Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) - Universal Offer

St Mary’s Horsforth Catholic Voluntary Academy is committed to ensuring all children succeed and reach their full potential. All of our children are treated fairly and as individuals in their own right.  We work in partnership with our children, parents and outside agencies to provide the best possible educational outcomes. We have high expectations for all of our children and provide support and intervention, where needed, to ensure they are successful and happy in school.

“Equality of opportunity is central to the work of the school. Leaders are focused on ensuring that all pupils who may face barriers to learning, do as well as they can and are not discriminated against.” (Ofsted Report February 2013)

Teachers, supported by other school staff, plan an appropriately differentiated and exciting curriculum for all of the children in our school. Children with additional needs have personalised “learning passports” and other child-friendly intervention plans to ensure they are fully included in quality first teaching and whole class lessons. Where required, additional learning experiences are created and planned for. Tailoring intervention to the specific needs of the child ensures they can fully develop and make the desired level of progress in school. Furthermore, where appropriate, care plans are implemented by designated and suitably trained staff members. These are reviewed regularly and adjusted as required.

“The progress of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs matches the excellent progress made by their classmates.” (Ofsted Report February 2013)

High quality assessment is central to the success of the school. Regular pupil progress meetings between the school leadership team and the teaching staff ensures all children are on track to meet targets set and make the desired “outstanding” progress. Regular review and adaptation of the curriculum, through careful planning and monitoring, help to inform next steps in learning.

All staff have a responsibility to ensure the needs of SEND children are being met. This process is overseen by the school leadership team (SLT) and coordinated by the school Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO), Mrs Sarah Hurley.

The school governor dedicated to SEND and child protection is Mrs Kate Arbuckle. She works closely with the school and regularly review procedures and processes within school setting. She attends all relevant training and feeds back to the whole governing body termly.

The location of the school building, adjacent to the local Horsforth children’s centre ensures close links between the school and the local extended services. The school SENCO works closely with the Local Cluster, led by Tessa Freer, accessing any relevant training, support and guidance available. Monthly “Targeted Support” meetings provide opportunity for sharing advice and ideas with a highly skilled, multi-agency panel.  By working closely, and seeking support from other agencies, where required, we are able to maximise learning opportunities and develop pedagogy. These agencies include;

·         Educational Psychology

·         Children and Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

·         TAMHS

·         LEAP behaviour support centre

·         Parent Support Workers

·         Student Social Workers

·         Parental Educational Learning Classes

·         Health Support

·         Attendance Officers

·         Early Years

The following policies, available on the website, reflect the school’s commitment to inclusion, safety and wellbeing of the children and staff;

•Accessibility Plan

•Admission Policy 2017

•Anti-bullying Policy

•Behaviour Policy

•Collective Worship Policy

•Disability Equality Scheme

•Disability Non-Discrimination Policy

•Equality Policy

•Policy for Supporting Pupils with Medical Needs

•School Sanctions

•Schools Health and Safety Policy

•Sex and Relationships Policy

All of these policies are reviewed and updated with staff and governors, in line with the review process outlined by the governing body.

What does SEND mean?

 SEND means special educational needs and disabilities. Children have a special need if they have a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made. This will be if the child:

·         Has significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age.


·         Has a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of school age within Local Authority Area.

 The area of special need will be identified as either:

·         Cognition and Learning (general of specific learning difficulties)

·         Communication and Interaction (speech and language difficulties, autistic spectrum disorders)

·         Behaviour, Emotional and Social

·         Physical, Sensory and Medical (hearing, visual impairments, physical and medical difficulties)

What do I do if I think my child has special educational needs?

Parents should contact their child’s class teacher to discuss initial concerns, or arrange an appointment with the SENCO, Sarah Hurley, via the school office on 0113 2584593. Arrangements will be made for a meeting where school will listen carefully to any concerns and put appropriate action in place. This may involve signposting to other professionals, if necessary.

The Executive Headteacher, Peter Hughes, and the designated governors for SEND and child protection, Kate Arbuckle and Kate Batty, are available if further support is required, or if parents would like to complain about the support they have received from Sarah Hurley and/or the teaching staff in school.

How will school support my child or young person’s learning?

Quality first teaching is fundamental to an outstanding learning experience. At St Mary’s Horsforth Catholic Voluntary Academy we will strive to ensure your child is educated as much as possible in a whole class setting, amongst their peers. We strongly believe in group work and interaction and ensuring children are given the opportunity to learn together. For some children, further small group work and intervention is required. We will provide extra support and learning opportunities for these children to enhance, not replace, their primary learning experience within the classroom. Personalised one-to-one programmes and learning passports are also used when required. All children who receive additional support are monitored by the Assessment Coordinator on detailed provision maps.

If the class teacher feels further support is required for an individual they will discuss their concerns with the school SENCo. A personalised programme will then be put in place for that child. This may involve additional small group work or some individual support. Provision may include nurture, circle time activities and play, as well as, more structured guided group sessions.   

As a school we pride ourselves on the excellent links we have with parents. We work actively to keep you informed of your child’s progress and educational development. If we feel further intervention or support is needed for your child we will work closely with you to keep you up-to-date with progress and development. For any external support, which we feel is necessary, we will always seek your parental consent first. Regular review and information of progress and provision is crucial if a successful home-school partnership is to exist.  

“There is a strong community spirit at St Mary’s and parents, pupils, staff and governors all say they feel part of it. One parent told inspectors of the immense support her family had received during what had been a very difficult time for them.” (Ofsted Report February 2013)

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

At St Mary’s Horsforth Catholic Voluntary Academy, we aim to provide a fun, challenging, exciting and rewarding curriculum for all children. We use a range of strategies and techniques to ensure all children can achieve and enjoy their primary school experience. We try to teach a variety of individual, group and whole class activities, differentiating lessons so that all children can enjoy and achieve. Extra opportunities for development include residential trips and visits, use of the local environment and also encouraging experts and professionals to come into school and work with the children. We also take into account varying learning styles, existing subject knowledge and home experiences when planning topics. Where possible, the children are included in topic planning and lesson organisation.

All teachers carefully plan and deliver an interactive and appropriately differentiated curriculum. This is monitored by the leadership team and on-going feedback is provided to staff. Staff development around pedagogy and coaching ensure all staff remain up-to-date with current initiatives. Technology and computing is used to enhance the curriculum and all children have full access to Ipads, laptops and classroom computers.

The class teachers work in partnership with the school SENCo and parents to put in place individual provision, where needed. This highly personalised support ensures the child is able to fully access the curriculum on offer. Resources and support are provided, which may include; designating a member of support staff, purchasing new educational materials and/or allocating additional funding. Intervention programmes are monitored and rigorously reviewed to ensure the child receives the best possible outcomes. Evaluation informs next steps and good practice is shared with the whole school staff.

The support we offer for our SEN children was graded outstanding in our most recent Ofsted Inspection. (February 2013)

“The progress of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs matches the excellent progress made by their classmates. This is because the care and support they receive is well matched to their particular needs.” (Ofsted 2013)

How accessible is the school?

Although the school is situated on a slope, with three levels, access is provided by means of an outside walkway to all parts of the building. The school has two disabled toilets, a nurture room and a basic care suite. Accessibility is always of prime importance when considering any building alterations. We encourage all potential parents to visit the school site to decide on the suitability of the building for wheel-chair access, prior to applying for a school place. The school SENCo and Executive Headteacher are available to discuss individual cases.

How will I know how my child is doing and how will the school support my child’s learning?

Daily on-going dialogue and informal conversation at the cloakroom door help build relationships between teachers and parents. This “visual” handover is extremely important as it allows parents to learn their who their child’s teachers are and break down initial barriers that may exist.

More formally, termly meetings are provided for parents to come into school and discuss their child’s progress and enjoyment of school. These parents’ evenings, (along with annual written reports) can be supplemented by further meetings and progress reports if necessary.

We encourage parents to contact the school if they have any questions, concerns or feedback they would like us to know. The school SENCo is always available to discuss any concerns or worries parents may have. Staff are happy to correspond with parents using Email or telephone if they cannot make face-to-face meetings at school. This flexibility ensures a successful home-school partnership exists.      

As a school we provide information evenings and support for parents in; phonics, reading, writing, maths and First Holy Communion. These meetings help parents to understand the methods being taught in school and provide them with strategies they can employ at home to further enhance learning.

What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being and social, emotional and behavioural development?

St Mary’s Horsforth Catholic Voluntary Academy prides itself on having a kind, caring and fully supportive Catholic ethos. At St Mary’s we strongly believe in the development of the whole child.

We work closely with the Diocese of Leeds and the wider Horsforth Cluster to offer families and children the best possible support available. We signpost families to the Leeds Parent partnership and offer any help and advice we can. We support local charities and fundraising to develop the local community of Horsforth. Our support is varied and individual to the needs of the child and the family situation.

We have a comprehensive anti-bullying policy that is used in school alongside a successful rewards and sanctions policy. (See website for details.) All staff, children, parents and governors are aware of these policies and they are regularly reviewed and discussed. We have regular whole school and key stage assemblies on PSHCE and encourage outside agencies, such as Childline and Barnardo’s to come into school to speak to the children. An annual E-safety week is held in school where children (and parents) are taught about the dangers on the internet etc. Each term begins with a designated SEAL/Virtues day.

We operate a buddy system in school to help younger children feel part of the school and enjoy their break and lunchtimes. We use a whole school approach to promoting the importance of emotional health via SEAL and this is complemented by our comprehensive RE provision.

There are 3 staff trained in Early Years paediatric First Aid, and 12 trained in First on scene/First Aid at work. If a child has a particular medical need, staff receive training to ensure their needs are met.

The school has links to the Leeds Speech and language therapy team and the NHS therapist attends school to monitor and assess the children, when required. We provide additional speech and language support in school, based on the recommendations made.

To support the provision of SEN children in school, we regularly use the Leeds Complex Needs team. They visit the school and work with the staff to implement programmes of support and to also complete diagnostic assessments. Family Outreach workers and TAMHs therapists also support the school when needed from the Horsforth Cluster.

