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St Mark's CofE Primary School 

Who to contact

Contact Name
Mr Peter Barfoot
Contact Position
015395 60719 
015395 61769 
St Mark's CofE Primary School

Where to go

St Mark's Cof E Primary School
Oxenholme Lane

Local Offer

Contact Name
Mrs K Hardy (SENCo)
Contact Telephone
015395 60719
Contact Email
SEN Information
Local Offer Age Bands
Primary (5-10 years)

Schools Extended Local Offer Response

How does the setting/school/college know if children/young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?

We have close relationships with our feeder nurseries and with our school nursing team so transition to school from other settings or home is planned for in advance wherever this is possible.

Once in school the identification of SEN is built into the overall approach to monitoring the progress and development of all pupils. It is important that school identifies pupils who experience difficulties accessing learning early in order to remove their barriers to learning. This is achieved through classroom observations and assessments and through discussions between our SENCo, class teachers and parents. Class teachers are encouraged to raise concerns and have discussions with parents and relevant colleagues. If a class teacher has a concern they will speak to you at the end of the school day or call you to set up a meeting to discuss your child’s progress.

Once a need is identified the pupil’s progress will be closely tracked and supported. An Individual Pupil Plan will be written together identifying strengths and areas for development. Parents, pupils and class teachers have a shared responsibility to contribute to children’s progress. These are reviewed at parents’ evenings initially with the class teacher. If with additional focused support the need continues the SENCo, Mrs Mukerji, will also be involved.

In most cases pupils are only identified as having a special educational need if they do not make adequate progress once they have been given good quality personalised teaching, access to adaptations and interventions. Staff are aware of expected development at different ages and have expertise in identifying additional / special educational needs (SEN).

Areas of Special Educational Need are divided into four main areas:

  • Communication and Interaction
  • Cognition and Learning
  • Social, Mental and Emotional Health
  • Sensory and/or physical needs

More information about these areas is available in our Special Educational Needs and Disability Policy.

Factors which are not SEN, but may affect a child’s progress or attainment are taken into account.

  • Attendance and Punctuality
  • Health and Welfare
  • English as an Additional Language
  • Bring in receipt of Pupil Premium Grant
  • Being a Looked After Child
  • Being a child of a Serviceman/woman

Persistent or withdrawn behaviour does not necessarily mean that a young person has SEN. Any concerns over a pupil’s behaviour will be investigated on the grounds that a pupils’ behaviour is in response to an underlying need. This may be a learning difficulty or another factor as listed above. School staff will endeavour to recognise and quickly identify the reasons for the behaviour and take all reasonable steps to address the root cause.

The school may, with parental permission, seek the advice of external agencies such as the Specialist Advisory Teaching Service, School Nursing Team, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHs), Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, etc. This will be done by completing an Early Help request form. Parents will always be asked for consent and will fill in the form together.

Parents are encouraged to speak with their child’s class teacher initially. You can ask to arrange a meeting with them at the end of the school day. There are also opportunities to discuss concerns at our termly Parents’ Evenings.

The SENCo is Mrs Elspeth Mukerji and she can be contacted through the school office on: 015395 60719 and is available from  Monday to Thursday.

The school has nominated Di Outhwaite as the designated governor for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. She reports directly to the governing body and can be contacted directly through the school office. She provides a link for parents and governors and can also be approached regarding any SEND queries you may have. 

How will early years setting/school/college staff support my child/young person?

Class teachers are responsible for the education of all the children in their class.  High quality teaching is the first step in responding to pupils who have or may have SEN. High quality teaching means that the teacher knows their pupils’ abilities and personalities well and differentiate the work accordingly. The teaching has a focused clear objective. The activities are engaging with high levels of challenge and expectation. The teacher questions, models and explains. The learning comes through talk and discussion and pupils are given effective feedback. Pupils are given responsibility for their own learning and independence. Teaching Assistants have specific roles in supporting learning.

Where appropriate, children may be supported by an additional adult. We have a team of experienced support staff trained in delivering different recognised interventions to support learning, eg Reading Intervention and Maths Recovery. This support could be in class, in a small group or one-to-one in a quieter environment.

From time to time groups of children access targeted, time limited interventions such as Springboard Maths, Fine or Gross motor skills and SMART MOVES. A very small minority of pupils will require a bespoke curriculum. 

How will the curriculum be matched to my child's/young person's needs?

Teachers plan the education programme for children who have or may have SEN&D with support from the school’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities coordinator (SENDCo). This will depend on the needs of the child but could include having learning ‘chunked’ into bite-size amounts where the range or depth of learning is adjusted to suit the child. We aim to reduce the barriers to learning so your child can access the full curriculum. 

Inclusion means that a child is taught in a mainstream school and where possible accesses the learning alongside their peers. However an individual education programme may focus on life skills eg self care, safety or social skills which can take place during lesson times. 
Every child has access to laptops or ipads which are available across the school. 
Where required specialist adaptive equipment is purchased through the schools own budget eg, cushions, specialist furniture, technology that enables access to teaching.
Class teachers make necessary adjustments to classroom organisation depending on the needs of the pupils in their class. They can provide large print documents, create coloured backgrounds to interactive whiteboards, pencil grips, Dictaphones etc and are aware of the sensory needs of some children. We have a bank of resources to assist pupils with additional needs and update them as required.
Access arrangements for SATS tests are in line with DfE guidelines which are issued each year ie when children meet the prescribed criteria for extra time, rest breaks, a reader (for maths), a scribe, enlarged print or a ‘live voice’ for mental maths tests etc.

How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child's/young person's learning?

In addition to the school’s normal reporting arrangements, we also have an “open door” policy to enable more informal and frequent conversations with you and your child. You can talk to your child’s teacher or the SENCo. Sometimes a home/school book or e-mail is used to share information about the school day or home life.

The progress of each child is carefully monitored and tracked on a regular basis. Other information, such as observations are also gathered and inform the next steps for your child.

Your support as a parent is crucial in the progress your child makes. Your class teacher, SENCo and other professionals will provide you with activities, games and ideas for ways you can help at home.

Progress and targets are discussed as part of the school’s normal reporting arrangements. Before running any intervention or support strategy we gather evidence of your child’s current strengths and abilities. At the end of the intervention or at a review we will look at these again to see whether the strategy has been successful.  We use a variety of measures of progress depending on the area of assessment, eg PIVATs (an assessment tool which aids target setting), Blank Language Levels, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires, etc.

In some cases, your child may require an individual pupil plan or behaviour management plan which will be drawn up in consultation with you and your child and reviewed regularly.  Health care plans will always be written with parents, pupils and advice from a health care professional. For some children with profound and lifelong needs an Education, Health and Care Assessment may be requested with advice and support from external agencies. 

What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall well being?

We hope you will find St Mark’s to be a caring and supportive community. During daily briefings any current issues are raised so all staff are aware of children who may be more sensitive or need extra attention that day. We work closely with our midday supervisors and wrap-around care staff too. 

The school follows statutory guidance in the administration of medicines and provision of personal care. Further information can be found in the relevant policies. Our behaviour and medical policies are available to view on the website. Depending on your child’s medical needs support staff with relevant experience and qualifications would be appointed or trained. 

A wide range of small group interventions addressing non-academic aspects of development support the wellbeing of children with SEN and promote positive behaviour. Interventions such as Nurture groups, Social Use of Language, ‘Happy to be Me’ sessions and our Stop, Think, Act, Reflect group offer respite from a busy classroom and the opportunity to develop positive relationships with adults and peers. 

School staff, advisory teachers and parents work together with the aim of supporting pupils’ behaviour in ways which boost self-esteem and maintain good relationships with their peers. 

Children’s views are gathered when planning support, writing Individual Pupil Plans and contributing to their Annual Review. This is done informally with members of staff they are familiar with and may be in picture, verbal or written form.

What specialist services and expertise are avaliable at or accessed by the setting/school/college?

There is a wealth of experience and expertise in the school staff including those trained in Reading Intervention, Structured Reading and Spelling Programme, Maths Recovery and First Class at Numbers.

Class teachers, Support Staff and Midday Supervisors are trained in Team Teach which focuses on de-escalation techniques in behaviour management. The whole staff is also trained in Paediatric First Aid.

There is access to counselling and family support services for any child within the school provided by the Kendal Community Partnership Counselling and Family Support team.

Referrals can also be made to other agencies including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Barnardo's, educational psychologists and specialist advisory teachers, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists. Through the process of the Early Help system we can also help families access support that they need at home. 

What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had? Are any being trained currently?

Staff share expertise through collaborative training opportunities within KCP as well as accessing local and national training. Individual staff development needs are identified and met as part of the formal appraisal process.

Staff have access to the Inclusion Development Programme training.  As mentioned previously, staff are regularly trained in Team Teach.

Staff meetings are assigned to training in SEN issues; supporting pupils with ASC, dyslexia, etc where materials from NASEN (National Association of SENCOs) and Specialist Advisory Teaching service are used.

How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?

Wherever possible pupils are included on school trips and encouraged to take part in extra curricular activities and represent the school. Careful planning and preparation by staff and parents helps to make trips a success.

For some children being able to take part may mean  making preliminary visits or seeing photographs of the place to be visited, it may mean staff carrying out individualised risk assessments to ensure their safety or being supported by another member of staff on the trip itself.


How accessible is the setting/school/college enviroment?

To read our school’s access plan please see the school website.

How will the setting/school/college prepare and support my child/young person to join the setting/school/college or the next stage of education and life?

We have strong links with local nurseries and secondary schools and with other local primary schools.
Yearly transitions within school are carefully managed to support children’s wellbeing.
A range of transition strategies are put in place to support children at the end of key phases.  With the receiving school, parents and pupils write a transition plan which details the way in which their child will be supported in moving school. This is likely to include extra visits either with a member of staff or a small group of their peers, holiday activities, taking photographs taken to build familiarity, writing a list of questions that the pupil has and finding out the answers.
Where possible new schools are invited to attend transition meetings to share information about your child and to ensure a positive transition. In all cases there will be liaison and communication between the schools.

How are the setting's/school's/college's resources allocated and matched to children's/young people's special educational needs?

We aim to allocate resources appropriately to meet the needs of all children with special educational needs. 

A child with an Education Health and Care plan is likely to have statutory funding to support their access to the curriculum. This may be anything from 8 hours to full time support depending on their level of need. A number of children have 1-1 support for individual tuition or in-class support to enable them to access the curriculum. 

Where pupils needs are similar some support is shared which allows Teaching Assistants time to be used effectively to benefit more pupils. 

We review our support termly based on class teachers’ and support staff assessments, observations and parents’ concerns. Groups supporting the teaching of phonics, writing and number are run regularly, as are interventions supporting physical development and social and emotional aspects of learning.

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

If your child has a recognised Special Educational Need or Disability and is issued with an Education, Health and Care Plan the decisions about the type of support your child needs will be based on discussions between all interested parties including you as a parent and in line with Cumbria County Council’s SEN guidance and criteria.

If your child has a need which we feel may result in the need for an Early Help Assessment which could lead to them having an Education, Health and Care Plan the school will put in extra funding (up to 8 hours of support), some or all of which may be shared with other pupils to provide additional support for learning.

In all other cases your child’s class teacher along with the Senior Leadership Team will decide how much individual or group support is allocated. You will be informed of any additional support your child is receiving and involved in discussions about their progress.

How are parents involved in the setting/school/college? How can I be involved?

There are many ways to be involved in school. Information comes to parents through our regular newsletter/e-mail and by text. Parents help in many different ways, these may include; driving pupils to a sports event, baking a cake for a charity day, helping with our school float for the Torchlight procession, painting scenery for a school play or putting us in touch with people who can enhance our curriculum.

St Mark's has a committed Parent Teacher Association who organise our fairs and fundraising events. They are always keen to welcome new members.

Sometimes class teachers will ask for help during particular topics or topic weeks, with school trips or activities such as baking and crafts.

Please let us know what skills you have to offer: a strong partnership between parents and staff is key to your child's success in school. 

Last updated: 12/09/2022
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