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SEND Sustainability Plan

If you are looking for information about our new SEND Sustainability Plan see 'SEND sustainability plan'

Wiltshire Ordinarily Available Provision for All Learners (OPAL)

Information for professionals and parent carers Provision that the local authority expects to be made available for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities in early years settings, schools and colleges.

Introduction

Last updated: September 2023

What is OPAL

OPAL is a resource which outlines the provision and support that should ordinarily be available for children and young people in education settings, such as early years, schools and colleges.

Because:

  • education setting would value guidance on how they can expect to held to account, and how they can deliver based on best practice
  • all children and young people can thrive more in an inclusive culture
  • parents and carers can understand a consistent approach easier

In practice, our OPAL will:

  • promote a vision for a more inclusive system, firmly based on high standards and quality first teaching (QFT) for all
  • index and link to existing best practice documentation
  • define core standards and provide tools for learning to meet a consistent minimum effort
  • provide positive, celebratory examples of best practice in the Wiltshire context
  • contain supportive resources to promote practitioner development
  • provide a forum for collaborative learning and improvement, including a space for practitioners to share best practice
  • support provision of tools and skills to help children and young people to integrate in communities
  • support our communities to be as inclusive as possible

Wiltshire is a needs led area:

This means that any provision or support will be tailored to the individual's needs, and that a diagnosis is not required to access support in schools and settings. 

Terminology used in this document we will refer to: 

  • children and young people as CYP
  • adults who support CYP as staff
  • parents of children and young people with SEND as parent carers
  • educational placements including early years provision, schools and colleges as settings 
  • special educational needs and/or disabilities as SEND

For additional help with terms and phrases visit: https://localoffer.wiltshire.gov.uk/article/4285/Jargon-Buster

For details of services and support visit: https://localoffer.wiltshire.gov.uk/

How to use this document

This document is split into two sections:

Section one: expectations of all settings
Section two: support for broad areas of need.

The more specific support detailed in section two should be made in addition to the provision in section one to provide an appropriate response according to need. The decisions regarding what support should be made available will form part of the graduated response (assess, plan, do, review) with the child, parent/carers and education setting regularly re-visiting decisions about appropriate provision. 

Contents

Section one (expectations of all settings)

This section outlines the expectations on all educational settings, according to the needs of the CYP. 
All settings must apply the principles underpinning the SEND Code of Practice 0 to 25 years (opens new window) and have regard to the Equality Act 2010: guidance (opens new window).

  • Trauma informed practice
  • Useful links for SENCos
  • Useful links for parents
  • Partnerships with children, young people and parent/carers
  • Assessment
  • Pastoral
  • The physical and sensory environment
  • Teaching and learning strategies
  • Resources
  • Staff skills and training
  • Transition and transfer

Section two (support for broad areas of need)

This section is separated by the four areas of need set out in the Code of Practice SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years - GOV.UK (opens new window) - GOV.UK.

Many CYP may have needs across more than one category and certain conditions may not fall neatly into one area of need. When reviewing and managing special educational provision, the four broad areas of need may be helpful as a guide to ensure you can provide support across these areas.

  • Communication and interaction
  • Cognition and learning
  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties
  • Sensory and/or Physical Needs

Section One: Trauma-informed Practice

Wiltshire is developing trauma-informed, attachment aware practice across those who work with children, young people, and families. Trauma informed approaches recognise the importance of connected relationships and are helpful when working with everybody, not just those who have experienced trauma. They provide the foundation for promoting positive emotional and mental health.

Five to Thrive: Attachment, Trauma, Resilience, and Emotion Coaching training is available to all settings across Wiltshire, enabling staff to: 

  • support secure attachment: building healthy relationships which are essential to wellbeing
  • promote self-regulation and resilience: better support people to manage their emotions and behaviours   positively which will help strengthen their ability to recover quicker from difficulties
  • be trauma informed: understand the potential impact of trauma on children and young people and know how best to respond
  • understand the impact of adult responses to the behaviour of children, young people and families to improve outcomes
  • develop a common language and understanding

Find out more at https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/children-young-people-fact-five-to-thrive.

Section One: Useful links for SENCOs and useful links for parents

Useful links for SENCos

SEND School Improvement resources (rightchoice.wiltshire.gov.uk) (opens new window)

The Inclusion Toolkit has been designed to support strategic planning of SEND Support within education settings. Many of the elements of the toolkit will support settings to develop provision by providing inclusive environments, effective teaching and accurate assessment of need to support the graduated response.

Right Choice: SSENS resource page (opens new window)
The Specialist SEN Service (SSENS) is a team of Specialist Advisory Teachers, supporting children and young people as part of Wiltshire Council's 0-25 SEND Service.

Whole School SEND (opens new window)
The Whole School SEND website, hosted by nasen, provides you with free, easy access to high quality information, resources and CPD to support a whole school approach to inclusion.

Partnership Opportunities

Our page on partnerships offers a range of multi-agency and educational opportunities including SENCO networks and New to SENCO groups.

School SEND SEF (opens new window)
The SEND SEF is a self-evaluation document which has been designed as a comprehensive support and evaluation tool for schools to understand the current quality of SEND provision and practice, accurately identify areas of strength and effectively plan for development.

Wiltshire Graduated Response to SEND Support (GRSS) (opens new window)

The Wiltshire Graduated Response to SEND Support (GRSS), available within the Right Choice: SSENS resource page (opens new window), provides structures and guidance for SENCOs, teachers and school leaders to support them in putting in place appropriate arrangements to meet their obligations in respect to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. It consists of a Pupil profile that can be completed to aid the "assess, plan, do, review" graduated approach outlined in the SEND Code of Practice and an associated Guidance section.

