Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Our Ethos and Values for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

At The Discovery School, we are proud to be an inclusive environment, welcoming children with a range of language needs, learning difficulties, social and emotional needs and physical disabilities to our school. We work hard to get to know every child in our care and do what we can to support children’s individual learning needs.  We work well as a team and include children, parents and other professionals as part of this.  All staff have high expectations of children and set challenging learning targets.  We have clear plans to support children in achieving these goals and provide parents with details of these.  We run a range of specific, targeted and effective interventions but believe that children are best supported by outstanding classroom practice and quality first teaching.  We believe in early identification so that the right support can be put in place.  We want every child to reach their potential and want to support children and their families in removing any barriers to achieving this.

Our SEND Team

At The Discovery School, the person than co-ordinates provision for children with special educational needs or disabilities (known as our SENCo) is Mrs Fresneda Alcala.  Mrs Fresneda Alcala is a qualified SENCo and has had many years in-class experience across the primary and secondary sector. She can be contacted at school on 01732 847000 or senco@discovery.kent.sch.uk.

Mrs Pullen (Head of Inclusion) and Mrs Gobell (Headteacher) also have the National Qualification for Special Educational Needs Co-ordination and are experienced SENCos. They have responsibility for overseeing the provision for SEND pupils across the school.

The school's SEND Governor is Mrs A Cornall, who is also an qualified teacher and experienced SENCo. 

In class support is provided by a number of SEND Key Worker Teaching Assistants and Specialist Teaching Assistants.  The SEND team is underpinned by all of the fantastic teachers and class TAs across the school. 

SEN&D Policies and the Code of Practice

In 2014, the government introduced a new SEN Code of practice and during this time of change The Discovery School worked with parents and other stakeholders to co-produce our policies and develop our practice so that we are able to offer the best provision for our children. Our SEN policy, which was written by our SENCo alongside parents, can be downloaded below. It is reviewed bi-annually.

SEN Policy

We designed the policy to be easy for everyone to read and understand so much so that it incorporates our SEND Parent Information Report in one document.

Kent County Council set out the provision available across the county for children with SEND, called the “local offer”.  Click here to read more about the Local Offer. You can read more about KCC's SEND Strategy here.

The Discovery School adheres to Kent County Council's Mainstream Core Standards, which set out the duties for schools in meeting the needs of pupils with SEND. 

Mainstream Core Standards

A parents' guide to the Mainstream Core Standards can be found here.

Parents' guide to Mainstream Core Standards

SEND Annual Data Report

Mrs Fresneda Alcala (SENCo) and Mrs Pullen (Head of Inclusion) produce a report every year to governors which reflects the performance of the SEND support in school.

For 2019-20 academic year, published November 2020:

SEND Annual Report 2019-20

For 2018-19 academic year, published November 2019:

SEND Annual Data Report

We publish this report in November each year following the release of national data. 

How we support children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

We believe that the early identification of pupils with additional educational needs is vital as this enables the child’s needs to be assessed and provided for accordingly. Our teachers are highly trained in many areas of special educational needs and specific learning difficulties like dyslexia, Autistic Spectrum Disorders and speech and language difficulties.  Wherever possible, teachers will adapt their teaching style in class and give different work tasks to children so that every child can achieve and make progress; we call this differentiation.  For most children, their needs can be met through this approach. 

In some cases, even if special educational need has not been identified, we put in place extra support to enable the pupil to catch up or keep up with their peers academically, socially or physically. These may be in the form of additional in-class support, which we call ‘quality first teaching’ or a special outside of class provision called an ‘intervention’.  These support we put in place is highly tailored and specific to the needs of each child. We work with parents to agree the best approaches and then record these on our individual provision plans.  Quality first teaching approaches include the use of additional or different resources, maximising the use of technology (ipads, laptops, apps) as well as adjustments to the school environment.  Further details of these are found below under 'Mainstream Core Standards'.

We currently offer the following types of interventions in school:

Academic (Cognition and Learning), this includes difficulties like dyslexia.

