Temporary legislative changes have been made to EHC needs assessments and plans relating to Covid-19
Some aspects of the law on Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessments and plans have changed temporarily to give local authorities, commissioning health bodies and other bodies who contribute to the EHC process more flexibility in responding to the demands placed on them by Covid-19.
The Coronavirus Act 2020 provides for various emergency powers for the Secretary of State for Education, including issuing a notice to modify section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014 (duty to secure special educational provision and health care provision in accordance with EHC plan). This notice has been issued to be in force from 1st May until 31st May (inclusive).
During this period the duty to secure special educational provision and health care provision in accordance with an EHC plan is replaced by a duty to use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to do so.
From 1 May to 25 September 2020 (inclusive) the Regulations which provide most of the statutory timescales for the EHC needs assessments and plans processes will be modified. This means that timescales in relation to processes for EHC assessments and plans are amended so that where it has not been reasonable practicable to meet a time limit, due to the circumstances arising because of Covid-19, the process can instead be completed ‘as soon as is practicable thereafter’. These temporary changes to the law only affect various statutory timescales for processes, all of the other requirements of the EHC needs assessments and plan processes remain unchanged.
Despite these temporary changes, the Government advice still emphasises the ongoing importance of co-production with children and young people with SEND and their parents and the need for effective communication between local authorities and families.
Colmers Farm Primary School is an inclusive school. We believe that all teachers are teachers of special educational needs and that all children are entitled to an education that enables them to achieve their full potential. We aim to enable children to develop, learn, participate and achieve the best possible outcomes.
High quality teaching that is differentiated and personalised meets the individual needs of the majority of children. However some children need educational provision that is additional to, or different from, this. This is special educational provision under Section 21 of the Children and Families Act 2014. We are committed to ensuring that such provision is made for every pupil that has special educational needs and disabilities.
Please find a copy of our SEND Policy on our Policies and Documents page.
The questions below will help you find out more. Click the question to find out the appropriate answer:
Q1: What are Special Educational Needs (SEN)?
A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.
A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:
- has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
- has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.
For children aged two or more, special educational provision is educational or training provision that is additional to or different from that made generally for other children or young people of the same age by mainstream schools, maintained nursery schools, mainstream post-16 institutions or by relevant early years providers.
Q2: Who can I talk to about my child’s special educational needs?
Mrs Louise Evans is the school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) who is responsible for co-ordinating provision for children with SEN.
She can be contacted on 0121 464 7620 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q3: What kinds of different special educational needs does our school provide for?
In our school we make provision for pupils who have significant needs in the following areas:
- Communication and Interaction - Children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) find it more difficult to communicate with others. They may have problems taking part in conversations, either because they find it difficult to understand what others say or because they have difficulties with fluency and forming sounds, words and sentences. It may be that when they hear or see a word they are not able to understand its meaning, leading to words being used incorrectly or out of context and the child having a smaller vocabulary. Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), including Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism, have difficulty in making sense of the world in the way others do. They may have difficulties with communication, social interaction and imagination. In addition they may be easily distracted or upset by certain stimuli, have problems with change to familiar routines or have difficulties with their co-ordination and fine-motor functions.
- Cognition and Learning - Children with learning difficulties will learn at a slower pace than other children and may have greater difficulty than their peers in acquiring basic literacy or numeracy skills or in understanding concepts, even with appropriate differentiation. A child with a specific learning difficulty (SpLD) may have difficulty with one or more aspects of learning. This includes a range of conditions such as dyslexia (difficulties with reading and spelling), dyscalculia (maths), dyspraxia (co-ordination) and dysgraphia (writing).
- Social, emotional and mental health - For some children, difficulties in their emotional and social development can mean that they require additional and different provision in order for them to achieve. Children who have difficulties with their emotional and social development may have immature social skills and find it difficult to make and sustain healthy relationships. These difficulties may be displayed through the child becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as through challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. Some children may have other recognised disorders such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), attachment disorder or autism.
- Sensory and/or physical - There is a wide range of sensory and physical difficulties that affect children across the ability range. Many children require minor adaptations to the curriculum or the physical environment. Many such adaptations may be required as reasonable adjustments. If children require special educational provision then they are identified as having a special educational need. Children with a visual impairment (VI) or a hearing impairment (HI) may require specialist support and equipment to access their learning. Some children and young people with a physical disability (PD) require additional on-going support and equipment to access all the opportunities available to their peers.
Pupils may have difficulties in more than one of these areas and we will always do our best to support their needs.
