Provision for Special Educational Needs (SEND)
At Trafalgar School we take great care and pride in our provision for students who have special educational needs. We understand that a student who has learning difficulties or disabilities may find it harder to learn than most other children or young people of the same age. Our dedicated team and our curriculum is acutely focused to make a difference to your child.
If you have any questions regarding our provision please contact us. If you would like to find out about the Portsmouth Local Offer for children, young people and their families with a special or educational need or disability click here.
Trafalgar School’s equitable and innovative approach to inclusion aims to support all students, within our diverse cohort, to achieve their full potential. We use the relational approach to ensure that decisions about support are based on knowing and understanding each student and what they need.
Within Trafalgar School’s Inclusion Department, we support students across three centres:
Learning, Cognition and Language Support – for students with specific learning difficulties, or moderate learning difficulties that affect them in a range of cognitive areas. This centre also supports students who have a speech and language need or a specific language impairment. Students who have a sensory or physical need are also supported within this centre.
Emotional Support – for students who find it hard to cope with challenging emotions. This will range from students needing short-term assistance during a turbulent time in their life, to students with a recognised condition.
Communication and Interaction Support – for students who have a range of communication difficulties, including autism or those who struggle to engage in the social aspects of school.
Students may be supported by one centre or a combination of all three. The centres work flexibly and closely together to ensure that students are supported by staff who have expertise in their area of need.
Schools and SEN information:
Under the special educational needs and disability (SEND) reforms each school is required to provide information for parents on how they support children and young people with SEND.
There are two main sources of SEND information that parents can access from a school’s website:
- SEN Policy
- SEN Information reports
A school’s SEN Information Report and SEN Policy are intended to be two distinct documents.
What’s the difference between an SEN Policy and an SEN information report?
SEN Policies contain technical information and detail. The law says all schools must have policies that say what they do. SEN policies are just one of the policies a school will have. They should be based on a shared understanding of the school’s mission, values, vision and aims. They should include information about the laws and rules that shape the day to day processes of the school.
SEN information reports:
SEN information reports are intended to tell you how the school's SEN policy is used, and how help and support for students with SEND works in that setting. What happens and how, not what they aspire to.
The SEN information report should be written in a way that makes the information clear and meaningful for parents.
Talk to your child’s tutor about your concerns. If the concern is with a particular subject, you should speak to your child’s subject teacher.
It is likely that the class teacher will have discussed your concerns with Catherine Seal, the school SENCO/ Director of Inclusion, or one of our 3 Heads of Centre*. You may wish to email, telephone or arrange a meeting with the SENCO/Director of Inclusion or with one of our Heads of Centre within the Inclusion Department (email addresses can be found on the school website).
The SEND Admissions process informs us of those students with Educational Health Care Plans. For students with such plans, we are able to plan for as seamless a transition as possible in meeting their needs in their new secondary provision.
We also gain information about students’ SEN before they arrive, through:
- Parent-supplied information on school application forms and at entry interviews;
- Shared communication between primary schools and Trafalgar School on the specific needs of individual students, in the summer term prior to the child starting;
- Close liaison with parents and primary SENCOs before a student joins us in Year 7 to ensure continuity of care, especially where diagnoses exist for a child or where an EHC Plan states certain types of provision;
- In-school testing of all Year 7 students at Trafalgar School, including: spelling, reading, processing speed, writing speed, typing speed and comprehension.
Once students have begun their time at Trafalgar School, further identification and assessment can be done through:
- In-class observations of all classes for the first weeks of term for Year 7 classes;
- Teacher feedback and continual progress-monitoring to inform where a child may need extra support;
- Regular communication between each Head of House and the Inclusion team, including the SENCO and all Heads of Centre.
Further specific screening tests can be carried out according to the identified need. These will be completed before and after interventions which are put in place to support your child.
In more complex cases, we feed into external services including speech and language therapy, the Educational Psychology Service, Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Visual/Hearing Impairment Services.
All core subject (English, Maths and Science) teaching areas of the building are accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility via a lift located in the main foyer of the school.
We take account of equality issues in relation to admissions and exclusions, the way we provide education for our students and the way we provide access for students to facilities and services.
We actively promote equality and diversity though the curriculum and by creating an environment that champions respect for all.
Inclusion, Respect, Community, Aspiration and Resilience are core values at Trafalgar School.
Full information can be found in our Disability and Accessibility policy.
Our Anti-Bullying Policy makes it clear that all our students have the right to feel safe from bullying.
We have a robust and consistent approach to bullying, which makes it clear that bullying will not be tolerated. Students with SEND may be more vulnerable to bullying, and so particular care is taken to ensure that they feel supported and that any incidents are dealt with promptly.
Full information about how we deal with bullying can be found in our Anti-Bullying Policy.
Trafalgar School is an inclusive school, committed to providing equal opportunities for all children.
