Special Educational Needs

As required by the 1993 Education Act, St Mary's has produced a formal written statement of its policy relating to special educational needs.

It is estimated that 20% of children may have some form of special educational needs at some time.  The concept of 'special educational needs' is a broad one encompassing many different kinds of learning difficulty.  A learning difficulty exists where a child learns at a significantly different rate from most children of the same age, or where a disability limits or prevents access to the usual educational facilities.  Many learning difficulties are temporary and can be overcome with short-term extra teaching input, others are longer term and need specialist input throughout a child's school career.

The Staff and Governors of St Mary's Academy believe that all children attending the school, whatever their educational needs and abilities, deserve and should receive a broad and well balanced education.  This belief underlies teaching throughout the school.  Children with special educational needs have access to all activities within the school, all the children work and play together.

If you feel that your child is not progressing at the same rate as others in their year group you should approach their class teacher in the first instance to discuss your concerns.  If necessary a programme of action will be agreed with the school's Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator who will monitor and review progress.  You will be kept informed and involved throughout - a requirement of the Government's Code of Practice, and which the school whole-heartedly endorses and supports.

If you wish to find out more about the school's special educational needs policy please approach Mrs Martin or Miss Attenborough
our school SEND Co-ordinators or Ms Sue Steptoe our Governor with responsibility for Special Needs.

School Offer for St. Mary’s CE Academy

Under the Children and Families Bill which became law in September 2014, Local Authorities are required to publish, and keep under review, information about services that they expect to be available for children and young people with disabilities and Special Education Needs aged 0-25.  This is called the Local Offer.  The intention of the Local Offer is to improve choice and transparency for families.  It is also an important resource for professionals in understanding the range of services and provision in the local area. 

School Name: St Mary's CE Academy, Stotfold

Type of School: Mainstream, Academy

Number of Pupils: 281

How is St Mary’s accessible to children with SEND?

The school building has wheelchair access and the main part of the building is all on one level. There are two toilets for the disabled.

Ramped access points into the building.

Which policies are available?

All policies are available on the website (School Info:Policies) or from the school office, including – Admissions, Behaviour, Complaints, SEND, Safeguarding, Accessibility, Equality Statement and Equal Opportunities

SEND Policy Jan 2024-25.pdf

How are children with SEND included in all aspects of school life at St Mary’s?

All children have access to quality first teaching, using a range of teaching styles to suit different learning needs. A broad and balanced curriculum is delivered to all.

All classes are supported by a Teaching Assistant for every English and Maths lesson.  Foundation Stage classes have access to Teaching Assistants/Nursery Nurse all day, alongside experienced class teachers.

Interventions or ‘catch up’ groups are led by a Teacher or Teaching Assistant.

All school trips and visits are fully inclusive. For residential trips, there is close liaison with the venue and preliminary visits are organised if needed.

Children are well-supervised during break and lunch time, with play equipment provided to support play activities.

All clubs and special events are accessible to the relevant age groups.

All pupils are encouraged to take part in sports days, sporting events, school concerts and any other visits / activities. No pupil is ever excluded from taking part because of their SEN or disability.

How are children identified as having SEN?

If a child continues to have difficulty after intervention or has a high level of difficulty when they join us, they may be considered to have special educational needs (SEN) and placed on the SEND register. Parents will be informed of this.

Staged Response

Class teachers will assess children to identify their strengths, needs and the extra help they require. As a Local Authority, Central Bedfordshire have adopted a staged response to providing additional support for pupils with SEN or disabilities.

At Stage 1 extra or different support is provided to that of most children their age. This may involve:

If a child continues to have difficulty even with this extra support, they will move to Stage 2 when we will seek professional advice from:

If a child’s needs are complex or severe, Stage 3 involves an assessment of education health and care (EHC) by the Local Authority to determine the needs to be met in an EHC Plan (EHCP).

How would St Mary’s support a child with SEN?

The head teacher, SENCo and staff, supported by the school governors, decide on the deployment of resources based on needs in the school. Class teachers plan lessons according to the specific needs of all groups of children in their class. Teaching is based on what the child already knows, can do and can understand . The curriculum is differentiated to ensure all pupils are able to access it, for example, by grouping, 1:1 work, teaching style, content of the lesson etc.

Support staff, under the direction of the class teacher, can further adapt planning to support the needs of the child.

Specific resources and strategies will be used to support children individually and in groups. Recommended aids will be used where required, for example, laptops, coloured overlays, writing slopes, visual timetables etc.

