Our SEND offer at Brandles School
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What support does Brandles school offer students with SEN and their parents?
At Brandles School we recognise and value the importance of working in partnership with parents. We listen to parents/carers and work together with them to ensure their child gets the best out of their time here. All parents/carers are able to contact key staff at the School by email, phone or in person and are welcomed to attend a number of events, including parents’ evenings and information evenings during the school year.
During the School day, parents/carers are encouraged to contact Miss Wilsher (Pastoral Lead) if they have an urgent query.
Tutors will meet with students daily to review their progress and agree targets and strategies to ensure good progress is continued.
Parents/Carers are also invited to attend the School’s Coffee mornings throughout the year to give feedback and share ideas on the SEN support provided by the School.
Refreshments will be provided.
Who are the SEN support team at Brandles?
All of our students have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
At Brandles School, we understand the importance of providing a supportive learning environment.
- SENCO and DSP – Ms N.Wilsher
- DDSP – Mrs N. Springham
- Pastoral Admin – Mr T. Morris
Learning Support Room: This is a provision where students are taught in small groups or one to one. This focuses on providing support for students who are in receipt of alternative support to maintain their engagement and progress towards future pathways or for those students who are falling behind due to lack of appropriate engagement in the classroom setting. Students that are in receipt of alternative provision also work closely with the Engagement Workers who provide individualised support to secure successful liaison between home/School /alternative provider.
- Engagement Worker: Mr Gary Wiggins
How do I access SEN Support for my child at Brandles?
Your child already has an EHCP in place, and this outlines very clearly the appropriate strategies that the school has to have in place to ensure it meets the learning and emotional needs of your child. When your child starts Brandles School, whether in year 7, or later, there will be a transition programme to ensure that their needs are met as soon as they start. Your child will be assessed during their first half term at Brandles School via a battery of tests, and together with their SATs results, and other relevant FFT data, we will put these assessments together with information from their previous school and any available teacher assessments and observations to ensure:
- The most appropriate support for your child
- The most appropriate groupings for your child
- Participation in appropriate small group support.
Brandles School works closely in partnership with all its feeder schools. Information is shared between the School and the feeder school with regard to SEN where this is agreed with the parents and students involved. As part of the transition process, students and parents/carers will have the opportunity to meet with Miss Wilsher (SENCO) and the Pastoral support team and to visit. There is usually opportunity for students to take part in induction activities as part of the whole School transition programme.
How can I let staff know that I have a question or concern about my child’s progress?
There is a strong focus on working in partnership with parents/carers at Brandles School, which means that we do not wait for a concern to arise but are proactive in seeking input from parents/carers. If you have comments, questions or concerns as a parent, we will listen and respond to them.
Ways to contact us are:
- Email: nwilsher@Brandles.herts.sch.uk
- By phone: 01462896351 or 07890665157
- In person: In order to ensure that you meet with the relevant person, it is best to call and make an appointment.
Information about the School will also be shared with you by:
- Text message – parent mail or Pastoral Team
- The School website
- Letters sent home with students.
Who can I contact at the School?
- Pastoral Support Team – Gary Wiggins, Natalie Wilsher, Natalie Springham, Tom Morris
- Your child’s form tutor
- SENCO – Miss Natalie Wilsher
- SEN Governor - Ms. Sandra Barr
In the very unlikely event that you feel a query/concern has not been addressed, there is a School Complaints Policy which is found in the policies section of the website.
How is extra support allocated to students?
Use of Data in Identification: Brandles School recognises the benefit of early identification and making effective provision improves the long-term outcomes for the child or young person. Students will be assessed on entry for reading, spelling, writing and numeracy; account will be taken of any KS2 data available from primary feeder schools.
Students that are identified as being below age related national expectations will receive additional support to close the gap. Progress will be closely monitored. Where students are unable to close the gap within the natural cycle of the support programme, or are exceptionally low on entry to the school, they will be assessed by the SENCO and her team.
In Year 9, all students participate in the access arrangements assessment process in order to provide them with appropriate support in their public exams in Key Stage 4.
Role of Subject Teachers in Identification:
Subject teachers are expected to formally assess student progress at least once per half term. Subject teachers will work with their SENCO to identify students making less than expected progress given their age. Teachers will be expected to provide intervention in the first instance for any student that is falling behind. This is adapting their teaching to provide high quality teaching tailored to the gaps in the student’s learning with clearly differentiated work meeting the needs of the student(s) in question. This may involve use of additional time such as enrichment time. Where progress continues to be less than expected, the class teacher will discuss interventions with the SENCO. This usually involves compulsory, supported enrichment sessions outside the class teaching or short-term supported withdrawal within the school day focusing on a specific skill area. Throughout the intervention processes, the SENCO/subject teacher will communicate their plans for intervention.
Throughout this process, every effort will be made to communicate with the student and their family what support is available and why it is being provided. This will be over and above the progress reports sent to parents and parents’ evenings.
If a concern persists regarding a student’s lack of progress, a meeting will be held with parents/carers to discuss the concerns and decide together what actions would be most appropriate to support the student. Actions might include personalisation within lessons, support from a Teaching Assistant in some lessons, or asking advice from specialists and acting on it.
At Brandles School, we appreciate that parents/carers are experts on their own children and so we always listen carefully to their views and plan together. Students themselves are also asked about any difficulties they are having and what sort of support they feel would benefit them, and their views are also listened to and taken into account.
How are staff at Brandles School helped to work with SEND children and what training do they have?
At Brandles School, we have a set training programme for all staff which focuses on supporting outstanding teaching and learning. Included in this programme are a range of workshops on topics such as differentiation (personalising the curriculum to meet every student’s needs) and different special educational needs (Literacy, Numeracy, ASD, Speech and Language). Our teaching assistants attend training that is relevant and specific to the needs of the students who they support.
Our training focuses on:
- High quality teaching and learning- leading to improved progress for all students (assessment and target setting).
- Structured conversations with parents/carers – to improve parents’/carers’ engagement with school and their involvement in their child’s learning and achievement.
- Wider outcomes – to support the participation, enjoyment and achievement of children in all elements of school life.
In addition to the above, all staff are encouraged to share good practice and attend external training which enables them to build on their strengths and develop skills in other areas that will help them to provide effective support to our SEN students.
How will teaching be adapted to meet my child’s needs?
We personalise our teaching as necessary to ensure that the learning needs of all students are met. This may take the form of:
- Working in small groups or pairs
- Using a variety of materials in the classroom
- Using a range of strategies as advised by our SENCO
- Support from a Teaching Assistant
- Using technology such as a laptop, IWB
- Having the support of a Nurture Centre
Curriculum: All Brandles School students have access to a broad and balanced curriculum. The curriculum offer is highly personalised to the individual student in order for them to be successful both in terms of their learning, progress, outcomes, character development and their progression to their future pathways.
Differentiation enabling curriculum access: Our teachers will set high expectations for every student, whatever their prior attainment. Assessment targets (based on prior attainment) will be set centrally by the school according to the school’s Assessment Policy. Teachers will set individual student next steps towards their targets based on their assessment of student’s individual work and their developmental needs which are deliberately ambitious for the individual and are in line with this policy. In addition, teachers will provide specific, subject based, written, formative feedback in the form of marking to enable students to work towards their next milestone in the subject. Lessons will be planned to address any potential areas of difficulty and to remove barriers to student achievement. In the majority of cases, this will mean that students with SEN and disabilities will be able to study the full curriculum.
Some students will not be able to access the main curriculum due to their needs. The Nurture Centre focuses on small group work with the students. This can focus on getting the students learning ready and helping to calm their anxieties, or looking at 1:1 tuition if attending school is a barrier.
Brandles School may commission alternative provision for students who face barriers to participation in mainstream education. Parents and students need to be in agreement and parents will need to sign paperwork. Providers are quality assured by the School Engagement Team who works closely with all chosen providers. Brandles School only works with providers who meet our high expectations of our students in terms of education, support, safeguarding and aspirations. Parents are kept closely informed of their child’s progress by the School Engagement Team. With parental/carers agreement, information is shared with the provider regarding the child’s SEND.
Brandles School will, in the main through the Pastoral Support Team, ensure that there is a clear progression plan and keep the arrangements under review, adapting to the needs of the student. Should an alternative provider have concerns about a child who may have SEN that are not being met, they should raise their concerns with the School Engagement Team who will liaise with the SENCO.
Online learning is a form of alternative provision. It can provide real-time teaching support and may provide a broader curriculum and offer opportunities for students to interact with each other. Brandles School can make decisions to make use of online learning for students with SEN, although it will take into account the views of parents, students or professionals when making this decision. Where feasible, online learning will be accompanied by opportunities for face-to-face contact with peers. Any decision to use online learning from a student’s home will include an assessment of their suitability for independent learning and their home circumstances.
At Brandles School we believe that developing a student’s character is an essential part of their preparation for successful adult life. We have identified the characteristics of zest, grit, self-control, optimism, gratitude, social intelligence and curiosity as highly predictive strengths in successful adults based on the research of the University of Pennsylvania and Michigan. We recognise that all our students will have different starting points in all of these characteristics. We are weaving character development through our teaching and wider learning experiences and believe that by developing a common language for these characteristics of success, we are helping to prepare our students for their future in the widest possible sense. Character development forms an important part of delivery for all years but Year 7 in particular. It is a central component to the planning of the curriculum for our nurture groups.
All students are encouraged to attend at least one enrichment session per week. Students have many wider enrichment opportunities within their curriculum, including trips and visits. Individual student’s needs will be taken into account when planning for these.
