Our offer to children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Click here to visit the ESCC Special educational needs and disability (SEND) page.

All East Sussex maintained schools have a similar approach to meeting the needs of pupils with special educational needs or disability (SEND) and are supported by the Local Authority to ensure that all pupils, regardless of their specific needs, make the best possible progress in school. All schools are supported to be as inclusive as possible, with the needs of all pupils being met in a mainstream school or college wherever possible, where families want this to happen.

At St John's Meads we are committed to offering a comprehensive curriculum that meets the needs of all pupils, and provides the best possible progress by ensuring they are given a sense of self-worth and helped to develop confidence in their abilities and strengths. We believe that all children should be given access to a broad, balanced and well-structured curriculum suitable to their needs, and that all children are entitled to experience success.

We strive to ensure that all staff involved with a pupil with SEND are aware of the procedures to identify needs, and provide support and quality teaching. The school recognises that parents hold key information and have knowledge and experience to contribute to the shared view of a child's needs and the best ways of supporting them. As with all parents, parents of children with SEND will be treated as partners and given support to play an active and valued role in their children's education.

We have worked in partnership with parents, carers and governors to provide this information and guidance about how we meet the needs of all pupils.

The questions and answers below should give you all the information you need about our approach to special needs. You can also view our SEND policy, available on this website and you are very welcome to come and talk to us about your child.

How does the school know if children need extra help?

We know children need help when:

  • concerns are raised by parents or carers, teachers or the child
  • children are not making the progress they should
  • there is a change in a child's behaviour

What should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?

  • Talk to us about how you feel - you know your child best.
  • In the first instance you can talk to the class teacher who will then work with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCo).
  • If you are not happy that your concerns are being managed and that your child is still not making progress, you should speak to the Head of school.

How will the school support my child?

  • Teachers provide quality lessons to meet the needs of all children in their class.
  • Additional support for individual children or groups may be planned and reviewed by the class teacher or teaching assistant.
  • Where necessary, the class teacher will talk to the Special educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCo) and a more personalised programme of support may be introduced. This may include support from an outside service.
  • We will make sure you know about any extra support that your child is receiving in school.
  • We will track your child's progress carefully and adjust support as needed.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child's needs?

  • Class teachers make sure that teaching is appropriate to the needs of all children.
  • Lessons are planned so that all children can learn and make progress.
  • Teachers take account the needs of all children and plan task and resources appropriately. Some pupils may need higher levels of differentiation (providing learning tasks based on individual needs) and support in order to access the curriculum.
  • Opportunities will be provided for children with additional needs to work in a variety of ways (for example, in mixed ability groups, similar ability groups, adult supported small groups, 1:1 support with an adult and independently).
  • The school will make reasonable adjustments to ensure that all pupils can take advantage of the full range of opportunities within the curriculum.

How will we know how my child is doing, and how will you help me to support my child's learning?

  • Regular formal and informal assessment of your child's progress.
  • Regular communication between school and home, through parent consultations and additional meetings as appropriate with the class teacher and SENDCo.
  • Annual reports are sent home towards the end of each school year.
  • Sharing of individual work programmes and how you can support at home.
  • Home-school books where appropriate.
  • Opportunities for parent training workshops.

What support will there be for my child's overall well-being?

  • The class teacher will assume responsibility for monitoring and ensuring your child's well-being. They recognise that self-esteem is key to a child's emotional well-being and academic progress.
  • We support children's emotional, social and behavioural needs through our PSHEe (personal, social, health and economic education), nurture groups, social skills and friendship groups, buddy support and Pupil Voice activities (a mechanism to investigate pupil's views).
  • Consistent approach to behaviour management with parental involvement as appropriate. This includes class and individual rewards and, when needed, sanctions.
  • Prescribed medicine can be administered in school with signed parental consent with the agreement of the school.
  • There are nominated first aiders in school.
  • If your child has significant medical needs the school may seek advice or training from medical specialists and this may include drawing up a Health Care Plan.

What specialist services and expertise are available at, or accessed by, the school?

