When children come across barriers to their learning, it is important that we can identify what is causing those barriers in order for us to be able to overcome them. There are four broad areas of special educational need which we consider when identifying needs. These are:
- Communication and Interaction
These are needs which mean that children find effective communication with others to be a challenge. If this need is unmet then children are not able to effectively share their wants and needs with others and they find it challenge to engage in purposeful interactions with others. If this need is not met, then children can become distressed or disruptive because they do not feel that they are being heard.
This area of need can include children with Autism Spectrum Condition and those with Speech, Language and Communication Needs.
- Cognition and Learning
These are needs which mean that children find it challenging to process and retain information. They many find it difficult to do more than one task at a time. Sometimes this need is in one specific area of the curriculum (such as learning to read) and other times then may find learning in general quite difficult. If this need is not met then children can become disengaged in their learning because they do not feel successful.
This area of need includes children with Specific Learning Difficulties (such as Dyslexia), Moderate and Severe Learning Difficulties and Working Memory difficulties.
- Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties
These are needs which mean that children struggle to understand and/or process and manage their emotions. This can be in certain contexts (such as when then are away from a main caregivers) or though all aspects of life. Managing our emotions is an inevitable part of being a human being. However sometime these emotions can become so overwhelming that they prevent children accessing their learning or developing friendships
This area of need can include children who have attachment needs and children with anxiety, however this need can present in lots of other different ways too.
- Sensory and/or Physical Difficulties
These are needs which mean that children have barrier to learning which is linked to their body. This may be a sensory need, which is evident when they have a particularly high or low awareness of their own senses (for example they may get very upset with loud noises or be constantly trying to get as messy as possible!). These needs can impact on learning because a child might be spending most of their concentrating trying to seek out, or avoid, certain sensory experiences. This area of need also includes children who have a physical disability which could be a barrier to their learning. If this need is not overcome then children can become excluded from lots of different important parts of school life and this inevitably has a big impact on their academic and social development.
This area of need is very wide ranging and can include children with hearing or visual impairment, physical disabilities and sensory processing needs.
When identify that a child has a barrier to their learning, our first job is to try and identify this barrier before we can plan how to overcome it. For some children, this barrier is known before they arrive at our school (due to work with professionals such as Health Visitors or support in a previous education setting). For other children we begin this journey together in conjunction with parents and carers and other professionals, who have more specialist knowledge.
Whatever the area of need, we are passionate at Cockfield Primary make the best possible progress in both their academic learning and their personal development.
The school provides data on the levels and types of Special Educational Need to the Local Authority. This is collected through the school census.