Special Educational Needs & Disabilities
SENCO: Mrs Rachel Stewart
Hello, I have been the SENCO at Presdales since September 2018. However, I have worked with children and young people from the ages of 2 – 19 in a range of settings since graduating from university in 1998. I am proud to be the SENCO of Presdales. Our whole staff team work hard to deliver our school motto, ‘Achievement for All’. We are a school on a journey, determined to keep reflecting on and improving our practice to provide the best education and support for all our students. The SEND area of our school website is regularly updated; I hope it is a useful source of information for you. With thanks to our Parent/Carer SEND Think Tank team for their feedback and ideas on this and other areas of school life.
Hi, I am the SEND Trustee for Presdales. I am a retired HR Director with considerable International experience. I have lived in Ware for over 50 years and am involved in Local community in a number of ways. My role is to have oversight of the School’s arrangements and provisions for Special educational needs and act as Champion for SEND issues on the Board to ensure the provision continues to evolve and develop so it is always improving.
Mrs J. Salter
Trustee link: SEND
Meet the team …
Ms S. Jennings
Mrs S. Flanagan
Mrs V. Hellum
Ms D. Ford
Mrs J. Morgan
Miss A. Relph
Specific Learning Difficulties and Disabilities
Further information and support
Information for Sixth Form Students
SEND Information Report
1. How does the school know if children/young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
Year 7 students:
The Year 7 pastoral team and I work closely to facilitate each student’s smooth transfer to secondary school by liaising with their primary school to gain information from both teacher and students. Members of Presdales’ pastoral/SEND team visit each child in their primary setting.
If your daughter has:
- a diagnosis of a disability and/or a Specific Learning Disability (SpLD)
- and is in receipt of additional classroom support at their primary school
- and/or if they have an EHCP,
it is possible to arrange a visit to Presdales, and a meeting with me during the summer term.
To help identify learning strengths and difficulties at an early stage, all Year 7 students undertake a range of assessments within the first few weeks of starting. Assessments consist of:
- Cognitive Ability Tests (CAT4)
- Lexile reading assessment
- In addition, class teachers regularly assess students and flag any students of concern to the SENCO
On occasion, if the above assessments indicate that your child may have some mild learning difficulties, a member of the SEND team will contact you to discuss the results and any concerns you have. If appropriate, we will offer your child an Exam Access Arrangement (EAA) assessment which is carried out on site by a qualified assessor. This assessment helps us to pinpoint if there are specific areas of difficulty which may mean that your child could receive extra time in exams and extra support in some lessons. Please note, EAA assessments are not diagnostic.
Students joining mid-year and in Year 12:
If your daughter/son joins Presdales during the school year, or in Year 12, please make us aware if they have any SEND needs, and/or if they received extra support at their previous school. We will contact their previous school for relevant information such as CATs results but if this information is not available, we will arrange for students to sit CATs assessments soon after joining.
If you think your child may have SEND you are welcome to contact me to discuss your concerns. In the first instance please email me outlining your concerns.
2. How will school staff support my child?
School staff will work closely with you and your child to ensure that your child receives the right level of support and challenge for them, depending on need. Ongoing communication between students and their families, and school staff, is encouraged: we are a team working together to ensure the happiness, well-being and best outcomes for your child.
Quality First Teaching (QFT) strategies: At Presdales all lessons incorporate the ‘Top 12’ teaching strategies which support students in their learning (a copy of this is attached on the ‘Top 12’ tab). Some students, who require additional SEND support also have a Pupil Passport which teachers use to plan and teach lessons personalised to the needs of individuals. Teaching staff and Teaching Assistants receive regular updates about students. Throughout the term ‘Teach Meets’ are organised to share good practice among staff who are involved with students requiring additional SEND support.
Extra support in small groups: It may be necessary for your child to receive extra support in a small group. We currently have students receiving support in: Maths Skills, Literacy, Speech and Language Therapy, Study Skills, Life Skills and Social Skills. Some students in Key Stage 3 are placed into a smaller teaching group for Maths and English lessons.
Monitoring students’ progress: I meet regularly with Heads of Year, the Assistant Heads for Key Stages 3 and 4, the Assistant Head of Inclusion, and the Deputy Head of Curriculum – together we monitor students’ behaviour, attitude and general progress as part of the school reporting system. If there is cause for concern, a member of staff will make contact with you to discuss how we can best support your child. If you have any specific concerns about your child’s learning needs please contact their Form Tutor or me.
