Special Needs Policy and Information Report

This policy is written in line with the requirements of:

  • Children and Families Act 2014;
  • SEN Code of Practice 2015;
  • SI 2014 1530 Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014;
  • Part 3 Duties on Schools – Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators;
  • Schedule 1 regulation 51– Information to be included in the SEN information report;
  • Schedule 2 regulation 53 – Information to be published by a local authority in its local offer;
  • Equality Act 2010;
  • Schools Admissions Code, DfE 1 Feb 2012;
  • SI 2012 1124 The School Information (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012;
  • SI 2013 758 The School Information (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013;

This policy should be read in conjunction with the following school policies:

  • Behaviour & Wellbeing Policy;
  • Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy;
  • Complaints Policy.

Definition of SEN

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 of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty if he or she:
(a) Has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age; or
(b) 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. SEN Code of Practice (2015, p 15).

Definition of disability

Many children and young people who have SEN may also have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 – that is ‘…a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. This definition provides a relatively low threshold and includes more children than many realise: ‘long-term’ is defined as ‘a year or more’ and ‘substantial’ is defined as ‘more than minor or trivial’ SEN Code of Practice (2015, p16).

The Beacon, Folkestone

The Beacon Folkestone is a maintained foundation special school situated in Folkestone and caters for over 350 pupils and young people from reception through to sixth form provision. Our pupils and young people all have a current education, health and care plan (EHCP) and have a wide range of profound, severe and complex special educational needs. Special needs include autism, communication and interaction difficulties, physical difficulties and associated learning difficulties. All pupils are referred to the school by Kent County Council Assessment and Placement Service or from other local authorities with specific agreement from Kent County Council.

  • The Beacon Folkestone is dedicated to providing a broad, relevant and balanced curriculum based on the special educational needs of individual pupils.
  • The Beacon Folkestone’s provision ensures maximum access and attainment, within and beyond the National Curriculum, by deploying available resources such that pupils receive the support, and have the opportunities required, to foster their personal, social, behavioural, cultural, moral and educational development.
  • It is the aim of The Beacon Folkestone to ensure that pupils realise their full potential and therefore leave the school best equipped to succeed in the next stage of their lives.
  • The Beacon Folkestone’s ethos and culture effectively provides pupils with an environment that allows them to realise their academic, moral and social potential in a way that individual pupil support in the mainstream is not able to do.
  • It is The Beacon Folkestone’s aim to work in partnership with pupils’ parents/carers and other external agencies to provide for its pupils’ special educational needs.

The Governors

The Governing Body of The Beacon Folkestone School is committed to the principle of ensuring that the school may continue to provide an excellent level of service to its community and shows an interest in all aspects of its work.

The governors, in co-operation with the Head Teacher and Head of School, determine the school’s general policy and approach to the provision for pupils with an EHCP, establish the appropriate staff and funding arrangements and maintain a monitoring oversight of the school’s work.

The Governors are particularly keen to ensure that the pupils are provided with the highest standards of accommodation and resourcing that can be made available.

Core values identified by the Governors:

  • To ensure the welfare – pastoral, social, behavioural, physical and educational needs of the pupils are met;
  • To provide continuing professional development of all staff to meet the pupils’ needs;
  • To ensure that appropriate resources enable the school to serve the needs of its pupils, parents, staff and community effectively and provide good value for money.

Objectives of this Policy

This policy describes:

  • The provision made by the school to meet the needs of pupils with Special Educational Needs;
  • The means whereby these needs are identified monitored and met.

The policy also identifies:

  • Other school policies and documents that detail relevant aspects of the school, its provision, organisation and development;
  • The procedure for considering complaints about the school’s SEN provision;
  • The criteria for its evaluation.

Meeting objectives

The Beacon Folkestone undertakes a process of continuous review and improvement, and ensures that this is channelled into the achievement of its objectives by:

  • The creation of School Evaluation Report (SER), which clearly identifies how the school is doing as part of its robust analysis programme;
  • Producing an annual School Improvement Plan (SIP), with clear targets and clearly defined responsibilities. The details and actions behind the targets identified in the SIP are evident in the Zone Improvement Plans;
  • Maintaining a range of policies with periodic review dates, ensuring that the school can respond effectively to changes in the needs of its pupils and staff.

The School in Kent

The Beacon Folkestone is an essential part of the County’s special needs provision, providing a service not only to the community and its pupils, but also filling a part of the County’s continuum of service to children with SEN. By effectively meeting needs for a core of pupils, the school supports the County, in meeting its responsibilities to include all children.

Within the County’s framework and policy, the school offers: Support to local Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators and individual pupils with SEN in mainstream settings through the STLS Outreach Team.

  • Support to the pre-school child, thereby enacting the County policy of early intervention.
  • A continuum of provision through to 19 for those pupils whose needs exceed the provision available in FE or post 16 placements in mainstream school.

