Thomas Whitehead C of E VA Primary School

Thomas Whitehead CE Academy

A member of the Diocese of St Albans Multi Academy Trust

Believing & Achieving together

Church School
Xtranet VLE

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Helen Long- Inclusion Manager/ Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator


During their time at school many children are identified as having a Special Educational Need or Disability (SEND). Sometimes these needs are short term and in other cases they may be ongoing.



As part of the Children and Families Bill 2014, all schools in Central Bedfordshire are required to make available to families their “Local SEND Offer”. This means they have to publish details about how they can support children and young people with a Special Educational Need and/or Disability (SEND).


Thomas Whitehead CE Academy's Local Offer is as noted below; click on the headings below to see details of our Local SEND Offer.


For further information please contact Mrs. Helen Long - Inclusion Manager / Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) (tel 01582 865466)


SNAP Parent Carer Forum represents the views of parents who have children and young people with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) within Central Bedfordshire. We work as a critical friend to Central Bedfordshire Council and the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to improve the education, health and social care services our families receive.

  1. Flyer SEND Local Offer
  2. Summer 2019 Free Drop in sessions
  3. SNAP PCF Annual Report March 2018 - March 2019
  4. SEND Policy September 2018 (1)
  5. Letter to parents SEND conversion
  6. Letter SEND reforms E Timpson
  7. Spring+Newsletter+PDF
  8. Spring+2018

An Overview

Thomas Whitehead CE Academy is an inclusive school supporting all children to be the best that they can be, overcoming any barriers to learning and participation through the support given to children according to their individual needs.


We support children who have a Special Educational Need and/or Disability (SEND) in line with the Children’s and Families Act 2014, the SEN Code of Practice 2014 and Central Bedfordshire guidance. Our SEND policy and the information set out below gives further details regarding this.


We have a number of Teaching

Assistants across the school. Our inclusion manager/ SENCo is non classroom  

based and is employed for 3 days per week.

What is a Special Educational Need?

The SEN Code of Practice (2014) states that a child or young person has a Special Educational Need if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.


Children or young people of compulsory school age have a learning difficulty or disability, if they have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age,




they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools.


Special educational provision, for children aged 2 or more, is educational or training provision that is additional to or different from that made generally for other children or young people of the same age by mainstream schools, maintained nursery schools, mainstream post-16 institutions or by relevant early years providers.


For a child under two years of age, special educational provision means educational provision of any kind.

What is a Disability?


The SEN Code of Practice (2014) defines a disability as

“a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”

How does the school know if my child needs extra help?


The attainment and progress of all children is regularly tracked and monitored by the class teacher and the senior leadership team.


This is done through ongoing observations and assessments by the teachers and teaching assistants working with the children. 


Where a child’s attainment and / or progress in any area is below that which is expected for children of their age discussion is had between the class teacher and the Inclusion Manager /SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator).


An initial concern form may be completed by the class teacher. If this is the case it will be shared with you and the Inclusion Manager /SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator).  


Actions will be carried out as noted on the concerns sheet. These may include;


• further observations of your child working 

• further observations of your child’s social interactions

• specific assessments, carried out by the SENCO, of the areas causing concern

• dyslexia screening

• further discussion with other professionals involved with your child (for example a speech therapist or an occupational therapist)


What should I do if I think my child may have Special Educational Needs?


The first thing to do is to talk to your child’s class teacher about your concerns. The class teacher will make a record of your concerns on our initial concern form and copy it to you and Mrs. Helen Long; Inclusion Manager / SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator).


You may then wish to make an appointment with Mrs. Helen Long; Inclusion Manager / SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) Email


Your views and concerns are very important to us, so do please keep us informed.

What happens if my child is identified as having Special Educational Needs and/or a disability?

You will be asked to make an appointment to meet with Mrs. Helen Long; Inclusion Manager / SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) in order to discuss what support will be put in place for your child. Further discussion will also be had regarding procedures and policy related to SEND.


Your child will be listed on the school’s SEN or Disability register.


You will be informed formally in a letter from Mrs. Helen Long; Inclusion Manager / SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator).