Children will have SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-scaled) termly or half-termly targets in their individual education and SEND support plans. Progress towards these targets is monitored through cycles of 'Assess, Plan, Do, Review'.

Children may have a Care Plan.

If a child has been identified as needing more specialist input, referrals will be made to outside agencies to advise and support the school in enabling the child to make progress. Parents will always be asked to give their permission before the school makes a referral to a specialist provision e.g. the Educational Psychologist.

The school (or parents) can request that the Local Authority carry out a statutory assessment of a child’s needs. Following the submission of paperwork, the LA will decide if the child’s needs are severe, complex and lifelong and therefore require additional help to make good progress. If this is the case they will write an EHC (Education Health and Care) Plan to outline the support the child will receive from the LA, how it should be used and what strategies must be put in place. 

How are parents of children with SEND supported and involved in the child’s provision?

We have an ‘Open door’ policy and build strong and open relationships with parents.

Parents are informed of their children’s progress twice yearly through parent’s evenings and an annual report. There are also opportunities for informal discussions as appropriate.

Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and SEND Support Plans are written by the class teacher and SENCo after discussion with the parents and child. They are reviewed at least 3 times a year.

Education, Health Care Plans (EHCPs) are reviewed annually, with short term outcomes reviewed on a termly or half-termly basis.

How are children supported with transition?

There are a number of events that take place during the year, but especially in the Summer term which aim to smooth the transition to the Middle schools through activities and shared learning. Additional visits can be arranged for those children who need them.

The SENCos from the Lower and Middle schools meet to discuss needs and interventions to ensure a smooth transition for the more vulnerable children. 

There is also liaison between Nursery provision and the school prior to entry to Foundation Stage.

There is also close liaison between class teachers within St. Mary's to aid transition from one class / year group to the next, with support plans and activities put in place if applicable.

What support for a child’s overall well-being is provided by St Mary’s?

The class teachers and SENCo liaise regularly to ensure that all children are supported in this aspect. One teacher and three Teaching Assistants are trained in emotional well being and provide small group or 1:1 support where necessary.

Who should I talk to at St Mary’s Academy about my child’s Special Educational Needs?

The class teacher who is responsible for checking on the progress of your child and identifying, planning and delivering any additional help your child may need.

The SENCo who is responsible for developing and reviewing the school’s SEND policy, making sure records are kept, liaising with outside agencies and coordinating support for children with SEND.

Mrs Gemma Martin is the SENCo for Foundation Stage & Key Stage 1. Miss Ellie Attenborough is the SENCo for Key Stage 2.

The Headteacher who is responsible for the day to day management of all aspects of the school, including the support for children with SEND.

The SEND Governor who is responsible for making sure the school has an up to date SEND policy, making visits to understand and monitor the support given to children with SEND and making sure that the necessary support is given for any child who has SEND.

Contact by: speaking to them at the end of the school day to arrange an appointment, or by telephoning the school (01462 730343)

Please follow this link for information on the Local Offer provided by Central Bedfordshire -


If you want advice from professionals outside school you may find the following numbers helpful: 

'SNAP' - parent carer forum https://www.snappcf.org.uk/ 07984545044

'Young Minds' - https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/get-urgenthelp/youngminds-crisis-messenger/

Call 111 Option 2 - 24/7 ALL AGES - Young people can talk to a CAMHS professional directly who can arrange additional support.

0 - 18 CAMHS SINGLE POINT OF ENTRY A CAMHS clinician will respond and they can also provide self- help resources and psychoeducation. For enquiries, please call 01234 893362

More-Life - Weight management programme for children and families, information and self-referral form available via https://www.more-life.co.uk/what-we-do/our-services/in-your-area/bedford/

Parent Partnership: 'SENSIASS' - CBC SEND Information, Advice & Support Service 0300 300 8088 https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/info/15/special_educational_needs_and_disability_-_local_offer/141/central_bedfordshire_special_educational_needs_and_disability_information_advice_and_support_service

School admissions:  0300 3008037

School Nurse Service: 01525 631150

CHUMS: www.chums.uk.com - 01525 863924

Carers in Bedfordshire: www.carersinbeds.org.uk - 0300 111 1919

Autism Bedfordshire: www.autismbedfordshire.net - 01234 350704

Outside In: www.outsidein-solutions.com - 07817 212845

Child Development Centre: 01234 310278

Parenting Programmes in Central Bedfordshire: www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/parenting