Documents available within Right Choice: SSENS resource page (opens new window)

  • GRSS Guidance
  • KS1 GRSS
  • KS2 GRSS
  • KS3 and 4 GRSS

HCRG Care Group: Supporting documentation (opens new window)
A list of services that require additional information, as well as the links to download the appropriate documents (where applicable) for each clinical pathway.

Wiltshire Music Connect (opens new window)

Wiltshire Music Connect helps join education commisioners, children and young people in our county with a broad range of music making opportunities and experiences to complement and support what schools offer.

Useful links for parents

Wiltshire Local Offer
The Local Offer provides information on the services available for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) aged between 0 to 25, and how to access them.

Parenting courses
Being a parent can be amazing, but we all need some help, advice, and practical tips at times. Parenting courses can provide support and guidance to parents and carers if you're struggling with the behaviour of a child, would like support to address issues around parenting teenagers, or are simply seeking some hints and tips on parenting in the company of other parents and carers.

Wiltshire Parent Carer Council (WPCC) (opens new window)

The WPCC provides a specialist consultation and participation service that enables parents and carers to voice their opinions about the services and support that their families receive.

Wiltshire SENDIASS (opens new window)

Wiltshire SENDIASS provides a free, confidential and impartial support service to children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), and their parents and carers.

Wiltshire Sigle Point of Access (SPA) (opens new window)
Our Single Point of Access (SPA) is the key point of contact for children, young people, families, GPs and health and social care professionals to access advice and support from all Wiltshire Children's Community Services. It is essentially the single 'front door' for all of our services!

Jargon Buster
A comprehensive guide to acronyms used by special educational needs and disability services.

Section One: Partnership with parents, carers and young people

​​​​​Broadly speaking much of this section will be an integral part of the setting's provision for all children. It outlines some of the practices and adaptations that are part and parcel of quality first teaching. The provision and strategies outlined in this section may be required for CYP with SEN and/or disabilities but will undoubtedly be of benefit to many of the CYP in the setting.

Expectations of all settingsStrategies

The setting works in partnership with parent carers and CYP in decision making

  • The school SEND information report is co-produced with parent carers; visit SEND School Improvement resources (rightchoice.wiltshire.gov.uk) (opens new window) for Wiltshire Council training to ensure this is compliant
  • Parent carers are signposted to Wiltshire's Local Offer. This is referenced on the setting's website
  • Parent carers are aware of the range of communication channels available for sharing information about their child
  • Parent carers are aware of the SEN status of their child and the provision to support, including any individually tailored interventions in place. They are involved in setting and reviewing targets for their child
  • Formal and informal events take place to seek views in relation to SEN provision in the settings e.g. CYP and parent/carer surveys, coffee mornings
  • Use of a home and setting diary / book bag / messaging and social media to support communication directly with parent carers in addition to communication given via CYP

The key principles of the SEN Code of Practice should be applied in all settings and throughout the CYPs learning journey

  • The views, wishes and feelings of the CYP and the child's parents
  • The importance of the CYP and parents, participating as fully as possible in decisions, and being provided with the information and support necessary to enable participation in those decisions
  • The need to support the CYP and the child's parents in order to facilitate the development of the CYP and to help them achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes, preparing them effectively for adulthood. (SEND code of practice (opens new window))

An effective partnership with CYP and parent carers is evident through their participation

Section One: assessment, pastoral, the physical and sensory environment, teaching and learning strategies

Assessment
Expectations of all settingsStrategies

A regular cycle of Assess, Plan, Do, Review is used to ensure that CYP with SEND are making progress. Staff should ensure that formative assessment and feedback are a feature of teaching and learning.

Expertise is in place to manage reasonable examination arrangements (access arrangements) for assessments, national tests and public examinations.

Settings make adaptations to assessment arrangements based on the CYP's normal way of working and reasonable adjustments used to enable the CYP access their learning. Refer to the relevant exam board guidelines. Arrangements could include:

  • rest breaks
  • use of a reader, scribe or laptop
  • extra time
  • Adapted resources are used in class and assessments
Pastoral
Expectations of all settingsStrategies

The setting recognises, and responds to, the need for pastoral support for CYP with SEND, bearing in mind the individual's social and emotional needs and other relevant contextual circumstances.

  • Trauma-informed practice is supported across the curriculum
  • There is a calm and purposeful climate for learning where CYP feel they belong, and their contributions are valued
  • CYP can identify an agreed safe space
  • Language used demonstrates unconditional positive regard for CYP (e.g. Relational Approaches; Attachment-aware practice)
  • Awareness that CYP with SEND are vulnerable to bullying and an appropriate level of support and monitoring is in place.
  • Aspects of the curriculum are used to develop wellbeing and resilience
  • Peer awareness and sensitivity towards difference (including SEND) are raised at a whole setting level. Work is done with classes and groups regarding specific needs or conditions as appropriate.

CYP feels safe and valued. They know that they can approach staff and that their opinions and concerns are valued.

  • A named adult/key person provides a stable point of reference when required
  • Negative attitudes, beliefs and perceptions towards individuals and groups are challenged
  • CYP voice is encouraged and acted on
The physical and sensory environment
Expectations of all settingsStrategies

The physical environment is adapted to meet the needs of CYP.

  • "reasonable adjustments" are made according to individual needs
  • The furniture is the appropriate size/height for the CYP
  • Extra-curricular activities and educational visits are planned to fully include CYP with SEND (in line with the Equalities Act 2010), including those with SEMH and physical disabilities. "Reasonable adjustments" are made
  • CYP's views are routinely sought and are used to inform planning for physical or sensory adaptations that they may require

Staff are aware of sensory needs and issues that may impact on CYP.