Individual targets, SEND Support Plan, Communication Passport, Behaviour Plan and / or Care Plan may be written for your child and shared with other relevant staff/agencies. This will be done in consultation with you and where possible your child.


Your child’s needs will be reviewed, by their class teacher, you and the SENCO at an agreed time or earlier if necessary.

Do all children who have a Special Educational Need and/or a Disability get the same level of support?

No, we follow guidance set by Central Bedfordshire which gives a graduated response to provision for children who have SEND. 


The guidance sets out the level of need and of support expected at each stage.


This will be explained to you in relation to your child as they are identified as having SEND and you will be kept informed as to the stage they are at should they change stages.

If my child has Special Educational Needs and/or a disability how will they be supported?

In addition to differentiated teaching (where teachers plan according to the level a child is at bearing in mind their style of learning) which is provided for all children your child, depending on their needs, may have access to any of the following;


• individualised specific targets set by the class teacher and the SENCo

• individualised specific targets set by other professionals eg Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist.  

• 1-1 support

• additional support from an adult within the classroom

• small group work

• Read Write Inc

• the use of practical resources including word cards and Numicon

• the use of visual prompts, including signing

• 1-1 reading  

• Opportunities to develop independence and to work without adult support

• an individual resource pack, containing finger spacers, sound charts, high frequency word lists, number lines etc as appropriate.

• coloured overlays

• spring loaded scissors

• pencil grips, hand huggers pencils

• a writing slope

• additional access to lap tops / tablets in order to word process work.

• additional handwriting practice

• additional behaviour support, including the use of behavioural cue cards, individual behaviour plans, individual behaviour record sheets / reward charts

• close home school liaison through emailing, home/school book, annotated timetables or individual target sheets 

• meeting and greeting  

• the use of individual / visual timetables and checklists

• pre teaching of new vocabulary and concepts

• individual lunchtime supervision

• support at play times

• access to indoor or other specific activities at play/ lunch times

• access to a mentor

• specific teaching of social skills

• talking groups, including lift off to language

• talk boards

• advice or support from outside agencies ( eg counselling, behaviour support, advisory teacher services, educational psychology services)


Most support is given to children within the classroom. In order to promote inclusion careful consideration is had before withdrawing children from lessons for 1-1 support


Which school staff will be involved with my child if they have Special Educational Needs or a Disability?

All of the staff in your child’s class will be involved with your child. This means the class teacher and any teaching assistants working in that class. They will have and will share information about your child’s areas of difficulty and ways to support them.


Your child, just as any other child in the school, may have different teachers and/or teaching assistants for different lessons. They too will have relevant information about your child’s needs.


Depending on the nature of the needs of your child other staff within the school may also be involved. For example; other teachers, teaching assistants and midday staff. Any staff who need to be aware of your child’s difficulties and strategies for supporting them will be given the relevant information.


Mrs. Helen Long Inclusion Manager / SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) will be responsible for overseeing the provision for your child.


Mrs.V Britnell, Head Teacher, will be aware of your child’s needs and may be directly involved.

Who is responsible for making sure that my child gets the support they need?


Your child’s class teacher, or subject teacher, is responsible for making sure they are being taught at their level in a way which best suits them. They are also responsible for ensuring the delivery of the additional support that has been agreed for your child.


Your child’s Individual target sheet or SEND Support Plan may give more specific information about who will deliver certain aspects of support.

What should I do if I am concerned or unsure about the support my child is getting?

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s support first speak to your child’s class teacher. If you still have concerns make an appointment with Mrs. Helen Long Inclusion Manager / SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) Email

How is my child involved?


According to the age and ability of your child they will be asked for their views on what they think they need help with and how they would like to receive additional support.

If they have a individual targets or plans they will be explained to them and they will be asked to sign them. When they are reviewed they will be asked to comment. If they have a Communication Passport they will be asked to agree that before it is distributed.  

Many of the children who have additional support or additional targets in place have a record sheet and they may collects ticks, smiles or comments on this on a daily basis showing how they are progressing toward their additional targets.


How can I help my child?

If your child has Individual targets there may be activities specified for  you to do with your child.

