Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Last Updated: September 2022

At Firs Primary School we believe that every child, no matter what their starting point, should be supported to make the best possible progress they can, in order to enable them to achieve their full potential.

SEND stands for special educational needs and, or, disabilities.  The SEND Code of Practice 2014 explains that:

“A student has SEN where there learning difficulty or disability calls for special educational provision, that is different from or additional to, that normally available to children and young people of the same age.”

During their time at school many children will require additional support with their learning.  Sometimes, additional support for a limited time can help a child to catch up to age related expectations.  In other cases a child may require additional support for the duration of their time at school.

There are four main areas of SEND, children may have needs in one or more of these areas:

  • Communication and interaction
  • Cognition and learning
  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties
  • Sensory and/or physical needs

Your child’s class teacher is responsible for:

  • Checking on the progress of your child
  • Identifying, planning and delivering the differentiated curriculum for your child in class as required
  • Personalised teaching and learning for your child
  • Ensuring that the school’s SEND policy is followed in their classroom

The Inclusion Manager (Mrs Blurton) is responsible for:

  • Developing and reviewing the school’s SEND policy
  • Co-ordinating, monitoring and evaluating support for pupils with SEND
  • Updating the school’s SEND register, and making sure records of children’s progress are kept up to date and remain confidential
  • Providing support for teachers and support staff in school, so that they know how to ensure pupils with SEND make the best possible progress

They are also responsible for ensuring that you are:

  • Involved in supporting your child’s learning
  • Kept informed about the support your child is receiving
  • Involved in reviewing how well your child is doing and liaising with other agencies that may be involved with your child

At Firs Primary School there are a number of ways in which a child may be identified as having possible SEND.

  • Parents may raise concerns about a child’s development at home and discuss these with the class teacher.
  • Initial maths, reading and writing assessments are carried out when children first start at the school. These may show whether a child is working at or significantly below the level of other children their age.
  • If a child is making slower progress than other children in the class, and this persists despite some extra help in class or in targeted small group interventions, concerns are passed on to the Inclusion Manager and additional assessments may be carried out to identify the nature and severity of the difficulty.

However a special educational need is identified, either the class teacher or the Inclusion Manager will discuss concerns with the child’s parents or carers as soon as possible.  Parents will be invited to regular ‘parent and teacher meetings’ to work out and agree a programme of support suited to their child’s needs.  We also feel it is beneficial for the child to be involved in the process and they will, if appropriate, also be invited to contribute to planning their programme of support.

During the initial meeting, a set of desired outcomes (targets) for the child will be agreed.  The class teacher will support the child to work towards these targets and they will be reviewed at a later point.  During a follow up, or review meeting, everyone involved will decide on how, or if, additional support for the child needs to continue.

Progress reviews are one aspect of a four part cycle of support:

Assess                         Plan                            Do                               Review

At Firs we believe it is very important to support children at points of transition, for instance between schools, classes or year groups.  We do this in a number of ways:

  • Foundation Stage 1 (Nursery) staff carry out home visits prior to children starting at nursery whenever possible. This helps familiarise the children with the adults who will be looking after them.  It also helps the teachers to get to know the children and their needs.
  • Foundation 1 and Foundation 2 (Reception) offer shorter ‘settling in’ sessions to children when they first start. This helps them become familiar with the setting while having the security of a parent/carer also being present.
  • As children progress up the school, they always have a chance to meet their new teacher in the next year group before they start in their new class. We call these ‘class swap days’.
  • Year 6 Teachers, and the Inclusion Manager, work closely with Secondary Schools to ensure that they are aware of the children’s needs prior to their transfer into Year 7. Children are supported with visiting days to their new school where possible.
  • Children who are new to the country are supported by a ‘peer buddy system’. Where possible new arrivals are partnered with another child who shares their home language.  Their buddy will support them in getting to understand routines and expectations around school, as well as supporting essential communications with teachers.

Teachers have the highest possible expectations for the progress of all children in the school.  The quality of teaching and learning is reviewed regularly by the Senior Leadership Team to ensure it is meeting the standard expected.

Teachers and support staff receive regular training on issues relating to SEND provision such as:

  • Adapting planning to meet the needs of children with SEND
  • How to use a variety of teaching styles to meet the needs of children with SEND
  • How to adapt the learning environment to meet the needs of children with SEND
  • How to use support staff effectively to meet the needs of children in the class

At Firs we use a range of specific programmes and interventions to support different needs.  These include:

Pre-Reading Support Children work in small groups with a trained TA, for 20 minutes per day, to develop the early writing skills and phonological skills such as rhyming and segmenting, required for a successful start to reading.
Read It Write It This is a reading and writing ‘intervention’.  Small group work focused on reading and spelling is carried out for 20 minutes per day, for up to 12 weeks.
Phonics Plus In addition to daily phonics lessons in class, some children will receive additional phonics teaching in the afternoons.  This should help them to catch up with peers and may be appropriate if children have joined the school in Key Stage 1 or above without prior reading experience.
Speech and Language Link This is a computer based assessment programme used in Key Stage 1.  It can help to identify possible difficulties in speech (forming of sounds) or language (understanding and communication).  After an initial assessment the programme creates a support programme tailored to meet the child’s specific speech and/or language needs.  These activities are then either carried out 1:1 or in small groups with the Speech and Language TA, or by a class TA
Precision Teaching This is a daily, 10 minute intervention which is taught 1:1 with a teacher or teaching assistant.  It can be used to address specific difficulties with reading, writing or maths, for instance; a group of high frequency words, particular spelling patterns, number bonds or times tables.
Physical Literacy This is a daily exercise program to support the development of the core stability needed for successful development of fine motor skills.

