Cold Ash St Mark's C.E. (VC) School
St. Mark’s is a voluntary controlled church school, which is smaller than average. There are currently approximately 200 pupils on roll with an average cohort size of around 28 pupils. Most of the children attending the school have their pre-school experiences at two local independent providers. Over the last few years the school has grown by approximately sixty pupils. As a result, the school has had various extensions to accommodate a growing pupil intake. From September 2014 our intake has increased to 30 pupils.
‘At St Mark’s we aim to provide an education based on Christian principles which cares for, respects and develops the distinctive personality of each child and encourages them to reach their full potential. We aim to provide a happy, caring, purposeful atmosphere conducive to learning, where all children can learn to be resourceful, independent, adaptable learners.
Who to contact
Where to go
Cold Ash Hill
- RG18 9PT
- Local Offer Age Bands
5 to 7
7 to 11
- 1.1: How does the school identify children/young people with special educational needs and disabilities?
Through regular tracking of all pupils’ progress we are committed to identifying any pupil with special educational needs as early as possible. Parents/carers and the child will be involved in the process throughout.
Pupils are identified in a range of ways:
- Parental concerns
- Class teacher identification
- Through data analysis and continued monitoring of progress, and interventions.
- Impact of school based interventions.
- SAT results
- Records transferred from another school
- Professional diagnosis
- Involvement of outside agencies including: Speech and Language Therapy, Educational Psychologist, Hearing Impairment Teacher (Sensory Consortium), CAMHS
We take note of the 4 broad areas of need.
- Communication and Interaction.
- Cognition and Learning.
- Social, emotional and mental health difficulties.
- Sensory and/or physical difficulties.
The earlier action is taken the more responsive the child is likely to be, and early intervention can be made quickly. Often by doing so this means that the difficulty is temporary and after early intervention they are able to learn and progress normally. If the child’s needs are more significant than an early start is essential for considering any extra provision necessary.
- 1.2: What should I do if I think my child has SEND?
Once your child has started at St Marks we ask that you alert the school to any concerns you have about your child, or any changes that may occur at home, which may have an impact on your child and their learning, within the school setting.
The first point of contact will be your child’s class teacher who you should initially speak with if you have any concerns. They will be happy to discuss these with you and may also call upon the SENCo or Headteacher if appropriate.
At Cold Ash St Mark’s we track children’s progress closely using a range of methods including both formal tests and teacher assessment. Regular pupil progress meetings are held between the Head teacher and class teachers with Co-ordinators and/or the SENCo as appropriate. We value close partnerships with our parents and discuss our concerns at the first opportunity, whilst welcoming feedback from parents and taking their concerns into consideration when reviewing progress.
Mrs Rachel Tichband is the school SENCo and can be contacted via the School Office.
Our aim is to work in partnership, parents, children and professionals to support the needs of a child.
1. Identification of SEND
- 2.1: If my child is identified as having SEND, who will oversee and plan their education programme?
All class teachers are responsible for the education of every child in their class. They are supported by the SENCo, Headteacher, specialist teachers and other outside agencies where appropriate depending on the needs of your child, to decide how these may best be met.
- 2.2: How will I be informed / consulted about the ways in which my child is being supported?
You will always be kept fully informed and included in discussions relating to your child, and regularly updated on their progress. Each child will have a SAP (Support and Achievement Plan) which will be discussed, agreed and written in conjunction with you (and your child if appropriate).
Pupils with an EHCP will have an annual review/transition meeting at key points in the year.
- 2.3: How will the school balance my child's need for support with developing their independence?
St Mark’s School recognise the fine balance between support and independence. TAs supporting your child are aware of the need to be supportive whilst at the same time promoting all children’s independence. They have open dialogue with class teachers (and if required the SENCo, Headteacher and other relevant specialist teachers) to support independence. This may sometimes be reflected as a specific target in their SAP, or more usually be part of your child’s day to day experience.
- 2.4: How will the school match / differentiate the curriculum for my child's needs?
Teachers plan for all the children in their class, differentiating learning to provide the correct level of challenge and support to enable all children to access the curriculum fully and achieve their maximum potential.
- 2.5: What teaching strategies does the school use for children with learning difficulties, including autistic spectrum disorder, hearing impairment, visual impairment, speech and language difficulties?
In conjunction with external specialist teachers and other adults, teachers employ a range of strategies and are careful to adopt specific recommendations which support your child’s learning. These may include visual timetables, special equipment, pre-learning of vocabulary, and a wide variety of other strategies depending on the needs of your child.
- 2.6: What additional staffing does the school provide from its own budget for children with SEND?
Whilst each class teacher has responsibility for children with SEN in their class, there are TAs in all classes for part of the day to support learning. These TAs may be specifically supporting children 1:1 or in small groups both within and/or outside the classroom. Some TAs have undergone training in specific areas and interventions. For example Catch Up, Sprint and SNAP maths interventions. We have also a trained ELSA in school to support children with Social and Emotional difficulties.
- 2.7: What specific intervention programmes does the school offer to children with SEND and are these delivered on a one to one basis or in small groups?
Type / Title Intervention Type
One to one
Project X for reading/writing
One to one
Project X for Reading/writing
Precision Teaching (spelling, Maths Facts)
One to one SPRINT - for Literacy One to one Catch Up - for Literacy Small group
Catch Up - for Literacy
One to one ELSA One to one
Small group Numicon One to one
- 2.8: What resources and equipment does the school provide for children with SEND?
We have several resources to support children with SEN. These include physical resources such as wobble cushions, sloping writing tables, steps, foot supports on chairs, easy to catch balls for PE, wobble board, visual timetables, pencil grips and many more. Where other resources are recommended for a specific need for a child we endeavour to buy or borrow the resource if at all possible.
- 2.9: What special arrangements can be made for my child when taking examinations?
Every child is different, but careful attention is paid to their individual needs and where appropriate this may include extra time, quieter space, a reader, extra visual support or other specific equipment/methods to allow all children to access tests and demonstrate their abilities.
2. Support for children with special educational needs
- 3.1: How will the school monitor my child's progress and how will I be involved in this?
Within the school children’s progress is closely monitored by the Headteacher and staff. Parents are invited to two evening meetings per year, one in the Autumn Term and one in the Spring Term. Written reports (and where appropriate SATS results) are sent home in July each year.
We have an ‘open door’ policy, where you are welcome at any time to make an appointment to meet with your child’s class teacher, and if appropriate the SENCo or Headteacher, to discuss your child’s progress in school. The class teacher may also request a meeting should they wish to discuss any concerns.
All children who are having additional intervention support are closely monitored to ensure that the type of intervention is appropriate using standardised assessments. These results are discussed each term and any concerns raised with the Headteacher, SENCo, the Cognition and Learning Team and others where appropriate. If there are concerns parents will also be included in these discussions.
- 3.2: When my child's progress is being reviewed, how will new targets be set and how will I be involved?
New targets will be set in conjunction with recommendations from any outside agencies involved with your child. You will be fully involved in agreeing and setting these targets via formal or informal meetings or written communication, as convenient and appropriate for you and your child. These targets will be set as part of the child’s SAP (Support and Achievement Plan)
- 3.3: ln addition to the school's normal reporting arrangements, what opportunities will there be for me to discuss my child's progress with school staff?
Staff are available at the end of most days or at the beginning of the day if the matter is urgent. We are always happy to make formal appointments where you (or we) feel more time is necessary. Please contact the school office in the first instance to make an appointment.
- 3.4: What arrangements does the school have for regular home to school contact?
As discussed above, all staff are happy to meet with parents after school. Please contact the School Office at the beginning of the day. In addition it may be appropriate to have a home-school book, individual progress or reward chart, email, telephone contact or other means to enable close working partnerships.
- 3.5: How can I help support my child's learning?
We endeavour to form close partnerships with all parents so that strategies and methods that suit particular children can be shared and reinforced. All children benefit from parents’ involvement in their learning, ensuring they arrive at school with all the equipment they need for the day, promptly, to get the day off to a good start. Your support is highly valued and your child’s class teacher (or other supporting staff) may make specific recommendations for you to help your child.
- 3.6: Does the school offer any help for parents / carers to enable them to support their child's learning, eg. training or learning events?
Each academic year this school arranges various subject specific parents’ sessions which we hope as many parents as possible will attend. Where a parent has specific queries, we endeavour to put them in touch with any external body that can help. E.g. local groups, NHS departments etc.
- 3.7: How will my child's views be sought about the help they are getting and the progress they are making?
We value children as the central part of the ‘team’, and try to involve them in recognising their own extra needs and setting their own targets. (The extent of this is dependent on the age and stage of the child).
- 3.8: What accredited and non accredited courses do you offer for young people with SEND?
- 3.9: How does the school assess the overall effectiveness of its SEN provision and how can parents / carers and young people take part in this evaluation?
The progress of all children is regularly reviewed by the Headteacher, Class teacher, SENCo and other staff at regular points in the year and particularly before, during and after any intervention to ensure it is appropriate.
3. My child's progress
- 4.1: What support is available to promote the emotional and social development of children with SEND?
