Portesbery School provides education for pupils with Severe Learning Difficulties. The school is able to make provision for pupils who have the following additional needs:
- Physical Disability
- Communication Difficulties
- Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties
- Sensory Impairment; Hearing, Visual or both
- Autistic Spectrum Disorder
- Challenging Behaviour
- Epilepsy and other additional medical needs
- Sensory Processing Difficulties
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Our responses to the SEND'14 questions are detailed below,
and can also be downloaded here:
How does the setting/school/college know if children/young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?
Portesbery is a school for pupils aged 3 -19 with Severe Learning Disabilities or Complex and Profound Multiple Learning Disabilities. A significant proportion of pupils also have a diagnosis of Autism. We have considerable expertise in meeting the needs of the above pupils.
We always work in close liaison with parents/carers and families. A joint collaborative approach is what we want to foster and the primary source of information and insight into any child is their parents.
All children and young people attending full time and or statutory school age will have an Education, Health, Care Plan, (EHCP). For children entering Nursery or in the circumstances of children new to the UK education system, they may be placed at the school on an assessment placement during which time an EHCP may be considered.
The EHCP will have identified the school as the most appropriate placement and set out the child’s primary and additional needs.
All children will have an Annual Review and in the case of pre-school children a twice-yearly review of their needs. This is to ensure that we continue to review if we are the best placement and that the EHCP continues to identify all the provision your child needs.
We use a range of assessment tools to measure the progress of each individual child. This ensures we have personalised information on your child’s progress which we share with parents.
Close collaborative working with parents, therapists and other experts such as specialist teachers for Hearing, Visual and Multi-sensory Impairment and Educational Psychologists, ensures we identify where any additional support may be of value for your child, and with your agreement referrals will be made.
We provide parents with copies of your child’s timetable and targets at the start of each term. We invite you to discuss progress and future targets with us at parental consultations and annual reviews, when we will provide information on how well your child is doing.
How will early years setting/school/college staff support my child/young person?
The EHCP will outline your child’s needs, recommend resources, teaching programmes and multi-agency involvement. The class teacher co-ordinates and oversees the implementation of the plan, setting targets outlined in the ‘My Outcomes’ document, shared with you and all the staff who are working with your child and with your child where appropriate. Individual ‘My Outcomes’ targets are reviewed termly to ensure they are effective and impact on your child’s progress.
In Early Years your child will have a Key Worker identified. This is a member of the support staff who has a specific responsibility to know everything about your child’s needs, learning, physical management, personal and medical care. They are another point of contact for you in addition to the class teacher and ensure in the event of a teacher’s absence that nothing about your child’s needs and support is missed.
Through rigorous assessments of your child, working closely with all agencies and providing personalised programmes of study, we will endeavour to ensure we provide every support for your child.
Through individual and whole school assessment we identify any changes in needs and the additional provision that we need to develop to provide for this.
Chris Hamilton is the chair of the Governing Body which has a responsibility to ensure that all procedures and school systems and policies are in place and working effectively. Parents have significant representation on the Local Governing Body.
How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s/young person’s needs?
Please read the Curriculum information on the website. This provides a clear outline of our Curriculum.
It will be your child’s needs that will lead the curriculum that they follow. Your child will follow an individualised curriculum which is adapted to their needs and their learning will be differentiated to enable them to make progress. This may mean that in a session that there will be several levels of tasks set for the class, most often at an individual level.
The Curriculum is themed to enable pupils to recognise and understand the links between learning in different curriculum areas.
Learning is focussed on being relevant, meaningful and fun. The school uses our own bespoke Skills for Life assessment to measure progress.
Technology is used to excite, enthuse and engage pupils about learning. Alongside interactive facilities such as the Sensory Studio, the Rainbow Room, Interactive musical equipment, and Interactive Hydrotherapy pool, the school has full wi-fi coverage, with Interactive Smart Boards in all classes and access to a host of computers and tablets to meet all abilities and needs.
As part of this we employ a wide range of AAC, (Alternative and Augmentative Communication), devices. We assess pupils for the best and most appropriate communication technologies, providing them with access from simple switch devices to Eye Gaze technology.
