SEND Information School and Hackney Offer
Our Lady and St Joseph Catholic Primary School is a one form entry school with approximately 210 pupils, including our Nursery, which is situated in a quiet residential area but is close to vibrant Dalston. The school has close links with our parish church, the parish in general and with the wider community. Our school is ethnically, culturally and socially diverse, with pupils speaking in excess of 30 languages.
The staff and governors of Our Lady and St Joseph Catholic Primary School believe that all children can achieve and that pupils should be enabled to make the most of their talents and abilities whether they have special needs and / or disabilities, or not. Staff and governors work hard to ensure that all pupils, including those who may be vulnerable in some way, those who have special or medical needs which can be met within a mainstream setting, those who have English as an additional language and those who have no identified additional needs are encouraged to strive towards their potential and to develop towards being happy, well adjusted and socially responsible individuals who have a good understanding of their own and other faiths.
What Should I Do If I Have Concerns about My Child?
In general, it is usually best to speak to your child’s class teacher about any concerns which you may have in the first instance. Often, those concerns can be easily addressed and a quick resolution found. Class teachers and their support staff know our pupils well and they should be able to answer most of your questions. If staff members are not quite sure about a particular issue they will take advice from the SENCo or other senior members of staff and then get back to you as soon as possible.
If there are persistent or especially significant concerns you could speak to the SENCo. Our SENCo is available to meet with you to discuss any concerns you may have and is often available at the beginning or end of the school day for an initial informal discussion. The SENCo can be reached by ‘phone or email and via the school office. The school has a full time Learning Mentor who works very closely with the SENCo and she is generally at the school gate both before and after school where she can be approached directly by parents and carers. She can also be reached by ‘phone or email and via the school office. Appointments can be arranged to meet the SENCo and / or the Learning Mentor at mutually convenient times either directly or via the school office.
For further information this DFE government information gives further guidance for parents:
The school Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo)
This role is undertaken by Ms Sarah Woodhouse who is also an assistant headteacher.
Parent and Community Support is also provided by Mrs Theresa Garnett who also has a wide range of roles within the school and is equally experienced.
Both can be contacted via the school office on :
0207 254 7353
How Does The School Know If My Child Needs Extra Help?
Our Lady and St Joseph Catholic Primary School has well established routines in place for identifying pupils who may have additional needs. All staff in both teaching and support roles have training in the identification of pupils with additional needs and there is an open door access policy to the SENCo and other senior staff for any member of staff who has even minor concerns.
Staff conduct rigorous assessments of pupils’ academic attainment and progress each term and the results are analysed both by class teachers and senior staff. Pupils who have not made expected progress are identified and possible reasons are discussed. Staff consider whether additional support is needed and pupils are allocated places on support programmes which may be delivered in class, individually or in small groups which are withdrawn from the class for short periods of time. Most support programmes are needed for a short time only and pupils’ progress often returns to match or exceed expectation.
All class teachers work closely with their support staff both in terms of the direct teaching and learning which takes place within class and in the planning of work suitable for the wide range of abilities and aptitudes present within each class. That close association is very important in the process of identifying those pupils who may have additional or special needs which are not immediately obvious.
How Will I Know How The School Is Supporting My Child?
Many parents and carers have frequent and informal contact with the class teachers and support staff who work with their children and so a great deal of information is conveyed in these informal ways. Parent teacher consultations take place each term and all parents and carers are strongly encouraged to attend. Any parents and carers who are unable to attend at the agreed time etc are asked to ensure that they meet the class teacher soon afterwards so that a discussion on ways in which school and home can work in tandem to support each child takes place. Parents and carers are invited to discuss targets and provision for their child, as appropriate, and to express their views on attainment and progress as well as any other issues which concern them.
Children who have Individual Education Plans (I.E.Ps) drawn up to address specific targets will have them reviewed regularly, usually in consultation with parents and carers. Sometimes, new I.E.P targets are drafted jointly by members of staff who work with the child and the SENCo and then submitted to the parent for agreement and amendment. Any child who has a Statement of Special Educational Needs will have his or her attainment, progress and needs etc reviewed at least annually at a meeting to which parents and carers and all those who work with the child will be invited or to which they will be asked to report. The level of support needed to ensure the progress and well being of the child will be considered and a suitable recommendation made to the local authority within which the child lives.
The statements for those children who currently have a statement of special educational needs have now become Education Health and Care Plans. The nature of E.H.C Ps differs from statements in several important ways but one key change is the increased emphasis on parental involvement and choice. Other key changes are the intention to unify provision for the child, especially those who have support from a range of agencies and professionals, through a single point of reference and the extension of the age range covered to include individuals up to the age of twenty five.