Involvement of specialists: Occasionally I may suggest the involvement of a specialist, such as: an educational psychologist, speech and language therapist, dyslexia specialist teacher, ADHD and/or autism mentor etc. Please be assured that you will be fully involved at every stage of this process.
Pastoral support: Our Form Tutors, Heads of Year and SEND department work closely together to ensure that the social and academic needs of your child are met. We also have a school counsellor and small team of mental health workers who run drop-in sessions. If a student has ongoing/significant mental health needs, it may be possible for them to be referred for a block of weekly counselling sessions.
3. How will I know how my child is doing?
You will receive regular reports and feedback from staff; academic tracking points mark your child’s termly progress, and consultation meetings give you the opportunity to speak to your child’s teachers (these are held annually for each year group). Our marking, assessment and pastoral system will be fully explained to you at annual Parent Information Evenings which take place annually in September.
If you are concerned about your child’s progress, pastoral needs, or learning support please contact their Form Tutor, subject teachers, or me. All staff emails are available on the school website.
4. How will the learning and development provision be matched to my child’s needs?
Following the ‘Assess, Plan, Do and Review’ model we monitor your child’s progress regularly and this information is used to ensure that the level of support and intervention is appropriate to your child’s changing needs. All of our students benefit from inclusive, Quality First Teaching (QFT) delivered by teachers who know their students and differentiate within their class to support all students. Teaching Assistants work closely with class teachers, sharing observations, feedback and expertise. Some students may require additional interventions, which are regularly reviewed.
5. What support will be there for my child’s overall wellbeing?
An excellent pastoral care system is in place to provide a safety net of support for your child. The pastoral team is led by the Deputy Head of Pastoral, the Assistant Heads of Pastoral: Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, Head of Sixth Form, Heads of Year and Form Tutors; regular pastoral meetings are also attended by the SENCO and Assistant Head of Inclusion. This ensures that we have a joined-up approach to pastoral care.
We have a Big Sister/Big Brother programme whereby Sixth Formers are attached to the Year 7 and Year 8 forms to support students with things like organisation and finding their way around school etc.
The school employs its own professional counsellor who runs regular drop-ins in addition to time-tabled one-to-one sessions. Assemblies, SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development) sessions and PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Education) lessons support the pastoral process.
ADHD and autism specialist mentor: Students with ADHD and/or who are autistic are sometimes invited to meet with a specialist mentor, Pippa Simou, this may be a short-term arrangement or ongoing, depending on the student’s needs.
The Learning Hub (including the Green Room) provides a safe and comfortable space for students who prefer a quieter environment with less people than the main school buildings. It is available for students from 8am until form time, and at break and lunchtimes. Occasionally some students with specific needs are offered a ‘soft start’ to the day where they might spend time in the Learning Hub before feeling ready to attend lessons. This is only offered after careful consideration and by prior agreement. The Learning Hub is also used for small group interventions, private study and various lunchtime clubs.
If your child has a medical condition, please see our Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions Policy.
6. What training have the staff, supporting children and young people with SEND, had or are having?
I have been in the school for 8 years and have successfully completed the National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (NASENCO). I have over 30 years’ experience of working with children and young people in a range of settings.
Training for teaching and support staff is on-going and has recently included sessions on Autism, Quality First Teaching (including Rosenshine’s principles), and ADHD. We are working towards becoming a recognised ‘ADHD friendly school’.
On-going advice is obtained from external specialists.
7. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?
We have strong connections with local Hearing and Vision Impairment Teams who regularly visit school to support students and staff. The Autism Advisory Service provides support and advice for both the school, and families, of students with an autism diagnosis, and those who have been referred.
Help and advice from other specialist services is accessed as and when needed. When external support is required, I, along with the Designated Safeguarding Person (DSP) will request support via a Single Service Request Form. This form must be signed by the parent/carer so you will always be kept informed.
The school employs its own professional counsellor to support students with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) difficulties, and a qualified assessor who assesses some students who may have cognition and learning difficulties; to determine if extra time arrangements for exams can be applied for.
8. How will you help me to support my child’s learning?
We recognise the important role that parents/carers play in supporting their child’s learning, therefore curriculum information, which can be found on our school website, is available to help with this, and Edulink ensures that parents/carers are informed of homework tasks that are set.
There are opportunities during parent consultation meetings to speak to me and subject teachers directly, but you are welcome to contact us at other times if you have any specific concerns, or you may speak directly to the appropriate Head of Department.
