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Special Educational Needs and Inclusion Policy

Greenwood is an Infant School with a Nursery Unit attached. The children then transfer to Strandtown Primary for the remainder of their primary education, year four to seven.

The school’s mission statement:

  “Nurturing children for a life of learning”

guides our approach to catering for the needs of all pupils.


Policy Rationale

Greenwood Primary School is committed to providing equal access for all our pupils to the Northern Ireland Curriculum (NIC). We recognise that some pupils during their time at Greenwood may have special educational needs and/or a disability. In the interests of these children we will endeavour to make every reasonable adjustment to provide for their individual needs.

The policy gives information on the procedures and practices the school will follow when assessing and sharing information relating to a child’s educational needs.

The policy is for Board of Governors, staff within the school, parents, pupils and any other professional working in the school context.



To ensure a common understanding of the language used within this policy, the following definitions are explained:

Learning Difficulty

Learning difficulty means that the child has significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children his or her age, and/or has a disability which hinders his or her use of educational facilities. Special education provision means educational provision which is different from, or additional to, the provision made generally for children of comparable age.’                     
(Code of Practice 1998 paragraph: 1.4)


'Someone who has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day to day activities.’

Disability Discrimination Act (1995)


The following extracts from the SENDO 2005 legislation, highlight the provision made for SEN:

‘The new law will strengthen the right to an ordinary school place for children with a Statement, unless it is against the wishes of parents or it is incompatible with the efficient education of others.’

‘Children who have Special Educational needs but do not have a statement, must, except in specific circumstances, be educated in an ordinary school.’      

A rticle 3(1) SENDO 2005

Key Principles of Inclusion

Inclusion is about the quality of children's experience; how they are helped to learn, achieve and participate fully in the life of the school'.

(Removing Barriers to Achievement, 2004)

In order to make sure that we meet our pupils’ needs and include them in all aspects of school life, this SEN policy links closely with other policies such as Behaviour Policy, Child Protection and Pastoral Care.

Categories of Special Needs

Special Educational Needs may be categorised under the following headings:

1.   Cognitive and Learning

a)           Dyslexia/Specific Learning Difficulty

b)           Dyscalculia

c)           Dyspraxia/Developmental Coordination Difficulties

d)           Mild Learning Difficulties

e)           Moderate Learning Difficulties

f)            Severe Learning Difficulties

g)           Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties

h)           Unspecified learning difficulties

2. Social, Emotional and Behavioural

a)           Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

b)           Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

3.   Communication and Interaction

a)           Speech and Language Difficulties

b)           Autism

c)           Asperger’s Syndrome

4. Sensory Difficulties

a)           Severe/profound hearing loss

b)           Mild/moderate hearing loss

c)           Blind

d)           Partially sighted

e)           Multi-sensory impairment

5. Physical

a)           Cerebral Palsy

b)           Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus

c)           Muscular Dystrophy

d)           Significant Accidental Injury

e)           Other

6. Medical Conditions/Syndromes

a)           Epilepsy

b)           Asthma

c)           Diabetes

d)           Anaphylaxis

e)           Down’s Syndrome

f)            Other medical conditions/syndromes

g)           Interaction of Complex Medical Needs

h)           Mental Health Issues

7. Other

Reference:Guidance for Schools: Recording Children with Special Educational Needs – SEN Categories (Department of Education)


Aims of the SEN Policy

The school will endeavour to:


1.  Identify pupils with SEN/Disability as early and accurately as possible using a variety of approaches and in consultation with any other outside agencies.

2.  Ensure full access to the NI Curriculum for pupils with SEN/Disability and the provision of high quality education within a broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated curriculum.

3.  Meet the needs of all pupils who have SEN/Disability by efficient use of available resources.

4.  Ensure that all pupils with SEN/Disability feel valued.  To offer curricular, pastoral and extra- curricular opportunities that allow pupils to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills, so ensuring progress and enhancing success and self-confidence.

5.  Offer a broad curriculum which will promote intellectual, emotional, social and physical progress, to equip our pupils for their current stage and for the future.

6.  Encourage parental involvement in all aspects of SEN provision, particularly with regard to the content of IEPs. Consideration of the wishes of the child, if appropriate to his/her age and understanding, may also be taken into account.

7.  Seek close co-operation between all services and agencies involved with a child in order to achieve an effective multi-disciplinary approach to meeting their needs.

8.   Teach pupils with SEN or a disability, wherever possible, alongside their peers.

9.   Create a recording system so that each pupil’s attainment can be monitored and reviewed appropriately, including maintaining an up to date SEN register.

