SEND Information Report
Vision and Values
Merstham Park School supports each child to thrive personally, socially and academically. We give our students opportunities to develop enquiring minds, a lifelong love of learning and to become well-rounded members of the community. At Merstham Park School we strongly believe in celebrating every success and preparing our children for the future.
We trust this information report, together with our SEND policy, provides you with a flavour of our inclusive approach at Merstham Park School.
Who to contact
Where students or parents have concerns, in the first instance they should contact the Learning Mentor. The Learning Mentor will then inform the Assistant Headteacher / SENCo, Mr. Briggs.
Surrey’s Local Offer is available here: https://www.surreylocaloffer.org.uk/kb5/surrey/localoffer/home.page
The kinds of SEN that are provided for:
The SEND Code of Practice specifies four areas of SEND and the school uses the same terminology. They are:
Communication and interaction
Cognition and learning
Social, emotional and mental health difficulties
Sensory and / or physical needs
Often students may have needs that include more than one area of SEN. Our task will be to consider the individual needs of the child and ensure that the best possible outcomes for that student are achieved through the best possible support. The SENCo is also available for contact, by appointment, by parents who are concerned about their child’s progress or who may believe their child may meet the SEND criteria.
Arrangements for consulting parents of children with SEN and involving them in their child’s education
At Merstham Park School, believe in developing strong home-school links and parents are welcome to make an appointment to speak to the SENCo, should they have concerns about the overall progress of their child.
Where SEND needs have been identified, support is recorded within the SEND Support Plan, and parents receive a copy. Parents of students with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) are invited to attend an Annual Review.
The school also has a regular reporting cycle where parents are informed of progress. All students are set targets or next steps. We believe in partnering with parents to support a child’s learning and encourage parental support through:
Student achievement and progress shared at parents’ evenings
Homework, student planners.
Student Support Plans (SSPs) shared with parents.
Learning Mentors contactable through phone calls and emails (after school)
Arrangements for consulting young people with SEN and involving them in their education
All students on the SEND Register are consulted with and attend a termly meeting with a Learning Support Assistant to discuss and suggest possible changes to their Student Support Plan. These plans are then shared with parents / carers.
Arrangements for assessing and reviewing children and young people’s progress towards outcomes.
Students with SEND (new to the school) are initially identified by the SENCo during the Primary Transfer process. These students are monitored and data is collected on them to inform a judgment by the SENCo about their SEND level. This data includes Key Stage 2 SAT data, assessment data from the first of the school’s termly examination periods and feedback from teachers and staff. The SENCo may also call on other professionals, such as Educational Psychologists or Occupational Therapists, to assist them in determining a student’s needs. A similar process will be employed for students in Years 8 – 11, with the data from periodic assessment being used by the SENCo to judge SEND level as the school grows.
Due to the global pandemic of 2020, and therefore the lack of SAT data from primary schools, Merstham Park School will be using a variety of tests during the autumn term to identify students’ abilities and needs.
Arrangements for supporting children and young people in moving between phases of education and in preparing for adulthood.
As students move from Key Stage 2 (primary) to Key Stage 3 (secondary), we work with our feeder schools to ensure that we are aware of students’ needs and where possible visit all primary schools and meet with the students who will be coming to us. In the case of students with EHCPs, the SENCo will join the Transition Review meeting and meet with the student. Incoming Year 6 students with EHCPs are invited to visit the school with their parents or a primary school professional to meet the SEND Team and see the school facilities.
As young people prepare for adulthood, we support them to make reasoned choices about their future, whether that be in higher education or employment. Our curriculum embeds Careers information and Guidance, and we engage with local colleges to prepare our students for the next steps in their education.
At the annual review of Year 11 students with an EHCP, a Transition Plan will be agreed.
If the SENCo believes the placement of a student with an EHCP is breaking down, they will refer first to the SEND Team at the relevant Local Authority for advice. An Educational Psychologist’s report may then be sought and the SENCo will submit a report to the Local Authority. This may result in a recommendation for the student to transfer to another school. Transfer arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis.
The approach to teaching children and young people with SEN
At Merstham Park School we recognise that the quality of teaching within the classroom is the greatest influence over student’s progress and we therefore invest in training to ensure our classrooms are an inclusive place to be.
We adopt a graduated approach to meeting the needs of all students through quality teaching and our staff make reasonable adjustments to help include all students, not just those with SEND. For example, visual signs, symbols and timetables are provided throughout the school and all staff are encouraged to use communication friendly strategies.
How adaptations are made to the curriculum and the learning environment of children and young people with SEN
At Merstham Park School we provide a differentiated curriculum and make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the needs of all learners. Staff differentiate the student’s work and resources so as to support access to the curriculum.
In addition, we liaise with external agencies such as speech therapists to deliver individual programmes of support in school, as recommended by the multi-professionals with whom we work.
Lesson observations by senior staff ensure the school continues to develop its inclusive ethos and training needs are identified from these observations.
The expertise and training of staff to support children and young people with SEN
Our staff receive regular training and all of our teachers hold Qualified Teaching Status.
The Assistant Headteacher / SENCo has an MA in Education and the National Award for SEND Coordination.
We aim to ensure that all staff working with learners who have SEND possess a working knowledge of the difficulty to help them in supporting access to the curriculum.
Where it is deemed that external support is necessary, we discuss any referrals with parents in the first instance and gain full consent before proceeding with a referral. We have a good working relationship with many specialists from outside agencies and encourage their involvement with our more needy students. Currently we have regular contact with teams from:
Educational Psychology and Specialist Teacher Support (Learning and Language Support)
Speech and Language Therapy
Physical and Sensory Support
Family Support Worker
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
Evaluating the effectiveness of the provision made for children and young people with SEN
We ensure that resources and interventions to support the students’ learning are available within an allocated budget and are detailed on a student’s SEND Support Plan. We review the needs of the learners within the school and endeavour to put in place provisions in order to be able to cater for these needs. The SENCo carries out learning walks which include reviewing how provision is delivered. Our budget is allocated according to our provision management and is therefore carefully aligned to individual needs and our School Development Plan.
Some of the funding the school receives may go towards funding training so that in-house provision is more targeted at students’ needs.
Decisions are made as to whether specific interventions are proving to be effective both in terms of the time spent on them and the finance used in providing the intervention.
Each year we review the needs of the whole cohort to see if there are any changes. Decisions are then made as to whether any additional interventions need to be put in place.
How children and young people with SEN are enabled to engage in activities available with children and young people in the school who do not have SEN
Merstham Park School is an inclusive school and we make every endeavour, where possible, to include all students in all activities. Students are encouraged to take part in school trips and activities and all reasonable adjustments and adult support will be provided to ensure that students can participate in school trips along with their peers. Risk assessments are carried out for all trips prior to the visit.
Support for improving emotional and social development
All students are regularly consulted on their education and the school has a robust student voice system including a Student Council to ensure that everyone has a voice. In addition, students study PSHE throughout their education and this includes lessons on emotional welfare and safety. The cross-curricular approach to teaching Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) means that all students are prepared for adult life. Our pastoral support includes a team of staff trained in Emotional Literacy and Thrive.
Arrangements for handling complaints from parents of children with SEN about the provision made at the school
In the first instance if a parent has a concern, they are encouraged to speak to the Learning Mentor. If the matter cannot be resolved at this stage then the SENCo may become involved and a meeting convened to discuss the nature of the complaint and look for a resolution to the issue.
A copy of the school's complaints procedure can be found on the school’s website. The complaints procedure will outline the formal steps the school will take in handling each complaint.
Where a resolution between the parent and school cannot be reached then parents will be advised to the GLF Complaints Policy procedure.
Further information on the Local Authority’s Local Offer can be found at: https://www.surreylocaloffer.org.uk/kb5/surrey/localoffer/home.page
SEND Information Report COVID 19 addendum
In March, when the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic was increasing, the Government asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, with the exception of children identified as vulnerable and children whose parents were critical to the COVID-19 response. ‘Vulnerable children’ included those supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs (including those on child in need and child protection plans), ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans. No parent was penalised or sanctioned for their child’s non-attendance at school during that time.
From June, primary schools were encouraged to welcome some children back, focusing on specific year groups being educated in small bubbles. School remained open to vulnerable children and children whose parents were critical to the COVID-19 response during this time. During this period, attendance at school was not compulsory and no parent was penalised or sanctioned if they chose to keep their child at home (off school) during that time.
From September 2020, the Government expectations changed. All children are now expected to be in school.
This addendum of the Merstham Park School SEND Information Report contains details of our individual arrangements and changes to our usual mode of working due to opening with COVID-19 Risk Assessment measures in place:
Vulnerable children including those previously shielding
Safeguarding, attendance and monitoring of wellbeing
Arrangements for consulting parents of, and young people with, SEND
Arrangements for assessing and reviewing children’s progress
Arrangements for supporting children in moving between phases of education
Transition periods within school
The approach to teaching children with SEND
Support for emotional and social development
Working alongside other professionals
Please note: This annex should be read in tandem with the Merstham Park School Safeguarding Policy.
This is an Annex to the SEND Information Report, setting out the arrangements in place to support our children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities whilst the school operates within its COVID-19 Risk Assessment.
24th September 2020
Summary of changes
New addendum published for COVID-19 crisis
From September 2020, the Government expects the majority of pupils to return to school. This includes all children previously identified as ‘vulnerable’ and those who were clinically vulnerable and shielding.