Class teachers and other staff form a mutually respectful relationship where children feel valued and able to express their opinions. The school use the SEAL program to support the PSHE curriculum. In addition, we have a trained ELSA who may work with specific children who need extra support in Emotional, Social and Behavioural areas.
- 4.2: What support does the school put in place for children who find it difficult to conform to normal behavioural expectations and how do you support children to avoid exclusion?
The school uses a range of strategies to support children with behavioural difficulties. These may include specific methods and strategies, including external adults working with the school, parents and the child. Other adults involved may include the Emotional Health Academy, ASD Specialist Teacher, CALT (Cognition and Learning Team), Speech and Language Therapists, Educational Psychologist or other appropriate specialists.
- 4.3: What medical support is available in the school for children with SEND?
Where a child has medical needs, appropriate advice, training and support will be sought. This may include the School Nurse, Sensory Consortium, or undertaking other specific training to ensure that the child’s medical needs are met, so that they can access the curriculum.
- 4.4: How does the school manage the administration of medicines?
Our school has a specific written policy for administration of medicines. Parents should contact the School office initially to fill in the appropriate paperwork, or these may be downloaded from the school website at https://www.coldash.westberks.dbprimary.com/westberks/primary/coldash/site/pages/parentalinformation/formstodownload
The school nurse is also available for advice in more unusual cases and further training will be undertaken if this is necessary so that appropriate staff may administer medicine. (e.g. Asthma inhalers, Epipens, Insulin and any other relevant medication depending on the needs of the child).
- 4.5: How does the school provide help with personal care where this is needed, eg. help with toileting, eating etc?
If a child has specific medical needs then we will work with the parents to ensure that personal care needs are met by appropriately trained staff. It is likely that the school nurse may be involved.
These will be provided depending on the needs of the child, with the appropriate risk assessments and access arrangements reviewed.
4. Support for my childs overall well being
- 5.1: What SEN support services does the school use, eg. specialist support teachers, educational psychologists, teachers for hearing impairment and visual impairment, ASD advisory teachers, behaviour support teachers etc?
- CALT (Cognition and Learning Team)
- ASD Specialist Teacher
- Educational Psychologist
- Sensory Consortium – Teacher of the Hearing Impaired
- Preschool councillor
- LAL Unit (Language and Literacy Unit)
- Speech and Language Therapy
- Emotional Health Academy
In the past
- Sensory Consortium – Teacher of the Sight Impaired
- Brookfields Outreach
- Castle Outreach
- 5.2: What should I do if I think my child needs support from one of these services?
Please contact your class teacher who will discuss this with you, then may involve the SENCo and Headteacher to discuss your child’s needs. Each service has its own criteria for accessing them, so this can be discussed with the SENCo in order for the most efficient route to be taken. It is worth noting that waiting times for these services can vary beyond our control. It may be suggested that you contact your GP during these discussions.
- 5.3: How are speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy services provided?
Referrals to these services are made by a GP or by the school SENCo with parental permission and input. Once referrals have been accepted:
- Parents and Class Teacher/SENCo may be signposted to relevant information on the CYPIT website.
- Over the phone advice may be given by a professional in that field.
- Pupils can be seen either in school or clinic by one of the above services following successful referral from either the school or the GP.
- A report of findings and recommendations is sent to parents/ carers and the school.
- 5.4: What should I do if I think my child needs to be seen by a speech and language therapist, occupational therapist or physiotherapist?
- Make an appointment to see the school SENCo or your GP to discuss you concerns.
- Together you can complete the referral form
- 5.5: What arrangements does the school have for liaison with Children's Social Care services?
If a concern is raised about a child the Designated Person will make contact, if appropriate, with West Berkshire Social Services Department.
- 6.1: What SEND training is provided for teachers in your school?
The SENCo and Headteacher ensure training is delivered appropriately to all staff. Where class teachers have a particular child with a particular need specialist training will be sought. Teaching Assistants who deliver intervention programmes have all received the recommended training for these programmes.
In addition, all staff at St Marks receive regular updated Child Protection Training.
- 6.2: What SEND training is provided for teaching assistants and other staff in your school?
- SNAP on 2 Maths
- Catch Up
- Structured Approach to Reading
- Precision Teaching
- Child Protection- Safeguarding training
- 6.3: Do teachers have any specific qualifications in SEND?
The SENCo holds the National Award for SENCo training from the University of Reading (Postgraduate Certificate)
- 6.4: Do teaching assistants have any specific qualifications in SEND?
Teaching assistants across both schools have a wide range of experience in SEND and have attended a range of courses. Some TAs have areas of specialism such as specific literacy difficulties.
