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Special Educational Needs


Thorner Church of England Primary School is committed to ensuring that each individual child succeeds and reaches their full potential. We work with children, parents and other agencies to provide the best possible educational outcomes. We have high expectation for all our children and put support in place at the earliest possible stage where needed.

The class teacher, alongside other support staff, plans an appropriately differentiated curriculum for our children with additional needs to ensure high quality teaching and learning with effective support and resources. Clear personal provision plans and care plans are put in place and reviewed regularly. A range of carefully tailored interventions are developed, reviewed and evaluated to ensure maximum progress and impact for our learners. Key assessments ensure that children are on track to meet targets and planning accurately addresses needs. Progress, targets and plans are regularly reviewed with the children and evaluated to inform next steps.

An appropriate and accessible learning environment is provided within the school’s means and confines of the building, and is adapted where possible. Thorner is committed to ensuring that staff receive regular training, and work alongside other professionals to develop their skills, knowledge and expertise in specific areas of SEN, e.g. autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, etc. Staff are able to offer a wide range of support and strategies for inclusion.

Who Oversees Special Needs Provision at Thorner?

Every member of staff has a responsibility to ensure that the needs of SEN children are being met. However, all Special Educational Needs provision is overseen and managed by the Senior Leadership team (SLT) in school and is coordinated by the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo), Mrs Gemma Whawell. The Senior Leadership Team ensures that the school adheres to the SEND Code of Practice 2014 and evaluates all special needs provision on a regular basis throughout the year, reporting to the school Governing Body on how individual needs are being met and how special needs funding is being spent.

What do I do if I think my child has special educational needs?

Parents should contact their child’s class teacher to discuss initial concerns, or arrange an appointment with the SENCo, Mrs Gemma Whawell, via the school office on 0113 2892541. Arrangements will be made for a meeting where school will listen carefully to the parents concerns and put appropriate action in place. This may involve signposting to other professionals if necessary.

The staff at school thinks that my child may have special educational needs (SEN). What happens now?

The school will collect information about your child from all the staff involved, and we will also ask for your views and seek any information that you can provide. Parents are an important source of information; we will work actively with you and keep you fully informed about what is being done to meet your child’s needs. If it is decided that your child needs further support, the class teacher will work with the SENCo to arrange this.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

School will ensure that the curriculum is adapted to meet the child’s specific needs. The class teachers, alongside other support staff, plan an appropriately differentiated curriculum for all children with additional needs to ensure the highest quality teaching and learning with effective support and resources. The class teachers work in partnership with the SENCO and parents to put in place individualised provision plans, and where appropriate intervention or highly personalised support, which are regularly reviewed. Progress is rigorously monitored and evaluated to inform next steps.

How accessible is the school?

The school has, since 2008, improved accessiblity to meet the needs of those with disabilities.  There is a designated disabled parking bay in the school car park.  The front door entry system has been lowered, whilst access through the front door can be via a temporary ramp when necessary.   In addition the school has an upto date accessibility plan which identifies in further detail the existing access arrangements for pupils and visitors and proposed actions to further improve access to both the site and the curriculum.

The school campus is on a single level with double doors between indoor and outdoor areas.  The main office/reception to the school is wheelchair accessible with a temporary ramp being able to be used to enter over the initial front door step.  The school building has a designated disabled toilet and changing facility.

The school has a number of aids available to support children with SEND – there is a loop induction system which upon request the office can arrange to be used during public meetings and performances, in addition we have two ‘Sound Field’ systems to support the amplification of the class teacher in classrooms where children have a level of hearing impairment.  Children with dyslexia can access ‘dyslexia friendly’ classrooms throughout school, in addition to using a range of ICT resources to support their learning and alternative methods of recording.  The school also has two Dictaphones which can be used in KS2 and 3 Easyspeak Microphones/TTS recording whiteboards in EYFS and KS1.

How will I know how well my child is doing?