The provision made at The Beacon Folkestone

The Beacon Folkestone is dedicated to the provision of a broad, balanced and relevant education for pupils whose needs are best met by:

  • A structured and differentiated curriculum with carefully established and regularly reviewed teaching plans and attainable targets to provide maximum possible access to the National Curriculum;
  • Frequent opportunities to learn and develop basic skills across the whole curriculum;
  • The continuous development of independence skills;
  • Carefully structured and supported opportunities to develop access skills to enable integration into the group, the class, the school and the community;
  • The provision of EHCP clear, achievable and frequently reviewed targets which reflect the concerns and needs of the pupil, parents and other agencies;
  • Building of self-esteem through the recognition of pupils’ achievements;
  • A high level of tutorial and pastoral support and guidance within a clearly defined framework of expectations, rewards and sanctions.

The Beacon Folkestone provides this within a caring, considerate and effective school community.

Facilities at The Beacon Folkestone are described in the school prospectus. They include:

  • In addition to classrooms, a range of subject specialist rooms as well as soft play, high and low tech sensory rooms, gym, sports facilities and include an operational hydrotherapy pool;
  • Grounds which are maintained to provide pupil access to natural and sensory areas, both enhancing the working environment and enabling a broader curriculum to be followed.

The Beacon Folkestone has its own kitchen as well as a public café area, providing a midday meal which facilitates the provision of special diets where appropriate.

Admission Criteria

Admission to The Beacon Folkestone usually follows consideration by the County Panel. Recommendation for a school place is usually based upon recognition that the pupil will make greater progress and speedier development within the curriculum and resource structures of the school. In every case a placement at The Beacon Folkestone is a positive step in furthering the pupil’s achievements. All pupils at The Beacon Folkestone have an Education Health and Care Plan that recommends placement in a special school with small teaching groups and individual learning plans.

Some pupils are transferred directly from other special schools following home moves or other special circumstances. All referrals and admissions come through Kent County Council.


Staff across the school are dedicated to raising pupils’ attainments.

Teaching staff all work to develop and continuously enhance subject/skills based expertise, thereby acting as resource points for others as set out in our CPD policy under the “expert” level of training. Individual teachers have attended a wide range of courses including and up to post graduate and master levels. All teachers have completed or are on a pathway to complete teacher training, the exception to this are a specific small cohort of unqualified tutors who are recruited for their specifically identifiable and unique skillset (such as outdoor pursuits/education). HLTAs and TAs also follow our expert and entitlement training courses.

The continuous development of a highly skilled Teaching Assistant Team is a priority as they lead learning sessions for pupils.


The Code of Practice emphasises the need to identify pupils at the earliest possible time. Before a pupil comes to The Beacon Folkestone a member of teaching staff will visit pupils at their school or nursery to discuss the pupil’s needs and observe the pupil in situ.

Pupils are assessed on admission, usually over a 6–12 week period with their initial assessments forming a baseline assessment that is tracked to demonstrate the progress they make during their time with us. Most pupils arrive at The Beacon Folkestone with:

  • An Education Health and Care Plan with its outcomes;
  • Reports from other agencies if applicable;
  • A pupil record from a previous school, which provides an account of the pupil’s attainments and needs, including levels that relate to chronological attainment expectations and the amount of progress being made.

This information provides a basis for making initial plans for the pupil.

During the first six – twelve weeks of a pupil’s time at The Beacon Folkestone:

  • Further information/ assessment/ advice may be sought from agencies previously involved or indicated;
  • Internal assessment of basic skills and attainment are made using the Pupil Asset programme;
  • Staff assessments and observations are made.

A profile of need is either confirmed (via EHCP) or established, which indicates the range identified for the pupil. This includes:

  • Where possible, a pupil’s view of their needs;
  • The parent/carer’s view of their child’s needs;
  • A summary of outside agency involvement;
  • The school’s view of the pupil’s needs.

This is updated at a review procedure such as the EHCP review, individual education plans, BSP’s, outside agency reports and involvement. All key stakeholders are kept up to date regarding their child’s progress and attainment, namely following formal progress monitoring at the end of terms 2, 4 and 6.

Allocation of the resources is the joint responsibility of the class teacher, Leader of Learning and Assistant Headteacher within that zone according to the availability of resources and the extent of the resources required.

  • The teacher can deploy a TA to carry out the observation.
  • If this is not possible an approach must be made to the leadership team for that zone.

Pupils’ behaviours are logged via Sleuth, with detailed accounts by the class teacher or TA. Whenever possible the behaviour observations include antecedents and consequences. The logs are reviewed daily or weekly, according to the needs of the pupil by the leader of learning and/or Assistant Headteacher responsible for Behaviour management and in conjunction with the leaders of the appropriate zone.

Frequency, intensity and persistence may all trigger interventions, which include:

  • Referral to pastoral care review meetings or behaviour meetings;
  • Contact with parents;
  • Individually negotiated behaviour management plans: pupils, parents and outside agencies may all be included;
  • Additional curriculum interventions;
  • Behaviour support plans;
  • Pastoral support plans;
  • Alternative curriculum;
  • Part time curriculum;
  • The involvement of outside agencies (child guidance, SPS, CAMHS, Health Authority) to establish causes and/or recommend responses.

