At Birchfield School we are committed to ensuring that all children become independent learners and reach their full potential. We aim to identify children’s individual and specific areas of need early and make provision to support them and remove any barrier to learning.
How does the school identify if a child has Special Educational Needs and how will I be informed?
At Birchfield School we take a graduated response to identifying when children have Special Educational Needs and we focus on identifying additional needs as early as possible.
The children’s academic progress is tracked through regular teacher assessments. If we identify that a child is making less than expected progress, the teacher will discuss this with you and the SENCO will support them to ensure the work is differentiated and appropriate to your child’s level and needs. If your child continues to make less than expected progress despite additional intervention and support in class, then they may be identified as having additional learning needs. When children are identified as having additional learning needs, they may be supported through a specific intervention programme.
We also identify children as having Special Educational Needs if they are working significantly below expected levels for their age. Children may be identified as having a Special Educational Need if they have a specific health diagnosis from a Paediatrician.
Finally, concerns raised by a teacher or parent/carer may lead to a child being identified as having Special Educational Needs if additional support is required to address the concerns.
Usually if a child is identified as having a Special Educational Need, the parent or carer will already know that the teacher has concerns. You will receive a letter from the Inclusion Leader explaining that your child has been put on the Special Educational Needs database and the reason why.
Who should I talk to if I think my child has Special Educational Needs?
Firstly, you should talk to the class teacher at the earliest opportunity to discuss your concerns. If you have further concerns, you can make an appointment to see Mr Lloyd, the SENCO at Birchfield School via the main school office.
If you need further support, you should make an appointment to see the Deputy Headteacher to discuss your concerns.
How will school support my child?
The School will support your child in a variety of ways:
- By Quality First Teaching
- By individual targeted interventions
- By reviewing learning support
- By listening and responding to the child and to parents/carers
- By early diagnosis and prompt intervention
- By involving other agencies where appropriate
The class teacher is responsible for every child in their class and that includes those with learning support needs or with Special Educational Needs. Each child will have targets set by the class teacher and these will reflect individual needs. Children with a higher level of need will have a learning support plan (LSP) with specific targets and these are discussed with parents/carers at parents’ evenings or at any other time with prior appointment.
Pupil progress meetings are held every term and this usually involves the class teacher and the phase leader discussing every child in the class. This will usually be the starting point for discussion around appropriate intervention and support. Occasionally a child may be referred to another agency and formal consent will always be obtained for this. This can mean that the agency completes a fixed piece of work with the child in the school but more usually the agency suggests targets and activities for work in school and at home
We support all children through Quality First Teaching which means that
- The teacher has the highest possible expectation for every child
- All teaching builds upon what the child already knows, can do and understands
- Different styles of teaching are used in order to motivate and include all children in their learning
- Learning is tailored to match the needs of every child and this will include both academic and personal development.
- Your child’s progress is constantly checked to ensure that their needs are being met and progress is in line with targets
- We teach in the way that your child learns
We support children through targeted group work which means that children who are in need of additional learning support are identified by class teachers and by senior staff who monitor formal end of term assessments. A discussion with parents/carers will follow and targets will be set for the term ahead. These targets are reviewed half termly and at the end of each term and information is used to inform planning for the subsequent term. Your child may work on specific targets as part of a smaller group, which is usually called an intervention group and on most occasions this will comprise of less than eight children.
Progress is constantly monitored and information fed back to the class teacher. If progress has been good children are withdrawn from the intervention group. If progress has not been good children will continue to access the intervention although targets will usually be revised. Information sharing, both formal and informal with parents/carers is essential during this process. We support children through targeted individual work. Children work on specific targets to support their progress. These sessions may be led by the class teacher, a support worker, or a teaching assistant under the direction of the class teacher with advice from the SENCO and any other agencies involved. Progress is monitored to ensure that interventions are meeting a child’s needs.
The types of SEN that we support are:
Cognition and Learning
- How your child thinks, learns and understands their world.
