Special Educational Needs Policy

Special Educational Needs Policy

  1. Philosophy
  2. Our Duty
  3. Aims & Objectives
  4. Definition of Special Education Need
  5. Admission Policy
  6. Early Identification & Intervention Process
  7. Inclusion Policy
  8. Roles & Responsibilities
  9. ARIS Resources
  10. Liaison with External Resources
  11. Individualized Education Plans
  12. SEN Emergency Action Plan
  13. Appendices & Resources


Al-Rayan International School (ARIS) provides inclusive education, embracing the uniqueness and potential of all students. Based on the philosophy of the IB and the ARIS driving principles of respect, collaboration, honestly, and compassion, we believe the mainstream classroom is the most appropriate and beneficial environment for all students. We believe that an inclusive educational programme has a value that enriches the whole community and that inclusion is a careful and thoughtful blend of educational excellence and equity.

The purpose of an inclusive Special Education Needs (SEN) programme is to provide children with social, emotional, and/or learning needs with a meaningful and respectful learning experience that builds their self-confidence and creates a sense of belonging. We strive to individualize teaching and learning strategies to meet each student’s distinct learning goals and are actively promoting every ARIS teacher is an SEN teacher.

We embrace the challenge of serving the whole family and believe the parents/caregivers are an essential piece to our SEN programme. As a community, we work to develop every student to his or her full potential.

“...schools with inclusive orientation are the most effective means of combating discrimination, creating welcoming communities, building an inclusive society and achieving education for all”
(Salamanca Statement, Art 2)


The ARIS duty is to support all students, staff, parents, caregivers and other members of the school community by:

• Promoting equal opportunity
• Eliminating discrimination
• Eliminating harassment
• Promoting healthy attitudes and language
• Encouraging equal and equitable participation
• Taking proactive steps to meet all people’s individual and holistic needs


• To provide a climate of warmth and support in which students’ self-confidence and self-esteem can grow
• To provide a school culture in which all students feel valued and are able to risk making mistakes without fear
• To embrace a shared responsibility by all ARIS staff to support the SEN policy at every level of education.
• To encourage access and ensure that a broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated curriculum is taught in the classroom according to their capability and maximizing their potential
• To ensure that support provided is appropriate, effective, and individualized for the students’ needs.
• To ensure that the needed support for students with SEN is communicated with all stakeholders.
• To identify, assess and provide support for families with a student with SEN.
• To regularly update the SEN policy to reflect modern and inclusive practices as the field dictates
• To develop contacts with outside professional agencies or skilled individuals to enhance internal service delivery.
• To ensure that all members of the ARIS team are adequately trained and have opportunities for ongoing professional development related to supporting students with SEN.

A student has a SEN if they have:
o A significant challenge (social, emotional, behavioural, physical and/or academic) which is becoming a barrier to their learning.
o A significantly greater difficulty in learning in comparison to the majority of his/her same age peers, causes challenges with keeping up with class curriculum
o An impediment which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age

The four areas of SEN are:
o Communication and interaction challenges
o Cognition and learning challenges
o Social, mental and emotional health challenges
o Sensory and/or physical challenges

Students are not regarded as having significant learning challenges solely because their language or home language is different from that in which they are taught. Identifying and assessing SEN for students whose first language is not English requires particular care. We look carefully at all aspects of a student’s performance in different areas of learning and development to establish whether lack of progress is due to limitations in their command of English or if it arises from a Special Education Need.


All children will be treated according to their needs in line with the school’s policy for equality of opportunity. No child will be denied admission because of his or her faith, race, physical ability or academic attainment. Every student interested in enrolling to ARIS will undergo an admissions interview and potentially an age-appropriate admissions assessment. During this meeting, we encourage members of staff to join, including but not limited to the head of the Support Department and/or the SENCO.

