"Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward
from him.” Psalms 127:3

“Not all of us can do great things but we can do
small things with great love.” Blessed Mother Teresa

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SEND - Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

We are committed to using our best endeavours to provide an appropriate and high quality education for all children at our school which enables them to:

  • Achieve their potential
  • Become confident individuals living fulfilling lives
  • Make a successful transition to their next phase of education


We have the highest aspirations and expectations for all pupils, including those with special educational needs. We aim to achieve a community where parents and those working in school have a mutual trust and confidence in each other, created through clear, consistent approaches to communication and collaborative working, to enable outstanding outcomes for children with SEND.We also aim to provide all children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, with a broad, balanced academic and social curriculum, which is accessible and ensures they are fully included in all aspects of school life and feel equally valued and fully part of the school community.

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School

 SEND Local Offer and Information Report

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School is a fully inclusive school and we ensure that all of our pupils are able to access all aspects of learning and school life during their time with us.  We evaluate and update our offer every year. We provide a nurturing and supportive ethos for pupils to enable them to make progress within an environment where they feel safe and secure.  Many pupils will have some form of special need during their time in education but the term ‘special educational needs’ refers to pupils who have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than other pupils of the same age.   
Identifying a suitable school for a child can be a difficult process, particularly if the child has some form of special educational need. Our School Offer describes the provision available in St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in 2022/23 and sets out our commitment to providing high quality learning for all of our pupils.  We describe our Offer by addressing a series of questions typical of those raised by families of children with Special Educational Needs of Disabilities (SEND).  We hope that this information will assist parents in making a decision that is right for their child but we would always encourage prospective parents to contact the school to arrange a visit.  This would enable them to meet staff, view our provision and talk about their child’s unique needs.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school and make an appointment to see either the Executive Headteacher Sheryl Slack or the Head of School and SENCo Carolyn Newland.  Both are ready to give advice and offer support to families of children with SEND. 
We welcome pupils from our immediate community as well as beyond and we strive to meet the individual needs of all. 


How does St Mary’s Catholic Primary School know if pupils need extra help and what should I do if I think that my child may have special educational needs? 

Some children may arrive in our school with arrangements already in place to provide them with additional support for their learning.  For others, their needs will only become apparent once they have been with us for a little while. 

How we identify pupils with special educational needs:

  • Pupils are observed during all aspects of learning and school life. 
  • Our staff are highly skilled and experienced in detecting if there is a concern with a pupil and how they learn and progress. 
  • Staff refer concerns to our SENCo who will seek advice from external services where appropriate. 
  • If a pupil is causing particular concern, they may be referred to an external agency who will visit the school to speak to staff and conduct an observation enabling them to prepare a report giving advice on the best way to meet the pupil’s needs.  If this happens, you will always be informed in advance to ensure that you are happy and understand why this action is being taken. 
  • We have excellent assessment and tracking systems that quickly highlight where pupils are failing to make progress.
  • We work closely with parents and carers and value personal communication. 
  • We use SNAP Profiling diagnostic assessment to identify specific areas causing concern. 

What you should do if you are concerned: 

  • In the first instance, you should raise any concerns with a member of staff that works with your child.  This may be their class teacher.
  •  If you continue to be concerned or need further advice, please make an appointment to speak to our SENCO, Mrs Carolyn Newland.  It is likely that she will already be aware of your concerns as your child’s key worker or class teacher will have shared this information with her. 
  • If your concerns are not dealt with to your satisfaction, you do have the option to follow the  complaints procedure which is explained below. Please be aware, though, that we are not always in control of the outcome with regards to special educational needs when external agencies are involved. However, we can assure you that your concerns will always be handled to the best of our ability as we give parent partnership the highest priority. 


How will St Mary’s Catholic Primary School support my child?

School staff will work closely with you to ensure that a manageable and achievable plan is in place in school to support your child.  Their needs will be clearly identified and outcomes and targets will be set and reviewed regularly with school staff and yourself.  
The people who support pupils with special educational needs in our school: 
Class teachers

  • It is your child’s class teacher that is responsible for the education of your child, regardless of any special educational need.
  • They will monitor the progress of your child closely and will plan any additional support in consultation with the SENCO.
  • They will liaise with you on a day to day basis to ensure that you are fully involved in the planning process and understand any additional provision for your child.  


  •  The SENCo will coordinate all the support for pupils with special educational needs and develop  the school’s policies and procedures to ensure that all pupils get a consistent, high quality response to meeting their needs in school.
  •  The SENCo will provide support and guidance to school staff to ensure the best possible provision.
  • Sometimes the SENCo will seek support and guidance from external agencies to ensure that every child’s provision is exactly what they need. 
  • If your child’s needs are considered to be severe, the SENCo will work closely with the Local Authority to secure additional resources to support your child.
  • The SENCo will also work closely with the SEND governor and ensure that the Governing Body is kept up to date on any issues relating to special educational needs in the school. 