There will be termly meetings where parents are invited to discuss their child’s current personalised provision and progress with the class teachers and/or SENCo. This may include parents’ evenings and annual reports. Parents are always encouraged to request a meeting with the class teacher or SENCo should concerns arise.

How will school help me support my child’s learning?

We ensure that parents/carers themselves are fully involved in supporting their child’s education in consultation with the class teacher and the SENCO. This involves consultation with target setting and strategies to support learning. It may also involve special homework tasks or reinforcement of classroom strategies at home. School will endeavour to offer parent training or learning events to aid this process and would welcome suggestions from parents.

What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being?

Thorner prides itself on having a caring and supportive Christian ethos. All our staff ensure that the children have the highest levels of pastoral care possible. Each class has a weekly Circle Time session, to explore Social, Emotional Aspects of Learning, through the SEAL programme, which supports children to think about their emotional responses or behaviours to situations and to develop strategies they can use for the future. We encourage children to seek the support of a staff member if they have any worries or concerns that they wish to discuss.  In school all children have access to a ‘worry’ box or ‘bubble time’ on a 1:1 basis.

The school has a comprehensive ‘Anti-bullying’ policy and the principles of ‘Anti-bullying’ week are addressed during the National week and throughout the school year.  

The behaviour policy of the school is reviewed annually and where children need additional support with behaviour Indiviualised Behaviour Plans can be implemented to facilitate a positive outcome.

The support children receive is varied but may include specific sessions designed to meet the emotional and social needs of individual children, using an Emotional Literacy programme. We also dedicate time to ensure that we develop supportive partnerships with local agencies to provide support for families who may need additional support.  As part of the EPOSS Cluster of schools we have access to a wider range of support such as Family Support Workers, Targeted Mental Health in Schools Workers and Counsellors through our local support and guidance panel.  Working with parents’ agreement, we will seek advice or make referrals to get the best support possible, as quick as possible. This may be as part of a CAF process (Common Assessment Framework) or an Education Health Care plan.

All our staff are trained in Child Protection procedures. We also have three members of staff who are fully trained to be specially designated Child Protection Officers to ensure the safeguarding of all children. These members of staff are Mr Holmes (Headteacher), Miss Capstick (Year 6 Teacher/SLT Member) and Mrs Whawell (SENCo).

We work closely with professionals and parents/ carers of children with medical needs. All staff undergo basic first aid training and in addition, staff are specially trained in the administration of more specialised medical requirements, eg epipen.

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?

As an inclusive school we have a wealth of experienced and highly qualified staff, who collectively have the expertise to support a wide range of needs.

At times it may be necessary to consult with outside agencies to receive further expertise.

 This can include:

  • Autism Outreach Team
  • Child Protection Advisors
  • Educational Psychologist
  • CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service)
  • Complex Needs
  • Attendance Team
  • Inclusion Team
  • Social Services
  • School Nurse
  • Speech and Language
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Portage
  • Medical Professionals

How will the professionals from these services support and assess my child?

The SENCo will inform you of the services that might be involved in the support of your child in order to gain your consent and explain why they have been asked to give advice. Outside professionals mentioned above who are linked with the school will usually observe your child in their normal classroom setting if this is appropriate and practical. This will enable them to assess your child’s needs and advise the school on new and appropriate targets for your child’s personalised provision plan. They will also be able to provide advice on the ways in which the school can help your child achieve that targets that are set. Following the receipt of advice from outside agencies a copy of the report will be sent home along with an invitation for you to come and discuss it with the SENCo.

Will my child have one-to-one support in the classroom?

For a very small minority of children one-to-one provision may be appropriate. What is important is that your child has an effective personal programme of teaching and learning. This might include the provision of different learning materials or special equipment or the training and development of staff.

What happens if my child has really complex needs?

For a few children with complex needs, an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) may be issued by the Local Authority. In this instance it is likely that your child will receive a significant level of additional support in order to meet their needs.