We require that parents inform the school of any previous testing. Previously identified special needs or previously received support must be communicated at the time of application. In some cases, parents may be asked to commit to providing extra support for their child, which may include a financial contribution. The extra support may take the form of in-class, one-on-one, or pull-out support. Out of school provisions can also be arranged. If the need for an educational psychological evaluation and/or the introduction of additional support is identified after enrolment is completed, the school will require full parental cooperation and collaboration in order to provide a programme that is in the best educational interests of the student.

With the current school resources, we are yet to have the capacity to accommodate students with severe learning challenges (e.g. severe speech, autism, physical impediments etc.). Families with children who are facing more severe challenges will be provided the contacts of additional community resources in order to suit their family’s needs. The ARIS team reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of all potential students’ enrollment.


Learning difficulties can arise at any time as a result of new curriculum demands, changed rates of learning, absence from school, settling into a new educational environment or a specific learning or language difficulty.

• ARIS believes in the benefits of Early Intervention and will ensure all students who display signs of an SEN are identified and assessed.
• Students who are displaying challenges will be provided internal support and accommodations to the extent they are available. If the student continues to have challenges despite support measure, the parents/caregivers will be requested to seek external assessments.

SEN identification assessments may consistent of:
o Meeting with parents/caregivers
o Advice from previous schools
o Advice from external professionals
o Standardized formal assessments
o Specialized assessments
o Observations or informal assessments

  • If/when a student receives a formal assessment from an outside professional, the below flow chart addresses the internal process of communication and documentationThe ARIS team will conduct regular assessments and maintain records of progress for all students
  • A Special Education Needs Individualized Education Plan (SEN IEP) will be developed by the ARIS team and implemented for all students with diagnosed or suspected disabilities.
  • When significant progress is being made, the ARIS team and the student’s parents/caregivers can decide to decrease support levels and/or end the use of an IEP.
  • There may be a need to challenge able students and stimulate a higher level of achievement, in a particular area, or across subject areas. The term ‘Gifted and Talented’ (G&T) is used to describe those students who are achieving or who have the potential to achieve a level substantially beyond the rest of their peer group. G&T students may also present with a learning difficulty.


Teachers are expected to make every effort to ensure that children with SEN are fully involved in the life of the class. For some children it will be necessary for them to spend some time in small groups or being pulled out from the classroom for specific, timed activities related to the needs identified. This may be delivered by the teacher, teaching assistant, SEN Teacher, or SEN Coordinator (SENCO), and will complement classroom work so that the skills, knowledge and understanding will be transferred to the classroom.

• ARIS believes in the “whole child” approach to education, which involves all the staff adhering to a model of good practice.
• ARIS staff are committed to identifying and providing for the needs of all child in a wholly inclusive environment.
• ARIS works to make all school building and facilities physically accessible
• Access to the curriculum:
o ARIS will make necessary provisions for all students with SEN to match their individual needs
o The classroom teacher, SEN teacher, and SENCO will keep regular records of the student’s needs, any extra provision that is implemented, and individual progress.
o There will be flexible grouping of students so that learning and social needs may be met in individual, small groups, and whole class contexts
o Curriculum will be differentiated to meet the needs of individual students. Teaching styles and flexible grouping will reflect this approach.


Director of School
• Ensure all Senior Management Team (SMT) members are in full support and actively implementing the ARIS SEN policy
• Ensure all SMT are actively promoting and implementing the inclusion of students with SEN.
• Champion inclusive education by ensuring adequate SEN resources, SEN professional development opportunities, and serve as an advocate for the Support Department as a whole.

Head of School
• Promoting and implementing routine evaluations of teacher’s inclusive teaching and learning methods, including differentiated assignments and assessments
• Facilitating and/or coordinating regular SEN-related professional development opportunities for all ARIS staff
• Actively participate in the SEN IEP process, including overseeing individual goals and attending parent meetings
• Systematically ensuring the wellbeing of the SEN team.

