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Supporting Special Needs

Details of the local offer

As a community comprehensive school, our intake will comprise students of all levels of attainment and needs. We have students with exceptional skills and aptitudes and students who experience a range of special educational needs and disabilities. We value all our students and aim to address each individual’s needs positively and effectively.

Our provision for Special Educational Needs is co-ordinated with Bath and North East Somerset. You can find details of the local authority provision by clicking this link which will give details of the Local Offer from BANES. Hard copies of the local offer are also available on request from BANES or the school. This process is sometimes called the SEND Offer. You can also access the LSP SEND policy by clicking this link.

If you wish to discuss any aspect of Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND) provision please contact Victoria Black, the SEND Coordinator via the school telephone number or email You may also contact the relevant Head of House or if you have any concerns about the welfare of your child.

1. How does the school know if students need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?

When children have identified SEND before they arrive at Chew Valley School, we work with the people who already know them in order to plan for their arrival.
If you tell us that you think your child has a SEND we will discuss this with you and look into it. We will share what we discover with you and advise you what the school and parents/carers can do to help your child.
If we think that your child has a need, this may be because they are not making expected progress. We will observe the child in lessons, assess their understanding and use diagnostic tests to find out more. We will discuss this with you and aim for a coordinated approach at school and home; so that we are all helping your child in a consistent manner. We then have the option to contact specialist advisors who may provide further guidance.

2. How will school staff support my child and how will you communicate to all staff that my child has special education needs or a disability?

If your child has identified needs they will be listed on the school’s SEND register and they will have an individual plan, which will be shared with subject teachers. This plan will be reviewed and updated twice within the school year, and they will be accessible to you via the online Parent Portal.
We will keep you informed about who is working with your child and how often external support takes place.
Chew Valley School has a governor with responsibility for special educational needs, this is currently Rachel Hale.
We will regularly ask parents, students and teachers for their views about the provision for children with special educational needs or disabilities.

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

Chew Valley School embraces a ‘Growth Mindset’, we believe that with the right help and hard work we can all improve our performance.
Teachers and support staff aim to differentiate classwork and homework in order to be appropriately challenging and to facilitate learning. We use homework which is an achievable challenge for the individual. Students will be supported in their learning and there is a daily lunchtime homework club.
Where a student struggles to develop age appropriate literacy skills, we will intervene early to ensure progress is made. A small number of students will require further intervention and we discuss this with parents in order to identify the best way forward.
At Key Stage 4 we offer a range of certificated courses suited to students differing needs.

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

In addition to the normal reporting arrangements, which provide information at three times during the school year, parent or carers can discuss the young person’s progress with SEND Coordinator at any time. Parent consultation evenings with subject teachers happen at least once per school year.
We will help parents/carers to know what progress their child should be making by reporting end of key stage target grades and a current ‘working at’ level for each subject.
The school will identify how well your child is doing in many different ways including: monitoring in lessons, whole school literacy screening (Year 7 and 10), diagnostic tests and subject specific assessments.
Regular contact about things that have happened at school is encouraged: by writing a note in the student diary, or by telephoning the school to speak to the form tutor, Head of Year or SENDCo.
Students with an Education Health Care plan (or statement) will have an annual review meeting with the SENDCo, any support services who are working with the child will be invited.
Training and learning events for staff and parents will be advertised on the Parent Portal. Teaching and support staff are all engaged in training and professional development.

5. What support will there be for my child’s overall well being?

Pastoral care is our first priority at Chew Valley School. Unless students feel happy and safe, they are unlikely to make the most of the curriculum and opportunities at the school. Please click here for further details of our pastoral care.

We aim to keep children in school as much as possible and we encourage parents to send their children to school. There is a part time school nurse who visits the school once a week. There are a number of staff across the school who are trained first aiders and we have two ‘first responders’ who deal with emergencies. With the exception of personal inhalers, all medicines must be handed in at reception, where they will be stored safely. Parents should always notify the school of any medical issues and especially when medicines must be brought in. Ongoing issues will require a medical action plan, which the school nurse will produce.
Students experiencing difficulties will often be supported within mainstream classes by the use of additional teachers or Learning Support Assistants, or by following specific, individual programmes of study. Their progress is carefully monitored and communicated to parents on a regular basis.
More Complex Difficulties may require a different approach. Sometimes young people can be overwhelmed by a number of problems all happening at the same time. When we have concerns about mental well-being we will talk to parents about making a referral to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. In other cases we may complete a ‘CAF’ and gather a ‘Team Around the Child’, which may involve a number of agencies with expertise to support complex problems. We would always involve parents in referrals of this nature.
OFSTED identified behaviour in the school as being outstanding. We work hard to engage all students and to ensure that they channel their energies into one of vast range of clubs and activities available. We have a Behaviour Support Teacher who is able to work with individuals who may need support in this area.
Students are able to contribute their views in many ways and all are invited to complete an annual survey. Many choose to join one of the large number of ‘Change and Create’ teams.

6. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?

The school is able to access support from a wide range of agencies and we make referrals routinely. These agencies include: Educational Psychology, Speech & Language Therapy, Sensory Support Service, ASD Support, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, trained counsellors, Mentoring Plus, Attendance Improvement Officer and CAMHS.
There are two qualified specialist teachers in the school who can assess and work with students who have specific learning difficulties (dyslexia). They hold a specialist qualification known as AMBDA.
We have a number of staff who are appropriately trained and experienced in working with those with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

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

We are an inclusive school and we will do our utmost to support and encourage a pupil to access activities, as long as it is safe to do so. This may include providing additional staffing, or a slightly modified activity in order to ensure participation.
We welcome support in this matter from parents/carers, including early discussion when planning activities and trips.

8. How accessible is the setting?

Currently, our building is not fully wheelchair accessible, however, the vast majority of the school site is accessible via ramps and lifts. We have disabled changing and toilet facilities.
Equipment and facilities needed to support children with special educational needs and disabilities is usually stored in the appropriate classroom. The students at Chew Valley School are supportive of one another and we are privileged to be able to store equipment in the most appropriate and convenient locations.
Our close working relationships with the Sensory Support Services have led to improvements in the auditory and visual environment, such as: greater use of ICT and the use of a radio aid for hearing impaired students.

9. How will the school prepare and support my child during transition, or for the next stage of education and life?

Preparation for children before they join the school is robust and we have an experienced teacher with responsibility for Year 6/7 transition. Vulnerable students are encouraged to visit the school on several occasions before the main transition day, they can see for themselves how supportive the environment is.
We provide impartial advice and guidance at key times, for example: when planning for the next academic year, or before choosing key stage 4 options.
We provide information to a new setting/school/college which includes a summary of their skills, qualities and achievements. We would also give information about any support or provision that has been in place.

10. How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to student’s special educational needs?

Early intervention is essential and the school allocates significant resources from within its budget to support key stage 3 students in the development of age appropriate literacy and numeracy skills. The special educational needs budget provides additional funding for students with an EHC plan, or statement and there is a separate ‘Pupil Premium’ fund to support a wider range of vulnerable learners. Further details are available on the website here

11. How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?

Decisions about the type and level of support are taken by the SENDCo, usually following dialogue with the student, parents, subject teachers, as well as pastoral staff.
When allocating support in Year 7, we aim to continue the good work started by our feeder schools and we depend on their accurate information, as well as discussion with parents. We will use all this information, combined with relevant data in order to inform our decision making.