Communication and Interaction
- How your child talks to, listens, responds, plays and learns with other children and adults.
Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties
- How your child shows their feelings, negotiates and solves problems in different situations and handles changes of routine.
Sensory and/or Physical needs
- How your child responds to their environment and learning using their senses and any diagnosed medical issues.
How will I know how Birchfield School supports my child?
Class teachers and senior staff will meet with parents/carers on a termly basis at parents’ evening to discuss and review your child’s needs, support and progress. As you will know class teachers are available at the beginning and the end of the day for informal conversation and you can make an appointment for a meeting at another time if you wish to discuss your child’s education. Mr Lloyd, SENCO, is also available for advice and information. Children who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will have an annual review each year and this is likely to involve other agencies who will also have contact with parents/carers, and any other member of school staff who has contributed to the support of the child.
How does the school know how well my child is doing?
We measure children’s progress in learning against national expectations and age related expectations. Formal assessments take place every term and children who are not making expected progress are identified through review meetings. At Birchfield we use our school tracker to monitor the progress of all children in the school.
How will I know how my child is doing?
You will be able to discuss your child’s progress at parents’ evening which takes place every term. Appointments can also be made to meet the class teacher, or with Mr Lloyd (SENCO), or with other senior leaders. In addition, targets for children who are accessing learning support or have SEN are sent home every term. Learning support plans are reviewed every term and information is shared. Parents and carers are positively encouraged to be involved at each stage of the process.
What can I expect to happen during meetings about my child’s additional needs?
Information is regularly shared with families at parents’ evenings, in the annual report, and informally on a daily basis when children are collected from school at the end of the day. For children with additional needs, or those who have been referred to an outside agency, there will be additional opportunities for the sharing of information. Parental consent will be also required before any work is undertaken by an outside agency. Children with additional needs would usually have a learning support plan which has been written by the class teacher, or in some instances a support plan which may have been written in conjunction with an outside agency. These plans would usually include details of the additional support which is in place to support your child and the information would be shared with you before the meeting takes place. Parent/carer input is essential at every stage, and it is important that everyone in the meeting is aware of the work being undertaken and their part in the process. In some instances the class teacher or the teaching assistant may be present at the meeting, or their views may be represented. There will be clear targets set and a date for the monitoring and review decided. All information will be shared with parents/carers.
How is the Governing Body involved in supporting families of children with Special Educational Needs?
The Governing Body has been disbanded and replaced by an Interim Executive Board. Until specific responsibilities are allocated to members of the IEB, the entire IEB takes responsibility for monitoring and overseeing the practices and developments within SEND. The IEB monitors and approves all policies on SEND and are responsible for ensuring the school fulfills it’s responsibilities under the SEN Code of Practice.
What are the admission arrangements for children with Special Educational Needs and disabilities?
Birchfield school follows advice from the local authority and with due regard to current legislation. When children are admitted to school, an induction meeting is arranged where information about the child is shared. This supports the school to make informed decisions about the nature of the provision required to meet the child’s needs. A phased or amended school day may be offered at the beginning of the induction process. This will involve input from parents/carers and school staff, and advice from other professionals may be sought.
What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?
Birchfield has a well-developed system of pastoral support for children in our care. Key pastoral, social and learning issues are regularly visited and reviewed in school assemblies and also in a wide range of other school activities. Our shared values – of caring for each other, respecting each other and supporting each other – are in everything that we do.
The class teacher oversees primary care for the child and there is further support from the pastoral leader and a team of mentors whose task it is to is identify barriers to learning whatever these may be. Intervention support by the pastoral team may take the form of timetabled mentoring sessions, or work to support attendance or behaviour or learning. There may be occasions when this is undertaken under the guidance of the SENCO or other senior member of staff, or by an outside agency.