  • CYP sensory needs are known and used to plan the environment, including seating arrangements and movement breaks
  • Left and right-handed CYP are able to use equipment comfortably and seated so that they don't knock each other as they write/draw
  • CYP who wear glasses and/or hearing aids wear them and are seated in the optimum position
  • Displays are meaningful and visually accessible to reduce sensory overload
  • Staff are aware of lighting in the room e.g. use of natural light, glare from the board, where you stand in relation to the light
  • Use of pale background and accessible font styles on the whiteboard
  • Staff are aware of smells and noise in the room and any particular individuals who may be significantly impacted by these. E.g. room next to the canteen or music room
Teaching and learning strategies
Expectations of all settingsStrategies

Staff differentiate to provide suitable learning challenges and cater for different learning needs and styles.

Use of success criteria or similar to promote independence, scaffold and support.

  • Metacognitive processes such as modelling, cueing, prompting, and self-scaffolding are used to aid understanding and promote independence
  • Visual/audio demonstrations and visual cues/audio commentary are used; key vocabulary is displayed with visual
  • Alternatives to written recording are used routinely
  • Skills to promote independent learning and/or study skills are explicitly taught, CYP have access to homework clubs, or additional support with homework
  • Homework is differentiated appropriately for CYP
  • Staff handwriting on the board, working walls and in CYP's books is clear and legible
  • Technology e.g. interactive whiteboard, tablets etc are used to effectively promote engagement and scaffold the learning

Staff ensure that CYP have opportunities to work in different ways e.g. independently, in a variety of small groups and/or in pairs.

  • Strategies are used to actively promote independent learning e.g. through pre-teaching, overlearning, appropriately differentiated resources
  • Seating plans and groupings take account of individual needs and routinely provide opportunities for access to role-models, mixed-ability groups, structured opportunities for conversation and sharing of ideas and access to additional adults where they are available
  • Use of additional adults is planned to maximise their impact on learning
  • CYP are explicitly taught appropriate skills to manage routines and independence
  • Relational practices are used to build and maintain positive relationships across the whole setting community

Staff provide opportunities for collaborative learning and peer support.

There are opportunities to develop peer awareness/sensitivity and support for different needs and disabilities both in and out of the classroom

Section One: Resources, staff skills and training, transition and transfer

Resources
Expectations of all settingsStrategies
Resources are allocated appropriately to ensure additional needs are met. Quality and impact of support is reviewed.
Specific resources and strategies are provided to overcome potential barriers to learning. 
Increased use of ICT resources.
  • Resources are within easy reach of CYP to promote independence and reduce stigma.
  • CYP have easy access to sensory equipment that they require, e.g. writing slopes, pencil grips, wobble cushions, fidget toys, ear defenders, and weighted blankets.
  • Resources are clear and uncluttered, labelled using text and images. Print size and font is appropriate. Coloured backgrounds and paper are used to reduce visual stress.
  • Physical resources such as PE and Maths equipment are adapted to promote independence e.g. different size balls.
  • Tangible apparatus and adapted resources are available for those CYP who require it.
  • CYP are taught how to use these resources effectively. 
  • Technology is used to support alternatives to written recording and to promote independent learning.
  • The skills to use specific resources are taught e.g. touch typing. 
Staff skills and training
Expectations of all settingsStrategies
All staff make a positive contribution to progress.
  • Additional adults are deployed proactively and their impact on the CYP is monitored carefully to ensure progress is supported and maintained.
  • Grouping/seating arrangements and additional support are used to promote independent learning as far as possible.
  • Strategies taught and used in interventions are integrated into teaching so that CYP can sustain progress within the classroom.
There is a plan for ongoing Continuing 
Professional 
Development (CPD) in relation to the needs of the CYP.
  • There is a planned programme of ongoing CPD (opens new window) (see 'Blank CPD Rolling Programme' under the heading 'Efficient Use of Resources') in relation to SEND for the whole setting and individual teams and departments.
  • Best practice is shared within the setting and with other settings in the county through a variety of means, including Wiltshire's online OPAL resource and SENCO network meetings (see Right Choice for SENCO network meetings). 
Staff collaborate and have effective links with other relevant outside agencies and specialists.
  • Staff know when and how to refer for extra support or advice.
  • The setting is aware of and regularly communicates with any other professionals who are involved with each CYP.
  • Advice received from other professionals is used to inform teaching and learning.
Transition and transfer
Expectations of all settingsStrategies
Support is in place for routine and life transitions when required.Transitions include:
  • moving around the setting
  • preparing for weekends, the start of holidays and beginning of term
  • moving from lesson to lesson
  • changing from structured to unstructured times
  • moving from one activity to the next within a lesson
  • changes of staff - permanent and temporary
  • special events: visitors, visits, celebrations
  • life events: birth of a sibling, change in parenting arrangements e.g.
    change in parent/carers relationship status, loss and bereavement or contact visits
  • puberty
Staff are aware of those who will need additional support for all or most transitions and plan for these transitions. This includes CYP who:
  • have insecure attachment, including but not limited to Looked After Children, Children who are subject to Child in Need or Child Protection Plan and Service Pupils
  • have social communication difficulty  
  • are neuro-diverse (ND)
  • suffered trauma, loss, or bereavement
  • are anxious
  • Safe spaces are available within the room or an identified area within the setting. 
  • Visual timetables are used, events are removed or ticked off when finished. These may also include an "oops" for when things change unexpectedly. 
  • Timers are used to show CYP how long they have to work for/how long they have to finish.
  • Opportunities for periods of respite using withdrawal to smaller groups. This might include self-directed/individual time-out.
  • Plans are made for unstructured times: safe spaces are available; there are structured alternatives such as games club or use of the library for vulnerable CYP.
  • Alternative activities, structures or routines are in place dependent on individual needs.
Procedures are in place for ensuring smooth progression within and between settings, particularly during all transition phases, including on entry and exit.
  • Information is actively sought and shared about CYP to support successful transitions and manage change both within the setting and beyond.
  • This information is available for the CYP's parent carers, other colleagues within the setting and receiving or previous settings as required.
  • Staff are aware of CYP who need additional support while transitions and adjustments are made, e.g. additional visits to a new setting/classroom with a familiar trusted adult, creating social stories.

