Special Educational Needs
Forest Hall School supports and provides provision for students with special educational needs and/or disabilities (often referred to as SEND). Every school has an appointed co-ordinator of SEND (known as the SENCO) who ensures that students are supported within the school and who liaises with parents and external agencies. The SENCO is Mr Waters.
Forest Hall School has one of only two Essex Dyslexia Units and serves students from across a wide area. Each year there are up to five students who are offered a place in the Dyslexia Support Unit who must have an Education Health & Care Plan (EHCP) which states Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia) as the priority reason for the Education Health & Care Plan. They have a place at the school and then receive focused support in addition to their normal curriculum.
This is done through specific withdrawal lessons taught by specialist staff and with additional support in some lessons from Teaching Assistants/Academic Mentors. Students are taught and given strategies to enable them to access the curriculum, work to overcome their difficulties and match their potential with real success.â¯Students Admission to the Unit is through the Psychology and Assessment Service within the child’s Local Education Authority, not through the school, although successful students become fully involved members of the school in the same way as every other student.
A typical provision for a student in the Dyslexia Support Unit will include:
- up to 10 hours of small group or one-to-one teaching time with a named and designated specialist teacher
- A tailored programme of support built around the outcomes from the student’s EHCP
- Termly Individual Provision Plans (IPPs) which detail their support and progress
- Access to a variety of technologies and activities to meet their specific needs
- Annual meetings with the “Preparing for Adulthood Adviser” from Year 9 to Year 11 to discuss possible routes through Further Education and Training post-16
- Support with applications to College or Apprenticeships and Employment
- Visits from past students to be inspired and recognise that SEND is not a barrier to success
- Possible placement in the Nurture Group for lessons in Years 7-9 if this is deemed appropriate.
A range of strategies are used by staff working in the Unit to support students and teachers across the school are supported to use these in lessons. Some of these may include:
- Link new learning to what pupil already knows, for example, start a lesson with a class mind-map of what they already know about a subject;
- Specific activities are differentiated appropriately, e.g. words for spelling practice, times tables practice, methods of recording;
- Opportunities for practical and interactive, as well as paper and pencil tasks;
- Thinking time or opportunities to work with talk partners before answering a question, or say “I’m going to come back to you in a minute for your idea”;
- A range of lesson activities to take account of different learning strengths, and practical activities offered where possible, e.g. learning from pictures, diagrams, mind-maps, using practical equipment, handling objects, moving and doing rather than sitting;
- Mastery Learning/learning to automaticity through repetition and practice in different ways.
- Interleaved or cumulative learning to improve retention (a small amount of material is learnt to fluency, then a small amount of new material to learn is added and practised alongside the previous material – new material is always combined with the old);
- Alternatives to writing as a method of recording - typing, speech-to-text, video/audio recording.
- Handouts with learning points rather than asking pupils to copy text from the board
- Access to assistive technology for those who find it difficult to read large amounts of text or to write quickly enough.
Additionally, staff who are new to the school and may be unfamiliar with the needs presented by students with Literacy difficulties such as Dyslexia are supported by the experienced teachers in the Dyslexia Support Unit. We operate an open-door policy where staff can visit at any time to “see what we do” and ask more detailed questions they may have about students who are part of the DSU. We also support the Forest Hall School SEND department and the school SENCo with advice about Literacy Difficulties.
The Subject Leader for the DSU is Mr Ricketts.
|DSU Learning Journey||DSU-Learning-Journey.pdf|
|Teaching of Vocabulary||Vocabulary-Teaching-in-the-DSU-and-Nurture.pdf|
Parent Comments about the DSU
“Fantastic success reached in early attainment in 3 GCSEs aged 14”.
“Very pleased with progress – gained confidence in all areas”.
“Works more independently”.
Student Comments about the DSU
“Improved on my Maths and English skills thanks to the DSU”.
“I have confidence now and think that comes from being in the DSU."
“My reading and writing is much better and I am more confident”.
Should you wish to contact any of the SEN Team, please contact the main reception either by phone or email.
Please visit http://www.essexlocaloffer.org.uk to view the Essex Local Offer information.
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