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Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Secondary school blueprint

Environment – Accessibility

  • Signage – clear, well positioned and easily visible
  • Steps, edges, pillars and other transition points highlighted
  • Handrails
  • ‘Tactile trails’
  • Different floor coverings for different areas of the school to indicate a change of environment.
  • Clear panels on doors, with appropriate markings, so people can be seen approaching from the other side
  • A distinction between quiet and active areas in the playground
  • Corridors, cloakrooms and classrooms kept free of obstructions

Environment – Classroom

  • Walkways clear, coats and bags put away safely,
  • Layout of the classroom kept consistent
  • Resources kept in the same place and clearly labelled
  • Good lighting (ambient, reduced glare, curtains, blinds)
  • Allocated space for equipment to be stored safely but within easy reach as this will be used daily.

Environment – Acoustics and Listening

  • Ensuring compliance with government minimum acoustic standards, as set out in government regulations and guidance
  • Changing the ceiling tiles as most standard ones are not great absorbers of sound. They ideally need to be classified as ‘Class A’ absorbers to bring the reverberation down to the right sort of level over at least half of the ceiling area.
  • Adding acoustically absorbent panels to walls, or suspended from wires from the ceiling (these can be sourced in interesting shapes like clouds)
  • Adding rubber compression seals to the doors, if noise coming into the classroom is the problem.
  • Lessons with high language content (such as literacy) delivered in rooms with the best acoustics.
  • Installation of Soundfield Systems

Environment – Preparation for Transition

  • An acoustic audit of teaching spaces that identifies measures required to improve the listening environment.
  • Ensuring that any ALD’S and/or Soundfield system is in place in good time.
  • Arrangements for MSI awareness training for other pupils in the form/year group.
  • Arrangements for providing secondary school staff with information on the pupil’s needs and how they are best supported in accessing teaching and learning.
  • Arrangements for training and advising relevant staff deaf awareness training for staff.
  • Arrangements for meeting social need including continuity of existing friendship groups.
  • Arrangements for having TA’s, MSW, DIW’s trained and in place before the start of the term.

Environment – Technology

  • Allowing the use of hearing & visual technology, such as Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) Braille Notes etc., to be used in all lessons. Key members of staff trained in how the equipment works.
  • A clear understanding that hearing aids, cochlear implants and ALD’s considerably improve access to sound and make a crucial contribution to a student’s development of language, communication and learning and a positive approach to using these.
  • Arrangements for training for staff on the use of Augmentative & Alternative Communication.
  • Positive approach to using AAC at all levels e.g. No Tech, Low Tech communication systems and High Tech communication systems.

Staff / SENCO / Senior Management

  • A “can do” attitude when early discussions take place – not just seeing the challenges/ difficulties.
  • SENCO who doesn’t have a heavy teaching load on top of the SENCO role.
  • Hands on SENCO who is not a HLTA taking on all practical work/decisions including annual review and TAF meetings.
  • SENCO able to attend TAF meetings/ AR ahead of extended transition.
  • SENCO /senior leadership saying school will be able to deliver EHCP with outside agency support.
  • Openness to working with outside professionals and implement advice given– evidence of a recent good track record for this.
  • Openness for staff to do some training/ awareness raising.
  • A wide range of learning and teaching approaches which enable MSI students to become successful learners.
  • Teaching which addresses MSI student’s limited access to incidental learning opportunities.
  • Specific adaptations to the curriculum when required, based on a clear identification of
  • the needs of MSI students and designed to address and meet these needs.
  • Good communication pathways in place between parents, school and professionals.

Background of Sensory Impairment

  • Recent past experience/ staff awareness in inclusion VI or HI children that has been successful
  • Willingness to have a flexible approach to working with the children – individualised timetable/ curriculum considered feasible (other children working on bespoke timetables for a range of reasons.
  • Quiet spaces/ break or rooms for 1:1 working or small group working/ equipment
  • Close proximity to home for potential independent travel/ friendship/ peer group within community also in school
  • If a special school- strong positive links with SALT, and OT – multi-professional working with health as well as education