Pupils with medical needs
Birchfield will take advice from the NHS and share information about care plans with relevant school staff. In some instances, school will undertake a risk assessment and again information will be shared with staff and parents/carers. This information may be amended as needed to reflect changes in the circumstances of the child. Parents will be consulted at each stage and reasonable adjustments will be put in place to ensure the child has full access to the curriculum.
How will you help me to support my child’s learning?
It is important to ensure that we work together on the same targets and that information is shared. Regular conversation between home and school is essential, and also that we make full use of parents’ evenings, parent workshops and other meeting time to share ideas.
Other agencies may suggest strategies or programmes of study which can be used at home. The speech and language team and the educational psychology service work regularly with many children and families and are also available for timetabled meetings at school.
Other agencies work closely with school and offer a full range of support to children and families Parents/carers workshops are arranged throughout the year – sometimes with invited guest speakers – to stimulate information sharing in an open and relaxed setting. Parents/carers are encouraged to regularly visit the school website to keep up to date with the activities undertaken in school, and to be aware to changes to policies, out of school activities, and teaching and learning at Birchfield. The website is updated on a regular basis. Please visit http://www.birchfld.bham.sch.uk
It is important for all children to have regular time at home to complete school work. All children have online access to Mathletics and Reading Eggs to support the development of numeracy and literacy skills and planned time at home working on the development of these skills will make a real difference to your child’s progress.
Homework is set for all children according to their age and this may include online tasks.
How does the school get more specialist help?
At Birchfield School, if we feel a child needs more specialist help we can work with a range of outside agencies. We may need your permission before some specialists will become involved with your child.
|Agency or Service||Who they work with|
|Educational Psychology Service
Dr Cherelle McDonald
|Children with more significant and complex learning needs. Provide school staff with advice on teaching strategies, resources, individual and whole school training|
Pupil and School Support (PSS)
|Provide school staff with advice on teaching strategies and resources, individual and whole school training to support pupils with difficulties in language, literacy and Maths. Individual assessments of pupils who are not making progress in language, literacy and maths and advice on next steps.|
|Speech and Language Therapy Service (SaLT)||Children who are referred by the GP or school who have specific speech or language needs. Provide school with advice on work that can be carried out in school as well as providing specific programmes in clinic.|
|Communication and Autism Team
|Children with social and communication difficulties or a diagnosis of Autism. Provide individual and whole school training for staff with advice on teaching strategies, resources for pupils with Autism.|
|Sensory Support Service
(HI) Victoria Carter Harris (VI)
|Children with visual or hearing impairments. Provide school with advice regarding resources and strategies to support children with sensory impairments|
|Physical Difficulties Support Service
|Children with gross motor skill difficulties. Provide school with advice regarding resources and strategies to support children with physical difficulties.|
|Health professionals||Provide advice and support for staff working with individual children with health needs.
Child Development Centre
|Forward Thinking (formerly CAMHS)||Children with specific mental health issues e.g. anxiety/depression.|
What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or will be having?
In the school year 2016-17 most staff had level one training in autism awareness. There has also been training on delivering speech and language support to all children, and including all children in learning activities, as well as a number of drop in sessions with a SEND focus hosted by the Educational Psychologist. In the current school year the focus has been on developing the skills of staff who are working with small groups of children with SEND, and all staff are working on developing skills in delivering reading, and activities to engage all children in a more inclusive environment.
How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?
Activities are open to all children. Risk assessments are carried out and adjustments made to enable all children to be included. Parents/carers may also be given the opportunity to accompany their child in addition to school staff and this is sometimes very helpful if a higher level of support is needed.
How accessible is the school curriculum?
The school curriculum is designed to be inclusive – personalised activities are designed to support children who have additional learning support needs. In line with the SEN Code of Practice, the class teacher leads on SEN for their teaching group and will take advice from the SENCO and from other agencies.
