St James' Catholic Primary School
We are Voluntary Aided Catholic primary school in the Diocese of Lancaster catering for pupils aged 4 to 11 years.
We strive to make our school a warm, welcoming family community where we all work together in openness and trust and where everyone feels valued and encouraged to fulfil their potential.
Whilst we recognise the importance of high academic standards, our first and foremost concern is nurturing the potential and achievement of each individual pupil so that they become positive and contributing members of their community. We hope that children leave our school with a sense of pride and responsibility and a willingness to help all those they meet along life's journey.
We place great emphasis on working with parents whom we acknowledge are the first and most influential educators of their children. Working together, we will ensure that your child's experiences at primary school are happy and inspiring, fostering in them a love of learning and the strength of character to carry them through whatever their future may hold.
Who to contact
Where to go
- St James' Catholic Primary School
- LA18 4AS
Some children have special needs all of the time - all children have special needs some of the time. Our school aims to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for all children, which is differentiated to meet individual needs and abilities.
St James' is a fully inclusive school. We take great pride in the quality of our provision for children with special needs. Our staff are highly experienced, passionate about their work and trained in supporting children with a wide range of needs, in particular Autism.
- Contact Name
- Mrs Nerissa Nicholas (Head & SENCo)
- Contact Telephone
- 01229 772731
- Contact Email
- 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 know pupils need help if:
- Concerns are raised by parents or carers, the teacher or the child.
- Limited academic progress is being made.
- There are concerns about the child’s behaviour or emotional development.
If you have a concern about your child may have special educational needs:
- First talk to the class teacher; they are the first point of contact for parents and know your child best in school.
- If there are still concerns, then the class teacher will discuss the concerns with Mrs Nerissa Nicholas, who is the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) and an initial meeting can be arranged to decide what the next step should be.
- How will early years setting/school/college staff support my child/young person?
- Mrs Nicholas, our SENCo, organises support in school for children with special educational needs and disability (SEND) and she works with class teachers to ensure that children’s needs are met.
- Each pupil’s education is carefully managed by the class teachers who will provide differentiated work (we adjust how easy or hard it is) to suit children’s individual needs. This may include additional general support by the teacher or teaching assistant in class.
- If a pupil has specific needs then there may be some personalised planning to meet their needs.
- At this point we would open an Early Help Plan which gives both school, parents and the child the opportunity to identify what is working well, what is causing concern and what needs to happen in in order for the child's needs to be met into a written plan. An action plan and an IEP (Individual Education Plan) will be drawn up with small measurable targets to work on. This will be reviewed through an informal meeting every 4-6 weeks wth the SENCO, parents, class teacher and any support staff involved in supporting your child.
- Occasionally a child may need more expert support from an outside agency such as an Educational Psychologist, Speech Therapist or Specialist Teacher. Please don’t be put off by the titles of the external specialists; Educational Psychologists just assess in detail the strengths and weaknesses of children in terms of their learning and do not assess their psychological make-up! If we need to get specialist help, then we will make a referral using the Early Help form with your permission and arrange a meeting where we all sit down together and discuss your child’s needs. These specialists will be provide advice and guidance to school and to parents, and suggest strategies and resources which may help your child.
- Timetables and provision can be adapted to ensure your child's needs are fully met. At our school, we are highly flexible and adaptable and will always do our very best to make things work for your child so that they are happy and settled in school.
- How will the curriculum be matched to my child's/young person's needs?
- When a child has been identified as having SEND, the class teacher will differentiate their work to help them to understand and learn more easily.
- Teaching assistants (TAs) may be allocated time to work with your child either 1 to 1 or in a small group situation. Wherever possible we do work with children in groups to avoid making children feel uncomfortable, under pressure and to place them in a joint learning situation, which helps to re-enforce their learning through the contributions of the other children in the group.
- If your child has been identified as having SEND, then they will have an Individual Education Programme (IEP). This is a plan that targets a child’s specific areas of need and carefully maps out how we are going to help them to take the next logical step in their learning. You will be given a copy of your child’s IEP and given an opportunity to come into school and discuss it with the class teacher and/or the SENCo if you would like to. A TA will work with your child for a short amount of time 3 or 4 times a week to work on each target on the IEP.
- IEPs are monitored regularly and are reviewed at least termly. If appropriate, your child may be provided with specialist equipment eg pencil grips, sound, buttons 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?
