At St Laurence-in-Thanet CE Junior Academy, our vision is guided by the promise that 'With God, all things are possible' (Matthew 19:26). We firmly believe that every member of our community should be nurtured to thrive both now and in the future. Much like the parable of The Lost Sheep in the Bible, we are dedicated to caring for each individual in our ever-changing world. This timeless story serves as our guiding principle for how we should conduct ourselves, treat one another, and always remember that each of us is known, valued, and loved.
- Sarah Graham - Head teacher - Oversees the support for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
- Sarah Mountjoy - SENCo - Leading the coordination of services for children with SEND and the formulation of the school's SEND policy. Collaborating with external organisations to access specialised guidance.
- Michelle Kiting - SEND Governor - Assists the school in assessing and enhancing the calibre and effectiveness of support provided to students with SEND.
Contextual Information September – 155 pupils on roll
How does the school know if children need extra help?
At St Laurence, we maintain a vigilant watch over the progress and development of each child. We employ a system of assessment to identify any potential Special Educational Needs. This process is initiated if a child exhibits slower progress, behavioural challenges, or emotional difficulties relative to their peers. Our dedicated Teachers and Teaching Assistants actively participate in pupil progress meetings, and concerns may arise at any point where it's deemed necessary, often through discussions with our SENCo.
We value the input of parents and encourage them to communicate any concerns they may have about their child's academic journey. In some instances, with the consent of parents, we may engage external agencies to provide specialised support and guidance.
Recognising that each child is a unique individual with their own developmental timeline, we employ diverse teaching strategies in our classrooms to cater to individual learning styles. This approach is also adaptable to accommodate medical conditions or disabilities that may impact a child's educational experience. While most children benefit from these varied teaching approaches, some may require additional support for their special educational needs, encompassing learning difficulties, medical conditions, or disabilities.
Our commitment to progress monitoring extends to ongoing assessments by class teachers. If the need arises, and following discussions with key staff and parents, we implement targeted support measures, such as resource allocation, small-group sessions or individualised assistance, to address specific learning or behavioural challenges.
In select cases, we allocate additional teaching assistant support to ensure that students can actively engage in lessons and participate in various school activities, thereby promoting independent learning. Our overarching aim is to provide a supportive and inclusive educational environment that fosters the growth and development of every child.
What should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
If you have concerns about your child, you should speak to your child’s class teacher first. You may then be directed to the SENCO.
How will the school support my child? How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs? How is the provision for children with Special Educational Needs assessed?
In the first instance, all work will be tailored to a child's level so that they can access learning in accordance with their needs. Additional resources or equipment may also be provided for support.
If necessary, extra assistance in literacy, numeracy, speech and language, or social and emotional development may occur either in small groups or one-on-one with a teaching assistant.
Children with emotional or behavioural needs might receive support through talk sessions and mentoring. St Laurence employs various incentives to encourage positive behaviour and effort.
The learning environment may be adjusted as required to meet an individual's needs. This might involve rearranging seating in the classroom, using different coloured backgrounds on the board, or providing additional tools such as a writing slope or mathematical aids. Some children may benefit from having tasks broken down into smaller steps to help them manage. The use of technology may be incorporated where appropriate and recommended by a professional.
Work will be taught at the appropriate level for your child. If your child has specific needs, they may be provided with an SEN Support Plan/Pastoral Support Plan outlining the additional steps being taken to support their learning.
The Senior Leadership Team conducts teaching observations, reviews student work, and holds pupil progress meetings to address children's needs. Interventions are consistently assessed, and individual student progress is evaluated to determine if additional or alternative interventions are required. Additionally, the SENCO observes in-class provision and interventions for children with SEN, ensuring ongoing effectiveness.
How can I find out about how well my child is doing?
To stay informed about your child's progress at school, you can engage in various ways. Participate in parent-teacher meetings to discuss their academic development and behaviour. Additionally, review their SEN support plan, which outlines tailored support and goals. The school conducts regular reviews involving parents, external agencies, and, if appropriate, the child, ensuring everyone is aligned on the educational journey. Support arrangements are updated based on these assessments, with referrals to external agencies if needed. The school's commitment to seeking further expertise for children with significant difficulties underscores their dedication to each child's success.
How will you help me to support my child’s learning?
Regular liaison and communication takes place with parents and school. This may include parent meetings, multi-agency meetings and the sharing of reports. Your child’s individual targets will be shared with you along with ways you can support your child in working towards these targets.
Home/school communication books may also be used.
What support will there be for my child/young person’s overall well-being?
At St Laurence, we prioritise students' well-being and mental health. Our two ELSA-trained Teaching Assistants (TAs) play a crucial role in offering emotional support. We provide individual and group interventions, mentoring, and social skills sessions. For personalised needs, we create individual support plans. Students also have access to "The Ark," our nurture provision, and enjoy enriching experiences such as Forest School. Our commitment extends to collaborating with external agencies like the Early Help team to ensure the holistic development of our students.
