Special Educational Needs Policy

Details on our Special Educational Needs Policy



High-quality teaching that is differentiated and personalised will meet the individual needs of the majority of children. Some children need educational provision that is additional and different to this. This is special educational provision under Section 21 of the Children and Families Act 2014.
A child has special educational needs if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.
A child of compulsory school age has a learning difficulty or disability if she or he:

  • Has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
  • has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools


Aims and objectives:
The Mill Academy, local governors and staff of each academy school and childcare recognise that all children have a right to a broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated curriculum. Directors, local governors and staff aim to create a happy, educationally exciting and positive environment in which all pupils can develop to their full potential and become confident, independent individuals.
We aim to:

  • ensure that our curriculum is responsive to all children whatever their individual need.
  • promote positive attitudes and individual confidence, ensuring all children experience success.
  • identify, assess, record and regularly review pupils’ special educational needs.
  • encourage parents/guardians to be involved in planning and supporting at all stages of their child’s development.
  • make effective use of support services.

Provision for pupils with special educational needs is a matter for each academy school and childcare as a whole.
Directors, Governors and Headteachers
The Mill Academy Board of Directors together with the local governors and the Headteacher, have a legal responsibility for overseeing all aspects of each academy school and childcare’s work, including provision for children with special educational needs, and for doing their best to ensure that the necessary provision is made for any pupil who has special educational needs. They should determine each academy school’s to plan and assess the impact of support and interventions and how they can be linked to classroom teaching.


The Headteacher/SENCo and Leadership Team meet frequently to discuss SEN issues.
The SENCo meets with class teachers to give support and advice. SEN policy and provision are discussed regularly at both staff and departmental meetings in order to raise the achievement of children with SEN. Special needs provision is an integral part of the School Development Plan. The SENCo oversees the provision using provision mapping. The SENCo meets weekly with the Teaching Assistants to review progress and give advice, and monitors the placement of TA support throughout the school. This is dependent on the Special Needs requirements and this placement may change as the needs of the children change. There is opportunity for informal daily contact between staff to discuss concerns.
Parents/guardians are kept informed by class teachers and are encouraged to be involved in the support of their child whenever possible. The SENCo also liaises with parents and pupils with statements or Education, Health and Care Plans have an Annual review with the SENCo. Where there is a concern that parents need extra support, the staff would refer them to the Family Liaison and Outreach Worker. If the situation becomes more worrying, the CAF/TAC process would be used to identify areas for change and engage support from other professionals.
The Mill Academy schools strive to be fully inclusive schools. They acknowledge the range of issues to be taken account of in the process of development. All pupils are welcome, including those with special educational needs, in accordance with the LA Admissions Policy. According to the Education Act 1996, (Section 316), the school will admit a child with a statement or Education, Health and Care Plan subject to the wishes of their parent unless this is incompatible with the efficient education of other children, and there are no reasonable steps that can be taken to prevent the incompatibility.


Children’s specific needs are discussed with parents/guardians when admission to the school is requested. The previous school and support agencies are contacted should this be appropriate. All staff have responsibility for teaching children with learning difficulties/disabilities and should any specialist advice be required, this will be arranged.
Where a child has a disability the SENCo and class teachers make sure that all adults are informed about effective management strategies and that other children are made aware as appropriate. Advice is sought from outside agencies on how best to provide for the child’s needs and this advice is accessible to the adults working with the child through the purple files. Arrangements are made to allow as much independence as possible, but with support available as and when necessary.
The SENCo, as directed by the Headteacher, updates Governors via the annual SEND report and, with responsibility for special needs, liaises regularly to discuss provision within the school for all children with SEN.

Specialist training among the staff

Staff training is undertaken in various aspects of SEN according to the needs of the children to ensure that the provision made and support given to pupils is appropriate and effective.

The training needs of the staff including TAs are reviewed as part of the CPD process in school



All schools in Oxfordshire receive funding for pupils with SEN in three main ways:

  • The base budget (element 1 funding) covers teaching and curriculum expenses as well as the cost of the SENCo.
  • The notional SEN budget (element 2 funding) covers the additional educational support required.
  • Specific funds may be allocated to pupils with statements or Education, Health and Care Plans.

The Mill Academy schools, as part of normal budget planning, has a strategic approach to using resources to support the progress of pupils with SEN.


The progress of the children is assessed at regular intervals by staff as part of the school’s tracking process. Where progress is slow, the first response is high quality targeted teaching. Slow progress and low attainment do not necessarily mean that a child has SEN.
All those working with children are alert to emerging difficulties and respond early.

In deciding whether to make special educational provision, the Headteacher and SENCo consider all the information gathered from within the school about the pupil’s progress, alongside national data and expectations of progress.

Where more specific assessment is deemed to be necessary, this will be carried out by the SENCo, who may then involve other professionals from outside the school. The information gathering will include an early discussion with the pupils and their parents. The Mill Academy recognises that parents know their children best and we ensure we listen to and understand when parents express concerns about their child’s development. Consideration of whether special educational provision is required starts with the desired outcomes, including the expected progress and attainment and the views and wishes of their parents.

When a child is identified as needing SEN support, school employs a graduated approach of Assess-Plan-Do-Review adopting the recommended model for Special Educational Needs as set out in the Code of Practice (DfE 2014). The LA SEN Guidance is used as a guide for the identification, assessment and provision for SEN, and the forms provided are used for record-keeping. A register of pupils with SEN is kept as a legal requirement.

Criteria for identifying SEN may include:

  • A child’s early history and/or parental concern
  • Low entry profile
  •  A pupil’s lack of progress despite receiving a differentiated curriculum
  • Low achievement in the National Curriculum i.e. significantly below the suggested level for their age
  • Requiring greater attention in class due to behavioural/learning difficulties
  • Requiring specialist material/equipment or support for sensory/physical problems

The SENCo and the teachers, together with specialists, and involving the pupils, parents, consider a range of teaching approaches, appropriate equipment, strategies and interventions in order to support the child’s progress. Outcomes are agreed and progress reviewed regularly.
Where, despite the school providing SEN support, a child has not made expected progress, school and parents may consider requesting an Education, Health and Care assessment by the local authority. The LA will expect to see evidence of the action taken by the school as part of SEN support. Reviews of children with SEN support are held regularly.

Provision for children with SEN is additional to or different from those provided as part of the school’s usual differentiated curriculum and strategies. It is a graduated response to children’s individual needs. Such provision is recorded on the SEN Pupil Profile.

Categories of Special Educational Need
Children’s needs and requirements fall into four broad areas, but individual pupils may well have needs which span two or more areas.

For example, a pupil with general learning difficulties may also have communication difficulties or a sensory impairment.

  • Communication and interaction: Speech, Language and Communication needs: Autistic Spectrum Disorder including Aspergers and Autism
  • Cognition and Learning: Learning difficulties: Specific Learning Difficulties e.g. dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia
  • Social, emotional and mental Behaviour reflecting underlying health difficulties: mental health difficulties (e.g. anxiety, depression). Attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, attachment disorder
  • Sensory and/or physical: Hearing Impairment, Visual impairment, Physical disability, Multi-sensory impairment
Supporting pupils with medical conditions

Where children with SEN also have medical needs, their provision is planned and delivered in a co-ordinated way with the healthcare plan. School has regard for the statutory guidance supporting pupils at school with medical conditions (DfE, 2014). See the Supporting pupils with medical conditions policy.

The Mill Academy schools strive to be an inclusive school, engendering a sense of community and belonging through its
  • Inclusive ethos
  • Broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils
  • Systems for early identification of barriers to learning and participation
  • High expectations and suitable targets for all children

Parents/guardians, staff and pupils meet regularly, both formally and informally, to plan outcomes, revise provision and celebrate success.

