SEND Information Report


Castle Hill Infant and Junior Schools 

2023 - 2024

Updated September 2023

Who can I contact for further information? 

Your child’s Class Teacher, the Phase leader, SENDCo, Assistant Heads or our Deputy Headteacher or Headteacher. 

Headteacher: Jennifer Smith  

Deputy Headteacher: Sophie Hodgson

Assistant Headteacher for Inclusion: Amanda Walczak  

Assistant Headteacher for Curriculum: Louisa Warwick

SENDCo: Zoe James

Assistant SENDCo: Lauren Read

Phase leaders:

EYFS: Zoe Cross 

KS1: Ceri Clarke 

LKS2: Anna Baker 

UKS2: Julia van Ek  

Pastoral Lead: Dawn Squirrell 

Role and Responsibilities 

Headteacher: Mrs Jennifer Smith

Responsible for: 

• The day to day management of all aspects of the school, including overseeing the support for children with SEND 

• Keeping the Governing Body and Asset Trust up to date about any issues in the school including those relating to SEND 

• Assistant Headteacher for Inclusion: Mrs Amanda Walczak 

The Headteacher hands responsibility for the day-to-day management of Inclusion and SEND to the Assistant Head, Mrs Walczak, supported by Miss Zoe James SENDCo and Miss Lauren Read, Assistant SENDCo.

Assistant Head for Inclusion: Mrs Amanda Walczak 

Responsible for: 

• Strategic Leadership of Special Educational Needs across the Castle Hill Schools. 

• Coordination of support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and developing the school’s SEND policy and practice. 

• Making sure all children access High Quality Teaching (HQT) that supports them to make at least good progress. 

• Ensuring that parents are involved in supporting their child’s learning and that they are fully informed about the support their child is getting in school. 

• Taking account of parent’s wishes and concerns and supporting the planning for a child’s next steps. 

• Liaising with other professionals who may come into school to help to support a child’s learning and development e.g. speech and language therapists, educational psychologists, etc. 

• Supporting teachers and support staff in the school so that they can help all the children to progress and achieve well. 

Class Teachers Responsible for: 

• Ensuring that all children in their class have access to high quality teaching and that the curriculum meets every child’s individual needs. 

• Ensuring that the graduated approach is delivered for all children who are identified as having SEN using the Assess, Plan, Do, Review model. 

• Ensuring that all children identified as having SEN have a Pupil Profile. 

• Checking on the progress of every child in their class and planning and delivering any additional help that individual children might need. 

• Helping anyone working with individuals or groups of children to deliver the planned interventions/therapies so that they can make the best possible progress. This might be a Teaching Assistant, a member of the Intervention team or outside specialist help. 

• Meeting with parents regularly so that both home and school agree what should happen to support the child each term. 

• Making sure that everyone working with individual children in school understands their individual needs or condition so that reasonable adjustments can be made to enable them to be included and make good progress. 

• Following the SEND Policy in their classroom and with all children with special educational needs or disabilities that they teach. 

Support Staff 

Most Teaching Assistants at Castle Hill work alongside teachers in the classroom to support children to access the curriculum and make good progress; their support with teaching and learning is overseen, guided and planned by the class teacher. They can work with whole classes, individual children or groups of children who need support with a particular element of their learning. 

At Castle Hill, we have Specialist Intervention Teaching Assistants who work under the supervision of our Assistant Head for Inclusion, Mrs Amanda Walczak. They work collaboratively with the staff team to ensure that our most vulnerable learners obtain timely, focused interventions. 

In addition, we have two Elkan trained Speech and Language Support staff who work collaboratively with the Speech and Language Therapists as well as the class teachers. 

Furthermore, we have a team of Inclusion facilitators as well as several staff who are Trauma Informed Practitioners (This includes our Pastoral and Nurture leads). This team will support the social, emotional and mental health of our pupils. (Miss James is also the Designated Mental Health lead and Designated teacher for Children in Care).

We are also fortunate to be supported by the MHST, Educational Mental Health Practitioners, who work with parents, run workshops and parent groups, to support the mental health of our pupils.

If you need any additional information we will be happy to help. 

Please phone the school or call in to make an appointment, or email and we will be happy to answer any questions. 

How will Castle Hill help my Child? 

At Castle Hill, we celebrate the fact that every child is unique and, therefore, the educational needs of every child are different – this is certainly the case for children with special educational needs and disabilities. We aim to ensure that all children in our school are happy, settled and enjoy each day with us. We are an inclusive school. We want to make sure that each child can make good progress and achieve well. This means that we get to know each child and do our very best to meet their individual needs whether this is through providing extra support in lessons, adapting our curriculum or providing assistance for personal or medical needs. 

What we offer will be different for each child. We will know what they need by talking to the people who know them best; their parents and people who already know them. Once the child has started school with us we meet regularly with parents, carefully monitor the child’s progress and if needed also take advice from external experts such as education and health professionals. 

What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing? 