 

Section Two: Communication and Interaction

This includes children and young people with speech, language and communication needs, young people on the autistic spectrum, or those who have communication or interaction needs as part of another special educational need or disability. This provision should be in addition to the expectations in section one.

General expected practice

  • Whole setting awareness and understanding of communication and interaction needs
  • Communication friendly approaches embedded across the curriculum: Speech and Language UK: Resources (opens new window)
  • CYP will access strategies and resources typically available, with an emphasis on visual teaching aids to support learning and social activities
  • Tasks may need to be differentiated by level/ outcome/pitch/pace and grouping. Aspects of structured teaching might be helpful
  • Staff are skilled in adjusting the pace and order of activities to maintain interest and attention
Identified barrier and/or needProvision and/or strategies: approaches, adjustments and specific interventions expected to be made by settings according to the ages

Difficulties saying what they want to

  • build confidence through specific praise and support where needed e.g. prompting with first word, encouragement to re-order ideas, visual support
  • model language, eg: CYP says "ball gone" , adult says "the ball's gone in the box"
  • allow time for child to process and respond (10 second rule)
  • ensure different uses of language with the pupil such as comments, instructions and questions e.g. "You've built a big tower" "Sit down now" "What are you making?"
  • provide opportunities to talk without interruption, practice new vocabulary and talk to adults/in small group rather than in whole class
  • model use of language in social contexts e.g. "My turn... your turn", "Yes please",  "No thanks", "Good morning!"
  • consistent practice of one developmentally appropriate error e.g. -ed endings such as "walked" through reading, talking and at home
  • explicit teaching of new vocabulary e.g. subject-based word banks
  • if the pupil struggles to respond, offer an alternative e.g. "Is it... or...?"
  • targeted small group or individual language sessions

Difficulties with intelligibility and being understood

  • model back language and respond to the CYP's message regardless of any mistakes with pronunciation, e.g. if CYP asks "Where's the dup (cup)?" responding "The cup is here"
  • build confidence through specific praise e.g. for successful pronunciation or good attempts
  • don't pretend to understand - can the CYP tell you/show you in another way?

Difficulties with understanding

  • provide a language rich environment through rhymes, songs, good quality texts
  • anticipate and plan for difficulties when listening to and understanding instructions or stories
  • allow extra time to process what has been said
  • check you have engaged the CYP's attention before talking to them, use their name
  • use clear, concise language with information given in small chunks. Use first, then, next
  • provide visual support for verbal content and instructions, including visual prompts for key vocabulary and visual timetables
  • regularly check understanding by asking the pupil to show you or explain the instructions in their own words
  • give strategies to indicate when they have not understood, and model how to do this if necessary
  • relate content to prior learning or the CYP's direct experience whenever possible
  • check that hearing has been tested
  • provide alternative means of communicating e.g. use of technology, symbol communication (e.g. Makaton, PECS, Aided Language Boards)
  • use multi-sensory approaches to teach new vocabulary and concepts and opportunities for repetition and reinforcement
  • differentiate level of questioning to suit individual CYP e.g. "what/where" questions easier than "when/why"

CYP does not understand or use neurotypical social rules of communication

  • Explicit teaching of important skills and rules of social interaction, with modelling and use of key phrases, e.g. 'First my turn, then your turn'. This may be best taught in a small social skills group with support to transfer the skill to other contexts
  • Ensure all staff are aware of pupil's difficulties and support rather than sanction e.g. if pupil inadvertently uses the wrong tone of voice
  • Buddy/befriender system at break and lunchtimes and safe-haven to use when necessary
  • Support for interpersonal problem-solving to promote assertiveness and negotiation e.g. categorising the relative importance of problems, visual supports to express feelings, comic strip conversations
  • Develop pupils' awareness of situations that may be difficult and encourage pupil to use appropriate strategies
  • Use of visual support to define areas, structure play and enable choices, e.g. choice boards, boxes labelled with pictures, cues for number of pupils allowed in an area, language jigs, social stories, emotional thermometers
  • Give pupil a specific role in group work and support the interaction with peers or consider providing and alternative individual task to complete if group work is proving too difficult
  • Understand and manage health and safety considerations, e.g. interest in sockets/fans with lack of awareness of danger
  • Provide small group nurturing for specific issues, e.g. Year 7 discussion re: transition, identified adults to talk to
  • Provide support with understanding the views of others and developing tolerance e.g. may hold extreme or non-age appropriate views

Difficulties with listening and attention

  • use the CYP's name first to draw their attention, followed by key word instructions e.g. 'Jamie, stop'
  • use visual supports to support good listening e.g. widget symbols
  • use simple, literal, language (avoiding idioms, sarcasm, and figures of speech)
  • use of symbol communication such as Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
  • be very aware of your own body language (70% of what we communicate is non-verbal)
  • awareness of appropriate tone of voice (calm, not too loud)
  • awareness of appropriate environment (noise, room temperature, lighting, room layout)
  • ensure language use is developmentally appropriate for the CYP
  • use specific positive reinforcement for good listening behaviour e.g. "good sitting still" rather than "Good boy"

Difficulties with flexible thinking and/or anxiety

  • Provide a calm, structured environment with clear routines and expectations and visual support and/or timetable
  • Ensure preparation for change of activity or routine
  • Extra support and identified strategies to manage time limited tasks, transitions and unexpected events e.g. use of timer, additional time, surprise card, first-next board
  • Teach strategies to deal with stressful events and identify strategy if pupil needs to be withdrawn e.g. a selection of anxiety reducing activities
  • Minimise choice, eg: provide two positive options
  • Regular mentor support, including adults or peers
  • Use Social stories to support understanding of different situations

Sensitivity to sensory stimuli

  • be aware of the pupil's sensory profile and typical triggers, use a Sensory checklist to investigate
  • anticipate sensory overload in order to intervene at an early stage. Discuss with parent carers about how sensory overload is managed at home
  • sensory or regulatory breaks and snacks. The 4 R's of co-regulation - Regulate, Relate, Reflect and Repair (Louise Bomber)
  • be flexible with uniform policy
  • consider the environment e.g. noise, room temperature, visual stimuli, proximity
  • maintain a flexible approach to transitions e.g. between lessons and to and from the setting
  • provide access to a calm, safe space
  • give opportunities for sensory circuits and sensory rooms or resources
  • staff to work together with other professionals to share strategies and advice to support the CYP's sensory diet

Physical outbursts causing harm to others and/or to self and/or damage to property

  • a consistent approach to managing individuals with reasonable adjustments made
  • recognise that behaviour is a communication and understand the CYP unmet needs
  • understanding the frequency and location of triggers
  • communication with families about what might be happening at home (e.g. divorce, bereavement, illness), strategies that work/don't work and relaying this information to staff
  • preventative strategies in place
  • provide a safe area/reflection room
  • appropriate relationship-based de-escalation and regulation strategies in place
  • risk management plan in place
  • Use of co-constructed reintegration plans A clear plan of action, agreed with parent carers with regard to physical intervention
  • See Section Two: Social, emotional and mental health difficulties

Sources of Support

Section Two: Cognition and learning

This includes children and young people who have specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, general learning difficulties or delay, or those who have cognition and learning needs as part of another special educational need or disability. This provision should be in addition to the expectations in section one.

General expected practices

Identified barrier and/or needProvision and/or strategies: approaches, adjustments and specific interventions expected to be made by settings according to the ages

Specific learning difficulties affecting one or more specific aspect of learning, e.g. literacy difficulties, numeracy difficulties or specific language impairment. For all areas of need any provision or support should be provided in line with the needs of the CYP and is not dependant on any formal diagnosis

  • assessment through teaching to identify the areas of need in consultation with the CYP or observation if more appropriate
  • metacognition approaches - learning to learn e.g. by trying to understand the CYP's difficulty and asking them what helps
  • recognising and celebrating success in other areas of their life
  • appropriate adaptations made e.g. font, coloured paper, line spacing, lighting, overlays, adaptation, technology - led by the needs of the CYP and what they find helpful
  • staff will have been informed of what strategies or approaches to use in line with advice from assessments or consultation
  • evidence based interventions to develop skills e.g., spelling, handwriting, literacy, numeracy (Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) (opens new window) or Evidence 4 Impact (opens new window))

Generalised learning difficulties, e.g. difficulties across the curriculum but with some areas of strength.
CYP with an uneven profile of skills and attainment

  • adjustment, modification and differentiation of the curriculum, right across the board, to enable the CYP to fully access the curriculum
  • active learning, concrete, pictorial and pragmatic approaches to learning
  • emphasis on self-actualisation - activities designed to develop skills which will support them to become independent and resilient learners
  • support to manage self-esteem - celebration of strengths, reinforcement of success 
  • pre-teaching of content and subject-specific vocabulary
  • reasonable adjustments to support slow speed of processing e.g., providing, thinking time, reducing the task
  • support for homework e.g. support for accurate recording of homework, differentiated tasks as standard for all children, lunchtime drop in sessions using school online homework portals
  • close monitoring of attendance

Sources of support

Section Two: Social, emotional and mental health difficulties

This includes children and young people who experience difficulties with their emotions and their wellbeing, and those who have difficulties with social interactions. Needs in this area can appear in a number of different ways, including becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. This provision should be in addition to the expectations in section one.

General expected practices

Schools should employ a graduated response to meeting children and young people's SEMH needs. It is essential that this starts with a whole school approach and ethos in understanding and supporting social, emotional and mental health, and includes engagement with parents and the community. It includes high quality teaching for all students, ranging to targeted interventions for groups of pupils or individuals and, lastly, specialist interventions for those with the most complex needs.

The first step should always be to support pupils to feel a sense of belonging in school and to enjoy genuine, trusting relationships with one or more staff members. This is the foundation on which any further strategies or approaches need to be built upon.

  • use of trauma-informed practice, eg: Five to Thrive
  • use of whole setting approaches to promote wellbeing and resilience
  • policy and practice underpinned by relational approaches
  • use of relational and restorative practice to build, maintain and repair relationships
  • all behaviour should be understood as a form of communication
  • identification of key adult to build positive and trusting relationship
  • anti-bullying work
  • small group or 1 to 1 work with ELSA or equivalent
  • support available for staff working with CYP with SEMH via group or individual supervision or debrief sessions
  • emphasis on choice rather than control and "take up time" to respond to choice whenever possible
  • use of distraction techniques and giving responsibility
  • explicitly teaching de-escalation and self- regulation strategies - adults as stress and shame regulators through co-regulation
  • explicitly teach rules and routines, build self-esteem and develop social and emotional skills to all CYP including through use of PSHE, circle time and curriculum approaches
  • use of nurture principles nurtureuk: What is nurture? (opens new window)
  • close monitoring of attendance and proactive approach to Emotional Based School Avoidance (EBSA): https://rightchoice.wiltshire.gov.uk/Page/19873 (opens new window)
Identified barrier and/or needProvision and/or strategies: approaches, adjustments and specific interventions expected to be made by settings according to the ages

Difficulties participating and presenting as withdrawn or isolated

  • relationships are key: develop relationship with key adult - using relational practice and the PACE approach, attune to understand, share and acknowledge the CYP's experiences
  • develop belonging within the school community: provide roles or responsibilities in school, support friendships, encourage participation in extra curricular activities
  • assessment through teaching - e.g. are there parts of the curriculum that they find easier to manage than others? Use these to develop confidence
  • small group work e.g. friendship or social skills, nurture groups
  • ELSA or equivalent sessions with a trusted adult
  • backward chaining - bringing learner in at the end of assembly or school day
  • where age appropriate, make use of play based activities
  • establish interests, create opportunities to practise new things
  • buddying/peer mentoring
  • giving responsibility for looking after someone else
  • allow flexibility in curriculum and routine
  • emotionally based school avoidance https://rightchoice.wiltshire.gov.uk/Page/19873 (opens new window)

Displaying behaviours that challenge e.g. refusal to follow instructions, aggression, damage to property

  • adopt a relational approach to behaviour as a school-wide policy. Encourage self-reflection whereby staff can reflect on their own interactions and responses and consider whether an alternative response could lead to a different outcome?
  • ensure reasonable adjustments are made in order to differentiate for SEMH in the same way that we differentiate for learning
  • maintain a consistent messaging but flexible approach, e.g. "I want you to be in class learning" is the consistent message, but the approach to support this happening may vary or be flexible depending on individual needs
  • understand the basis for the behaviour e.g. what is the history/context?
  • understand that behaviour is a method of communication e.g. what purpose is the behaviour trying to achieve for the CYP? What are they trying to tell us with their behaviour? What need are they trying to meet?  What skills do they need to be taught?
  • use of choices to allow the CYP some control with the same end result e.g. would you like to complete this on the computer or hand write it?
  • teach the CYP different ways to get their needs met? E.g. develop social skills, strategies to regulate their emotions
  • develop readiness to learn through regulation strategies use restorative approaches
  • use of individual behaviour plans, Pastoral Support Plans and risk assessments
  • consideration of the routine, timetable, and transitions. Make stress as predictable, moderate, and controllable as we can
  • ensure all expectations are clear and explicit
  • staff to be aware of and monitor their own regulation and swap with another staff member when needed
  • detailed transition between year groups/phases of education
  • professional meetings to understand the behaviour
  • maintain positive communication with home/family e.g. what is going on at home, other agencies involvement
  • ensure support plans are regularly reviewed
  • ensure a consistent, whole-school approach to support strategies

Physical symptoms that are medically unexplained e.g. soiling, stomach pains

  • be curious and listen to the CYP
  • provide activities that are stress reducing e.g. games, dance, colouring, gardening, animals, outdoor activity and play, messy play, sensory activities
  • Keep a log and analyse pattern or trends to identify triggers

Attention difficulties

N.B. any provision or support should be provided in line with the needs of the CYP and is NOT dependant on any formal diagnosis

  • liaison with school nurse
  • understand the reasons, look for patterns
  • allow plenty of time for movement or frequent small concentration periods, sensory breaks and regulation activities
  • have a clear structure to the day
  • have clear expectations regarding behaviours and a clear and consistent response to behaviours
  • being aware of times of the day that may be more difficult, break down activities and verbal information into manageable chunks
  • Consideration of application of any reasonable adjustments that need to be made in line with the Equalities legislation

Developmental trauma and attachment difficulties

Low level disruption or attention needing behaviours, e.g.  frequent interruptions to learning, fiddling with objects
(See section on sensory and physical needs regarding physical sensitivity)

  • differentiated use of voice, gesture and body language
  • focus on reducing anxiety and thereby behaviours
  • flexible and creative use of rewards and consequences e.g. 'catch them being good'
  • positive reinforcement of expectations through verbal scripts and visual prompts
  • Provide a safe space in the setting
  • Consider giving sensory or regulatory breaks. 4 R's of co-regulation - Regulate, Relate, Reflect and Repair (TouchBase: Meet the team - Louise Michelle Bombèr (opens new window))

Difficulty in making and maintaining healthy relationships

  • small group/nurture group activities to support personal, social and emotional development
  • a range of differentiated opportunities for social and emotional development e.g. buddy systems, friendship strategies, circle time
  • adopt school-wide relational approaches

Difficulties following and accepting adult direction

  • put relationships at the centre of interactions with learners
  • look for patterns and triggers to identify what may be causing behaviours
  • positive scripts - positive language to re-direct, reinforce expectations e.g. use of others as role models
  • calming scripts to de-escalate, including for example, use of sand timers for calming and de-escalation time
  • limited choices to engage and motivate
  • flexible and creative use of rewards and consequences e.g. 'catch them being good' sticker charts
  • follow-lead-follow activities (reciprocal interaction)
  • provide structure-consistency without rigidity
  • visual timetable and use of visual cues i.e. sand timers to support sharing

Presenting as significantly unhappy or stressed. Behaviours that may reflect

  • Anxiety/depression
  • Self-harming
  • Substance misuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Developmental trauma
  • identify and build on preferred learning styles
  • provide a safe place/quiet area in the setting
  • feedback used to collaborate and plan with parent/carer, to ensure consistency between the home and setting
  • use of social stories to identify triggers and means of overcoming them
  • understanding what lies behind the behaviours
  • multi-professional approach (eg: MHST/BSS/EPS/Early Years Inclusion Team) looking at the history, when did the behaviour start to change?
  • liaison and collaboration with home to understand the wider context
  • provide sensory or regulatory breaks
  • encourage substitutes for self-harming behaviours e.g. elastic bands, marbles - after training on self-harm or seeking advice from MH professionals (MHST or CAMHS) National Self-Harm Network

Patterns of non- attendance

Sources of support

Section Two: Sensory and/or physical needs

General expected practices

This provision should be in addition to the expectations in section one.

  • all staff are aware of individual CYP's sensory/physical disability and implications in all teaching and learning environments
  • favourable seating arrangements are identified
  • staff are aware that for some CYP, a sensory or physical disability could impact on their language and social interaction
  • staff should be aware of how to use appropriate equipment issued to the CYP in order to help access to education; this equipment should be checked and used appropriately and any issues/faults should be addressed in a timely fashion
  • staff should ensure that all CYP have understood all instructions
Identified barrier and/or needProvision and/or strategies: approaches, adjustments and specific interventions expected to be made by settings according to the ages and stages of the CYP
Hearing needs

Staff to work together with other professionals to share strategies and advice to support the child or young person with a hearing needs as advised by Qualified Teacher of the Deaf.

Communication Strategies
Adults should:

  • staff to work together with other professionals to share strategies and advice
  • be made aware how best to support in school
  • have appropriate training
  • be aware the CYP may use lip-reading and visual clues to support their hearing. Ensure that they are able to see lip patterns when you are giving instructions; try not to move around the room whilst talking
  • deliver instructions clearly and at normal conversational level
  • check the lesson content has been heard and understood, particularly when delivering new information, instructions or homework; and/or using unfamiliar vocabulary
  • repeat/rephrase pertinent comments made by other members of the class
  • be aware that during PE or Games lessons and practical subjects it will be more difficult to follow instructions
  • encourage good listening behaviour: sitting still, looking and listening
  • enable CYP to have time to respond verbally
  • use CYP's name to gain their attention before speaking to them

The CYP with a hearing need should:

  • be seated appropriately with clear view of adult's face and any visual material used
  • if the CYP has a unilateral loss - sit at front with better ear nearest to the speaker
  • be encouraged to ask when not sure what to do and encourage to access resources independently

Access to the Curriculum

  • words spoken on an audio/visual recording may need a person to repeat what is being said, provide written copy and/or use subtitles
  • visual reinforcement
  • pre and post tutoring to introduce vocabulary and concepts
  • apply appropriate exam concessions

Deaf Friendly Classroom

  • carpeting, soft furnishing, rubber feet on the table and chair legs etc. will reduce noise
  • CYP should be seated away from any source of noise e.g. window, corridor, fan heater, projector, the centre of the room etc.
  • minimise background noise and maintain a quiet working environment, particularly for specific listening work
  • visual timetable and use of visual cues i.e. sand timers to support sharing
  • appropriate safety and deliver and/or signpost to appropriate interventions
  • appropriate evacuation procedures in place
  • planned and unplanned breaks as appropriate
  • promote positive attitudes towards hearing needs within the school environment
  • differentiated activities should reflect CYP individual needs to ensure full access to the curriculum
  • access to IT as appropriate

Audiological Management

  • staff working with the CYP HI should understand the use of hearing aids, radio aids and any other appropriate equipment; training will be provided by the Hearing Team as required

Social and Emotional Wellbeing

  • pastoral support to support social, emotional and mental health
  • encourage and facilitate social interactions with peers
Visual needs
  • staff to work together with other professionals to share strategies and advice to support the child or young person as advised by Qualified Teacher for the Visually Impaired (QTVI) and/or Habilitation Specialist
  • promote positive attitudes towards people with visual needs within the school environment and local communities, with advice from the Vision Support Team
  • plan and deliver differentiated classroom activities to reflect student's individual needs and ensure full access to all activities as well as support social, emotional, communication and physical skills
  • additional time to complete tasks
  • language mediation of visual information which is beyond CYP visual reach e.g. use auditory reinforcements
  • post and pre tutoring to ensure concepts are understood
  • provide uncluttered space and plain backgrounds to help the CYP person focus on the appropriate object
  • provide access to quieter learning environments at times if necessary
  • support to promote full social inclusion and to develop social skills
  • differentiated and modified visual learning material e.g. recommended print size and font type, decluttered, wider spacing, different coloured paper, modification of task at source
  • provision of stationery e.g., bold lined/squared paper, coloured paper, writing slopes, coloured glue sticks
  • large print library books and talking books
  • bold writing pens
  • use of real objects to support concept development and understanding
  • access to larger and tactile learning materials e.g. real life objects, tactile maps and globes, VI protractors and rulers
  • provide exam access arrangements as advised
  • use of ICT for example, iPad connected to whiteboard and electronic books
  • reading apps. E.g. Dolphin Easy Reader App
  • touch typing and touch typing programme when required to improve recording
  • use of magnification and accessibility features in IT/technology. E.g. visualisers, low vision aids iPads/tablets
  • support in practical lessons for Health & Safety
  • adapted PE activities e.g., brightly contrasting equipment
  • line marking and visually friendly environments as per environmental audit and similar interventions suggested by Habilitation Specialist or QTVI
  • implement strategies advised by Habilitation Specialist
  • take account of mobility needs such as accessing mobility training
  • equipment for life skills/curriculum activities e.g., talking scales
  • provide additional resources for inclusive play, for example a bell in the ball, so all can play together
Physical disability

Settings can access the Physical and Medical Right Choice section for support and advice by visiting: Right Choice: Physical and Medical Needs (opens new window)

The children and young people with a physical disability should:

  • have their voice heard and responded to. 
  • be included in the discussions around differentiation and adaptations.  
  • have appropriate access to their learning environment.