School clubs, educational visits and residential trips are available to all students.
When necessary, the school will make reasonable adjustments to ensure that students with SEN and/or disabilities are included in all activities.
You should also feel free to contact your child’s tutor if you have any concerns.
At Trafalgar School, we believe that the happiness and well-being of all our students is paramount. All members of staff take this aspect of school life very seriously.
You can be confident that your child’s class teacher, the Inclusion Support Assistants and SENCO are available to provide support to match your child’s needs. Your child's tutor, Head of House and Assistant Head of House are also responsible for taking actions to ensure your child’s well-being in school.
You are encouraged to contact your child's tutor if you have any concerns. The tutor will liaise with the Well-being Team at Trafalgar School who meet regularly to plan support for students. It might be that support can be provided at Trafalgar School; however, if appropriate and in discussion with you, your child may be referred to a more specialist service in Portsmouth or to an external professional who can support your child at Trafalgar School.
Our Compass Centre provides students with a place to access support for their emotional well-being. Use of the Compass Centre is at the discretion of the Inclusion team and may include access to specialist support from external services such as the Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) drop in service and the school nurse. In addition, the Inclusion team deliver interventions to support with anxiety, emotional literacy and emotional well-being. For those with the highest level of need in this area, a bespoke offer of education may be considered as a stepping stone to attending mainstream provision.
We liaise closely with the local primary schools to ensure we know as much as possible about the support needs of our new students. We are able to discuss with the relevant teachers any individual needs, and we meet all new parents and students in the summer term before students begin Year 7. We also run additional transition visits for students who we believe may find transition challenging.
At Trafalgar School, we take care to ensure that during transition points (between classes, each year and at the end of Key Stages) all staff are aware of students’ needs, learning progress and the best strategies to support their learning. This happens through effective use of data, an Inclusion Department that communicates well with all teaching staff, and strong systems for reporting progress.
If your child has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, we will participate in and/or facilitate their annual review in sufficient time prior to them moving between key phases of education. You will be kept informed of these arrangements and be asked to attend the reviews.
At Trafalgar School, all EHC Plan reviews will have a focus on preparing for adulthood, including employment, independent living and participation in society. We support students in their applications to further and higher education or training upon leaving Trafalgar School.
If a student leaves Trafalgar School to join another school, we will ensure all relevant information is shared, in agreement with parents.
During Year 11, the Inclusion team will support SEN students with applications for school, college, apprenticeships or employment opportunities.
At Trafalgar School, we believe that your child’s learning needs will first be met through the high-quality teaching delivered by their class teacher.
We carefully plan our knowledge-rich curriculum to match the age, ability and needs of all students.
Differentiation is built into all teachers’ lesson planning and delivery. The class teacher will adapt lesson planning and teaching to match your child’s special educational needs and/or disability.
Additional specialist advice is sought when appropriate and, when necessary, accessibility aids and technology may be used to support your child’s learning.
Trafalgar School regularly reviews its Accessibility Plan to ensure that all children have as much access to the curriculum and the school site as possible.
Assessment points spread throughout the year, help teachers to fully understand your child’s progress, and to adjust their planning, teaching and feedback accordingly.
We know the needs of our students very well, and use data in order to inform our planning and to identify targets to achieve improvements. We take action to close any gaps; for example, for those making slow progress in acquiring age-appropriate literacy and number skills, we will take positive and proportionate action, such as targeted support or intervention.
If appropriate, specialist resources may be given to the student e.g. writing slopes, coloured overlays, large print materials or notebooks.
Every Department in the school has responsibility for ensuring that your child is able to achieve in their subject. Their progress will be closely tracked, and fed back to parents throughout the year.
Some students will also have support from Inclusion Support Assistants in class and through interventions.
External agencies and specialists may also review your child’s progress and adapt their planning accordingly.
Our approach to teaching students with Special Educational Needs
The Inclusion team run a range of interventions to support students, as well as offering a range of training to support classroom teachers. The intervention provided takes a three-tiered approach to supporting learning.
Universal – this is the teaching your child will receive from their class teacher and may include some very minor adaptations to match learning needs. It also includes ensuring that all teachers are aware of how to match these learning needs, through good communication and training systems.
Targeted - it may be appropriate to consider making additional short-term special educational provision to remove or reduce any obstacles to your child’s learning. This takes the form of a graduated four-part approach of
a) Assessing your child’s needs;
b) Planning the most effective and appropriate intervention;
c) Providing this intervention;
d) Reviewing the impact on your child’s progress towards individual learning outcomes.
Sometimes this intervention may take place outside the classroom, as a 1:1 or with a small group of students. These will be limited to a number of weeks to minimise disruption to the regular curriculum. You will be kept informed of your child’s progress towards learning outcomes.
