Commonly Asked Questions
Regularly Asked Questions and Answers
How does Ark Dickens Primary Academy know if children need extra help?
The class teacher continually assesses each child and notes areas where they are improving and where further support is needed. As a school, we track children’s progress from entry at Nursery or Reception through to Year 6, using a variety of different methods including Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and Foundation Stage profiles.
Children who are not making expected progress are picked up through our ½ termly Pupil Progress Review meetings with the Class Teacher, Inclusion Manager and Deputy / Head Teacher. In this meeting a discussion takes place concerning why individual children are experiencing difficulty and what further support can be given to aid their progression. Concerns can also be raised by teachers if behaviour or self-esteem is affecting the performance of the pupil.
We closely liaise with the pupils previous school to be aware if support is required for a child entering Ark Dickens Primary Academy and we listen to concerns raised by parents regarding children’s needs.
What should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
Talk to us – firstly, contact your class teacher. If you require more information, contact our SENCo or Pastoral Deputy Head Teacher. We pride ourselves on building positive relationships with parents. We are open and honest with parents and hope that they are able to do the same with us.
How will Ark Dickens Primary Academy staff support my child?
At Ark Dickens Primary Academy we believe our most valuable resource is our staff. We have a strong team dedicated to improving outcomes for all our pupils and we invest heavily in them. We have an ongoing training and professional development programme which includes ensuring all staff have the appropriate skills and knowledge to support children with special educational needs. Our SENCo will closely monitor all provision and progress of any child requiring additional support across the school.
The class teacher will oversee, plan and work with each child with SEND in their class to ensure that progress in every area is made. There may be a Teaching Assistant (TA) working with your child either individually or as part of a group, if this is seen as necessary by the class teacher. The regularity of these sessions will be explained to parents when the support starts.
How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
All work within class is pitched at an appropriate level so that all children are able to access the curriculum according to their specific needs. Typically, this might mean that in a lesson there would be different levels of work set for the class, however on occasions this can be individually differentiated. The benefit of this type of differentiation is that all children can access a lesson and learn at their level.
How do we know if the support or strategies used have had an impact?
In school we will often use “Personal targets” to set small next steps in children’s learning and review progress. We can use these targets to monitor pupil’s progress academically. This may involve using smaller steps or using a different approach to ensure progress is made.
How will I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?
The class teacher will meet with parents every term (this could be as part of Parent’s evening) to discuss your child’s needs, support and progress. For further information the SENCo is available to discuss support in more detail.
We offer an open door policy where you are welcome any time to make an appointment to meet with either the class teacher or SENCo and discuss how your child is getting on. We can offer advice and practical ways that you can help your child at home.
We believe that your child’s education should be a partnership between parents and teachers, therefore we aim to keep communication channels open and communicate regularly, especially if your child has complex needs.
Your child may have Personal targets in place, they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time scale) with the expectation that the child will achieve the target by the time it is reviewed.
If your child has complex SEND they may have an EHC Plan (Education Health Care Plan) which means that a formal Annual Review will take place to discuss your child’s progress and a report will be written. This can also be done at a six monthly interim review if changes to circumstances occur or concerns arise.
How will my child be able to contribute their views?
We value and celebrate each child being able to express their views on all aspects of school life. This is usually carried out through the School Council which has an open forum for any issues or viewpoints to be raised. Children who have Personal targets discuss and set their targets with their class teacher. If your child has an EHC Plan or An annual Review of their EHC Plan then their views will be obtained before any meetings.
What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being?
We are an inclusive school, we welcome and celebrate diversity. All staff appreciates the importance of children having high self-esteem in order to achieve positive well-being. Here at Ark Dickens Primary Academy we are committed to our values and ensure that pupils are aiming high (challenge), working hard (effort), never give up (resilience) and work well with others (respect).
The class teacher has overall responsibility for the pastoral, medical and social care of every child in their class, therefore this would be the parents’ first point of contact. If further support is required the class teacher can liaise with the SENCo for further advice and support. This may involve working alongside outside agencies such as Health and Social Services, and/or the Multiagency Behaviour Support Team.
The school has a policy regarding the administration and managing of medicines on the school site. Parents need to contact the SENCo to discuss this and if agreed complete a form: ‘Parental Agreement for School to Administer Medicines’. This may include medicines for life threatening conditions or required for a long term illness such as asthma and diabetes. In such cases a ‘Care Plan’ may be put in place according to the directions of the School Nurse.
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by ARK Dickens Primary Academy?
Our SENCo is fully qualified and accredited.
As a school we work closely with any external agencies that we feel are relevant to individual children’s needs within our school including: MABS (Multi-agency Behaviour Support), Health including, School Nurse, General Practitioners, CAMHS ( Child and Adult Mental Health) Paediatricians, Occupational Therapists and the Speech & Language Therapy service. We also work very closely with Social Care and the Education Psychology service. Should your child require any form of involvement with an outside agency then the school would immediately inform you and obtain your permission before pursuing any kind of professional intervention.
How can I find out about what Portsmouth has to offer children with SEND needs?
The Portsmouth Local Offer is a website which is collaboration between parents and carers of disabled children, young people and Portsmouth City Council to help you find what is available in the area for those with Special Education Needs or Disabilities (ages 0-25) and how to access a variety of services. This can be gained by accessing
Reviewed Sept 2015