Welcome to Vallis First School

Welcome to our SEND Information Report
Updated: November 2022

This document is intended to be a useful reference document for all parents at Vallis First School who have concerns for their child’s progress or needs. We hope that this document proves to be useful in answering questions for you as a family. The document has been co-produced with parents and is reviewed annually. We always welcome feedback on our practice. If you would like to suggest changes to this document please email office@vallisfirstschool.org.uk using the subject SEND Information Report Feedback. Your views are very much appreciated!

Please click on the questions below to find information about the support that we offer for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. If you would like to download our SEND Information Report as a PDF, there is a link at the bottom of this page.

Section 1 – Aims

The purpose of this document is to:

  • Set out how our school will support and make provision for pupils with special educational needs (SEN)
  • Explain the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in providing for pupils with SEN

Our Ethos/ Vision

At Vallis First School we are committed to giving all our children every opportunity to ‘…be the best they can be.’ The achievement, attitude and well-being of every child matters and inclusion is the responsibility of everyone within our school. Every teacher is a teacher of every pupil, including those with special educational needs and disabilities. We respect the unique contribution which every individual can make to our school community.



At Vallis First School all children, regardless of their particular needs, are provided with inclusive teaching which will enable them to make the best possible progress and feel that they are a valued member of the wider school community. We expect that all children with SEND will meet or exceed the high expectations we set for them against national data and based on their age and starting points. We will use our best endeavours to give children with SEND the support they need, whilst having access to a broad and balanced curriculum. Working in partnership with families, it is our aim that children will become confident individuals able to make a successful transition on to the next phase of their education.

Section 2 – Legislation and Guidance

This policy and information report is based on the statutory Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice and the following legislation:

Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014, which sets out schools’ responsibilities for pupils with SEN and disabilities

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014, which set out schools’ responsibilities for education, health and care (EHC) plans, SEN coordinators (SENCOs) and the SEN information report

Section 3 – Definitions

The Children & Families Act 2014 defines Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) in the following way

A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her

A child or a young person of compulsory school age has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

  • has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
  • has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions

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.

Section 4 – Roles and Responsibilities

The SENCO is Adam Smith (adam.smith@vallisfirstschool.org.uk)

They will:

  • Work with the headteacher and SEN governor to determine the strategic development of the SEN policy and provision in the school
  • Have day-to-day responsibility for the operation of this SEN policy and the co-ordination of specific provision made to support individual pupils with SEN, including those who have EHC plans
  • Provide professional guidance to colleagues and work with staff, parents, and other agencies to ensure that pupils with SEN receive appropriate support and high-quality teaching
  • Advise on the graduated approach to providing SEN support
  • Advise on the deployment of the school’s delegated budget and other resources to meet pupils’ needs effectively
  • Be the point of contact for external agencies, especially the local authority (LA) and its support services
  • Liaise with potential next providers of education to ensure that the school meets its responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 with regard to reasonable adjustments and access arrangements
  • Ensure the school keeps the records of all pupils with SEN up to date

The SEN governor is Iestyn Lewis.

They will:

  • Help to raise awareness of SEN issues at governing board meetings
  • Monitor the quality and effectiveness of SEN and disability provision within the school and update the governing board on this

Work with the headteacher and SENCO to determine the strategic development of the SEN policy and provision in the school

The headteacher is Nick Firkins.

They will:

  • Work with the SENCO and SEN governor to determine the strategic development of the SEN policy and provision within the school

Have overall responsibility for the provision and progress of learners with SEN and/or a disability 

Each class teacher is responsible for:

  • The progress and development of every pupil in their class
  • Working closely with any teaching assistants or specialist staff to plan and assess the impact of support and interventions, and how they can be linked to classroom teaching
  • Working with the SENCO to review each pupil’s progress and development, and decide on any changes to provision

Ensuring they follow this SEN policy

The class teacher has overall responsibility for every child in their class. Specific interventions are overseen by the Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo), and usually run by Teaching Assistants (TAs) TAs report to teachers and the SENCo on the progress children are making.

In the first instance you should speak with your child’s class teacher to request a meeting/discussion about your child’s needs.

For further advice please telephone the school on: 01373 462657 and ask to speak to the Special Needs Co-ordinator or the Headteacher.

