The Learning and Development Team
|SENDCo - Miss H Wells
|Deputy SENDCo - Mrs S Wilson
|Key Teaching Assistant - Mrs N Williams
|Admin Assistant - Mrs T Spires
|Teaching Assistant - Miss K Allworth
|Teaching Assistant - Mrs R Toon
|Teaching Assistant - Mr Bailey
|Teaching Assistant - Mrs K Rona
|Teaching Assistant - Mrs J Tong
|Teaching Assistant - Miss M Kootstra
|Teaching Assistant - Miss H Parkin
|Teaching Assistant - Mrs A Johal
|Teaching Assistant - Miss F Williams
|Teaching Assistant - Miss K Buckingham
|Teaching Assistant - Miss K Gray
Please note that support is based on our current level of funding and this is subject to change. As a school, we do our best to maintain current levels of provision but this cannot be guaranteed.
We are committed to meeting the additional needs of all learners regardless of their ability, gender, social background, ethnicity or language. We pride ourselves on our ability to work proactively in providing support for learners whether their additional need be short term or lifelong. Ofsted (May 2023) recently commented ‘The curriculum for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) is ambitious at all key stages. The needs of pupils are identifies at an early stage. Pupils are well-supported and provision is appropriate.’ Our work dovetails with the pastoral and academic ethos of the school and aims to move students towards achieving independence in learning for life.
Whole School Approach
All students have their reading ability assessed on admission to The Highfield School. This normally takes place in Year 7 or following in year admission. The Mathematics Department also assess a mathematical ability very early in Year 7. Spelling and writing probes are used as required. This information is collated to ensure that staff have accurate information about students in their class and that where required, students receive appropriate levels of additional support and intervention.
Detailed profiling information for students with additional needs is available to school staff through a centralised system. This information is reviewed and updated regularly. Staff then consider appropriate reasonable adjustments, are aware of entitlement to examination access arrangements and more personalised interventions deemed necessary to support learning. These individual profiles also signpost staff and students to a differentiated bank of additional strategies or adjustments that are applied to support learning in individual subject settings. Additional support or assistive technologies are allocated where appropriate.
In class we work routinely with students to help them develop focus, improve concentration and understanding, develop resilience, organisation and learning independence.
The effectiveness of the adjustments and support is monitored through regular progress checks, with individuals being additionally monitored by a named teaching assistant with whom regular contact is established.
Some needs require intervention outside the classroom: these may be group or individually based, short term or long term.
Current interventions include:
In Years 7, 8 and 9 we run a range of reading programmes to develop reading fluency, spelling, comprehension and writing skills in those who are working well below age related expectation. The aim is to achieve the independence required to access the secondary curriculum and is delivered by a teaching assistant through personalised intervention lessons.
In Year 7, we successfully use the Lexia Power Up software to develop reading confidence. This intervention is delivered by an English teacher and a team of skilled Teaching Assistants. Lexia Power Up is also accessible from home and we find that the majority of our students make good progress with their reading ages.
In Year 7, 8 and 9 small group support is allocated to those with significant difficulties with the four basic mathematical operations, fractions, decimals, money and time. This shadows the timetable and needs are supported on an individual basis.
Speech, Language and Communication Support
We work cooperatively with the Speech and Language Therapy Service in running individual programmes of support to reflect therapy plans. The SENCo is Elklan trained and supports the team fully in delivering a range of Speech and Language Interventions. We also provide small group support for the development of effective social communication skills through our daily Munch Club in Learning Development.
Social Understanding /Emotional Literacy/ Social Stories
Support is provided before and after school and also during lunch time to help students to develop their social skills. Additionally, a munch club provides support at break and lunchtime, for a range of students who require some respite from the busy social environment of a mainstream school. This is supported by a team of teaching assistants with specific training in SEND.
Managing feelings, misunderstandings and providing self-help strategies for students with limited social understanding through the delivery of social stories is undertaken both at group and individual level as required. This is managed by a dedicated team of appropriately trained teaching assistants. The Deputy SENCo is ELSA trained and supports students with their emotional literacy.
What else do we do?
Individual mentoring support: Students are allocated a key worker from the Learning Development team and students are met with on a regular basis.
Transition programmes: We have a strong tradition for personalised transition programmes. The opportunity for students with significant needs or anxieties to visit The Highfield School contributes to a smooth and happy transition. We can provide additional visits at different times during the school day, tours of the school, practise using the canteen, opportunity to chat to other students during Munch Club, question and answer sessions and time spent in the Learning Development Suite with a range of teaching assistants. We also support Post-16 transition and invite colleges and alternative settings to EHCP reviews and our post-16 information evening. The Learning Development team liaise with our Services for Young people advisor and support with student applications, visits to local colleges/sixth form and have supportive discussions with the student about their next steps.
Assessment of needs: Where further investigation is required, we liaise closely with external professionals such as our attached Educational Psychologist, Specialist Advisory Teachers for autism, speech, language and communication, sensory impairment and specific learning difficulties in order to develop individual and whole school programmes of support based on significant expertise in their fields. Where appropriate, we work with parents to request from the Local Authority an assessment towards securing an Education Health and Care Plan.
The needs of students with sensory or physical disabilities are accommodated to ensure the fullest possible access to and participation in the curriculum.
We also provide assessment and support students for whom English is an additional language. To support this process, our EAL Teaching Assistant builds a relationship with our EAL students and liaises with school staff to ensure appropriate strategies are in place.
Access arrangements / special considerations: The school makes every effort to secure examination access arrangements for students whose additional needs meet the required threshold. Any such adjustments must be in line with the student’s normal way of working and the school is required to provide substantial evidence that these needs are both sustained and current. Where necessary, the school uses an external Specialist Teacher, usually at the start of Year 10, to conduct a formal and objective assessment; final decisions rest with the external examinations boards and are outside the school’s control. Once agreed the student is responsible for using the access arrangements that have been put in place.
Transferable skills: we provide short programmes of support for note taking, revision techniques, planning, and organisation and memory skills.
Parent support and liaison: We have a strong tradition of working proactively with parents and students and are happy to discuss concerns about students. We hold termly events and provide opportunities for parents to meet and discuss their child with Learning Development staff.
In the summer term, we hold a coffee morning for all parents and carers whose children are supported by Learning Development. In addition, year 6 parents whose child has been allocated a place at The Highfield School are also invited. This allows parents to meet the Learning Development team, network and ask any questions which they may have.
The local authority sets out the services available to support young people in schools. As a school we support and endeavour to utilise fully the services provided by the local authority. Further details are available at www.hertsdirect.gov.uk/localoffer