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Learning Support Policy

Curriculum » Learning Support » Learning Support Policy

At Malmesbury School, we are committed to offering an inclusive curriculum to ensure the best possible progress for all of our students whatever their needs or abilities.

Malmesbury School values the contribution that every student can make and welcomes the diversity of culture, religion and intellectual style.  The school seeks to raise achievement of the whole community, remove barriers to learning and provide physical and curricular access for all.

As such, provision for students with SEN is a matter for the school as a whole.  All teachers are teachers of students with SEN.  The governing body, Headteacher, SENCO and all other members of staff have important responsibilities.

1.  Definition of Special Educational Needs

1.1  “Students have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.”

1.2  Students have a learning difficulty if they:

a)       have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of students of the same age; or

b)      have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for students of the same age in schools within the area of the Local Authority.

1.3  Students will not be regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught.

1.4  Special educational provision means:  “Educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different from, the educational provision made generally for students of their age in schools maintained by the Local Authority, other than in special schools, in the area.”

312, Education Act 1996

2.  Objectives of the SEN policy


2.1 The specific objectives of our SEN policy are as follows:

2.1.1  To identify students with special educational needs and ensure that their needs are met.

2.1.2  To ensure that students with special educational needs can join in with all the activities of the school.

2.1.3  To ensure that all learners make the best possible progress

2.1.4  To ensure that parents are informed of their daughter or son’s special needs and that there is effective communication between school and parents.

2.1.5  To ensure that learners have the opportunity to express their views and are fully involved in decisions which affect their education.

2.1.6  To promote effective partnership and involve outside agencies when appropriate.

3.  Review of the SEN Policy

3.1  The success of the school’s SEN policy will be judged against the objectives above.

3.2  The annual report to Governors will detail the successful implementation of the policy and the effectiveness of the provision made for the students.

4.  Management of Special Educational Needs


4.1  The named SEN co-ordinator for the school is Mrs Abel-Goldbin.

4.2  The SENCO has responsibility for:

4.2.1  Day to day operation of the SEN policy

4.2.2  Co-ordinating provision for students with SEN, particularly through School Action and School Action Plus

4.2.3  Liaising with and advising fellow teachers

4.2.4  Managing the SEN team and Learning Support staff

4.2.5  Overseeing records on all students with SEN

4.2.6  Liaising with parents of students with SEN

4.2.7  Contributing to the in-service training of staff

4.2.8 Liaising with external agencies including the Local Authority support and educational psychology services, the Connexions PA, health and social services

4.3  The Learning Support Faculty is line managed by the Deputy Headteacher, Margaret Sutherland.

4.4  A member of the governing body, Mr C Francis, takes an interest in SEN although the governing body as a whole is responsible for making provision for students with special educational needs.

5.  Admission Arrangements


5.1  The Headteacher is responsible for the admission arrangements which do not discriminate against students with special educational needs or disabilities; this policy has due regard for the guidance in the Codes of Practice which accompany the SEN and Disability and Discrimination Act 2001.

5.2  Parents and carers seeking the admission of a student with mobility difficulties are advised to approach the school well in advance so that consultations can take place.  The school’s Accessibility Strategy is appended in this policy.

6.   Allocation of Resources

6.1  The school is allocated a specific sum each year for children with learning difficulties.  This is referred to as the SENA (Special Educational Needs Allocation) and is in addition to the amount allocated from the school’s delegated budget.

Students with additional needs are allocated ELP (Enhanced Learning Provision).  This is used to fund Teaching Assistants to work with the student with this provision.  The overall budget for learning support varies from year to year and a detailed breakdown can be requested from the school.

The funds allocated are used to fund teaching staff, teaching assistants and resources used for learning.  Students with special needs have access to the full range of the school’s facilities.

6.2  The faculty has one full time and three part time teachers.  Some staff have postgraduate qualifications in SEN.  Two teachers have specialist SpLD qualifications and AMBDA.

7.   Identification, Assessment

7.1  The school is committed to early identification of special educational need in line with the Code of Practice 2002.

7.2  The school carries out the following:

7.2.1   The SENCO attends all Year 5 transfer Annual Reviews in feeder primary schools.

7.2.2  All Year 6 students and staff are visited in their primary school by the Assistant Headteacher (Student and Student Services)  and a member of the Learning Support Faculty.

7.2.3  Two induction days are held for all students prior to entry.  Parents are invited to share any concerns with the SENCO during the parents’ evening following these induction days.

7.2.4 Additional visits to the school  are arranged by the SENCO for students with Statements.

7.2.5  Use of records from primary schools KS2 SATs, IEP, IBP, PSPs, Statements  of SEN, outside agency reports are vital in the identification and assessment of students.

7.2.6  All Year 7 students on incoming SEN registers are tested with a reading test and the Vernon spelling test.  Some students are given the Corrective Reading placement tests.  CAT tests are administered in the first half term of Year 7.

7.2.7  Data is made available for all staff to aid groupings, short and long term planning, provision and target setting for staff/students and IEPs.

7.2.8   The SENCO consults with parents regarding any additional/separate provision planned for SEN students.

7.2.9  Parents’ consultation surgeries act as a forum for initial concerns and feedback from parents.

7.3  Every effort will be made to ensure that all teaching and non-teaching staff are  fully aware of the school’s SEN policy and the school’s procedure for identifying, assessing and making provision for students with SEN.

7.4 The school’s SEN register, all student IEPs and standardised test results are accessible via the school’s ICT resource network.

8.  Support for students with Special Educational Needs.

8.1  For most students, extra help will be provided within the classroom, managed by the subject teacher.  Some additional support may be provided in the classroom by Learning Support teachers/assistants.

8.2 Where support involves spending some time outside the classroom, it will nonetheless be in the context of the inclusive curriculum.

8.3  The inclusive curriculum will be based on the principles of:

  • Setting suitable learning challenges
  • Responding to students’ diverse learning needs
  • Overcoming potential barriers to learning.

8.4  The appropriate level of intervention is determined by student needs in a graduated approach beginning with grouping strategies used within the classroom, access to small group tuition, attendance at tutor time/lunchtime support clubs, limited periods of withdrawal and 1-1 teaching.

8.5  IEPs will be written for students at School Action Plus and for students with statements.  They will include

  • The short-term targets set for the student
  • The teaching strategies to be used
  • The provision to be put in place
  • When the plan is to be reviewed
  • Success and/or exit criteria

8.6  All staff have a responsibility to make themselves aware of student targets and for building planning into their teaching to help students achieve their targets.

9.  Stages of Support Provision

9.1  Provision may include:


  • To support Year 7 students who have received additional help at their primary school.
  • To support students who have been identified as causing concern by parents and teachers.  (Parents and students are given the opportunity to be involved at all stages of a graduated approach for SEN).
  • To monitor the transition of students who have achieved their success criteria and have moved from School Action to full mainstream education.


  • SEN information sheets are written for all students at School Action.  This will inform staff of the student’s needs and give details of their provision.
  • In class support
  • Emphasis on differentiation of activities/materials for curriculum access
  • Some individual programming/small group work to support specific targets

9.1.3 School Action Plus (as School Action and:)

  • Access to ICT and specialist equipment and materials as necessary
  • Access to withdrawal teaching
  • Input from outside professionals

9.1.4 Statements (as School Action and School Action Plus and:)

  • Specialist teaching and/or communication techniques, supported by appropriate equipment and materials.

10.  Review of  IEPs

10.1  The IEP will be reviewed at every six months and the outcomes will be recorded.

10.2 If, despite significant support and intervention at School Action, the school has evidence that a student is making insufficient progress we may seek further advice and support from outside professionals.

10.2.1These professionals will be invited to contribute to the monitoring and review of progress.

10.2.2 Students and parents will be fully involved and kept informed about the involvement of external agencies and proposed interventions.

10.3  For students who have statements of SEN, in addition to the review of IEPs, their progress and the support outlined in their statement will be reviewed annually and a report provided for the Local Authority.

10.4  If a student makes sufficient progress a statement may be discontinued by the Local Authority.

10.5 The school will liaise with the Connexions Service and other agencies to arrange Transition Plans for students with Statements in Year 9, and will ensure that these Transition Plans are reviewed annually as part of the Annual Review process.

10.6  When students move to another school their records will be transferred to the next school within 15 days of the student ceasing to be registered, as required under the Education (Student Information) Regulations 2000.

10.7 The SENCO is responsible for organising reviews of statements for SEN.  All parents  of students at School Action + are invited to attend reviews of IEPs at parents’ consultation surgeries or full parents’ evenings.

11. Access to the Curriculum

11.1  All students have the entitlement to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum.

11.2 All students with SEN are taught for most of the week with their peers in mainstream classes by subject teachers and study the appropriate curriculum.

11.3  All teaching and support staff are aware of the need to consider the National Curriculum Inclusion Statement in their planning and teaching and to strive to:

  • Provide suitable learning challenges
  • Meet the students’ diverse learning needs
  • Remove the barriers to learning and assessment

11.4  With advice and the support of the SENCO, Learning Support Teachers, Learning Support Assistants and outside professionals, teachers will strive to match the learning to the needs and abilities of the students.

11.5 Teachers will use a range of strategies to develop the students’ knowledge, understanding and skills.

11.6 Where appropriate, materials will be modified or support provided to enable students with SEN to access the learning or the assessment processes.

12 .  Access to the wider curriculum

12.1  In addition to the statutory curriculum the school provides a range of additional activities.  These include:

  • Sports activities and teams
  • School productions and theatre trips
  • Choir, orchestra and instrument lessons
  • Field trips to enhance learning – geography, history and science
  • Exchange visits to France, Spain and Germany
  • Clubs reflecting a diversity of interests

12.2       Staff will strive to ensure equal access to these activities for all students.

13.  Monitoring and evaluating the success of the education provided for students with SEN

13.1       The school, including the governing body, is committed to regular and systematic evaluation of the effectiveness of its work.

13.2       The school employs a series of methods to gather data for analysis including:

  • Observation of teaching by outside agencies e.g. Educational Psychologist and advisory teachers
  • Analysis of the attainment and achievement of different groups of students with SEN
  • Success rates in respect of IEP and PSP targets at School Action, School Action Plus and Statement Annual reviews.
  • GCSE success
  • Post 16 destinations of students with SEN
  • The views of parents and the students at Parents Evenings and Consultation Surgeries
  • Maintenance of assessment records e.g. reading and spelling ages that illustrate progress over time
  • Regular meetings between SENCO and Senior Curriculum Leaders, Learning Support teachers and teaching assistants
  • ICT audit
  • Whole school and subject evaluation on progress of School Improvement Plan
  • Performance managing observation

13.3 Following the collection of data, the school reports annually upon its successes and identifies aspects for future development.

14  Dealing with complaints from parents

14.1       All complaints will be treated seriously and investigated thoroughly according to the school’s SEN complaint procedure.

14.2       The school will provide information about the Parent Partnership service to all parents of students with special educational needs.  The Parent Partnership service can be contacted on 08457 585072.

14.3       Parents of any student identified with SEN may contact the Parent Partnership Service for independent support and advice.  The address can be obtained from school.

14.4       Wiltshire Local Authority has made arrangements for the appointment of independent persons with a view to resolving or avoiding disagreements between authorities and parents of students with SEN.

14.5       Details of how to access this disagreement resolution service can be obtained from the Local Authority and support will be given to parents in accessing the information.

15. Arrangements for In-Service training

15.1       It is the school policy to provide appropriate professional development for the SENCO, support teachers, subject SEN representatives, Learning Support assistants and other staff according to needs identified in the SIP and as part of the staff Performance Management process.

15.2       Relevant local and national courses/conferences including cluster meetings are attended by the SENCO.

15.3       The school has membership of a number of SEN organisations.

15.4       The school supports staff training for externally accredited courses e.g. diplomas, certificates, degrees etc.  In-school training sessions are held for individuals, groups of staff or whole staff by SLT, SENCO and external agencies.

15.5       An ongoing programme of INSET for all staff is provided by the school on Teacher Development days.

15.6       Meetings for NQTs and staff new to the school are part of the induction programme.

16. External Support Services

16.1  External support services play an important part in helping the school identify, assess and make provision for students with special education needs.

16.1.1  The school receives visits from the nominated Education Welfare Officer and Educational Psychologist for the area.

16.1.2  The school may seek advice from specialist advisory teaching services for students with sensory impairment or physical difficulties.

16.1.3 Specialist outside agencies contribute to the reviews of students with significant speech and language difficulties, physical, visual, and hearing impaired students

16.1.4  Multi-agency liaison meetings, with representation from Social Services, the Connexions Service, Health and the Educational Psychology Service are held on a termly basis to ensure effective collaboration in identifying and making provision for vulnerable students

16.1.5 The Connexions Service Personal Adviser is invited to attend all Annual Reviews in Year 9 in order to contribute to the first Transition Plan, and then to the subsequent reviews of the Transition Plan.

17. Links with other schools.

17.1  Malmesbury School has links with Rowdeford, St Nicholas and Springfield Special Schools.

17.2  The school has links with post-16 providers.

18. The role played by parents of students with SEN

(“Parents” includes all those with parental responsibility, including corporate parents and carers)

18.1  In accordance with the SEN Code of Practice the school believes that all parents of students with SEN should be treated as equal partners.

18.2  The school has positive attitudes to parents, provides user-friendly information and strives to ensure that they understand the procedures and are aware of how to access advice.

18.3  Parents will be supported and empowered to:

  • Recognise and fulfil their responsibilities as parents and play an active and valued role in their son or daughter’s education
  • Have knowledge of their son or daughter’s entitlement within the SEN framework
  • Make their views known about how their son or daughter is educated
  • Have access to information, advice and support during assessment and any related decision making processes about special educational provision
  • Contribute to review meetings

18.4  The school is committed to working with parents and to keeping them fully informed of the Partnership with Parents Service and with the school’s procedures.

18.5  Parents will be made welcome in the school and will be invited to attend such meetings as concern their son or daughter.

18.6  In order to make communications effective the school will:

  • Acknowledge and draw on parental knowledge and expertise in relation to their son or daughter
  • Focus on the student’s strengths as well as areas of additional need
  • Recognise the personal investment of parents and be aware of their feelings
  • Ensure that parents understand procedures and are aware of how to access support in preparing their contributions to be discussed well before meetings
  • Respect the validity of differing perspectives and seek constructive ways of reconciling different viewpoints
  • Respect the differing needs parents themselves may have, such as a disability, or communication and linguistic barriers
  • Recognise the need for flexibility in the timing and structure of meetings.
19.  Review of the Policy

19.1    This policy will be reviewed in September 2013, or in response to changes in legislation or Local Authority policy.

19.2    This policy has been workload assessed.

Jessica Abel-Goldbin

November 2012