Q4: How will the school identify if my child needs extra help?
The progress and development of all pupils is monitored and tracked using the school’s assessment tracking system. Pupils are assessed regularly using teacher marking, observations and questioning, as well as more formal assessments such as standardised tests.
Q5: How will the school let me know if they have any concerns about my child’s progress?
If a concern has been raised about your child’s progress you will be invited into school to speak to your child’s class teacher. This is an opportunity for you to share relevant information about your child. You may also be invited to a meeting with Mrs Louise Evans, our SENCO.
Q6: What support do you offer for children with special educational needs?
All our pupils receive quality first teaching - the effective inclusion of all children in high quality teaching, differentiated for individual pupils. We use a range of teaching and learning styles within a relevant and appropriate curriculum. Learning objectives are shared with the children and are matched to their needs. Lessons are differentiated to ensure that all pupils can achieve. Additional resources and support are provided that are appropriate to pupils’ needs.
The majority of pupils can make progress through such teaching but where children may not be making adequate progress, additional intervention and support led by the Class Teacher or a Teaching Assistant will be put in place. Where pupils continue to make inadequate progress, despite high-quality teaching targeted at their areas of weakness, the Class Teacher, working with the SENCO, will assess whether the child has a significant learning difficulty. Where this is the case then a decision will be made about the type and amount of SEN Support that is required to support the child’s progress. Outcomes to be achieved through the support and the expected impact on progress, development or behaviour, along with a clear date for review, will be agreed. This may involve additional intervention and support, either in a small group or on an individual basis, with the Class Teacher, an Intervention Teacher or a Teaching Assistant. Advice from other relevant professionals may also be requested if required.
Q7: What support is available for improving the emotional and social development of pupils?
For some children, difficulties in their emotional and social development can mean that they require additional provision in order for them to achieve. We offer pastoral support from the Pastoral Team which includes June Taylor, the school’s Pastoral Manager.
We are a Thrive School and four of our staff are Thrive Licensed Practitioners. The Thrive Approach is a whole school approach designed to help children feel safe, to help them understand and manage their emotions and to have a positive self-image.
We also have a Nurture Group in school. The Nurture Group promotes and supports children’s social and emotional development. Children’s social and emotional needs are assessed and then they are given the help that is needed to remove the barriers to their learning. Children attend Nurture Group but remain an active part of their main class group.
We also employ a Play Therapist to give children the opportunity to explore and work through issues that may be hindering their emotional well-being and development.
Q8: How do you evaluate the effectiveness of the provision?
We set individual targets for children with special educational needs that are reviewed at least three times a year. Using evidence-based interventions helps the school monitor the effectiveness of the provision in securing progress.
Q9: How do you assess and review my child’s progress?
Once a child is identified as having a special educational need, a graduated approach to support is taken. The child will be assessed, then support will be planned, carried out and then reviewed. At the review, any necessary changes will be made. Your child’s progress will be reviewed three times a year and you will be invited into school to discuss the outcomes. The views of both parents and the child are an essential part of the review process.
Your child’s progress towards the targets set will be assessed by using
- the school assessment tracking system to track the attainment of your child and the progress your child has made;
- entry and exit data from interventions put in place;
- The Birmingham Language and Literacy Toolkit and Maths Toolkit to support assessment when a child is making small steps of progress;
- feedback from Teachers, Teaching Assistants, SENCO and any other professionals involved;
- feedback from parents and pupils.
In addition the progress of each child is discussed at pupil progress meetings with the class teacher, head teacher, deputy head teacher and SENCO.
Q10: How can I be involved with my child’s learning and progress?
It is very important to us that parents feel involved in the education of their children. Our school has an open door policy to parents ensuring we are always approachable.
Parents Evenings are held twice a year. At the end of the year you will receive a written report and you will be given the opportunity to discuss the report at a Parents Consultation meeting.
Children with special educational needs are set individual targets. You will be informed of these targets and invited to attend review meetings where your child’s progress and the impact of the provision provided will be reviewed. New targets will be set at this meeting so you will know what your child’s next steps are. Some children may have a home/school diary so information can be shared between home and school.
Q11: How will we involve your child in decisions about their education?
Children’s views and opinions are very important to us and we use a variety of strategies to support children in contributing to the target setting and review process. Person Centred Reviews may be used to involve children in self assessment and setting their own targets.
Q12: How are staff trained to support the needs of my child?
All school staff receive appropriate training so that they have the knowledge and confidence to support children’s needs. Staff training needs are reviewed regularly. All staff have received Autism Education Trust Level 1 Training and the SENCO and Pastoral Manager have completed Level 2 and 3. Recent training has included Team Teach training, Phonics training and Allergy Awareness/Epipen training.
In addition some staff have been trained to deliver individualised interventions eg Write Away Together, Reading Recovery, Project X Code.
Q13 Who are the other people supporting children with SEN in this school?
Where a child continues to make little or no progress, despite well-founded support that is matched to their need, the school will consider involving specialists, including those from outside agencies. Referral to these agencies will always be discussed with you and you may be asked to sign either a referral form or a parental permission form.
Here are some of the main outside agencies who work with pupils and their families.
|Agency||Who they work with|
|Educational Psychology Service (EPS)||Children with complex needs.|
|Pupil and School Support (PSS)||Children who are working significantly below the level expected for their age.|
|Communication and Autism Team (CAT)||Children who have a diagnosis of Autism or communication difficulties.|
|City of Birmingham School (COBS)||Children with emotional, social or mental health difficulties that impact on their behaviour in school.|
|Speech and Language Therapy (SALT)||Children with speech and language difficulties.|
|Physical Difficulties Support Service (PDSS)||Children with physical difficulties which impact on their access in the school setting.|
|Sensory Support Service (SSS)||Children with a visual or hearing impairment.|
|Forward Thinking Birmingham (FTB)||Provide a mental health assessment and treatment service to children and their families.|
|Community Paediatric Service||Medical service for both pre-school and school age children and their families and carers.|
|School Nurse||Children with medical needs.|
Q14: How is the whole school day made accessible to children with SEN or a disability?
As a school we make adjustments to ensure that all children are fully included. Typical adjustments include:
- the school building is accessible to children with a physical difficulty via ramps,
- the first floor of the building is accessible via the lift,
- a disabled toilet and changing facilities,
- extra-curricular activities are accessible to all children,
- relevant risk assessments are completed,
- planning for appropriate transport, and reasonable adjustments made, to ensure that all pupils are able to take part,
- purchase or hire of specialist equipment recommended by outside agencies,
- additional adult support where necessary.
Q15: How can we support you as a parent of a child with SEN?
- As part of our open door policy the class teacher is regularly available to discuss your child’s progress or any concerns you may have and to share information about what is working well at home and at school so similar strategies can be used.
- Mrs Louise Evans, the SENCO, is available to meet with you to discuss your child’s progress and any worries/concerns you may have.
- All information from outside agencies will be shared with you.
- Your child’s provision will be reviewed three times a year with your involvement.
- A home/school book may be used to support communication with you.
- We will signpost you to parent support groups.
Q16: How will we prepare and support your child during transition to the next class or new school?
We aim to make transition to the next class or school as easy as possible for all children. When your child is starting at our school we:
- meet with you and your child to talk about their needs and answer any questions you might have about our school,
- meet/talk with staff at your child’s previous school or setting,
- provide your child with a transition book with photographs of key staff and areas around our school,
- read reports from people who have worked with your child,
- arrange visits to our school so your child gets to see it before they start properly,
- give any adult working with your child a one page profile describing the things that help to support them in school.
When your child is moving to a new year group we:
- introduce your child to their new class teacher and teaching assistant individually,
- talk to you and your child so we can answer any questions you may have,
- give any adult working with your child a one page profile describing the things that help to support them in school.
When your child is moving to a new school we:
- hold a review and invite key staff from the new school,
- talk to key staff at the new school about things that help your child to learn well and be happy at school,
- arrange extra visits to the new school with a member of staff from our school.
Q17: What is the school’s policy for SEN?
Our school’s Special Educational Needs policy can be found on our Policies and Documents page.
Q18: How is the school’s governing body involved with SEN provision?
- A member of the governing body has specific oversight of the school’s arrangements for SEN.
- An SEN report is shared with the governing body to ensure all governors are aware of how children with special educational needs are being supported in the school and how well this support is working.
Q19: What can I do if I am not happy with the provision for my child?
If you have a complaint about the school’s provision for your child which cannot be resolved by your child’s class teacher or the SENCO, please contact the Head Teacher. Our school and governing body take complaints seriously and will act upon these on an individual basis.
Q20: What is Birmingham Authority’s Local Offer?
By law, Birmingham Local Authority has to provide information on a website detailing all services available in Birmingham for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. This information is called The Local Offer.
The Birmingham Local Authority's Local Offer can be found at: www.mycareinbirmingham.org.uk (external link).