SEN Information
SENCO Mr Whittaker
SEN Governor Mr Anders


At St Austin's R.C. Primary School we recognise that every child is unique and special. Within our rich and varied curriculum, every child is given opportunities and support, in a safe, caring and stimulating environment, which should facilitate each child’s chance to reach the highest possible standards. All staff are committed to meeting the needs of all our children and strive to break down any barriers that are preventing children from making the progress they are capable of. As a school, we recognise the importance of not only supporting children’s academic progress but also developing their behavioural, emotional and social skills to enable them to become confident, independent learners. We aim to quickly identify pupils, who are making limited progress and provide targeted interventions and support to meet their needs. We ensure that parents are fully aware of the SEND process and informed of their child’s learning at regular points throughout the year. We are a fully inclusive school and work alongside the Local Authority, Health Professionals and community organisations to find the most appropriate and effective support for pupils within our care.

The following information and documents will provide you with further details in relation to SEND and how school and home can support children. 

Further information is available within the SEND policy and the SEND information report which can be downloaded below, however a brief summary of answers to some frequently asked questions is included here. 

What are special educational needs and disabilities?

A pupil has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them. They have a learning difficulty or disability if they have:

  • A significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
  •  A disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools.

Special educational provision is educational or training provision that is additional to, or different from, that made generally for other children or young people of the same age by mainstream schools.

Disability is defined under the Equality Act 2010 as “a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.” This definition includes sensory impairments such as those affecting sight or hearing, and long-term health conditions such as cystic fibrosis, diabetes and epilepsy.

Children must not be regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language, or form of language of their home, is different for the language in which they will be taught.


What should I do if I believe that my child has a special educational need or disability?


One thing to consider when you  suspect that your child has a special educational need or disability is that many children with such needs can, and do, thrive within school without the need for “special educational provision” to be made for them. For instance, one example referred to above was a child with a hearing impairment; if such a child has a hearing aid fitted and is coping well in school then special educational provision may not be appropriate for them.

However, if you have concerns regarding your child then your first step should be to discuss your concerns with the class teacher. Early identification of SEND needs is essential therefore if you are in any doubt then discuss your concerns with the class teacher. Mr Whittaker, the Special Educational Needs and coordinator (Senco) is also available to discuss issues relating to SEND, however you must have discussed your concerns with the class teacher in the first instance. Please be assured that the Senco regularly communicates with teaching staff regarding additional needs within school. 

Important note:

All children progress at different rates (as do adults). For this reason, we need to remember that a child only has a SEND if they have:


  • A significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
  •  A disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools

What will happen next?

For more detailed information please consult the SEND Policy and SEND information report. However to summarise:

All schools are required to follow the graduated approach to SEND provision which is a 4 stage approach: Assess - Plan - Do - Review.

1. Assess

 The first step involves assessment of need so your child's teacher will discuss your concerns with you. All teaching staff in our school make regular formal and informal assessments of children therefore they will have built up an accurate picture of your child. It may be the case that your child's teacher is able to reassure you that your child is making the progress expected of them.

2. Plan

If the "assess" stage revealed a need to investigate further then  we move onto "Plan" and the teacher will , with your help, make a plan to put in place provision which is "additional to or different from" the provision provided for the rest of the class. It is likely that the teacher will discuss your child with the SENCO (Mr Whittaker) who will offer additional advice and support. Provision can take a number of different forms and more information can be found in the SEND information report. 

3. Do

Next, the plan will be put into place and monitored. 

4. Review

Progress is reviewed and re-assessed and if necessary a new plan is put in place which involves additional cycles of the graduated response. 


Local Offer

As part of the revised legislation regarding SEND, Local Authorities have a duty to publish a Local Offer, setting out in one place information about provision they expect to be available in their area across education, health and social care for children and young people in their area who have SEN or are disabled, including those who do not have EHC plans. You can find more information about the St Helens local offer by clicking on the image below:

School’s also have a duty to publish their SEND Information Report as part of the Local Offer. This can be found in the files to download below. 

Further information

Below you will find further information about each area of need as well as useful links or documents which you may wish to make use of.


Broad areas of SEND

Communication and interaction 

As you would expect, children with needs in this area have difficulties with communicating and/or interacting with their peers or adults. 

This broad area of need can include many types of SEN such as:


Speech and Language difficulties (SALT)

SALT difficulties can be further broken down into:

  Developmental language delay - a delay in one or more aspects of a child's language development. Once the language has been developed it will do so at the expected level of development. Developmental language disorder - more serious than a delay. This is where language development is delayed, unusual or uneven to the extent that it interferes with the child's ability to communicate and learn. 
  Phonological/Severe Pronunciation Problems -  Impaired intelligibility is one of the most common specific language difficulties. The child is unable to use the sound set of English in order to generate meanings. The problem may be defined as delay (unintelligible to an unfamiliar adult at age 4 years) or non-typical development usually referred to as a Specific Speech Disorder and characterised by severely limited consonants and vowel distortions. Dyspraxia may be a feature. Although most phonological difficulties appear to be resolved by the end of the first year in school, impaired phonological awareness underlies problems with the acquisition of literacy skills. Expressive Language - Expressive language means the language a child uses to express himself or herself and includes his or her ability to use an appropriate vocabulary, find word labels for objects, structure sentences grammatically, and convey meaning to others.
  Receptive Language/Language Comprehension - Language comprehension means the child’s understanding of the language he or she hears and includes his or her ability to understand vocabulary, obtain meaning from the way that sentences are structured (the grammar of the language), and understand the messages that are being conveyed.
Social Communication/Semantics and Pragmatics - Semantics refers to handling the meaning of words and sentences, expressing meaningful ideas that reflect what is going on and understanding the expression of ideas by other people. It is about knowing what is being talked about and understanding the relationship of one word to another within the same category and as distinct from words in opposing categories. Pragmatics refers to knowing and using the social uses to which language is put, being able to use language in different ways on different occasions, and having an appropriate sense of audience and also being able to ‘read between the lines’ and infer meaning intended beyond the words and sentences used. Apparent semantic-pragmatic disorder may result from specific difficulties with development of language, or be an indication of a more pervasive disorder, such as those of the “autistic continuum”.

Autistic Spectrum Disorders (Social communication difficulties)

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder will often cause concern by the time that they are 3 years old, and a diagnosis of autism or of having autism spectrum disorder is likely to be made before they are 5 years old.

The SEND Code of Practice stresses the importance of early identification, assessment and intervention. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder can only be identified by a detailed assessment of their: social awareness and communication; language; imagination; cognitive processing; and emotional functioning.

Autistic Spectrum Disorder can co-exist with other continuum other special educational needs, and is sometimes diagnosed in conjunction with severe learning difficulties.  Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neuro developmental disorder, which affects at least 1.1% of the population (NAS 2013). The ‘Triad of impairments’ can occur with varying degrees of severity.

As with other developmental disorders, there may be other special educational needs. Children and young people with autism spectrum disorder will have:

• difficulty with social communication

• difficulty with social interaction

• difficulty with social imagination

• inflexibility of thought and behaviour

• Sensory issues may also be present.


Cognition and learning difficulties

Difficulties within this area refer to a child finding learning within one, or many, areas of the curriculum difficult. This area can be further split down into:
Mild and Moderate Learning Difficulties - Pupils with general learning difficulties experience significant problems across the majority of the curriculum. Their general level of development and academic attainment is significantly below that of their peers.
Severe or Profound Learning Difficulties - Children with very severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties are almost always identified before they reach statutory school/setting age.

Specific learning difficulties such as:

Dyslexia and dyscalculia - “Dyslexia is evident when fluent and accurate word identification (reading) and/or spelling does not develop or does so very incompletely or with great difficulty. Dyscalculia is the term applied to similar difficulties with numeracy. Dyslexia and dyscalculia are both specific learning difficulties.



Social, emotional and mental health difficulties

The SEN Code of Practice (6.32) states “Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained. Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attachment disorder."



Sensory and / or physical needs

Physical Disabilities-  The SEN Code of Practice (6:34) states Some children and young people require special educational provision because they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided. These difficulties can be age related and may fluctuate over time. Many children and young people with vision impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) or a multi-sensory impairment (MSI) will require specialist support and/or equipment to access their learning, or habilitation support."