There may be some amendments to lesson planning which will take into account the needs of the child, and this will usually be recorded in the learning support plan. Support may be offered by the class teacher, or by a teaching assistant or by another member of staff. Within each group children are grouped according to their ability and work will be differentiated by task or expected outcome. As part of planned interventions there may be opportunities for some children to access learning in a different teaching group. In particular children who do not have a good grounding in phonics may be allocated extra time with a phonics group to develop their skills. Similarly there is additional support for children who are emerging readers with ‘Planet X’ reading time at the end of the school day. There are a range of activities outside the classroom which support learning – notably music, ICT, art and P.E. which serve to motivate many children.
How accessible is the school environment?
As a school, we are happy to discuss individual access requirements. Current facilities in school include:
- Level access to main building
- Electronic double door access to main building
- Lift to first floor in main building
- Lift to first floor in new block
- Toilets adapted for disabled users
- Staff members who speak most community languages
- Staff members who are qualified in Makaton and British Sign Language
We are actively planning further improvements to make the school more accessible and have an up to date Accessibility Plan, which you can access here.
How does the school enable children with SEND to engage in activities available to those in the school who do not have SEND?
School may amend planned activities to make them more inclusive, or review support, or involve parents in the event to support their child. In practice this could mean parental support in the activity, or the activity happening at a different time when extra support is available and when the group may be smaller.
Birchfield is committed to inclusive practices and aim to involve all children in curricular and non-curricular activities.
How will we support your child through transitions?
Before your child starts at Birchfield Community School there may be:
- Visit to current school or home visit where relevant
- Transition days with part time timetable if appropriate when moving to a new school
- Additional visits to a new school for children with specific needs
- Dialogue with key personnel at new school
- Sharing information with new school
When moving to a new class there will be:
- Information sharing session for teachers
- Taster sessions with new teacher
- New teacher/teaching assistant available for conversation with parents/carers
How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s Special Educational needs?
Children with learning needs or special needs have access to appropriate resources and staffing, and additional support is available to those children who need it.
- Birchfield Community School accesses support from the Educational Psychology Service, Pupil Support Service and the Communication and Autism Team. Support comes in the form of work in school with pupils and staff, support with statutory work for annual reviews and education health care plans, diagnostic work, advice surgeries with parents/carers.
- Support for a wide range of interventions to meet individual needs
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
The class teacher will discuss the child’s needs with the SENCO or with outside agencies and appropriate support and resources will be identified
- Information will be shared with the senior leadership team
- Parents will be notified if their child is receiving additional support
- Parents will be notified if their child is being supported by another agency. Formal consent from parents/carers would be needed for this.
- Support will be for a fixed period of time and will be reviewed regularly. It is likely that this support will change during the course of the school year.
- The school CPD programme for staff will routinely reflect input from key agencies who support children in school
How are pupils with Special Educational Needs involved in their own education?
All pupils are involved and encouraged to contribute to their own learning by:
- Speaking to members of staff if they are unhappy
- Expressing preferences
- Self-assessment and evaluation
- Developing their own targets
- Sharing ideas as part of students voice or on the school council
- Attending meetings in school with parents
- Contributing to pupil questionnaires
How are parents of children involved in the education of pupils with special educational needs?
All parents are encouraged to actively contribute to their child’s education. This may be through:
- Discussions with the class teacher
- Parents’ evenings
- Contributing and attending annual reviews, sharing information in reports
- Attending parents’ workshops, class assemblies
- Attending other meetings about the child in school
Who can I contact for further information?
Mr A Lloyd, SENCO, Birchfield Community School, Trinity Road, Aston, Birmingham B6 6AJ. Phone 0121 464 5661
Mr S Gulzar, Headteacher, Birchfield Community School, Trinity Road, Aston, Birmingham B6 6AJ. Phone 0121 464 5661
How can I make a complaint?
Please contact Mr S Gulzar, Headteacher, Birchfield Community School, or
Chair of the Interim Executive Board, Birchfield Community School.
How can parents/carers find the Birmingham Local Authority’s Local Offer for SEN?