- 7.1: How do you ensure children with SEND can be included in out of school activities and trips?
All children are enabled to fully access the curriculum, with appropriate support or challenge, where necessary, including activities outside the classroom. A full risk assessment is carried out prior to any offsite activity to ensure all participants are completely safe. If it is considered unsafe for your child to participate in an activity, alternative activities within school will be provided.
- 7.2: How do you involve parents / carers in planning the support required for their child to access activities and trips?
Parents will be invited to look at the risk assessment prior to the trip and to discuss any concerns with the party leader and/or carer if appropriate.
- 8.1: How accessible is the building for children with mobility difficulties / wheelchair users?
Please visit our school website to view our Accessibility Plan.
St Marks School was built in the 1960s and has since been extended and as such presents a number of difficulties for physical access. Nevertheless, we will continue to improve accessibility wherever possible.
- 8.2: Have adaptations / improvements been made to the auditory and visual environment?
Measures to support children with sensory needs are put in place where and when appropriate. In the past these have included using a radio microphone system and a sound field for children with HI, and lease of specialist equipment to support a child with visual impairment. The school is committed to maintaining a learning environment which supports all children. We work closely with any specialist advice available (e.g. Sensory Consortium teachers of the Hearing or Sight Impaired) to provide any additional equipment recommended for children on an individual basis.
- 8.3: Are there accessible changing and toilet facilities?
Changing and toilet facilities which may be needed in addition to our standard school facilities will be made, where possible, should the need arise, on an individual basis, as has previously been the case.
- 8.4: How do you ensure that all the school's facilities can be accessed by children with SEND?
This is ensured through ongoing risk assessments, monitoring, TA and teacher feedback, specialist support feedback, talking to the child and parents.
- 8.5: How does the school communicate with parents / carers who have a disability?
We strive to maintain close links with parents/carers through either face to face meetings, or other means of communication best suited to individual parents and circumstances. (e.g. email, text or phone calls).
- 8.6: How does the school communicate with parents / carers whose first language is not English?
Where appropriate we will ensure that alternative methods of communication are in place for any parent/carer whose first language is not English. (For example, by finding a suitable translator through EMTAS – the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Advice service.)
- 9.1: What preparation will there be for both the school and my child before he or she joins the school?
All children starting Cold Ash are offered visit days and children starting school in Foundation Stage will be offered a home visit.
Staff will liaise with parents and the child’s previous school to ensure the continuation of support and strategies which help your child to learn.
- 9.2: How will my child be prepared to move on to the next stage within school, e.g. class or key stage?
Within our school, arrangements are in place for children to spend time with their new teacher as they move year groups. For some children, it is helpful to have extra transition arrangements to ensure a smooth move.
- 9.3: How will my child be prepared to move on to his or her next school?
When moving between schools, careful thought is given to how best to support your child. Staff from St Marks have close links with ongoing schools for all children as a matter of course. For those children with SEN extra provision may be needed.
Where a child has an EHCP, at their Year 5 Annual Review, discussions will begin so that any necessary arrangements can be made.
These may include extra visits to the new school, staff from the new school visiting Cold Ash, extra meetings between parents and staff from both schools, or any other arrangement which will benefit a smooth transition.
Parents will be fully involved and arrangements made on an individual basis.
- 9.4: How will you support a new school to prepare for my child?
The SENCo will make contact with a new school to discuss your child’s individual needs. We will also encourage parents to be involved with this process and a transition plan will be drawn up.
- 9.5: What information will be provided to my child's new school?
All transfer documents will be accompanied by reports on your child including reports from outside agencies.
- 9.6: How will the school prepare my child for the transition to further education or employment?
- 10.1: Who would be my first point of contact if I want to discuss something about my child or if I am worried?
If you are concerned about your child, please contact their class teacher in the first instance by making an appointment through the school office.
- 10.2: Does the school offer any specific support for parents / carers and families (such as Family Support Workers?)
We will signpost parents to appropriate support when necessary.
- 10.3: What arrangements does the school have for signposting parents / carers to external agencies which can offer support, such as voluntary agencies?
Parents may access support through Help for Families using the following link. www.westberks.gov.uk/helpforfamilies
- 10.4: What arrangements does the school have for feedback from parents, including compliments and complaints?
The school actively seeks parents’ responses in many different ways, some formal and some informal. These may include parent feedback forms on school reports and parental questionnaires. If you have a concern please talk to your class teacher initially. If parents wish to make a formal complaint then we refer them to the Complaints Policy which can be viewed on the school website. We aim to resolve any differences quickly and amicably to minimise any possible impact on your child’s learning.