Marchbank Free School Special
Educational Needs and Disabilities SEND [SEND] Information Report
2018 – 19
For Parents, Carers and Governors
Marchbank Free School is an all age Primary Special school for pupils aged 5 – 11 years. All pupils have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan that identifies social, emotional and mental health difficulties according to the SEN Code of Practice 2014. It is recognised that pupils may also have a range of other associated or additional learning difficulties.
This SEND Information Report outlines information regarding ways in which we provide support for all our pupils in order for them to learn and grow intellectually, emotionally and socially in a nurturing environment. The information required to be included in the SEND Information Report is stated in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 Schedule 1
How Marchbank Free School meets the special educational needs of students
1. What kinds of special educational needs does the school provide for?
Marchbank Free School provides for children whose primary need is Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) difficulties as described in their Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) according to the SEN Code of Practice 2014. They can attend Marchbank Free School from Foundation stage through to Year 6.
We recognise that their needs are complex and, in addition to their SEMH difficulties, some pupils may have some degree of generalised cognitive (learning) difficulties, specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia or dyscalculia, expressive or receptive (speaking or understanding) language difficulties or social communication difficulties.
2. How will I know how the school supports my child?
During the first two months of a pupil’s entry, staff use a variety of assessment tools to ascertain the pupil’s strengths and needs, including their social, emotional and mental health development. Individual targets are set and shared with the pupil and parents/carers. Each term, the school provides a written report on each pupil, detailing progress made throughout the year. Parents/carers are invited to school to discuss the report or at any time when concerns are raised. The school is also subject to the Ofsted framework for inspection.
3. How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
Teachers plan using pupils’ achievement levels so that work is matched to ability. At Marchbank Free School, teachers aim to support students of all abilities by using a range of differentiation strategies, such as providing a list of key words and definitions, simplifying language, using images which connect to the words being used, giving examples, modelling actions or technical vocabulary, clear, simple instructions, verbal explanation accompanied by modelling, placing students with certain skills next to students who need to develop those skills, modelling answers to show them what we are looking for, tasks which can be accessed in different ways, stepped activities getting progressively more challenging, extension questions and tasks, matching, grouping and ranking activities are accessible to all students, questioning at different levels, Thinking time, Writing frames/sentence starters.
There is a high level of teaching assistant support available in school, so that pupils can work in small groups. Our class ratios are 2:7. Where appropriate, pupils access a range of resources, including technology, to support their learning. The curriculum is designed to include many activities, such as outdoor learning, forest school and life skills, in order to motivate pupils and raise their levels of confidence.
Marchbank Free School has a strong focus on communication, social skills, personal development, wider experiences and interaction with music projects to motivate and engage. The wider experiences will include regular opportunities to engage in cinema and theatre trips, Outward Bounds learning, off site sporting experiences and local community visits.
4. How will I know how my child is doing?
Your child’s progress and attainment are is shared with you in a variety of ways, including:
During the child’s pre-admission meeting, we aim to gather information from parents/carers, other adults who have been involved with the child and of course, from the child directly, about what their strengths and difficulties are- where they may need more support. This adds to the assessment information we receive with the Education Health care Plan.
Following the child’s start date, we use the first few weeks to make further assessment of their development and progress in order to set targets for learning and behaviour at the post-admission meeting (approx. 6 to 8 weeks later). During this time staff observe what seems to trigger inappropriate behaviours and try out strategies to respond effectively.
If we or parents/carers suspect that there are difficulties which were not identified in the original EHCP, we will involve other professionals, such as an Educational Psychologist or Occupational Therapists to carry out further assessment.
5. What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being?
The school has a variety of ways of supporting your child’s well-being. They include:
6. Students with medical needs
Staff who administer medicine complete training provided by an appropriately registered body and follow DfE guidelines included within ‘Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions’ Statutory guidance for governing bodies of maintained schools and proprietors of academies in England February 2014
7. What training are the staff supporting children with SEND given?
All staff receive the following training:
In addition, all staff receive ongoing training to help them meet the varying and complex needs of the individual pupils. This training uses both internal expertise and external providers. The school is committed to continuous professional learning and school to school support.
8. How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom, including school trips?
Risk assessments are carried out and procedures are put in place to enable all children to participate in all school activities as much as is reasonably practicable to do. Our ethos is one of inclusion so we will always endeavor to make whatever adaptations are necessary to enable pupils to be included in all educational opportunities, including school trips. This may include making a visit 1:1 with an adult at a separate time to the rest of the group.
9. How accessible is the school environment?
Our school is a safe and accessible building. All safeguarding procedures and risk assessments are in place and adhered to by all staff. We have a range of different facilities to help our students, staff and visitors throughout our school, including disabled toilets, wide corridors and technology to help with reading and writing. Please see our Accessibility Plan.
