Staff Training and Expertise in Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND)
The school’s Inclusion Manager, incorporating the role of Special Educational Needs & Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCo), is Sarah Haynes. Sarah is a member of the school’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and works as SENDCo four days a week. You can contact Sarah via email [email protected]. In addition to Sarah, we have a highly experienced Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) for inclusion who has worked in schools in Portsmouth since 2001. Shireen Hawkins works in school 5 days a week delivering support to individual children as well as supporting teaching staff and teaching assistants working with children individually, in groups and in class.
The school’s SEN/Inclusion governor is Kate Reynolds and can be contacted via the school office.
All teachers have general knowledge and understanding of SEN through their initial teacher training, with several undertaking specific undergraduate projects or placements on aspects of SEN, such as autism. Several teachers have previously worked in special educational needs settings. Through their continuing professional development and previous experience, the teaching staff at St Swithun’s has a knowledge and understanding of:
- The relationship between SEN and English as an Additional Language
- Literacy programmes such as Better Reading Partnership
- Intervention strategies such as Precision Teaching
- Speech, language and communication issues
- Behaviour support
- A range of sensory impairments
- Down’s Syndrome and Williams Syndrome
Some of our teaching assistants have been trained in the Read Write Inc. phonics programme and this supports the children in reading, comprehension and spelling. All teaching assistants have experience in supporting children with SEN within the classroom and in small groups or individual programmes. They have received training in specific intervention programmes and some have had training in aspects of SEN such as specific learning difficulties in literacy or numeracy. Several have specific graduate or post-graduate qualifications in aspects of SEN. Two of our teaching assistants are trained speech and language support workers. If a speech and language difficulty is identified they are able to do assessments to ascertain the best way to move forwards in delivering the right support.
Measuring the Effectiveness of SEN Provision
At the start of specific SEN programmes, baseline measurements are taken such as reading or spelling scores and they are taken again every half term to ensure that progress is being made. The expectation is that, for the vast majority of children, progress via a specific programme will be double that of their age, so, over a three-month period we would expect at least a six-month increase in scores. Class teachers and support staff discuss with the SENDCo on a regular basis the impact of SEN programmes on the child’s performance in class lessons.
Children’s Engagement in Whole-school Activities
All children identified as having special needs participate in all aspects of school life, such as PE, music, assemblies, school trips and extracurricular clubs.
Social and Emotional Development
Children experiencing social and emotional difficulties are supported through the general pastoral strength of the whole school staff, especially that of their class teachers. Specific programmes are available for aspects of social and emotional development under the supervision of the SENDCo. Use of our sensory room ‘The Ark’ also allows children time to regulate and prepare for learning.