Key staff have been trained in some areas and all staff in other areas.  This includes Diabetes, Autism, Signing using Somerset Universal Communication, British Sign Language level 1, ILI, Attachment and Emotional Nurture Support, Drawing and Talking (Therapeutic Intervention) and Behavioural support (TEAMTEACH).

Section 5 – Initial Concerns

Talk to your child’s class teacher if your child appears to be making little progress, or seems to have mismatched skills (may be verbally very knowledgeable, but can’t transfer to paper for example), this could show a need for intervention or support. The teacher will work with your child to find out where they are having difficulties.

If your child’s teacher has a concern about your child’s progress, they will let you know at the earliest possible opportunity. Minor concerns might be expressed in an informal, verbal way in the first instance. However, if concerns persist and progress is not being made, the class teacher will invite you to meet with them to discuss their concerns and discuss adjustments that they plan to make to your child’s provision. If these interventions do not prove to be successful, then the class teacher will request support from the school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo).

Section 6 – Support for My Child

Our school currently provides additional and/or different provision for a range of needs, including:

  • Communication and interaction, for example, autistic spectrum disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, speech and language difficulties
  • Cognition and learning, for example, dyslexia, dyspraxia
  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties, for example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Sensory and/or physical needs, for example, visual impairments, hearing impairments, processing difficulties, epilepsy
  • Moderate/severe/profound and multiple learning difficulties

We will assess each pupil’s current skills and levels of attainment on entry, which will build on previous settings and Key Stages, where appropriate. Class teachers will make regular assessments of progress for all pupils and identify those whose progress:

  • Is significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same baseline
  • Fails to match or better the child’s previous rate of progress
  • Fails to close the attainment gap between the child and their peers
  • Widens the attainment gap

This may include progress in areas other than attainment, for example, social needs.

Slow progress and low attainment will not automatically mean a pupil is recorded as having SEN. 

When deciding whether special educational provision is required, we will start with the desired outcomes, including the expected progress and attainment, and the views and the wishes of the pupil and their parents. We will use this to determine the support that is needed and whether we can provide it by adapting our core offer, or whether something different or additional is needed.

We will have an early discussion with the pupil and their parents when identifying whether they need special educational provision. These conversations will make sure that:

  • Everyone develops a good understanding of the pupil’s areas of strength and difficulty
  • We consider the parents’ concerns
  • Everyone understands the agreed outcomes sought for the child
  • Everyone is clear on what the next steps are

Notes of these early discussions will be added to the pupil’s record and given to their parents.

We will formally notify parents when it is decided that a pupil will receive SEN support.

Firstly, the class teacher will differentiate and target specific areas for the child, and monitor closely. The child will have access to in class resources such as word mats, practical maths equipment and phonics mats. If the child is still not meeting the targets, a more specific intervention may then be put in place by the Key Stage Co-ordinator in the first instance and if a child still does not achieve their targets then the SENCo will co-ordinate an individualised programme of support.

Differentiation is the process of taking a specific skill, and creating an activity that fits a child’s current level, with an achievable amount of challenge built in. This will involve several levels across the class, and is done through careful planning in year group teams. Some children may require a specific activity of their own.

Below are some examples of common adaptations which ensure all pupils’ needs are met:

  • Differentiating our curriculum to ensure all pupils are able to access it, for example, by grouping, 1:1 work, teaching style, content of the lesson, etc.
  • Adapting our resources and staffing
  • Using recommended aids, such as laptops, coloured overlays, visual timetables, larger font, etc.
  • Differentiating our teaching, for example, giving longer processing times, pre-teaching of key vocabulary, reading instructions aloud, etc.

We make use of Somerset’s Graduated Response tool in order to identify further strategies to children’s specific barriers to learning. This document provides many example strategies which can be discussed and planned for in relation to each child’s needs.

Please see the following link for more detail:


If a child comes into school with a specific medical need, the staff working with that child are given appropriate training to support the child. There are personal care facilities to prevent lifting in the disabled toilet area. Plans are created with parents to support staff and these are followed for children with diabetes/epilepsy/nut allergies. If children have severe food allergies they may need to eat with a small group of children whose lunches will not trigger an allergic reaction. Medications are administered by specific staff who may need to be trained e.g epi pens, insulin. Inhalers and epipens are stored in class and administered by classroom or lunchtime staff as appropriate. All children who have specific medical needs will be considered for a Medical Care Plan. The Medical Care Plan will detail the child’s specific needs and any interventions that might be necessary. The development of this plan will include parents, office staff, SENCo as well as other key adults and agencies where necessary.

Teachers create a supportive and caring environment in their classes and staff are watchful for children who may be withdrawn or tearful and need someone to chat to. Sometimes, children benefit from having a key adult that they can check in with each morning. Nurture provision and our ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) is in place to support children with on-going social and emotional difficulties.  Our ELSA is trained to deliver the Drawing and Talking (https://drawingandtalking.com/) therapeutic intervention which offers children a space in which they can express and work through difficult feelings and experiences. We are also able to offer Forest School sessions for children who would benefit from smaller, outdoor group activities. We have a sensory room (Star) which helps children to learn to self-regulate their emotions and improve their sensory integration. Children whose behaviour puts them at risk from exclusion are discussed at the Frome Behaviour Panel, which has the power to issue further support if required. Parents of children with these difficulties are given the opportunity to work with the Parent and Family Support Advisor (PFSA) and the ‘Family Support Practitioners’ (FSP) worker.

If a child with a specific need comes into the school, or a specific need is diagnosed during a child’s time at Vallis, we are able to access professional support. This may be through Visual Support teachers, Hearing Support teachers, the Physical and Medical Support team, or the Autism & Communication Service. We also access the Integrated Therapy Service to gain support from Speech and Language Therapists (SALT) and Occupational Therapists. If we feel a child needs support from an Educational Psychologist or Learning Support, we are able to request involvement through our annual EP and SSID meetings. We also access the PFSA and FSP workers, and as required work with outreach workers from our local Special School. We run Forest School and Nurture provision. We have an ELSA, a specialist SALT TA and also run ILI (Individual Literacy Intervention).

Section 7 – My Child’s Progress

All children’s progress is tracked against Age Related Standards (ARS), including children with SEN. Children who are working below age-related expectations will be assessed against the Pre-Key Stage Standards. Children who are following specific interventions have their achievement measured at the beginning of the intervention, and then again at the end to see how much progress has been made. This is in conjunction with termly teacher assessments by looking at the work done over the period, and assessed writing or maths tasks at the end of a theme. Children identified at SEN Support are tracked against a series of individually set outcomes and actions.

We follow the graduated approach and the four-part cycle of assess, plan, do, review

The class or subject teacher will work with the SENCO to carry out a clear analysis of the pupil’s needs. This will draw on:

  • The teacher’s assessment and experience of the pupil
  • Their previous progress and attainment or behaviour
  • Other teachers’ assessments, where relevant
  • The individual’s development in comparison to their peers and national data
  • The views and experience of parents
  • The pupil’s own views
  • Advice from external support services, if relevant

The assessment will be reviewed regularly.

All teachers and support staff who work with the pupil will be made aware of their needs, the outcomes sought, the support provided, and any teaching strategies or approaches that are required. We will regularly review the effectiveness of the support and interventions, and their impact on the pupil’s progress.


We make use of Somerset’s Graduated Response tool in order to identify strategies to children’s specific barriers to learning. This document provides many example strategies which can be discussed and planned for in relation to each child’s needs.

Please see the following link for more detail:


All parents are invited to parents’ evenings twice a year, and are also given a detailed report every year. Children at SEN Support are set regular review meetings which are agreed, at point of review, with parents.  Children with high level needs are invited to an annual review each year which is run by the SENCo with input from class teachers and TAs that work with the child. Parents would normally meet informally in between the Annual Reviews either with the class teacher or the SENCO as appropriate. If at any time a parent wishes to discuss their child’s progress, they are welcome to make an appointment to mutually suit school and parent. This could be with the class teacher, the SENCo, or both.

Section 8 – Inclusion

Each child’s needs are looked at individually, and trips are adapted to suit the majority. A risk assessment may be carried out to see if the child will be safe and enjoy accessing the trip. Parents will be involved in these discussions.

