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Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Vale School Special Educational Needs Information Report  (supporting the West Sussex Local Offer)

- Last Updated November 2018

In line with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2014, this SEN Information Report details the provision in place at Vale School to support children with Disabilities and Special Educational Needs (DSEN). This document is in addition to the school DSEN Policy.

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?

In line with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2014, a child will be identified as having a Disability or Special Educational Need (DSEN) if they have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age or if they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools, such as access to rooms/areas or equipment used in subjects such as Food Technology, Design Technology and Physical Education.

Identification of such needs could occur in a variety of ways:

  • Upon starting school, all Early Years children and parents/carers are met in advance of enrolment and members of Vale School staff will discuss children with staff from the nursery/pre-school they attended, if they did so.
  • If children join the school after Early Years, meetings are held with parents/carers, and Vale School staff will consult with previous schools to discuss the child, if appropriate

In both cases, concerns regarding identified or suspected SEN will be discussed with the Vale School Special Educational Needs Coordinators.

Vale School has two Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs). Early Years and Years 1 - 4 are managed by Mrs Catherine Bourne. Year 6 is managed by Mrs Sarah McDonnell.

If a child’s needs become apparent as they move up through the school, class teachers will discuss these with the relevant SENCO, and discuss their concerns with the child’s parents/carers. If the child is found to have needs that meet the criteria in the SEND Code of Practice, the child will be listed on the school’s Disabilities and Special Educational Needs (DSEN) Register, and additional provision will be put into place. The SENCOs maintain the DSEN register and oversee provision. The school’s DSEN Register is an internally held document, the aim of which is to ensure that teachers are aware of children’s additional needs. The progress of children on the DSEN Register is closely monitored by the school’s Senior Leadership Team and their achievement in tests at the end of Key Stage 1 (Year 2) and Key Stage 2 (Year 6) can be reviewed as a group, e.g. by Ofsted, to ensure that the school’s provision is working for children with additional needs. 

If at any point parents/carers have concerns about their child’s progress or attainment, or suspect the child may have additional needs, they are encouraged to make an appointment to discuss their concerns with the child’s class teacher and/or the relevant SENCO, as appropriate. Contact can be made via the school office.

How will school staff support my child?

Day-to-day teaching and support of children with DSEN is managed by their class teacher. The SENCOs will support the teacher in this as appropriate, will maintain the DSEN register and will coordinate any additional support from external services or agencies put into place for a child. Children with Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans will have their needs and provision recorded in accordance with the most recent Disability and Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. Children may receive support from Teaching Assistants (TAs), DSEN TAs, Learning Mentors and/or the SENCOs. Please see our school website for more details on the team. External specialists can also support children as part of their provision. Referrals will be made to external specialists as the school deems appropriate in consultation with parents/carers. Parents/carers are welcome to request referrals.

We have a Governor for DSEN, who has responsibility within the reporting process. The school monitors the progress and attainment of children using internal processes such as classroom observation, test results and discussion with parents/carers.

Any complaints about provision should be made to the child’s class teacher, the relevant SENCO, or if unresolved, in accordance with the school’s Complaints Policy.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

We aim to personalise the curriculum to cater for children’s needs, finding the balance between tasks that are challenging but also achievable. Tasks can be differentiated in the classroom setting or through interventions such as small group or one-to-one sessions. The aim is to provide children with learning opportunities that lead them to make progress at a pace appropriate for them and based on their individual starting point.

How will school staff and I know how my child is progressing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?

If a child is identified as having DSEN, their progress will be closely monitored by their class teacher and the SENCOs, as well as through normal monitoring processes (see Curriculum Policy). Parents/carers may be given updates on progress or attainment through informal reporting, such as a note in their child’s reading diary or a phone call home, and through formal reporting, including the annual report. If a teacher has concerns about a child’s learning they will discuss this with parents/carers and the relevant SENCO as appropriate.

If additional needs are identified, parents/carers will be invited to meet with the child’s class teacher and the relevant SENCO, where appropriate, to discuss and plan extra support (provision) for the child. Parents/carers will also be advised on ways they could help at home, and will be provided with resources where appropriate. Parents/carers are welcome to arrange a meeting with the class teacher or SENCO to discuss any issues or concerns about work at home. If relevant, the school will run workshops and evening events to help parents/carers further their skills and knowledge in supporting their child’s learning. There are also external groups and services who provide support and information to parents/carers supporting children with additional needs. See the West Sussex Local Offer for more information.

What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?

The Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher (who is also the Designated Safeguarding Lead), Inclusion Leader and the SENCOs are responsible for monitoring pastoral needs and provision across the school, with the class teachers having main responsibility for the pupils in their care. All school staff have a responsibility to report to a senior staff member any concerns they may have for a child.

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?

