Royal High School – School Information Report 2017-2018.
At The Royal High School, we value all girls and strive to develop a full understanding of their potential and vulnerabilities. Special educational needs is an integral part of our mainstream school ethos. The Learning Support Department supports girls from all age ranges across the school. We strive to develop a full understanding of the vulnerabilities and potential of our students and the continuity of support offered to our girls throughout their learning journey with us enables us to know them as individuals.
Where possible, we try to meet every girl’s needs within the classroom by ensuring that our planning, teaching and inclusive ‘Quality First Teaching’ approaches meet the needs of the majority of our students so they make the best progress in school. Quality First Teaching, as outlined in the Code of Practice (2014), involves teachers using highly skilled differentiation and precision teaching within the classroom.
Each girl is a valued individual within the school community and we encourage celebration of achievements both academic and non-academic. We want to create a partnership between parents, mainstream and support staff, outside professionals and the individual to ensure success.
Who are the best people to talk to about my daughter’s learning differences and/or Special Educational Needs/Disability (SEND)?
Initially, please talk with your daughter’s class teacher or tutor. Mrs Smillie is the Learning Support Co-ordinator for the Junior and Senior schools and she will liaise closely with staff and other people responsible for supporting your daughter’s learning. She can be contacted on email@example.com Mrs Fiona Cox is the Learning Support Co-ordinator for the Early Years and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org. We value regular contact with parents and want to involve you in supporting your child’s learning. The school may suggest that your daughter needs agreed individual support or group support in school, in addition to good and outstanding teaching and it may be that referrals are made to outside agencies to advise and support the school in enabling your daughter to make progress.
What are the different types of support available for girls with SEND at The Royal High School?
All staff have the highest expectations for your child and the students in their classes. Good and outstanding teaching is based on what the student already knows, can do and understand. High-quality differentiation – using different ways of teaching such as more practical based learning or providing different resources adapted for your child are encouraged as well as class/set/ group/ individual teaching times.
Your daughter’s teachers will have carefully checked on your child’s progress and if there is a gap in their understanding/learning there may be specific small focus group work or interventions with targets to help your daughter make more progress. This may be run by subject-specific teachers or teaching assistants to give short-term support where needed and provide catch-up interventions guided by subject specialists and the Learning Support department. The students may receive additional in-class support when needed, that is ‘different from or additional to’ the classwork to target specific needs or may be withdrawn from lessons (never core curriculum subjects) to attend the Learning Support department. Short targeted interventions linked to their individual profile are given and certain girls will follow a Learning Support plan. Some girls come to the Learning Support department in small groups, some for one-to-one lessons and some are supported within the classroom. Decisions about additional support programmes are made at regular student progress meetings, attended by the deputy head, key stage leaders, LSCO and teaching assistants. Staff continually review progress with daily briefings, departmental meetings, informal discussions and discuss progress regularly with parents via informal discussions and parent/teacher meetings. We follow the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ process as outlined in the Code of Practice (2014). The review practice is essential as we understand that the circumstances for girls can change throughout the support period and different approaches may be needed.
Students in exam classes may have lessons before or after school or during lunch times to minimise disruption to their learning. We have a designated room in both the Junior and Senior schools which can accommodate group work as well as individual lessons.
If we feel that your daughter has more complex needs and may require more than a catch-up programme and good teaching, we may conduct a more in depth assessment using standardised tests and involve outside professionals such as Educational Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapy Services, Occupational Therapy Services, Children and Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Before these referrals are made, we would discuss your child’s progress with you and ask permission for the school to refer your child to a specialist professional. Parents would be expected to fund the specialist diagnostic reports where necessary. We would ask that parents inform us should a report be commissioned, as these professionals may set targets which will include their specific professional expertise and the school may make changes to the way your child is supported in class and/or run a group under the guidance of the outside professional. This type of support is available for students with SEND that need measures ‘additional to and different from’ those given in Quality First Teaching. Sometimes a student with SEND may need a particularly high level of individual/small group teaching which cannot be provided from the budget available to the school and parents would be expected to source the funding to support these specific individual needs.
What kinds of special educational needs are catered for at The Royal High School?
We generally have students whose main need falls under the ‘cognition and learning’ area of special needs like a specific learning difference such as Dyslexia. However, we also have students who have needs within the ‘sensory and/or physical’, ‘communication and interaction’ and ‘social, emotional and mental health’ categories as outlined in the Code of Practice. The majority of girls we currently support are those with Specific Learning Differences such as Dyslexia. We also have some girls with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism and a few girls with sensory impairments such as hearing difficulties. There are currently no students with an EHCP, but the department is familiar with statutory obligations and provision for students with statements/EHCP of SEND.
