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St Dominic Savio Catholic Primary School ‘Serve the Lord with Joy’

2. How does St Dominic Savio cater for a range of needs?

From the moment children join us we are assessing them: not with tests but with observations and questions. Our Teaching Team easily and readily share thoughts about children. We have an open door policy with parents and would engage parents at the earliest opportunity if we had any concerns.


Our classrooms are well-organised and attractive. Teachers plan interesting and engaging work and we all work hard to make sure all our pupils really enjoy school, are motivated and get the most out of it.


All children have different starting points, different experiences and different responses to teaching and learning. Our first principle is ‘quality first teaching’ : this means that the class teacher has a responsibility to ensure that all members of the class, irrespective of needs, feel included, succeed and can access work at the right level. This will involve teachers in considering groupings; planning work in different ways and at different levels. This is known as differentiation. Teachers differentiate through:

  • How much adult guidance is given e.g an adult may work alongside the child
  • Giving each child careful feedback about each piece of work, and probing understanding with questions and prompts
  • How much scaffolding is given e.g. there may be prompts for each paragraph of writing;
  • How much is expected e.g. asking the child to complete five calculations rather than ten;
  • How much repetition there is e.g. understanding that some children need to repeat tasks many times to secure understanding;
  • How much time is given e.g. allowing more time to complete a task;
  • The level of challenge in the set task and how much independence is expected e.g. setting different tasks with different degrees of challenge


We know that if teachers can get this right, more children experience success and make progress. Accessing high quality teaching means less special needs support needed.


How do you make sure that all teachers teach in the inclusive way you aspire to?

We know that high quality teaching and skilful support will make a big difference to the progress of children with SEND. Making sure that this happens in all our classrooms is one of the most important things that we as school leaders do.


Our Leadership Team works constantly with teachers and support staff to develop effective teaching and support for all children including those with SEND. Teachers are observed, do paired teaching, watch more experienced teachers teach and attend regular staff meetings at which we focus on:

  • carefully differentiated (taking account of different needs) planning which ensures that all children are able to make progress;
  • making sure that the Class Teacher takes full responsibility for all children’s learning and progress
  • using a wide variety of teaching approaches, including guiding learning through demonstration
  • providing a stimulating, rich and interactive classroom environment
  • using regular, clear and rigorous assessments that help teachers to plan next steps and to track pupils’ progress and identify gaps in their understanding;
  • how to help all children to develop their skills as learners – and to persevere when they find learning difficult


Do staff understand special needs?

All staff have a good core awareness of SEND. We also have regular training and guidance to meet the needs of our children. This can come from a member of staff who supports our school e.g. recent training from our Educational Psychologist, autistic spectrum condition training, exercises from our Occupational Therapist.


We provide/access specialist training for teachers and teaching assistants as relevant for those who support children with the most complex needs, for example a specific learning difficulty, hearing impairment, or autism. 


All staff new to the school have an induction programme which includes detailed information about the range of pupils in the class, personal support and detailed guidance on how to provide high quality teaching and support. We use the knowledge of parents to do this.


As soon as we know that a child is coming to our school with particular needs, we review our provision and provide relevant on-going training. In particular, we will provide relevant training and guidance for your child’s teacher on meeting any specific needs.


If my child has special needs, can they take part in everything the school has to offer?

Our starting point is that all children can access and be included in the full curriculum including all educational visits, clubs, sports days, worship etc. Extra steps will be taken to ensure that their inclusion is successful. To include everyone is really important to us at St Dominic Savio.


We do a risk assessment and when necessary make reasonable adjustments to plans and arrangements, 

In Year 6 we can make applications for ‘special arrangements’ for the end of primary school Sats. If professionals judge that, for example, extra time, would help, then special applications are made by the school.