Every child’s wellbeing is of utmost importance to all the staff at Castle Hill. When children are happy and feel safe they are ready to learn and grow. We are committed to providing an environment where children can develop excellent social, emotional development and mental wellness. Each class has one teacher allocated and at least two teaching assistants across the year group who will know every child well. As a Trauma- Informed and Pivotal School we know that the relationship between all adults and children in school is paramount to the child’s well-being. There will always be a focus on building and sustaining these relationships. All children at Castle Hill will have their social, emotional development tracked throughout their time at Castle Hill. Some children may need additional support in developing relationships, settling into school, or with developing age appropriate social skills. Additional support in this area is just as available as it is for children who are having difficulties with learning to read or write. If your child is unhappy or unsettled the first person to speak to is their Class Teacher. If the problem continues please make an appointment to see the Phase Lead who will investigate further and seek solutions with you. The Phase Lead will liaise with the Assistant Head, SENDCo and/or Pastoral Lead depending on the need. If the situation cannot be resolved within school there are other agencies we can contact to help us. 

How does Castle Hill know if a child needs extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have Special Educational Needs? 

Often children are identified as having special educational needs before they start at Castle Hill. The school then works with the people who already know them so that we can begin to put things in place before the child starts with us. If a parent feels that their child has special educational needs there are many people in school that can help. The child’s class teacher will get to know them really well and they are always welcome opportunities to speak to parents about any concerns. The SENDCo has experience of working with children who have special educational needs, and their families. It is her job to make sure that the school is doing everything it can to meet the needs of individuals and groups of children, and to seek additional advice for parents and the teachers. 

Sometimes when a child starts at our school the well-trained staff notice quite early on that they need more support than other children of the same age; sometimes it takes a little longer. The teachers will share their observations and assessments with parents and through their discussions gather more information. The teacher will then talk to their Phase Lead and/or SENDCo who may be able to make some additional suggestions about how to help the child overcome any difficulties. 

All children’s progress is closely tracked, monitored and evaluated by the class teachers, Phase Leads, SENDCo, Assistant Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and Headteacher in school, who meet regularly to discuss children’s strengths and areas of development. If we feel that a child is not making the progress that is expected we will observe them, assess their understanding of what we are doing in school and use assessments/tests across the four broad areas of need to explore what could be their barrier to learning. We will then plan learning interventions/therapies to help them to ‘catch up’ and/or ‘keep up’ and to make at least good progress. Further information of this can be found within our Graduated Approach. Sometimes teachers can see that a child has barriers to their learning at school which cannot be overcome using the usual or additional methods that work for other children. If this is the case the teacher will arrange to meet with parents to talk about what they have discovered, what has been tried so far and what they feel should happen next. If parents agree, referrals are then made to the appropriate agencies. This helps to pinpoint the child’s barriers and then provides parents and teachers with advice on what to do next. 

What are the external agencies, specialist services or professionals that are accessed by school? 

Our school has good relationships with the Educational Mental Health Practitioners (EMHPs) and the School Nursing Service and they can very often provide good advice to parents and school about how to help individual children. We work closely with Speech and Language Therapists, Educational Psychologists and members of Suffolk Local Authority Support Services, SES (Specialist Education Services). We also have regular contact with Paediatricians, Consultants, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Dieticians, and Parenting Support Services. 

How will the school prepare and support my child to join the school, transfer to a new school or the next stage of education? 

Children in the Early Years 

Transition to secondary schools 

Transitions within school 

Children joining Castle Hill in Key Stage 1 and 2 

Ideally, before your child joins our school there will be an opportunity for you and your child to come and have a look around, meet with members of the Senior Leadership Team and the Class Teacher or Phase Leader. We will have the chance to talk about your child’s needs and what we can do to support them. As long as we have notice of a child’s arrival at our school we contact the previous school to ask for any up-to- date advice to be forwarded to us so that we can put any special provision requirements in place ready for them to start with us. With the parent’s permission, we will contact any health professionals that we have been informed are working with the child or their family so that we have all the information we need before they start. A class ‘buddy’ can help the child to follow the class routines and will help with establishing friendships. Individual ‘hand-overs’ are used whenever needed. 

Most children in Key Stage 1 and 2 will have been to school before and will settle quickly but for those who really need it we can offer a flexible timetable. A visual timetable (pictures to show what is happening in the day) and a structured daily routine are in place to support the settling in process. Lunchtime is supervised by our teaching assistants so they will be aware of any children that need additional support over the lunchtime period and support them when needed. For children who already have an Education Health and Care Plan, the SENCo or another member of staff can attend meetings at the current setting prior to transfer and then the support required for the EHC Plan will be in place for the child when they start at Castle Hill. 

How will both you and I know how well my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning? 

At Castle Hill, staff are available in the playground every morning and afternoon across the school for a quick catch up. If you need a more in depth conversation, we would recommend making an appointment with the class teacher via the school office so that we can give the time and privacy needed. We hold formal parent’s evenings during the year and reports are sent out. Termly meetings are held for children with an EHC, to map out provision and set short term targets, with parents also in attendance. Termly Pupil Profiles are also completed, by class teachers, for all children identified as (K) SEN support.