10.  Encourage a range of teaching strategies that accommodates different learning styles and promotes effective learning.

11. Create a caring and supportive environment where the school ethos fosters a positive attitude towards the efforts of all children, with particular sensitivity towards those who experience difficulty.

12. Promote collaboration amongst teachers in the implementation of the SEN policy.

13. Work closely with all BELB departments and other outside agencies in order to improve the quality of support available for each pupil with Special Educational Needs.

Arrangements for Co-ordinating SEN Provision

Roles and Responsibilities

SEN provision is the overall responsibility of the Board of Governors and Principal of the school.  However in order to facilitate the day-to-day running of the provision, the school has an appointed co-ordinator (SENCo), Mrs Diane Shields, to whom the Board of Governors has delegated responsibility for pupils with special educational needs.

Board of Governors

The role of the Board of Governors of a mainstream school is to exercise its functions in relation to the school with a view to ensuring that provision is made for registered pupils with special educational needs. The Board of Governors has a statutory duty to:

·      Take account of the provisions in the DE Code of Practice on identifying and assessing special educational needs.

·      Use their best endeavours to provide for pupils identified with SEN and that parents are notified of their child’s special needs.

·      Maintain and operate a policy on SEN.

·      Ensure that where a registered pupil has special educational needs, those needs are made known to all who are likely to teach them.

·      Ensure that the teachers in the school know the importance of identifying those registered pupils with SEN and of providing appropriate teaching.

·      Allocate funding for special educational needs and disability.

·      Review current accessibility provision and plan for further improvements.

The governors’ Annual Report will make reference to the SEN provision in the school.

References: ‘Every School a Good School’ (DE) – The Governor Role (2010) Chapter 12 SEN Resource File, 2011:


The Principal should:

·      Keep the Board of Governors informed about SEN issues.

·      Work in close partnership with the SENCo.

·      Liaise with parents and external agencies as required.

·      Delegate and monitor the SEN budget.

·      Ensure the SMT are actively involved in the management of SEN within the school.  SMT members should ensure consistency of practice and contribute to the realisation of the SDP.

·      Provide a secure facility for the storage of records relating to Special Educational Needs.

(Code of Practice 1998)


In all mainstream schools, a designated teacher should be responsible for:

·      The day to day operation of the school’s special educational needs policy.

·      Responding to requests for advice from other teachers.

·      Co-ordinating provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs.

·      Maintain the school’s SEN register and oversee all the records on pupils with special educational needs.

·      Liaison with parents of children with Special Educational Needs.

·      Establishing the SEN in-service training requirements of the staff, and contributing as appropriate to their training.

·      Liaison with external agencies.

 (DENI, 1998, p7)

Class Teacher

The class teacher(s) should:

·      Be aware of current legislation.

·      Keep up to date with information on the SEN Register.

·      Gather information through observation and assessment.

·      Develop an inclusive classroom.

·      Work closely with other staff to plan for learning and teaching.

·      Contribute to, manage and review IEPs in consultation with the SENCo.

·      Involve classroom assistants as part of the learning team.

Special Needs Teacher/Learning Support Teacher

(This person may also be the SENCo) .

The Special Needs teacher should:

·      Be aware of current legislation.

·      Be familiar with the administrative process within the school.

·      Be involved in testing and recording data for the SEN Register.

·      Work closely with all members of staff to identify pupils’ needs.

·      Implement the delivery of suitable programmes for all identified pupils with SEN/Disability which promote progression within an inclusive setting.

·      Contribute to IEPs which inform teaching and learning.

·      Monitor and review progress.

·      Be involved in the Annual Review process.

·      Attend professional development training.

SEN Support Staff

Support Staff should:

·      Work under the direction of the class teacher.

·      Be involved in planning.

·      Have clear written guidance on their specific role in supporting named children .

·      Look for positives by talking to the child about his/her strengths.

·      Provide practical support.

·      Listen to the child/speak to staff on the child’s behalf.

·      Explain boundaries and operate these consistently and fairly.

·      Keep records and attend meetings.

·      Share good practice

Reference may be made to the document titled ‘Guidance on the Management, Deployment and Development of Assistants in School’ (DE), Good Practice Guidelines and the Capacity Building File and any other relevant information that is available from BELB.


‘The child should, where possible, according to age maturity and capability, participate in all the decision making processes which occur with regard to their education.’

(Supplement to the Code of Practice – pars 1.19) 

Given that the pupils in Greenwood are age 5-7 only, the teacher, SENCo and parents will make them aware of the targets they are working towards and praise efforts. It is not expected that there will be a high level of contribution.


‘The relationship between the parents of a child with SEN and their child’s school has a crucial bearing on the child’s educational progress and effectiveness of any school based action....... Professional help can seldom be wholly effective unless it builds upon parental involvement and provides reassurance that account is taken of what parents say and that their views and anxieties are treated as intrinsically important.’

(Code of Practice 2.21)  

It is essential that parents inform the relevant school staff of any significant needs their child may possess.  They should do this as early as possible, for example, important information may need to be made available by a parent upon a child’s entry to the school. 

It is the school’s responsibility to inform parents when staff  are considering placing the pupil’s name on the SEN register or moving the child to a higher or lesser “stage” of need.  Parents should be invited as necessary to:

·      Meet with staff to discuss their child’s needs.

·      Attend review meetings.

·      Inform staff of changes in circumstances.

·      Support targets on IEPs.


The admission arrangements with respect to the majority of pupils with SEN must be consistent with the school’s general arrangements for all other pupils.

Children with Statements of SEN are placed in Greenwood at the request of BELB.

When seeking to place a pupil with a Statement, the Board will take into account the wishes of the child’s parents and the provision of efficient education for other children in the class or school and the efficient use of resources to determine the suitability of the placement.

This arrangement is in line with SENDO legislation.


Greenwood will not discriminate against pupils with disabilities who apply for admission to the school and will seek to make reasonable adjustments in order to provide equality in terms of access to information, access to the curriculum and physical access to the facilities. Our actions will be led by the directives, support and policies of DE and BELB.

Consideration will also be made that admission of a pupil with a disability, or an “adjustment” required, will not be “incompatible with the efficient education of other children”.

·      At present pupils with SEN/Disabilities have equal access to all areas of the school building.

·      The school is fully accessible to wheelchair users.

·      There is a well-equipped SEN teaching/resource base and facilities for personal care, including a toilet adapted for use by persons with the disabilities.

·      The teachers are able to use assistive technology.

Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs

‘It is vitally important that children with SEN are identified as early as possible and that an awareness of their possible difficulties is clearly communicated between all the professionals involved with their development.’

(Code of Practice 1998 paragraph 2.14)

Children with SEN should be identified as early as possible and assessed as quickly as is consistent with thoroughness’

(Paragraph 5.12 - page 44 - Supplementary Guide of the Code of Practice)

Within the context of Greenwood Primary a wide spectrum of information will be utilised to assist with the identification of need:

·       Use will be made of the accumulated knowledge already acquired by parents, pre-school providers and any other agencies involved with the child in order to ensure the best provision.

·         Admissions information.

·         Undergoing Statutory Assessment on arrival in school.

·         Having a Statement of special educational need.

·         Reports from other professionals.

·         PEPs for Looked After Children.

·     Teachers’ professional judgements, formed by observation and assessments made in the normal activities of the classroom.

·         Parental notification or expression of concern.

·       Outcomes of testing including the COMET profile and PM Benchmarking will be used to screen for children who should be in receipt of individualised support.

·     Additional standardised tests will be administered by the SENCO to ascertain more detail on the nature of the difficulty. These include

·         YARC reading test

·         Linguistic Phonics Test

·         MALT

·         Non-Reading Intelligence Tests & WRIT

·         Dyslexia Early Screening Test & the Dyslexia Portfolio


Resources, including the employment of a Learning Support teacher, will be allocated to ensure children with special needs are given access to the curriculum in a manner appropriate to their requirements. These will include:

·         Differentiated and individual work programmes in class.

·         Withdrawal groups.

·         Individual support, withdrawn from class.

·         Team teaching

·         Classroom assistant/general assistant support as provided by BELB

·         Support from Oakwood

·         Harberton Outreach

·         CIDS team

It may be the case that a combination of the above provides the best provision for those in need of additional support. The overall profile of needs will dictate the approach taken for each child.

On-going capacity building and the continuous professional development of teachers and classroom assistants will provide the necessary skills for staff to address the needs of children within the mainstream school setting.

The Management of SENs

In Greenwood Primary School, we follow the five stage approach as set out in The Code of Practice (1998).

This approach recognises that there is a continuum of SEN and that the requirements of the majority of pupils with SEN lie at Stages 1, 2 or 3.  This means that their needs are met by the school with the help of outside agencies and/or specialists as required at Stage 3.

Stage 1

Stage 1 begins with a concern that a child may have special educational needs.  Normally such a view is expressed either to or by the class teacher. In Greenwood we document this by using a “Record of Concern” pro-forma and a stage 1 action plan may be implemented. The class teacher maintains day-to-day responsibility for meeting the pupil’s SENs and should inform the SEN co-ordinator and the Principal and consult the child’s parents.  In addition, the class teacher should:

·      Collect and record information about the child and make an initial assessment of SEN.

