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Special Educational Needs at Grace Mary


Nature of the Provision at Grace Mary


Grace Mary is a fully inclusive primary school with an 8 place focus provision for children with Autism spectrum disorder/and or complex communication difficulties. We have a focus provision base called the Sunshine room which accommodates pupils who are currently unable to access their classroom because of their high needs and for pupils who are receiving a P-Scale curriculum. We recognise that some children with Autism find the world confusing and/or overwhelming so we cater for each child as an individual. Pupils are taught by a team of experienced and trained staff in a mix of 1-1 sessions and group work daily.


The aim is to enable all children to lead a rewarding and fulfilling life. When the children are ready, we support them through the transition of being integrated into class and then through the transitional stages of EYFS to Year 1, Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 and into Secondary school. We believe in personalised learning and targets are regularly reviewed. The curriculum and teaching sequences are adapted to meet the needs of the individual. The school takes all reasonable steps to modify/adapt the learning environment to meet the individual needs of children. The SENco, class teacher and phase leader will meet to plan support.




Parents and pupil comments on the provision


“I think school supports my child well and if I do have any concerns they’re discussed and solutions together are made.”

“I feel that Sunshine room staff know my child well and meet their needs."

“I love coming to the Sunshine Room”.




Ofsted commentary


Ofsted July 2014 say:


“Pupils supported by the designated resource base for those with autistic spectrum disorders make good progress. The pupils are taught within the mainstream classes and make progress in line with that of their classmates. By the end of Year 6, their attainment in reading, writing and mathematics is in line with that of others. Their success is due to the careful checking the resource-base leader carries out to ensure that pupils are taught effectively and their progress is kept on track. All staff help the pupils overcome their learning difficulties through careful use of signs and symbols, well established routines and carefully planned work which suits the way in which they learn.”

“Disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs are well supported by both teachers and the other adults who support learning. This support results in these pupils making good progress. Well-directed learning opportunities make sure that any underachievement is quickly picked up and progress rates increased.”




Details about the additional and different provision


(i) Skills of staff/additional qualifications


  • Focus Provision staff have had training on ASD strategies and verbal and non-verbal communication strategies including TEACCH and PECS
  • A dedicated Speech and Language LSP work closely with the speech therapist to deliver individual programmes.
  • Designated staff are MAPA trained (senior leaders, HLTAs, SEN key staff and learning mentors)Staff have all had Makaton training.
  • Several staff have food hygiene certificates allowing an after school cooking club to be available.
  • All staff have epi-pen training
  • Designated staff are trained to administer insulin and test blood
  • A forest school lead enabling our focus provision children to access outdoor learning


(ii) Start of the day


  • Children are greeted by designated staff members every morning, where time is available for parents to liaise with staff about any relevant matters if necessary.
  • Children are encouraged to be as independent as possible when putting their coats and bags away and following their visual timetable for the day.
  • Multi gym sessions are available daily to promote a positive start to the day.
  • Grace Mary also have a daily breakfast club facility available


(iii) Classroom teaching-differentiation


A range of visual aids are used to support communication and understanding for children who have

autism or complex communication needs. These include:


  • Use of visual timetables
  • Now and Next boards
  • Structured TEACCH approach
  • Clearly labelled areas
  • A calm room
  • Lego therapy


(iv) Withdrawal/individual teaching


Children are taught either 1:1, small groups or in class, depending on their needs. There are individual work stations within the sunshine room, as well as a designated work room. The curriculum is heavily differentiated to meet the needs of each child, with individual learning targets set and reviewed at least termly. Children are withdrawn for interventions including speech and language, lego therapy or to carry out individual targets set by Occupational Therapy.


(v) Specialist equipment


  • Designated base classroom
  • Individual work stations
  • Sensory room
  • Calm room
  • If children have medical needs then a detailed care plan is completed in consultation with parents/carers and if needed the school nurse or health visitor.
  • When necessary we administer medication in school and signed medicine consent forms are completed to keep pupils and staff safe.
  • Pupils with physical disabilities have dedicated staff, 2 accessible toilet one in both buildings.
  • Personalised equipment – writing slopes, ipads, writing implements
  • Nurture Room which we ensure all pupils know about (through assemblies) and can access if they need to talk at any time. Chill & chat lunchtime sessions are held daily.
  • Forest school

(vi) Transition


We recognise that transitions can be difficult for a child with SEND and take steps to ensure that any transition is as smooth as possible.


If your child is moving to another school:


  • We will contact the school SENCo and ensure he/she knows about any special arrangements or support that need to be made for your child.
  • Pre-visits with the child and support staff will be arranged. Photographs, and/or videos, of the new school will be taken. A book (paper or electronic) will be produced for the child to look at before starting their new school to enable them to become familiar with buildings, rooms, staff, activities, routes etc..
  • We will make sure that all records about your child are passed on as soon as possible.


When moving classes in school:


  • Information will be passed on to the new class teacher in advance and a planning meeting will take place with the new teacher and support staff. All IEP’s will be shared with the new teacher.
  • Additional support to take account of children’s individual needs can be arranged, e.g a child friendly book of photos and any additional information to support the transition from one setting to another.


In Year 6:


  • Your child will do focussed learning about aspects of transition to support their understanding of the changes ahead.
  • A member of staff from the secondary school settings comes to visit and meet with the children who will be attending their school. Where possible your child will visit their new school on several occasions and in some cases staff from the new school will visit your child in this school. Schools hold open evenings for parents to attend in order to support your decision making process about which school is the right choice for your child.
  • If your child has already been identified as having special educational needs, then the SENCo at our school meets with all the secondary school SENCo during the final tem of year 6. Details of the pupil’s needs are passed on to the new SENCo, along with details of what support has been in place at our school to help them. Our SENCo passes on information about any outside agencies that have been involved and all SEN paperwork, including documents such as IEP’s and outside agency reports. The receiving secondary school will then have all the relevant information needed to put support in place as soon as your child joins them in year 7.




Arrangements for Focus Provision inclusion into the whole school


Children within the Focus Provision are fully included within whole school activities, though we are sensitive to the children’s varied needs and that not every activity will suit every child. When a whole school activity is planned, the staff working within the sunshine room think very carefully about the children’s needs and how they can adapt activities to enable all children to be included. Children within the focus provision have successfully taken part in whole school trips, class trips, parent workshops, eco bus visits and visitors to school.


In addition, special outings for the children have been arranged for example visits to Portway Lifestyle Centre.

Children within the Focus Provision join their peers in their own classroom when it appropriate, and especially for subjects like Physical Education.




Examples of progress and outcomes information


At Grace Mary we track children working on P-Levels using the Orchard Tracker. Children’s progress is monitored closely half termly with the current P-Level for each subjecting being given a percentage of completion so that small steps children make can be recognised. Pupil progress meetings are held termly in school and in addition to these individual education plans are discussed termly with parents where old targets are reviewed and new targets are set.


As a school we work closely with parents and the Local Authority Inclusion and SEN teams. Annual meetings take place for students with an EHCP and the outreach teams are always heavily involved in these.

SEND & Inclusion Policy