Higher Level Teaching Assistants and Senior teaching Assistants 

  • Most of our pupils with special educational needs are supported within school by our highly skilled and experienced team of higher level teaching assistants and senior teaching assistants.  Pupils may be supported in lessons or they may be part of some form of intervention programme which is specifically targeted to their unique needs. 

Head of School

  •  The Head of School is responsible for the day to day running of all aspects of school life and this includes support for pupils with special educational needs.  She will ensure that all staff have the training and resources that they need to ensure that they deliver the highest quality provision to all of our pupils.  

SEN Governor 

  • The SEND Governor, Mrs J Denny, liaises with the SENCo in school to ensure that the necessary provision is in place for any pupil attending the school who has special educational needs.  He  also discusses the action plan for SEND children and provision in school.  

External agencies and specialists 

  • There are a range of professionals who come into school to support our provision for pupils with special educational needs.  These include speech therapists, school nurses, health visitors, educational psychologists and speech and language therapists.
  • Specialists will often observe pupils in school and provide written reports to assist in meeting their needs.  They may recommend making changes to the way a pupil is taught, set targets for improvement or suggest additional specialist packages of support.


What the support looks like in our school: 
High quality class teaching 

  • All teachers have the highest expectations for your child and all others pupils in the class.
  •  Teachers will ensure that teaching focuses precisely on what your child needs to learn and reflects any individual targets that they have.
  • Teachers will use a variety of teaching styles and strategies to ensure that your child is fully involved in learning.
  • Teachers will put in place specific strategies, as suggested by external agencies or the SENCo, to support your child in their learning. 

 Small group intervention work

  • Where specific gaps in learning are identified and it is considered appropriate for your child to receive additional intervention, the class teacher will work closely with a HLTA or STA to plan a programme of work to address this.  This intervention may take place within a small group of pupils with similar needs.
  • Your child’s progress within this intervention group will be closely monitored and provision adapted where appropriate.  

Individual support 

  • Where your child has quite unique, specific needs, it may be appropriate for them to have individual support to ensure that they are able to access the curriculum. We have packages in school we use for specific difficulties and are always reviewing our provision.
  • Individual support may take place within the classroom setting to allow them to access the normal curriculum or outside of the classroom with a modified curriculum.  This may happen daily in an allocated time slot with a member of staff in their classroom. 

 Specialist intervention

  • If your child has specific needs that require an external professional, they may work with them within school on a specific programme.  

Statutory assessment

  • If your child’s needs are considered to be severe or complex, and this has been confirmed by an external specialist such as our educational psychologist, we can request that the Local Authority carry out a statutory assessment of your child’s needs.  This is a legal process and you can learn more about this in the Cumbria County Council Local Offer at  This process involves a lot of information gathering but it may result in a Education, Health Care Plan being written for your child.  This will outline the support that your child should receive, both from the school and the Local Authority, and will set long and short term targets for progress. 


How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School uses the National Curriculum as the basis for its teaching and has developed curriculum plans that fulfil statutory requirements and meet the unique needs of our pupils. We aim to be fully inclusive and ensure that all pupils have access to this curriculum and we do this in the following ways:

  • Teachers plan learning with the specific needs of all pupils in mind, differentiating accordingly.
  • Sometimes pupils are taught in ability groups to ensure that teaching meets their exact needs.
  • Pupils are set individual targets for improvement.
  • Specific resources may be used to support pupils.
  •  HLTAs and STAs support the learning of pupils within the classroom. 
  • Pupils with Education, Health Care Plans may have specific programmes of work planned for them by the staff that support them. 
  • Pupils with special educational needs are encouraged to partake in all out of school activities and learning and are given additional support to enable them to do so.  This includes day trips and residential visits. 


How will I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?
  •  At the beginning of every academic year, you will be given the opportunity to meet with your child’s class teacher to discuss any concerns that you may have.
  • In the Autumn and Spring Term formal parent/carer evenings will take place where the class teacher will detail your child’s progress against National Expectation.
  • At the end of the Academic Year a report will be produced that details your child’s progress.
  • If your child’s class teacher has any concerns at any other time of the year, they will meet with you to discuss this.
  • Any child who has an Individual Education Plan as a result of a Education, Health Care Plan will have the opportunity to meet with the class teacher and SENCo every term to review progress. They will also have a more formal six monthly or annual review with all adults involved in their provision.
  • Class teachers are very approachable and will always be willing to speak to you if you have any concerns or require information.  You may need to arrange a suitable appointment but they are always willing to discuss teaching and learning.
  • School staff will provide whatever advice and support is needed to enable you to support your child’s learning.
  • We can provide workshops for parents on the teaching of reading and can advise how strategies can be adapted for pupils with special educational needs.
  • We will adapt homework tasks when appropriate.


