Dowdales School is a large, mainstream secondary school for students aged 11 - 16 years.
The school is both supportive and inclusive with the needs of students with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) being met in our mainstream setting.
At Dowdales, we operate a policy of inclusion, recognizing that all students are entitled to equal access to the curriculum.
We aim to:
Admission of students with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities is considered in line with our admissions policy, which relates equally to all individuals.
The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) works in collaboration with the Head teacher and school’s governing body in determining the strategic development of SEND policy and provision within the school.
For further information contact the:
SENCO: Mrs Linsay Manuel
Address: Dowdales School, Nelson St. Dalton-in-Furness Cumbria LA15 8AH
Phone: (01229) 469800
Email: [email protected]
Identification of Students with SEND
According to new SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years (January 2015), a student has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.
Schools should seek to identify pupils making less than expected progress given their age and individual circumstances. This can be characterised by progress which:
Special Educational Needs and provision can be considered as falling under four broad areas:
If a student is performing below age expected levels, we will gather a variety of evidence in order to assess to whether the student requires additional support. We evaluate this progress using a range of information including:
This range of information is compared with the progress of other students in the school and against national performance information, such as national average progress indicators including RAISE online and/or data from the Department for Education.
Initial concerns are not always based on academic progress however, and may be linked to the student’s social and emotional development. Consequently, it does not mean that all vulnerable learners have SEN. Only those with a learning difficulty that requires special educational provision will be identified as having SEN.
Concerns regarding a student having SEN may be raised by any member of staff, any parent/carer or the student themselves. Any questions should be referred to the SENCo, Head of Year or Head of Department in the first instance. Further investigation may lead to diagnostic testing before a decision regarding additional support is made.
Overall, this combination of evidence allows us to build an up to date picture of a student’s ability and will determine whether any further assessment or intervention is necessary.
Students identified with SEND are placed on the school’s SEN register and grouped into two categories: SEN support (SENS) and those students who have a Statement of SEN /Education Health Care Plan (EHCP).
When a student is recorded on the school’s SEN Register, parents will be informed and invited to attend progress review meetings with the SENCo.
PROVISION OF SEN
Each learner identified as having SEN, is entitled to support that is ‘additional to or different from’ the differentiated approaches and learning measures normally provided as part of high quality, personalised teaching. SEN provision is allocated according to need and follows the ‘Access, Plan, Do & Review’ process laid down in the revised SEND Code of Practice 2014.
Following discussions with key staff (SENCo/ Head of Year / Subject Teachers) and parents/carers, additional support will be put in place. This may consist of individual or small group interventions and/or in-class support (including enhanced resources) to help the student overcome any barriers to learning. SEN provision may take the form of additional support from school staff or require the involvement of specialist staff from external agencies.
Subject teachers plan lessons according to the specific needs of all of the students in their classes/groups. They will ensure that individual needs are met. In addition, specially trained Learning Support staff can assist the teacher’s planning to support the needs of your child where necessary by means of Learning Targets / Student Profiles. These contain relevant information and detail the student’s needs, long-term aims, recommended strategies and achievable targets.
The school caters for students with a range of special educational needs with and a range of additional resources for learners on the Autistic Spectrum, student’s with Speech, Language and Communication Needs, Specific Learning Difficulties (including dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia), Attention Deficit Disorders, Oppositional Defiance Disorders, Visual or Hearing Impairment, Social, Emotional and Mental Health issues, Medical and/or Physical Disabilities.
Students with SEND are taught in mainstream classes; there is a minimum of withdrawal for specialist input e.g. to attend a weekly speech and language or dyslexia support lesson, social skills/SERIS groups or literacy and numeracy interventions. Typically, a student would attend these intervention sessions for a defined period of time after which, progress would be reviewed and support adjusted.
Additional literacy and numeracy support is provided in a variety of ways:
Some students with SEND are offered the opportunity to complete a modified/alternative curriculum, this may include:
REVIEWING THE PROGRESS OF STUDENTS WITH SEN
The effectiveness of the support and the impact on your child’s progress are reviewed regularly. This information, along with the views of parents/carers and children, forms the basis for the revision of the support.
Monitoring progress is an integral part of teaching and learning within at Dowdales School. Parents/carers, pupils and staff are involved in reviewing the impact of interventions for learners with SEN. We follow the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ model and ensure that parents/carers and students are involved in each step. Before any additional provision is selected to help a pupil, the SENCo, subject teacher, parent/carer and learner, agree what they expect to be different following this intervention. A baseline will also be recorded, which can be used to compare the impact of the provision.