Specialist – it may be necessary to seek specialist advice and regular long-term support from a specialist professional within the school. Such specialists may include Speech Therapists or Educational Psychologists (see "What specialist services and expertise are available for access by the school?). Sometimes the school will enlist the services of external professionals, such as occupational therapists, sensory advisory teachers or services provided by the Local Authority. The school may need to prioritise referrals to these services. However, for a very small number of students, access to these specialists may be through an EHC Plan.
Your child’s progress will be assessed both in terms of their regular learning within the class and with regard to specific intervention. Your child will be assessed at the beginning and end of specific interventions to ensure they are receiving the best possible support.
Every method of supporting a child in Trafalgar School has clearly identified measures of success. This will include feedback from the child and parents, as well as the use of data to assess impact, and feedback from teachers where appropriate.
You and your child will be kept informed, and encouraged to be actively involved at all stages of this support.
All students and their parents/carers are invited to meet teaching staff and Inclusion staff at parents’ evenings to discuss progress and any concerns.
All students with EHC Plans will have annual reviews to monitor progress against objectives and plan future objectives, in partnership with parents.
At Trafalgar School we believe that your child’s learning needs will first be met through the high quality teaching delivered by their class teacher.
Regular professional development ensures that staff at Trafalgar School are fully aware of how to cater for a range of Special Educational Needs.
The Inclusion team are in regular communication with teaching staff to make sure that everyone is aware of what Special Educational Needs there are within the school, and how to help support those needs in the classroom.
The school is able to access training programmes from different organisations available within Portsmouth, including the Outreach team.
Individual training can also be arranged when necessary.
The SENCO has completed the National Award for SENCOs (Postgraduate Certificate), and use the skills gained on this qualification to support teachers in their practice.
We encourage parental involvement in any support we provide. We believe that it is essential for us to understand your view, as well as the views of your child, in any difficulties they may experience with their learning.
You will be able to share your views over email, by phoning the Inclusion team, or by arranging a meeting with one of the Inclusion Team. We will always endeavour to respond to your views, and where possible to act upon them.
If your child has an identified Special Educational Need, you will be invited to attend the school to discuss current progress, update information shared with teachers through your child's passport, support strategies being used and expected outcomes. These meetings take place termly with a member of the Inclusion team.
If your child has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, you and your child will be able to share your views at the Annual Review. This will be in addition to the termly review.
All parents are also encouraged to have discussions with class teachers, to attend parents’ evenings, and to ensure that their child completes home learning to a high standard.
We will carry out Student Voice activities throughout the year to better understand the views of students with SEN.
There may be suggested strategies or activities for you to do at home to support your child’s learning. You can discuss these with your child’s subject teacher.
We may be able to offer you individual training in specific support strategies relevant to your child.
The SENCO and Heads of Centre may also support you with strategies, resources and ideas for supporting your child’s learning at home.
We follow the guidelines outlined by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). A student may be eligible for access arrangements (such as extra time, supervised rest breaks or use of a reader) if they meet certain pre-defined criteria. For full information on access arrangements, click on the JCQ website:
Students who are on the SEND register are automatically tested to ascertain whether they meet the criteria. Other students are nominated by parents or teachers. Only small numbers of students are granted permission to have special consideration for examinations. In this case, parents and students are informed well in advance of the examination.
The School has a designated educational psychologist who visits regularly. This enables us to access a range of consultation services, assessment and intervention support as well as training. Our Educational Psychologist consults with parents and staff to explore issues that may interfere with a student’s learning. Strategies discussed between the people involved in a child's education are hoped to promote progress and inclusion using knowledge, experience and relevant research.
CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service)
Where necessary, we are able to refer students to CAMHS directly. Parents can also refer to CAMHS via their GP. CAMHS provide outpatient assessment and treatment for children and young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties. Team members are likely to include child and adolescent psychiatrists, social workers, clinical psychologists, community psychiatric nurses, child psychotherapists, occupational therapists, as well as art, music and drama therapists.
If the school has a concern about a child or young person, who may be suffering harm, we immediately contact the Multi Agency Team in Portsmouth for advice and support. We also liaise closely when one of our students is Looked After by the Local Authority, is subject to a Child Protection Plan or is considered a Child in Need.
Speech and Language Therapy
Portsmouth Local Authority has a designated Speech and Language Therapy Service. The speech and language therapists provide specialist advice, assessment and intervention for children and young people who have difficulties with any aspect of their communication. They also offer training and support to staff on all aspects of language and communication.
The school has a designated school nurse who visits regularly. The school nurse offers a wide ranging service which includes:
- Health screening;
- Creating care plans for students with additional health needs (for example diabetes, asthma, epilepsy);
- Health assessments relating to concerns around child protection and child in need reviews;
- Health promotion - providing advice on a range of topics, including: sexual health, smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and drugs and alcohol.
