Local Offer & SEND Information Report
Your Local Authority must publish their 'Local Offer'. This is a list of all the services they provide for children with special educational needs and must include services and organisations that are available both within your local authority as well as outside your local area. The Local Offer should therefore include schools such as Mary Hare. Make sure you check your Local Authority's website and if Mary Hare is not listed, then do ask them why.
Mary Hare School's Local Offer is published on many Local Authority websites. This information is also referred to as the SEND Information Report.
- What is the process in obtaining a place at Mary Hare School?
Mary Hare School organises an Information Day and an Open Day for potential families; one for families of children who are considering Mary Hare and one for families that have accepted a place. This gives families the opportunity to ask any questions that they may have and have a tour of the school.
If a family decides that Mary Hare School is the right place for their child, they should contact the Admissions Manager. They will take the details of the pupil and arrange a suitable date for them to come into school for an assessment1. Mary Hare offers residential and day places, therefore the assessments will be as below, however, if the family are looking for a day place the student will not have to do the over-night stays but will still be required to attend the school for the mandatory days required for a full assessment.
For places which are to commence at the beginning of Year 7, the students are invited in for a day assessment which is comprised of a speech and language assessment, an audiology assessment, and some academic achievement assessments. There is also an opportunity for parents to meet key staff such as our Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator and members of our Senior Leadership team.
For places that are for admission during alternative school years, the student will be invited in for a residential visit during which time the student will have a speech and language assessment, an audiology assessment and academic achievement assessments. They will have the opportunity to spend three days in the school and experience life in the boarding houses to enable them to be fully emersed in the day-to-day life and ethos of the school.
For places that are for admission to the Primary School, the admission procedure is similar to that of the secondary, however, the residential visit is for three days.
Once the assessments are complete, the team of professionals that have been involved in the assessment write a report which is submitted to the Senior Leadership team who discuss the student and decide as to whether a place is offered. Our Admissions Manager contacts the family, generally within two weeks, to inform them of the decision which is followed by a formal offer letter.
- How does the setting/school/college know if children/young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?
Mary Hare School appoints a Senior Manager as its Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCo) to oversee the support for additional special needs of the children/young people. The SENDCo is supported by a team of professionals all with the experience in identifying needs, which are occasionally by their hearing impairment. This includes specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyscalculia, multisensory impairment, and physical disabilities. If you have any concerns about your child’s special educational needs whilst at Mary Hare School, you can contact the SENDCo who will liaise with staff and the pupil involved to explore the most appropriate support for them.
- How are the setting’s/school/college’s resources allocated and matched to children’s/young people’s special educational needs?
Since Mary Hare School is designed to meet the needs of deaf children and young people, we place great emphasis on removing all barriers that prevent a pupil from learning effectively. The budget for this purpose is not a separate on e but integral to all that is done.
- How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?
Mary Hare carries out assessments of Year seven new entrants in November of the year preceding their entry. During these assessments, staff will assess the nature of the support required by a pupil. Sometimes after an assessment is carried out, we will find that Mary Hare School cannot provide the necessary support for a child and in this case the family will be signposted to an alternative, more appropriate provision. Following assessment, staff at the school will consult with the SENDCo at the child’s current school as well as accessing independent reports.
- How will early years setting/school/college staff support my child/young person?
Mary Hare School is a specialist school for deaf children and young people aged 4-19 years of age. The curriculum is taught through and auditory oral approach, which means that the young people learn through listening, speaking, and writing in English. As this may not be the pupils first language, they will be supported by having access to specialist speech and language therapist who will work with them to enhance their speaking and listening skills.
The classes are small; often as small as 8-10 pupils , with between 4-8 in a class at the Primary School, ensuring that each one has access to the level of support that they need in a high staff to pupil ratio. All classrooms are acoustically treated to give the pupil’s the best possible listening experience, and this is enhanced by the ‘group aid’ system. This system is linked to the pupil’s amplification thereby allowing them direct access to the teacher’s and their peers speech. This also helps them to make use of their residual hearing. The desks are arranged in a ‘horseshoe’ thereby ensuring that every student can see the lip-patterns of the teacher and each other.