Pupils and students are grouped according to their learning needs, learning styles and for meaningful peer interaction. This ensures that they receive the greatest challenge and provides for an appropriate peer group. As teachers plan together, where a child would benefit from joining a different group for a particular element of the curriculum this can be managed enabling personalised learning in an individual timetable.
Post-16 students follow an accreditation pathway which is appropriate for their ability, this includes following a national recognised qualification (ASDAN) which is based around independent living, life skills or personal health and social care. Again, it is your child’s needs that will drive the accreditation they may follow, not the accreditation that will lead your child’s curriculum.
The quality of teaching and learning, curriculum, lesson planning and progress are rigorously monitored by the Senior Leadership Team.
How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s/young person’s learning?
Daily contact books, use of software such as Class Dojo and / or email communication with the class staff help us to share information with you and ensure you are as involved as possible in your child’s progress. In addition, The Family Link Worker, working in collaboration with the teachers, will provide additional support and phone parents to see how they are finding things and check for any concerns if they are not attending parental consultations or communicating regularly.
Phone parents on a weekly basis when there is not communication via the home school book or email, this is about establishing and keeping a relationship.
Offer termly opportunities to come into school and be part of an activity / workshop with the class.
Offer any parents for whom English is not their first language the opportunity for a translator at Annual Reviews and organise email communication with a signpost to a translator app.
Provide new pupils / students with a welcome sheet / booklet along the lines of the termly newsletter with photos of staff and offers of social stories etc to support their transition into school.
As part of our commitment to working with parents we also provide a variety of free training which can be tailored around your child’s needs.
Should you have any concerns about your child’s progress we will want to be able to discuss this, and work with you to resolve them. The school has an open-door policy and encourages parents to become as involved as possible.
All pupils have an Individualised Plan (My Outcomes) which will have personalised targets based around the areas we need to focus on the address barriers to learning and equally maximise learning potential. Your child’s progress is measured on a termly basis using a range of assessments within a new software system (Earwig – Skills for Life)
Pupils are set targets annually at the Annual Review and these are reviewed on a half-termly basis
The ethos of ‘high expectations’ is embedded not only in the curriculum targets set for your child, but in our behaviour expectations. We believe in a focus on whole child development.
We will want to involve you in discussing progression routes for your child during consultation evenings or annual review meetings in school.
What support will there be for my child’s/young person’s overall well-being?
We are committed to safeguarding and have robust systems in place to monitor the well-being of each child. We have a large Safeguarding Team that meets weekly to discuss any areas of concern.
Health and Safety is closely monitored with risk assessments undertaken for any and all potentially hazardous activities. The need for risk assessments is also built into all curriculum policies and the daily running of the school including in all off-site activities. Where particular risk assessments are centred around the child, we involve parents and seek their agreement when any activity is outside what parents may expect the school to undertake.
The School employs a Family Link Worker, who is also our Lead on Positive Behaviour Support. They are now supported in September 2023 by an assistant as the demands of a growing school increase.
Pupil voice is encouraged in all areas of the school. Pupils, where appropriate, contribute to the annual review of their EHCP through a person-centred review process. Where possible pupils know their targets and can describe their next steps of learning to achieve those targets.
Staff know individual pupils very well and any pupil requiring additional support will be offered it from a staff member. Staff build strong working relationships with the pupils which supports the delivery of focussed support in areas such as PSHE and Relationships & Sex Education. Built into all that we do is the ethos of working with parents as this is the best way to support the child and understand how best to meet their over-all well-being.
Additional expertise is provided through the Physical and Sensory Support Service which includes collaborative work with Specialist Teachers for the Hearing and Vision Impaired. The school also benefits from collaboration with the CAMHS service. (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service)
The school employs 2 x staff trained as Moving and Handling Trainers ensuring staff have a high level of training and expertise.
We are committed to multi-agency working to ensure that the needs of the whole child are met and as part of this work closely with the school’s Medical and Therapy Team which includes provision from;
2 Nurses, and a Health Care Assistant,
Speech and Language Therapists and/or a Speech and Language Therapy Assistant on site daily
A responsive Physiotherapy team
2 Occupational Therapists and an Occupational Therapy Assistant.
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting/school/college?
All of our educational staff have had specialist training and development. Many support staff have an NVQ level 3 or equivalent qualification or are offered the support to gain these levels of qualification.
Both teachers and support staff have a programme of training which keeps them up to date with all the specialist skills necessary for working with children with special educational needs.
The school provides training for internal and external professionals and parents in Behaviour and Communication, Understanding Autism, MAKATON, use of AAC, (Alternative and Augmentative Communication.
The school is part of a collaborative partnership with 9 other special schools in Surrey.
In the school we have dedicated time from the following staff:
Speech & Language Therapists
Nurses/Health Care Assistant
Advisory Teacher Vision Impairment
Advisory Teacher Hearing Impairment
Specialist CAMHS Nurse for SEND, (Special Educational Needs and Disability)
In addition, we liaise closely with other agencies who work collaboratively with school staff in meeting the wider range of pupils’ needs: Social workers, County Transition Teams, Respite providers, Portage workers Consultant Paediatricians, Wheelchair Services, Orthotics Service, (Footwear) and Specialist Dental Service.
What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or are having?
All teachers and support staff are trained in developing their teaching skills through a rigorous system of lesson observation and actions to improve teaching and learning.
The school has a thorough induction programme, ensuring all staff receive a core training in, Safeguarding, Whistle Blowing, Behaviour and Communication Understanding, Understanding Autism, MAKATON, Moving and Handling, Epilepsy Awareness and then any additional training required to meet the needs of the individual pupils with whom they are working, e.g. PECS, TEACCH, Gastrostomy Feeding.
All staff follow an appraisal programme that identifies training requirements both in terms of individual roles, but also whole school priorities.
Where necessary staff receive CPI Safety Intervention and/ or Positive Touch training in order to develop their behaviour management skills. Staff who provide personal care receive moving and handling, eating and drinking, and medical training as appropriate.
How will my child/young person be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?
Our off-site visits are designed to enhance curricular and recreational opportunities for all our pupils and provide a wider range of experiences for our pupils than could be provided on the school site alone as well as promoting the independence of our children as learners.
The school has 4 minibuses and two school cars which are used for a variety of educational and leisure outings, including visits to local community facilities and stables to access Riding for the Disabled.
All visits and activities are risk assessed to ensure they are appropriate for individual pupils, these are overseen by the qualified Educational Visits Coordinator, (EVC).
In Nursery, all areas of learning are offered both inside and out through ‘freeflow’; Space/sensory/physical/creativity/risk taking/social interaction/fun/ imaginative role play. There is a huge amount of equipment to explore, bikes, sand, water, a mud kitchen, roleplay and a climbing frame. Opportunities in all weather conditions as appropriate.
The outside environment is designed with learning in mind, this includes;
An interactive sensory trail
A range of swings, including an accessible swing and a wheelchair swing
A wheelchair roundabout
An inclusive playframe
A climbing frame
2 x slides
A digging area
2 x trampolines
Access to a range of woodland walks/orienteering activities in the neighbouring woods
How accessible is the setting / school / college environment?
The building is purpose built with level access. All classes and teaching areas have hoist tracking and there are a full range of toilet and changing facilities. The building is fully wheelchair accessible.
All pupils who require have a PEEP, (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan) as part of Risk Assessment procedures to ensure the safe evacuation of pupils in the event of emergency such as fire.
The school makes the most of green and outside spaces to provide a calm, welcoming and safe environment.
Specialist facilities include; -
Hydrotherapy pool with direct hoisting from change area to pool. The pool is also fully interactive, with lights, projectors, water safe switches etc
Height-adjustable tables available throughout the school
Height-adjustable cooking facilities in Food Technology Room
Accessible and inclusive play frame and sensory trail in playground
Interactive Sensory Studio and Rainbow Room
Lift to first floor of Post-16 building
How will the setting/school/college prepare and support my child/young person to join the setting/school/college, transfer to a new setting/school/college or the next stage of education and life?
We work closely with parents and the local authority to ensure that children are offered provision that meets their needs. Parents are invited to visit the school prior to applying for a place and at any time through the application process. Children are encouraged to access transition opportunities, such as visiting the class for taster days or part days. All transition plans are individualised and tailored to the specific child or young person.
At the end of each year the school provides an opportunity for staff and pupils who will be moving classes to visit their new class and get to meet the new staff they will be working with.