However, all girls are welcome to access the department for a range of reasons related to their learning. Our services are not limited to only those who have identified needs.
How many girls have SEND at The Royal High School?
Nationally, about 1 in 5 children are likely to have special educational needs of some kind at a certain time during their school career. Some children may experience SEND for a relatively short time; others will have special needs throughout their schooling. Our school has a relatively low incidence of special needs but we will ensure that those girls with additional needs will be well integrated into school life. We do not currently have any students with an Education Health and Care plan (EHCP) in place. The numbers of girls accessing support varies from term to term and year to year and will depend on the individual needs of the girl – for example, a girl may have dyslexia but may not need to access learning support as she has good compensatory strategies in place or perhaps a girl’s medical needs fluctuate depending on their health.
How will we support a student who has special needs and is starting at our school?
We will invite you to visit the school with your child to have a look around and speak to staff.
If other professionals are involved, we will meet with them or contact them to discuss your child’s needs, share strategies and ensure provision is put in place before your child starts. We may suggest transition visits or adaptations to allow your child to settle in easily. We may suggest a home visit or visit your child’s current placement, if that is appropriate. We may also liaise with our medical team, if appropriate.
How can I let the school know I am concerned about my child’s progress in school?
We endeavour to identify students with special needs as early as possible so that we can provide support before the student becomes disillusioned and loses their self-esteem. If you are concerned about your child’s progress, it is very important that these concerns are discussed with the class/subject teachers or tutor.
If you are not happy that the concerns are being managed and that your child is not making progress, you are encouraged to first see the class teacher/tutor. The next step would be contacting Mrs Smillie who would be happy to discuss any issues.
If you are still not happy that the concerns are being managed and that your child is not making progress, you should speak to the Head.
How will the school let me know about my child’s learning in school?
Parents are encouraged to participate fully in the education of your child and we offer a range of informal and formal opportunities including:
- Attending termly parent/teacher meetings, curriculum information afternoons/evenings and receiving written reports
- Opportunities to attend events such as ‘Your Daughter’ information evenings
- Social evenings with the Headteacher for parents of a particular year group
- Open mornings, Christmas Bazaar, etc.
- Attending meetings with external agencies
A team approach is promoted. We monitor our students closely with regular assessments and if a teacher has concerns they will raise this with the head of a department (Senior School) and/or key stage leader (in the Junior School). If the student is still not making progress, the Learning Support Co-ordinator will be involved and we will make a decision about whether to continue to monitor targets or set up an intervention group and we will inform you. Following this, if your child is still not making expected progress, we will discuss our concerns, future interventions or make referrals to outside professionals to support your daughter’s learning both at home and in school.
How is extra support allocated to students and how do they move between the different levels?
The Head teacher and the Learning Support Co-ordinator discuss all the information they have about SEND in the school including: the girls currently receiving extra support already, the girls needing extra support, the girls who have been identified as not making as much progress as would be expected and make decisions about the resources/training and support required. This is reviewed regularly and changes are made as needed. We follow the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ graduated approach outlined in the Code of Practice. Decisions about additional support are reviewed frequently at Learning Support meetings by the deputy academic heads (Senior and Junior) and the LSCO. Where, despite all our best endeavours, the student still makes little or no progress in the areas targeted, we will approach the local authority (LA) to request a statutory assessment. This is a lengthy and complicated process as we are an independent school and it may or may not result in the LA providing an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This is a legally binding document outlining the needs of the student and the provision required to meet those needs.
For students taking external exams, the exam access arrangements assessor will assess the students following strict guidelines outlined by the Joint Qualifications Commission and/or International Baccalaureate board. Students are assessed in Year 9 in readiness for controlled assessments and modular examinations, which start in Year 10. A history of provision is normally required in order to allocate extra time and other examination concessions. If support is warranted, teachers will ensure these accommodations such as extra time or use of a word processor or scribe are consistently applied as the student’s normal way of working and the examinations officer will ensure these accommodations are available during external exams.
Many students come to Learning Support each year throughout the school, so there is not usually any stigma attached to it but the support given is also discrete. We may see students for a focussed burst of intervention such as a short course of study skills. They may make good progress and not return for support. Other students may return as part of a small group or for individual sessions.
The Learning Support Co-ordinator works closely with the Maths and English departments, as well as with the pastoral support team and the Heads of Year to ensure we are kept informed of any new concerns about students and there is excellent communication between staff.
What resources are available for girls with SEND at The Royal High School?
