What is a Local Offer?

As the Children and Families Bill became law in 2014, local authorities were required to publish and keep under review information about services they expect to be available for children and young people with special educational needs, aged 0-25. This is the “Local Offer”.
The intention of the Local Offer is to improve choice and transparency for families. It will also be an important resource for professionals in understanding the range of services and provision in the local area. A further key role for the Local Offer will be to inform the joint commissioning for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities by setting out in a single place what is available locally.

How does the School know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?

At Notre Dame Plymouth we aim to be inclusive by working towards an ethos of quality first teaching. Teaching and learning is of a high standard and our mission is to enable all students to access a broad and balanced curriculum, to foster independent learning and to develop lifelong skills. We believe that students achieve and learn best when they feel safe, healthy, confident and happy, therefore self-esteem and personal fulfilment are key factors in success.
For students who need extra support, work is differentiated (adapted to individual learning styles) in subject departments, with advice and support from the SEND team (Special Educational Needs & Disabilities). At Notre Dame we aim to secure early identification of students with additional needs and also to review and amend provision as required. There are several ways in which identification and information is shared about the additional needs of individual students.

Identification and assessment

Where students continue to make less than expected progress, despite high quality teaching targeted at areas of need, the SEND Department will assess whether a student has a significant learning disability. We accept the principle that student’s needs should be identified and met as early as possible.
We use a number of indicators and methods to do this:

  • The analysis of information, including entry profiles, reading ages, and student assessments.
  • Parental concerns and experience.
  • Tracking individual student progress over time in academic subjects.
  • Communication with feeder schools before transfer.
  • Information from previous schools.
  • Information from other services including specialist assessment and professional advice.
  • The students own views.

The SEND team maintain a list of students identified through these procedures. This list is reviewed on an ongoing basis. A detailed analysis of the list takes place termly.

For some students more in depth individual assessment may be undertaken through the DAF (Devon Assessment Framework), and a “My Plan” (P) is established. This will happen using the following tools:

  • Through Transition meetings held at our local feeder primary schools before students commence at Notre Dame.
  • Parents and Year 6 students attending a transition evening where families are able to meet the Tutor, Head of House and the SEND team. Parents are encouraged to discuss their daughter’s individual needs with the Tutor or subject teachers. This may, if considered necessary, lead to a separate meeting with the SENDCo to discuss next steps.
  • By all Year 7 being assessed in Literacy & Numeracy at the beginning of the year they start. At other times, there are individual assessments if the young person arrives mid-year.
  • By monitoring of effective tracking by Heads of Houses & the SEND team.
  • Parental visits and tours of the School and the SEND Department throughout the academic year. Furthermore, in the summer term of Year 6, or earlier if possible, parents are encouraged to visit and share information with us and to discuss and raise any concerns they may have as early as possible.
  • An effective pastoral system which includes five houses, with Heads of Houses and a well-being Team who are instrumental on a daily basis in ensuring academic & pastoral mentoring. All staff work closely with the SEND Department in communicating any issues with students which are affecting progress in learning

How will School staff support my child?

At Notre Dame there are numerous ways in which students with additional needs are supported:

  • Setting of aspirational targets so that all our learners with additional needs achieve the very best, with continuous review of their progress through tracking, academic mentoring and regular meetings.
  • Subject staff are all teachers of students with additional needs and it is their responsibility to meet the needs of all the students in their class, through differentiation, teaching styles, resources, organisation and identifying when a student may require some additional support.
  • Whole School monitoring of literacy and numeracy.
  • The classroom teacher will take responsibility for the daily provision for students and will be supported and advised by Tutors, Heads of Houses, SEND Department and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) where necessary. The teacher or Tutor will discuss with the SEND Department and parents any support that they think is needed, that is additional and different to what would normally be offered to students as part of usual practice.
  • There is support for students with additional needs who may transfer mid-year including individual meetings, tours, information transfer from previous school/college and personalised timetables.
  • The SEND Department staff.

The aim of the SEND Learning Support Base (G26/G27), is to support all students with additional needs. Our Inclusion agenda aims to increase participation of each student enabling them to receive an education that will provide the foundation for future success. To ensure this happens the School has an inclusive culture, which is secure, accepting, collaborating and stimulating where everyone is valued. We will expect to support a diverse range of students and will provide a differentiated curriculum which will be adapted to suit individual learning styles, to facilitate successful learning: Head, Hearts & Hands.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

Quality first teaching in the classroom which includes adjusted plans and resources for individual students, is the first step in responding to students who may have additional needs. This will enable all students to access a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum.
If a student is not making the expected progress and has specific gaps in their understanding he/she may work within a smaller group. These groups, also called intervention groups, may be:

• Run in the classroom or in the SEND Department, including literacy, numeracy and social skills groups.
• Run by a teacher or a trained teaching assistant within a Subject area.
• Run by a specialist from outside the School, such as a speech and language therapist, hearing impaired or English as an Additional Language (EAL) specialist
• In some cases, a student will need to be part of a particular teaching group that serves their educational needs..

Further specific support may also be provided through a “My Plan” (P) – using DAF1/2a as an assessment tool, or through an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This means the student will have been identified & assessed as needing a particularly high level of individual or small group teaching.

How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?

Notre Dame see it as a priority to maintain effective communication with Parents/ Carers. Tutors, Heads of Houses, the SEND Department team and SLT are all involved in ensuring effective and regular communication regarding a student’s progress and welfare. There are many ways in which learners with additional needs are supported, including:

  • three data assessment points per year (Progress Reviews) and reporting system;
  • parent “Information, Advice & Guidance” evenings;
  • outside services involved with some students provided with reports and information about attainment and expected progress for health based needs, such as speech and language or physical development;
  • if a student is identified as needing an individual “MyPlan” (P) or Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) to support their education, parents will be involved in helping the School to create this through the DAF (Devon Assessment Framework) process. This will be followed by reviewing “next steps” & targets at regular intervals, usually three times a year in light of their Progress Review.
  • annual reviews for students with a “My Plan” (P) or Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP).

What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being?

We offer a range of support including:

  • Tutors
  • Heads of Houses
  • Pastoral/academic mentors
  • The Well-being Team
  • SEND Team
  • Outside services eg. Speech and language therapy.
  • Proactive use of the CAF (Common Assessment Framework) or DAF
  • Attendance officer
  • Careers advisor (Careers South West)
  • The Governing Body
  • A recognition of academic progress, positive behaviours and achievement through a system of rewards.

Trained first aiders are available from Student Services. If a student requires medication to be administered in School then you are asked to provide details of this by filling in and signing a form. The School nurse is available for advice. If a student has specific medical needs (eg diabetes) the will need to be a DAF assessment to ensure appropriate support & recognition of needs. A SEND Health plan will then be put into place & reviewed annually.

The School runs a system of buddies to support integration. The SEND Department also has break and lunch time clubs to support homework & building students’ self-esteem.

What specialist services and expertise are available at, or accessed by Notre Dame?

We have a varied range of specialist staff in our SEND Department, covering many speech, language, ASC, and emotional needs. There are also a range of services that work within the School. These include:

  • The Educational Psychology Service
  • The Communication & Interaction Team
  • The Educational Welfare Service (EWO)
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  • Speech and Language Therapy Service
  • Occupational Therapist
  • The Youth Service

You can find out more about the full range of services who work with Schools at Plymouth City Council’s Website
In the SEND Department we have specialists in physical impairment, dyslexia, dyscalculia, speech and language, mental health, and ASC.

What training have the staff supporting children with SEND had, or are having?

We have a rolling programme of training and support for staff based on the needs of the students within the School. Staff are sent on individualised training if they are supporting a student with a more specific need, such as those with auditory or visual impairment.  Staff have had training in the following:

  • Phonics
  • ASC
  • CAMHS & STORM training

How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom, including School trips?

Risk assessments are carried out for School visits including residential trips and reasonable adjustments will be made where required. Where needed, the risk assessment will include a meeting with parent/carers as well as taking account of any medical advice. When choosing the destination of these trips we will take into account the needs of all students.
On some occasions a member of staff may be assigned to support a small group or individual child if the risk assessment indicates that this is necessary.

How accessible is the School environment?

The School is aware of the access needs of disabled children on roll, and adaptations to the school environment are made accordingly.
For more info:
See the DDA legislation
and the School Disability & Equality Policy

How will Notre Dame prepare and support my child to join the School, transfer to a new school or the next stage of education and life?

We recognise that transitions for a student with additional needs will need careful planning and take steps to ensure that any transition is a smooth as possible.
If a student is moving to another school:

  • We will contact the school SENDCo and ensure he/she knows about any special arrangements or support that need to be made for the student.
  • We will make sure that all records about the student are passed on as soon as possible.
  • Careers information, advice and guidance (CIAG), careers conventions, and support will be available and accessible during both key stages to inform option choices, career paths and post 16 choices.
  • The SENDCo may arrange additional visits for students identified as having SEND and additional meetings will be arranged with parents and any other services who have been involved with the student (e.g. The Early Years Teaching and Support Service).
  • Students with a “My Plan” (P) or an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) will have an enhanced transition program personalised to their needs. Transition starts as soon as we know the student is joining or leaving. Communication between all parties is vital in ensuring as much information as possible is shared between the student, parents and staff from both schools.

In Year 6:

  • The Year 6 teacher and/or SENCO will discuss the specific needs of the student with the SENCO/Inclusion Manager of their secondary school.
  • The student will have focused learning about aspects of transition to support their understanding of the changes ahead.
  • Where possible the student will visit their new school on several occasions, and in some cases, staff from the new school will visit your child in their current school (enhanced transition).
  • Students with a “My Plan” (P) or an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) will have a personalised transition program as well as accessing the main transition in place for all students joining the School in Year 7. Transition starts as early as possible in order to make the students as prepared as possible for September. Communication between all parties is vital in ensuring as much information as possible is shared between the student, parents and staff from both schools.

A range of methods, suitable for your child, may be used to support them at the time of transition. For example, if your child would be helped by a book/social story to support them to understand moving on, it will be provided for them.

How are the School’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?

The School budget includes money for supporting pupils with SEN. The School will use its SEND funding in the most appropriate way to support the student. This support may include some individual or small group Learning Assistant support, but this will be monitored through the young persons’ “My Plan” (P) or Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP). The funding may be used to put in place a range of support strategies depending on the needs of the student. SEND funding may also be used to purchase specialist equipment or support from other specialist support services etc.

NEW in 2016: “Learn for Life” for students initially in Years 7 & 8 who are working below age related expectations (BARE). Most of the students have an EHCP and some are not in their chronological year group. The curriculum is particularly tailored to allow for full engagement in learning with additional Life & Social Skills work.
Students in the Learning Support Base have access to:


  • A calm low stimulus environment.
  • Interactive and visual aids to support learning.
  • Individual work space.
  • ICT access.
  • Homework club.
  • Break / lunch club.


  • Full access to mainstream curriculum subjects.
  • Curriculum adapted to meet student’s individual needs.
  • Additional support for social skills and emotional literacy.
  • Additional support offered for literacy and numeracy.
  • Strategies and encouragement to promote independent learning.
  • Opportunity to access and participate in main school lessons.

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?

Once a potential SEND is identified a cycle of assess, plan, do and review will be put in place. These actions form part of a process through which decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised with a growing understanding of the student’s needs, and of what supports the student in making good progress and securing good outcomes.
For certain students who need support beyond that provided by the classroom teacher, this will be assessed through the Devon Framework (DAF 1, 2a). This process always includes parents/carers and the young person.

If it is agreed to make a proposal for an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) then application will be made to Plymouth, Devon or Cornwall LA, depending on home address. This may involve requesting additional funding above that allocated to the School directly.

How are parents and carers involved in the School? How can I be involved?

It is our aim that Notre Dame works in close partnership with parents/carers and maintains regular and purposeful communication. This includes:

  • SEND Surgery (normally on the last Thursday of each half term after School).
  • Access to email addresses to SEND and teachers where necessary
  • Regular Progress reviews, Parents evenings & Plan reviews
  • Regular review of SEND plans with parental input.

Who can I contact for further information?

Subject Teacher
Subject Leader

Head of House

SENDCo: Lisa Rogers lrogers@ndonline.org

Communication & Interaction Manager: Alison Emery aemery@ndonline.org

Learning Support Manager: Anita Shaw ashaw@ndonline.org

Deputy Head (Learning): Maria Clancy mclancy@ndonline.org

Head of Well-being: Erica Ley eley@ndonline.org

SEND governor: Contact Mrs Bailey or Mrs Laird 01752 775101

SEND Strategic Advice and Support (SEND SAS)

Windsor House



Telephone: 01752 260256

Devon 0 – 25 Team

Room L102

County Hall

Topsham Road



Telephone: 03451551091

Email: csc.childrenyoungpeoplesservices-mailbox@devon.gov.uk


The Assessment and Education Provision

Inny Building

Cornwall Council

Old County Hall



Telephone: 01872 322406

Email: specialeducation@cornwall.gov.uk

If you are considering applying for a place at Notre Dame and your child has special educational needs or a disability, then the first action to take is to phone the School and arrange an initial visit with the SENDCo.

This offer is accurate now, but services are regularly reviewed and could change. All information will be updated as soon as possible to reflect any new service offer.

An invite for feedback
This offer is intended to give you clear, accurate and accessible information.
If you would like to comment on the content of the offer, or make suggestions to improve the information, please email lrogers@ndonline.org