Booster classes, catch up/keep up groups,  pre-teaching groups, phonics groups, numicon groups, springboard maths, dyslexia interventions (including precision teaching programmes for phonics and spelling, interventions that teach children strategies to self-correct) , visual tracking interventions, memory groups, Plus 1, Power of 2, 123 Maths, Maths Whizz, targeted reading groups, Better Reading Partnership (BRP), metacognition groups, executive functioning groups,  or child-focused interventions we have designed ourselves

Physical and Medical

Handwriting interventions, touch typing groups, BEAM, Clever Fingers, fine motor skills groups, groups that develop pre-writing skills like Write from the Start, Sensory Circuits and specific programmes designed by OT or Physios 

Social, Emotional and Mental health

Social skills groups and/or social interventions that we have designed ourselves; interventions that help children understand, manage and regulate emotions like Zones of Regulation, What to do When…; Self Esteem & Resilience Groups; interventions that allow therapeutic approaches like Lego Therapy, drawing and talking, FLO individualised work

Speech, Language and Communication (this includes difficulties like Autism)

Social skills groups (like SULP, Time to Talk, Talkabout) Speech Link programmes, Language Link programmes, Language interventions designed by NHS or our own Speech and Language Therapist, attention and listening groups, targeted speech interventions, encouraging reluctant speakers groups

This list is constantly changing or being added to.  Please speak to your child’s class teacher or Mrs Fresneda Alcala if you would like any further information about the provision we have available in school. 

We are also very proud to have a highly trained staff.  We believe that investing in training and keeping up to date with the most effective techniques in supporting children's' difficulties enables us to put the right strategies in place for them.  A list of staff training and expertise can be downloaded below:

Staff SEND Training and Expertise 

Access to outside services

As a school, we can currently make referrals to outside professionals including:

  • the NHS for speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and paediatricians;

  • agencies that support at family-level such as support workers or family advisors;

  • the specialist teaching service covering all areas of SEN&D;

  • councillors;

  • We can also use our funding to pay for an educational psychologist or alternative, private therapist (such as our own Speech and Language Therapist) if it is appropriate to do so. 

We would discuss the need for outside agency involvement with parents first.

Further Information and Support

IASK - Support for parents

We have also found that the Information Advisory Service Kent (IASK) is an invaluable resource to parents. IASK support families of children with special needs or disabilities.  They hope to empower young people and their parents to make informed choices about their education and communicate confidently their views. Information about how they may be able to help can be found on their website here alongside some really helpful downloads about SEN&D across Kent.   

Below you will find further information about our 'high incidence' SEND.  Further information about social, emotional and mental health difficulties can also be found on our wellbeing pages.

Autism

Identify and assess

Support strategies

All staff are trained in identifying the signs of Autism.

The SENCo would work with the class teacher and parents to create a clear picture of the child's current needs.

Diagnostic assessment of Autism is completed by NHS Community Paediatrics, the school can make a referral to this service.

All staff are trained to support children with Autism.

The SENCO would work with the class teacher and parents to create a clear plan of support detailing all of the recognised and recommended strategies that are appropriate to the child.  We adhere to the recommendations of KCC's Mainstream Core Standards and wider organisations like the National Autistic Society.

Further information can be found:

Approaches for school National Autistic Society

Kent Autistic Trust

 

Dyslexia

The school is incredibly proud to be able to effectively meet the needs of pupils with Dyslexia.  We aim to ensure every member of teaching and support staff has at least a Level 1 training qualification on Dyslexia so that we are ideally placed to identify and support pupils with these needs.

Identify and Assess

Support strategies

All staff are trained in identifying Dyslexia in children.

Staff will highlight any pupils who they have identified as showing markers for Dyslexia to the SENCO.

The SENCO will screen the child using a digital assessment tool to identify the likelihood of Dyslexia and will inform parents of the result.

Following this, a further, more detailed standardised assessment may be appropriate to obtain a deep understanding of the child's needs and strengths so that support programmes can be put in place.

A formal diagnosis of Dyslexia is not obtained via school. If parents are interested in this then they should contact the SENCO.

All staff are trained in the latest strategies to support children with Dyslexia.

The Discovery School follows best practice guidelines and adopts the 'Dyslexia Friendly School' model.

Where Dyslexia difficulties have been identified, the school would work with parents to develop a clear provision plan that details the support available for that child. This may be a combination of in class strategies, maximising technology, resources or targeted interventions.  We adhere to KCC's Mainstream Core Standards and Dyslexia Policy.  These plans are reviewed and updated regularly.

The SENCo will work with the teacher, child and parents to ensure that the impact of Dyslexia is minimised.

 Further information can be found:

Kent County Council's Dyslexia Policy

More information about 'Dyslexia Friendly Classrooms'