Marchbank SEN Information Report
1. How does the school know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
The majority of children attending the school have either a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health and Care Plan which identifies the school as the best provision for the child. This also identifies the child’s primary and where appropriate secondary needs.
Sometimes schools will make a direct request to the school if they believe a child is struggling in the mainstream school due to their behaviours or their difficulties managing their emotions. An intervention place may be sought which would be for an initial period of one term and allow Marchbank the opportunity to conduct a series of assessments to help to determine the child’s specific needs.
Marchbank works closely with an Educational Psychology Service to review the needs of individual children and identify strategies to help reduce their barriers and improve their learning opportunities.
The annual review of the SEN statement/ EHCP ensures that they reflect the student’s current needs.
Children placed in the school are routinely assessed on all areas of the curriculum so that specific needs can be identified and targeted support arranged to ensure the child receives whatever is necessary for them to make progress.
2. How will school staff support my child?
The vast majority of children at Marchbank School will have a statement or an Education, Health and Care Plan. This document outlines the particular needs of the child and recommends the resources, teaching programmes and multi-agency involvement required to meet these needs. Every child has a class teacher who co-ordinates the plan and oversees the implementation of the document.
A range of strategies, programmes and resources are used to help children access learning at their level of need and all interventions are regularly reviewed and evaluated.
Each child has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) where targets are recorded and resources identified. IEP’s are carefully evaluated at the end of each term and new targets set. IEP’s are then shared with parents / carers and of course the child.
The class teacher has contact with students throughout the day. The class teacher will act as the first point of contact for parents/carers and will be the school professional who will directly liaise with home through direct meetings, telephone contact and/or home- school books.
Marchbank Free School is part of a family of schools collectively known as the Education Village Academies Trust (EVAT). A board of directors led by Mr. Jim O'Neill manages the whole of the EVAT provision. Working directly with the board of directors is Janet Penman who is chair of the Marchbank School Standards Committee .Marchbank Standards Committee has a responsibility to hold the Principal and SLT to account and ensure that all procedures and school systems and policies are in place. Parents have representation on the committee.
3. How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
Students in Marchbank School follow a curriculum which is personalised to their needs. All staff have very high standards with regards to effort, behaviour and achievement and within lessons work and support is differentiated to allow all students to make at the very least good progress. On a morning during maths and literacy children are grouped according to their needs and abilities. Levels of support are differentiated to meet the needs of all students. Higher levels of support are given to children with more complex needs. More able students are taught according to their level of ability and receive suitable challenge to ensure they reach their potential. All work within lessons is pitched at an appropriate level so that all children are able to access teaching according to their specific needs. Typically this might mean that in a lesson there would be several levels of work set for the class, on occasions this may also be individually differentiated.
The curriculum, lesson planning and progress are monitored rigorously by the Senior Leadership Team.
A significant proportion of the curriculum is delivered using a main lesson approach. This is a topic based approach which allows the children to focus on one aspect of a topic each day until it has been concluded. Experience has demonstrated that this approach favours the needs of children with some learning or concentration difficulties allowing them to become steeped in their own learning and providing opportunities for each child to work at their own level and follow interesting themes that they may identify for themselves; so allowing them to take responsibility for the direction of their own learning. Marchbank uses the International Primary Curriculum to provide the framework for this approach and to ensure comprehensive coverage of the full primary curriculum.
Each child also takes part in outdoor learning across the curriculum range, weekly forest school activities, weekly creativity lessons and half termly outdoor education.
4. How will I know how my child is doing? How will you help me to support my child’s learning?
Marchbank School offers an open door policy, at any point if you wish to discuss your child’s progress an appointment can be made to meet with the class teacher or the Principal. Staff in school can offer advice and practical ways that you can help children at home.
Marchbank School believes that a child’s education is a partnership between parents/carers and school staff, therefore we aim to keep communication channels open and communicate regularly, especially if a child has complex needs.
The school enjoys the services of Home and School consultancy with a family liaison officer who supports parents in the home, ensures effective communication between home and school and hosts regular parent coffee mornings with a range of speakers and activities. Help for parents to understand the school curriculum, national curriculum levels, progress data and simply how to help your child with reading or homework activities.
Students in Marchbank School all have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which has individual targets. This is discussed on a termly basis and parents are sent a copy of the IEP. The targets set are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time scaled).
Student’s progress is measured on a termly basis, a range of formative assessment tools including the Boxall profile assist staff in accurately assessing student’s attainment and progress. Students are set targets annually, these are reviewed each term and interventions are put in place for students at risk of underachieving. The school places an increased emphasis on achievement and self-evaluation and ensures that students have the teaching and learning opportunities to allow them to make at least good progress. Parents receive copies of the child’s individual progress and targets each term along with a progress report which covers areas across the range of school development.
5. What support will there be for my child’s overall well being?
The school is committed to multi-agency working to ensure that the needs of the whole child are met.
Professionals from other agencies including speech therapy, occupational therapy, educational psychologists and health and CAMHS personnel visit the school on a regular basis. As well as supporting individual students these professionals advise staff around strategies and offer training. The children also have an opportunity to access the services of a school counsellor each week. The class teacher working as part of a team of staff supporting each child ensures that the pastoral needs of each child are met.
