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Special Education Needs and Disabilities Information Report

The full report can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.

How we support children with special educational needs or disabilities 

All staff are highly ambitious for Mapledown School students to ensure they achieve more than they believed possible, and instill high expectations to all. 

All students are supported to have positive attitudes when learning in whole class lessons, in groups and when working as independently as possible. 

The vast majority of students make good progress from their different starting points in Communication (which also includes Literacy and English where appropriate), Cognition (which also includes Maths, Science, Computing, Understanding of the world and Creative Arts), PSHE (which also includes Relationships, Sex and Health education) and Physical Development. Progress is measured throughout the year, and based on achievement towards outcomes based on our students’ EHCP, through the school’s Key Personal Learning Targets (KPLTs), and progress towards the curriculum taught, as well as towards additional frameworks used, such as SCERTS (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support) and MOVE (to develop physical skills). 

Mapledown School is Barnet’s only secondary school for students with Severe and Profound Learning Difficulties (including Autism) and we have spaces for up to 94 students, aged 11 to 19 years old. The school is organised into eleven classes in three distinct ‘Learning Zones’. From September 2021, we 

also have two additional classrooms co-located at Copthall Secondary schools, catering for up to 16 students.

All students have an Educational Health Care Plan or are admitted on an assessment basis. We have developed strong partnerships with families and carers and will always place the needs of students at the heart of all we do. 

Admissions to school are within the admission policy on our website. 

Our Ofsted rating for Mapledown School is ‘Good’. The most recent inspection was a section 8 one-day inspection in July 2018. 

Our vision: Working and Learning Together. 

As our students have complex learning disabilities, our vision specifically challenges us, parents and our local community to ensure everyone sees the potential in our school population and make progress, demonstrating that preconceived expectations can and must be challenged. 

To achieve our vision we aim to: 

Create a happy and secure learning environment where all students’ needs are met and where achievements and successes are recognised and praised. 

Ensure that all the National Curriculum/statutory curriculum guidance is delivered to all students. 

Ensure that Computing and Technology are an essential vehicle to access and enhance the curriculum and communication for students. 

Ensure that safeguarding is paramount in keeping all members of the school community safe. Provide all staff with training and development opportunities to enable effective practice. 

Promote the students’ spiritual, physical and emotional well-being so that they are secure, confident and well motivated. 

Help students acquire the knowledge, skills and confidence which enable them to lead as full, interesting and independent lives as possible. 

Develop students’ personal responsibility and encourage decision making and choice, communicating through whatever means appropriate. 

Provide a wide range of age-appropriate learning experiences, which are both exciting and challenging. 

Offer opportunities of working cooperatively alongside others, developing friendships and respect for others. 

Provide students with experiences of their own and others’ religious and cultural backgrounds and values. 

Foster relationships with parents and other professionals 

How does your school ensure that children who need extra help are identified early? 

All our students have SEND or a disability. Therefore they perform below national age related expectations. Many of our students also have medical needs. 

At Mapledown School, our students’ identified needs will be complex and significant in the area of cognition and learning (severe learning difficulties or profound and multiple learning difficulties) as

described in the SEND Code of Practice. Our students will also have associated needs in the areas of Communication and Interaction, Physical and / or sensory difficulties, and emotional, social or mental health needs. 

All our staff are highly skilled and we have a multi-disciplinary team based at Mapledown: Speech and Language Therapists (including a Dysphagia specialist), a Physiotherapist, an Occupational Therapist, a Music therapist, a full time school nurse and a full time nursing assistant. 

Before students join the school, a detailed programme of information exchange and visits to our feeder primary schools takes place to ensure a smooth transition from primary to secondary school. When students first join the school, staff conduct a baseline assessment, therapists work with teachers and parents to identify therapy requirements, and all students benefit from a SaLT (Speech and Language) programme, an Occupational Therapy Programme, and a Physiotherapy Programme, if they require it, as detailed in their Education, Health and Care Plan. Students presenting with further needs, such as social and emotional needs, will be also referred to our Music therapist if appropriate. A transition review also takes place within the first half term, during which the students’ EHCP and outcomes are confirmed with the families and professionals. 

All students have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Further information on the admission and assessment procedures can be found on our website. 

In addition, children needing extra support are identified in a variety of ways: 

Concerns raised by parents; 

Concerns raised by teachers, for example behaviour or self-esteem is affecting progress; Liaison with external agencies, e.g. Educational Psychology Service; 

Health diagnosis through a paediatrician; 

Liaison with previous school or setting. 

Common barriers to learning in our school 

Complex communication difficulties with cognitive impairments 

Complex social, emotional and mental health impairment resulting in complex and severe emotional regulation difficulties 

Complex physical disabilities alongside cognitive impairments 

Multisensory impairments and cognitive impairments 

What is the provision for students/students at Mapledown School and how is it evaluated? 

