What does the term Special Educational Needs and Disabilities mean?

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities is sometimes represented by the acronym SEN or SEND.

Children and young people with Special Educational Needs have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than others of the same age, this may mean that they require additional support in school to enable them to access the curriculum and achieve.

The Children and Families Act 2014 defines Special Educational Needs as;

  1. A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her
  2. A child or a young person of compulsory school age has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:
    • has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
    • has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.

Children with SEN may have a disability under the Equality Act 2010.

Under the SEND code of practice 2015 children’s needs are identified under four areas, some children may have needs in more than one area.

Communication and Interaction – Children may have difficulties with speech, language or communication that make it difficult for them to understand language and communicate effectively and appropriately with others.

Cognition and learning – Children may find it difficult to access and respond to the curriculum, they may learn at a different pace to their peers, have difficulties with memory skills or a specific learning difficulty affecting their access and progress in one or more areas of learning, such as Math, Reading or Writing.

Social Emotional and Mental Health – Children may have difficulties managing their relationships with other people, regulating their feelings and emotions and expressing these in appropriate ways and may present with behaviours that may hinder the learning of themselves and their peers.

Sensory and Physical Needs – Children may have a physical or sensory need that requires ongoing support or equipment to enable them to access the school environment and learning. This may include children with visual/hearing impairment and those with physical needs.

SEND Coordinator

Miss S. Layton
Phone: 0161 775 4356

What is a SENCO?

SENCO stands for Special Educational Needs Coordinator. Every school must have a designated SENCO, this is a qualified teacher with responsibility for overseeing the day- to-day operation of the schools SEN policy and coordinating provision for children identified as having SEND.  The SENCO will liaise with parents/carers and health, education and social care professional to coordinate support for each child. They work closely with Governors, the Headteacher, senior leaders and teaching staff, to ensure provision for all children is appropriate to their needs so they are able to achieve their potential.

Miss Layton is the Special Educational Needs Coordinator at Forest Gate Academy; she is a qualified and experienced teacher who has completed the National Award in Special Educational Needs Coordination. Miss Layton can be contacted via the school office.

SEND at Forest Gate Academy

At Forest Gate Academy we believe that every child is an individual with a unique range of abilities, talents and learning styles. Class teachers and support staff have a good knowledge and understanding of the needs of their class/cohort and plan multi-sensory experiences and environments that take account of the variety of needs and abilities within their classes.

The SEN Code of Practice says that “All teachers are teachers of pupils with SEN”. We pride ourselves on our knowledge of our pupils as individuals, and focus on quality first teaching, ensuring that the environment, curriculum, teaching and classroom management strategies are differentiated to meet the needs of all pupils.

Where children are identified as needing additional support, they may receive support within the classroom, or in some circumstances may be removed from the classroom to take part in small group or individual interventions. The aim of interventions is to provide intensive support, or alternative strategies to allow your child to achieve their potential.

As Parents and carers, your views and experiences are important to us and help us to fully understand your child’s needs. We encourage parents to share any concerns with their child’s class teacher to enable them to plan effectively for your child.

If you would like to know more about the SEND at Forest Gate Academy, how we identify children’s needs and support children and their families please read our SEND Information Report and SEND Policy.

Further information about Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

If you would like further information on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities the UK government has produced a guide for parents and carers, SEND: guide for parents and carers.

In addition, every local authority has a local SEND offer for parents/carers and professional where they can access further information and advice. Trafford SEND Local Offer

If you are a parent of a child with Special Educational Needs you may wish to subscribe to Trafford’s SEND news letter The Link.

Alternatively, you can view the latest issue The Link Newsletter

Trafford Special Educational Needs and Disability Information and Support Service (SENDIASS) can offer support to parents, carers and young people in relation to SEN. They are an impartial organisation with knowledge about special educational needs and disabilities and the processes and support available in Trafford.

Trafford Family Information Service (FIS) can provide free, impartial advice to parents, carers and young people on a range of subjects including the local offer and childcare. You can access support and information using the link above or contact them by telephone.

Family Information Service – 0161 912 1053

Supporting your child at home

As a parent/carer we know that you want to support your child to achieve their potential, your child’s teacher will be able to share ways in which you can support your child’s needs at home. If your child has Special Educational Needs they will have an Additional Needs Support Plan, this will include ways in which you can support your child to make progress towards their individual goals.

Practical ideas to support all children

Read with and to your child every day! Reading supports the cognitive development of all children, it increases their language skills and concentration, encourages imagination, creativity and a lifelong love of reading!

Use every opportunity to support your child’s mathematical knowledge and skills

Math at home does not need to be a separate activity, it is part of our everyday lives and activities and every opportunity to support children in their mathematical knowledge and understanding should be exploited!

You can support your child by;

  • playing board games, for example snakes and ladders. This is good for number recognition and order; you could even use two dice and introduce some simple addition.
  • Talk about numbers and maths during your everyday activities, eating, baking, walking to and from places and even tidying up, can be used to encourage conversations about math. Play games finding numbers on signs, number plates and doors, add the numbers on number plates. Talk about measuring, comparing and estimating when baking and preparing meals. Encourage an understanding of division by talking about sharing. Play games spotting shapes and talking about them around your home and when travelling. Use household objects, toys and natural objects to count, sort, order, measure and make patterns.

Supporting physical skills – including handwriting

There are many ways you can support your child’s physical development at home. Physical activity is really important for your child’s health, well-being and learning. Well-developed gross and fine motor skills are vital to a child’s ability to write and learning to do practical things for themselves is really important in fostering self-confidence and independence.

What can you do?

  • Ensure your child has a good diet and participates in physical activity every day, including time outside.
  • Encourage good routines at home that promote healthy sleep habits.
  • Encourage play outdoors and at local parks – this gives children the opportunity to develop a range of physical skills such as balance and coordination. Climbing and monkey bars aid the development of upper body strength and sings are great for developing core strength.

Dancing and organised sports help children to develop gross motor skills and coordination which will enable them to learn to use their bodies efficiently and

  • effectively in more complex ways. Swimming is also great for developing muscle tone and gross motor skills.
  • Draw, colour, sort and explore a range of materials to help develop your child’s fine motor skills – these are vital for pencil control and handwriting. Use playdough and clay, encouraging children to roll, pinch, press, shape and squeeze the dough, this helps develop strength. For younger children, do not start writing and letter formation too early, your child’s hands are still developing and growing. Experimenting with a range of mark making tools with help your child learn to enjoy mark making and develop their fine motor strength and skills. You could; post spaghetti through a strainer, knock golf tees in to fruit/soft wood, paint with hands, household objects, brushes and rollers, make patterns and pictures with chalk, threading activities, activities using pegs and tweezers, sticker activities, cutting and sticking images from magazines and catalogues.

All these activities will support your child’s gross and fine motor skills, developing the skills they will require for writing.

Toileting, hygiene and dressing.

Encouraging your child to do things for themselves not only builds their self-confidence and esteem, but also encourages the development of physical skills, independence and healthy habits for life. Even very young children can be encouraged and supported to develop their self-care skills.

  • Encourage your child to go to the toilet/potty
  • Teach your child about hand washing and body hygiene and encourage them to actively seek to do this for themselves.
  • Dressing – leave time in your routine to encourage your child to practice putting on, taking off their clothes, shoes and socks.
  • Encourage and teach your child to use a knife and fork, model how to hold utensils and how to manipulate them to cut/move food.

All children develop these skills at different rates, but it is really important that we support their development from a young age.

If your child is having difficulties developing certain physical skills, there is advice available from Trafford Occupational Therapy. There are a number of practical advice sheets available for Early Years and Primary aged children. Early Years advice sheets include getting ready to; look, listen and play, move, sit and balance, throw, catch and kick a ball, write, use scissors, use the toilet, get dressed and use cutlery. Primary advice sheets include getting ready to; pay attention, sit, work, catch and throw, use scissors, use cutlery, getting dressed, using the toilet and developing hand skills.

To access these therapy advice sheets please follow this link – Therapy advice sheets from Trafford Occupational Therapy

Further support on potty/toilet training can be found at;

NHS – How to potty train

eric – The Children’s Bowel and Bladder Charity eric also has information, advice and resources to support children with difficulties with toileting, including anxiety about going to the toilet.

You may also find it useful to speak to your health visitor or school nursing team. For information on how they can support you and contact details use the following link.

Trafford West Area Health Visiting Team

Online resources you can use to support your child’s learning.

Please read any terms and agreements for individual sites. We have tried to include sites that are free to access – parents should ensure they fully understand the terms and conditions of accessing resources before using them.

Please ensure that you have parental controls on your device to ensure children cannot access inappropriate materials.

BBC Bitesize – Primary

National Geographic Primary – you do not have to subscribe to access many of the resources, please support your child to find and use relevant resources.

DK findout!

BookTrust HomeTime – free online books, videos and games. Adult supervision required as the site uses third part links

Collins Parent Hub – free activities and resources for parents to support children’s learning

PhonicsPlay – the site is subscription based, however, there are a few free games to support children learning to blend sounds to read.

Nessy – Free Learning resources for teachers and parents – Nessy is a subscription site, however, they have a range of free resources for parents to help develop children’s reading and spelling.

Oxford Owl…. for Home – activities and resources to support learning at home, organised by age group.

Crickweb – free online educational resources

Topmarks – online games to develop Math and English knowledge and skills.

ICT games – free educational games

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