Heads of Department will:
• Keep up to date with the students of concern list and ensure new members of the department are familiar with the SEN Policy
• Ensure that practice and procedures within the department promote learning and teaching which is relevant and accessible to all students.
• Support subject teachers to enable them to provide an appropriate and differentiated curriculum.
• Ensure appropriate resources are available.
• Discuss issues with subject teachers through departmental meetings

The SENCO will:
• Update the SEN policy, procedures, and SEN Department development plans on an annual basis
• Communicate the school SEN policy and procedures to parents and importance of parental involvement in their child’s learning.
• Monitor the identification and assessment of students with a variety of needs
• Maintain internal SEN resources and advocate for any additionally needed resources
• Maintain current student SEN records and keep all stakeholders informed to any pertinent updates
• Develop, implement and continuously updated SEN Individual Education Plans
• Develop and facilitate SEN-related professional development opportunities for ARIS community
• Develop and maintain contacts with outside professional services where available

The SEN teachers will:
• Act as advocates for their individual students.
• Promote and support implementation of differentiated lessons by taking into account the learning styles, which encourage students with special needs to participate fully.
• Provide professional support to colleagues, especially when discussing SEN-related teaching and learning
• Be an active piece to the community chain regarding specific students needs
• Encourage staff to continue to develop a healthy campus attitude to all students with learning differences.
• Teach individual and groups of students as appropriate.
• Give students the opportunity to articulate their concerns regarding the challenges they face in their academic and social life.
• Keep documentation of student progress up to date.
• Keep up to date professionally regarding new information about special education needs topics.

ARIS Teachers will:
• Be informed on the ARIS SEN Policy and procedures for identifying, assessing and making provision for students with a variety of needs.
• Be able to gather and document information through observation and assessments when necessary
• Keep up to date with any students of concern
• Effectively communicate to Head of Department and/or SENCO if any SEN-related or suspected SEN-related concerns arise amongst any of their students
• Be responsible for devising strategies and identifying appropriate methods for ensuring access to the curriculum. This includes strategies for providing differentiated teaching.
• Regularly examine their strategies and methods to see if they can make improvements that will help students to access the curriculum.
• Work closely with and involve classroom assistants as part of the learning team.
• Contribute to, manage and regularly review SEN IEPs with the support team
• Liaise with Heads of Department and SENCO in order to ensure student progress


Teacher Assistants (TAs) will:
• Support SEN students based on their SEN IEPs and differentiated teaching and learning
• Work under the guidance of the classroom teacher in the classroom, one-on-one, or small groups.
• Be involved in planning, keeping records, and attending meeting when possible and/or necessary
• Regularly assess and communicate student strengths and areas of challenge
• Be an advocate for students with SEN
• Create learning materials or resources as necessary

The Student:
• S/he will see themselves as equal partners in their education, involved in making decisions and reviewing progress as much as needed and/or appropriate
• Work to their highest potential, showing dedication to all areas of development
• Adhering to all school policies and procedures as they apply to them

The Parents/caregivers:
• To stay informed regarding the ARIS SEN Policy and procedures
• Be an active part of their student’s education including collaboration with ARIS team on student support programmes
• Ensure any outside assessments are conducted in a timely manner and formally communicated to the ARIS team
• Embrace IB philosophy on child-center curriculum and achievement, especially in regards to students with SEN and their unique displays of knowledge acquisition.

• ARIS specialist support provision available:
o Medical and/or physical support
o Curriculum adaptations
o Literacy support
o Numeracy support
o Social, mental, and/or emotional support
o EAL support
• Types of ARIS support available:
o Mainstream and SEN Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)
o One-on-one support by SEN teacher
o In-class support by teacher, teaching assistant, and/or SEN teacher
o Pull-out support for individual/small group work and/or counseling
o Behaviour modification programmes
o Use of specialist equipment and/or resources
o Access to external support and/or assessments
o Specially tailored home programmes


Where it is necessary to contact outside agencies, the SENCO will make the necessary arrangements and discuss with parents/caregivers accordingly. These agencies normally include work with Neurodevelopmental Pediatricians, Educational Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists,, visual, hearing, and physical impairment specialists. Any or all of these agencies may be involved in the provision map and/or construction, delivery or review of targets set in children’s IEPs in order to ensure a student’s maximum achievement.