9. How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child’s education?
You and your child will be fully included in discussions about their needs and any support that may be required. I will arrange to meet with parents/carers of students requiring additional targeted support, together we will compile a Pupil Passport which outlines your child’s difficulties, as well as strengths, and strategies which teachers can use to support them in the classroom.
Parents/carers are invited to meet the subject staff and pastoral staff at regular consultation evenings which are held for every year group at specific times in the year to discuss progress following a written report.
If at any time you are concerned about your child’s progress, you are encouraged to consult your child’s subject teacher, the appropriate Head of Department, or myself.
10. How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?
All students are given the opportunity to attend all school trips and activities outside the classroom, unless it is judged that their presence would create a risk to others or themselves. Some students may require additional support in preparation of going on trips – in which case a meeting can be arranged between myself, the trip leader, and the family. If this is the case for your child, please get in touch.
11. How accessible is the school environment?
.The school has wheelchair access to all ground floor entrances. The school is a building which offers education on three floors and at the present time there is no access to these other floors via a lift. The Accessibility Plan is regularly reviewed and improving access is an ongoing challenge, but where possible we will strive to do what is feasible. For example, a student with a significant sensitivity to artificial lighting may be timetabled to use classrooms with good natural light only.
12. Who can I contact for further information?
For matters concerning academic progress please contact your child’s subject teachers. For most pastoral concerns, your child’s Form Tutor and/or Head of Year are the appropriate contact. However, if you have a specific pastoral concern; please contact either of the two Pastoral Heads: Mrs Ellie Sykes responsible for KS4, Ms Chandler responsible for KS3 or Mrs Sara Miller who has whole-school responsibility.
As SENCO, I am the point of call for anything concerning SEND and can be contacted via email: email@example.com
Alternatively contact the Head teacher, Mr Warren. Parents are also able to speak to the Chair of Governors, Jackie Harvey, or the SEND link governor, Jay Salter.
The Complaints Procedure and all relevant policies are available on the school website.
13. How will the school prepare and support my child to join the school, transfer to a new school or the next stage of education and life?
The Year 7 pastoral team and SENCO work closely with primary schools and families of Year 6 students to facilitate the smooth transfer to secondary school. Transition support is also available for new students joining us mid-year; this might include an initial visit to the school and a meeting with the SENCO and other relevant members of staff depending on the student’s needs. Prior to starting Presdales, some students may benefit from having a Pupil Passport put in place to explain to teachers the needs of the child and how those needs are going to be met in the classroom.
Students with SEND in Years 9, 10 and 11 will be supported by having a careers interview arranged with a member of the “YC Herts” Service. Sixth-form students may be given extra support in preparing their UCAS application, practising interview technique, visiting the local college for Higher Education.
For some students, additional targeted support may be needed – which will be agreed in consultation with the student, their parents/carers and outside agencies, if required. These students who are on tiers 3-5 of our new tiered system of SEND support.
14. How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
The school makes decisions about the allocation of resources based on an individual student’s needs. These needs may change over time, as the child becomes more independent or progresses in a particular area for example, and so the allocation of resources will be reviewed regularly.
The budget is used to employ the SENCO and Teaching Assistants within the school and to purchase resources e.g. Chromebooks, screening packages and electronic reader software.
15. How is the decision made about how much support my child will receive?
To ensure that students receive appropriate support, we gather together as much information about them as we can, as early as we can. For Year 7 students this includes primary school data, and the results of Year 7 assessments (CATs and Lexile reading scores). Teachers may also refer students who they have concerns about. After analysing this information, I may contact some parents/carers to offer a further Exam Access Arrangement (EAA) assessment with a qualified assessor which may lead to some students trialling exam access arrangements (such as extra time).
All decisions about personalised support for individual students are made in consultation with you and your child alongside our professional judgements. In the autumn term 2022 we introduced a ‘5-tier system of SEND support’ (see below). The purpose of this is to ensure that students receive the level of support appropriate to their needs.
We believe that all students should be able to make good educational progress regardless of their SEND needs and we support all students to ensure they also develop resilience. We are concerned to ensure that there is careful monitoring of support leading to the development of your child’s independence.
16. How can I find information about the Local Authority’s Local Offer of services and provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disability?
Information about the Hertfordshire Local authority offer can be found at: http://www.hertsdirect.org/services/healthsoc/childfam/specialneeds/