At Vale School we have a rich and varied range of experience and expertise in our teaching and support staff, who are trained to support children with many types of DSEN, including:

  • Speech, language and communication difficulties
  • Autistic Spectrum Condition
  • Physical therapies (if a programme has been provided by an external health specialist)
  • Hearing impairment

We also have access to many external services, including:

  • Autism and Social Communication Team
  • Learning and Behaviour Advisory Team
  • School Nurses Service (NHS)
  • Speech, Language and Communication Therapy Service (NHS)
  • Social Care and Children’s Services
  • West Sussex Educational Psychology Service
  • The Child Development Centre (NHS – Worthing Hospital)
  • Play Therapy Services


What training is available to staff supporting children and young people with DSEN?

Teaching and support staff receive training through our scheduled programme of In-Service Training (INSET) and other meetings. There are also opportunities to attend external courses which cover many aspects of DSEN teaching and learning. Internal training is provided by the SENCOs and any staff who have experience or training in specific aspects of DSEN. External trainers can also provide specialist input.

How will children with DSEN be supported in accessing trips and other in-school activities, such as visitors and workshops?

Vale School staff will always use their best endeavours to ensure that trips are fully accessible to children with DSEN. We will seek to make reasonable adjustments to trips and activities where required. This may include asking parents/carers to assist on a trip, or preparing alternative routes or opportunities in order that children can access the same learning as their peers.

The Deputy Headteacher, SENCOs, class teacher and DSEN TAs will liaise together as required and with parents/carers in the planning of additional support and provision for activities outside the classroom. Where required, a risk assessment will be completed to ensure provision is appropriate. 

How accessible is the school environment?

Due to our location on the side of a hill, the school is spread across several different levels. Most areas of the building and outside areas are wheelchair accessible, with the exception of the music room. In the case of fire, an Evac-chair is required to evacuate wheelchair users who cannot walk supported down stairs from our first floor classrooms. We have ramps, electric ramps and lifts to gain access to the various levels of the main school building. Most areas are also accessible through the use of push-button or automatic doors. Parents/carers of children with physical disabilities are encouraged to visit the school and discuss their child’s needs in detail with the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher in advance of enrolment.

We are able to access support for children and parents/carers for whom English is an additional language from the West Sussex Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement (EMTAS) Team and through local interpreter and translation services. 

How will the school prepare and support my child when joining the school and when transferring to a new school?

If children are joining us in the Early Years, Vale School staff will meet with parents/carers and, if children have attended nursery or pre-school, staff from those settings, to discuss any concerns and arrangements for transition. Children joining Vale School in any year group will be welcome to visit the school to familiarise themselves with the environment and meet key staff. Where appropriate, they will also be provided with key information, such as staff photographs and a list of routines of the day.

We have a successful transition programme to prepare children for the move into a new year- group, including transition sessions for children and open evenings for parents/carers. Children with particular difficulties with change will be provided with additional resources for starting school, moving to a new year group or moving on to Secondary School. These could include additional visits, “Moving On” packs or “Pupil Passports” which contain photographs of key staff members and key parts of the new building or area. We also run social skills and/or nurture groups to support children we identify as vulnerable during transitions.

Children with Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans will have their Annual Reviews planned for the beginning of the term in which they will leave Vale School in order that their needs can be reviewed and an appropriate transition plan can be agreed.

How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s Special Educational Needs?

The school budget for DSEN is calculated by the Local Authority and is allocated by the school in accordance with the needs of the children on roll. This budget is carefully monitored and the spending is adapted according to the changing needs of the children across the whole school. The allocation is decided by the Senior Leadership Team, in collaboration with the SENCOs.

How is the decision made about the type and amount of support my child will receive?

The support a child receives will be decided based upon on their individual needs at the time, and will be re-assessed regularly by the class teacher and the SENCOs. Consideration is given to their rate of progress, their attainment and their general wellbeing. Support for children will be discussed with parents/carers as required. Where appropriate in terms of age and personal development, children will also be involved in the decision-making process, e.g. through meetings with their class teachers and/or the DSEN team.

Any concerns about provision should be made to the child’s class teacher, the year group Leader or the SENCO. If a concern remains unresolved, it will be handled in accordance with the school’s Complaints Policy.

How are parents/carers involved in the school and how can I become involved?

At Vale School we welcome parents/carers to be involved in all aspects of school life, including coming into school to hear children read, helping at events such as the Summer Fair or by becoming a school Governor. Parents/carers are automatically made members of our Friends of the Vale team, through which they can choose to help organise and run fundraising events. Parents/carers have the opportunity to ask questions and contribute their views at any time, through our Governors or in person.

Who can I contact for further information?

For children already in school, the class teacher is the first point of contact regarding DSEN, though the SENCOs are also available to meet with parents/carers by appointment. If your child is due to join the school, the SENCO with responsibility for the relevant year group or the Headteacher would be your first point of contact, via the school office.

Useful documents available on our website include:

  • Accessibility Plan
  • Admissions Policy
  • Anti-Bullying Policy
  • Asthma Policy
  • Attendance/ Absence Policy
  • Behaviour Policy
  • Curriculum Policy
  • Disability and Special Educational Needs Policy
  • Intimate Care Policy
  • Management of Medicines Policy
  • Public Sector Equality Duty Policy
  • Pupil Restraint Use of Reasonable Force

Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Responsible Citizens