SEN Specialist Expertise

SENCO and Staff Expertise

Our SENCO is Mrs Helen Ribchester, she has a BA(Ed) Hons and NPQH. She is currently completing the National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators.  She can be contacted on 0191 3868029.

It is the SENCO’s job to:

Within our school the SENCO has the following responsibilities:

  • Oversee the day-to-day operation of the school’s SEN policy
  • Co-ordinating provision for children with SEN
  • Liaise with the relevant Designated Teacher where a looked after pupil has SEN
  • Advise teachers on using a graduated approach to providing SEN support
  • Advise on the deployment of the school’s delegated budget and other resources to meet the pupil’s needs effectively
  • Liaise with parents/carers of pupils with SEN
  • Liaise with early years providers, other school, educational psychologists, health and social care professionals, and independent or voluntary bodies
  • Being a key point of contact for external agencies
  • Liaising with potential next providers of education to ensure a pupil and their parents are informed about options and a smooth transition is planned
  • Work with the head teacher and school governors to ensure that the school meets its responsibilities under the Equality Act (2010) with regard to reasonable adjustment
  • Ensure that the school keeps the records of all SEN pupils up to date

Learning support assistants deliver support and interventions to meet individual’s needs. These staff are partly funded from our additional needs budget.  The budget is allocated on a needs basis and the children who have the most complex needs are given targeted support. All children, regardless of need receive daily Quality First Teaching. We aim to keep children with SEN within the class as much as possible. Support may be given in the form of a classroom assistant working within the class to support children. Interventions are carried out throughout the day. If a child has complex special educational needs, we can also apply for additional funding from the Local Authority to meet the agreed outcomes and provision.

Members of staff have First Aid and Safeguarding training. In addition, our teachers and support staff have a wide breath of experience and expertise. Recent training has included Sounds Write Training, Speech and Language, ASD, Relax Kids, Thrive training and Visual Awareness Training to name but a few. The SENCO undertakes an annual survey to evaluate staff expertise and current needs.

External Specialists and Other Bodies

The school enjoys good working relationships with a wide range of people who provide services to children with SEND and their families.

The external specialists may:

  • Act in an advisory capacity
  • Extend expertise of school staff
  • Provide additional assessment
  • Support a child directly
  • Suggest statutory assessment is advisable
  • Consult with all parties involved with the child

The external specialists include:

  • Durham SEND Information, Advice and Support Service
  • County Durham Local Offer here
  • Durham Educational Psychology Service (including: educational psychologists; portage service; movement difficulties support services; getting along initiative; counselling service; SEN assessment and review)
  • Durham Educational Support Services (including: autistic spectrum disorders support and development team; attentional difficulties project team; learning disabilities and difficulties inclusion service; sensory support service)
  • Durham SEN Placement and Provision Service (including: nursery outreach service; placement and provision)
  • Health Agencies, particularly the School Nurse Service.
  • Central Durham Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  • North Tees and Hartlepool Speech and language Therapy for children
  • Behaviour Support Services/Crisis Response
  • Tree Tops Occupational Therapy Service for Children
  • Educational Social Worker
  • Looked After Children Team
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Medical Practitioners
  • Sensory Worx
  • Heel and Toe

How specialist expertise is secured

Our Additional Needs Budget is used to support children and young people with SEN. In 2020/2021 this amount is £46,779.25 for the academic year. Schools receive funding based on a formula and this ‘notational budget’ is used to help provide appropriate support for children. Schools are expected to show a commitment of £6000 per child before additional funding may be sought. This spend is detailed on costed provision maps.

Our Additional Needs Budget is used to support children and young people with SEN. This is used to support children and young people with SEND by:

  • Training staff
  • Supporting children directly in school
  • Sourcing external specialists
  • Specific SEN resources

If a child has complex special educational needs, we may also receive additional funding from the Local Authority to meet the agreed outcomes.

The school makes an audit of training needs for all staff, taking into account school priorities as well as personal professional development. Special Needs is included within all school training. In addition, staff attend training organised by the LA and other agencies. We currently have staff in school who have attended thrive and sounds write training.

If you have any questions about St Oswald’s SEND Local Offer please contact the school office.

Return to the SEND Local Offer main page.