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Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

SENCo, Pastoral and EAL Support

'At Almond Hill we aim to meet every child's needs through a range of provisions suited to them personally.'
Mrs Birchall, SENCo.

'At Almond Hill we value the community around us and celebrate the many languages that our children speak.'
Mrs Barham EAL Leader

Our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) is Mrs Birchall.

What should I do if I think my child is in need of support?

We encourage parents and carers to speak to their child’s class teacher, SENCo or the head teacher about any concerns they have.

If you would like to discuss any concerns regarding your child’s progress, please speak with your child’s teacher first as they will know your child best. Your concerns will be shared with the SENCo and the head teacher.

When does a child need additional support?

Teachers assess children’s progress to ensure teaching is planned to consolidate and extend learning. Some children need additional support to help them secure progress in areas of their work, to support aspects of their learning behaviour or social and emotional development.

Partnership with Parents

The school believes the best progress will be made when the school works in partnership with parents and in addition to meeting with their child’s class teacher, parents are very welcome to make an appointment to meet with Mrs S Birchall. You do not need to wait for your child’s parents evening to voice your concerns.

Information to supports parents. 

We regularly update our website with a wide range of courses that are available for parents and carers in our local area. As well as this, below are some links to some useful website where you can find information to help you and your child

General in school provision for children with barriers 

If your child has a diagnosis or displays traits of ASD, this is the provision they might have in class:

  • A workstation
  • A quiet place or safe space
  • A personal timetable with sensory breaks
  • A range of sensory items
  • Access to key adult
  • Ear defenders

If your child has a diagnosis or displays traits of ADHD, this is the provision they might have in class:

  • 1,2,3 board
  • Access to a fiddle toy
  • Sensory breaks
  • Examples to start them off
  • Expectations clearly communicated
  • Verbal feedback for ‘good listening’
  • ‘Time out’ place
  • Timers  
  • Access to key adult

If your child shows difficulties of a dyslexic nature, this is the provision they might have in class:

  • Access to word banks for different topics
  • ‘Editing’ cards with common words to help them edit their work independently
  • Access to a laptop
  • Access to a voice recorder
  • Timers
  • Coloured overlays
  • Personal spellings on a keyring to use in class

If your child has Social and Emotional regulation difficulties, this is the provision they might have in class:

  • Opportunities for a time out
  • Visual timetable
  • ‘soft start’ to the day
  • Time with adult at the end of the day
  • Access to pastoral support at lunch break

Almond Hill - School Information Report

1. How does the school know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?

The attainment and progress of all pupils is monitored frequently and consistently. The school may feel a child needs extra help if a child is performing below age expected levels, observation of the pupil by the class teacher, liaison with our feeder infant school, external agencies or concerns raised by a parent or carer, Children falling behind age appropriate expectations will usually be identified through pupil progress meetings during the year. Additional support will be put in place after discussion with each identified child to check on any areas of difficulty they may have. Parents will be informed of this at Parent Consultations or earlier if necessary. If progress continues to be less than expected it may be necessary to put in place additional support and a thorough assessment of a child’s needs takes place. This will be supported by the SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) and includes views of the parents and child concerned. Parents who are concerned that their child may have learning difficulties should in the first case talk to their child’s class teacher.

2. How will school staff support my child?

If a child has been identified as making less than expected progress the first response is high quality teaching targeted at their areas of weakness.  Our SENCo oversees all support and progress of any child requiring additional support across the school and provides advice including referrals to outside agencies if necessary.

The class teacher will oversee, plan and work with each child with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) in their class to ensure that progress is made. There may be a Teaching Assistant (T/A) working with your child either individually or as part of a group; in or out of the class; if this is seen as necessary by the class teacher. This support could also be extra group or individual support led by a trained adult as part of an outreach service. The regularity of these sessions will be explained to parents when the support starts and they are invited to discuss their personal plan. Most interventions take place over 1 or 2 terms.

3. How will I know how my child is doing?

We offer an open door policy where you are welcome any time to make an appointment to meet with the class teacher in the first instance or the class teacher with the SENCo and discuss how your child is getting on. We can offer advice and practical ways that you can help your child at home. We believe that your child’s education should be a partnership between parents and teachers; therefore, we aim to keep communication channels open.

4. How will the learning and development provision be matched to my child’s needs?

A detailed assessment which draws on the teacher’s assessment and experience of the child, their previous progress and attainment, their development in comparison to their peers, the views and experiences of parents and the pupils’ own views takes place. This ensures that any barriers to learning are identified and effective provision suited to a child’s specific needs is implemented. Children are consulted through the whole process and are key to decisions about what support is needed and will yield most impact.