What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being?

In St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, providing a supportive, nurturing ethos is one of our strengths. Our pupils feel happy and safe here which is the perfect basis for high quality learning.  We intervene quickly and effectively to support any pupil who is experiencing difficulty or is unhappy or unsettled. We support your child’s well-being in the following ways:

  • Our curriculum is designed to support children in keeping themselves safe from harm and developing a happy, healthy lifestyle.  This includes a Kidsafe programme delivered by Mrs J Lowery and also Lego Therapy.
  • All staff and volunteers receive Level 1 Safeguarding training and are skilled in identifying child protection issues and knowing what action to take. Mrs Slack, Mrs Newland, Mrs Douglas, Mrs Fulton and Mrs Dyer are level 3 safeguarding trained.
  • Our behaviour policy is based upon a system of rights and responsibilities and it sets high expectations for all pupils who behave extremely well and have positive attitudes to learning. 
  • We operate a successful Nurture Group which provides support for pupils who may experience problems with their self-esteem and social skills. 
  • We are able to ‘signpost’ families to external agencies when specialist support and guidance is needed. 
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by St Mary’s Catholic Primary School?

Within school:

  • Staff have gained considerable expertise in the area of SEND and access regular professional development to maintain and develop their skills. 

Outside school:

  • Dr Carly Brockbank is our educational psychologist and she supports a number of pupils currently, working closely with the SENCo.
  • We work with a number of professionals across all aspects of SEND including Speech and Language Therapists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Health Visitors and CAMHs. We ask for any advice when necessary.
  • We use the services of a number of Specialist Advisory Teachers including those for Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Early Years and Physical/Medical.


What training have staff at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School received in order to support children with SEND?
  • Staff professional development is given the highest priority and each year we have a training plan which sets out the development needs of staff.  
  • All staff receive general special educational needs training as part of their induction programme upon appointment.
  •  Additional training is planned according to the specific needs of pupils at any one time.
  • Staff are involved in whole school professional development on SEND issues and developments, such as Team Teach and Brain and Trauma Training. 
  • Staff attend individual training courses run by outside agencies that are relevant to the needs of pupils that they are working with.
  • All teachers and teaching assistants are trained in the interventions they are required to deliver in order to meet specific needs for children in their classes.

The training and qualifications held by school staff include:

  • Autism levels 1, 2, 3 and 4
  • Identifying dyslexia
  • Nurture Group practice – Cog’s group  
  • Mathematics Intervention
  • Attachment disorder, Brain and trauma
  • ACE awareness
  • Time to Talk
  • Reading Interventions and accelerated reader 
  • Speech and language in the early years
  • Including children with severe learning difficulties in mainstream school 
  • NELI (Nuffield Early Literacy Intervention)o
  • ELSA (Emotional Support)


How accessible is St Mary’s Catholic Primary School

Wheelchair Accessibility

  • Most areas of the school are wheelchair accessible including the Early Years Unit, Key Stage 1 and the main reception area and hall.  Wheelchair users would be required to go outside when moving from some areas of the school to another due to steps.  
  • Disabled visitors can use the school carpark to make their access to the building easier.  

Auditory and visual adjustments

  • We have a range of coloured screens and equipment to aid dyslexia in school.  

Toileting and changing facilities

  • We have a disabled toilet and changing facility in the main part of the school as well as changing facilities in the Early Years unit.  

Communication with parents/carers whose first language is not English 

  • When necessary, we will use technology to support EAL by using translating facilities.  

We are committed to inclusion and would take whatever steps necessary to ensure accessibility for all pupils who wish to attend St Mary’s Catholic Primary School. 


How will St Mary’s Catholic Primary School prepare and support my child to join the school or transfer to a new school or their stage of education? What are your arrangements for the admission of disabled pupils?

Regardless of special educational need, before any child joins our school, we encourage them to visit us, have a look around and meet our staff.  We will then consider their unique needs before planning a programme of support for their transition into the school.  This will ensure all pupil's are treated equally and not less favourably than more able pupils. Generally the following would apply: 

Admission into our Early Years unit

If your child joins our Early Years unit, the following provision is in place:

  • Your child will be allocated a key worker to support their transition into school and provide you with advice and guidance on making the transition as happy and successful as possible.
  • Your child’s key worker and another member of Early Years staff will carry out a home visit to observe your child in their own environment and give you the opportunity to share information that you consider to be important.
  • If your child is joining us at the beginning of an academic year, you will have the opportunity to attend an induction meeting for parents.
  • You will be given a Parent Information Pack containing an information booklet and a number of leaflets advising on school policies and procedures.
  • If your child is moving from another educational setting, staff here will make contact and speak to their SENCo to gain all information needed including your child’s Learning Journey.  On occasions, we may also arrange to observe your child in the setting.
  • Staff will plan any adjustments necessary to the environment or curriculum to ensure that your child’s needs are met.
  • When necessary, a multi-agency meeting will be called to bring together all the professionals currently working with your child and share information. 