The Learning Support Department works extremely closely with pastoral staff in order to support all students’ emotional and social development and well-being. Staff are highly trained and experienced in recognising the additional challenges that some students with SEND face in their daily lives at school and the impacts that these can have on their social and emotional well-being. Every girl can access support from a large pastoral team, including their class/form tutor, Head of Year, and we may also access further support through the medical team for services such as counselling if required. We have fortnightly Learning Support meetings, where key pastoral and academic staff discuss the progress of pupils with SEND interventions in place to review their effectiveness.
A sample of some of the support resources we provide for students with additional needs include:
A medical team who liaise closely with the Learning Support Department and write medical care plans for students. We also have ‘Off the Record’ counsellors and can access other specialists such as bereavement counsellors.
A team of teaching assistants – some with responsibility for key subjects/skills to provide on-going support.
The resources we could access include:
Multi-sensory teaching methods and additional reading and spelling programmes such as Nessy, Wordshark and Units of Sound to develop reading, spelling, writing and higher level comprehension skills.
Nessy Maths, Numicon, Power of Two, Numbershark, Doodle Maths, Mangahigh and many other programmes to support maths.
We have Memory skills, Concentration skills and Social skills programmes and some Occupational therapy and Speech and Language resources. We encourage a ‘meta-cognitive approach’ to learning – ‘how did I learn that? Why did I learn that?’ etc.
Some girls use assistive technology, software, audio books and I pads to support their learning (please refer to our accessibility and inclusion policies for further information.)
Our junior school has soundboards to allow the absorption of sound and keep distortion within the classroom to a minimum and we use visual supports to aid key vocabulary, concepts and themes.
We have a range of lunchtime and after-school clubs in both schools covering a wide range of skills both academic and special interests. These clubs are available for all students to attend and include chess, orchestra, football, gardening, darkroom photography, gymnastics, drama etc.
In the junior school, parents may be asked to complete some additional homework to reinforce learning at school to support an area of need e.g. multiplication skills.
In the senior school academic support clubs such as ‘Maths Help’, Mythology Club and ‘Chemistry Clinic’ etc. provide support for any girl who wishes to attend but some girls are directed to attend these clubs. Some Y7 girls are invited to attend a spelling club and there is a ‘drop-in’ lunchtime at the Learning Support Department open to all Y11 girls.
Girls from the college can ‘book in’ for a learning support session as required.
Occasionally, we can offer a reduced or flexible timetable to support a student.
We plan transition times carefully for girls from nursery to reception, between key stages and between schools. All staff are trained (through a yearly programme of Continuing Professional Development) in adapting lesson plans to increase effective use of differentiation strategies known to support students who need extra help. For some students with lighter needs, this is all that is required to help them make progress. Learning profiles of students with specific needs are given to all teachers and specialist staff collaborate together to build in adaptations to activities.
Where needed, girls may access help from external services and teachers may be provided with external agencies advice as required.
Girls who have additional needs may be granted access arrangements in exams both internal and external so that this becomes their ‘normal way of working’.
Who are the other people providing services to children with SEND in The Royal High School?
Within our school:
We have a large team of highly competent and skilled teaching assistants and are allocated on an individual needs directed basis to support individuals or groups of learners as allowed by resources. Staff work closely with them to ensure maximum effectiveness. Our Teaching Assistants have a wide range of skills to offer in supporting students, directly and indirectly, assisting staff and working with parents.
The involvement and voice of both students and their parents is central to our SEND provision and we pride ourselves on our accessibility and work with all involved in the learning experiences of students. Students and parents are involved with the writing of the Learning Support Plans twice a year and we work as a team to maximise learning opportunities. Students and parents are encouraged to speak directly to Learning Support staff should they have concerns or require additional information or support.
We have a strong pastoral team within the school and all teachers receive safeguarding training to ensure the protection of our girls. Medical and counselling services such as ‘The Listening Service’ are available within school or students can go to services such as ‘Off the Record’ if they prefer to attend out of school. We are sensitive to the needs of the boarding community and there is effective communication between the different departments should a girl warrant these services. Staff are regularly updated on students’ health needs and these details are available for staff to view on the school's alert list. Where appropriate, staff receive specialist training e.g. the use of an EpiPen and supporting students with diabetes. Our school nurses complete health care plans and support students with medical needs. We work closely with other agencies to support the emotional well-being of students and their families.
We have a Peer Mentor Team from girls in Year 12 and 13 in the College who support students in younger year groups
Provided by others but available through the school:
Educational Psychology services
Speech and Language Therapy services
Occupational Therapy services
How are the adults helped to work with children with SEND and what training do they have?
