Children and Families Bill 2013
The Children and Families Bill takes forward the Coalition Government’s commitments to improve services for vulnerable children and support strong families. It underpins wider reforms to ensure that all children and young people can succeed, no matter what their background. The Bill will reform the systems for adoption, looked after children, family justice and special educational needs.
The Government is transforming the system for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN), including those who are disabled, so that services consistently support the best outcomes for them. The Bill will extend the SEN system from birth to 25, giving children, young people and their parents/carers greater control and choice in decisions and ensuring needs are properly met.
It takes forward the reform programme set out in Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability: Progress and next steps by:
- replacing statements and learning difficulty assessments with a new birth- to-25 Education, Health and Care Plan, extending rights and protections to young people in further education and training and offering families personal budgets so that they have more control over the support they need;
- improving cooperation between all the services that support children and their families and particularly requiring local authorities and health authorities to work together;
- requiring local authorities to involve children, young people and parents in reviewing and developing provision for those with special educational needs and to publish a ‘local offer’ of support.
What is the Local Offer?
The Local Offer was first introduced in the Green Paper (March 2011) as a local offer of all services available to support disabled children and children with SEN and their families. This easy to understand information will set out what is normally available in schools to help children with lower-level SEN as well as the options available to support families who need additional help to care for their child.”
What will it do?
- The Medway framework will allow the Local Offer to provide parents/carers with information about how to access services in their area, and what they can expect from those services. With regard to Education, it will let parents/ carers and young people know how school and colleges will support them, and what they can expect across the local settings. During the last year, the Local Offer Steering Group has developed questions for schools, and trialled them with a small number of settings.
- There are 14 questions, devised in consultation with parents/carers and other agencies, which reflect their concerns and interests. These will be answered by agencies, schools and colleges to provide information to parents and carers to enable them to make decisions about how to best support their child’s needs.
Responses to the Local Offer
Please be aware that in order to access provision at Will Adams, Medway Council’s Inclusion Team and the Centre’s Head Teacher decide together which permanently excluded students can be placed at Will Adams. The school does not accept direct referrals for placements. The Centre caters for KS4 students only and there is a limited number of places in Year 10 and 11.
Here are the centre’s responses to the questions:
1. How does Will Adams know if young people need extra help?
Staff at Will Adams will know if students need additional help if:
- concerns are raised by any adults working within the building or by parents/carers
- there is a lack of progress academically and socially or emotionally tracked through school procedures
- there are any changes in student’s behaviour however they may manifest
- a student identifies that they need additional help
- there is new information received from partner agencies such as Health, YOT etc.
2. What should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
As all students who attend Will Adams have already been identified as having special educational needs, if parents/carers have concerns or information relating to any existing or new needs identified then they should contact Mrs McBride (SENCO) or any member of the teaching team.
3. How will I know how Will Adams supports my child?
All staff will strive to deliver quality first teaching specifically planned to meet the needs of the students in the class and this is monitored by senior leaders as part of the school’s monitoring and observation cycle. We never assume that one size fits all and will always aim to be as flexible as possible in ensuring bespoke provision when necessary.
The Assistant Head Teacher and SENCO are involved in ensuring that the setting is appropriate to the ability and need and that relevant support staff are in place to support each student within the classroom.
Where a student has needs that require additional intervention outside of the classroom, then the student will be timetabled either individually or as part of a small focus group. This will normally be run by aTeaching Assistant or Teacher, but can also be facilitated by the Family Liaison Officer. The length of the intervention will vary according to need and type but will be for an agreed amount of time. It is the responsibility of the SENCO in co-operation with other senior managers to regularly review the interventions in order to ascertain the effectiveness of them in terms of outcomes for students, best practice and value for money as well as informing future planning. Interventions will be recorded on provision maps (a record of interventions, timings, cost and impact), a copy of which can be seen at the Academic Review Meetings.
Student progress meetings are held termly. It is held between Head Teacher, Assistant head Teacher, Data Manager and the SENCO after termly progress is recorded. This shared discussion may highlight any potential problems in order for extended support to be planned.
Occasionally a student may need more expert support from an outside agency such as CAMHS, Children’s Therapy Team etc. Referral forms are then completed by the Family Liaison Officer and/or SENCO in conjunction with parents/carers and forwarded to the most appropriate agency. After a series of assessments, a programme of support is usually provided to the school and parents/carers to follow.
4. How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
Students are grouped according to ability and allowances are made for social factors that may impact on the learning of individuals or the whole group. Work will be differentiated and presented in a number of ways suitable and appropriate so that all learning styles and needs are addressed for each individual.
Teachers are aware of the needs of the students through Individual Student Profiles (ISPs), data tracking information and systems are in place to ensure that all new information received regarding medical updates are shared with all staff through the use of the school’s information management systems (SIMS)
In order to maximise attainment in external examinations,students in Year 10 will be assessed so that the appropriate access arrangements can be put in place. This will be based on observation, previous information and attainment.
If appropriate, specialist equipment may be provided for the student to use e.g. laptops, writing slopes, visual timetables, pen/pencil grips or concentration cushions.
5. How will I know how my child is doing?
Student achievement data is collected termly in order to track progress towards statutory targets set on prior attainment at the end of Key Stage Three. This will be shared with parents/carers three times a year through interim and full reports. Student’s progress can also be discussed at Academic Reviewsduring the course of the year.
Reports will also encompass other data measures used to gauge progress such as attendance, behaviour trackers and scales of emotional well-being and engagement in learning.
Parents are welcomed to contact the school at any time to speak to Form tutors, Senior Managers, SENCO or the Family Liaison Officer. All staff are frequently available for an informal chat and to discuss any concerns that they may have.
6. How will you help me to support my child’s learning?
All staff at Will Adamswelcomes the support and involvement of parents in their children’s learning. Your input to academic reviews is always taken on board.
Subject teachers or other staff may suggest ways of supporting your son/daughter’s learning via phone call, email or at specially organised meetings.
The Head Teacher, Assistant Head Teachers and SENCO are available to discuss how best to support your son/daughter in school and at home by appointment.
If outside agencies or the Educational Psychologist have been involved, staff are on hand to offer support and advice on programmes of study and strategies that can be used at home that have been provided.
The Family Liaison Officer (FLO) is available to discuss strategies and offer support to use to meet behavioural/emotional needs in the home. The FLO is also available to support and accompany parents to medical visits and other appointments if necessary.
Once monthly Coffee Morning meetings are run by the FLO and Assistant Head Teacher to encourage and offer a relaxed forum where support can be offered and advice and ideas can be exchanged.
7. What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being?
The Will Adams prides itself on offering a wide variety of support to help our students address their emotional and social difficulties. The pastoral team which consists of Form Tutors and the FLO is led by the Assistant Head Teacher who is also the designated Child Protection Officer. The pastoral team is on hand to support both students and their parents/carers. Additional support is provided by a trainee Social Worker who is allocated to school every year.
Other support systems in place include:
- Staff trained in mediation and restorative justice to help solve relationship issues between the students
- Pastoral Team and the FLO readily available for students who wish to discuss issues and concerns about school and home
- Access to counselling through ONSIDE based at SIlverbank Park
- School Health – weekly visits from the School Nurse
- Medway Youth Trust for careers advice and guidance
- Attendance Advisory Service (AAS)
Where necessary or by request, the school can arrange a CAF to help co-ordinate services in place to support a student and their family.
Exclusion rates are decreasing at Will Adams and staff are seeking alternative sanctions for poor and unacceptable behaviour such as making up time after school or accessing off-site providers.
Students with additional medical/health needs
If a student has a medical/health need such as diabetes or epilepsy for example, then a detailed care plan should be in place written in consultation with the school nurse and parents/carers. These are shared and accessed by all staff who will come into contact with the student.
All trained first aiders receive appropriate training regarding the use of epipens and the administration of all medications.
Medication is only administered in school where a signed consent form has been completed to ensure the safety of both the student and staff member. Staff cannot force a student to take medication.
8. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?
At times it may be necessary to consult with outside agencies to receive their more specialised expertise. The agencies used by the school may include:
- Autism Outreach Team
- Child Protection Advisors
- Educational Psychologist
- CAST (Child & Adolescent Support Team)
- CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service)
- AAS (Attendance Advisory Service previously known as Educational Welfare Officers)
- Social Services
- Children’s Therapy Team (Speech & Language/Occupational Therapy)
- MAGIC (Medway Autism Group & Information Centre)
- Medway Hospital (Paediatricians)
- School Nurse
- Medway Youth Trust (previously known as Connexions)
- YOT (Youth Offending Team)]
An Educational Psychologist is allocated to Will Adams. She would normally only work directly with students whose needs are felt to be considerable and have not responded well to the interventions previously put in place for them.
This involvement is generally planned at the ISR (In School Review).These are meetings held three times a year between school staff and where appropriate, other professionals. The aim of an ISR is to gain an understanding of and try to resolve a student’s difficulties which impact on their learning.
In order to help understand the student’s educational needs better, the psychologist will generally meet with the parent/carer and give feedback after the assessment has been completed.
He/she will offer advice to the school and parent/carers on how to best support the student in order to take their learning forward. He/she may also offer a series of sessions with the focus on a specific programme like CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy).