Accessibility within the setting:

  • setting to have an ongoing accessibility plan with timely updates and planned work. 
  • flexible school policies and expectations to accommodate physical and medical needs.
  • appropriate access to the environment such as accessible bathroom, ramps etc. 
  • all rooms have suitable seating / table / work surface access.  
  • height adjustable or lower tables to be used for subjects such as Science, DT, Art and Food Technology
  • timetable rooms or external areas with access requirements considered including alternative social areas. 
  • consideration of storage space for equipment.
  • setting employer has responsibility for the writing and review of risk assessments, PEEP and relevant plans.
  • provide accessible transport and accessible off-site day and residential trips.

Access to curriculum:

  • CYP to be fully included in all aspects of school life including PE and off-site trips and residential breaks.
  • teachers to plan a fully inclusive curriculum including time for transition between subjects. Relevant risk assessments for practical subjects to allow access. 
  • have what the CYP 'can do' as the start point. Use adult support flexibly to promote independence. 
  • ensure the CYP has access to any equipment they require such as a laptop, iPad and these are charged and linked to the relevant network with correct accessibility features set up.  
  • timetable, where possible, classrooms on the ground floor and reduce unnecessary journeys.
  • where appropriate, provide opportunities to integrate therapy programmes as advised. 

Teachers may need to make reasonable adaptations such as: 

  • use of technology including voice activation 
  • emailing documents to devices in advance
  • uploading work online
  • providing a copy of documents to reduce writing demands.
  • prior differentiation communication with support staff.

Additional Provision:

  • appropriate staffing and hygienic toileting facilities that respect the dignity and privacy of the CYP 
  • ensure equipment is regularly checked, cleaned and where relevant charged
  • staff are trained to use the equipment & the risk assessments are provided and reviewed by setting at least annually
  • cleaning protocols of equipment on site
  • where relevant, make arrangements to ensure the CYP's personal and dietary needs are met
  • clear medication protocol in setting including risk assessments and storage as well as administering
  • Trained staff to meet the CYP physical needs such as manual handling, medication administration, therapy programmes
  • support internal and external transition
  • ensure Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans as well as Toilet Management Plans are in place when relevant
  • setting to accommodate medical appointments and surgery by attendance at meetings, alternative work, extension of deadlines
  • engagement with relevant professionals and external educational providers such as MNERS

Social and emotional wellbeing:

  • pastoral support for social, emotional and mental health
  • encourage and facilitate social interactions with peers
  • close liaison between home and setting to promote well-being
  • seek the CYP views about their inclusion in special events and school trips, to ensure all anxieties and barriers are discussed and removed
Severe and complex medical needs including a life threatening or life limiting diagnosis or condition

Settings can access the Physical and Medical Right Choice section for support and advice by visiting: Right Choice: Physical and Medical Needs (opens new window)

The CYP with a severe medical need should:

  • have their voice heard and responded to
  • be included in the discussions around differentiation and adaptations
  • have appropriate access to their learning environment
  • have medical interventions integrated into the school day with minimal disruption to their curriculum learning

Accessibility within the setting:

  • setting to have an ongoing accessibility plan with timely updates and planned work
  • provide an appropriate space for medical/hygiene intervention
  • flexible school policies and expectations to accommodate physical and medical needs
  • timetable rooms or external areas with access requirements considered including alternative social areas
  • consideration of storage space for equipment
  • setting employer has responsibility for the writing and review of risk assessments, PEEP and relevant plans
  • provide accessible transport and accessible off-site day and residential trips

Access to the curriculum:

  • CYP to be fully included in all aspects of school life including PE and off-site trips and residential breaks
  • teachers to plan a fully inclusive curriculum including time for transition between subjects; relevant risk assessments for practical subjects to allow access
  • have what the CYP 'can do' as the start point. Use adult support flexibly to promote independence
  • teachers may need to make reasonable adaptations such as:
    Use of technology including voice activation
    Emailing documents to devices in advance
    Uploading work online
    Providing a copy of documents to reduce writing demands
  • prior differentiation communication with support staff
  • ensure the CYP has access to any equipment they require such as a laptop, iPad and these are charged and linked to the relevant network with correct accessibility features set up
  • timetable, where possible, classrooms on the ground floor and reduce unnecessary journeys
  • where appropriate, provide opportunities to integrate therapy programmes as advised
  • support internal and external transition

Equipment/ medication and health management:

  • clear medication protocol in setting including risk assessments and storage as well as administering
  • appropriate staffing and hygienic facilities that respect the dignity and privacy of the CYP
  • identify staff and a process to ensure all medication and resources are on site and to request more supplies from home, as needed
  • staff are trained to administer the medication/procedure and the risk assessments are reviewed by setting at least annually
  • setting to liaise with the health professionals providing the training and consider staff consistency
  • staff should follow the CYP's care plan
  • ensure Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans as well as Toilet Management Plans are in place when relevant
  • setting to accommodate medical appointments and surgery by attendance at meetings, alternative work, extension of deadlines
  • engagement with relevant professionals and external educational providers such as MNERS
  • staff to be trained and aware of bereavement policies, where appropriate

Social and emotional well-being:

  • pastoral support for social, emotional and mental health
  • encourage and facilitate social interactions with peers
  • close liaison between home and setting to promote well-being
  • seek the CYP views about their inclusion in special events and school trips, to ensure all anxieties and barriers are discussed and removed

Sources of support

Further Reading

If you would like to visit the collaborative work that led to the current version it can be found via the following links:

For further SEND development opportunities for schools and settings visit:

Partnerships

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