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Special Needs (SEND)

Special Needs Information Report September 2017

Consortium statement 

“As part of Tiptree and Stanway Consortium of 23 schools we have a similar approach to meeting the needs of pupils with SEND and are supported by the local authority to ensure that all pupils regardless of their specific needs make the best possible progress in school. We make a school offer based on our collective resources, as well as the individual ethos specific to our individual schools” 

Mersea Island School is committed to providing an appropriate and high quality education to all the children living in our local area.  We believe that all children, including those identified as having special educational needs have a common entitlement to a broad and balanced academic and social curriculum, which is accessible to them, and to be fully included in all aspects of school life.

We believe that all children should be equally valued in school.  We will strive to eliminate prejudice and discrimination and to develop an environment where all children can flourish and feel safe.

Mersea Island School is committed to inclusion.  Part of the school’s strategic planning for improvement is to develop cultures, policies and practices that include all learners.  We aim to engender a sense of community and belonging, and to offer new opportunities to learners who may have experienced previous difficulties.

This does not mean that we will treat all learners in the same way, but that we will respond to learners in ways which take account of their varied life experiences and needs.

We believe that educational inclusion is about equal opportunities for all learners, whatever their age, gender, ethnicity, impairment, attainment and background.  We pay particular attention to the provision for and the achievement of different groups of learners:

·         girls and boys, men and women

·         minority ethnic and faith groups, travelers, asylum seekers and refugees

·         learners who need support to learn English as an additional language (EAL)

·         learners with special educational needs

·         learners who are disabled

·         those who are gifted and talented

·         those who are looked after by the local authority

·         others such as those who are sick; those who are young carers; those who are in families under stress;

·         any learners who are at risk of disaffection and exclusion

More information about the school offer from Mersea Island School.

  1. How does Mersea Island School know if children need extra help?

We know when pupils need help if:

  • concerns are raised by parents/carers, teachers or the child
  • limited progress is being made in accordance with age related expectations
  • there is a change in the pupil’s behaviour or progress
  • concerns are raised by external agencies e.g. GP or school nurse
  • information is provided from the previous setting e.g. pre-school

2. Who are the best people to talk to if I think my child may have special educational needs?

  • The class teacher is the initial point of contact for responding to parental concerns.
  • Where appropriate the concern will then be shared with the SENCO and further discussions may then take place between all the relevant parties to determine the best way forward for your child.

3.      What is the process for identifying my child’s needs?

The method of identification and provision follows a graduated approach;

  • Each pupil’s education will be planned for by the class teacher as part of quality first teaching. It will be differentiated accordingly to suit the pupil’s individual needs. This may include additional general support by the teacher or learning support assistants in class.
  • If a pupil’s needs relate to more specific areas of their education such as spelling, handwriting, mathematics or literacy skills then the pupil may be placed in a small focus group. This may be run by the teacher or learning support assistant. The length of time of the intervention may vary according to need but will be monitored regularly. Interventions will be reviewed by the SENCO and class teacher  to ascertain the effectiveness of the provision and to inform future planning. 

  • The SENCO may attend the Pupil's Assertive mentoring meeting to offer advice and support for parents.
  • If a pupil’s needs are additional this may result in the creation of a Support plan through the 'One Planning process.'The ‘one planning process’ involves the family, the child and other relevant professionals. This process will identify outcomes for the child and how they may be achieved.
  • When a pupil’s needs are more complex an assessment of education, health and care needs may be undertaken by the authority and an EHC plan developed. This is developed in collaboration with the family, child, and as appropriate, other relevant professionals.

4.      How will Mersea Island School support my child and match the curriculum to my child’s needs?

  • Quality first teaching: providing high quality teaching on a daily basis for all children, it includes adapting and differentiating the curriculum accordingly.
  •  Appropriate specialist equipment may be given to your child e.g. writing slopes, pencil grips, coloured overlays.
  • Targeted intervention in small groups or 1:1 e.g. following specialist advice such as when a child is on a speech and language programme
  • Adaptations to the learning environment.e.g. sensory areas 
  • Regular liaison with the Essex Specialist Teacher team to secure up to date advice and support 

Interventions may include:

  • Reading Club
  • Regular Reading
  • Catch Up
  • Toe by Toe phonic support
  • Read Write Inc
  • Talk Boost
  • Precision teaching
  • Phonological Awareness Training
  • Cued spelling
  • Memory Games
  • Socially Speaking Programme
  • Social Skills groups working on specific scenarios
  • Social Stories
  • Smart Thinking Programme
  • Working Together with Lego
  • Handwriting and Fine Motor skills
  • Speech and Language support
  • Physiotherapy support on an individual basis
  • Occupational Therapy support on an individual basis
  • Baking Buddies nurture groups
  • Numicon support
  • Multisensory spelling programmes
  • Visual timetables and resource banks
  • Consistent management plans

All children are encouraged to take part in all areas of school life including events and visits off site arranged by the school. Where necessary, support for individual children will be agreed in collaboration with parents/carers and school staff prior to the event.

5.      How will my child and I be involved in making decisions about my child’s education?

We believe in a child centered approach where by when children have additional needs the thoughts and feelings of the child and their parents/careers together with the views of the school staff and relevant professionals are taken into account when making decisions about their education e.g. when writing a Support Plan.