- We will discuss your child’s progress with you at parent’s evenings and at additional review meetings (it is really important that you come to these).
- We are always very positive about children and like to focus on what they can do and what they are achieving. This means that when we talk to you at parent’s evenings, we will celebrate your child’s successes. It is important for you to remember that children with SEND do not generally make as much progress as children without SEND because things are harder for them. They probably won’t be able to catch up with the other children, but they can still do well and still need you to be proud of them when they’re trying hard and making steps forward with their learning or behaviour!
- We know how your child’s getting on because we have excellent termly assessment systems in place and if your child has an IEP, we’ll be monitoring progress towards those targets regularly too
- We can tell you where the Government says your child should be and explain to you where they are now.
- We are great at picking up e-mails, so you can drop us a line or pop in to tell us things you think we should know.
- We’ll also let you know about things that have happened in school if we think you need to know If you ever have any concerns about your child, please feel free to arrange to speak to the class teacher or SENCo at any time. Please don’t wait until you are frustrated and upset, as a quick chat can often sort things out and save you all that energy and stress.
- When we write IEPs, we often name you on the bits that you can help with at home. If you need any support at all in how to do this, we can offer lots of tips and ideas. Just ask.
- As a general rule, you can help your child at home by making sure that they have enough to eat and plenty of sleep. Children benefit hugely from reading at home every day, having support with homework and also by having positive out of school experiences. If a child is struggling in school, it can be really helpful for them if they can spend some time out of school developing a hobby or interest that are good at e.g. Judo, fishing, horse-riding etc. This helps to build confidence and esteem and helps children to keep things in perspective!
- Children with SEND often find personal organisation really tough. It will help them to be much less stressed if you can keep on top of things for them and help them to come to school with the right things on the right days.
- What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall well being?
- If a child were to be thought to be at risk of harm, Mrs Nicholas, the Head teacher and SENCO, is the Designated Safeguarding Lead and has responsibility for Safeguarding (protecting the safety and welfare of our children).
- We like to have close and positive relationships with children and their families. As a result, we are very caring and supportive of children and families and children trust us to help them to solve their problems.
- Staff members are always on hand to offer time and support to children, and children are really good at picking out who they want support from in school. This helps your child to tell us what they think and how they feel and we do listen to and take account of what children tell us.
- We provide a range of after school clubs and events, which also create excellent opportunities for us to really get to know children. The best way to support children is to know them in a wide range of contexts and we do that really well. These clubs also offer great social experiences for the children and they really enjoy them.
- Our school ethos is one of support, acceptance and tolerance and our children flourish in the’ culture of care’ that lies at the heart of our school.
- If your child has specific medical needs, we can seek advice from our school nurse in the first instance.
- If your child has significant medical issues, you will be the expert about this and we will be glad to get advice and support from you so that we can do everything we can to help! For specific and significant medical issues, we also get advice from our School Nurse. It also really helps if you can give permission to any medical people that are involved with your child to share information with the school and ask them to copy reports to us so that we are fully aware of what your child is coping with.
- If you or we have concerns about your child's emotional wellbeing, we have staff in school who specialise in working with children to develop self esteem, confidence and emotional wellbeing. We are able to provide 1 to 1 and small group interventions if needed.
- What specialist services and expertise are avaliable at or accessed by the setting/school/college?
We work closely with and have an excellent network of external experts:
- Educational Psychology (to assess in detail children’s learning skills).
- Speech and Language therapy.
- Specialist Advisory Teacher in Autism and an Autism Practitioner
- Specialist Advisory Teacher in Language and Communication.
- Specialist Advisory Teacher in Literacy.
- Occupational Therapy.
- School Nurse.
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
- Health Visitor (for under fives).
- Specialist Advisory Teacher for visual impairment.
- Specialist Advisory Teacher for hearing impairment.
- Children’s Services (previously social services).
- Millom Children’s Centre.
We also have strong links with local parent support groups such as Shine for Autism.
- What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had? Are any being trained currently?
Our staff are passionate about supporting children with SEND, are highly committed, well trained and very experienced. We are extremely proud of the SEND team we have built at St James'.
In school we have members of staff with expertise and training in a wide range of SEND including:
- Maths recovery, offering support for children with significant mathematical difficulties.
