How we support children/young people with SEN starting at our school
In the summer term before children start in Reception, we organise transition visits for all children to help familiarise them with their new environment and the staff. This involves the Reception Class teacher visiting the children in their nursery settings before they join us for two half day visits. Children with SEND may require additional support when moving from their nursery and we work with staff at the nursery to ensure this is as supportive to parents and seamless for the child as possible. In addition, we ensure that staff from both our school and from the nurseries meet so they can share records and key information about the child’s needs, use of equipment, strategies for teaching, agencies involved and so on.
Families are also invited to an information sharing open evening. This is lead by the Head Teacher, and a presentation given by the Reception Class Teacher and Early Years Leader, Mrs. Davison, outlining what life will be like over that first important year. Other support staff, the Chair of Governors, Friends of the School and the School Nurse, regularly attend the meeting. A very comprehensive information pack is explained and given out and there is ample opportunity for your concerns and questions to be voiced, with members of staff on hand to answer queries.
You and your child will then be invited to an after school “School Start” event. This is a fun and informal treasure hunt around the school buildings and grounds, so you can familiarise yourself with the environment. This can be particularly important for children with special needs relating to spatial awareness and unfamiliar settings and routines.
All new starters, at the end of the summer term, will spend half a day in their new classroom with their new teacher and nursery nurse and get to meet each other. Parents don’t stay at these sessions, as children build those first important steps towards independence.
We stagger starting days in September, 6 children at a time, building up to a full class of 30 after 5 days. Very young summer born pupils and pupils with SEND often benefit from starting on the first day, in a small group setting, where their individual special needs can be catered for while they are “finding their feet”.
This can be adapted to accommodate the additional needs of any child, and as many visits as appropriate can be arranged to ensure a smooth transition. It is also a good time for families and school staff to plan together for the needs of children with SEND. Your views and hopes and dreams for your child are important to us in planning for success and achievement, whatever the starting point.
How we support children/young people with SEN moving between classes in our school
We understand that any kind of transition can be challenging for children with SEND and we have several measures in place to ensure our children have a positive experience when moving between classes within school. At the end of each school year, the children all take part in a ‘Move-Up’ day, when they move into their new classroom and meet their new teacher. Children with SEND are supported by a teaching assistant they are familiar with during this process and if appropriate to the child’s needs, this assistant will move with them.
Children may also have supplementary classroom visits and spend time getting to know their new teacher before the Summer break. Parents are also invited to meet their child’s new class teacher early in the term.
Children with SEN are provided with a transition book that details their new classroom, routines and information about their new teacher. One parent identified the following examples as being helpful in supporting their child in transition:
- The new teacher meeting with the child before the end of term and inviting the child to bring in some photos of any holidays/activities they would like to share with them. Ten minutes spent looking at these together helped to establish a bond and encouraged our child to feel comfortable approaching the teacher.
- Arranging a visit to the classroom at the end of the holiday. Coming in to school when it is ‘closed’ is exciting, and gives the chance to familiarise themselves without the usual noise and bustle.
- A familiar member of staff was available to greet my child as they re-entered school on the first day back, and assisted them with the practical tasks. Anxiety can be very high and a welcome from a familiar face was reassuring for both myself and my child.
How we support children/young people with SEN leaving our school
At the end of Year 6, we work in partnership with our feeder secondary school, St Bede’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College, to provide an enhanced level of transition for those who we feel would benefit from this. This may take the form of additional visits for children, summer school, one to one / small group working with secondary school staff or pupil mentoring from secondary schools.
The period of transition depends on the individual needs of the child. Our secondary school colleagues attend Year 5 and Year 6 Annual Reviews to meet the class teachers, parents and most importantly the child. At these meeting, secondary school provision is discussed and transition support put in place. We have found this particularly useful in easing any worries or concerns parents and children may have.
We are particularly keen to involve parents/carers as much as possible in their child’s transition to secondary school. School staff will take opportunities to work alongside parents/carers to visit secondary schools in advance of secondary placement applications being submitted to the Local Authority. This ensures parents/carers can make the most informed placement decision for their child. When a secondary school has been allocated to the child, parents are fully involved and consulted at all stages of the transition process.
If you would like to discuss your SEND requirements in detail please contact the school to arrange an appointment.