Other opportunities for involvement maybe:

  • Informal discussions with staff
  • Teacher and Child Consultations
  • Teacher and Parent Consultations
  • Review meetings including outside agencies where appropriate
  • Parent surveys and feedback forms where appropriate
  • Assertive mentoring meetings

6.      What training have the staff supporting children and young people with special needs had?

  • Mrs Lisa Williamson is the Inclusion Manager and is an accredited special needs coordinator. She has the National Award for SEN Coordination. Mrs Williamson has completed the MAZE professionals course to support children with autism. 
  • Staff have received additional training this year on supporting children with ADHD and Precision Teaching training. A group of teaching assistants have been trained in supporting parents and promoting positive behaviour strategies. Four members of staff have been trained in Talk Boost which is a speech and language intervention.
  • A teaching assistant has commenced a foundation degree in Therapeutic Communication and Therapeutic Organisations

Different staff members have received training related to the following areas:

  • How to support pupils on the autistic spectrum
  • How to support pupils with social and emotional needs
  • How to support pupils with speech and language difficulties
  • How to support pupils with physical and neurological difficulties
  • How to support pupils with dyslexia

As part of The Tiptree and Stanway Consortium all members have access to, up to date and relevant training on all matters related to SEND in order to support  the needs of our pupils.

7.      What specialist services and expertise can by accessed by the school?

We can refer to:

  • Children’s Therapy Team (Speech and Language/Occupational Therapy/Physiotherapy)
  • School Nurse/Doctor
  • Social Services
  • Family Solutions
  • Family Support Advisor
  • Families in Focus
  • Private Tutors
  • Children’s Centres
  • Specialist Teacher Team
  • Emotional Well-being and Mental Health Service
  • Education Welfare Service
  • Youth Enquiry Service (Counselling service)
  • FACE, Families Acting for Change in Essex (Parent, carer forum)
  • Educational Psychology Service

Parents may be able to access some of these services through their family GP.

8.      How will I know how my child is doing?

We support and involve parents in their child’s learning both formally and informally, including:

·         An open door policy which provides parents with the opportunity for discussions face to face or on the telephone.
·         Assertive Mentoring prompt folders in writing and maths
·         Celebration assemblies and class assemblies.
·         School Website on the Class pages
·         Parents’ Evenings
·         Review Meetings – to discuss progress towards specific targets.
·         Annual Reports
·         Parental surveys
·         Newsletters
·         Home school liaison books 

Additional appointments can be made with the class teacher or SENCO through the school office.

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

  • The class teacher may suggest ways of how you can support your child alongside set homework activities.
  • The SENCo  may meet with you to discuss how to support your child with strategies to use specific to your child’s needs.
  • If outside agencies or the Educational Psychologist have been involved suggestions and programmes of study provided by them are normally provided that can be used at home.
  • The school website can be used to access resources, curriculum policies and links that will provide further support.
  • Workshops such as phonics and mathematics.
  • Meet the teacher sessions at the beginning of the year.

10.  What support is available for my child’s overall well being?

Members of staff are available for pupils who wish to discuss issues and concerns. Where it is deemed appropriate parents/carers will be invited in to school to discuss concerns and plan for further support.

Other provision may include:

·         Lunchtime clubs
·         Sanctuary (quiet room)
·         Support from the Educational Therapist and/or a trainee child counsellor

Where it is felt that pupils are encountering significant emotional difficulties the support of outside agencies will be considered, such as Emotional Well being and Mental Health Service.(EWMHS).

11. How will my child’s medical needs be met?

If a pupil has a medical need then a Medical Protocol is compiled with support from parents/carers and in consultation with medical practitioners where appropriate. These are shared with all staff who work with the child.

  • A proportion of the staff have basic first aid training
  • Early years staff have Paediatric First Aid Training in line with national requirements.
  • EpiPen training is undertaken by all staff on a yearly basis.
  • Epilepsy training is undertaken by staff on a yearly basis
  • Where a child has specific medical needs additional staff training will be arranged in consultation with the relevant professionals.

12.  How accessible is the school environment?

For further information see the Accessibility Policy

13.  How will the school prepare and support my child when joining Mersea Island School or transferring to a new school?

Strategies are in place to enable your child’s transition to be as smooth as possible.

These may include:

·         Transition meetings between settings and at each Key Stage
·         Additional visits may also be arranged for children/parents/carers
·         The SENCO will liaise between settings and with relevant staff
·         Transition groups and resources are available for children who may benefit

14.  How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?

·         The SEN budget is allocated each financial year. The money is used to provide additional support or resources dependant on an individual’s needs.
·         The additional provision may be allocated after discussion with the class teacher at pupil progress meetings or if a concern has been raised by them at another time.
·         Resources may include deployment of staff depending on individual circumstances.

15.  Who can I contact for further information?

Key Contacts

Head Teacher – Nicky Sirett 01206 382736

SENCO – Lisa Williamson 01206 382736

Chair of Governors – Mr P Martin 01206 382736

Governor responsible for Special Educational Needs – Mrs. Bev Smith 01206 382736

School Nursing Team – 01206 747141

Social, Emotional & Behavioural Difficulties helpline – 0300 003 1864

FACE – 01245 608231

SEND - 0300 003 1861

Essex Local Offer -

16.  Complaints Procedure 

If you have any concerns relating to the schools provision for your child regarding SEND please speak to the Head Teacher or the Inclusion Manager. We aim to resolve any concerns parents have in person to arrive at a mutual understanding to support your child. Please see our complaints policy for further information.

17.  Related Policies – available on the school website or from the school office

I hope these key questions have answered any queries you may have but do not hesitate to contact the school if you require further information.