SENCO – Special Educational Needs Coordinator

Mrs Alecia Spike

Tel:01963 362308



Definitions of special education needs taken from section 20 of the Children and Families Act 2014.

A child has special educational needs if he or she has learning difficulties that call for special educational provision to be made.

A child has learning difficulties if he or she:

  • Has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age.
  • Has a disability which prevents or hinders the child from making use of educational facilities of a kind provided for children of the same age in other schools within the Local Authority.

St Nicholas C of E Primary School believes that all children are special in God's sight and that they have a right to learn in a happy, accessible environment. Some children start school with barriers that could affect their learning, and some find that there are hiccups along the way that mean they need support to achieve to the best of their ability. At St Nicholas School we value the abilities and achievements of all its pupils, and is committed to providing each pupil with the best possible environment for learning.

Our SEND Information Report gives more detail on the school's provision for children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities, and our policy outlines the approach we take for children with additional needs



The governing bodies of maintained schools and maintained nursery schools and the proprietors of academy schools must publish information on their websites about the implementation of the governing body’s or the proprietor’s policy for pupils with SEN.

See the Policies link to find our SEND Information Report. This report is part of the Somerset County Council Local Offer for learners with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)



Click here for the SEND Code of Practice

Somerset Local Area Joint Written Statement Of Action For Special Educational Needs And Disabilities (SEND).

View the full document below and a letter to Parents of SEND children.

Written Statement of Action

SEND WSoA parent letter-01.12.20.

This week’s SEND weekly newsletter is now available – please click on the following link to read the latest stories.
The Newsletter shares some information about Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) 0-25.
You can access previous copies of the newsletter here.

Somerset Choices Local services to help you choose the right care and support

What are Speech, Language and Communication Needs?

Speech, language and communication are crucial for reading, learning in school, for socialising and making friends, and for understanding and controlling emotions or feelings.

A child with speech and language needs or SLCN:

  • might have speech that is difficult to understand
  • they might struggle to say words or sentences
  • they may not understand words that are being used, or the instructions they hear
  • they may have difficulties knowing how to talk and listen to others in a conversation

The term speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) encompass a wide range of difficulties related to all aspects of communication in children and young people. These can include difficulties with fluency (stammering), forming sounds and words, formulating sentences, understanding what others say and using language socially (Gascoigne 2015). Children with eating and drinking difficulties can also be referred to speech and language therapists where there is a physiological problem with a child’s swallow. Much research has been devoted to looking at the at risk groups for children with SLCN. The main at risk groups are:

  • Boys
  • Summer born children
  • English as an Additional Language
  • Socially disadvantaged
  • Ethnicity
  • Family history of speech, language and communication disorders.


Speech, Language and Communication Needs, or SLCN, is quite common. It is estimated that around 10% of children starting school have SLCN – that’s approximately 2-3 in every classroom.

Causes of Speech and Language Needs

Speech, Language and Communication Needs can occur as a result of hearing loss, general developmental needs or as part of a disability or medical syndrome, such as Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy or Autistic Spectrum Condition.

Difficulties with talking can also present as a child’s main area of need but without an obvious cause. You may become aware of this if your child is late to talk.

The majority of children, who are late to talk, do not develop persisting difficulties with talking. It is important to distinguish late talkers who go on to ‘catch up’ from children who go on to have persistent difficulties so that appropriate help can be put in place as soon as possible.

The risk factors for persisting problems include:

  • A family history of difficulties with talking or reading and writing and
  • A child having difficulties understanding what others say.


Available Resources

Try the free app Bitsboard.


Have a look at the resources on

Colourful Semantics have a wealth of resources for free to support early language and sentence construction:

The Communication Trust has many links to different resources for parents as well as schools (some free) as well as offering some free training which is very interesting:

Symbolled resources for different topics and areas of life, including resources for fire safety and about visiting the doctors/dentists 

Dough Disco is great for fine motor skills -

BBC Dancemat helps typing skills:

How to help your child.- Advice Sheets for Parents from Somerset Integrated Therapy

- Occupational Therapy- Sensory Ideas @home.



What is autism?


Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.

Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. If you are autistic, you are autistic for life; autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be 'cured'. Often people feel being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity.

Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain difficulties, but being autistic will affect them in different ways. Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, meaning people need different levels of support. All people on the autism spectrum learn and develop. With the right sort of support, all can be helped to live a more fulfilling life of their own choosing.



Social communication

Autistic people have difficulties with interpreting both verbal and non-verbal language like gestures or tone of voice. Many have a very literal understanding of language, and think people always mean exactly what they say. They may find it difficult to use or understand:

  • facial expressions
  • tone of voice
  • jokes and sarcasm.

Some may not speak, or have fairly limited speech. They will often understand more of what other people say to them than they are able to express, yet may struggle with vagueness or abstract concepts. Some autistic people benefit from using, or prefer to use, alternative means of communication, such as sign language or visual symbols. Some are able to communicate very effectively without speech.

Others have good language skills, but they may still find it hard to understand the expectations of others within conversations, perhaps repeating what the other person has just said (this is called echolalia) or talking at length about their own interests.

It often helps to speak in a clear, consistent way and to give autistic people time to process what has been said to them.


Social interaction

Autistic people often have difficulty 'reading' other people - recognising or understanding others' feelings and intentions - and expressing their own emotions. This can make it very hard for them to navigate the social world. They may:

  • appear to be insensitive
  • seek out time alone when overloaded by other people
  • not seek comfort from other people
  • appear to behave 'strangely' or in a way thought to be socially inappropriate.

Autistic people may find it hard to form friendships. Some may want to interact with other people and make friends, but may be unsure how to go about it.


Alternative names

Over the years, different diagnostic labels have been used, such as autism, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), autism spectrum condition (ASC), classic autism, Kanner autism, pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), high-functioning autism (HFA), Asperger Syndrome and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). This reflects the different diagnostic manuals and tools used, and the different autism profiles presented by individuals. Because of recent and upcoming changes to the main diagnostic manuals, 'autism spectrum disorder' (ASD) is now likely to become the most commonly given diagnostic term.


You might find these websites helpful:


Some resources can be found below to support working at home.

Many of the activities found on the Speech and Language, SEMH and Motor Skills pages may be useful too.

Free sensory planning with multisensory activities and messy play can be found here: is a great alternative to TTRockstars. You do not need a login and it does not have the time pressure that some pupils find tricky.

Symbolled resources for different topics and areas of life, including resources for fire safety and about visiting the doctors/dentists 

What Is Dyslexia?


Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling.

It's a specific learning difficulty, which means it causes problems with certain abilities used for learning, such as reading and writing.

Unlike a learning difficulty, intelligence isn't affected.

It's estimated up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK has some degree of dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a lifelong problem that can present challenges on a daily basis, but support is available to improve reading and writing skills and help those with the problem be successful at school and work.


You might find these links helpful:


Dyslexia Gold is offering free support. Please contact Mrs Spike if you feel this would benefit your child.

SOS spelling is a dyslexia friendly approach to learning spelling. A step by step guide can be found here: is a great alternative to TTRockstars. You do not need a login and it does not have the time pressure that some pupils find tricky.

Complete some of the Listen and Do activities which support memory is a great alternative to TTRockstars. You do not need a login and it does not have the time pressure that some pupils find tricky. Fun curriculum linked resources to get your child moving while they learn maths. Fun curriculum linked resources to get your child moving while they learn maths. - A useful set of social stories to share with children, covering topics ranging from coping with a new baby in the family to getting a haircut to making friends.

Thrive® promotes children’s and young people’s positive mental health by helping adults know how to be and what to do in response to their differing and sometimes distressed behaviour.

Thrive are producing weekly activities that will help adults support the social and emotional wellbeing of children and young people in the wake of coronavirus.

The strategies and activities you will find will incorporate play, creativity and the arts as a way of building healthy, safe and supportive relationships. In these unsettling times, it is important to ensure that social distancing doesn’t mean emotional distancing.

Thrive activities for parents of children
Children Under 7
Children Under 11