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Cotham School

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Cotham School Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Report

Cotham SEND Information Report

1 How does Cotham School know if students need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have a special educational need?

Students with SEND are initially identified through the school’s intensive Year 6 into 7 Transition Programme, which liaises closely with primary school teachers.  During the first term at Cotham the learning needs of all students are assessed using standardised reading and spelling tests, KS2 results, Year 6 Teacher Assessments and school-based tests called Cognitive Abilities Tests (CATs). These are online assessments, which are completed during the first term. Any student who joins the school mid-year is tested on entry and reports from their previous school are taken into consideration. This process enables the school to build a detailed profile of each child's needs.

A critical process for identifying a child's SEND is the way in which the school tracks the progress of each student.  At Cotham School we have robust measures in place for tracking student progress.  Subject teachers will raise concern with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) if they feel that classroom teaching is not sufficient to meet the needs of an individual student.  If your child is identified as not making progress the school will take a decision to monitor this or put an additional provision in place to support the student.

If your child is still not making expected progress the school will discuss with you:

  • Any concerns that you may have.
  • Any further interventions or referrals to outside professionals to support your child’s learning.
  • How we can better work together, to support your child at home/school.

2 How will Cotham support your child? 

The first and most important way that we support children is through our excellent classroom teaching that takes into account the needs of individual children.  In particular we will:

  • Have the highest possible expectations for your child and all of the other students in their class.
  • Ensure that all teaching is based upon building on what students already know, can do and understand.
  • Put into place different ways of teaching so that all students are fully involved in learning.
  • Implement any specific strategies suggested by the SEND team or professionals from outside agencies to enable individual students to access learning tasks.

Any student who has specific gaps in their understanding may have additional support either individually or in small groups (Intervention Groups). 

  • The subject teacher and the SENCo monitor the progress of students.  Where gaps in understanding or learning are identified, additional support is assigned to help the student make better progress.  Short targeted and personalised interventions reduce barriers to learning and support the student to make better progress.  Support is therefore offered in mainstream classes, in small withdrawal groups or on a one-to-one basis.
  • A Specialist Support Teacher, Higher Level Teaching Assistant or a Learning Support Assistant will facilitate this work. Some of these sessions are run outside the classroom or in the SEND area.
  • Depending on their level of need some of the students accessing intervention groups may be recorded on the SEND register, this means that the school has identified the student as needing extra specialist support in school.
  • All students on the SEND register have a Learning Passport that is shared with their teachers and regularly updated informing staff strategies to implement to best support each student.

Where barriers to learning are proving more difficult to overcome, or if a student has been identified as needing more specialist support instead of, or in addition, to excellent teaching and intervention groups, a referral will be made to an outside agency. 

  • Before a referral is made you will be contacted to discuss your child’s progress and help to plan possible ways forward.
  • If it is then agreed that the support of an outside agency is the way forward, you will be asked to give your permission for the school to make a referral to a specialist professional or organisation.
  • It is envisaged that this type of referral will help the school to better understand your child’s particular needs.

The specialist professional or organisation will work with your child to understand their needs and make recommendations, following this the school may suggest your child needs some agreed individual or group support in school or a short or extended placement with an educational provider outside school.  The school will tell you how the support will be used and what strategies will subsequently put into place.

The type of recommendations may include:

  • Making changes to some aspects of teaching or to the way your child’s learning is supported.
  • Setting targets, based upon their professional expertise.
  • Group or individual work run by a professional from an outside agency.
  • Your child’s involvement in a group run by school staff under the guidance of the outside professional.

These students will have been identified by the subject teacher/SENCo as needing some extra specialist support in school from professionals, agencies or education providers outside school.  Students who need this level of support are recorded on the SEND register and will be subject to an agreed IEP or Pastoral Support Plan (PSP).

Education, Health and Care Plan

Students whose learning needs are severe, complex and lifelong will currently have their needs identified and communicated through an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).  

For a student to be eligible for an EHCP they will have been identified by their subject teacher, and/or the SENCo as needing a higher level of individual or small group teaching, which cannot be provided from the resources already delegated to the school.

The school (or you) can request that the Local Authority (LA) carry out a statutory assessment of your child’s needs. This is a legal process and involves the school and yourself providing detailed information and data about your child as well as receiving health screening.

The LA will then consider the request based upon all of the information contained in the paperwork and make a decision as to whether your child’s needs are sufficiently severe and complex enough or of lifelong duration to require a Statutory Assessment.  If this is the case they will ask you and all of the professionals involved with your child to write a report outlining your child’s needs.

After considering all of the reports the LA will make a decision and if they agree that your child’s needs are severe, complex and lifelong then they will write, in consultation with you, an EHCP. This plan will outline your child’s needs, how the support they need will be implemented in school, and any additional resources if any, will be funded by the LA.

If this is not the case the LA will ask the school to continue to offer the same support in school and set up a meeting to ensure a Learning Passport is in place to ensure your child makes as much progress as possible. 

If your child requires this high level of support they may also need specialist support in school from professionals outside school.  In either case, if it is felt that additional resources could be purchased to support the progress of the individual student, the school may rarely be able to make an application for Top-up funding to the LA.

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

Planning for teaching is adapted on a lesson by lesson basis to meet the needs of all learners in a teaching group, in particular the needs of students with SEND is considered to ensure that all students can access learning tasks. 

Lesson planning for good/excellent teaching will always take into consideration the specific needs of all groups of students in a class in order to ensure that all students can learn as independently as possible.

Trained Higher Level Teaching Assistants and Learning Support Assistants can be used to implement the teachers modified/adapted planning to support the needs of a student with SEND where necessary.

Previously planned support strategies, adapted teaching materials, varied learning approaches and differentiated tasks are used to support all students and individuals in groups.

4 How will both you and the school know how your child is doing and how will we help you to support your child’s learning? 

At Cotham the subject teacher continually monitors your child’s progress.  Students’ progress is reviewed and recorded three times during the school year.  The results of these reviews are shared with parents/carers in the form of a report. 

For KS3 students are assessed against the National Curriculum Age Related Expectations (ARE).  For KS4 GCSE grades indicate the student’s current and predicted grade.  Individual Support Teachers use standardised reading and spelling tests.  Reporting to parents also provides information regarding the student’s attendance, classwork, homework and behaviour.

If your child is achieving significantly below age related expectations at KS3, or significantly below expected GCSE target grades, a more sensitive assessment tool is used which shows their level in more detail and will also show smaller but significant steps of progress. These levels are called ‘P levels’.

The progress of students with an EHCP is formally reviewed at an Annual Review meeting with all of the adults involved with your child’s education.

The SENCo will monitor your child’s progress within any individual or group provision they take part in.

Students who have moderate learning needs or have the support of an outside agency will have a Learning Passport.  The parents/carers of these students will be invited to meet with the SENCo to review their Passport and set more specific targets aimed at addressing specific areas of difficulty or concern.

Parents/carers are invited to attend Family Consultation meetings and Year Subject Evenings calendared throughout the academic year.

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

All Cotham staff are trained in all aspects of safeguarding and this training is regular and ongoing. The School’s policy on Child Protection and Safeguarding is clear, inclusive and comprehensive and specifies requirements for students with additional needs. The safeguarding policy can be found on the school website along with any other policies. Click here to view policies

In addition the following provisions are in place:

  • The attendance of students is recorded during every lesson and measures are in place to follow up all absences.
  • Bullying, safety and healthy living are covered during the PSHE lessons, discussions in tutor times and during assemblies. When there is a suggestion or suspicion of bullying behavior this is dealt with quickly and effectively. The anti bullying policy can be found on the school website Click here to view policies
  • Risk Assessments are carried out to ensure children stay safe outside the classroom. (e.g. during PE and other practical lessons and school trips).
  • Provision of a ‘protected’ environment for vulnerable students operates in the form of Lunch Time Clubs. This is generally for students who might struggle in unstructured social situations. The clubs are supervised and help can be given with homework or games played to encourage social interaction with other students. They provide a safe haven with supervised support for children at unstructured times.
  • The school nurse is available one lunchtime per week and students can access this service on a drop-in basis.

6 What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by Cotham School? 

Employed directly by the school:

  • Inclusion Managers
  • Learning Mentors
  • Ethnic Minority Achievement Co-ordinators
  • Dyslexia / Irlen Specialist Support Teachers
  • Literacy Specialist Support Teachers
  • KS3 Individual Literacy HLTAs
  • English as an Additional Language Co-ordinator
  • KS4 Individual Literacy HLTAs
  • Behaviour Managers
  • Behaviour Support Worker
  • Learning Support Assistants
  • School Counsellor

Services bought in by the school when required

  • Educational Psychology Service
  • Hearing Impairment Team
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder Outreach Team
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Professional training for staff to deliver medical interventions

Services provided by the Health Services

  • School Nurse Service
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team

7 What training have the staff supporting students with SEND had or having?

Cotham School has a dedicated Leader of Professional Learning, it is the SENCo’s responsibility to work with this member of staff to ensure that whole staff training ensures consistency in the school's approach to supporting students with SEND.

The school development plan identifies training needs for all staff to improve teaching and learning for all students including those with SEND.  This may include whole school training on SEND issues or to support identified groups of learners in school, such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder, dyslexia, attachment etc.