5. What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being?

All staff have a duty to support the pastoral care of pupils. An experienced team of teaching assistants support the class teacher in this role. Additional support may be provided for children with specific needs social, emotional and mental health needs through Protective Behaviours or with the support of a trained counsellor for example. There is a lunchtime club for children who need support. All children in year 5 completed a resilience programme to develop these skills.  The school has a consistent behaviour policy, following Hertfordshire STEPS.  The school adheres to the statutory guidance ‘Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions’ and all medication is kept in a secure place and is only administered by designated people. Individual health care plans are written for children with medical conditions and shared with all staff that work with the child including lunch time staff. There is a designated school nurse who works together with parents and staff to meet a child’s health needs. In some instances, this will require referring a child to access a specialist support service, especially if your child has complex needs.

High expectations of each child in their class coupled with skilled differentiation usually ensures that children are making at least expected progress and frequently higher than expected progress. However, some children still require additional support in spite of this.

If your child is on the SEND register, they will have an Individual Education Plan which will have targets. This is discussed on a termly basis and parents are given a copy of the Plan. The targets set are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time scaled) targets with the expectation that the child will achieve the target by the time set. These are closely monitored by the class teacher and the SENCo and are regularly modified. Parents are kept informed of progress made.

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

The school has a SENCo who works four days a week and co-ordinates provision for pupils with SEND and provides advice for teachers to ensure the individual needs of pupils are met. All staff who support children in class or on an individual or small group basis have undergone training to ensure they are competent to deliver programmes of intervention. Specialisms include behaviour support, autism, specific learning difficulties e.g. dyslexia, dyscalculia, literacy and maths interventions, reading intervention, speech and language. The school has a link educational psychologist, speech therapist and school nurse to whom they can directly refer. The school nurse is then able to refer to different health services such as the child development Centre, CAMHs (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and Occupational Therapist. The school can also access outreach services such as Visual Impairment, ESTMA (Education Support Team for Medical Absence) Education Support Centre and other specialist services as required.

7. What training have the staff, supporting children with SEND, had or are having?

All staff are trained in Safeguarding and there are four designated safeguarding leads (DSLs) for safeguarding concerns. 21 key staff staff are first aid trained. Other staff have been trained in speech and language support, Autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, literacy and maths interventions, reading intervention, behaviour strategies, gross and fine motor skills difficulties. The SENCo has completed the National SENCo Award as is trained as a specialist teacher for children with dyslexia. Other staff have had specialist medical training where required. Training, both school based and external, is refreshed regularly and all opportunities for additional training are sought to ensure that staff have an up to date working knowledge of SEND issues and current legislation.

8. How will you help me to support my child’s learning?

At the point of transition, parents are invited to meet with the SENCo and children with SEND are invited to make additional visits to the school where appropriate. Parents’ evenings are held in the autumn and spring term to keep parents fully informed of their child’s progress, IEPs can be reviewed and updated separately. An annual report is written for each child in the Summer Term. Where extra support is being introduced, parents’ views are sought. They are invited to come into school to see how this support is delivered and are involved in reviews.

9. How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child’s education?

There are formal occasions such as parents’ evening where parents are involved in discussions about their child’s education however we have an ‘open door’ policy where parents are invited to make an appointment with class teacher or SENCO at any time during the year. Working parents are able to telephone to arrange for a teacher to call them back or email via the school office if there is a particular issue they wish to discuss. Parents are represented on the school governing body and there is also a very active PTA (Parent Teacher Association) in school. Parents of children with SEND are regularly involved in discussions through reviews.

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

The school aims to include all children in extracurricular activities. There are a range of clubs on offer. For all school trips a risk assessment is undertaken to ensure that each child is kept safe from harm. The school expects all children with SEND are included on all school trips unless it is not safe to do so. The school follows the advice of providers and where appropriate additional staff are deployed. Parents are consulted to ensure full participation and active engagement of all children. Where the outings are run by outside agencies they are made aware of each child’s needs so that they deal with them in a sensitive and appropriate manner.

11. How accessible is the school environment?

The school is fully compliant with the Equality Act and reasonable adjustments are made for all children with SEND where necessary. The building is wheelchair accessible and has disabled changing and toilet facilities. Specialised equipment is provided where appropriate for children with SEND needs and advice is sought from the appropriate medical/health professionals.

12. Who can I contact for further information?

The school has a SENCO who can be contacted by telephone or by leaving a message with the office and is available to meet with parents if you have any concerns about your child. You may feel it is more appropriate to speak to your child’s teacher with any initial queries. If you wish to make a complaint the school has a complaints procedure which is available from the school office.

13. How will the school prepare and support my child to join the school, transfer to a new school or the next stage of education and life?

There is a detailed transition programme in place for children new to the school, moving to new classes or leaving the school. There is also an appointed governor for Transition. The level of support offered is dependent on each child’s needs, age and development If you have any concerns that your child is worried about in terms of induction or moving on please contact the class teacher.