Currently some children and their families have support in the following areas:

  • ASD (autism spectrum disorder)
  • Dyslexia
  • Emotional needs
  • Motor skills
  • Speech and language

We may access support from other services including:

  • ASD monitoring support group
  • Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  • Children's Integrated Therapy Service (for speech and language, occupational and physiotherapy)
  • Family Support Keywork Service
  • Early Years Service
  • Educational Psychology Service
  • East Sussex Behaviour and Attendance Service (ESBAS)
  • Flexible Learning Education Support Service (FLESS)
  • Language and Learning Support Service (LLSS)
  • Speech and Language/Autistic Support Services from South Downs Special School
  • Traveller and English as an Additional Language Service (TEALS)
  • Service for Children with Sensory Needs (SCSN)

All of these resources are limited and provided by other services, e.g. the NHS. We therefore have limited control over their availability.

What training are the staff supporting children with SEND having?

  • The school has a School Development Plan which includes identified training needs for all staff to improve the teaching and learning of children, including those with special needs.
  • There is ongoing training for staff to increase or refresh knowledge and strategies to ensure consistency of the school's approach to supporting pupils with SEND. This is done both internally and through external services. The types of training includes: approaches to teaching reading, understanding and working with children on the autistic spectrum, dyslexia awareness (we have a dyslexia trained teacher and teaching assistant) and approaches to using appropriate questioning with pupils.
  • In addition, teachers and teaching assistants attend individual training for a child's specific needs, such as occupational therapy to manage exercise and specific speech and language programmes.

How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?

  • We are committed to making school trips, activities and clubs available to all children at our school, where possible.
  • Risk assessments are carried out to ensure that procedures are in place so that all children can participate.
  • We will make all reasonable adjustments to ensure that all children are included.
  • If there is something that might make it hard for your child to be included in an activity, we will discuss this with you and see how we can work together to make the activity possible.

How accessible is the school environment?

  • Access inside school via a ramp.
  • The ground floor is fully wheelchair accessible.
  • There is a disabled toilet.
  • Access to outside areas of the school, including the playground and field, is good.
  • We currently communicate with parents in direct conversation, phone, letter and e-mail. We ask parents how they prefer us to communicate with them.
  • We are sensitive to the needs of parents whose first language is not English or who may have other communication needs.

How will the school prepare and support my child to join the school or transfer to a new school or college?

We recognise that moving can be difficult for children with SEND and we take steps to ensure that any transition is as smooth as possible.

Effective transition arrangements between early years settings and school:

  • Home visits for children joining the Reception class.
  • We will invite you to visit the school with your child to have a look around and speak to staff.
  • All records and information about your child are discussed and passed on between schools.
  • Visits for children prior to joining as appropriate.
  • Meeting with parents if appropriate or requested.
  • If other professionals are involved, we will contact them or meet them to discuss your child's needs and any previous successful teaching methods, and ensure that support is put in place before your child starts.

Effective transition between classes in school:

  • Information, including learning targets, will be passed on to the new class teacher in advance.
  • For children with more complex needs there will be a planning meeting and/or specific preparation or training for the new teacher and/or support staff.
  • Transition work in school which may include creating a book of information about the new class and routines.

Effective transition arrangements with secondary schools:

  • All records and information about your child are discussed and passed on between schools.
  • Additional transition visits for vulnerable children as appropriate.
  • Staff from the new school may visit children in our school.
  • Transition group work in school. Children who might find moving on difficult will attend a small group in school to support their understanding of the changes ahead. This may include creating a book of information about their new school.
  • Continuation of involvement of outside services as appropriate.

How are the school's resources allocated and matched to children's special educational needs?

  • Resources will be allocated on a needs basis and with regard to the budgetary situation of the school.
  • Additional resources may be provided following discussion at a Pupil Progress Meeting.

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?

  • We hold regular Pupil Progress Meetings. At these meetings the progress of all children is discussed and tracked.
  • If a child is not making expected progress, we look at ways to help.
  • Additional assessments from outside agencies will inform the types of support and /or resources needed.

How are parents involved in the school?

We are keen to involve parents in all aspect of the school life. Below are some of the opportunities available:

  • We encourage parents to attend parent's evenings.
  • Individual Learning Plans are discussed with parents including the role they can play.
  • Opportunities to volunteer in school.
  • Opportunities for parents to come and talk to children about their occupations or hobbies/interests, for example during Maths Week.
  • Opportunities to be a parent governor.
  • Opportunities to join the Friends of Meads School Association (FMSA), supporting the school by raising funds and organising events.
  • Opportunities to discuss school-based issues through meetings of the Parent Forum.

Who can I contact for further information?

  • The class teacher is the first point of contact.
  • School SENDCo - Sally McGinty
  • Head of School - Mr. Andy Best
  • Executive Head Teacher - Mrs. Alison Flynn