SEN Frequently Asked Questions

How does your school know if my child needs extra help?

If your child is transferring to High Tunstall and already has special educational need, your primary school will inform the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator at High Tunstall. These children form the majority of SEND students at the school. There is planning between the schools and with parents/carers in Year 6 to support the student’s move from primary to secondary school and additional transition may be arranged to support the transfer to secondary through a series of daytime visits or in Easter and Summer school programmes. On entry to the school, all students are screened on key cognitive skills, language skills and certain core academic skills. This system can pick up potential difficulties at the earliest stage. Some children do well at primary school but find the transition to secondary education more difficult. The teachers are highly alert so that such areas of need are spotted early and referred to relevant staff in the inclusion team quickly. High Tunstall listens to parents. Sometimes, the first signs of difficulty are picked up through conversation at home so parents are always welcome to contact the school to talk about concerns.

What should I do if I think my child may have a special need or disability?

If you are concerned about your child’s abilities, the school will listen to your concerns, discuss them with you and agree on a plan that might only need light monitoring or might require assessment by specialist staff or external agencies. You can contact the school by phone, letter, e-mail or fax (please see contact details on the home page of the school website). It is acceptable to contact the school through a family friend or professional translator if you feel more comfortable using a language other than English If your child is still at primary school, talk to your child’s teacher there who can help you look at any issues and make links with High Tunstall to help prepare for the next year.

What is an EHCP?

An Education Health and Care Plan is a legal document that identifies a child’s SEN needs and focusses on the support required to meet agreed outcomes. The key difference between a statement of SEN and EHCPs is that, as well as the educational elements covered in statements, EHCPs also outline the child’s health and social care needs, outcomes and support.

How will I know if High Tunstall is supporting my child? How will I know how well they are doing?

All students : The school will always send you a letter to let you know if we are proposing to offer your child support that is additional to or different from what is already in place for all mainstream students. Parent and carer evenings are opportunities to discuss your child’s progress and needs and to find out about support options. Parents are always welcome to contact their child’s Form Tutor at any time to discuss particular concerns as they arise. Students with Statements and EHCPs: Your child will have identified needs and an education plan in place from the time they start at High Tunstall. Their support lessons will show on their timetables and parents receive regular written and progress reports. In addition students will have an Annual Review of their progress and needs. This comes in the form of a full written school report in advance of a specially arranged face to face meeting between parents and linked staff. During this meeting, students, parents and staff have the chance to express their views about the progress being made and the provision they are receiving at school.

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

High quality first teaching is best way to ensure all learners are catered for in school. Where alternative curriculum, qualifications or provision is more appropriate to a students needs a meeting will be held to discuss this form of intervention. All students select options in year 9 which begin in year 10 and further details can be found in our curriculum policy along with current options on offer.

Will my child be able to access the school environment?

As Hartlepool's allocated school for medical and physical needs our additional resource base and accessible environment is able to cater for students with profound and varying needs. The school offers hydrotherapy and physiotherapy as part of our local offer and a dedicated school nurse is on hand for support with medication, wheel chair access and modified seating arrangements.

What specialist services are available at the school?

High Tunstall benefits from its additionally resourced provision for medical and physical needs which has recently expanded to include students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. The school also has on site school nurse, counselling, attendance officers, educational psychologists as well as close links to various other external agencies.

How will the school help prepare my child for post 16?

All students will have at least one meeting with our onsite careers advisor. During this meeting students will have the chance to talk about different Post 16 options. All students will visit post 16 providers to see what is on offer locally on full day immersive programmes. Students may take part in programmes of work which help prepare them for life post-16 e.g. Life Skills, D of E. Students will receive support with completing college applications. School staff will liaise with post 16 providers to ensure that their staff are aware of student needs.