Central to the ethos of Ballymena Primary School is the determination to provide a learning environment within a safe, supportive, stimulating and co-operative school community where every child can think and grow and be happy.
Ballymena Primary is committed to the provision of a broad & balanced curriculum that offers equal access for all children. Respecting each child’s unique personality, experiences, interests, strengths and weaknesses, we aim to maximise the development of our children and to work towards realising their individual potential. To this end teachers will monitor children’s progress and provide appropriate experiences and tasks to stimulate, challenge and reinforce learning. In doing so, teachers will identify both, children of exceptional ability and children who display significantly greater difficulties in learning than their peers. We recognise that during their school career some pupils may have special educational needs and/or a disability and we will make every possible arrangement to provide for their individual needs. The provision for the special educational needs of these children will be in line with the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs (Education (NI) Order 1996) as amended by the Special Needs and Disability (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 and the application of these requirements to Ballymena Primary School and its aims are as outlined in this Policy.
Key Principles of Inclusion
‘Inclusion is about the quality of children’s experience; how they are helped to learn, achieve and participate fully in the life of the school.’
(Removing Barriers to Achievement, 2004)
Through the process of inclusion the school will seek to develop cultures, policies and practices to include pupils and encourage a whole school acceptance of including children with special educational needs/disability in the work and life of the school.
In order to make sure that we meet our pupils’ needs and include them in all aspects of school life, this SEN policy links closely with all our other policies in supporting pupils such as; Behaviour for Learning, Child Protection, and Anti Bullying.
Aims of SEN provision in Ballymena Primary School
In providing for children with special educational needs, we aim to:
Code of Practice 1998 paragraph:1.4 and Disability Discrimination Act 1995
The following areas encompass all aspects of SEN/Disability:
1. Cognitive and Learning
a) Dyslexia/Specific Learning Difficulty (DYL)
b) Dyscalculia (DYC)
c) Dyspraxia/Developmental Coordination Difficulties (DCD)
d) Mild Learning Difficulties (MILD)
e) Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD)
f) Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD)
g) Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD)
h) Unspecified learning difficulties (U)
2. Social, Emotional and Behavioural
a) Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (SEBD)
b) Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD)
3. Communication and Interaction
a) Speech and Language Difficulties (SL)
b) Autism (AUT)
c) Asperger’s Syndrome (ASP)
4. Sensory Difficulties
a) Severe/profound hearing loss (SPHL)
b) Mild/moderate hearing loss (MMHL)
c) Blind (BL)
d) Partially sighted (PS)
e) Multi-sensory impairment (MSI)
a) Cerebral Palsy (CP)
b) Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus (SBH)
c) Muscular Dystrophy (MD)
d) Significant Accidental Injury (SAI)
e) Other (OPN)
6. Medical Conditions/Syndromes
a) Epilepsy (EPIL)
b) Asthma (ASTH)
c) Diabetes (DIAB)
d) Anaphylaxis (ANXS)
e) Down’s Syndrome (DOWN)
f) Other medical conditions/syndromes (OMCS)
g) Interaction of Complex Medical Needs (ICMN)
h) Mental Health Issues (MHI)
a) Other (OTH)
Guidance for Schools: Recording Children with Special Educational Needs – SEN Categories (Department of Education
The Management of Special Educational Needs
In Ballymena Primary School we follow the five stage approach as set out in the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs (1998)
While individual children’s needs vary greatly and the provision may range from temporary and minor to permanent and major, it is hoped that many children will have their needs addressed in the short term within Stages 1,2 or 3.
Teachers who have concerns about a child’s learning or who identify a child as having special educational needs will inform the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) of their concerns as early as possible. A Record of Concern sheet will be completed and the SENCo will gather information to make an initial assessment.
Stage 1 begins with a concern that a child may have special educational needs. Normally such a view is expressed either to or by the class teacher. The class teacher will maintain day-to-day responsibility for meeting the pupil’s SENs and should inform the SEN Co-ordinator and the Principal and consult the child’s parents.