Specialist Teacher Advisors
Specialist Teacher Advisors for visual and hearing impairments work with students and staff. They help to provide specialist guidance to ensure students needs are met.
Portsmouth Information Advice and Support Service provide information, advice and support to disabled children and young people aged 0 – 25 years, and those with SEN, and their parents. They are a free, impartial and confidential service.
Phone: 02392 732542
Address: Frank Sorrel Centre, Prince Albert Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, PO4 9HR
Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal
Parents can appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal if they disagree with the council’s decisions about their child’s Special Educational Needs.
For example, the council may not agree that a child needs extra support in the classroom to help them with learning difficulties.
Parents can also appeal to the tribunal if they feel that the school or council has discriminated against their disabled child.
There are three-different elements of funding for schools that are relevant for students with SEND:
- Student-led funding: This is the basic per student funding that schools receive for every child whether they have SEN or not.
- Notional SEN funding: This is an identified figure within the student-led funding that each school receives annually. This element of funding is used to fund the special educational provision for children with school-based SEN and a proportion (£6,000) of funding for children with EHC Plans.
- ‘Top up’ funding for individual students: This funding comes from the Local Authority, as and when required, and on the basis of the child’s assessed needs. It is usually used to fund support for children with an EHC Plan. The expectation is that a mainstream school should provide the first £6,000 of support for each individual child with SEN before they can access top up funding.
The notional SEN funding is allocated each financial year. This funding is used for a wide range of purposes that support students with SEND, such as:
- Enhancing high quality teaching: Our whole school priority is to continually improve the quality of teaching and learning for all students, including those with SEND;
- Employing specialist staff to support students with SEND, such as Inclusion Support Assistants and other staff within the three SEN Support Centres;
- Purchasing appropriate resources such as differentiated materials for less able students or literacy materials;
- Purchasing services such as Educational Psychology or Speech Therapists;
- Paying for training for staff to ensure they are aware of the latest research and developments on a wide range of SEND;
- Providing additional support and/or resources dependent on an individual’s or cohort’s needs;
- Contributing the first £6,000 towards funding for students with an EHC Plan.
Your child’s subject teacher or tutor may initially speak to you over the phone about your child’s learning. The subject teacher may also talk to you about any issues at a parent’s evening.
The SENCO or a Head of Centre may contact you and arrange a meeting to discuss your child’s difficulties with learning, and any possible support strategies the school might be considering.
If your child is taking part in an intervention to support their learning, you will be informed about what this intervention is, and what the learning outcomes for it are.
The SENCO/Director of Inclusion and wider Inclusion team discuss the effectiveness of the school’s interventions and provisions and prioritise an action plan, which may include additional or alternative interventions, staff training and equipment needs. This process is reviewed regularly to ensure the best possible intervention is provided to those children who require additional support to learn.
Our internal referral system means that any member of staff can bring a student to the attention of the Inclusion team, who can then assess the level of support needed.
Initially, speak with your child’s Tutor or the SENCO/ Director of Inclusion, Catherine Seal. Hopefully they will be able to address your concerns.
Alternatively you can contact the Deputy Head teacher, Gemma Pearse, who may direct you to the school’s Complaints Policy and procedure.
At Trafalgar School, we are very happy to speak to you about any aspects of your child’s education. It is best to speak to one of the following:
- The Tutor or Subject Teacher
- The Head of Centre
- The Head of House
- The Director of Inclusion
Trafalgar School’s Inclusion Centre, known as the ARC, is designed to support children, who have autism, to access mainstream school.
Portsmouth Local Authority prioritise and allocate places in the ARC through their Inclusion Support Panel.
If your child has not been allocated a place in the ARC by the local authority, it is unlikely that they will have access to this centre.
Class Teacher – the person responsible for teaching your child a particular subject.
Tutor – a member of staff who will see your child each day. Your child's tutor will be the first person for your child to go to if they have an issue in school they want help with.
Inclusion Support Assistant – a member of staff who supports the teacher to get the best learning outcomes for students in class. They may also provide focused activities, 1:1 or small group interventions to support your child.
Head of House/ Assistant Head of House –The Head of House has overall responsibility for all students within their House.
Director of Inclusion/ SENCo – The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (Catherine Seal) is responsible for the overall provision of support for students with SEN.
Head of School (Gemma Pearse) – is responsible for overseeing SEN provision.
Heads of Centre – responsible for the provision of support for students with SEN within one particular area (Rebecca Davis – Head of Learning and Cognition Support; Rea Forbes – Head of Emotional and Social Support and Emma Roberts – Head of Interaction and Communication).
HI - Hearing Impairment
VI - Visual Impairment
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
MSI - Multi-sensory Impairment
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication Need
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
EHCP – Education, Health and Care Plan
CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
SEN – Special Educational Need
SENCO – Special Educational Needs Coordinator