As discussed above, all students attending Mapledown School will have an ECHP. There may be an agreement with the local authority that a child or young person is placed in our school pending the outcome of an assessment for an EHCP. 

Our provision is based on a strong vision that: 

Our school is a place where everyone is treated with dignity, respect and is of equal worth. Our vision is to develop a highly effective learning environment. 

We believe that all staff have a responsibility to meet the needs of all students at Mapledown.

Our key purpose is the delivery and constant improvement of quality learning experiences appropriate to the needs of all our students. 

Who will explain my child’s needs and progress to me? 

The class teacher meets with parents formally at least on a termly basis (this could be as part of Parents’ evening or an EHCP review) to discuss their child’s needs, support and progress. When the meetings cannot take place at school (for instance during the COVID-19 pandemic), arrangements are made for the meetings to take place virtually, via phone or teleconference. 

The school also hosts a number of events throughout the year to enable parents to see how their child is in class, e.g. coffee mornings, etc. 

For further information the Learning Zone Leads and Senior Leaders are always available to discuss support in more detail. 

Your child’s teacher will communicate daily in the home school book, via email or Google Classrooms to report on your child’s daily progress. 

How will school support my child? 

Our Senior Leaders (Headteacher and Deputy Heads) oversee all support and progress of all students across the school. 

Classteachers will oversee, plan and work with each child regardless of any additional special educational needs or disabilities in their class to ensure that progress in every area is made. 

All children benefit from Individual Education Plans (IEPs/KPLTs – linked with EHCP outcomes, and recorded and monitored termly via our KPLTs process – key personal learning targets) with specific time limited targets so that it is easy to track progress. 

Learning support Assistants will be working with your child either individually or as part of a group. 

We have a school development plan and evaluate this throughout the year. There are link governors for all aspects of the plan and this supports the evaluation of our progress towards any aims. 

How are the Governors involved and what are their responsibilities? 

The Assessment Lead reports to the Governors every term to inform them about the progress of all children: the report clearly identifies trends within zones/key stages, subjects and category of need (PMLD, SLD, ASC). This report does not refer to individual children and confidentiality is maintained at all times. 

The Governors agree priorities for spending within the special educational needs budget with the overall aim that all children receive the support they need in order to make at least good progress. 

How do teachers match the curriculum to an individual child’s needs? 

The curriculum has recently been re-developed, and is being rolled out. It meets the needs of our students effectively, and enables a more bespoke approach, further focussed on the skills all our students will need when they leave Mapledown. 

Class work is pitched at an appropriate level so that all children are able to access it according to their specific needs, and all the work is individualised and differentiated. 

The benefit of this type of differentiation is that all children can access a lesson and learn at their level.

Staffing levels are enhanced so that students/students are taught in classes of up to 8 or 9 students with a teacher and at least 3 learning support assistants, and, if appropriate, additional learning support assistants to meet the needs of the class group. 

How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs? 

We ensure that all our students are provided to the best of the school’s ability with the funds available. 

The budget is allocated on a needs basis. The children who have the most complex needs are given the most support. 

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive? 

Staff (Learning Zone Leads, teachers, SLT) meet termly to discuss the children’s needs and what support would be appropriate. 

Different children will require different levels of support in order to help them make progress and achieve their potential. 

How does the school judge whether the support has had an impact? 

By reviewing students’ targets on Individual Education Plans via our KPLT process and ensuring they are being met (our data is compared with other special schools with students with similar needs locally through SSMAG – special school moderation and assessment group). Education, Health and Care Plans are also reviewed annually to ensure the provision we offer remains appropriate. 

By ensuring that each student is making progress academically against our curriculum framework, and additional frameworks such as SCERTS and MOVE. 

Verbal feedback from the teacher, parent and pupil. 

What opportunities will there be for me to discuss my child’s progress? 

We believe that your child’s education should be a partnership between parents and teachers, therefore we aim to communicate with you regularly. Teachers communicate daily in the Home/School books or via emails, and may phone to discuss anything further. 

You will be able to discuss your child’s progress at parents consultations events and EHCP reviews. 

You are welcome to make an appointment at any time to meet with either the class teacher or Senior Leaders and discuss how your child is getting on. 

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

We run regular coffee mornings and training, led by teachers, senior leaders or therapists on a variety of topics: Makaton, communication, behaviour, sensory processing, etc 

As your child will have complex special educational needs or a disability when they attend Mapledown school, they will have an Education, Health Care Plan (EHCP), which means that a formal meeting will take place annually to review your child’s progress. 

All children with an Education, Health Care Plan (EHCP) will have an Individual Education Plan (IEP / KPLT) which will have individual targets.

How do you measure my child’s progress? 

As a school we measure children’s progress in learning against the outcomes set within their EHCP and against curriculum targets. In addition, we use assessment tools that can capture all areas of learning, such as engagement, physical development, independence, etc, through MOVE, SCERTS, Asdan, Equals. The class teacher continually assesses each child and notes areas where they are improving and where further support is needed. 

We track children’s progress from their admission through to Year 14, using a variety of different methods. 

Children who are not making expected progress are identified through the Leaders’ termly Analysis. Where needed a discussion will take place about those students experiencing difficulties and what further support can be given to aid their progress. 

When a child’s IEP (through their KPLT) is reviewed, comments are made against each target to show what progress has been made. If the child has not met the target, the reasons for this will be discussed, then the target may be adapted into smaller steps or a different approach may be tried to ensure the child does make progress. The KPLTs are set at EHCP reviews, which link to the students’ over-arching aspirations, and which are recorded and monitored within our KPLT documents as detailed above. The goals are set in partnership with parents and therapists and progress against these goals is analysed termly. 

What is the pastoral, medical and social support available in the school to ensure my child’s overall well-being? 

We have a caring, understanding ethos and are an inclusive school; we welcome and celebrate diversity, and believe that high self-esteem is crucial to young people’s well-being. 

The classteacher has overall responsibility for the pastoral, medical and social care of every child in their class, therefore they should be your first point of contact. If further support is required, the class teacher liaises with other professionals for further advice and support. This may involve working alongside outside agencies such as Health and Social Care Services. 

Our school nurse is also available, as are our therapists, and parents can make appointments to see them as they require. 

How does the school manage the administration of medicines and personal care? 

We have a policy regarding the administration and management of medicines at school. 

All students requiring medication onsite will have a Healthcare Plan written by the school nurse and agreed by parents. 

Staff have regular training regarding conditions and medication affecting individual children so that all staff can manage medical situations if the need arises. A number of our students have epilepsy, all staff are trained in administering specific epilepsy rescue medication. They are also trained in Enteral Feeding. 

Most of our students require personal hygiene care: this is managed by staff. 

What support is there for behaviour, avoiding exclusion and increasing attendance? 

We have a positive approach to behaviour management, which refers to our “Students’ Manifesto” with a clear Behaviour policy that is followed by all staff and modelled to all students. The attendance

of every child is monitored on a daily basis by the attendance officer (DHT). Lateness and absences are recorded and reported to the Head Teacher and Governing Body. 

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school? 

We work very closely with external agencies that we feel are relevant to individual children’s needs within our school. 

These include: GPs, School Pediatrician, Dietician (clinics are held throughout the year at school), School Nurse, Clinical Psychologist, Wheelchair services, Orthotics, Speech & Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Educational Psychologist, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and Social Services (0-25 Disability Service). 

What training have the staff supporting children with special educational needs, had or are currently having? 

Mapledown School is highly committed to the ongoing training of staff. 

All staff have clear job descriptions which detail the required qualifications for each post in school. 

All staff have a core training programme related to their work. Training is specifically related to the needs of the children in our school and also as required by statutory guidance. 

Other staff continue to gain a range of certificates to mark their commitment to courses such as PODD, First Aid, Manual Handling and Makaton. 

We continue to commit to having qualified trainers in school for courses such as Makaton and Moving and Handling. 

In addition: 

Members of staff have ongoing training in delivering Speech & Language programmes from Speech & Language Therapists, Physio programmes from Physiotherapists, and programmes from the Occupational Therapist 

A number of staff are ‘Team Teach’ trained to safely support children demonstrating unsafe behaviour (these incidents are always recorded). 

All staff (teachers and our teaching assistants) have had training in communication strategies and aids such as Makaton, PECS or PODD. 

How does the school include my child in activities and school trips? 

At Mapledown we are committed to ensuring that anything which is planned can include all students, regardless of their individual needs (including access needs). 

Activities outside of the classroom are part of Mapledown’s curriculum. 

Specialist facilities onsite include a hydrotherapy pool, a soft play cabin, an immersive and sensory studio, an extensive outdoor area with accessible play equipment and sunken trampolines, a 175 metres bike/trike circuit and a fenced flat accessible surface for students using walking frames or wheelchairs. 

All students join in school-wide activities including expressive arts, celebrations and events and physical activities. Some represent the school in competitions (sports and dance) with local and national agencies.

Students at Mapledown use the local community for learning, visiting local shops, playgrounds and other amenities. 

Students at Mapledown benefit from educational visits to places of interest in our local area. 

Any trip or events are organised on this basis, with appropriate support put in place to ensure that this can happen safely. 

All trips organised are carefully risk assessed with support from senior leaders, and venues chosen so they can cater for all our students. 

How accessible is the school environment? 

The main school is fully accessible. 

The school has a disability and accessibility plan and is accessible to wheelchair users. 

How will the school prepare and support my child when joining the school or transferring to a new school? 

All families and their children visit the school prior to starting with us. 

Staff may conduct a home visit prior to starting school, and a detailed programme of information exchange and visits to our feeder primary schools takes place to ensure a smooth transition from primary to secondary school. A transition review with school staff, parents and therapists if appropriate takes place within 8 weeks of starting at the school. 

When young people are preparing to leave us for other schools or adult provisions when they are 19, where appropriate, we work with the next setting to arrange a series of transition visits and activities for them. Preparation for Transition from Mapledown begins at the Year Eight Annual Review. Where 

appropriate Work Experience opportunities begin at year 10 and continue until school leaving. During the final two years of school at Mapledown visits are arranged for students and parents to visit either Barnet-Southgate College or an identified Barnet Resource Centre. Some students may go to out of Borough placements depending on need. 

We liaise closely with staff when receiving and transferring children to different schools, ensuring all relevant documentation is passed on and all needs are discussed and understood. 

In addition, we will hold regular coffee mornings and workshops to share any relevant strategies. 

What support does the school provide to develop independence skills and prepare my child for adulthood? 

Developing independence and work related learning in preparation for adulthood are integral parts of the whole school curriculum and more specifically of the PSHE & C (personal, social, economic and citizenship education) and RSHE (relationships, sex and health education) curriculum that is taught to all students as they move through the school. Students are supported to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding that are useful in day to day living and work. This underpins our whole school curricula, no matter what age the students are. 

Work related learning can therefore take place via classroom based learning, workplace visits, work placements, development of skills for independence and visits to the school by local employers and / or providers. Students have the opportunity to develop their enterprise skills by undertaking specific projects. For some students this will be a chance to develop an awareness of the workplace while for others it will be an opportunity to improve skills that may help them to enter the job market at some point in their lives.

We aim to ensure that all our students, throughout their whole time in school, have opportunities to fulfil their potential and to achieve as much independence as possible with a curriculum adapted to meet their needs. 

We also aim to provide opportunities for all our students to maximise their ability to participate in activities to prepare for adulthood, as independently as they possibly can. We aim to prepare them for when they leave the school. Each of our students are individuals and the degree of independence that they will demonstrate will vary accordingly. Students’ timetables should provide opportunities for students to develop skills which are a particular priority for the individual and will be weighted differently for different students. 

Post 16 students follow a personalised pathway tailored to their skills, abilities, interests and needs, leading towards independence, personal autonomy, vocational training, further education and employment. 

All outcomes are supported by family support, community inclusion and participation, voice, independent advocacy and transitioning to adulthood, social and personal relationships, long term planning and transitions and accreditations. 

What arrangements are in place to support children and young people who are looked after? 

Mapledown school is committed to ensuring outcomes for young people who are looked after are as successful as their peers. 

We work closely with Virtual schools, who promote the progress and educational attainment of children and young people who are looked after, so that they can achieve educational outcomes comparable to their peers. 

Our partnership with Virtual schools enables us to receive advice, support and training for key staff to improve access to established specialist services for all our children and young people who are looked after. 

We place a focus on progress within a framework of high expectations and good teaching and learning, with a close monitoring of their academic, social and personal progress. 

We ensure our young people who are looked after can be involved and successful in all learning activities, including those taking place outside the classroom. 

We ensure a unified but low profile support in school for each looked after child so that they are not made to feel different from other children. 

We adopt swift and early interventions if a problem emerges. 

We encourage and facilitate the successful engagement of carers and parents wherever possible. 

We recognise that individual students will have different learning needs, but through assessment and securing information about prior learning, we can identify each student’s needs and develop learning plans and learning tasks to closely match them. 

Rigorous target-setting and monitoring of progress made by our looked after students focuses on academic progress as well as emotional well-being, behaviour and attendance. 

How are parents involved in school life? 

We have parent workshops which give parents the opportunity to see and participate in their children’s learning. 

We have parents evening and whole school events during which parents are invited to offer their comments and opinions.

Who can I contact for further information or to discuss a concern? 

The first point of contact would be your child’s class teacher to share your concerns. 

You could also arrange to meet with the Headteacher or Senior leaders (Sue Hart and Caroline Garvey). 

Barnet SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (IASS, previously known as Parent Partnership) is an organisation that provides free, confidential, independent advice and support for families of children with SEND or a disability – 020 8359 7637 / 

Barnet Parent Carer Forum is a voluntary group of parents and carers working with the Local Authority to ensure that the voices of children, young people and their families are heard – / 07468 029 705. 

Who should I contact if I am considering whether my child should join the school? 

Contact the Headteacher to arrange a meeting and tour of the school. 

Contact the SEN department at Barnet Council.