Where appropriate the school will provide social stories and photographs to enable a child to prepare for any change, such as a move to a new class, in these instances we work closely with the parents to make the transition as smooth as possible. We extend this work to support pupils where the family may be moving house or when a new sibling is due.
Transition planning is a vital part of the annual review process from year 9. The school work closely with the parents and will set up and host regular meetings with parents throughout the last 2 years of the child’s placement to ensure everything is in place.
We don’t leave parents to find out things for themselves. We will highlight the timetable against which any planning and actions need to take place and provide parents with prompts and support throughout the process.
The school will release staff to accompany parents as they visit potential future placements and support them to consider the questions that they may wish to consider. Where ever possible the school will support students to make pre-visits and spend time in a new placement and will also liaise with future provisions to have all the necessary strategies in place to make a transition successful. The school will also follow this up after the child has left to ensure future placements can be maintained and supported.
The Extra Curricular activities offered are part of our aim to raise a positive awareness of our young people in the community.
How are the setting’s/school’s/college’s resources allocated and matched to children’s/young people’s special educational needs?
The vast majority of the schools funding goes on providing a high staffing ratio to ensure we maintain small class sizes that enable small group, paired work and 1:1 teaching provision.
Where pupils are in receipt of Pupil Premium this is used to ensure that they are achieving at least at the level of their peers. All pupils at Portesbery in receipt of Pupil Premium do exceptionally well and consequently the funding is used to raise the attainment of all pupils, and supports a wide range of provision, see website for details.
Individual assessments of pupils are used to identify what specific provision is going to be needed to best support the child’s progress. This is recorded and then measured to identify the extent to which it has had a positive impact on their progress. We monitor the effectiveness of the provision provided for each child, identify what works so we can target funding in that direction and equally what we may need to develop to build on the impact gained.
All our classes are provided with resources to ensure the delivery of a personalised curriculum
We engage the use of a professional fundraiser to raise funds for items not usually sourced via Local Authority funding, e.g. play equipment, specialist bikes, musical instruments, sensory resources etc.
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?
The EHCP will outline this. In addition, the school will undertake a personalised assessment of each child to identify what additional provision, resources and staffing your child would benefit from having access to.
Each child will come with a banding level under the new funding formula. This is agreed through discussion between the school and the Local Authority.
We are open and transparent with parents about how we will use the funding received to maximise the learning opportunities for your child.
The approaches we will use will be based on an assessment of need and this includes looking at the best learning style and environment for your child alongside providing an appropriate learning peer group.
We group pupils to provide appropriate peer / learning groups of pupils across an age group. Grouping is based on ability, learning style, learning approaches and the curriculum offer that will best meet needs. Groups are flexible and a pupil may move between groupings for certain areas of the currriculum to ensure our offer is as tailored as possible.
How are parents involved in the setting/school/college? How can I be involved?
We aim to work in close collaboration with parents, as the most effective progress will be made by children where home and school are working together. We believe that a pupil’s education is a partnership between parents and staff, therefore we aim to keep communication channels open and communicate regularly
Communication will be via Home/school books, email communication between class and home, parental consultations to review and set targets, frequent phone conversations and Annual EHCP Reviews.
We offer advertised training opportunities for parents to attend and these are based according to parental demand. We also offer opportunities for parents to meet and discuss issues that affect their lives and the lives of their children and wider family
The Annual Survey provides parents with an opportunity to comment on the school.
The Friends of Portesbery is an active forum providing at least three events a year for parents to come into school and socialise.
Parents are welcome to come in and support classes/students as volunteers.
Ultimately, we want to work with you and should you have ideas about how we can improve this we want to hear them.
Who can I contact for further information?
For parents the first point of contact is your child's class teacher. If you need more general information about the school, please contact the school office who can then put you in touch with the person best able to answer your questions/ offer support;
Family Support Lead – Kirsty Mingard
EYFS – Adele Devine
Primary – Sam Leach
Secondary – Lisa Fagan
Post 16 - Jo Seldon
If you are considering your child joining the school the first point of contact is the School Office on 01252 832100 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a tour of the facilities.
For any other queries or concerns contact Clare Walker, Deputy Headteacher or Nathan Aspinall, Headteacher