9. What training are the staff supporting the young people had or are having?
All staff regularly receive training on all matters related to SEND and in particular those relating to behaviour, emotional and social difficulties (BESD). These have included sessions on:
- De-escalation techniques
- Team-teach incorporating positive handling
- Child Protection Awareness
- Fire Safety training
- Use of Data and Assessment
- Marking styles
- Differentiation and Planning to meet a wide range of needs in the classroom
Through the school’s vigorous monitoring systems, where a weakness has been identified in terms of performance, staff is supported so that they can reach levels where they are constantly providing a good or better quality of teaching.
There is a number of staff who hold first aid qualifications and certificates in Team Teach.
10. How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?
We actively seek to ensure that all students are included in all activities outside the classroom including trips in and around the local community and beyond. Trips are seen as a valuable element of the curriculum that can enhance social skills and subject knowledge.
All activities are individually risk assessed and procedures are put in place to enable all students to participate and to maximise their engagement.
11. How accessible is the school environment?
As a school, we are happy to discuss individual requirements. The school is accessible in most areas and this will be developed further in the new build; we will be actively ensuring that the building is fully accessible to all.At the moment the building comprises of the ground floor only.
Current facilities include:
- Disabled toilet
- Limited visitors parking at the front of the school
Teachers are accustomed to utilising technology to enhance the visual and auditory environment in order to accommodate learning styles, needs and experience.
12. How will the school prepare and support my child when joining Will Adams or transferring to a new provision?
Staff at Will Adams understands that transition and changing schools can be a tricky time. We aim to ensure that it will be as smooth as possible by implementing a package designed to meet the needs of the individual student. There are many strategies that may be put in place in order to achieve this such as:
- Meetings between the previous/receiving provision prior to the student joining/leaving to exchange key information
- A series of planned visits to the student in their old provision where possible
- Extra visits to Will Adams for both parents/carers and the students
- Additional visits with established links to Mid Kent College
- Involvement of other agencies such as Medway Youth Trust on transition to Post 16 provision
- FLO/SENCO to attend CAF and/or CP meetings where and if appropriate
We are always guided by the views of parents/carers and the previous provision to ensure that the transition period is a positive experience for them as well as the young person.
13. How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
The SEN budget is allocated each financial year by applying the terms and conditions of Medway’s banding system for SEND. The money is used to provide additional support or resources dependent on an individual student’s needs.
Additional funding known as the Pupil Premium is used to enhance learning opportunities for those who qualify namely those who are in care or are or have been in receipt of free school meals over the last six years. The Head Teacher and the SENCO manage this budget and ensure thatthe pupil premium spent is matched and plotted to each individual student.
14. How is the decision made about how much support my child will receive?
When students join the Centre, initial support will be put in place based on the information provided by the feeder school and the pre-admission interview. Once staff are more familiar and aware of the individual student’s needs, specific provision will be made to meet those needs including any additional provision that may need to be provided outside of the classroom.
Additionally during their school life and as students grow and change, if further concerns are identified due to a lack of progress or well-being, new information and/or diagnosis given, then other interventions will be put in place.
As a school, we also seek and follow guidance from other professionals who are working with the student and their family and take on board their wishes and feelings. This may be done through the formal support of a CAF or through multi agency professionals meetings. This will allow for consultation when planning interventions and also as a tool to inform about impact and outcomes and next steps in planning to improve situations for the young person.
15. How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child’s education?
Will Adams welcomes the support and involvement of all its parents/carers and aim to develop close and mutually supportive relationships with parents/carers from the point of entry into the Centre. This may be through:
- Pre-admission meetings for all new starters
- Attendance at Academic Reviews
- Discussions either face to face or over the phone with Form tutors or other key members of staff
- Requested meetings to discuss progress in addition to Academic Reviews such as making decisions about further education
- Meetings with other professionals including feedback about assessments
- CAFs, PEPs and LAC reviews
16. Who can I contact for further information?
If you wish to discuss your son/daughter’s educational needs or are unhappy about something regarding their schooling, please feel free to contact one of the following:
- Mrs Bennett – Head Teacher (email@example.com)
- Miss Prior – Assistant Head Teacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Ms Wade – Assistant Head Teacher (email@example.com)
- Mrs McBride – SENCO (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Mrs Salkind – Family Liaison Officer (email@example.com)
- Your son’s/daughter’s Form Tutor
Will Adams strives to be as accessible as possible for all so that we can work in partnership to get the best for each and every individual student in our school.
I hope these have answered any queries that you may have but do not hesitate to contact me at the school if you have any further questions
Mrs B. McBride
NB: This is a working document subject to change. We aim to ensure that all decisions are reached collaboratively and we undertake to always listen to, and consider the views of parents/carer.