Training takes place on a regular basis for individual teachers and support staff who attend courses run by outside agencies that are relevant to the needs of specific students for whom they have responsibility.  e.g. recent training has been provided by the ASD outreach team and the Educational Psychologist.

All staff who are new to the school undergo a rigorous and detailed induction process that includes sessions on SEND.

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

The school has an Equality and Community cohesion policy, available on our website that makes explicit the school’s long established commitment to actively promoting equality of opportunity for all. Cotham School also has a Charging and Remissions policy that ensures that learning activates outside the classroom are available to all students.

9 How accessible is Cotham School? 

Cotham School is a purpose built secondary school, which has been carefully designed to be fully accessible with disabled car parking, disabled toilets and lifts to all levels.  We ensure that equipment that is used is accessible to all students regardless of their needs. 

The school reviews its accessibility plan annually or when a student with a particular need joins the school and makes appropriate changes to the infrastructure.

Adaptations have been made to all our specialist classrooms to ensure that students are able to participate in all learning.  Acoustics, lighting levels and signage have been designed to allow students with a range of sensory impairments to move around school and access learning independently.

10 How will Cotham School prepare and support my child to join the setting, transfer to a new setting or the next stage of education and life? 

Transition can be one of the most stressful events in a student’s life and this is often compounded when a student has SEND. To ensure that this process is a smooth as possible the school has put the following procedures into place

How we support students moving to us from primary school.

  • For a student with SEND identification of an appropriate secondary placement often takes place towards the end of Yr5.  To support with this decision the SENCo will often be invited to a student’s Yr5 Annual Review, where the needs of the student can be discussed and matched to support available in school.
  • Parents are encouraged to attend the school's open evening in September and to book into one of the open mornings that give prospective students and their parents, the opportunity to look around school whilst learning is taking place.
  • At the beginning of the summer term of Yr6, members of the school Transition Team visit the primary school and meet the student and their Yr6 class teacher.  The information and data gathered from these meeting is shared with the SENCo who will arrange to make a number of further visits to the primary school to ascertain the specific needs of the individual student.
  • Individual Learning Passports are written for those students with SEND and shared with all staff.  When a student has a severe, complex or lifelong need the SENCo will brief all of the staff at the Inset day at the start of the new academic year.
  • During June there are two calendared induction days for students to come into school and experience a range of activities and lessons.  Often when a student has SEND the SENCo will arrange additional visits.  These visits allow the student to come into school with the support of their LSA, to orientate themselves and diminish any anxieties they may have around transition.
  • In July you will be invited to the Yr6 parents evening at which you will collect information about your child starting at Cotham, talk to your child’s tutor, the SENCO and have the opportunity to talk to members of the Senior Leadership Team at the school.   

How we support students moving to us mid-term

  • Once a student has been offered a place at Cotham, the Learning Co-ordinator from the appropriate year group, arranges a meeting.  At this meeting, as well as gathering information about your child there is an opportunity for you and your child to look around the school whilst learning is taking place.
  • After this meeting an additional visit is arranged for the student to come into school and complete all of the base-line testing we need to place a student into appropriate teaching groups.  If the student has learning needs a meeting will also be arranged with the SENCo to discuss support provision and write a transition plan.
  • The transition plan may include a higher level of support than normally necessary to enable the student to make a smooth transition.  Communication with parents/carers can be frequent and a further meeting can be planned after one cycle of the timetable.

11 How are Cotham School’s resources allocated and matched to student’s special educational needs? 

The school receives a large block of funding that includes ‘the notional SEN budget’.  This money is not ring-fenced and it is for the school to provide high quality appropriate support from the whole of its budget.  The Headteacher and Leadership Team decides the budget for Special Educational Needs in consultation with the Governors, on the basis of the needs of the students currently in the school.  Additional ‘top up’ funding can be also received through the Local Authority for specific statemented students, which again is at the discretion of the school to put into place the appropriate level of support.

The member of the Leadership Team with responsibility for Inclusion/SEND together with the SENCo consider all of the information they have about the needs of identified students in the school including:

  • Students currently receiving support.
  • Students in need of extra support.
  • Students who have been identified as not making as much progress as would be expected.
  • Students joining the school who are experiencing difficulties or have an identified need.

A decision is then made about existing and new resources, training and support for the school.  Support, resources and training are reviewed regularly and changes made as needed.

12 How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?

At Cotham the subject teacher continually monitors your child’s progress.  Students’ progress is reviewed and recorded three times during the school year.  The results of these reviews are recorded on the school’s Management Information System and shared with parents/carers in the form of a report. 