In addition, the class teacher will:
The SENCo will:
Stage 1 Review
Stage 2 begins with a decision either at the Stage 1 Review, or following discussions between teachers and parents, to proceed with early and more intensive action.
The SENCo will:
Stage 2 Review
Normally the Stage 2 review will be conducted by the SENCo, in consultation with the class teacher and, where possible, child and parents. It should focus on the child’s progress.
Stage 3 begins with a decision either at Stage 2 review or following discussions between the SENCo, Principal, teachers and parents, that early intervention with external support is necessary. At this Stage the SENCO takes a lead role, working closely with the child’s teacher and drawing on the expertise of relevant external support services.
At Stages 2 and 3 of the Code of Practice the SENCo and class teacher should consider potential benefits of:
Stage 3 Review
The review of the Stage 3 Education Plan will normally be conducted by the SENCo, in consultation with the class teacher and where possible, parents and child. Relevant external support services may also be present, particularly if the child’s progress has not been satisfactory. The review should focus on the child’s progress and whether this has been adequate.
‘In some cases schools will conclude that the pupil’s needs remain so substantial that they cannot be effectively met within the resources normally available to the school.’ (Supplement to the Code of Practice – 4.64)
Following an application to the EA from school’s principal or the parent, the Board will consider the need for transition to Stage 4. It should be noted that a request of this kind will not always result in Statutory Assessment nor will Statutory Assessment always lead to a Statement of Special Educational Needs.
In reaching a suitable decision, the Board will consider:
Following Statutory Assessment
The EA will either:
A Statement of Special Educational Needs sets out the child’s educational and non-educational needs, the objectives to be secured, the provision to be made and the arrangements for monitoring and review.
A Note in Lieu of a Statement sets out the reasons for the Board’s decision not to make a Statement of Special Educational Needs and includes supporting evidence from the Statutory Assessment.
Once the statement has been made final:
The Annual Review
Article 19 of the Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 requires that any child or young person who is the subject of a Statement of Special Educational Needs, whether attending a special or mainstream school, must be reviewed annually, to make sure that the needs of the child or young person are still being met and to consider the appropriateness of the placement. Annual Reviews should be seen as part of the process of continuous monitoring of the child's progress.
The Annual Review will:
Relevant school staff will undertake the Review on behalf of the EA.
The Review will take place in school, chaired by the Principal (or other person as delegated).
In most cases transition through the five staged assessment process occurs in sequence. However, in exceptional circumstances, pupils may demonstrate such significant or unforeseen difficulties that with multi-professional and parental agreement a move to a higher stage of need is necessary immediately.
Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs in Ballymena Primary School
‘It is vitally important that children with SEN are identified as early as possible and that an awareness of their possible difficulties is clearly communicated between all the professionals involved with their development.’ (Code of Practice 1998 paragraph 2.14)
In identifying children with special educational needs, information will be gathered from various sources and treated confidentially.
The following may be used to identify pupils’ needs:
Monitoring the Progress of Pupils with SENs
It is the responsibility of the SENCo to ensure that the progress of pupils on the SEN register is monitored.
IEP targets will be monitored for quality, progression and appropriateness, through meeting with teachers on a regular basis, class visits and review of pupil class work and well-being.
IEP reviews and other relevant and purposeful measures will focus on educational outcomes to inform future planning and inform movement either up or down through the Code of Practice Stages.
Formal meetings for staff will be held during each term to monitor SEN provision and discuss issues arising.
Parents with children on the Learning Support register will have the opportunity to discuss their child’s individual targets for learning and their progress at parent interviews or can contact the school at any other time to arrange a meeting.
The Strategic Learning & Thinking team and Board of Governors will be kept informed of the SEN provision on a regular basis.
Liaison with outside agencies will be maintained.
Addressing Individual Requirements
In attempting to meet the needs of individual children, a range of teaching strategies and classroom management styles may be required. Advice and programmes from outside agencies such as occupational therapy and speech and language will also be integrated into classroom practice. These will be noted in education plans and their effectiveness considered at times of review.
In general, teachers will ensure that:
The SENCo will keep copies of all letters, referrals, minutes, reports and relevant correspondence pertaining to special needs.
