Disabilities and Special Educational Needs

Welcome to the Disabilities and Special Educational Needs (DSEN) section of our school website.

Here you will find information on the school's DSEN policy and more about how our school supports children with additional needs.

 All governing bodies of maintained schools and maintained nursery schools and the proprietors of academy schools have a legal duty to publish information on their website about the implementation of the governing body’s or the proprietor’s policy for pupils with DSEN. The information published must be updated annually. 

At Otterburn First School we are committed to working together with all members of our school community.  We would welcome your feedback and future involvement in the review of our offer, so please do contact us. The best people to contact this year are:

Name of DSEN governor: Mrs Mari Mander

Name of SENDCO: Mrs Erica Bush

Head Teacher: Mrs Tina Henderson



If you have specific questions about the Northumberland Local Offer please look at the Frequently Asked Questions on the Northumberland websiteAlternatively, if you think your child may have DSEN please speak to their Class Teacher or contact Mrs Bush.

Our Approach to Teaching Learners with DSEN

At Otterburn First School we want to create an inclusive culture in our school and we aim to be more responsive to the diversity of children’s backgrounds, interests, experience, knowledge and skills. We value high quality teaching for all learners and actively monitor teaching and learning in the school.

We aim to create a learning environment which is flexible enough to meet the needs of all members of our school community. We monitor progress of all learners, and staff continually assess ensuring that learning is taking place. Our whole school system for monitoring progress includes regular pupil progress meetings, and staff engage in coaching and supervision.

How we identify DSEN

At different times in their school career, a child or young person may have a special educational need. The Code of Practice defines DSEN as:

“A child or young person has DSEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them. A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if they:

If a learner is identified as having DSEN, we will provide provision that is ‘additional to or different from’ the normal differentiated curriculum, intended to overcome the barrier to their learning.

Learners can fall behind in school for lots of reasons. They may have been absent from school, they may have attended lots of different schools and not had a consistent opportunity to learn. They may not speak English very well or at all, they may be worried about different things that distracts them from learning. At the school we are committed to ensuring that all learners have access to learning opportunities, and for those who are at risk of not learning, we will intervene. This does not mean that all vulnerable learners have DSEN. Only those with a learning difficulty that requires special educational provision will be identified as having DSEN.

Our DSEN profile for 2017-18 shows that we have 14.7% of children identified as having DSEN.

Assessing DSEN at the School

Class Teachers, support staff, parents/carers and the learner themselves will be the first to notice a difficulty with learning. At the school we ensure that assessment of educational needs, directly involves the learner, their parents/carer and of course their Teacher. The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENDCO) will also support with the identification of barriers to learning. For some learners we may want to seek advice from specialist teams. In our school and Partnership we have access to various specialist services. We have access to services universally provided by Northumberland Local Authority through LIST. We are currently using:

  • Educational Psychologist
  • Speech Therapist
  • ASD specialist teacher
  • Communications, Speech & Language
  • Occupational Therapist

What we do to Support Learners with DSEN at the School

Every Teacher is required to adapt the curriculum to ensure access to learning for all children in their class. The Teacher Standards 2012 detail the expectations on all teachers, and we at the school are proud of our Teachers and their development.

Our Teachers will use various strategies to adapt access to the curriculum, this might include using:

  • Visual timetables
  • Writing frames
  • I-pads, lap tops or other alternative recording devices
  • Positive behaviour rewards system

Each learner identified as having DSEN, is entitled to support that is ‘additional to or different from’ a normal differentiated curriculum. The type of support is dependent on the individual learning needs, and is intended to enable access to learning and overcome the barrier to learning identified. This support is described on a provision map, which although does not detail the individual learner names, describes the interventions and actions that we undertake at the school to support learners with DSEN across the year groups. We modify the provision map regularly, and it changes every year, as our learners and their needs change.