The Learning Support Co-ordinator supports staff with planning for girls with SEND.
Our School Development Plan includes identifying training needs for all staff to improve the teaching and learning of children including those with SEND. This may include whole school training on SEND issues to to support identified groups of learners such as those with dyslexia, speech and language difficulties etc. We have whole staff training to disseminate knowledge, strategies and experience to ensure consistency of our schools’ approach to children with SEND.
Individual teachers and support staff attend training courses run by the GDST and outside agencies that are relevant to the needs of specific girls in their classes e.g. medical/health training to support staff in implementing care plans. The Learning Support Co-ordinator also delivers training on SEND to teachers and teaching assistants.
How will the teaching be adapted for my child with learning differences?
Teachers plan lessons according to the specific needs of children in their classes and will ensure learning tasks are adjusted to enable your child to learn as independently as possible. Specially trained support staff implement the teachers’ modified planning to support the needs of your daughter where necessary. Specific resources and strategies will be used to support your child individually and in groups such as visual timetables, coloured overlays, equality plan etc.
How will we measure the progress of your child in school? How will I know about this?
Your daughter’s progress is continually monitored by the teaching staff through daily observations and marking feedback.
In the Early Years the girls are assessed against the Foundation Stage Profile which involves next steps for the girls learning.
In the Junior School parents can meet their daughter’s teacher termly to discuss engagement in learning, progress and behaviour for formal feedback as well as receiving two reports a year. As the girls progress through the Junior School they are assessed against Age-Related Outcomes based on the school’s Cranwell Curriculum. Standardised assessments (InCAS) are also used annually to monitor progress.
In the Senior School progress is continually monitored by the teaching staff using formal testing regularly and reports are sent home twice a year. Parent’s curriculum evenings and pastoral evenings are held twice a year too. Standardised tests such as MIDYIS are used to provide indicators of potential strengths and weaknesses at a key stage and form part of our entry screening processes. Girls who have additional needs will have a learning plan and their targets are reviewed twice a year. Parents are informed and can contribute to the learning targets and are welcome to discuss their daughter’s progress at any time.
What support do we have for you as a parent of a child with a special educational need or disability?
We invite you to talk to your child’s class/subject teacher or tutor regularly so we know what you are doing at home and we can tell you about what we are doing in school. We want to ensure we are doing similar things and can share what is working in both places. You are welcome to book an appointment to see a teacher through the school office or via email. The Learning Support Co-ordinator is available to meet with you to discuss your child’s progress or any concerns/worries you may have. Assessments and recommendations suggested by outside agencies will be implemented and you are welcome to discuss these further as necessary. Your contribution is highly valued and we encourage parents to be involved with their child in the decision-making processes and we want to build an effective working relationship with the school to raise a student’s achievements.
How will we support your child when they move on to a new class or key stage?
Particular care is taken for children with additional needs and staff liaise directly between the schools. ‘Moving on’ can be particularly challenging for a student with special needs and we will take steps to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. We will pass on information such as records and learning targets to the next teacher/school Learning Support department and support staff. We could arrange opportunities to visit the next class/school on several occasions, make a transition booklet, set up opportunities for older year groups to work with younger year groups and staff may visit your child in their current setting. Additional meetings between current and new staff, parents and students are also organised where beneficial. External agencies may visit schools when children transfer to ensure support continues.
How will my child be able to contribute their views?
The class teacher or tutor meet each term to discuss targets and plan further targets. The student’s ideas are taken into consideration at these times. Students who attend Learning Support for regular intervention will write a Learning Support Plan (LSP) with information about the individual and what the student can do to meet their targets, as well as what others will do. Staff have access to the LSP’s and can refer to the plans with the individual at times to ensure they understand the targets and their role in them.
Legislation and other advice services available for parents:
The Code of Practice introduced in 2014 means that your local authority and the school has to make sure you and your child are fully involved in decisions about how they support your child. The Local Authority (LA) must listen carefully to what you want and give you advice and support. The ‘Local Offer’ should be available that makes clear which services are available for children with SEND locally. There will be many different types of services that children and young people may need throughout their schooling and through specialist health services.
- Speak to your daughter’s teacher/tutor or Mrs Smillie for further specialist advice if required
- Contact your local authority’s impartial information, advice and support service at:
- Contact your local authority about the Local Offer. You can find their contact information on the GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
This SEND School information report was written by Siobhan Smillie (Learning Support Co-ordinator) and is updated annually, in consultation with the Senior and Junior Leadership Team, SEND governor and with particular thanks to parents of girls in the Junior and Senior schools.
Next review: September 2018