INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL’S OFFER – SIMON BALLE SCHOOL – SEPT 2017
- How does the school know if the children/young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
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 Head of Year and 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 new Code of Practice for SEND and ensures that your concerns are heard.
- How will school staff support my child?
The staff at Simon Balle 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. Subject teachers should 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.
- How will I know how my child is doing?
Our parents 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. As a school, we are 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 including email, as well as telephone and visiting. Staff will regularly make themselves available to meet with parents if needed.
Student progress is constantly monitored by the school and communicated through reporting to parents/carers and meetings with the school governors.
- How will the learning and development provision be matched to my child’s needs?
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.
- What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?
The provision for pastoral care is outstanding and our parents 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 and our registered first aiders in the main office or at the Larch Centre are always available to deal with any urgent medical needs.
- What training have the staff, supporting children and young people with SEND, had or are having?
Training for staff is ongoing, both in terms of specific learning and also social and medical needs. Students too, receive training and education on such matters as disability awareness. All secondary teaching staff have recently attended in-house CPD sessions about supporting students with Attachment Disorder, Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. All support staff have had training about the SEND Code of Practice and strategies for interacting with students with SEND. The primary staff have also had training about speech and language from a speech therapist.
- What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?
The school is committed to using a range of external services including medical, social, mental health professionals as appropriate.
- How will you help me to support my child’s learning?
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 students 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.
- How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child’s education?
Right from the beginning of their educational journey at Simon Balle, 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.
- How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?
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.
- How accessible is the school environment?
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.
- Who can I contact for further information?
Our SENCO, Mrs Selby, is very happy to discuss anything you might raise. In addition, Miss Craik, our SEND Manager is always on hand to meet parents. Once at Simon Balle, in the Primary phase, please discuss your concerns with your child’s teacher in the first instance. In the Secondary phase your child’s Form Tutor or Head of Year will be the appropriate contacts. As much emphasis is put towards quality teaching and learning, it is important that you also know your child’s subject teachers as it is also important to contact them if it is a specific subject concern.
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 unfortunately, resolution is unable to occur, there is an informal complaints process through Governors and also a formal process.
- How will the school prepare and support my child to join the school, transfer to a new school or the next stage of education and life?
We manage all transition phases in consultation with providers and parents/carers. 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.
- How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
At Simon Balle, we work with you to address how resources can be used in order that best value and effective deployment is achieved. Therefore, this may vary over time. The school’s aim is to allocate resources that match needs; however our culture and ethos is to prepare students for the wider world and to learn how to develop some level of independence. Over dependence on a particular resource may be highly inappropriate; this is why it is so important that the school staff and parents/carers work very closely together.
- How is the decision made about how much support my child will receive?
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.
At Simon Balle we have very high, but realistic 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 challenge academically 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.
- Where can I find out about the local authority’s Local Offer of services and provision for children and young people with SEND?
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: