We celebrate diversity and difference, and see it as a rich resource for everyone’s learning.
We challenge any attitudes and practices which discriminate against groups or individuals in our school community. We reflect on our own practice regularly as a staff team and we support children to do the same.
All children at Columbia have equal rights to the opportunities offered by education. We have high expectations for every child’s attainment.
We are committed to inclusion; at Columbia our children learn together in a range of age and subject-appropriate settings. We will modify the learning environment, the curriculum and teaching in order to include individual children (wherever such changes are reasonable and won’t undermine the learning of other children).
We expect all children to see themselves as learners and to achieve their potential. We encourage them to aspire. We support them to become active, independent learners. We involve children as much as possible in decisions which are made on their behalf.
There are many diverse needs among the children at our school, in addition to the children with special educational needs and disabilities. All children are welcomed, valued and included at Columbia. We will facilitate their becoming full members of our learning community.
The involvement of parents and carers is central to our provision for children. Parents are consulted and their views considered carefully at every stage of action taken by school. We ask for their support in helping their children to achieve their potential.
Definition of SEN
A child will be said to have Special Educational Needs (SEN) when:
Ø little or no progress is made, even when teaching methods target areas of weakness
Ø difficulty with literacy and numeracy development affect attainment in other subjects
Ø there are persistent emotional or behavioural difficulties, in spite of the school’s behaviour policy
Ø sensory or physical problems affect progress
Ø in spite of a differentiated curriculum, progress is limited by communication or interaction difficulties.
Roles and responsibilities
The Headteacher, Oliver Woodward
Ø has overall statutory responsibility for provision for children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).
Ø meets regularly with the Leader of Learning for Inclusion in order to ensure joined-up provision and support decision making
Ø attends annual review meetings
Ø is a leading member of the team supporting children with behavioural difficulties.
The Leader of Learning for Inclusion, Liz Fox
Ø is the school SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator)
Ø is responsible for the day-to-day management of SEND provision
Ø helps teachers to identify children with SEND
Ø supports and monitors teachers in the writing and use of Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
Ø supports class and specialist teachers in devising programmes to help children meet individual education plan targets
Ø contributes data to the school profile about children needing SEN support
Ø has an overview of children in school with additional needs
Ø liaises with outside agencies
Ø meets with parents
Ø arranges and runs review meetings
Ø shares information with parents and professionals involved in a child’s education
Ø supports staff development by finding, targeting, attending, organising and leading INSET
Ø co-ordinates the work of teaching assistants and specialist teachers in order to maximise its value to the children
Ø monitors and evaluates our inclusive practice with the aim of improving it.
Ø supports staff development by finding, attending, organising and leading INSET.
Class teachers and phase leaders
Ø are responsible for providing a well-differentiated curriculum
Ø are the first point of contact with parents and keep them informed about children’s progress
Ø write, use and review individual education plans (in conference with children, inclusion Leaders of Learning and parents) for children with Education Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans), and for those needing SEN support
Ø contribute to annual reviews for children with EHC plans
Ø line manage the work of teaching assistants who support individual children in their classes.
Ø support children to access the curriculum by explaining, translating, keeping children focused, asking questions, building self-confidence, referring to individual education plan targets
Ø may provide physical support to children who would not otherwise access the curriculum
Ø support children to work independently whenever possible
Ø may develop the skills of individual children by following recommendations from professionals e.g. speech and language therapists
Ø contribute to annual reviews
Ø may differentiate the curriculum further to make it accessible for individual children
Ø share their deep knowledge of individual children’s learning and development with colleagues to facilitate good transitions
Ø may work with children in small groups to develop their language, social or other skills.
Parents and Carers
Ø Parents and Carers are consulted and their views considered at every stage of action taken by school in relation to their child. Our aim is to work in partnership so that we support the child to be as good a learner as possible.
Ø We strive to develop the way we communicate with parents in order to be accessible and clear.
Ø We are flexible, aiming to offer meeting times which are convenient for parents.
Ø We aim to provide appropriate interpreters.
Ø Parents may raise a concern themselves at any time about their child’s learning development. This could be to the class teacher or directly to the Leader of Learning for Inclusion.
If parents are unhappy about something in school related to their child with SEND they will usually speak to the class teacher. The teacher will refer to the Leader of Learning for Inclusion who will arrange to talk to the parents and gather any relevant information. If, after listening to the parents and acting to resolve the problem the parents are still unhappy, the Headteacher will be consulted. If the parents continue to feel dissatisfied with the response to their complaint they may decide to contact the Chair of Governors (see complaints procedure).
Identifying, meeting and reviewing needs
Ø Children are identified as needing SEN support when the teacher has to do something extra or different in order for the child to access the curriculum. Teachers already differentiate the curriculum for children’s varying needs.
Ø For a child with SEN support the class teacher and inclusion Leader of Learning prepare an individual education plan together and then talk about it separately with the child and parents. When everybody agrees, the child and parent sign the individual education plan and it is kept on view in the classroom.
Ø We believe children learn best when they understand what is expected of them, so individual education plans are simple, use photographs and are written in child-friendly language.
Ø The targets focus on learning behaviour, not attainment.
Ø Individual education plans list the strategies that adults will use to help the child make progress.
Ø Adults in class use the individual education plans to help the child focus on what they need to do. Children use it to celebrate their peers’ achievements.
Ø SEN support might mean extra adult support for part of the day or week, one to-one or in small groups, in or out of the classroom.
Ø Individual education plans are reviewed according to need but at least twice a year in conference with an inclusion Leader of Learning. If the child no longer needs extra or different support the IEP will be cancelled.
Ø If the child still doesn’t make good enough progress we might ask for support or advice from an outside agency e.g. Behaviour Support, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Educational Psychologist.
