John Stainer

Special Needs Information

At John Stainer Primary School and Nursery we have a strong ethos about inclusion and are proud of our diverse school community.

We believe that every child has the right to enjoy a full and varied curriculum that interests and excites them.  We strive to deliver an enriched and creative curriculum that is accessible to all children, regardless of special educational needs or disabilities.  We aim to identify and support additional needs as quickly and effectively as possible, to ensure every child is able to achieve their full potential.  We work hard to ensure that all of our children learn, progress and succeed in becoming happy and independent members of society.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 defines a disabled person as one who has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a persons’ ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Most children with Special Needs will not be disabled within the meaning of the Act. The admission of pupils with disabilities is considered in the first instance in the same way as non-disabled pupils. Further considerations are made in the light of need and accessibility.

It is the Governors’ Policy to accommodate pupils with disabilities should parents wish. Steps are taken to prevent any pupils being treated less favourably than other pupils. In practice we ensure that classroom and extra curricular activities encourage the participation of all pupils, including those categorised as having Special Educational Needs. Staff organise human and physical resources within the school to increase access to learning and participation by all pupils.

Existing facilities provided to assist access to the school by pupils with disabilities;

  • Wheelchair access at all entrances and sections of the school.
  • Carpeted classrooms to aid hearing impaired pupils' learning.
  • Exterior lighting to improve evening access.
  • Disabled Toilet located next to the office and on each floor.
  • Lift access in reception/office area and to all floors
  • Stannah chair lift to the roof terrace.

At John Stainer, we are committed to providing a high quality education to all children. We believe that children, including those identified as having special educational needs, have an entitlement to a broad and balanced academic and social curriculum and to be fully included in all aspects of school life. 

Our school aims to raise the aspirations of and the expectations for all pupils with SEN with a focus on outcomes for all children.

While at John Stainer School, some children may require extra support to allow them to access the curriculum and to achieve their best. 

This SEND information report provides information on what we provide for children who have additional educational needs or disabilities.

The SEND Policy  gives more detail about our day to day procedures.

 Our SENDCO, Jennie Diss, is very experienced in dealing with all types of special educational need. 

Lewisham Local Authority also publishes on its website a local offer, which sets out a wide range of information about the specialist services, schools, colleges and organisations that can provide support and information for families of children and young people with SEND. It explains the procedures for requesting an assessment for an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). You will also find information about

  • where to go for advice and guidance on SEN and Disability matters
  • leisure activities for children with SEND
  • arrangements for resolving disagreements and mediation

Parents value the attention the school gives to the individual needs of their children. Parents mentioned the sensitive way in which the school meets the individual needs of all pupils, including those with SEND. Parents are very complimentary of the quick support they receive with one parent telling me, “the staff have gone above and beyond to make my child feel included. 


What kinds of SEND do we provide for?

At John Stainer School, we believe that all children should be given the best possible opportunities to achieve their potential. As an inclusive school, we provide SEND support for children in the following areas:

  • Cognition and learning
  • Communication and understanding
  • Social, emotional and mental health
  • Sensory and/or physical needs

SEN support may only be necessary for a short period or, in some cases, a child may need long-term support in order to achieve their best. Children may also have more than one type of SEND.

How do we identify and assess children with additional needs?

In order to provide the best support, early identification of any SEND is vital. If a child joins the school with an identified need, we will collect as much information as possible before they begin, speaking with parents/carers and collecting information from previous settings. Your child’s progress will be continually monitored and assessed by their class teacher and if you have any concerns or enquiries about their learning you should arrange a meeting with the class teacher first. If additional support is needed the SENDCO will become involved, and together we decide how best to support your child, deciding on the necessary interventions and targets to help them move forward. We believe that it is important that the views of the parent, teacher and child are all included. Sometimes we will ask other professionals to add their input through observations or assessments. Parent/carers form a valuable part of this process and input and consent will always be sought for referrals.

Who is our Special Needs Coordinator/SENDCO)?

Our Special Needs Coordinator (or SENDCO) is Jennie Diss. Ms Diss can be contacted by arranging an appointment through the school office, calling on 020 7639 0482, or you can email admin@johnstainer.lewisham

What is our approach to teaching children with SEND?

Our school strives to make education fun, exciting and meaningful with a broad, balanced and adapted curriculum for all children. Education is constantly evolving and teachers adapt continually, following advice from teaching experts and outside agencies, to ensure that all children can access the curriculum to progress and achieve their best. Our accessibility plan below will give you an insight on the strategies we employ to ensure quality provision for our children with SEND.

accessibility plan

How do we adapt the curriculum and learning environment?

The needs of the individual are always considered and planned for with a well-adapted curriculum and quality first teaching. Where children have specific needs, the curriculum is adapted and personalised. Our main aim is to remove any barriers to learning and to ensure equal access to the curriculum and we make sure that children have necessary resources to help them learn. These resources include - using ICT provision, handwriting slopes, spring scissors, pencil grips, visual timetables and other prompts, move “n” sit cushions, coloured reading guides, coloured writing paper etc.

Sometimes a child’s ability to access a test may be affected by a SEN. For example, a child with dyslexia may have difficulty reading the questions in a maths test and we want to assess their maths attainment not their reading skills. In a case, such as this we will find the solution that will best suit the needs of the child. This may include having a scribe, a reader, taking breaks or using a separate test room.

How do we enable pupils with SEND to engage in activities with other pupils who do not have SEND?

Children are encouraged to see the positive role that we all play in our school community. We celebrate difference and diversity and always strive to adapt activities to ensure that all pupils with SEND can access them and achieve their best.

We are fully committed to ensuring that pupils with SEND attend the same lessons and activities as pupils who do not have SEND. We take steps to prevent pupils with disabilities from being treated less favourably than other pupils. Most of the support for pupils with SEND is provided in their regular, timetabled lessons alongside their peers.

All children are included in all parts of the school curriculum wherever reasonably possible and we aim for all children to be included on school trips. We will provide the necessary reasonable adjustments to ensure that this is successful. 

Extra-curricular activities are available to all students within the school. When possible, an LSA may accompany a pupil with SEND to such activities in order for that pupil to access the activity. 

How do we consult parents of children with SEND and involve them in their child’s education?

A good partnership between the school and family is at the heart of a successful school and we value the input of both children and parents/carers. By working together, we ensure that we build strong foundations and support children effectively throughout their school career. We listen to the views of parents and children and recognise the value of this input.

We value the input of parents/carers and ensure that they are involved in the planning of their child’s special educational provision. A child’s needs may be identified within the class or by parents/carers and it is important that parents/carers are able to approach their class teacher, making an appointment to discuss any concerns as they arise. Decisions will always be made in partnership with parents/carers in the best interests of the child. 

Children are given targets to ensure their progress and these are discussed and reviewed on a termly basis by class teachers in consultation with parents. 

How do we assess and review pupils’ progress towards their outcomes?

Class teachers will regularly assess and review all children’s progress and adapt their planning appropriately. In the SEND Code of Practice, the graduated approach recommends the assess-plan-do-review cycle and we follow this to ensure that we regularly evaluate the support we have in place for pupils with SEND. We have parent meetings every term where targets are reviewed.

When children have additional needs, which require more support than can be meet by current provision, the school or parents/carers can apply to the local authority for an EHCP (Educational Health Care Plan). The details about the legal process can be found at Lewisham’s Local Offer website (see link above).

Children with an EHCP have additional annual review meetings which parent/carers and relevant professionals are invited to attend.

How do we support pupils moving between different phases of their education?

During their time at John Stainer, children will move through EYFS (Nursery and Reception Classes), KS1 (Years 1 and 2), and KS2 (Years 3 to 6). Sometimes these transitions can be rather daunting and the changes in learning styles can be challenging to some children. We endeavour to make these transitions as smooth as possible.

When children begin in our Nursery they usually settle very quickly and children who take more time will have a “staggered” entry. To help ease these children into Nursery life, the staggered entry gradually increases the time spent in the nursery over three days. Parents are welcome to stay during this time. In the Reception classes, parents and children visit their reception class before starting and teachers make nursery visits. During the transition from Nursery to Reception, some children will make booklets with photos in to help them to become familiar with their new school.

If a child has already been identified as having a SEND, the SENDCO may meet with the people who know the child best and, at times, an external agency may support the transition. At the end of every year, teachers organise handover meetings to make sure the new teacher has the information needed to support each child. This includes discussing targets, assessments and any interventions and support that the child has received. Children also have a “meet the teacher” day where they get a chance to spend time in their next class with the new class teacher and staff that will be working with them. Where it is helpful, some children will make transition books with photos and information about their new classroom.

As children move from Year 6 to their new secondary schools, we ensure that the SENDCO works with the secondary school SENDCO to support the transition. Secondary school visits are encouraged and our SENDCO and our School Home Support worker, Tracy Townrow, support the families of children with SEND.

How do we support pupils with SEND to improve their social and emotional development?

At John Stainer School, children are encouraged to be caring and respectful of others and to be aware of the positive values important in society. Each half term we focus on a specific value (such as kindness, trust, patience etc.) and this is discussed in the classroom and in assemblies. Parents/carers are informed via the newsletter to encourage children to promote these values outside of school and children look for opportunities to express those values and to see those values in others. We also have a ‘Cool to be Kind’ week where children make a positive effort to show random acts of kindness both in and out of school

Responsibility is promoted through the use of prefects, the school council and classroom monitors. We also have a house points system where children are members of one of four houses. These houses are a mix of different year groups to encourage the children to work as a team, separate from their own class and established friends.

All classes use meditation to promote emotional well-being in the classroom and many teaches have had mindfulness training.

We have weekly debating assemblies to encourage children to appreciate and listen to the views of others as well as circle times in class and high quality PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education) lessons.

Some children benefit from the structured “Friendship” groups, shared cooperative activities (such as Lego therapy) or the quiet time sessions during lunch hours.

One of our Learning Support Assistants, Miss Elizabeth, has been trained by Educational Psychologists to carry out 1:1 Emotional Literacy Support sessions with children experiencing social, emotional and mental health needs. Her role is to support children to understand and regulate their own emotions whilst also respecting the feelings of those around them. 

We also have many after school activities giving children the opportunity to socialise.

Our dedicated School Home Support worker, Tracy Townrow, can be found in the playground at the start of school and often at the end of the day. She works with a number of families and children and is always happy for any parent/carer or child to self-refer if they want help with something.

We take any bullying very seriously and our Anti Bullying policy ensures that any reported incident is dealt with thoroughly. For more information, please look at our anti bullying policy.

What expertise and training do our staff have to support pupils with SEN?

Our SENDCO, Jennie Diss, has a great deal of experience working with children with SEND across both key stages. 

All staff have regular training and guidance to ensure that they meet the needs of the children. Our SENDCO supports staff to ensure that recommendations from professionals are implemented in planning. Staff have training through SEND insets and staff meetings, making use of the expertise of our own staff or from outside agencies such as our Speech and Language Therapy Service, Sarah Buckley Therapies. Where appropriate, staff are also given the opportunity for more specific training to support individuals with a particular SEND such as Makaton training.

How do we secure specialist expertise?

We work closely with other professional services who lend their expertise to help the school and parents find more effective ways of supporting your child. We may use the services of:

  • Educational Psychology
  • Drumbeat ASD outreach service
  • Speech and Language advice and input
  • Occupational Therapy team
  • Visual Impairment Team
  • Hearing Impairment Team
  • The Cassel Centre (Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties)
  • School Nurse/Health Visitors
  • Targeted Family support and social care
  • Voluntary or charity organisations

These services provide a range of support including:

  • working one to one and small group work with children
  • providing training for teaching and support staff
  • helping us to assess needs, plan next steps and review progress.

How do we evaluate the impact of our SEND provision?

Interventions are carefully monitored to evaluate their impact following the four-step process - assess, plan, do and review. Class teachers and the SENDCO measure the effectiveness of the interventions adapting where necessary and planning the next steps when targets have been met. The Leadership Team and SENDCO monitor pupil progress and regular review meetings help teachers to understand the next steps for their children.

How do we handle concerns, from parents of children with SEND, about provision made at the school?

We value the constructive input of parents/carers and believe that the most effective way to help all children is through open and honest dialogue. Any concerns should be brought to our attention so that they can be resolved quickly. The class teacher is usually the first person to speak to about any concerns, then the SENDCO and the Head teacher. If you feel that this has not resolved the matter, then we have a school complaints policy, which outlines the complaints procedure (see policies page).

 Who can young people and parents contact if they have concerns?

For independent advice, information and support you can contact the Special Education Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIAS) on 0203 319 2163 or the Independent Supporter at Contact a Family. Both services are working together to ensure that you are provided with the right advice and information.

Arrangements for supporting children and young people who are looked after by the local authority and have SEND

The school's Home School Liaison Lead coordinates the arrangements for supporting children who are looked after by the local authority and have SEND. She liaises with the SENDCo to ensure that these children’s needs are met. 

What is “the Local Offer” and where can the Local Authority’s Local Offer be found?

Our school’s Local Offer describes the range of provision and support available to support identified children as and when appropriate. This Offer is subject to change depending on budgetary constraints and policy review.

To see our Local Offer, click here SENDJohnStainer_local_offer

Lewisham Local Authority’s Local Offer can be found at: Lewisham Local Offer

OFSTED 2012 - All groups of pupils make better than expected progress, including disabled pupils, pupils with special educational needs, and those who benefit from additional funding.

This page was last updated on 28th September 2023