14. How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?

The school has an amount identified within its overall budget called the notional SEND budget. This is used for resources to support the progress of children with SEND. This is used to employ some Teaching Assistants and Learning Support Assistants to meet the needs of children with SEND, buy specialist equipment, books or stationary or provide specialised training for staff. Where a child requires provision which exceeds the nationally prescribed threshold, additional top-up funding can be applied for through the local authority. If a child has an EHC plan, Local High Needs funding may be allocated according to need. Resources and support available for children with SEND can be found on the school website.

15. How is the decision made about how much support my child will receive?

The amount and type of support offered to a child is determined by a detailed analysis of a child’s needs, barriers to learning, stage of development, parental views, their own views and consultation with their class teacher and based on available resources. This support is reviewed regularly with amendments being made to the programme of support. Interventions typically last between 1 and 2 terms with the emphasis being on early identification and targeted effective support to minimise any long term need for additional support.

16. How can I find information about the local authority’s Local Offer of services and provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities?

The authority’s local offer of services and provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities can be accessed at

Special Educational Needs provision complaints

If you have a complaint about the way the School has been delivering the provision set out in Section F of your child’s Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), you may complain to the Local Authority that maintains your child’s EHCP.

If the EHCP is maintained by Hertfordshire County Council, you may complain further by setting out the detail of your complaint and sending it to:
Customer Service Team
Complaints Postal Point: CHO118
Resources Department
County Hall
SG13 8DF

Once in receipt of your complaint, the Complaints Manager for Children’s Services will ensure that the Local Authority completes a Section F Provision Checklist. This process entails a Provision Checklist being drawn up directly from Section F of the EHCP. A Senior SEND Officer will then visit the School in order to work through the checklist point by point and complete it. The Senior SEND Officer will seek the comments of the Headteacher, Senior Leadership Team, SENCo and Governors as appropriate, as well as any other information or advice that they deem necessary.

Once the Provision Checklist has been completed, the Local Authority will notify the complainant of the outcome in writing, enclosing a copy of the checklist. A copy of the outcome letter and Checklist will also be sent to the School for its information and record keeping. This process will take up to 25 working days (of the Local Authority) to conclude. Complainants who remain dissatisfied following further investigation of their Special Educational Needs provision complaint by the Local Authority may complain to the Secretary of State who may decide to conduct an additional investigation. 

Fore more information please visit our policies page. 

SEND Strategy Update 

SEND Strategy 2022 - 2025

The SEND Strategy 2022 - 25 sets out families in Hertfordshire can get support across education, health and social care, for the next 3 years.



You will find copies of our policies including that for SEND, Dyslexia and Equality on the policy page of the website.

Children & Young People's Therapies Service

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust’s (HCT), Children and Young People’s Therapies Service provides Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech and Language Therapy for children and young people in Hertfordshire. The integrated therapies service delivers holistic support for a child or young person’s needs, under one provider, with multidisciplinary working across the three clinical therapy professions.

Children's Occupational Therapy
Children's Speech & Language Therapy

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June 2021

Speech and Language

Click the 'button' below to view the local offer for Hertfordshire.


The Children and Young People’s (CYP) Speech and Language Therapy service offers a child- and family-centred approach to support CYP with speech, language, communication needs (SLCN) and those with eating and drinking difficulties in Hertfordshire. The Children and Young People’s (CYP) Speech and Language Therapy service offers a child- and family-centred approach to support CYP with speech, language, communication needs (SLCN) and those with eating and drinking difficulties in Hertfordshire.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADD-vance is a dedicated group of professionals, who also happen to be parents of children affected by ADHD and/or Autism.


Autism Sprectrum Disorder

Click the 'button' below to view the local offer for Hertfordshire.
Space is a Hertfordshire based charity supporting parent/carers of children and young people on the Autistic Spectrum, with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or a related condition.
harc is the Hertfordshire branch of the National Autistic Society (NAS). They work to provide information and support to individuals and their families living in Hertfordshire
The UK's leading charity for people on the autism spectrum and their families.

Learning Difficulties

The BDA promotes early identification of specific learning difficulties (SpLD) and support in schools to ensure opportunity to learn for dyslexic learners.The BDA promotes early identification of specific learning difficulties (SpLD) and support in schools to ensure opportunity to learn for dyslexic learners.
Families in Focus CIC provides parenting courses that support parents, grandparents and adoptive parents in their local community to bring harmony, balance and enjoyment to family life. Free courses available across Hertfordshire.
'Mencap is the leading voice of learning disability. Everything we do is about valuing and supporting people with a learning disability, and their families and carers.'

Sensory and/or Physical Need
The Children’s Occupational Therapy service offers a child and family centered approach to support children and young people with their independence in all aspects of daily living, such as self-feeding, dressing and participating in play and school activities. The service is available to children and families across Hertfordshire.
Dyspraxia UK provides assessments and diagnosis for children and adults, and is the UK specialist in this field of occupational therapy

Whether you're a parent, young person or a professional working within SEND, there are documents and resources here that may help you: