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What are Special Educational Needs (SEN)?


A child has special educational needs (SEN) if he or she has learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for him or her to learn than most other children of about the same age.

Many children will have special educational needs of some kind during their education. Our school can help most children overcome the barriers their difficulties present quickly and easily. A few children will need extra help for some or all of their time in our school.

So special educational needs could mean that a child has:

  • learning difficulties – in acquiring basic skills at school
  • social, emotional or mental health difficulties – making friends or relating to adults or behaving properly in school
  • specific learning difficulties – with reading, writing, number work or understanding information
  • sensory or physical needs – such as hearing impairment, visual impairment or physical difficulties which might affect them in school
  • communication problems – in expressing themselves or understanding what others are saying
  • medical or health conditions – which may slow down a child’s or young person’s progress and/or involves treatment that affects his or her education.

What do we do at Samakee to help children with special educational needs?

At Samakee, we place great importance on identifying special educational needs (SEN) early so that we can help children as quickly as possible. Once it has been decided that your child has SEN, staff working with your child take into account the Samakee SEN Policy. The policy describes how we help children with special educational needs at Samakee through a step-by-step or graduated approach.

Our graduated approach recognises that children and young people learn in different ways and can have different kinds or levels of SEN. So increasingly, step-by-step, specialist expertise is brought in to help our school with the difficulties that a child may have.

If your child does not seem to be making enough progress or needs a lot more extra help, the school may contact parents so that an assessment can be carried out for your child by a Developmental Paediatrician at Merak Clinic. This is only required for a very small number of children and is only necessary if the school cannot provide all the help that your child needs. It is usually only required for children who have the most significant and long-term special educational needs which need a very detailed assessment.

The approach may include:

  • an individually-designed learning programme
  • extra help from a learning support assistant who may be assigned to your child. This occurs if it is decided by the multidisciplinary team that your child is unable to access the curriculum independently. The decision is reached and agreed on by all people working with the child.
  • being taught individually or in a small group for regular short periods
  • drawing up a personal plan in liaison with Merak and or our Inclusion Leaders, including setting targets for improvement, regular review of progress before setting new targets.
  • Merak Home School meetings with parents, carers, Merak therapists and teachers who work with your child.

Children make progress at different rates and have different ways in which they learn best. Our teachers take account of this in the way they organise their lessons and teach. Children making slower progress or having particular difficulties in one area may be given extra help or different lessons to help them succeed.

NB If your child does need extra support for special educational needs or English as an additional language, additional costs may be required e.g. EAL teacher, Fast ForWord, Asdan, Learning Support Assistant or Merak Clinic services.

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