The success of the school’s SEN Policy and provision is evaluated through:

  • Monitoring of classroom practice by SENCo and subject coordinators
  • Analysis of pupil tracking data and test results – for individual pupils- for cohorts
  • Value-added data for pupils on the SEN register
  • Monitoring of procedures and practice by the SEN governor three times a year
  • School self-evaluation
  • Monitoring the quality of Pupil Profiles and review meetings
  • The School Improvement Plan

If a parent or guardian is concerned about SEN provision for their child, initial contact should be made with the class teacher or Form Tutor. A meeting will be arranged, which may include the Headteacher and/or SENCo, to discuss the concern.

In the event of a formal complaint concerning SEN provision, parents/guardians are advised to contact the Headteacher and follow the Oxfordshire LA procedure in the first instance. Parents may also contact the Local Governing Body. Government publications regarding parents’ rights are available in school.



The school and childcare are committed to gaining further expertise in the area of Special Needs education. Current training includes school-based whole school INSET, training sessions for TAs and lunchtime supervisors, SENCo and TA group meetings, attendance at County meetings and the reading and discussion of documents on SEN. Individual staff development is provided by various higher education institutions. Staff meetings are arranged to respond to the particular needs of the school.

Arrangements for the induction of NQTs and new staff into the school’s policy and SEN procedures are detailed in the Staff Handbook.


The school and childcare are able to call upon the expertise of a wide range of support services. These support services are consulted after consultation with the Headteacher or SENCo, and with the full agreement of parents. For assessment and advice from most of these services a request form must be filled in first and additional information may be required e.g. the service’s own checklist, and information about strategies already in use.

The SENCo holds contact addresses and request forms for other agencies and support services.


The Mill Academy believes that good communication between parents/guardians and staff is essential so that parents can share their knowledge and expertise about their child. This is important in enabling children with special educational needs to achieve their potential. Parents are always welcome to visit the school to discuss any concerns about their child with the relevant member of staff, at a mutually agreed time. There is opportunity for parents to discuss their child’s needs, progress and strengths at Parents’ Evenings and Special Needs Review meetings. Parents are involved in the review process to monitor provision and progress. Wherever possible, parents are involved in any strategies instigated, and we aim to support parents with their child’s difficulties if necessary. Parents are consulted and permission sought before involving outside agencies in the assessment of a child’s progress or behaviour. Information about the Parent Partnership Service is given to parents so they may use it if they wish, and Parents are consulted and permission sought before involving outside agencies in the assessment of a child’s progress or behaviour. Information about the Parent Partnership Service is given to parents so they may use it if they wish, and information is available for parents of children with learning difficulties/disabilities in school. Parents have right of access to records concerning their child.


All children are encouraged to participate in discussions about their learning and to feel that their views are valued right from the start of their education. The Mill Academy encourages pupils to participate in their learning by being present for all or part of review meetings, depending on their level of maturity, to share their wishes and feelings with families and staff. This is difficult for some children, so it is important to recognise success and achievements as part of the review process as well as addressing any difficulties. Pupils are encouraged to take part in the reviews and be part of the evaluation of their successes and needs.


The SENCo, class teachers and Headteacher liaise over the internal transfer of pupils with SEN. Placements are considered carefully in order to meet a child’s particular needs, and pupils visit their new class before transfer.
Year 6 children transferring to local secondary schools have the chance to visit the new school for a day. Representatives from the secondary schools visit to talk with the children. The SENCo and Year 6 teachers liaise over the transfer procedure and when transfer is local, meetings are arranged between the appropriate staff. At all times of transition, SEN information is gathered together and records transferred to the new teacher or school.

For pupils with Education, Health and Care Plans, the child’s plant should be amended in the light of recommendations of the annual review by 15th February in the year of transfer to ensure that time is available to make necessary transfer arrangements re/needs and provision. The SENCo of the receiving school will be invited to the final annual review in primary schools of pupils with statements or Education, Health and Care Plans where the particular school has been named.

C6 Monitoring and Review

The implementation of this policy will be monitored by Headteachers, Governors and Directors.
This policy will be updated in line with new initiatives together with any streamlining of school processes.

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