If a child has a specific need that cannot be accommodated easily, then parents may be asked to support them during the trip, or a trained member of staff may accompany them on a one to one basis.

No pupil is ever excluded from taking part in these activities because of their SEN or disability.

Our school is on a difficult, hilly and restricted site with several flights of stairs internally and externally and no space to accommodate ramps. We have external wheelchair access to the School Hall, disabled toilet, KS1 classes and the School Office. Adaptations have included: low level hand rails on internal staircases, a disabled toilet with motorised lifting table and nappy changing facilities on the ground floor.

Children with high level needs are inducted into school with a School Entry Plan meeting which involves all professionals currently working with the child, and all those planned to work with them. This is then reviewed in their first term in Reception. If a child joins us during the school year, then meetings are held with the previous school (if possible), and paper work is sent to accompany the child. This will detail previous support given to that child, and the SENCo and Headteacher will arrange appropriate support in conjunction with parents. When children move on during their school time, paperwork will be sent on, and meetings held if possible. At the end of Year 4 the SENCo and teachers meet with middle school staff to discuss children’s needs and to develop a School Entry Plan for high need pupils where necessary.  Paperwork is shared with middle school staff and vulnerable children are given extra opportunities to visit their new schools.

Section 9 – Funding and Budgets

The SEND budget fluctuates year on year, dependent on the needs of the children in the school. The budget has been supplemented from other sources to ensure the needs of the children are met. The majority of our SEN budget is spent on staffing to support special needs children, with a small contingency for required resources such as specialist equipment for disabilities or learning needs. Children with high needs are allocated an individual budget, which is usually spent on staff to support them, or to enable them to integrate into a mainstream class.

Section 10 – Support for Parents and Complaints about Provision

Complaints about SEN provision in our school should be made to the class teacher, SENCO or headteacher in the first instance. They will then be referred to the school’s complaints policy.

The parents of pupils with disabilities have the right to make disability discrimination claims to the first-tier SEND tribunal if they believe that our school has discriminated against their children. They can make a claim about alleged discrimination regarding:

  • Exclusions
  • Provision of education and associated services
  • Making reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services


If you feel that you need support as a family to manage the needs of your child at home, it is possible for us to make a referral to the Frome Learning Partnership for support from a Parent and Family Support Advisor (PFSA). A PFSA will work with you at home and with your child at school to identify strategies to support you. They can help with attending SEN meetings, finding other avenues of support or finding solutions to everyday difficulties at home.

Somerset Parent Carer Forum

Somerset Parent Carer Forum is an independent not for profit Community Interest Company formed by parent carers in 2016.  The forum feels passionately about ensuring all our children have the best chance in life and receive the correct support and services in order to achieve their full potential.

Somerset’s Local Offer

The Somerset Local Offer website can help you to find the support that you need for children with SEND. The information and services on this website are for all children and young people with SEND that the local authority is responsible for, whether or not they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), to help families to make the best decisions.

Somerset’s Local Offer is also an important resource for professionals to support understanding of the range of services and provision for children and young people with SEND across the county.

Somerset Big Tent

Somerset Big Tent is a partnership of Charities, Charitable Incorporated Organisations and Community Interest Companies. These are organisations that provide a range of services including positive activities, therapeutic services and specialist support to increase positive wellbeing and improve mental health within children and young people aged 5-25 in Somerset.

All services on the Somerset Big Tent website have gone through a quality and safety assurance process*, this means that Somerset Big Tent has met with each organisation and are satisfied with the key documents and information that they have provided us with.


Somerset SENDIAS provides information, advice and support about special educational needs and disability (SEND) for parent carers, children and young people (up to the age of 25).

Somerset Graduated Response Tool
This tool guides users through how barriers to learning could be
identified, and the strategies that might support children and young
people with SEN in overcoming barriers.
Somerset’s Graduated Response Tool has been created to support all
users to understand the Graduated Response to Special Educational
Needs in the context of current legislation. The document makes it
clear ‘what to expect’ in terms of what is provided and is written for
parent carers, children and young people, school staff and those who
provide services to families.

Vallis First School

If you would like to learn more about the school please get in contact. We would love to hear from you!


Read our latest newsletter to see what has been happening in school and to find out about upcoming dates.