Special Educational Needs (SEN)

What is Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

Special Educational Needs (SEN) is a legal term. It describes the needs of a child who has a difficulty or disability which makes learning harder for them than for other children their age. A child with a SEN needs more personalised provision which is different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age.

SEN can be grouped into 4 areas of need.  Children may require additional support from just one of these areas or across more areas:

  • Communication and Interaction (children with speech, language and communication needs, and also likely to apply to children and young people with ASD – including Aspergers and Autism),

  • Cognition and Learning (including moderate and severe learning difficulties through to profound and multiple learning difficulties, and also specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia),

  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties,

  • Sensory and/or physical needs (children who require special educational provision because of their disability. This includes vision and hearing impairment – or multi-sensory impairment – and some children with a physical disability who may require additional support to access all the opportunities available to their peers).

We recognise that children may require additional support for short periods of time or throughout their educational life.  These needs may be identified before a child has entered school or they may come to be recognised at a specific point in their education.

How do we support children with SEN at Willowbrook School?

As part of our school aim to give all children a life-long love of learning through providing a caring, nurturing and vibrant learning environment in which our children can thrive, we will:

Identify children and young people with special educational needs quickly and accurately so that support can be put in place.

  • Our Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) meets each term with every class teacher in order to track progress and attainment of children with special educational needs. Within  this meeting, each child is discussed with a focus on barriers to learning, key needs and next steps.

  • Professional dialogue between teachers and the SENCO means that children's needs can be identified at the earliest point.

  • The school follows an Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle to continuously monitor provision. We have a range of interventions delivered by highly trained support staff. On a termly basis teachers record any additional support a child is receiving on a provision map. We continuously monitor the interventions and whether they are making a difference.

  • As part of our inclusive practice, our Educational Psychologist is in school every fortnight. He meets with children, staff and parents and provides recommendations as to how we can further support children in school.

  • We run a monthly SENCO surgery where staff have the opportunity to meet with our Educational Psychologist and SENCO to discuss any concerns or observations of individual children. In the session, they are provided with immediate support and advice to help best meet the needs of those children.

Make sure teachers can teach children and young people with a diverse range of needs.

  • As part of our school culture, teachers work collaboratively together to share expertise and skills. We work in teaching teams and across year groups.

  • The SENCO sources guidance and support on specific needs from a range of partner agencies. These may include the Educational Psychologist, Vranch House, Speech and Language Service, Behaviour Support and school nurse. Advice given from these services is shared with class teachers and families, who are supported to implement these within the classroom and beyond.

  • The SENCO, alongside the Senior Leadership Team, identifies opportunities for staff training. Throughout the year, all staff have high quality professional development. This training extends to the support staff as their support is crucial to children’s progress.

Focus on the quality of teaching for all children and develop approaches to meet the needs of individual children and young people.

  • Quality WAVE 1 teaching is a school-wide priority. Staff are continuously striving to develop their practice. Collaborative work with colleagues coupled with monitoring means that good practice can be shared and celebrated and clear targets to further enhance teaching can be agreed. We expect each classroom to be an inclusive environment where every opportunity is given for all children to do their best.

  • Teachers work hard to provide an inclusive working environment where all children can achieve and be successful.   

Meet the needs and objectives identified in a statement of plan for children and young people with additional needs.

  • All statements are reviewed annually and the school invites all relevant professionals involved to attend these meetings with the family. As part of these reviews, clear targets are set. Targets are shared with all adults involved, parents and the child. These targets are reviewed termly and amended as necessary.

  • When a child is seen by our Educational Psychologist, we review their provision termly in light of the recommendations given.  

Work in partnership with children, young people and their parents.

  • The welfare and best interests of your children is our priority and through working together as a team around the child we can achieve the best outcomes.

  • Parents know their children best and we encourage parents to be fully involved in their child’s learning. When your child is identified as having an additional need, your child’s class teacher will meet with you to discuss their observations and for you to share any concerns. At this point, short term, achievable targets may be identified and you may be asked to support these at home.

Delegate resources fairly, efficiently and in response to identified need.

  • We have a wealth of expertise and knowledge within our school and are very fortunate to have an Education Support Teacher, specialist speech and language teaching assistants and staff to support both emotional and educational needs. When needs are identified, we meet as a team to discuss the most appropriate resource to support the child and where needed, look to external agencies for their specialist advice and guidance.

  • We provide children with specific equipment as recommended by various agencies to support them with their learning.

Notify parents whenever special educational needs provision is being made for their child and give them access to independent information, advice and support.

  • When an additional need is identified we will make sure that you understand the nature of the need and answer any questions that you may have. We will make sure that it is clear to you how we are supporting your child within school.

  • Extra Support Maps will identify all the extra help and support that your child is getting and we will evaluate them on a termly basis.

  • Devon Parent Partnership is an independent support service which can also give you advice and guidance (01392 383080).

From September 2014, all schools are required to make clear to parents and carers the support and provision available within the school for children who have special educational needs. Devon’s local offer can be found at:-


Natalie Ellor – SENCO  

March 2016