Local Offer & SEND Information


How does the school know if students need extra help and what should I do if I think a pupil may have special educational needs?

According to the SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years (August 2014):

A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.

A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

  • has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age; or
  • has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.
    (SEND Code of Practice 2014, Introduction, Page 15. xiii-xv)

Student progress is monitored and evaluated regularly throughout the academic year.

If targeted teaching has not met the student’s needs, Subject Teachers will identify any students who are not making sufficient progress and will raise concerns about the student’s ability to engage in learning activities.

Following discussions with key staff (Head of Year/SENCo/Subject Teachers) and parents/carers, additional support will be put in place. This may consist of individual or small group intervention including enhanced resources to help the student overcome any difficulties.

If parents/carers have any concerns regarding the progress of their child they should contact the Subject Teacher/s involved. You may be directed to the SENCo to discuss the identification, planning and delivery of any additional support. As a parent/carer, you will be primarily involved in supporting your child’s learning and access to the curriculum. You will be also be kept informed about the range and level of support offered as well as included in reviewing your child’s progress throughout the year.

How will school staff support my young person?

  • Ms J O’Connor the Headteacher, is responsible for day to day management of all aspects of the school, including the provision made for students with SEND.
  • Miss E Aubrey, Deputy Headteacher, is the designated member of staff on the Senior Management Team with responsibility for the overview of all SEND.
  • Mrs L Manuel, Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) has an important role to play in collaboration with the head teacher and governing body, in determining the strategic development of SEND policy and provision in the school.
  • The SENCo has day-to-day responsibility for the operation of SEND policy and coordination of specific provision made to support individual children with SEND, including those who have EHC plans.
  • The SENCo provides professional guidance to colleagues and will work closely with staff, parents and carers, and other agencies.
  • The SENCo is aware of the provision in the Local Offer and be able to work with professionals providing a support role to the family to ensure that children with SEND receive appropriate support and high quality teaching.

The Learning Support Team includes:
1  Principal HLTA (Higher Level Teaching Assistant) / School Counsellor
2  HLTAs  (Speech/Language and Science).
2  STAs (Senior Teaching Assistants)
11 TAs (Teaching Assistants)

  • The Learning Support Team will provide regular support for students with SEND.

Subject/Class Teachers

  • Subject Teachers are responsible for the overall progress of students within their class. They will identify, plan and deliver any additional help your child may need and liaise with the SENCo as necessary.
  • Subject teachers will communicate and review specific targets with the student and parents/carers at regular Parent’s Evenings or Progress Meetings.

School Governors:
SEND Link Governor: Mr M Ridyard

  • The Governors are responsible for supporting the school to evaluate and develop both the quality and impact of provision for students with SEND.

At all stages of the SEN process, school staff will keep parents/carers fully informed and involved.   We take account of the wishes, feelings and knowledge of parents/carers and encourage you to make an active contribution to your child’s education.

Support is reviewed regularly within Annual Review meetings which inform future planning.

Parents are always welcome to contact the school and open communication is encouraged.

How will the curriculum be matched to my young person’s needs?

Class teachers plan lessons according to the specific needs of the students in their classes/groups. They will ensure that individual needs are met.

In addition, specially trained Learning Support staff can assist the teacher’s planning to support the needs of your child where necessary.

Students will receive support specific to their individual needs. This will include:

  • intervention/nurture groups 
  • mixed ability groups and
  • high aptitude groups

Informal assessment, planning and appropriate teaching will be evaluated and adapted to meet your child’s learning needs.

We identify students for opportunities within a modified/alternative curriculum this includes:

  • ASDAN/CoPE Youth Award Scheme
  • SERIS sessions
  • Work placements
  • Employment training
  • Alternative qualifications

The Learning Support Team supports subject teachers in planning and teaching students with SEND through the use of individualised Student Profiles. These contain relevant information concerning the student’s needs, long-term aims, recommended strategies and achievable targets.

How will I know how my young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?

At Dowdales School, our reporting arrangements include:

  • Regular parent/teacher meetings
  • Parents evenings
  • KS4 seminars for parents
  • SEND Annual reviews
  • SEND Transition/EHCP meetings
  • Records Of Achievement
  • Summary Assessment profiles

Teaching and Learning is supported by regular communication between home and school through the school’s web pages, letters/newsletters, emails, parent/teacher meetings, KS 3 and KS 4 parent seminars, Extra revision sessions for GCSE courses, Homework club, Options Exhibition, contact with ‘LEAP’  IT learning platform, School Calendar, student planner (including Pupil Target/Progress records) and contact with Head of Year/ Achievement Leaders.

Pastoral intervention for students with SEND in school includes:  

  • Regular contact with School Pastoral team/ SENCo /Support Staff

Social Support for students with SEND in school includes:

  • Access to the School counsellor, Social Emotional Resilience in Schools programme, School Student Services and Form/Progress Mentors.

