If you wish to discuss our SEND provision, please contact Mrs Hennessy, our Assistant Headteacher for Inclusion and SENCO on 0117 903 0077
How do we define special educational needs and disabilities?
Air Balloon Hill Primary School regards pupils as having a Special Educational Need if they:
(SEND Code of Practice 2015).
How does the education setting know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
Children’s needs may be categorised into four different areas:
We believe that early identification of special educational needs, whether it is social, emotional, physical, communication or a specific learning difficulty, is crucial to the wellbeing of all of our children.
Special Educational Needs are identified in the following ways:
If parents / carers have any concerns about their child’s development or potential special educational needs, they should in the first instance speak to the class teacher. Further meetings may then be arranged with the Inclusion Manager. Official parent’s / carer’s evenings are held three times a year. However, parents and carers should not wait until then but speak to the teacher as soon as they have concerns.
As an inclusive school, we do not seek to closely define the special educational needs for which we will make provision. Historically we have had success in providing for a wide range of different needs, when budget, resources and availability of expertise has allowed. This has included pupils with:
In admitting pupils with special educational needs, we would expect to have informative discussions with both the pupil’s family and the local authority to ascertain the suitability of our provision.
We understand that it is initially our responsibility to make provision for a pupil with special educational needs through the school’s devolved SEN budget. Thereafter, we are aware of the process of applying for High Needs Funding if the pupil’s and the school’s needs make that a necessity.
As a mainstream school, it would clearly be difficult for us to make provision for pupils whose needs and/or demands are significant, severe or profound – to the extent that it could be argued that they would be most appropriately placed in a special school. However, we do not rule this out and would make a careful assessment of the needs of each pupil in constructive conversation with other agencies.
How will Air Balloon Hill Primary support my child?
Most children with SEND will have their needs met through in class provisions. When planning, teachers have the responsibility to make sure learning can be accessed by all members of their class. This could be through in class resources (e.g. equipment and lesson support materials), differentiated learning tasks or access to interventions to support what is happening in the classroom.
When a child requires specialised individual support on a medium or long term basis, an assessment of need will be carried out by the Inclusion Manager and a plan of graduated support may be put in place. This will be recorded on our assess-plan-do-review ‘Support Plan’ form and shared with parents / carers.
The assignment and co-ordination of all additional support lies with the Inclusion Manager, however, the face-to-face (or virtual) meetings with parents / parents and regular updates will be, in general, carried out by the class teacher. If a child has an Education Health Care plan, additional information meetings will take place between the Inclusion Manager and parents/carers.
We have a member of the governing body assigned to monitor SEND provision. They meet with the Inclusion Manager regularly to challenge and support the school. The Inclusion Manager reports the progress made by children with SEND to the governing body three times a year. This report contains analysis of the effectiveness of provision for children with SEND.
How will my child be consulted and involved in their education?
Children who have an assess-plan-do-review support plan contribute to the process by sharing their views on their strengths and needs, and strategies that they find helpful. Pupils with EHCPs or Top Up funding will contribute views on their progress and next steps as part of the annual review process.
How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child with their learning?
The support plan document is shared with parents / carers. This contains the information explaining the additional and different support a child is receiving, how often this is happening and the practitioners involved in delivering this support.
Air Balloon Hill Primary encourages good contact levels with staff. Teachers are on hand at the end of the day to discuss concerns and can be contacted through the main school email address. This happens outside of our normal reporting arrangements, which happen three times a year.
If part of a child’s provision is a specific intervention such as Maths Counts or Reading Inference training, then parents / carers are provided with information on what this will entail before starting and ways of supporting their children at home are fully explained.
The Inclusion Manager is available to meet with parents / carers to provide updates and explore options regarding meeting children’s needs. This may be over the phone of virtually. Parents / carers can also speak with our Family Support Worker to look at ways of meeting additional needs at home.
What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?
We have the following support available, which make up our ‘Nurture Package’:
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the educational setting?
We access external specialist support for children as required these include:
Many of these services are called in by school, others are accessed via your child’s GP. The Inclusion Manager can offer advice around accessing such support.
What training are the staff supporting children with SEND had or having?
Staff access training on a rolling programme depending on the children they are working with. Over the last few years support staff received training from Occupational Therapy (handwriting), Bristol Autism Team, Educational Psychology Service and the Hearing and Vision Impairment Services. We have an in-house performance management system for support staff, which identifies needs and targets support. Recently, this has included speech and language development, inference training, Gem Project, attachment training, emotional regulation and sensory processing.
How will Air Balloon Hill Primary prepare and support my child to join their setting, transfer to a new setting or the next stage of education and life?
