How we identify, assess and review children with special educational needs

How we identify, assess and review children with special educational needs

Most children and young people in mainstream schools will have their special educational needs met through good classroom practice. This is called Quality First Teaching.

Early Identification of Need

A Special Educational need can be a number of different things. For example, a child may be having difficulty with English or Number work which can be helped by putting in extra support for a given period of time within the school and working in partnership with parents. It may also be due to a disability which makes it harder for the child to access the same educational experiences which the school provides for the majority of children. For some children, this may be a temporary difficulty and for others it may require long term special help. 


Who decides if my child has a SEND?Often a child may join our school with parents having a clear picture of their child’s needs. They may come to school with a diagnosis of SEND already in place. Sometimes however, it may be School Staff who may initially identify a concern. If this were to be the case, school staff would liaise with parents to discuss concerns and agree a way forward. This is always done with parents. For some concerns we may require to carry out a short intervention within school. Others may require the involvement of the Educational Psychology Service, other outside agencies or a GP. It is important to understand that the purpose of such agencies is not to seek a diagnosis or ‘label’ a child, rather to seek advice to help the child learn as well as they possibly can. This can often be met by staff within school.  If a child’s needs are addressed and resolved then your child will be removed from our SEND register. 

SEN Support

In deciding whether to make special education provision to support educational, social, physical or emotional needs, we work in partnership with:

  • Parents, carers and pupils
  • Consult with relevant external agencies such as the Cognition & Learning service, Educational Psychologists and the Speech & Language team.
  • Work with the County Durham SEND team
  • Use a range of assessment tools and materials
  • Use observations
  • Short Notes
  • Mental Health professionals. 
  • Other

Assessment of Pupils with SEND

Where a pupil is identified as having a special educational need we follow a graduated approach which takes the form of cycles of “AssessPlanDoReview”.

This means that we will: 

  • Assess a child’s special educational needs
  • Plan the provision to meet your child’s aspirations and agreed outcomes
  • Do put the provision in place to meet those outcomes
  • Review the support and progress

In order to accurately identify need and ensure success for your child, we carefully assess using a range of assessments. When your child first starts school, their current attainment is assessed to give us a ‘baseline’ from where your child will progress. Throughout their school career, children are continually assessed as part of a daily process as well as formal assessment points at three key points during the year. If a child significantly underperforms, this may be an indicator of a SEN.  A staff member may have made observations which highlight the need for a more specialist intervention which can either be made in school or by referring a child to a specialist service.  More detailed assessments may include:

Speech Therapy assessments – these may focus upon sound production, understanding or pronunciation.

Education Psychology Assessment – which may include memory, understanding, reasoning, logic and general skills assessments.

Cognition & Learning Assessments – these may include observations and assessments by specialist practitioners from the LA.  

Social & Emotional Assessments – this may involve observations and assessments, sessions at CAMHS or working with the Behaviour Intervention team. 


Additional Assessments relevant to your child’s needs

Your child’s school achievements may be assessed against the end of year expectations for their school year group within the National Curriculum. However, they may be assessed against other measures for children not ready to access the National Curriculum. These are called ‘P-Scales’  which are aspirational targets set for children using 2010 Progression Guidance from the DFE. This ensures that all children will make good progress, including those who are not ready or able to access the National Curriculum. 

Planning for Your Child’s Needs

There are two categories of SEND child at St Cuthbert’s – these are children in receipt of:

An individualised SEND Support Plan that describes the child’s needs, outcomes & provision to meet those needs.   

These plans are produced by the Class Teacher with advice from the SENDCO if necessary. This is carried out in conjunction with a child’s parents/carers and the child themselves if appropriate. A support plan will detail three to four outcomes that it is hoped the child will meet over a period of time. They are very specific to the needs of the child and can cover a range of issues. This is then worked on either in the classroom setting with or without extra support, in the nurture room stting or small group intervention. On occasions, one to one support is required. At three key points in the year (some children may require more than this) the provision is reviewed and a child’s progress is assessed. With parents, the decision is made whether to move forward with new outcomes or for the child to move away from that extra support which is the ultimate goal for the majority of children. 

An Educational Health Care Plan – A small percentage of children and young people with significant and/or complex needs may require an assessment that could lead to an Education, Health and Care Plan. This would be deemed necessary if the school felt that they could not provide the support a child needed from existing school resources or specialisms or if the needs of the child were so great that it was becoming increasingly challenging to meet those needs within a mainstream setting. School and Parents input to the EHCP and review it annually but ultimately the Local Authority initiate and cease a plan.

The school currently has 2 EHCP’s.

For more detailed information see the [Local Offer]

The curriculum at St Cuthbert’s RC Primary School is thoughtfully planned as a whole staff initiative and reviewed every year. It addresses the needs of different styles of learner and incorporates activities that all children can access. There is a focus upon a broad and balanced curriculum including Forest Schools activities in our ‘Secret Garden’, OPAL Play and a wide range of Educational visits and people coming into school to enhance learning. All these opportunities are risk assessed as appropriate and ways in which children with SEND can access these opportunities is a natural part of our planning process. Spaces are planned within access for all in mind. Where necessary, the school will consult with outside agencies to ensure best provision for individual cases. The Staff at St Cuthbert’s are highly experienced practitioners who have dealt with many children and their individual needs over many years. They are well qualified to provide high quality learning experiences for all children and produce outstanding learning opportunities for all, adapting practise and differentiating tasks where needed. St Cuthbert’s RC Primary School operate a policy of whole class Mastery teaching which assumes all children are masters of a subject. Expectations are high with the assumption that all children will do their best – the children know this and are proud of the fact that their school challenges them to do well. The belief that the staff have in children is translated into self-belief for the majority of our pupils. This includes our SEND pupils. Teachers will adapt and address individual needs and misconceptions as they progress through lessons, ensuring that children’s needs are catered to as soon as possible. Intervention is usually immediate and support is targeted at where the teacher knows it is needed.   Lesson observations and work scrutinies are regularly carried out by Senior Leaders to ensure good practise

In some cases, there is a need for more targeted intervention and these interventions are reviewed after each cycle (which links to whole school assessment as previously detailed). These interventions are often within the classroom setting as decided upon by the Class Teacher or at other times will take place outside the classroom. They may involve pupils from different classes who have very similar needs and are delivered by our specialist TA’s. These interventions change depending upon need but currently address;

Difficulty with Reading, Spelling, Gross and Motor Skills. We currently have targeted Intervention for speech through Mable and from an outside agency.  There is support for a range of Mental Health needs both from within school and from a Mental Health nurse