Your child’s class teacher will also discuss general ways for you to help your child and many of these will be outlined in the parent’s information given to all parents at the start of each school year. Reading with your child and practising skills they have learned in school is often helpful.


It is also important that your child is prepared for school each day. Try to ensure they have enough sleep the night before and arrive at school on time having had breakfast.  If there have been any particular difficulties or upsets please pass this information to the class teacher discretely so as not to further upset your child.


How will I be kept informed of my child’s progress?

 In addition to the usual parents evenings and school reports there are additional ways in which you may be informed about your child’s progress. These may include the following;

• Individual target or SEND Support Plan review meetings 3 times a year (or more frequently if necessary)

• behaviour plans reviewed  as specified on them

•  close home school liaison through emailing, home/school book, annotated timetables or target sheets

• the opportunity to contact the class teacher or SENCo whenever you have a concern / question.

• reports from any outside agencies (eg advisory teachers, educational psychologists, speech therapists)  involved with your child and the opportunity to discuss these with the SENCO 

• feedback meetings following the involvement of support services such as jigsaw ( behaviour support)

• annual EHCP reviews

• TAC (Team Around the Child) meetings

If my child is making slow progress how will that progress be seen?

Your child will be set small targets which are both challenging and achievable. Small steps will be celebrated and progress however small will be seen.

Will my child “catch up” with the other children their age?

Some children are identified as having a Special Educational Need for a short time and do go on to “catch up”. These children may then be removed from the SEND register.

Other children move up or down the stages of SEND but may never achieve the same levels of attainment as other children their age.

It is important to remember that all children are different and average levels of achievement are averages.

What is important is that your child is valued as an individual and progress is made according to their ability.

What specialisms and relevant SEND training do staff have?

Staff training is provided in a number of different ways according to the needs of the staff in accordance with the needs of the children. Training and specialisms include the following;

• SENCo holds National Award for SEN Coordination

•  staff training provided by outside agencies as necessary

•  in-house training as necessary for selected staff to support a particular child or group of children

•  individual teachers and support staff attend training courses run by outside agencies that are relevant to the needs of specific children they are working with

• whole staff training relevant to the needs of the children in our school

• many members of teaching / support staff are able to use some sign language

• some members of staff are competent at using sign language

• many teaching and support staff are trained to deliver Read Write Inc

• many teaching and support staff have had Numicon training

• some staff are trained in Team Teach

• SENCo provides outreach support for those working with children who have Down syndrome in other schools in Central Bedfordshire and in other areas

• SENCo attends professional studies group

• SENCo meets with other SENCo’s to share good practice

• a large number of staff are first aid trained

• all staff are given training by health professionals in regard to epilepsy, asthma and the use of epipens

• health professionals provide training for relevant members of staff in relation to individual children’s specific medical needs  

• some staff have personal experience of supporting a child who has a Special Educational Need and/ or a disability in addition to their professional experience.


Staff training, in relation to SEND, has also been had in regard to the following;


•  Autism, Aspergers and Semantic Pragmatic Disorder

• speech and language

• creating resilient classrooms

• ADHD (Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder)  

• Down syndrome

• using sign language (Makaton, Sign a long, British sign language)

• dyslexia

• behaviour

  • emotional well being 

What happens if my child has a medical condition?

As a matter of course all staff are given training by health professionals in regard to epilepsy, asthma and the use of epipens. A large number of school staff are also First Aid trained.

Depending on the nature of your child’s condition the following may be put in place for them;

•  information about your child’s condition will be shared with staff as appropriate (this may be a photo of your child alongside relevant information regarding their condition and it’s treatment / management)

• health professionals provide training for relevant members of staff in relation to individual children’s specific medical needs  

• a care plan may be drawn up for your child. This may be written by members of school staff including the Inclusion manager / SENCo with your input and where appropriate the input of medical professionals. Alternatively it may be written by medical professionals, for example the school nurse.


Please also refer to the school policy regarding medicines

What specialist services / outside agencies are accessed by the school?

 A range of other professionals are accessed by the school according to children’s individual needs. Your child may already be involved with one or more of these services or we may talk to you about making a referral to one or more of them.