A change of school, class and staff can be an exciting, yet anxious time for all pupils. We recognise that this can be very challenging for some pupils with SEND. We endeavour to make sure these periods of change are carefully managed in a sensitive way to provide continuity of high quality provision and reassurance to pupils and families. Our school understands the need for good transition practice and this is especially important for a pupil with SEND.
If a child has an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) or significant SEND, preparation for transfer to secondary provision begins in year 5. Parents / carers are encouraged to make contact with settings and produce a short list. The Inclusion Manager then supports the decision making process by arranging additional visits, accompanying parents if required. The chosen school(s) is then invited to the pupils’ Annual Review meeting. There will be a thorough handover in order to ensure that the new school have a good understanding of the pupils’ needs and requirements.
When a placement has been agreed, a transition plan is formulated on an individual basis. This includes extra visits to the setting to meet with key staff. Children may be identified for group or individual sessions with our art therapist or nurture team to support transition. Occasionally, transition is support by outside professionals, such as the Bristol Autism Team.
How are Air Balloon Hill Primary’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?
A provision map is produced each year to show how the school’s SEN budget is spread across the school. Interventions are implemented in response to need. The level of additional support in each class or year group is not uniform, as it is based upon the needs of our individual cohorts.
When a child has received support in excess of £6,000 per year and still needs a greater level of provision, then a request for additional funding may be applicable in order to meet their needs via the high needs funding TOPUP procedure.
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
The decision to give a child additional support may be made by measuring their distance away from age related expectations. This decision is made by the Inclusion Manager in response to concerns raised at pupil progress meetings, parents meetings or SEND review meetings. We have a wide-ranging package of interventions that have proven results to aid the acquisition of basic skills in both literacy and numeracy. These are time constrained and progress measured. Parents / carers will be informed their child is on such a programme by the class teacher or the practitioner running the intervention. Ways to support at home can also be discussed at this point. The impact of these interventions are measured three times a year by the Inclusion Manager. The measures of attainment and more importantly, progress are used to measure success and plan effectively.
If a child or group of children have additional learning support in class, it is because we believe they can’t effectively access the curriculum or mainstream classroom without this. Reasons for this could include communication and interaction difficulties, social and emotional difficulties or sensory and physical needs. We recognise the well-documented studies that show additional adults in class do not lead to accelerated outcomes and therefore, we only use this approach when it is the only way to keep a child included.
If a child has a learning support assistant (LSA) they are available before and after school to meet with parents/carers to discuss learning and offer support.
How are parents / carers involved in the education setting? How can I be involved?
Due to COVID-19, face to face meetings for parents and carers with staff are limited and may be now carried out over the phone of virtually. Teachers are available to speak to after school daily. The Inclusion Manger, Pastoral Leaders, Achievement Leaders and Deputy Heads are also on hand to discuss any concern they may have. We encourage a close working relationship between parents and school as we believe they know their child best. We consult heavily when forming care plans and meeting medical and physical needs. We understand that parenting can be a demanding job and encourage parents to access our Family Support Worker, Children’s Support Worker and Inclusion Manager.
How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including trips?
We strive to make sure all trips and activities are accessible for all learners. Ratios of staff to children are adjusted to make this possible. Parents of children with specific disabilities or medical needs are consulted in the planning stages and an individual risk assessment is carried out if needed. Due to COVID-19, there may not be off site trips this year.
How accessible is the education setting?
Air Balloon Hill Primary is on a large sloping site. It is a mixture of buildings that are over 100 years old and a recently built 12 classroom block housing reception, year 1 and year 6. The classrooms are all accessible by wheelchair and there are disabled toilet facilities spaced around the school.
Acoustically, the new build is good for children with hearing impairments. The old build however, is not, as all rooms have high vaulted ceilings. We take advice form the Hearing Impairment Service regarding seating positions of the children and any other reasonable adjustments they suggest.
Equipment to support children is often purchased directly by the school. In the case of a large piece of equipment e.g. a hoist, needed for a particular length of time, we would look to hire or loan it.
Every caution is taken to make sure the site is secure, however, we cannot accommodate children with high levels of behavioural needs that present as climbing, escaping or hiding, as the site is too large and has many levels, making it difficult to guarantee their safety.
In line with the Equality Act, 2010, Air Balloon Hill Primary School has an Accessibility Plan, which is reviewed and updated every two years. This Accessibility Plan is available on the policies page of our website.
The plan is in place in order to:
Who can I contact for further information?
If a parent / carer is worried about their child they should first contact their child’s teacher or the Inclusion Manager, Mrs Jenny Knight (ask at main office).
If a parent / carer of a child with SEND is considering joining Air Balloon Hill Primary they should speak to the Inclusion Manager, who will talk to them about their child’s specific needs and how we can meet them.
The Bristol Local Offer website had a range of advice and information for parents and carers and can be found here:
Parents may also like to contact the SENDIAS / Supportive Parents for Special Children. More information can be found here: