Happy and Successful Children

Whitecotes Lane, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S40 3HJ


01246 234381



Special Educational Needs

Whitecotes Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Report

Click here to view the Derbyshire Information Advice & Support Service for SEND.

At Whitecotes Primary School we work closely with the children and their families to ensure they have full access to the curriculum and are provided with the support they need to achieve their potential.  

Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age.  These children may need extra or different help because of a range of needs, such as in thinking and understanding, physical or sensory needs, or difficulties with speech and language or how they relate to other people.

Schools can help most children overcome the barriers their difficulties present quickly and easily.  But a few children will need extra help for some or all of their time in school.

Special Educational Needs could mean that a child has difficulties with:

•All of the work in school

•Reading, writing, number work or understanding information

•Expressing themselves or understanding what others are saying

•Making friends or relating to adults

•Behaving properly in school

•Organising themselves; or

•Some kind of sensory or physical needs which may affect them in school.

These are just examples.  We look at each child’s needs separately.

Children do not have learning difficulties just because their first language is not English.  Of course some of these children may have learning difficulties as well.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How does Whitecotes School know if my child needs extra help?

We place great importance on identifying special educational needs early so that we can help children as quickly as possible.  Our teachers recognise that children make progress at different rates and have different ways in which they learn best.  Teachers look carefully at how they organise the classroom and lessons, the books and materials given to each child and the way they teach in order to choose the most appropriate way to help your child learn.

The progress of each child is tracked carefully from lesson to lesson and assessments are done each term (6 times a year) to formally record their progress (the children are usually unaware of these assessments).  Children making slower progress or having particular difficulties in one area may be given extra help or different lessons to help them succeed , including special ‘catch-up’ work and other kinds of support.  We will look at possible barriers to their learning, eg. their behaviour where we look at why the child is behaving inappropriately in class, and how we can support the child to remove those barriers.

We do not assume, just because a child is making slower progress than expected or the teachers are providing different support, help or activities in class, that the child has SEN.  

If we feel that your child is still not making the expected progress even with the extra support we will speak with you and may decide to bring in specialist expertise.  We will inform you as soon as we start providing extra support because we feel your child has Special Educational Needs. By working closely together we can provide the best education for your child.

What should I do if I think my child has Special Educational Needs?

If you think your child has a special educational need that has not been identified please speak to the class teacher first.  They may already be closely monitoring your child and will know what additional support is in place and the impact it is having on your child’s learning.  If you are still concerned or feel more needs to be done please speak to the SENCO, Shehla Haseen-Khan, or the Head teacher, Debra Ward.  

You might like to ask if:

•the school thinks your child has difficulties;

•the school thinks your child has special educational needs;

•your child is able to work at the same level as other children of a similar age;

•your child is already getting some extra help; and 

•you can help your child.

How will I know how my child is doing?

All parents are invited into school early in the Autumn term and in the Spring term to discuss their child’s progress and any concerns the parents, child or school may have.  A written report is sent to parents in the summer term and staff are available to meet with parents if requested. 

Where a child is receiving SEN support we talk with parents regularly to set clear outcomes and review progress towards them, discuss the activities and support which will help the children to achieve them, and identify the responsibilities of the school, children and parents.  

When a child is receiving individualised support school staff will work with parents to write an Individual Educational Plan which sets out in detail the activities which will be used to reach the agreed outcomes, the time that will be allocated to the child and which adults will be supporting them.  A copy of this plan is given to the parent.  

How will Whitecotes School support my child?

At Whitecotes school we are lucky to have Teaching Assistants working for part of each day in each classroom.  Our Teaching Assistants are skilled in leading groups of children in teacher planned activities.  Teaching Assistants may support a group in Literacy or Numeracy lesson, within or out of the classroom.  They may also work with groups or individual children on Literacy or Numeracy based interventions during the afternoon.

Some of these children may have SEN but not all will.  

In school we currently have literacy interventions in place including Lexia, Read Write Inc and teacher planned handwriting, reading and writing sessions.  We have numeracy support in place for Key Stage 1 with Numicon.  These may be run by Teaching Assistants who have been on the training courses but are always overviewed by the class teacher.

We are very aware that children find it difficult to learn when they are worried or anxious about events in their lives.  These can range from short term upsets following a falling-out with friends through to life changing events such as bereavement.  In school we use a scheme called Jigsaw to develop the child’s resilience to events and their self esteem, this is taught in all classes every week and has a whole school focus.  

Our approach to record keeping is in line with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998. The provision made for pupils with SEN is recorded accurately and kept up to date. As part of any inspection, Ofsted will expect to see evidence of pupil progress, a focus on outcomes and a rigorous approach to the monitoring and evaluation of any SEN support provided.

How will Whitecotes School help me to support my child’s learning?

We encourage all parents to hear their child read at least 3 times a week at home.  Children are given homework every Monday and it is returned on Friday.


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

All children at Whitecotes are involved in all of the class curriculum.  Class teachers are skilled at adapting activities to enable all children to be challenged at the appropriate level.

How will my child be included in activities outside of the classroom?

All children at Whitecotes are included in activities that take place outside of the classroom.  These may include residential visits, theatre visits or walks around the local area.  Where necessary we will adapt the activities to enable all children to be equally involved.

How will Whitecotes school support my child in starting school, moving from one year group to another and in their transition on to secondary school?

If your child starts school in Foundation Stage there are a series of visit days before the start of term and then a structured build up to full time education.  If your child joins Whitecotes at another year group we encourage all families to visit school before hand.  During this visit, or after it you can discuss your child’s particular needs.  We are very happy to put in place transition visits as appropriate.

Where ever possible we arrange for children to meet their new class teacher before they break up for the summer holidays.  Staff meet to discuss the new children joining their class and will be aware of the level the children are working at and their individual needs before the start of term in September.


How accessible is Whitecotes school environment?

Whitecotes Primary School is fully accessible to wheelchairs.  We have made adaptations to toilets and lighting as needed for individual pupils.

We are fully committed to providing equal access for all children and adults.

What specialist services or expertise are available at or accessed by Whitecotes School?

Whitecotes use and liaise with a range of services provided through Derbyshire County Council, we currently have children in school whose needs are supported by Physiotherapists, Occupational Health, the Visual and Hearing Impairment Service, Autism Outreach, Speech Therapists, School Nurse, and Behaviour Support.

We also work closely with Social Care, Family Resource Workers and Educational Welfare.


What training do staff have in supporting pupils with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities?

Teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the pupils in their class, including where pupils access support from teaching assistants or specialist staff. High quality teaching, differentiated for individual pupils, is the first step in responding to pupils who have or may have SEN. 

We ensure Teaching Assistants are appropriately prepared and trained to support the curriculum, and that pupils are not separated from the curriculum as a result of being supported by a Teaching Assistant.

How are Whitecotes School’s resources allocated and matched to pupil’s Special Educational Needs or Disabilities?

We provide for pupils with high incidence SEN requiring low cost, non-customised equipment, e.g. keyboards for visually impaired children, up to £300, funded from their normally available resources.  For more specialist customised equipment Derbyshire LA provides funding for an Individual Children’s Equipment Budget to meet these needs.  

Who is the SENCO and what does she do?

Joanne Bennett is the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO).  She has day to day responsibility for coordinating the specific provision made to support individual children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities, including those with Educational Health Care Plans (formerly called Statements), working closely with staff, parents and carers, children and other agencies.

The SENCO works alongside the headteacher and governing body to determine the strategic development of SEN policy and provision at Whitecotes in order to raise the achievement of children with SEND.

If you would like to speak to the SENCO please phone school on 01246 234381 to arrange a meeting.

The Governor with responsibility for SEND is Vanessa Hall, who is also a teacher at Whitecotes School and can be contacted on the above number.

Who else can I talk to about my child’s needs?

You can contact school by phone: 01246 234381

Or email :   info@whitecotes.derbyshire.sch.uk This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Or write to us:  

Whitecotes Primary School, Whitecotes Lane, Walton, Chesterfield, S40 3HJ

It is better to contact us in advance of a visit so we can arrange for the best person to meet with you.

You may also like to contact Parent Partnership which is a free, impartial service that provides support, guidance and information about education issues to parents of children who have Special Educational Needs and children who are likely to be, or have been excluded.

Telephone: 01629533668

Email: parent.partnership@derbyshire.gov.uk This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Visit their website at: http://www.derbyshireparentpartnership.co.uk

Or visit: http://www.derbyshiresendlocaloffer.org for information about leisure and activity providers, health and care services, education providers and support groups.