- Reading Intervention, a structured programme to support the development of literacy skills.
- Behaviour management.
- Sensory processing
- Speech and language development
- Emotional wellbeing and mental health
- How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?
- Activities and school trips are available to all pupils.
- Detailed risk assessments are carried out to ensure that all children have access to trips and special events. However, if a risk assessment reveals that a child will require high levels of 1 to 1 support, additional staff will accompany the child to ensure their safety and enhance accessibility to the actvities..
- Additional staff with first aid training attend trips to provide care for children with medical needs.
- How accessible is the setting/school/college enviroment?
- As a school we are happy to discuss individual access requirements and are committed to making any reasonable adaptations to meet the needs of our pupils.
- We have three entrances which are accessible to wheelchairs and we have disabled access toilet facilities.
- We have a designated area of school called The Hub which is managed by an Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA). We have developed this area as a withdrawal space and specialised learning environment. It also has a small outdoor area, for children who may sometimes need a quieter, less busy space. Within the hub, we also have a sensory pod and other sensory resources which are used to help children regulate and calm themselves when they are feeling anxious. This area is used flexibly and children can access the hub for lots of different reasons and needs. Some children will need it more than others; some may just it occasionally and others may use it regularly.
- We have in place systems to make sure that we can communicate with parents who do not speak English as their first language.
- 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 work closely with parents to ensure a smooth entry into school for pupils coming to us from other schools. This ensures that children have the best possible chance of a positive experience upon starting with us.
- We provide many visits for all children prior to coming in to school and offer enhanced programmes for children with significant needs. We are very flexible and will tailor plans to meet the needs of the individual child.
- If a child is moving on to a new school, we offer transition planning, where the child’s needs are established and a programme developed to support them and their new school in the move. The plan would identify and deliver on key actions e.g. additional visits to the new setting accompanied by staff from St James’/ identification of a mentor in the new school and supported meetings with them etc.
- SENCos from both schools also liaise to share information and to ensure the continuing success of the children as they move on to a new school.
- We also have close links with a specialist provision called Sandside School in Ulverston where some children with the most complex needs may transfer when they leave us.
- How are the setting's/school's/college's resources allocated and matched to children's/young people's special educational needs?
- The SEND budget is allocated every financial year. We then provide additional resources and support to children based on our assessments of children’s individual needs.
- Our school SEND budget is used to pay for our fantastic teaching assistants. It is often the TAs who are sought out by unhappy little people and them that provide much of the extra support and help that makes such a huge difference to our children both as people and as learners.
- To help us to decide how to match resources to needs we have a detailed assessment process in school, which helps us to clearly identify how much progress each child is making. This reveals how much help children who are not progressing well will need and in which specific area of learning.
- Class teachers will initially differentiate work and offer higher levels of in class support to children to help them to make progress.
- If this is not enough to help a child make progress, we increase our levels of support and intervention until progress is achieved.
- We will continue to take action until all children are making progress in school and allocate and re-allocate our own resources and seek additional resources from the Local Authority until this happens.
- If a child meets the criteria for an Education Heath and Care Plan, the school will fund the first 11 hours of support and the LA may provide some top up funding. This funding will allow us to allocate support from a TA to work with the child.
- How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?
Decisions about the type and amount of support your child needs will be agreed between school and parents at regular meetings. For most children, any support will be funded from the school budget.
However, if a child has an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), the school will fund the first 11 hours of any support and the LA may agree to fund some additional hours of support, dependent on the outcome of assessment by external specialists who will work in conjunction with the SENCO to identify the needs of the child. The LA have a panel who will then come to a decision about how many hours support the child will receive. This will then be reviewed annually and parents will be fully involved in this process.
- How are parents involved in the setting/school/college? How can I be involved?
We know that nobody knows a child better than the parents and we value greatly your knowledge, experience and feelings in relation to your child. We will always listen to what you have to say and your hopes and dreams for your child. We acknowledge that your child will need school and home to work together if their needs are to be fully met. We encourage all parents to be involved in their child’s education and in the life of the school.
This may be through:
- Discussions with the class teacher.
- Attendance at parents evenings.
- By contributing to IEPs and working on identified targets with your child at home
- By coming along to school events and getting to know us.
- By answering questionnaires or other information gathering drives.
- By keeping us up to date with anything that might affect how your child is feeling.