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?

The SENCo, working alongside the class teacher, will take advice from all professionals involved with the child, alongside the views of parents and the child themselves, if appropriate. Based on the advice of professionals and outstanding practice, the best package of support will be put together to provide a teaching programme additional to or different from the usual curriculum which reflects the child’s individual needs; details of this will be in your child’s personalised provision plan.

Does this mean that they will not do the same things as their peers?

No, your child will still be part of the class group but will receive some extra support or support that is different from their peers. This support will be carefully planned and aim to provide the specific help your child needs.

How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom?

In consultation with parents, the school ensures reasonable adjustments are made so that out of school activities and visits are accessible to children with additional needs.

How are the school’s resources/funding allocated and matched to the children’s needs?

The school is funded on a national formula per pupil. Initial blocks of £6000 are allocated depending on the number of SEN children who meet the criteria. The school can then apply for top-up funding based on strict criteria, if it is felt that a child’s needs are above that which can be provided through the initial £6000. The school uses the additional funds to put appropriate support in place to meet the specific needs of a child. In most cases, this will take the form of a key worker to support the child to access a personalised timetable, develop independence, support personal care, and access all areas of the curriculum. Spending of funding received into school is closely monitored by the Senior Leadership Team, Governors and the Local Education Authority.

How will school help my child to transfer to the next phase of education?
Transition arrangements are very carefully considered for all children, including children with extra needs. The involvement of the child and parents in these arrangements are firmly established in our school.

Before children move into a new school year, handover meetings take place between staff at the end of the summer term, to support smooth transition into the next year group.  Children also have a transition morning where they spend the morning with their new class teacher undertaking a variety of activities.

Reception children moving from Nursery to Reception also have the opportunity to come into school for a transition morning.  In addition the Reception teacher has the opportunity to meet with all new parents at the ‘New parents evening’ which takes place at the beginning of the Summer Term before a child is due to start school in the following September.  All parents also have the opportunity to sign up for a home visit, where the Reception teacher and Teaching assistant come to meet parents and children in their home environment.  For those children who attend Thorner Preschool, the staff will link with our Reception teacher for a transition  meeting at the end of the Summer Term.

We have established links with all local high schools including Boston Spa High School, Wetherby High School and Tadcaster Grammar School.  Secondary school staff will visit pupils prior to them joining their new school.  Mrs Whawell and Miss Capstick will liaise with the SENCo from schools that pupils will be joining and will pass on information regarding pupils with SEND.  All pupils attend transition days, where they spend time at their new school.  Additional visits are arranged for pupils that may need extra time in their new school or setting.  Where a pupil may have more specialised needs, a separate meeting and individually tailored transition procedure may take place as appropriate.

How are parents involved in the school and how can I be involved?

The Governing Body has a parent governor to act as a link between the school and all parents. Parents are also kept informed regularly about teaching and other events through newsletters, Parentmail messages, curriculum evenings and open days. Parents are also invited into the school for parents’ evenings, information sessions, weekly Celebration assemblies, church services and various performances and concerts throughout the year.  Parents are also welcomed to volunteer in classrooms, support with school trips and after school clubs.  Thorner has a very active Parents’ Association (Friends of Thorner Parent Teacher Association) that raises money to support the school curriculum by organising events and fundraising for additional resources.  All parents are actively encouraged to become involved in FOTPTA or to support organised events.  FOTPTA send home regular updates through Parentmail.

Information relating to the Leeds Local Offer can be found HERE.

Who can I contact for further information?

  • If you are considering applying for a school place contact the school office on 0113 2892541
  • If you wish to discuss something about your child please contact the school office to make an appointment with the relevant member of staff
  • If you require information about other support services contact the office to make an appointment with the SENCo, Mrs Gemma Whawell.
  • If you require information about the Local Authority’s Local Offer please contact the SENCo or a member of the Senior Leadership Team.