Medical Support for students with SEND in school includes:

  • Links to NHS Therapeutic services (Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Services, Community Paediatric Service, Multi-Agency Assessment Team for Autism, Child and Mental Health Service (CAMHS), School nurse and the Specialist Teaching Service for students with Hearing Impairment, Speech and Language difficulties, Autistic Spectrum Conditions)
  • Prescription Medicines are stored in a Locked cupboard in the reception office, prescribed drugs are logged daily. Personal care is provided with on-going links with parents/carers and the school nurse.

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

Positive Behaviour is supported through our consistent behaviour management plan, early intervention meetings with parents/carers and graded behaviour management strategies (consisting of detentions and internal exclusions). 

Student attendance is promoted through the school’s attendance league, support from school attendance panels and the Attendance Officer as well as alternative curriculum opportunities.

Student views and contributions are recognised within the school’s Pupil Voice, student representatives (Form Captains / school council meetings) Progress Mentors, Form teachers, Achievement Leaders, and regular meetings with parents/carers.

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

We have a range of specialist staff working within the Learning Support department. The department is fully qualified to support students with a range of needs including:

  • Dyslexia
  • Specific Learning Difficulties
  • Autistic Spectrum Conditions
  • Hearing Impairments
  • Speech, Language and Communication difficulties
  • Social or Emotional needs

Our SENCo holds a national qualification (Assessment Practising Certificate, PATOSS) for diagnostic assessments and exam access arrangements.  

How accessible is the school environment?

The school site has limited access for wheelchair users. Many areas in the main building are fully accessible, including satellite buildings such as the community Sports Hall and the Performing Arts building.  The main building incorporates 2 lifts between the ground and first floors.

Disabled toilet and changing facilities can be located in the main school building, Sports Hall and the Performing Arts building.

A range of improvements have been made in auditory and visual environments including interactive whiteboards in every classroom, specified seating areas in classrooms, and sound / projection facilities in the school hall.

Dowdales School supports students whose first language is not English by liaising with the local county EAL advisory unit to locate a designated mediator/ translator to assist home to school communication. In addition we use modern technologies to aid students in understanding in lesson. The school employs a buddy system for EAL students and support is given when appropriate.

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

Students will be fully supported during their transition from / to another school or higher/further education.

The structured transition process from primary includes:

  • Information packs/school prospectus
  • School Open Evenings
  • Primary Transition meetings (liaison between the class teachers/ SENCo /senior school staff)
  • Summer school activity sessions
  • Invitational Sports days,
  • Pupil/Family Induction Meetings with Senior School Staff
  • Class/ school induction days.
  • Any extra visits deemed necessary
  • Collaborative support from representative school staff

The structured transition process for transfer to another secondary school includes:

  • Transition meetings
  • Personalised individual site visits
  • Prompt and safe transfer of relevant confidential paperwork

The structured transition process for transfer to higher/further education includes:

  • Input and advice from school’s INSPIRA /Careers facilitator
  • Collaborative support from representative school/college staff
  • Prompt and safe transfer of relevant confidential paperwork

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?

The school’s resources are allocated and matched to the student’s special educational needs. These resources provide appropriate staffing for Teaching Assistants, Senior Teaching Assistants and Higher Level Teaching Assistants. Additional resources, such as IT equipment, are also considered.

The SENCo is responsible for the operational management of the specified and agreed resourcing for special needs provision within school, including the provision for students with statements. This is discussed as part of the statement/EHCP process.

The Headteacher informs the governing body of how the funding allocated to support special educational needs has been employed.

The Headteacher, SLT Line Manager and the SENCo meet to agree how to use SEND funds, including those directly related to statements.

Pupils with a Statement of Special Educational Needs/EHC Plan  will, in addition to the on-going review of their progress and specific support, be reviewed annually.

The SEND funding school receives is intended to:

  • Support the raising of standards and achievement of students with SEND
  • Support early intervention
  • Support equal opportunities and reasonable adjustments for SEND students
  • Safeguard the rights and entitlements of students with a Statement/ EHC plan or those in receipt of SEN support to ensure appropriate additional provision is made available.

At all stages of the SEN process, school staff will keep parents/carers fully informed and involved.   We take account of the wishes, feelings and knowledge of parents/carers and encourage you to make an active contribution to your child’s education.

Support is reviewed regularly within Annual Review meetings which inform future planning.

Parents/carers are always welcome to contact the school and open communication is encouraged.

Who do i speak to if i am unhappy with the support my child is receiving?

Mrs L Manuel – SENCo - 01229 469800 or email here

Miss E Aubrey – Deputy Headteacher - 01229 469800 or email here

To view our complaints procedure click here