·      Provide or arrange special help within the normal curriculum framework, such as:  increased differentiation of class work, alternative teaching and learning strategies to help meet the child’s needs.  The nature and aims of such provision should be recorded, together with the targets, monitoring arrangements and review date.

·      Monitor and review progress and report back to SENCo.

The SENCo should

·      Ensure that parents are consulted and together decide that the child’s name is included in the school’s SEN register.

·      Help the class teacher gather information and assess the child’s needs.

·      Advise and support the class teacher.

Stage 1 Review

·     Parents should always be informed of proposed action and any review date.  Having considered review outcomes the SENCo will decide whether to remove pupil’s name from the register, keep the pupil at Stage 1 or move the child to Stage 2.

Stage 2

Stage 2 begins with a decision either at the Stage 1 Review, or following discussions between teachers and parents, to proceed with early and more intensive action. 

The SENCo:

·      Takes the lead in assessing the child’s learning difficulty.  This includes planning, monitoring and reviewing the special educational provision - working with the child’s teacher.  The class teacher remains responsible for working with the child in the classroom.

·      Again, working with the class teacher, the SENCo should ensure that an Education Plan is drawn up for the pupil.

·      All these operations should take into account, as far as possible, the child’s own views and the parents’ views.

Stage 2 Review

Normally the Stage 2 review should be conducted by the SENCo, in consultation with the class teacher and, where possible, child and parents. It should focus on the child’s progress.

If progress has been satisfactory the SENCo may decide that the child should continue at Stage 2 in order to consolidate gains.  If the progress continues to be satisfactory, the SENCo may decide that the child no longer needs special educational provision at Stage 2 and may decide to move the child to Stage 1.

The child’s name should be kept on the SEN register until there is no longer any significant concern about progress.

If the relevant and purposeful measures at Stages 1 and 2 do not result in adequate progress the SENCo should move the child forward to Stage 3 and referral may be made to special support services/agencies outside the school.

Stage 3

Stage 3 begins with a decision either at Stage 2 review or following discussions between the SENCo, Principal teachers and parents, that early intervention with external support is necessary.

At this Stage the SENCO takes a lead role, working closely with the child’s teacher and drawing on the expertise of relevant external support services.

The SENCo, working with the class teacher, and with the help of the external support services, should ensure that a Stage 3 Education Plan is drawn up. Together they should consider a range of teaching approaches and appropriate support materials, including the use of Assistive Technology.  The Education Plan should set out revised strategies for supporting the child’s progress and arrangements for monitoring and review.  It should be implemented as far as possible, in the everyday classroom setting.  The SENCo should ensure close liaison with the child’s teacher. Parents should always be kept informed and the child should be involved as far as possible.

At Stages 2 and 3 of the Code of Practice the SENCo and class teacher should consider potential benefits of:

·      The Good Practice Guidelines.

·      Encouraging inclusive activities to ensure integration of the pupil with SEN with others in his class.

·      Differentiated teaching.

·      Withdrawal for more intensive support.

·      SEN resources available within school; support programmes, ICT, etc.

·      Available staff skills that support pupils with SENs.

·      Implementation of any provision/strategies as a result of external advice, support and training and

·      General advice and support requested from relevant ELB support.

Review of the Stage 3 Education Plan

The review of the Stage 3 Education Plan should normally be conducted by the SENCo, in consultation with the class teacher and where possible, parents and child. Relevant external support service may also be present, particularly if the pupil’s progress has not been satisfactory.  The review should focus on the child’s progress and whether this has been adequate.

If progress has been satisfactory the SENCo in consultation with the teacher will decide that the child should continue at Stage 3.

If the progress continues to be satisfactory the SENCo may decide that the child no longer needs external support at Stage 3 and may decide to move the child back to Stage 2 and appropriate action taken at that stage.

If the relevant and purposeful measures at Stage 3 have not resulted in adequate progress and following consultation with the SENCo, teacher, external support service and parents and Educational Psychology, the Principal may request a Statutory Assessment.

Stage 4

In some cases schools will conclude that the pupil’s needs remain so substantial that they cannot be effectively met within the resources normally available to the school.’

(Supplement to the Code of Practice – 4.64)

Following an application to the ELB from school’s Principal or the parent, the Board will consider the need for transition to Stage 4.  It should be noted that a request of this kind will not always result in Statutory Assessment nor will Statutory Assessment always lead to a Statement of SEN.

In reaching a suitable decision, the Board will consider:

·      The degree of the child’s difficulty.