All teachers are subject specialist qualified Teachers of the Deaf or are in the process of completing this training. This provides them with the relevant skills to ensure that the pupils are taught appropriately and recognise if there are any issues that need addressing. In many classes there are also specially trained teaching assistants (qualified to BTEC Level 3 in Supporting Students with Hearing Impairments) who can assist the pupils or provide one to one help if necessary.
An Educational Audiologist is available daily to support pupils with their audiological needs. This may involve troubleshooting of issues with personal amplification equipment, taking impressions of ear moulds or liaising with the cochlear implant teams across the country to reprogram devices.
A team of 10 specialist Speech and Language Therapists are available to provide individual packages of intervention tailored to each child’s needs. Individual targets are set and reviewed termly to monitor progress. Pupils will engage in programs of one to one and group therapy.
There are two Specialist Teachers that are also qualified to assess for specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia. They also provide one to one and small group teaching to deliver interventions to pupils with additional needs. They work closely with the SENDCo to assess for exam access arrangements.
- How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s/young person’s needs?
At Mary Hare Primary School, children are taught literacy, numeracy and science in groups according to their language ages. All lessons are taught by teachers of the deaf who modify the language of the curriculum to make the learning accessible to each pupil.
At Mary Hare Secondary School, in year 7, pupils are grouped according to their level of language (which is assessed as part of the entrance procedures). Pupils for whom testing identifies a significant discrepancy between their chronological age and actual language levels are prioritised as requiring an intensive language programme which we call LEGs groups (Language Enrichment Groups). This includes pupils with low reading ages and high non-verbal scores but for whom impaired language is providing a barrier to teaching and learning. Like their peers they will be offered a full national curriculum at key stage three including music, drama and French.
A language Enrichment Group pupil receives support from a dedicated teaching assistant who accompanies their group across the full curriculum. In addition, the teaching assistant support in supervised prep after school. Pupils within the LEGs groups receive an enhanced programme of speech and language therapy with both individual and group sessions. The Speech Therapist also attends an English lesson to working partnership with the English Teacher.
- How will both you and I know how my child /young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child/young person’s learning?
At the primary school, parents are fully involved with their child’s progress. From the first day parents are given direct contact details for the class teacher, the key care worker, Speech and Language therapist and the head. There is a weekly communication between class teacher and parents through the home/school diary and with care through phone, text and email. Contact with the Speech and Language therapist is through the speech folder which goes home every weekend. There is a weekly Friday letter to parents from the primary school Head Teacher.
Teachers meet with SaLT and care, three times a year to carefully scrutinise the academic and holistic progress of each child. Individual progress is monitored and targets are set termly to ensure consistent progress and for any issues to be picked up early so that any appropriate intervention can be planned. The Annual Review allows parents to have thorough insight and input into the provision for, and progress of their child. Parent consultations are also offered to any parent throughout the year and on a set day in the summer.
At the secondary school, parents receive Attainment and Effort grades three times per year, so are regularly updated on their child’s progress. The school also has the reporting and parent consultation regimes which are to be found in mainstream schools.
The annual Review is a child centred occasion which provides a through and rigorous check on parent and child views of the services provided by the school. The EHCP will be scrutinised and any changes to outcomes etc. will be discussed and decisions made if changes are required.
- What support will there be for my child/young person’s overall wellbeing?
We believe that our setting gives pupils a good and positive self-image and a confidence to engage with the hearing world which they will very much need as adults. In other words, we believe that our provision promotes lifelong inclusion.
At the primary School, when the children finish lessons, the Care Staff are waiting to meet them and to hear about their school day. There is a handover meeting between the Care Staff members and the Teachers which happens twice a day, first in the morning when dropping the child off in school and then after school when collecting the children. Each bedroom group, which can vary in size, is the responsibility of one keyworker. This keyworker will not only keep a close eye on your child’s care plan, but will also look after every aspect of your child’s welfare, keeping in contact with parents, liaising with the school nurse, talking with teachers, planning individual programmes, and attending annual reviews.