10. How do I secure a place at Marchbank Free School? How will the school support my child when joining Marchbank Free School or transferring to a new school?
The school will work in partnership with local authorities and parents / carers to assess the suitability of students for a place at the school. We are able to give parents information regarding our assessment and admission process, on inquiry. We encourage parents to engage in a dialogue with their Local Authority and to make a joint application.
Note: the school will take referrals and organise admissions assessments at any point in an academic year. Intake is not restricted to September only.
Once a referral has been received from an LA, the paperwork will assessed by the senior leadership team. If from the paperwork it is felt that the school would be suitable for the student, then the school will agree a provisional placement for the student , subject to a physical assessment. A designated member of staff will then arrange to observe the student in either their current school or in the home setting., Parents/carers will then be invited in for an admissions interview.
Following this meeting and assessment, in most cases the senior leadership team will be able to make a final decision over the following few days. The school acknowledges that parents/carers have often been through lengthy processes in the past and in recognition of this, the school will aim to advise of the outcome as quickly as possible. However, in a small number of cases, if the decision is uncertain then, rather than make the wrong decision, it may be more appropriate to delay a decision whilst more information can be obtained and school / home visits are carried out.
If Marchbank Free School is able to meet the child’s special educational needs, a formal offer of a place and a start date will be sent to the LA and parent/carer. The proposed fee will be suggested to the LA. When the LA confirms that the offer of a place is going to be taken up, the school will send contracts to the LA.
The pre-placement process will typically consist of:
A member of the senior leadership team meeting with parents / carers to obtain up to date information, including but not exclusive to the following areas:
In most cases pupils are encouraged to attend the first part of the admissions interview and, where applicable, having the chance to talk about themselves and their schooling. The pupil would then be accompanied by a member of the staff team and join a class, tour the school or play in the playground, thus enabling the school to begin to assess how they respond to their environment and peers.
Whilst this is a recommended format, it may be adjusted according to individuals. So, for example, if a parent advocates that it would be too stressful for the pupil to visit the school, then the pupil could be observed in their current setting on another occasion. It is essential for parents and pupils, that this first point of contact with the school is positive and successful.
A member of the senior leadership team would meeting with the child’s mainstream school to gather information,including;
Marchbank Free School must agree to being named in a student’s final Education, Health and Care Plan, except where they feel the following conditions may apply:
The school cannot meet the child’s SEN
The school must also be satisfied that the parents / carers of the child are supportive of the placement.
The school will send out an admissions pack which will include information about the school for both parents and student.
All children undergo annual reviews as laid down by the SEN Code of Practice. Although parents can indicate to their local authority the school of preference to be named in a child’s EHCP, the authority may not agree with the placement identified. In such circumstances parents have the right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (SEN & Disability).
Marchbank Free School is unable to offer places to families who wish to independently fund the placement. All decisions relating to the proposed placement of any individual are confidential. There will be open and regular communication with relatives, carers and advocates, which acknowledge and respect the needs of each user. The school will liaise with the local authority to ensure they are kept up to date.
Transition plans will be made with the LA, the current school placement and the parent/carer. Transitions are often difficult for children who have SEMH. It will be essential to consider mechanisms/strategies that may make the process easier for the child. Pupils may be invited in for one or more transition visits. These should be planned with parents / carers and should be bespoke to individual needs.
11.How will my child get to school?
Marchbank Free School is not responsible for transporting your child to and from school. The parent/carers or LA is responsible for making transport arrangements and will inform the school accordingly.
12. How are decisions made about how much support my child will receive?
For pupils with a Statement or an Education Health and Care Plan, the decision regarding the support required will be reached and agreed when the ECHP Plan is being produced or at an annual review of a statement and when recommendations have been accepted by the ECHP Team. Parents/carers, school staff and any other relevant professionals will be able to contribute to this decision making process.
For pupils who are also looked after by the Local Authority (LAC pupils), further decisions about the amount of support they will receive will be discussed and agreed at Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings. The decisions will then be recorded in the PEP’s and reviewed three times a year.
13. How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child’s education?
This may be done in a variety of ways, including:
• discussions with the class teacher, either in person or via telephone or via email
• during ECH Plan and/Statement review meetings or post-admissions meetings
• during other meetings with school staff, such as PEP meetings or other multi-agency meetings
• during discussions with a senior leadership team member
14. Who can I contact for further information or if I have any concerns?
If you wish to discuss your child’s educational needs or have concerns about something regarding your child’s schooling, please contact one of the following in the
15. What specialist services and expertise are available at, or accessed by, the school?
If specified in EHC Plans or identified as an additional need, the school can instigate support from a range of service including:
These services are contacted when necessary and appropriate, according to your child’s needs. The school uses the Early Help process when appropriate to do so, through the Family Support Worker and Home/School Liaison Manager.