·      The evidence presented from all stakeholders

·      Whether the child’s needs can reasonably be met by the resources normally available to the school.

·      The 5 Board Provisional Criteria for Statutory Assessment.

Following Statutory Assessment,

The Board will either:

·      Make and maintain a Statement of Special Educational Needs.

·      Monitor and review provision

·      Provide a Note in Lieu of a Statement.

A Statement of Special Educational Needs sets out the child’s educational and non-educational needs, the objectives to be secured, the provision to be made and the arrangements for monitoring and review.

A Note in Lieu of a Statement sets out the reasons for the Board’s decision not to make a Statement of Special Educational Needs and includes supporting evidence from the Statutory Assessment.

Once the statement has been made final:

·      Provision and /or support will be arranged to meet the pupil’s needs.

·      The SENCo ensures that a Stage 5 Education Plan is drawn up and implemented, monitored and reviewed.

·      The Annual Review and Transition process will take place.  


The Annual Review


Article 19 of the Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 requires that any child or young person who is the subject of a Statement of Special Educational Needs, whether attending a special or mainstream school, must be reviewed annually, to make sure that the needs of the child or young person are still being met and to consider the appropriateness of the placement.  Annual Reviews should be seen as part of the process of continuous monitoring of the child's progress.


The Annual Review will;


·      Gauge the child’s progress towards meeting the objectives specified in the statement.

·      Review the special provision made for the child, including placement.

·      Consider the appropriateness of maintaining the Statement of SEN.


The relevant school staff undertake the Review on behalf of the Board.


The review meeting takes place in school and is chaired by the Principal (or other person as delegated).  Special Education sections provide relevant forms for this process.


Exceptional Cases


In most cases transition through the five staged assessment process occurs in sequence.  However, in exceptional circumstances, pupils may demonstrate such significant or unforeseen difficulties that with multi-professional and parental agreement a move to a higher stage of need is necessary immediately.


Record Keeping

The following are records that the SENCo must to keep:

  • SEN Register
  • Records of Concern
  • Education plans/Reviews
  • Statements/Annual Reviews
  • Assessment results/data

  • Individual Pupil Files
  • Liaison/meetings with Board/Health Services
  • Minutes of meetings with parents
  • Staffs’ Support, Advice and Training Records

Monitoring the Progress of Pupils with SENs

It is the responsibility of the SENCo to ensure that the progress of pupils on the SEN register is monitored:

·      Targets of IEPs are monitored for quality, progression and appropriateness through meeting with teachers on a regular basis.

·      Standardised scores from Assessments are obtained and recorded using Assessment manager on C2K.

·      Record that the pupil’s class work and/or social skills are progressing and the targets being monitored by viewing evidence or class visits.

·      Quality reviews of IEPs and other relevant and purposeful measures that focus on educational outcomes and inform future planning and inform movement either up or down through the stages of the Code of Practice.

Professional Development

Each year the Principal oversees the professional development of all staff in Greenwood, in consultation with co-ordinators and teachers. We endeavour to increase the capacity of all teachers by regularly providing structured training programmes related to SEN, to assist all staff to keep up-to-date with developments. Any staff attending INSET disseminate the training with colleagues who did not attend courses.

The SENCo keeps a record of all such training.


All complaints regarding SEN in your school will be dealt with in line with the school’s existing complaints procedures.

SEN Advice and Information Service

BELB have set up an SEN Advice and Information Service to support parents of children with Special Educational Needs.
Details of this service can be found on  the BELB website.

Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Service (DARS)

DARS was established in September 2005 as part of the implementation of the Special Needs and Disability Order (SENDO).  It aims to provide an independent, confidential forum to resolve or reduce the areas of disagreement between parents and schools/Boards of Governors or ELBs for pupils with SEN.  Where interested parties have made an attempt to resolve a disagreement and this has been unsuccessful, a referral may be made to DARS.

Members of the DARS team will facilitate the possible resolution of disagreements (in a separate venue from home or school) but do not have the authority to resolve a dispute.  DARS is separate and independent from the BELB’s Special Education Section.

Involvement with DARS will not affect the right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST).  Parents/Guardians may contact this service directly (see below).  For DARS contact details see Appendix.  

Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST)

Where agreement cannot be reached between a parent and BELB with regard to a child’s special educational needs, legislation gives the right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal or SENDIST. This body considers parents’ appeals against decisions of ELBs and also deals with claims of disability discrimination in schools. For contact Details see appendix.

Monitoring and Evaluating the Policy

This policy will be reviewed regularly and in light of changes in legislation or practice and following consultation, will be amended accordingly.



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