Where multi-agency support is required, we follow the “Early Help” process. (Previously CAF). This helps to ensure all suitable areas of Health are included to support the needs of the child and the family. Referrals include; Educational Psychology, Attendance, Social Care and TAMHS.

Working with parents’ agreement, we will seek advice or make referrals to get the best possible support available. This may be part of the Early Help process or may need to be an Education Health Care Plan application.

All staff and governors are trained in Child Protection procedures. We have four designated members of staff who are fully trained to be specifically dedicated Child Protection Officers to ensure the safeguarding of all children. These members of staff are; Mr Peter Hughes (Executive Headteacher), Mrs Sarah Hurley (Head of School/SENCo), Mrs Emma Dobson (Assistant Headteacher) and Mrs Cheryl Shaw (Learning Mentor).

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

As a school we pride ourselves on ensuring that parents feel confident and comfortable in being able to approach us with a problem. If this happens a meeting will be called and relevant staff within the school will attend. Once the needs of this child have been determined, a plan will be put in place and, if necessary, a referral will be made to the appropriate professionals. This could include targeted services within our cluster such as; Counselling or Family Support. Alternatively, if there is a specific educational need then we will refer this to the Leeds Complex Needs Team, Speech and Language therapists, Educational Psychologists or the Horsforth Targeted Services. Early identification and intervention is very important, and as such, our Foundation Stage staff work very closely with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator in highlighting any children where there may be concern. If felt appropriate, the Early Years Support team will also become involved. Any reports or findings from external agencies will always be discussed with parents, as appropriate. 

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

At St Mary’s Horsforth Catholic Voluntary Academy we aim to ensure that all children with Special Educational Needs are able to attend the same school trips and activities accessed by their peers. Parents/carers are invited to be involved in the planning of activities and trips to ensure that safety is paramount.

Will my child have one-to-one support in the classroom?

For a very small minority of children one-to-one provision may be appropriate. What is important is that your child has an effective personal programme of teaching and learning. This might include the provision of different learning materials or special equipment or the training and development of staff.

How will the school prepare and support my child when transferring to a new school or on to the next phase of their education?

Transition arrangements within school are very rigorous. When entering our school we arrange an initial meeting with parents to discuss their child then a visit to see the new pupil at their setting or home will be made. The involvement of parents in this process is very important as you are the best source of information for helping us to know your child’s needs. Within school we have a transition week at the end of the year so children can familiarise themselves with new staff. When children are moving on to go to high school or moving to a new school we arrange meetings with Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators to ensure that new schools are made fully aware of the additional needs of the child. If required, a visit will be planned to ensure a smooth transition. “Ambassadors” from the cohort also visit the High School and find out rules and routines for the class.

How are the school’s resources/funding allocated and matched to the children’s needs?

The school is funded on a national formula per pupil. Initial blocks of £6000 are allocated depending on the number of SEN children who meet the criteria. The school can then apply for top-up funding based on strict criteria, if it is felt that a child’s needs are above that which can be provided through the initial £6000. The school uses the additional funds to put appropriate support in place to meet the specific needs of a child. In most cases, this will take the form of a key worker to support the child to access a personalised timetable, develop independence, support personal care, and access all areas of the curriculum. Spending of funding received into school is closely monitored by the Senior Leadership Team, Governors and the Local Education Authority.

How are parents involved in the school and how can I be involved?

Parents are invited to join our Governing Body as a Parent Governor to act as a link between school and parents. Curriculum newsletters are sent out each half term to keep parents informed of the topics that will be covered in each class and to encourage them to contribute with additional work at home. In addition to this we also send out weekly homework for the children to complete with parents. This varies between keys stages. All classes bring home a reading book to share with parents.

We also have two class assemblies and various performances which parents are invited to attend. As a Catholic School we celebrate feast days including Christmas and Easter by attending St Mary’s Catholic Church. We invite all our parents and members of the parish to join us on these occasions.

Parents are also kept informed regularly about teaching and other events through twitter, the school website, open evenings and school open days. We also invite parents to practical evening sessions to learn the different methods of teaching in phonics, reading, writing and maths.

Who can I contact for further information?

Who would be the first point of contact if;

a) I am considering applying for a school place? Contact the school office and speak to Mrs Doidge or Mrs Fearon - office@stmaryshorsforth.orgTel. 0113 2584593

b) I wish to discuss something about my child? Arrange an appointment with your child’s class teacher. 

c) I want information about other support services? Speak to our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, Mrs Sarah Hurley.

d) I want information about the local authority’s local offer? Speak to our Executive Head Teacher, Mr Peter Hughes,  or our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, Mrs Sarah Hurley. 

e) I want impartial support and advice?  Visit the following websites;




f) I want to know what is happening in Leeds? Follow the link: for information regarding Leeds and the Universal Offer for SEND.


g) I want to find another provider or school? Follow the link:


h) I would like to access my local children’s centre in Horsforth? Follow the link: http://www.horsforthchildrensservices.co.uk/