The Inclusion Team run a weekly Inclusion Forum, the focus of these meetings cycles sequentially between all of the years 7 – 11. The forum is attended by members of the Inclusion Team with management responsibilities for that particular year group, the year groups Learning and Achievement Coordinator and the Behaviour Support Manager, together with representatives from the key outside agencies and the SEN governor.  However, the forum is open to all members of Cotham staff.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the progress of students on the SEN Register and consider new referrals received from Learning Coordinators. Learning Coordinators are asked to report any concerns they may have about students in their year group.  Referrals are also taken from subject teachers and issues raised by parents/carers via the SENCo.

The latest data is made available at the meeting so that the progress, provision and support strategies can be reviewed for each individual student. In the light of this review changes are made and recorded so that staff and parent/carers are kept informed.

In addition, Team Around the Child (TAC) meetings are held with key Inclusion staff when the need arises e.g. to more frequently review and escalate provision and services for a student.

13 How are parents/carers involved in Cotham School? 

At Cotham School we are clear that student achievement is based upon a three-way relationship between home, school and the students. To facilitate this relationship clear lines of communication need to be established. These may include:

  • Regular meetings are held for all students who are on the SEND register and have interventions directed by outside professionals and students at EHCP level including Annual Reviews and Learning Passport planning meetings.
  • Meetings arranged with the SENCo or Deputy Headteacher with responsibility for SEND/Inclusion to discuss your child’s progress and any concerns/worries you may have.
  • Reports about your child’s progress are shared with you three times during the academic year and include information regarding the student’s attendance, classwork, homework and behaviour.
  • Parents/carers are invited to attend Family Consultation meetings and Year Subject Evenings calendared throughout the academic year.
  • The school is a cooperative academy, parents and students are invited to become members and get involved in the democratic process that is afforded by this status.
  • All information from outside professionals will be shared with you in person or via a written report.  The SENCo will share any significant assessments or new strategies suggested by outside agencies with you.  You will also be notified when new support measures are implemented and invited to discuss these with the SENCo.

In return we would like you to keep us informed about effective strategies that you use to support your child at home, and how we can use these strategies to better support your child in the classroom.

14 Who can I contact for further information? 

Cotham School has a broad range of experienced professionals involved in the education of your child.  Should you wish to contact any professional about the educational progress of your child or discuss the support available please email info@cotham.bristol.sch.uk or telephone 01179198200.

Depending upon your inquiry the best people to talk to at Cotham School are as follows:

Form Tutor,

Subject Teacher,

Learning Co-ordinator

Responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all students have access to excellent teaching and that the curriculum is adapted to meet your child’s individual needs (differentiation)
  • Ensuring that your child receives the correct guidance and pastoral support to make academic progress

Special Educational Needs

Co-ordinator (SENCo)

Responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all adults working with your child in school are aware of their individual needs, and what specific adjustments need to be made to enable them to be included and make progress
  • Ensuring that all staff delivering additional support can achieve the best possible progress for your child.  This also includes liaising with any additional adults; outside specialists who come into school and co-ordinating any special planned interventions and resources.
  • Ensuring that the school’s SEND policy is implemented to ensure that all students receive a consistent, high quality response to meeting their individual needs.
  • Updating the schools SEND register (a system for ensuring all the special educational, physical and sensory needs of students in the school are known and understood) and making sure that records are kept of your child’s progress and needs.
  • Supporting training for staff so they are aware and confident about how to meet the needs of your child and others within the school.

In addition the SENCo also ensures that you are:

  • Involved in supporting your child’s needs at home
  • Kept informed about the support your child is receiving
  • Involved in reviewing your child’s progress and involved in planning ahead for them.

Headteacher and Leadership Team

Responsible for:

  • The day-to-day management of all aspects of the school, including the support for students with SEN and/or disabilities.
  • The Headteacher has given responsibility to the SENCo and tutors/subject teachers but still holds responsibility for ensuring that your child’s needs are met.

SEND Governor

Responsibility for:

  • Ensuring that the school has an up to date SEND policy.
  • Making sure that the school has appropriate provision and has made necessary adaption to meet the needs of all children in the school.
  • Making visits to understand and monitor the support given to all students with SEND in the school and being part of the process to ensure that all students are able to achieve their potential in school.

Raising a concern

If you have a concern about your child’s progress, initially you should speak to your child’s Subject Teacher, Form Tutor or Learning Coordinator, as they are best placed to answer your inquiry.

If you are not happy that the concerns are being managed and feel that your child is still not making progress you should speak to the SENCo or the Deputy Head Teacher with responsibility for SEND/Inclusion.

If you are still not happy you can request to meet with the Headteacher by contacting the Headteacher’s PA, Heather Marouf, on 01179198001.  The Headteacher’s PA is also available to help you make a formal complaint in accordance with our complaints procedure.