These include;

• advisory teacher for children with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder)

• speech and language therapist

• physiotherapist

• occupational therapist

• educational psychologist

• jigsaw (behaviour support team)

• inclusion officer

• educational welfare officer

• parent support advisor

• “sorted” counselling

• social workers

• early years support team

• physical impairment team  

• CHUMS (Child bereavement, trauma and emotional wellbeing service)

• CAMHS (Child and adolescence mental health services)

• School nurse

• Edwin Lobo Child Development Centre (consultant pediatricians)


With your agreement close liaison is had between any service your child is involved with in order that we can best meet their needs.

School staff may attend meetings / appointments with you and your child as agreed by you and the other professional involved.

Mrs. Helen Long, Inclusion Manager / SENCo is able to meet with you to discuss reports received from external agencies regarding your child on your request.

How accessible is the school environment?



Thomas Whitehead CE Academy is built on ground floor level and has wheelchair access. There are 3 mobile classrooms which are accessible via ramps. There is a wheelchair accessible toilet.


Children are able to access the curriculum as a result of appropriately differentiated teaching and the use of various strategies including the use of visual supports and practical activities. Further information regarding these can be seen by clicking on the link -  If my child has Special Educational Needs and/or a disability how will they be supported?

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

We want all children to participate as fully as possible in all aspects of the curriculum both in and out of school. We encourage all children to attend school trips and residential visits with support as appropriate. Where necessary, the school will meet with you to discuss individual needs prior to any visit or activity, including the need for any additional support.

Additional support may also be given in order for your child to access after school clubs run by the school.

How will my child be supported when they start school, change schools or move from one year to the next?


If you know your child has a Special Educational Need or Disability please contact us as soon as possible before they start school. This will give us the chance to ensure the best possible provision for them.


In order to make any transition as smooth as possible the following things may be put in place;


• visits by relevant school staff to see your child in their current setting (home, pre -school, class, other school) and to talk to those supporting them there

• visits by staff from the school your child is transferring to in order to see them in our school setting and to talk to current staff supporting them.  

• meetings with you and relevant professionals prior to transition

• passing on of records regarding your child

• opportunities for your child to visit their new class or school

• photographs of the new class or school (including staff)

As a parent of a child who has a Special Educational Need or Disability what can I expect from the school?


We believe that supporting your child works best when parents and school work together. We also know that having a child who has additional difficulties can be challenging. We provide;


• explanations of policy and procedures as set out in this local offer

• the opportunity for you to speak briefly to staff working with your child at the end of the school day and in some circumstances at the start of the day

• the opportunity for you to speak to a member of the Senior Leadership Team who is meeting and greeting in the morning outside school

• the opportunity for you to make appointments to meet with your child’s class teacher and / or Mrs Helen Long; Inclusion Manager / SENCo  at any mutually convenient time.

• the opportunity for you to make direct email contact with Mrs Helen Long; Inclusion Manager / SENCo  (

• information regarding SEND (e.g. locally run courses or support group activities) which may be of interest to you. (This is usually shared via the school website and / or Facebook page ) 

• information regarding Central Bedfordshire Council Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Parent and Young Person Partnership Service (CBC SEND PYPS) ( previously known as parent partnership)  

• support to access further services which may be of help to you and your family

• the best we can for your child


Useful Links

 Central Bedfordshire’s Local Offer

Autism Beds - 

Bedfordshire Down’s Syndrome Support Group- 

Kids in Action- a local charity that works to support children, young people and young adults with special needs and disabilities – and their parents. The Charity runs its own centre at 4 Tavistock Place, Tavistock Street Dunstable LU6 1NE and has a coffee bar, arts and crafts and soft play areas and a sensory room, together with arts and crafts and youth club activities.

Outside- In-  a local group that can offer support and information on ADHD and Autistic Spectrum Conditions.  Email

CBC SEND Parent and Young Person Partnership Servicea statutory service who offer free confidential support for parents and carers of children who have Special Educational Needs. 

Parent Carer Forum (SNAP)- email 

IPSEA ( Independent Parental Special Education Advice)-

Contact a Family is a national charity for families with disabled children-