Shielding advice for clinically vulnerable children and adults was paused nationally on 1st August 2020. This means that even the small number of pupils who remain on the shielded patient list are expected to return to school, as are those who have family members who were shielding.
Children with an EHC plan are also expected to attend school and our focus is on working with the Local Authority, Health and Social Care partners to restore full provision for all children with an EHC plan within the safety measures outlined in the school’s ‘Risk assessment of re-opening with COVID-19 Measures.’
The school continues to work with the Local Authority to contribute to EHC needs assessments and annual reviews of EHC plans and is aware that temporary changes to the law on the timescales for EHC needs assessments and plans expire on 25 September 2020.
Safeguarding, attendance and remote learning
Merstham Park School continues in its commitment to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of its children whilst opening with COVID-19 measures.
Merstham Park School continues to ensure a safe space for all children to attend and flourish. The Headteacher works alongside the SENCo to ensure that appropriate staff, facilities and provision are available to secure a safe, appropriate and positive school experience for all children.
Merstham Park School will refer to the Government guidance for education and childcare settings on how to implement social distancing and continue to follow the advice from Public Health England on handwashing and other measures to limit the risk of spread of COVID19.
From September 2020, the Government expectations changed. All children are now expected to be in school. The usual rules on school attendance apply including:
parents’ duty to secure that their child attends regularly at school, where the child is a registered pupil and when the child is of compulsory school age
schools’ responsibility to record attendance and follow up absence
the availability to issue sanctions including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct.
Where a child is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical or public health advice, the school will immediately provide them access to remote education.
Where children are not able to attend school as parents and carers are following clinical or public health advice, for example, self-isolation or family isolation, absence will not be penalised.
The school will not provide remote education for children whose absence is unauthorised, for example if a child’s parents decides their child will not return to school due to concerns about COVID-19 but the child or family are not clinically shielding and have not received clinical or public health advice to keep their child at home.
Merstham Park School is aware that some pupils, parents and households may be reluctant or anxious about returning to school. This may include pupils who have themselves been shielding, those living in households where someone is clinically vulnerable or those concerned about the comparatively increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethinic (BAME) backgrounds or who have certain conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
If parents of pupils with significant risk factors are concerned, they are encouraged to discuss their concerns at the earliest opportunity with the school. Merstham Park School will provide concerned parents with details of the measures being put in place to reduce the risk in school. Where necessary, a personalised approach has been agreed between school and parents to support a child’s gradual reintegration into school i.e. a Temporary Reduced Timetable. These are shared with the Local Authority as required.
As part of its plans for ‘Re-opening with COVID-19 Measures’ Merstham Park School completed Oxfordshire’s ‘Transition Toolkit’ for all vulnerable pupils. Using this toolkit, Action Plans were developed in collaboration with parents to support children identified as being at high risk of finding the return to school difficult.
Behaviour Risk Assessments were reviewed to take into account the proactive and reactive support strategies possible within school whilst working within the restrictions and limitations of the ‘Re-opening with COVID-19 Measures’ risk assessment. Parents continue to be able to contact the Home School Link Worker and members of the Inclusion Team by email or telephone as required.
The Inclusion Team published a ‘Parent Guide to Supporting your child’s return to school’ which included hints and tips for support in addition to signposting parents to support available from outside agencies.
Pupil Wellbeing and Support
Pupils may be experiencing a variety of emotions in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, such as anxiety, stress or low mood. It is important to contextualise these feelings as normal responses to an abnormal situation.
Merstham Park School, as part of GLF Schools, has implemented a Re-engagement Curriculum. This includes a focus on the following principles:
We recognise that some children may need support to re-adjust to school, others may have enjoyed being at home and be reluctant to return, a few may be showing signs of more severe anxiety or depression. Others will not be experiencing any challenges and will be keen and ready to return to school.
In preparation for school re-opening following the COVID-19 closures, all staff at Merstham Park School participated in staff training and CPD to further develop their understanding of effective support for children who may find returning to school difficult. This included the development of ‘scripts’, therapeutic stories, links to short-films and ideas for class activities that may help pupils to reconnect with each other and with school.
We know that children need to feel safe and happy at school in order to make progress in their lessons and to fulfil their potential. However Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and other traumatic events interrupt emotional development and can lead to lifelong mental and physical health issues without the appropriate support.
At Merstham Park School we use the Thrive Approach to support all children with “right time” emotional development and to offer a targeted, reparative response to those who have experienced ACEs. The approach enables children to learn how to think about their emotions, choices and friendships so that they are able to develop into confident, skilful young people who enjoy learning and respect each other. Thrive Action Plans for children will be delivered by adults working within a child’s ‘bubble’. Thrive Practitioners are available to provide support and guidance to teachers and Learning Assistants delivering the support specified on an Action Plan.
As always, the school will draw on external support where necessary and possible, for example referring to CAMHS or working with parents to complete an ‘Early Help Assessment’ where necessary.
Merstham Park School will signpost parents to other professionals who may be able to support them and their children at this time. The school will also share parent and child-friendly leaflets with links to mental health and wellbeing support strategies and agencies.
5. Arrangements for children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND)
Working in partnership with children with SEND and their parents continues to be central to Merstham Park School’s policies and practice.
Merstham Park School has ensured that appropriate support is made available for pupils with SEND, through a strong ‘universal offer’ of a coherently planned and sequences curriculum and a strong, consistent pedagogical approach (see Education Policy, Teaching and Learning Policy and Curriculum Policy).
Children are being taught in year group ‘bubbles’ of up to 30 pupils. Children must stay in their ‘bubble’ at all times. The class ‘bubble’ has a designated classroom and outdoor space. Time in communal areas such as corridors, sports halls and dining halls is minimised. SEN interventions and support can only take place in spaces designated specifically for the class ‘bubble’ of which the child/ren are part. In other words, interventions that would usually involve children from several classes can not be run whilst the school is operating with COVID-19 opening measures in place.
Adults supporting children may only work directly with pupils in one bubble per day. This is to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. This means that Learning Assistants, Thrive Practitioners and the SENCO cannot run interventions in several different classes during the same day.
Deployment of adults within the school to facilitate school opening with COVID-19 measures has involved careful consideration and planning to support children with SEND i.e. the school is satisfied that adults supporting individual children with SEND have the appropriate skills, expertise and experience to carry out their role. Where a child has an EHC plan, they continue to receive the statutory hours of support specified in their EHC plan.
Where a child’s individual behaviour risk assessment has identified the importance of regular movement breaks of a ‘change of face’ of staff these can only be provided within the safety measures set out in the school’s ‘Re-opening with COVID-19 Measures’ risk assessment.
In a small number of cases, the school’s ‘Re-opening with COVID-19 Measures’ risk assessment will mean that it is temporarily impossible to deliver an intervention specified in Section F of a child’s EHC plan, for example a provision that requires access to the Sports Hall such as Sensory Circuits; collaborative sensory play involving sand, water or playdough; a ‘buddy’ programme involving peers from others ‘bubbles’ or year groups. Where this is the case, the SENCO and Class Teacher will discuss this with parents, take advice from external professionals and consult with the Local Authority SEN Officer. In most cases, it should be possible to find alternative ways to enable a child to achieve the same outcome – even if the provision supporting them to achieve the outcome looks a little different.
The school website contains the contact details for the SENCO, so that, should parents of children with SEND need to contact a member of school staff for additional support or guidance, they can do so.
Where statutory processes relating to SEND are in action, the school will continue to maintain communication with parents of, and children with, SEND so that their views are actively sought, considered and promoted.
6. Arrangements for assessing and reviewing progress of children with SEND
Where children’s EHC plans are due for review, the school will discuss arrangements with parents, children, the Local Authority and professionals involved in the plan to decide whether arrangements for a ‘remote review’ should be made. The SENCo will make the necessary arrangements following this decision.
7. Arrangements for supporting children in moving between phases of education
For children due to move between phases of education at the start of this academic year, Merstham Park School will continue to make contact with the new settings to share necessary information to make children’s transitions as smooth as possible. Where it has not already been possible to do so, the SENCo will make contact with SENCos in the new settings to share information on SEND needs.
Merstham Park School recognises that transition may be a particular concern for parents of children of SEND, and communication remains open for parents to contact key school staff to discuss this.
Merstham Park School’s approach to supporting children with transition will continue to be reviewed in line with all available DfE and government guidance.
8. Transitions within school
For children transferring between classes the SENCo will continue to inform the new class teacher of the pupil's needs using electronic folders and meetings where appropriate. Additional transition work will be used where necessary to relieve any worries and doubt. New class social stories can be sent home to support with the changes where possible.
Any consultations that the school receives during this time will be responded to within the designated timescales unless illness prevents this.
9. Working alongside other professionals
Merstham Park School will continue to maintain contact with other professionals during this period of opening with COVID-19 measures. This will particularly include liaison with the Therapists and the Educational Psychology Service within the Local Authority. This service will be sharing resources which may be of use to parents and professionals during this time, and we will be adding links to these to our school website.
The SENCo holds contact details for external professionals already working with children with SEND including health and social care staff and will maintain both planned contacts and referrals of arising need. Contact details for the SENCo and key school staff are available via the school website should professionals need to make contact.
Merstham Park School will signpost parents to appropriate external professionals as needed and will continue to fulfil authorised requests for information for assessment or review purposes.
This addendum to the information report will be reviewed in light of new government guidance as and when it is published.