In addition to these programmes, class teachers may plan further interventions to support short term difficulties experience with a particular skill e.g. letter formation, reading comprehension.  This could include:

  • Additional TA support in class
  • Extra 1:1 reading to support comprehension
  • Peer reading with older children
  • Learning Mentor support

At Firs Primary School we also have a Learning Mentor in the ‘Orchard’.  The Learning Mentor works closely with parents and families, to offer pastoral support to children who may need support with their social and emotional wellbeing.  Provision can be offered to children who are struggling in the mainstream classroom and would benefit from a nurturing and a ‘home like’ learning environment.

At Firs we firmly believe that all behaviour is a form of communication and try our best to understand and help to address the reasons behind challenging behaviour.

If you would like further information on the type of support offered by the Orchard, please call us on 01332 346230 and ask to speak to Linda Talbot our Learning Mentor.

Firs is wheelchair friendly, the school site is all on one level and there are disabled toilets in both the junior and infant buildings. Please see the Accessibility Policy (a link can be found below).

The SEN budget is used annually to purchase any resources that it is felt are required to help identified children access learning opportunities.  These include computer programmes which are used to screen for Dyslexia, touch typing programmes, and the Speech and Language Link packages.  We also offer visual stress tests for children who have been identified as at risk of having Dyslexia.  These identify whether providing the children with a tinted reading ruler, or different coloured paper to work on may reduce the distortion of text experienced by some Dyslexics.

The school is in the process of developing a sensory room to support the learning and development of children with sensory processing difficulties associated with conditions such as Autism or Global Delay.

We use Communication in Print and the Picture Exchange System (PECs) to support children with significant communication difficulties.  Communication in Print is a computer programme which links pictures to words and it is also used to support understanding and communication for children with English as an additional language (EAL) as part of our mainstream provision.

There is an ongoing professional development programme throughout the school year which addresses areas of SEND.  This includes:

  • Differentiation
  • Applying the new SEND Code of Practice
  • Writing effective targets for Multi-element Plans or Individual Provision Maps
  • Tracking pupil progress
  • Recognising the child’s voice and developing ‘One Page Profiles’

Staff training has included:

  • Autism Awareness
  • Communication In print
  • Precision Teaching
  • Pre-reading training
  • Phonics support for pupils with Dyslexia
  • Physical literacy
  • Assessing children using P Scales
  • Attachment disorders
  • Functional Learning and the Waldon Approach
  • Makaton
  • PECs (Picture Exchange Communication system)
  • Colourful Semantics

While staff at Firs are committed to ensuring the progress of every child, and will offer additional support wherever possible, it is sometimes decided, in consultation with parents, that a child may require more specialist support from an outside agency in order to help them to make progress. Examples of outside specialist support are:

  • Speech and Language Therapy Service
  • Educational Psychology Service
  • Early Years Intervention Service
  • Primary Behaviour Panel
  • Community Paediatrician
  • Occupational Therapy
  • School Nurse
  • Health Visitor

If the parents, teacher and Inclusion Manager are in agreement, the Inclusion Manager will refer the child to the appropriate agency, with parents’ permission.  If, following specialist support, the child continues to experience difficulties with their learning, it may be decided to apply for an Education, Health and Care Plan.  This replaced the Statement of Special Education Needs in September 2014.

For more information about the Education, Health and Care Plan, or if you feel your child may need one, please speak to the Inclusion Manager.  More information on the EHC plan can also be found at https://www.gov.uk/children-with-special-educational-needs/extra-SEN-help

The Inclusion Manager is primarily responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of provision for children with SEND. Termly Individual Pupil Progress Meetings will give teachers and the Senior Leadership team to discuss the progress of children in each class and the programmes that are being put in place to support them.

Provision will also be discussed with parents on a termly basis, and they will have the opportunity to share their views on how well the school is supporting their child and whether any changes need to be made to the support they are receiving.

The Head teacher will report to the Governors generally on the progress of children with SEND in school.

At Firs Primary School we believe strongly in the need for inclusion of every child.  We feel that all children should be helped to access the educational experience alongside their peers. All staff are dedicated to working closely with children and their parents to find the best way of supporting the child to access learning experiences in school, during extra-curricular activities and off site visits.

We understand that all children are different and will have different needs, and therefore will require a personalised approach to ensuring that their potential for progress and achievement is met.  The school is required by law to make any reasonable adjustments necessary to enable children to access learning opportunities.

We believe that the social and emotional development and well-being of children is just as important as academic progress.  We aim to provide a safe, supportive and nurturing environment so that every child feels secure and confident at school.

PSHE is well established at the school and taught weekly.  These sessions explore issues such as feelings, bullying, respect, relationships and self-confidence.

Any instances of bullying are taken very seriously and will be dealt with promptly by the Senior Leadership team. Procedures are in place for recording, monitoring and responding to incidents and the school has as strict Anti-Bullying Policy.

Our school has a complaints policy which can be found on our website.  If you wish to complain we suggest you come and speak to us first as we will always try our best to resolve any issues.

If you still wish to complain you can do so in writing, please see the complaints policy for full details.

Firs Primary School follows Derby City Councils admissions policy for all children, regardless of any identified SEND.  For further details please see their website at;


Please click on the links below to open the relevant documents or be taken to the policies page with the documents on.



Contact Us

Firs Primary School
Raven Street
DE22 3WA
Telephone: 01332 346230
Fax: 01332 200782

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