Organisation and Management
Depending on staffing, priorities and the time available, the SEN teacher may work to support individuals or groups of children within their own classes or may withdraw individuals or small groups to concentrate on particular difficulties.
Resources and Additional Support
A variety of resource material including ICT packages will be used to supplement the differentiated class work provided by the teacher and support special needs.
Reading Partners Programme
The Reading Partners Programme may be offered to children in KS1 who have been identified by the SENCo/class teacher as experiencing or having potential reading difficulties and who would benefit from a block of reading support. The programme lasts for 10 weeks and the child has individual 30-minute sessions, 3 times a week. Regular attendance by the child and full support from his/her parents is a vital element of the programme. All children receiving Reading Partners support will be included at Stage 2 on the Learning Support Register.
MASTS (Multi Agency Support Team)
Multi agency support is available to the school through the MASTS programme. The SENCo, Foundation/Key Stage One teachers and classroom assistants have all received MASTS training and can avail of advice from the MASTS team. Referrals for in school support can be made for P1-3 children.
The Principal oversees the professional development of all staff, in consultation with the SENCo. The SENCo should keep a record of all training relating to SEN.
It is essential that all staff keep up-to-date with developments in the whole area of SEN in order to provide effectively for pupils. Any staff attending INSET should disseminate the training with colleagues.
Professional development offered may include: ASD training, MASTS training, Reading Partners, Behaviour Support
Roles and Responsibilities
Role of the Board of Governors
The Board of Governors should:
Role of the Principal
The principal should:
The Role of the Coordinator (SENCo)
The SENCo should:
Role of the Classroom Teacher
The classroom teacher should:
Special Needs Teacher/Learning Support Teacher
The Special Needs teacher will work under the direction of the SENCo & should:
SEN/Disability which promote progression within an inclusive setting
Role of the Learning Support Assistant
‘The relationship between the parents of a child with SEN and their child’s school has a crucial bearing on the child’s educational progress and effectiveness of any school based action....... Professional help can seldom be wholly effective unless it builds upon parental involvement and provides reassurance that account is taken of what parents say and that their views and anxieties are treated as intrinsically important.’(Code of Practice 2.21)
‘The child should, where possible, according to age maturity and capability, participate in all the decision making processes which occur in education.’
(Supplement to the Code of Practice – pars 1.19)
Key decisions for a particular pupil might include:
The admission arrangements with respect to the majority of pupils with SEN are consistent with the school’s general arrangements for all other pupils.
Children with Statements of SEN are placed in schools at the request of the relevant Education and Library Board.
When seeking to place a pupil with a Statement, the Board will take into account the wishes of the child’s parents and the provision of efficient education for other children in the class or school and the efficient use of resources to determine the suitability of the placement. This arrangement is in line with SENDO legislation.
The school will ensure that all children in each year of Foundation, KS 1 & KS2 have access to a broad and balanced curriculum. Within our school development plan we will endeavour to improve access to the environment and access to information for children with SEN/Disability.
Complaints regarding SEN/Disability issues will be considered and resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible. In most cases this will be successfully achieved on an informal basis with a class teacher and/or SENCo. Should the issue require further discussion it may be addressed to the principal. Unresolved issues may be submitted in writing to the Board of Governors.
SEN Advice & Information Service
The aim of the Advice and Information Service at the North Eastern Education and Library Board is to ensure that parents of children with Special Educational Needs/Disability know where and how to access information and advice in relation to the needs of their children so that they can make appropriate and informed choices and decisions. Most of the advice and information is available on a regional website www.education-support.org.uk with local links and information for each Education and Library Board.
Dispute Avoidance and Reconciliation Service (DARS)
This service is to provide, within an independent, confidential and informal forum, a further opportunity to resolve previously unresolved disagreements between a school or Education and Library Board in relation to the special educational provision being made for a child.
Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST)
In instances where an agreement about a child’s special educational needs cannot be reached by parents with the Education & Library, an appeal can be made to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.
This policy will be reviewed annually and/or in light of changes in legislation or practice. This will happen in consultation with the Board of Governors and all staff members.