Our special educational needs policy has been agreed by the governing board and is reflective of our Church foundation. We aim to build a supportive school community which fosters high achievement for all children. Inclusion is an ongoing process, culture, policy and practice to which we are committed. We believe all children are entitled to a broad and balanced curriculum and one that is differentiated to suit their individual needs.
Almost all children will have particular learning needs at points in their school life. We monitor the progress of all children and intervene or provide additional support when we recognise a risk of underachievement.
Each teacher is responsible for identifying the learning needs of the children in their care and most needs are met by the class teacher through careful planning and with additional adult support at times. Parents are fully consulted and work together with staff to ensure the best possible progress for their child. The child may be placed on the Code of Practice, which ensures that the child has an Individual Education Plan. The plan identifies targets for the child and reflects any outside agency help that the child receives. The targets are shared with the parents and regularly reviewed to ensure the learning keeps progressing. The plan describes how the learning needs will be met and by whom.
Our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCo) works closely with all the staff to ensure that the provision for all children, particularly those with additional needs, is personalised and appropriate. Mrs Vanessa Theophilus is our SENDCo and can be contacted through our school office.
All schools and Local Authorities now have the responsibility to publish a ‘Local Offer’. This contains information about local provision for children and young people who are disabled and those with special educational needs (SEND). Each school also publishes its own School Information Report.
There will always be children and young people in schools facing life challenges that detract from their ability to engage with learning. Some will require greater support to increase their emotional literacy than others.
An ELSA is a specialist teaching assistant with a wealth of experience working with children. ELSAs are trained and regularly supervised by the Educational Psychologists in the Local Education Authority. An ELSA is a warm and caring person who wants to help your child feel happy in school and to reach their potential educationally. We recognise that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are also addressed. Through ELSA we aim to remove the barriers to learning and to develop happy children in school and at home.
We are fortunate to have two qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistants at Cranborne First. Mrs Mansell and Mrs Monger plan and deliver programmes of support to children who are experiencing temporary or longer term additional emotional needs. The majority of our ELSA support is delivered on an individual basis, but sometimes small group work is more appropriate, especially in the areas of social and friendship skills. Sessions are fun and might include role-play, puppets, board games, art and craft, stories and time to talk.
- Building and maintaining successful relationships
- Recognising and developing strategies to deal with emotions
- Developing strategies for happy and safe playtimes
- Developing social skills
- Recognising individuality and personal qualities to build self esteem
- Dealing with anger and frustration
- Understanding emotions linked to loss and bereavement
- Overcome feelings of stress, anxiety and insecurity
- Developing emotional resilience to tackle academic and social challenges
- Identifying and rectifying reasons for poor behaviour
Children are usually referred for ELSA support by their class teacher or the SENDCo. Every half term Mrs Mansell and Mrs Monger meet with our SENDCo, to discuss the referral forms and to identify and prioritise which children require a weekly programme for the next 6-8 weeks. With the programme aims in mind we then plan support sessions to facilitate the child in developing new skills and coping strategies that allow them to manage social and emotional demands more effectively.
ELSAs are not there to fix children’s problems. What they can do is provide emotional support. They aim to establish a warm, respectful relationship with a child and to provide a reflective space where they are able to share honestly their thoughts and feelings.
It needs to be appreciated that change cannot necessarily be achieved rapidly and is dependent upon the context and complexity of the presenting issues. For children with complex or long-term needs it is unrealistic to expect ELSA intervention to resolve all their difficulties, however support will be designed to target specific aspects of a child’s need. Training and development of ELSAs is an on-going process and wisdom is required to recognise when issues are beyond the level of expertise that could reasonably be expected of an ELSA. The Educational Psychologist that works with our school would be able to offer advice on suitability or nature of ELSA involvement in complex cases.
- Inform your child’s class teacher if there are any issues that may be affecting your child
- Make time to listen to your child
- Regularly have fun together
- Help your child to see things from the other person’s point of view
- Encourage your child to develop a ‘glass half full’ approach, i.e. to look for the positive
- Encourage ‘peaceful problem solving’
Your child’s progress will be carefully monitored during the ELSA programme and your child will be encouraged to use his or her new skills in class or in the playground. If the school or parent feels the child needs further support the school has access to a range of external support services and this can be discussed with our SENDCo.