All children’s progress is closely monitored by the Class Teachers, Phase Leaders and the Senior Leadership Team in school, who meet regularly to discuss children’s strengths and their barriers to learning. If we feel that a child is not making at least expected progress we will observe them, assess their understanding of their learning in school and use assessments/tests to ascertain what their barrier to learning is. We will share any concerns we have with parents in a timely manner. 

Sometimes teachers can see that a pupil’s barriers to learning cannot be overcome using the usual or additional methods that work for most other children. If this is the case the teacher will arrange to meet with you to talk about what they have discovered, what has been tried so far and what they feel should happen next. If you agree, referrals will be made to the appropriate agencies. This helps to pinpoint why the child is having difficulties and then provides both parents and the teacher’s with advice on what to do next. At the meeting we all celebrate the child’s successes and look at what we can do together to help the child make progress in all areas. 

It is important that the children also know and understand what they are working on. Individual targets are shared with the children and successes celebrated as part of an ongoing process. In order to support parents with their child’s learning we also periodically run workshops about how to support your child; e.g. reading, maths and phonics. All parents are encouraged to attend these. If parents feel they need any additional help in supporting their child’s learning at home, class teachers are always happy to offer advice. 

How are parents involved with the school? 

It is widely accepted that one of the key features of children succeeding at school is a high level of Parental Engagement in their child’s learning. Our door is always open and if parents would like additional information about any aspect of school life, we are more than happy to sit down with them for a chat. We hold SEND Coffee Mornings/Afternoons, which provides a supportive group of parents with children with additional needs. 

We welcome parents into school as volunteers and parents are often invited to assist with their own child’s class trips and outings. Parents are invited to a celebration assembly every Friday and to watch any performances that the children are taking part in. These may be with the school choir, class music group or seasonal productions. Newsletters are sent out weekly to inform parents ‘what’s happening’ in school. More information for parents can be found on the school’s website, Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter. 

Castle Hill parents have a PTA (Parents and Teachers Group) who meet regularly to talk about what is happening in school and what they can do to support the school’s work. They have provided funding specifically for equipment for children with additional needs. 

How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs? 

At Castle Hill, we understand that one size does not fit all when it comes to education. All children have different starting points and our staff are trained to ensure all children have access to their own learning journey. We look at where the child is in their learning, what they need to know and do next and then use our knowledge of how they learn best to find the most effective way to help them to progress. We know that all children learn best through first hand practical experiences and this is even more important for many children with additional needs. We match our learning activities, teaching styles and methods to how we know the individual child or group of children learn best. We are ambitious for our children with SEN and want them to achieve. 

What training have the staff supporting children with SEND had or are having? 

Staff are trained to adapt to a range of special educational needs and disabilities. We have experienced staff who can use approaches designed to help children with: 

• Specific learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia) 

• Autism 

• Coordination difficulties 

• Memory difficulties 

• Visual impairment 

• Hearing problems 

• Speech, language and communication difficulties 

• Sensory processing difficulties 

• Social and emotional challenges 

• Various medical conditions 

We have teachers and support staff trained to use Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), various speech and language therapy methods, specific moving and handling techniques, and to deliver specific physiotherapy programmes. Our teachers and teaching assistants are always happy to learn new skills so that we can support all of the children in our care. 

How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs? 

Schools receive funding for all pupils including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and they meet pupil’s needs from this. The Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher, the Assistant Headteacher for Inclusion and SENDCo will work with the teachers and other senior leaders in school to decide how the school’s resources will be used. Some children will take part in group programmes designed to help them with specific areas of the curriculum whilst some children will need more individualised support. The parents of children with identified special educational needs and disabilities are invited into school regularly to discuss their child’s progress and to work together to identify next steps in their child’s learning. Any additional support or resources needed will be discussed at these meetings, or sooner if necessary. 

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

All children are given equal opportunities to take part in activities outside the classroom and to take part in school trips/educational visits. Pupils with Special Educational Needs and disabilities are always included in school trips and residential visits, except in exceptional circumstances. We work closely with parents to ensure we fully understand the child’s needs and if necessary contact the appropriate specialists to make sure we have not missed anything. All outings are carefully risk assessed taking into account the needs of all children attending. We provide the correct level of support to match the needs of the child. This may be as part of a very small group, one to one or more where needed. Access and transport are carefully considered to make sure that nobody is left out. There are often opportunities for additional activities that are available only for children with special educational needs and disabilities and we make the most of what is available to us. 

How accessible is the school building? 

Our school building is very accessible in EYFS and KS1; however, four classes are based upstairs in KS2. Pupils are placed in classes appropriate to their physical needs. The majority of classrooms are on the same level. There is a lift into the KS2 canteen, which is also accessible by ramp. We have accessible bathrooms on the ground floor of both KS1 and KS2 sites. There are ramps up to the external doors at KS2 and there is access to the car park with space for disabled parking. 

What if I am not happy with a decision or what is happening for my child? 

The first point of contact should always be your child’s class teacher. If you need to talk to someone else, an appointment should then be made with the Phase lead who is responsible for the teaching and learning in the Key Stage. Explain your concerns to them first and if you are not satisfied that your concern has been addressed please speak to the SENDCo, Miss James or our Headteacher, Mrs Smith. You can always ask to speak to ASSET’s representative for SEND. 

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