very high expectations for all students.  We believe that all students, regardless of their SEND needs should make good educational progress.  We do not believe in a “fixed mind-set” of “I can’t do this!”  We will academically challenge all students and ensure that they develop those skills of resilience, independence and a “can do” attitude, which will equip them well for the wider world.

Local authorities must publish a Local Offer, setting out in one place information about provision they expect to be available across education, health and social care for children and young people in their area who have SEN or are disabled, including those who do not have Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.  The Hertfordshire Local Offer can be accessed on the following link:

https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/microsites/local-offer/the-hertfordshire-local-offer.aspx