Admission into Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2

If your child joins our school at any time other than the Early Years, the following provision is in place:

  • The SENCo will liaise with the school that your child is transferring from to ensure that information about their progress and development is gathered.
  • The SENCo may observe them in their own school to aid the information gathering process.
  • The SENCo will meet with you to discuss any concerns that you may have about transition.
  • You will be given a Parent Information Pack containing an information booklet and a number of leaflets advising on school policies and procedures.
  • Staff will plan any adjustments necessary to the environment or curriculum to ensure that your child’s needs are met.
  • When necessary, a multi-agency meeting will be called to bring together all the professionals currently working with your child and share information.  

Transition to another school

If your child leaves us to join another school, for example moving onto secondary school, the following provision is in place: 

  • The SENCo will liaise with the new school to ensure that all information is passed on.
  • A member of staff may take your child to visit the new school so that any worries or concerns can be addressed.
  • Additional transitional days are planned each year for SEN/D children. 


How are St Mary’s Catholic Primary School’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs? 
  • St Mary’s Catholic Primary School is committed to raising attainment and supporting pupils with special educational needs. 
  • A significant proportion of our overall school budget is allocated to special educational needs provision and such resources are allocated according to the needs of our pupils at the time.
  • Resources include senior teaching assistants, specialist equipment and training.
  • Decisions about the allocation of resources are made at the beginning of the financial year when the main school budget is prepared.  However, there is flexibility within this budget to reallocate resources if the need arises. 
  • All special educational needs provision is approved by the school’s Governing body and is reviewed and evaluated on a regular basis with changes made as needed. 
How do you reach a decision about what type and how much support my child will receive? 
  • Every pupil with special educational needs is different and we consider this carefully when reaching any decisions about the support that they receive.
  • We will work closely with any external specialists as well as parents to prepare a support package that meets a pupil’s unique needs. 
  • The targets and objectives contained within a pupil’s Individual Education Plan will always influence any decision made about the nature of provision.  If a pupil has an Education, Health Care Plan, these targets and objectives will be derived from advice contained within those.

Complaints Procedures 
 The school’s complaint procedures are the same as those set out in the School Complaints Procedure.
 Under the Children and Family Act 2014 parents can request the services of an independent disagreement resolution.  The SENCO will provide more information about this upon request. 



Did you know? The SEND improvement programme has it's own newsletter

The newsletter is packed with helpful information and news of the ongoing improvements in health, social care and education

The newsletter goes out approximately every 6 weeks. anyone can sign up to received them. Please subscribe to the newsletter to stay up to date!

You can sign up here or copy and paste the link below subscribe.


We have an environment that is wherever possible, inclusive to all disabilities and needs. We are always striving to implement changes resulting in a more inclusive school environment.

Special Needs and Disability at St Mary's


Listening to our children's voices and viewpoints forms a vital part of their learning and helps allow children to reach their full potential . These animated clips were created by current children in year 3/4 and 5.



Dyslexia is a common condition that affects the way the brain processes information in written or even spoken form. Dyslexia means children may struggle with reading and writing and need additional help or time to do so. Specific resources such as coloured paper, coloured overlays and reading rulers can make it easier for some children to read text or numbers. Children with dyslexia can still understand complex ideas and work best when they adapt their own ways of processing information. We use specialist reading books and subscribe to specialist software packages. These are used daily with children in order to practice and develop skill in reading, spelling and comprehension. They highlight areas where children need intervention and adults in the classroom will act upon this. Children can also access activities at home.

If a child presents with difficulties and require extended processing time we will make a referral to Educational psychology who are able to complete testing in school and diagnose dyslexia. They will then advise strategies we can implement in school.

Please click on the video below to view...

St Mary's Pupils Voices

St Mary's Parent/Carer Views


Here at St. Mary's we value the opinions of all our parents. We would like to share some of our parents’ views about Special Educational Needs at St. Marys. We strive to work closely with parents in order to provide the best outcomes possible for all children.


Jack's Mum said 'Jack has flourished at St. Marys and I couldn't have asked for any better for his primary education. The staff all take the time to get to know the children and know how to meet their individual special needs'.

Autism Awareness

My Name Is David
My Name is David is an animated short film from one of the animators of Robot Chicken, Matt Manning, that depicts a young student's speech to his fellow classmates about his autism. The film features the actual words and voice of the author of the speech,14-year-old David Shapiro Sharif.

SEND Information, Advice and Support Service