How Are Children Who Have Medical or Health Needs Supported?
School staff have supported children with a wide range of medical and health conditions over time. Parents and carers of children who have medical or health needs which can reasonably be met within a mainstream school will be invited to meet staff who will be directly involved in the education and welfare of the child, including staff who oversee the health and medical support across the school. Staff training is reviewed and updated in the light of the changing needs of our pupils and there is a strong emphasis on working closely with families to ensure that we minimise the inevitable anxieties which are felt by both family members and school staff. Our Lady and St Joseph Catholic Primary School has the support of a school nurse who can act as a source of advice for parents and staff and who can facilitate referrals to outside agencies as necessary. Considerable numbers of pupils have allergies etc, some of which have the potential to be extremely serious, and staff seek to work closely with parents and carers to identify and manage risks. The school has a medical room where pupils who are unwell or who have playground accidents etc are assessed. Staff contact parents and carers immediately if there are any doubts about the nature or severity of the complaint. Staff will call for emergency aid if that seems appropriate.
The school is fully compliant and accessible and meets all requirements of the 2010 Act. Almost all of the facilities at Our Lady and St Joseph Catholic Primary School are on the ground floor. All communal spaces and classrooms are wheelchair accessible other than a few first floor spaces in the school community house which are chiefly used for individual music tuition and storage. There are adapted special care disabled toilet facilities and an accessible shower room. Access points are ramped where necessary.
Are All Children Included In Activities In School, After School and On Trips?
Staff go to enormous lengths to ensure that all pupils are included in all activities which are offered during the school day, in after school clubs etc and on school trips. This is monitored and recorded. However, there are rare occasions when it is not possible or safe to include individuals in a particular activity. Risk assessments precede all trips etc and judgements are made about whether reasonable adjustments could enable the child to take part. If that risk assessment indicates that it would not be safe or feasible to include a child then parents will be asked to discuss the issues. In all instances, the child’s best interests and safety and those of the other pupils will be the paramount concerns. All reasonable adjustments to staffing, transport etc will be considered.
What Happens When Children Join or Leave The School?
School staff make great efforts to ensure that transitions to and from Our Lady and St Joseph Catholic Primary School are as smooth and stress free as possible for pupils, families and staff.
Where pupils join our school from another setting staff ensure that contact is made in good time with the previous setting so that information regarding the child is shared and any particular needs are clearly identified. Where appropriate and possible, staff visit the previous setting in order to meet the pupil, parents or carers and support staff to begin building a working relationship. Staff from a previous setting often visit the pupil after transfer to Our Lady and St Joseph Catholic Primary School so that continuity is maintained.
When pupils leave Our Lady and St Joseph Catholic Primary School staff strive to ensure that there is contact with the pupil’s next school so that appropriate arrangements to support the child can be made where necessary. Parents and carers of pupils with special and additional needs who are moving on to secondary school are invited to consider suitable schools and provision long before the secondary transfer process begins officially. The school offers advice to all parents on the transfer process but the parents and carers of pupils with special or additional needs are offered additional support and meetings with staff from the chosen secondary school. Timely visits to any potentially suitable schools are arranged as necessary.
How Does The School Help Parents to Support Learning And Progress?
School staff aim to work closely with parents and carers to enable them to support their child’s learning in a wide variety of ways. In general, there is close and frequent contact between teachers, support staff and parents or carers and this helps to ensure that parents and carers know what their child is studying. Each class has a regular and individual curriculum newsletter designed to keep parents and carers fully informed of topics for the coming term etc. Where appropriate, pupils may have a structured home/school book which enables staff and parents or carers to record progress or concerns on a regular and routine basis. Progress and attainment are monitored constantly but there are regular assessment weeks which provide detailed and specific information on each pupil. Intervention programmes are tailored to address any identified needs. School staff meet regularly with parents and carers to update them on progress etc and to identify ways in which they can work together to support the child. Staff and parents and carers agree specific targets which are then reviewed after an appropriate interval. Parents and carers are generally strongly supportive of the homework which is set by class teachers, recognising that it is integral to the learning process, and they work closely with pupils to ensure that it is completed to a high standard.
School staff have offered workshops on a wide range of topics including reading, spelling, number, phonics etc and are always open to suggestions for future workshops or coffee mornings. Parents and carers who lack confidence in their own ability, or those who feel that they need help with any aspect of recent changes to a subject, are encouraged to speak to staff about how school can help.