How will Brandles measure the Progress of my Child’s needs?
At Brandles School your child’s progress is continually monitored by subject teachers and the Senior Leadership Team. In addition:
- Progress is reviewed formally at the end of every half term.
- There is a Parent’s Evening every term
- If your child has complex SEN needs, you will be invited in once every term to attend a review meeting, where we can discuss your child’s progress with you and your child and together develop a plan for the next term.
- In addition, the progress of students EHC Plans is formally reviewed once a year at an Annual Review with you, your child and all adults involved with his education.
- Our SENCO will also check that your child is making good progress within any individual work, and in any group, that they take part in.
How does Brandles support students as they move between Key Stages, Tutor Groups or move to a new school or college?
Transition from Primary:
Brandles School works closely in partnership with all its feeder schools. Information is shared between the School and the feeder school with regard to SEN where this is agreed with the parents and students involved. As part of the transition process, students and parents will have the opportunity to meet with the SENCO and Home Liaison team/DSP and the SEN support team and to visit access where SEN and well-being support takes place. There is usually opportunity for students to take part in induction activities as part of the whole School transition programme for example, induction days and an induction trip.
Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4 Transition:
Students in Year 9 are fully supported to make their curriculum choices for Key Stage 4. Within the ECHP, students will discuss appropriate subject choices that meet their needs and aspirations for the future, including post-16 education.
Brandles School will ensure that all students between Years 7 to 11 are provided with independent careers guidance. Brandles School will ensure that it works to raise the career aspirations of all our students and broaden their employment horizons via opportunities such as taster days; work experience; mentoring; enterprise experiences; role models and inspiring speakers.
Support to Prepare for Adulthood:
Brandles School will work to understand the interests, strengths and motivations of our students and use this as a basis to plan support around them. We will provide support to ensure that students are included in social groups and encouraged to make friendships. This may be through full participation in the tutor programme; social skills workshops; pastoral work; nurture group membership or one to one support in the form of counselling or other well-being support. In addition, all students are be encouraged to take part in enrichment activities both within and beyond the School day, this includes the extended day; trips and visits.
Preparation for Adulthood:
For students in Year 9 onwards, Brandles School will seek to work in partnership with other agencies such as employment services; North Herts College; post-16 providers and 6th forms; alternative education partners; housing agencies; disability organisations and other relevant agencies as required to ensure that students understand what support and opportunity is available for them as they get older. Where possible, Brandles School will seek opportunities for students to meet disabled adults who are successful in their work or who have made a significant contribution to their community. For teenage students, the focus on achievement and post-16 options is essential; this will include preparation for higher education and/or employment. Training options such as supported internships, apprenticeships and traineeships or support for setting up your own business will be discussed as required. For all our students transition planning will result in clear outcomes being agreed that are ambitious and stretching in preparing the student for adulthood.
Planning Transition into Post-16 Education and Training:
In Year 9, Brandles School will enable students to explore the various post-16 options and the help that can be provided to get the student to this point. In Year 10, more specific courses and providers will be explored, to include taster days or visits as relevant. In Year 11, students and families will be supported to decide on a firm destination post-16 and to familiarise them with the expected new setting. This will include contingency planning.
Information about previous SEN provision will be shared with any post-16 provider before the young person takes their place, preferably in the Spring Term prior to their start to enable the provider to develop a suitable support plan. Brandles School will share this information sensitively and with the best interests of the student at the centre. Students must agree the information to be shared.
If my child has medical needs how will they be supported?
All students with a medical condition will be properly supported to ensure that they have full access to the School curriculum, including enrichments, School trips and physical education. We treat each student with a medical need, as an individual and in some cases we may offer a personalised timetable or slow reintegration back into school after longer periods of absence. Some students may need a Health Care Plan, which will be drawn up in partnership with parents/carers, healthcare professionals and our SENCO. Information such as triggers, signs, symptoms and treatments and strategies for managing an emergency will be shared with staff.
What other services provide services for SEND children at Brandles School?
Involving Specialists: Where a student continues to make less than expected progress, despite evidenced based support and interventions that are matched to the student’s area of need, the School may suggest involving specialists or outside agencies for example: educational psychologists, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMH), specialist teachers such as those for Visually Impaired, Hearing Impaired or Multi-Sensory Impaired, therapists such as speech and language therapists. This may involve working with the local authority on joint commissioning. The involvement of specialists and what was discussed or agreed should always be recorded and shared with parents/carers and teaching staff involved in supporting the student. The SENCO and tutor along with the Specialist, involving the parents, should consider a range of evidence-based supports for the student. They should agree outcomes to be achieved through the support, including a review date.
Where can I find information about wider provision for SEND at Brandles?
Further information about SEN provision at Brandles can be found:
- In our SEND on our website
- Direct contact with the Pastoral Support Team