We have taken great steps to make the bedrooms, playroom, and other accommodation areas as friendly as possible to ensure your child is happy during their time at school. At the Primary School students who choose to board only stay 4 nights per week, going home on a Friday after school and not returning until late Monday morning.
At the secondary school there is a Pastoral Consultant and Well-Being Co-ordinator who both support pupils who are experiencing emotional difficulties. The Well-Being Co-ordinator is also qualified in BSL, meaning that if BSL is the preferred method of communication, this is possible. This supports pupils behaviour in school and helps in avoiding exclusions where appropriate. The school also has links with the local Deaf CAMHS for pupils with mental health issues. The Pastoral Care Committee meets to discuss the needs of vulnerable young people.
The Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) programme includes the opportunity to discuss relationships and sex education. Every child has a dedicated keyworker in the boarding houses, as well as a Form Teacher and Head of Year in school should they feel they need to talk or need help.
There are two qualified nurses and a purpose-built surgery on site ensuring that pupils receive the best possible care for medical issues. If the pupil requires consultation with a doctor, one of the nurses will contact the Newbury GP who is the school’s Medical Officer.
Medication is administered in line with the Mary Hare medication policy. It can be administered by both care and nursing staff, all of whom have followed the school’s medication training procedure. Consent is obtained from parents for all medication to be given. Medication is ordered and disposed of by the school nurse. Medication is stored securely and accessible only to appropriate personnel. Some pupils will self-administer their own medication – this will happen if thought to be appropriate and following a risk assessment for individual pupils.
- What specialist services and expertise are available at or access by the setting/school/college?
All lessons are taught by Teachers of the Deaf who are also subject specialists, therefore, your child will be taught each lesson b a professional who understands the language difficulties of deaf children and how to overcome them through spoken and written teaching.
Mary Hare School has a team of specialist Speech and Language therapists who work across both campuses. They work collaboratively with the school staff to promote optimum progress in spoken language development for all the pupils. Each child is allocated a lead therapist who is responsible for speech and language intervention and advice. The lead therapist also provides a detailed report for the child’s annual review. Children each have a bespoke program which includes individual and group therapy.
At the secondary school, pupils have their therapy outside of the school day ensuring that they are not losing any valuable learning time. Sixth Form pupils are seen during their study periods.
Mary Hare’s Audiology department is equipped with modern audiometric facilities enabling our resident audiologists to monitor pupil’s hearing on-site. Ear mould impressions can also be taken in school preventing the need for time consuming clinic journeys. Our Audiologists work closely with the local hospital Audiology teams and most of the Cochlear Implant teams from around the UK. All staff are trained in checking the pupil’s amplification and all systems faults are dealt with immediately.
Mary Hare also has a music therapy unit that provides services to pupils. It is lead by a member of staff who is internationally recognised as a leader in the field of music and deafness, and the benefits of using music to develop language.
- What training are the staff supporting the children and young people with SEND had or are having?
All teachers are Teachers of the Deaf or NVQ Assessors and Verifiers
Teaching Assistants are all qualified in a Level three BTEC for Supporting Hearing Impaired Students. Some TA’s have undertaken additional training in specific areas of need such as visual impairments, occupational therapy and autism.
The Speech and Language Team are all registered with the Health and Care Professions council and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. They have either attended or aim to attend the working with deaf people course run by CSD consultants within their first two years of employment. Some therapists have BSL qualifications.
The schools have two Specialist Teacher Assessors who both hold current practising certificates and are qualified to Level seven in Teaching and Assessing Learners with Dyslexia/SpLD. They both hold additional qualifications in supporting hearing impaired students.
- How will my child/young person be included in activities outside the classroom, including school trips?
All pupils are able to go on school trips. There are a wide range throughout the year including day trips and residential trips. They include trips such as:
- Trips to France
- Geography field trips
- Skiing trips
- Day trips to local places of historical interest.