St Laurence benefits from a dedicated Pastoral Team, readily available to support children during challenging times. Some students may receive mentoring from key staff members as needed. We offer additional assistance to those finding lunchtimes challenging, ensuring manageable outdoor time and skill-building activities. Our caring staff supervise playtimes and lunchtimes, providing access to play equipment. We take any reports of unkindness or bullying seriously, conducting thorough investigations and when appropriate, using Restorative Justice questioning. Our focus is on preventing situations from escalating and providing support to both those affected and those involved. The Pastoral Team is always there to offer children a safe space to talk or find calm.
What specialist services and expertise are accessed by the school?
The school collaborates with various external agencies to secure guidance and assistance, ensuring that we comprehensively understand and address the needs of all our students. This list includes the most common agencies used, but others will be engaged as necessary. These agencies encompass:
- Educational Psychology Service (EP): For specialised educational insights.
- Thanet Inclusion Support Service (STLS): Supporting inclusive practices.
- Visual Impairment Team: Addressing the needs of visually impaired students.
- Speech and Language Therapy: Providing language and communication support.
- Paediatric Services: Ensuring the well-being of our students.
- CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service): Addressing mental health concerns.
- Family Support Worker: Offering assistance to families.
- Individual Healthcare Plans: Tailored for children with specific medical requirements.
What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND, had or will be having?
The SENCO is in the process of completing The National Award in Special Educational Needs Coordination. Additionally, she actively participates in meetings of the Local Inclusion Forum Team and local SENCO groups to stay updated on best practices.
Our Teaching Assistants have received training in various areas and interventions, including Speech and Language, Read Write Inc., 1st Class @ Number, Precision Teaching, Diabetic training Restorative Justice, Fizzy, Sensory Circuits, attachment training, the use of Communicate in Print, BRP, Lego Therapy and Number Stacks. We also have ELSA trained TAs and implement Drawing and Talking as part of our support services. This collective expertise ensures a well-rounded approach to supporting our students' diverse needs.
How accessible is the school environment?
We are committed to making necessary adjustments to accommodate the needs of our pupils. This can include arranging seating to ensure proximity to the board when needed. Additionally, we utilise a sound field system to guarantee the teacher's voice is audible from any point in the classroom. For more detailed information, please refer to the school's accessibility plan.
How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?
We prioritise the inclusion of all children in every aspect of the school curriculum, and our goal is to ensure that all students can participate in school trips. We are committed to providing the required support to make this inclusion successful and may engage in discussions with parents in advance. Depending on a child's specific needs, it could be appropriate and necessary for a parent or caregiver to accompany them on a school trip. Furthermore, several after-school clubs, voluntarily led by staff, are available, and our aspiration is to make these clubs as inclusive as possible to accommodate the interests and abilities of all our students.
How will the school prepare and support my child to join the school and transfer to a new school?
Children entering Year 3 are warmly welcomed to visit our school for a full day. Those who require extra transition support may visit accompanied by their Infant school staff or a parent. Transition meetings occur involving class teachers, the SENCO, and the FLO from the feeder infant schools and St Laurence. If necessary, we provide a transition booklet with photos and information to reassure the child before their start.
When moving between year groups, some children may have additional transition activities like meeting their new teacher, exploring their new classroom, or receiving a transition booklet. For those moving to secondary school, we can arrange additional transition support with the receiving school. We share information about any Special Educational Needs between SENCOs. Many secondary schools offer their own transition programs, and parents are encouraged to contact them directly for details.
How are parents involved in the school? How can I be involved?
We view parents as essential partners in addressing any concerns about their child's learning at St Laurence. Parental involvement in a child's education is highly esteemed and encouraged.
Parents' perspectives are actively sought whenever possible, and they can contribute by:
- Ensuring their child's regular school attendance.
- Sharing any concerns or issues with the school and assisting the school in understanding their child's unique needs through open communication.
- Participating in school activities and offering general support to the school community.
- Assisting children in managing school life, such as providing necessary equipment and helping with homework.
- Attending all meetings related to their children's education to stay informed and engaged in their child's learning journey.
Who can I contact for further information?
If parents have concerns about their child possibly having Special Educational Needs, we encourage them to take the following steps. Initially, please reach out to the class teacher and/or the SENCO. Appointments with any staff member can be arranged by contacting the school office, either by phone or in person. Your proactive involvement is valued, and we are here to address your concerns and provide support.
For a comprehensive overview of services available for children and young people with Special Educational Needs, please visit Kent County Council's Local Offer at: https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/special-educational-needs