Ø Sometimes children have learning difficulties which are too challenging for the school to manage with its existing resources. When this happens the school may ask parents for permission to go to Tower Hamlets SEN panel for a statutory assessment of the child’s needs. This may result in the child having an Education Health Care Plan.
Ø Additional funding attached to the plan is then used to pay for the human and practical resources needed to support the child toward achieving good outcomes.
Ø Whatever kind of support is provided our primary aim will be to help the child be as independent as possible.
Ø Pupils will be encouraged and supported to participate in reviewing their own progress and in making plans for the future.
Ø Columbia uses a person-centred approach to reviewing children’s progress which means that the child (as much as possible) is included and consulted throughout the process. Peers and all involved adults are also invited to reflect on the child’s progress. The child usually attends the meetings and has some involvement in preparing them.
Ø If a child has an EHCP and is working below the level of the National Curriculum, teachers use P levels and PIVATS to assess attainment and progress.
Sometimes children with SEND are admitted to Columbia having previously attended other schools
In this case we will:
Ø Meet the child and gather as much information as possible about him/her from his/her parents.
Ø Contact the SENCo from the previous school to find out what was in place for him/her there and what they would be doing now if s/he’d stayed there.
Ø If necessary deploy a TA to support him/her.
Ø Brief all the adults involved.
Ø Put practical systems in place e.g. coming down to lunch early, buddies to accompany the child.
Ø Organise a person-centred planning meeting for a date during the first few weeks.
Transition in school between year groups is managed carefully. Information including IEPs is shared between the old and new teachers. TAs have an opportunity to handover what they know, including which strategies work best. Receiving teachers might meet with an Inclusion Leader of Learning to talk through concerns before the new year starts. If appropriate the child will visit the new classroom a number of times with a familiar adult in order to orientate themselves.
During annual reviews for children in year 5 we think about appropriate secondary schools. Parents are encouraged to visit as many as possible and offered help to do so. Our learning mentors can contact schools, arrange appointments and accompany parents on visits. They can support parents to ask useful questions.
The SENCo of the receiving school is invited to the child’s year 6 annual review. Depending on the child’s particular needs they might visit the new school with a learning mentor or teaching assistant before the end of year 6 to orientate themselves, meet important people and take photos. The Inclusion Leader of Learning makes sure the receiving school has a good understanding of the child’s needs, and of strategies which have worked well. We are happy to have a continuing dialogue once the child has moved.
There would be a similar process for a child leaving Columbia to attend a special school. First, the new SENCo would be invited to a person-centred meeting here. That meeting would be used to share everything Columbia knows about strengths, learning needs and useful strategies relating to the child. In addition we would plan transition visits to help the child and the child’s parents orientate themselves, meet important adults and allay fears by seeing the new environment and asking questions. We would expect to have a continuing dialogue after the child has moved and until he/she is fully settled in the new school.
Pastoral Support Team
If a teacher believes a child in their class has Social Emotional or Mental Health
(SEMH) needs they can refer to the School House Pastoral Support Team. Some referred children have learning disabilities but most do not. Children referred to the Pastoral Team might be allocated one or more of the following: a learning mentor, 1:1 support from a specialist TA, a series of sessions with the school counsellor or talk and draw with our artist in residence. The teacher who referred the child might also receive support to ensure she is differentiating her teaching for the child as well as possible.
Staff at Columbia plan creatively and draw on resources from other year groups to meet the learning needs of children in their classes who are working at different levels. Some children who have difficulties with communication learn to use a Picture Exchange System (PECS). Others use signing to support their speech; several adults use ‘signalong’ too. A small number of children use iPads to help them access some of the curriculum. Children who find writing difficult might use ‘Clicker docs’ or learn to type using a junior typing programme.
We have access to specialist computer equipment from Tower Hamlets Assistive Technology Lending Library for children whose physical difference makes it hard to use a standard keyboard and screen. There is a lift at Columbia which makes the school accessible to children and parents for whom mobility is difficult.
Our playground is small but with the help of play specialists we have improved its play-friendliness for children which mobility challenges. There are a variety of interesting things to hold onto, look at, sit on and do at low level, either alone or with friends. The climbing structure designs were developed with inclusion in mind and both are accessible, with some support, to all children in school.
Ø We value good relationships with all the professionals involved in children’s care. We are committed to sharing information and attend inter-agency meetings whenever possible. To facilitate this we offer the school as a meeting venue.
Ø We employ an independent speech and language therapist to assess children’s needs, make recommendations, work 1:1 and develop the ability of teaching assistants to run language groups.
Ø Other agencies we work with include: CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service), Social Services, Children’s Occupational Therapy, Children’s Physiotherapy, Child Development Team, Hearing Impaired Service, Literacy Support Team, Children with Physical and Medical Needs Advisory Team, Stephen Hawking School, Phoenix School.
Ø We may ask for help in assessing the nature of children’s needs from any of these agencies and, by acting on their advice, may involve others. Referrals are usually made by the inclusion Leader of Learning.
Ø Columbia is well supported by Tower Hamlets Educational Psychology (EP) service.
The Educational Psychologist helps:
- The Inclusion Leader of Learning to think constructively about children and parents, develop best practice in relation to children and parents and manage complex procedures relating to children with SEND;
- teachers reflect on their own practice and its impact on the child;
- parents to be positive about their children and to understand the concerns that have been raised.
The Governor with responsibility for SEND is Gwen Wright.
Her role is to stay up to date with development in SEND and inclusion at Columbia and to support the work of the Inclusion Leader of Learning. She will meet with the Leader of Learning to review the policy, talk about current practice and maintain an overview of the school’s SEND profile.