At Mary Hare Primary, after school clubs are a very important part of our offer. Children can participate in a range of on and off-site activities: this range is frequently revised and extended. Children are given every encouragement to attend clubs within the neighbourhood so that over time they can mix with confidence both at school and in the local hearing community. Arrangements can always be made for day pupils to join these activities.
At the Secondary School, there is a full programme of afterschool activities, organised by the care staff. Students can take part in Horse riding, karate, life skills, trampolining, swimming, football, dodgeball, boxercise, arts and crafts, tennis, cricket, skateboarding, mountain biking, running, canoeing, the Duke of Edinburgh Award to name but a few.
Should the pupil decide to stay for the weekend various activities are organised for the pupils such as roller discos, shopping trips, cinema visits, football training, tournaments, puzzles, wall climbing and competitions. There are often visits to local events and trips to theme parks and other tourist attractions. These are all well supervised, observing the relevant student to staff ratios.
Several evenings a week we have a Youth Club onsite: Coles Diner. This is an American styled diner where pupils can meet their friends and enjoy the food and drink that is served. The diner hosts themed nights such as mixed evenings with Compton Teenscene Youth Club and Reading Deaf Society, comedy shows, race nights, pirate’s day, and street dance to name a few.
The sixth form have a separate recreational meeting place called Carnarvon Hall. Here they can meet their friends in a comfortable relaxed atmosphere. The Care Staff organise activities for the sixth form pupils such as evenings out in Newbury, trips to the theatre or cinema, quizzes, movie nights and ten pin bowling. They also have opportunities to go to events such as The Clothes Show, concerts and sporting events. Within the sixth form, they have a Social Committee which is set up annually to assist with organising events and to make life as enjoyable as possible.
- How accessible is the setting/school/college environment?
All teaching areas have been designed to optimise the acoustic environment for deaf children and young people.
All new buildings are fully wheelchair accessible, but some of the older buildings, including the second floor of the main secondary school, are not yet fully accessible. There is a lift to access the maths department and library and ramps have been built for all main entrances.
Currently the Primary School is not completely accessible with a wheelchair, however, we are in the early stages of building our purpose-built primary school on the secondary school campus that will be fully accessible for wheelchair users. The new school is scheduled for completion by autumn 2022.
When meeting with families whose first language is BSL, the school will invite an interpreter. Although the schools teach in an auditory/oral way, students can communicate in whichever form they feel most comfortable during their social times.
- How will the setting/school/college prepare and support my child/young person to join the setting/school/college, transfer to a new setting/school/college or the next stage of education?
The transition from primary to secondary is facilitated by and assessment day and visits to spend time in their class, meet their form teachers, have a tour of the campus, and eat lunch in the canteen. The school secondary school is also in contact with families to ensure that the transition is as straightforward as possible, particularly if there are additional needs to be considered.
The protocol for admittance to the secondary school from the primary school is the same as if the pupil were transitioning from an alternative school. The students attend the assessment days along with outside students and follow the same schedule of interviews etc. The results are then scrutinised by the professionals, put to Senior Leadership and a decision made. Should the pupil gain a place.
In year eleven, pupils attend a sixth form exhibition outlining what Mary Hare sixth form offers. Students from outside Mary Hare also attend this event so that they can see what is available to them and acquaint themselves with the campus. The school also has a Careers Co-ordinator who organises work experience placements in year eleven.
The sixth form has a Head of 6th Form Careers and Work Placement Co-ordinator who organises interviews with careers related external agencies and assists the students to plan for their future. This can be higher education or a career.
- How are parents involved in the setting/school/college? How can I be involved?
There is a parent Association at both the Primary and Secondary Schools. All parents are welcome to join the Parent Association. They hold fundraising events for projects and try to organise social evenings for parents to help them to get to know each other. All parents could put themselves forward for election onto the Parent Association.
Parents also volunteer to help at events, promoting the school to other families and hold fundraising events or partake in external charity events to raise money for projects and equipment needed by the pupils.
The school has an annual production which parents are invited to attend- with all pupils taking part either on stage or backstage.
- Who can I contact for further information?