This review can take the form of a formal meeting held at least once a term, where all stakeholders discuss progress and next steps. If a learner has an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), the same discussions will take place, but the EHC plan will also be formally reviewed every 12 months.
If parents/carers have any concerns regarding the progress of their child they should contact the Subject Teacher involved. You may also be directed to the SENCo to discuss the identification, planning and delivery of any additional support. As a parent/carer, you will be primarily involved in supporting your child’s learning and access to the curriculum.
Individual student progress is routinely analysed by the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), Heads of Year, the SENCo and selected subject teachers during weekly progress/intervention meetings. Student progress is evaluated using:
After each progress/intervention meeting and/or data collection, any students failing to make expected progress are discussed at the team meeting at which intervention strategies are agreed or adjusted on an individual basis.
A small number of students may require closer monitoring; this could be in the form of: daily contact through the student planner, e-mail, telephone contact and letters as appropriate.
In some cases students may make sufficient progress to be broadly in line with their peers. In this instance students may be removed from the SEN register, at which time parents will be informed of the decision.
Information on individual students with SEND is held electronically in the school’s secure
database; this is accessible to all teaching staff and is regularly updated. It includes relevant information on student attainment levels, areas of weakness and recommended support strategies. Individual SEND Student Profiles are accessible to staff through the database.
The database information is also used to populate school/national census data.
Teaching and Learning is supported by regular communication between home and school through the school’s web pages, letters/newsletters, emails, parent/teacher meetings, KS 3 and KS 4 parent seminars, Extra revision sessions for GCSE courses, Homework club, Options Exhibition, contact with LEAP/Moodle IT learning platform, School Calendar, student planner (including Pupil Target/Progress records) and contact with Head of Year/ Achievement Leaders.
In our school we have access to various specialist services. These include:
Dowdales School works closely with the county Educational Psychologists, Access and Inclusion Team, local Specialist Advisory Teaching Services for Autism, Speech, Language and Communication needs, Visual and Hearing Impairment and Physical Disability
We liaise with a wide range of health and social care agencies including: GPs, the school nurse, Children’s Therapy Services (Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy), Community Paediatrics Service and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
Dowdales has close links with South Cumbria Dyslexia Association (SCuDA) and INSPIRA, which offers opportunities in careers guidance for young people.
A variety of other support services are provided by Cumbria County Council; they are listed in the Local Offer website available - click here
INVOLVEMENT OF PARENTS AND PUPILS
At Dowdales, we value the input of parents and carers in supporting their child’s
education and liaison with home is on-going throughout the school year. Wherever possible, parents are consulted and their views sought in the overall process for SEN.
Parents of pupils with SEND are routinely invited to:
All students with a Statement of SEN / EHCP attend and participate in their Annual
Review. Any meetings involving your child will always have their views sought in advance.
Teaching and Learning is supported by regular communication between home and school through the school’s web pages, letters/newsletters, emails, options exhibition, LEAP (school’s web-based learning platform), the school calendar, student planner (including Student Target/Progress records) and contact with Head of Year/ Achievement Leaders.
Your child can raise any issues with their Form Teacher and/or Progress Mentor team each day. Students can also contact their pupil-elected School Council which has an open forum for any other issues or viewpoints to be raised.
Students are routinely involved in setting learning targets in their curriculum subjects and evaluating their success. During the school year, your child will complete student questionnaires (Pupil Voice) to gauge their views and opinions.
The local, independent Information Advice & Support Service (formerly Parent Partnership) offers information, impartial advice and practical support to students and parents/carers of children with special educational needs. See contact details:
STAFF EXPERTISE AND TRAINING
The Learning Support Team consists of the Head of Learning Support/SENCo and 16 support staff. They work on a 1:1, small group and whole class basis with identified students with SEND to support academic, social and emotional needs as appropriate.
The Head of Learning Support/SENCo works in collaboration with the Head Teacher and governing body, in determining the strategic development of SEND policy and provision in the school.
At present, the Learning Support Team includes:
Most students will have their needs met through quality first teaching in the mainstream classroom; however, if a student requires extra support, the Learning Support Department has staff trained with the following specialist qualifications:
Our SENCo holds a national qualification (Assessment Practising Certificate, PATOSS) for diagnostic dyslexia assessments and testing for special exam access arrangements.