The Curriculum

It is the entitlement of all pupils, regardless of disabilities, gender or race, to have access to the national curriculum, its subjects, themes, dimensions and skills.

All pupils have access to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum, comprising a fully differentiated curriculum that is linked and in line with National requirements wherever appropriate. Pupils work at the level appropriate to their attainments and achievements, plus a wider curriculum in line with individual needs.

This wider curriculum provides additional learning experiences, which add breadth to the curriculum with particular emphasis on life skills and social/emotional development. This flexible approach to curriculum planning alters its balance depending on the changing needs of the child/young person at different times and allows a greater emphasis on:

  • Therapeutic and other specialised support;
  • Inclusion activities;
  • Vocational and work related activities;
  • Transition support, including life after the Beacon Folkestone.

Pupils are supported by a highly structured pastoral system which enables them to develop socially and emotionally as they progress through school.


All pupils are included in school life as fully as possible and this is recorded annually at their Education Health Care Plan Reviews. Our extensive range of opportunities inside and outside of the school environment includes:

  • Regular offsite curriculum based activities such as swimming.
  • Biennial residential and day opportunities for identified classes (including specialist).
  • The school organises after school clubs offering a range of activities.
  • The outside environment is designed with learning in mind.
  • Outside play during break and lunch times is supervised by class staff. All pupils are encouraged to be active and engage with playground games.

Monitoring Pupil Progress

The Beacon Folkestone incorporates review as an essential theme of all its activity.

  • Curriculum Programmes of Study and Schemes of Work are reviewed regularly.
  • Pastoral records are reviewed regularly and patterns of behaviour identified which may trigger a range of interventions, including behaviour logging, involvement of parents/carers, referral to outside agencies, behavioural plans with carefully negotiated rewards and sanctions.
  • Pupils are actively involved, wherever possible in lessons, in reviewing their progress.
  • Reviews and transition planning meetings involving parents, pupils and outside agencies where appropriate.
  • Targets are shared with parents/carers and pupils at parents’ evenings as well as reviews.
  • All information provided for reviews whether it is formative or summative is analysed and provision and therefore learning opportunities are amended accordingly. We always look to enhance the progress being made by pupils/young people (whether narrowing of any gaps or accelerating progress beyond expected levels).

The results of these reviews are available to all staff. Whole school data (attainment and progress) occur in line to follow the formal assessment cycle. Zonal and class based progress (including analysis at individual level) occurs in line with formal assessments and any actions and developments are taken forward under the leadership of Assistant Head teachers for that specific zone.

Strategic review takes place through the regular review of pupil progress, the School Improvement (SIP), Zone Improvement (ZIP) and budget maintenance plans. A more detailed and strategic analysis and planning session happens on a weekly basis following the rolling themes of:

  • Teaching and Learning;
  • Attendance;
  • Behaviour and Safety;
  • Pupil Progress;
  • CPD and Training;
  • Curriculum.

Staffing Policies and Partnership

Working with other agencies:

  • The Beacon Folkestone maintains good working relationships with outside agencies, and incorporates their work in the actions and objectives defined in each pupil’s EHCP.
  • Representatives of the school attend multi-agency meetings at every practical opportunity, sending apologies and requesting minutes if representation is not possible.

Facilities are made available to visiting specialists:

  • Consultation rooms (where available).
  • TA and other resources to apply individual programmes.
  • here common needs are identified for groups or numbers of pupils, the school “buys in” training for staff to facilitate the delivery of agreed programmes to suit such groups.

Staffing and Staff Development

The Beacon Folkestone recognises that:

  • Special education experience is of value, but mainstream school experience is also important for staff supporting pupils in these provisions.
  • The role of Teaching Assistants is maximised to allow increased intervention against specific targets.

School management is made up of senior and a wider leadership team (including Leaders of Learning) who in turn support the management roles of all staff.

Professional Development

The Beacon Folkestone’s staff development ensures that staff are supported in the development of skills, understanding and expertise, such that they may both better provide for the needs of pupils, and enhance their personal professional development. Performance management and the SIP inform the allocation of staff training resources in response to need.

All staff have a right to in service training. This is supported within the context of the SIP and the need for personal/ professional development (see CPD policy).

Personal and professional development is available through a referral system, whereby staff may make application for training. Courses/ training which furthers the expertise of staff as applied to pupils with SEN are favoured in this case.

Whole school training and development and in particular regarding the further development of expertise are addressed through staff development days.

Support Staff

Support staff are highly valued. They are deployed with the following priorities:

  • To support medical requirements, medication, catheterisation feeding, changing etc.
  • Additional support in “high risk” practical subjects, to ensure access for all.
  • Support individual pupil programmes, OT, speech therapy, physio etc.

Voluntary help is also used and encouraged at The Beacon Folkestone. Currently adults regularly assist within the school.