Student voice is encouraged in all areas of the school through regular meetings of the student council, daily ring time sessions, a weekly whole school ring time and assemblies where children are encouraged to make contributions. Children are encouraged to contribute to the annual review of their SEN statement/ EHC plan. Children know their targets, both behaviourally and academically and can describe their next steps of learning to achieve those targets. Staff know individual children very well and any child requiring additional support will be offered it from a staff member with whom they have a good relationship. The focus of all staff is ensure children are happy in school and to that end the ethos aims to promote positivity and ensure all opportunities to help each child develop a healthy self –esteem are continually explored and evaluated.
6. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?
All educational staff working in Marchbank School have had specialist training and continue to access ongoing development in this specialist field of education. Both teachers and support staff have access to a programme of training which keeps them up to date with all of the specialist skills necessary for working with children with special educational needs in the areas of social, emotional and mental health or social and communication difficulties.
Marchbank School also works very closely with Future STEPS which is an occupational therapy company. Future STEPS are situated in the school building; all school staff have received training on delivering twice weekly motor skills workshops and meeting some sensory needs within the classroom. Marchbank also procures some sensory therapy from Future STEPS highly trained and experienced occupational therapists for individual children who have significant sensory needs.
In Marchbank School we have dedicated time from the following staff:
Family Liaison Officer
In addition we liaise closely with other agencies who work collaboratively with school staff in meeting the wider range of students needs:
Speech & Language Therapist
Primary mental health worker
Family Support Workers
7. What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or are having?
All children at Marchbank School have SEND; staff receive training commensurate with their roles. All staff receive at least six days of CPD per year (pro rata). In addition to this teaching staff access subject leaders Durham network CPD, teaching assistants and middle leaders have accessed targeted programmes of CPD to develop their skills. All staff receive Team Teach training in order to develop their use of effective de-escalation and behaviour management skills. In addition, all staff can access the Education Village CPD programme, which includes a range of specialist training.
Staff also have the opportunity to attend national training in this field of education through our membership with SEBDA (Social, Emotional, Behavioural Difficulties Association).
8. How will my child be included in activities outside of the classroom including school trips?
Marchbank School is committed to total inclusivity. Children that attend Marchbank take a full and active part in all aspects of school life. The school values the wider environment to enhance a child’s education.
We have our own wooded area which is used for structured forest school sessions each week and to provide an exciting and valuable resource across all other curriculum areas too.
We use a system of rewards which entitles children to take part in social activities off-site; visits to the countryside, the seaside, the cinema or local sports complex etc.
Our off-site visits are designed to;
Enhance curricular and recreational opportunities for all children;
Provide a wider range of experiences than could be provided on the school site alone; Promote the independence of our children as learners; and
Enable them to grow and develop in new learning environments.
We also occasionally afford students the opportunity to take part in a range of residential activities – both on our site and at other areas in the community as they get older.
All day visits/activities are risk assessed and recorded according to the commissioning LA guidance. Parents /carers take an active part in discussions around residential visits and these are discussed both formally at parent meetings and annual review meetings. The school operates an inclusive agenda and makes every effort to make off site visits accessible to all children, even if that means additional resources need to be employed.
9. How accessible is the school environment?
Marchbank School is situated in the Mowden area of Darlington. The whole environment has been designed to be accessible to all children, to disabled and non-disabled children. The building is wheelchair accessible with wide corridors, ramps and a lift. There are a full range of toilet facilities, showers and there are specialist areas available: there is a hall, an outdoor play area and a sensory room.
10. How will the school prepare and support my child to join the school or to transfer to a new school?
We work closely with commissioning local authorities to ensure that children are offered provision that meets their needs. Parents are invited to visit the school prior to applying for a place and at any time through the application process. Children are encouraged to access transition opportunities, such as visiting the class. Planning for the transition for the move to secondary education is a vital part of the annual review process from year 5 onwards.
Where children move on to another placement, their school records and examples of their work will be offered in order to make the transition as smooth as possible.
11. How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs.
A significant amount of school resources are dedicated to providing small class sizes with appropriate levels of staffing. A high number of our students are entitled to receive the student premium and these monies are targeted to improve reading, provide access to specific resources, to provide access to alternative curriculum opportunities and to extend awareness through the experiential curriculum. In addition, we have been able to commission specialist input to improve attendance, educational psychology services, speech and language therapy, and an occupational therapy service.
All our classes are provided resources to ensure the delivery of personalised curricula to meet the children’s individual needs.
12. How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
The students Statement of SEN/ EHC plan identifies a level of support which reflects the child’s current needs. This is agreed through discussion between the school and the Commissioning Local Authority. The cost of a place at Marchbank School takes account of the need for high staffing ratios and the resources necessary to meet the needs of children with identified SEMH and associated difficulties.
13. Who can I contact for further information?
For parents the first point of contact is Mandy Southwick the school principal.
Johanne Hull is our admin manager.
If you would like to speak to someone regarding your child’s needs or progress please feel free to contact the class teacher:
Sorbus: Harriet Emmerson
Cedar: Andy Emmerson
Oak: Andrew Meadowcroft
Thuja: Paul Harbron
Elder: Chris Pressdee-Rudd
Willow: Sally Raine
If you are considering Marchbank School for your child please make contact with Mandy Southwick who will be happy to meet with you to discuss your child’s needs, share further information about the school or arrange a visit.