Since 2007 Dowdales has been accredited as a Dyslexia friendly school by CReSTeD (Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Students).
Training for staff relates to the needs of the school and pupils and is done both in school and through external course providers.
INCLUSION WITH OTHER PUPILS WHO DO NOT HAVE SEN
Here at Dowdales, all students are given the same opportunity to attend extra-curricular activities and school trips off-site. During the school year we offer an extensive range of popular clubs and activities. Students with SEND are encouraged to take part according to their individual interests. The list of clubs/activities for this term can be found here.
A regular after-school homework club is also available over 3 evenings during the week. The homework club is supported by several Learning Support staff and is open to all students.
We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to ensure participation for all, so please contact our Extended School Activities Co-ordinator and/or the SENCo to discuss any specific requirements.
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING OF STUDENTS WITH SEND
We are an inclusive school and welcome individual diversity. School staff encourage students to be resilient with high self-belief in order to ensure their well-being.
In Dowdales School all students and staff have the right to feel happy, safe and included, bullying is therefore unacceptable.
As a school we will work to promote an environment free from threats or fears thereby enhancing individual aspirations and achievement. Our Anti-Bullying Policy can be accessed through the school’s web page.
Students with SEND can contact either the SENCo, Form Teacher or Form Progress Mentor for any concerns regarding their social or emotional well-being. In addition, the Head of Pastoral Support and the ‘Head Start’ Leaders can offer further support and advice. Student concerns will always be taken seriously and treated in confidence.
Pastoral intervention and maintained support for students with SEND in school includes:
Students at Dowdales will be fully supported during their transition from and to another school or college of further education.
We maintain well established and routine links with all feeder primary schools and ensure appropriate support arrangements for students with SEND.
The structured transition process from primary school includes:
The structured transition process for transfer to another secondary school includes:
The structured transition process for transfer to further education includes:
Dowdales Senior Leadership Team report to all governors on a regular basis. There is a named governor with responsibility for SEND, who meets regularly with the SENCo. They also report to the school governors to keep them informed of the school's systems and processes for supporting pupils with SEND. The current SEN governor is Mr Ridyard.
Much of the school is wheelchair accessible with ramped access at specified fire exits on the ground floor. There are 4 separate disabled toilet facilities on the school site as well as accessible changing rooms in the performing arts building and sports hall (first-aid bed, hoist & shower). Grab rails have been installed for ease of access to stairs inside the main building and enabling access to the upper sports field.
Dowdales School has 2 lifts located in two separate areas of the main building. They comprise of 1 standard access lift and 1 small short rise lift. Both provide level access for students with mobility difficulties and are suitable for wheelchair users.
Most classrooms are carpeted to improve acoustics. Subject Teachers are familiar with school’s wireless radio aid system used to support pupils with Hearing Impairment.
A range of improvements have been made in auditory and visual environments including interactive whiteboards in every classroom, specified seating areas in classrooms, and sound / projection facilities in the school hall. Currently, there are 4 disabled parking bays (2 located in separate car parks adjacent to the school drive, 1 next to Ashburner House and 1 outside DASH – Sports Hall).
The Virtual School and Equalities Learning Team (Cumbria County Council) are based in Carlisle. They assist us in supporting vulnerable students and families within the following groups: Looked After Children (LAC), Children with English as an Additional Language (EAL), Black and Minority Ethnic groups (BME), Travellers and Young Carers.
Dowdales School supports students whose first language is not English by liaising with the local county EAL advisory unit to locate a designated mediator/ translator to assist home to school communication. In addition we use modern technologies to aid students in understanding in lesson. The school employs a buddy system for these students and support is given when appropriate.
In the first instance, please address any complaints to either the SENCo or the Head of Year, who will investigate your concerns and endeavour to reach a satisfactory outcome.
If you feel that your complaint has not been resolved, please follow the School’s complaint procedure. This can be found on the school website.
SCHOOLS CONTRIBUTION TO THE LOCAL OFFER
Details of the LEA’s ‘Local Offer’ can be found on the dedicated website page using the following link: www.localoffer.cumbria.gov.uk
The school’s contribution to the ‘Local Offer’ is attached to the school website:
The school’s SEND Policy has recently been revised to ensure it is fully compliant with the regulations of the Children and Families Act, 2014 and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 0-25 years, 2014.
The SEND policy will then be reviewed every year and modified in discussion with parents, students with SEND, staff and governors.
Both Dowdales School SEND policy and the SEN Information Report are accessible on the school’s website.