Students who have been identified with a SEN will have an IEP describing their needs and any additional provisions.

• IEPs can include:
o A summary of the student, i.e. age, class, teacher, parents/caregiver, etc.
o A summary of the pupil’s strengths
o A summary of the student’s learning needs based on formal and informal assessments
o Teaching and learning recommendations based on formal and informal assessments
o Subject-specific targets, updated every eight weeks and as targets are achieved
o Input from the student and his/her parents/caregivers
o Description of the additional/different provision planned, i.e. any transition plans or homework support
o Description of achievement and exit criteria, enabling a focused review of progress


SEN Emergency Action Plan

For the purpose of this plan, students with Special Education Needs (SEN) are those who cannot comfortably or safely access and use the standard resources in an emergency situation.

Children with disabilities generally have specific “triggers”—words, images, sounds, etc.-- that can signal danger or disruption to their feelings of safety and security. If adults miss these cues, children may escalate their behavior(s) to a point where they completely lose control. It is essential that all the ARIS team, including parents/caregivers, work together to share information about these triggers, in order to ensure the health and safety of all of our students.


  • Survey all Students
  • Review how an emergency may impact the daily routine of each student
  • Know the students with an SEN (and/or EAL)
  • Make a list of students on medication, those with allergies, and/or history of Epilepsy
  • Assess all potential hazards or areas of concern in the child’s immediate environment
  • Develop individualized accommodations to keep them calm and safe in disaster situations

For every student, it is important to consider all aspects of their unique needs. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, there are key practices that should be considered for certain students with Special Education Needs:

• Cognitive/Developmental Needs: Some students may not comprehend the nature of the emergency and could become disoriented or confused about the proper way to react. Students with dyslexia or learning disabilities will have difficulty reading complicated directions for evacuation or response plans. Simple diagrams or pictures will give non-reading or overstressed students sufficient information to get to safety. Check that evacuation routes have directional signs that are easy to follow. Practice evacuation route(s) with students regularly.

• Mobility Needs: Limited mobility may impair a student’s ability to exit in an emergency situation and/or access a safe location. Arrange and secure furniture and other items to provide barrier-free paths of travel. Disaster debris may obstruct evacuation. Train the staff the proper way to move an individual with mobility needs, either using partial or full assistance. Students with mobility challenges should practice covering their heads with a book or with their arms or hands.

• Speech/Auditory Needs Determine in advance the best way for the student to communicate with others during an emergency. Provide visual emergency and evacuation instructions on a card, carried at all times and placed in an easy to see location. Remember that even students without diagnosed speech or auditory needs may shut down in emergency situations and also need these simplified and visual instructions to best understand the situation and instructions.

• Respiratory Challenges: Students with asthma or other respiratory impairments may have difficulty breathing when walking distances or descending stairs. Smoke, dust, fumes, chemicals, and other odors often exacerbate such limitations. For these students, include emergency evacuation masks and respirators in classrooms. Students and staff should practice putting on and removing this equipment as part of an emergency drill.

• Visual Needs: Those with visual impairments, or those who have lost their ability to navigate visually, may have to depend on others to lead them to safety during a disaster. In this situation, the individual with visual needs may be reluctant to leave familiar surroundings. Establishing a buddy system can help aid in building trust in peers before a disaster might occur. Emergency back-up lighting systems, especially in stairwells and other dark areas, will benefit those students with limited visual acuity. Mark emergency supplies and exits with large print. Students should know where the nearest telephones and alarm boxes are located.

Classrooms that are used for teaching students with Special Education Needs should store disability-related supplies, assistive equipment and tools that may be required in an emergency. Classroom emergency boxes may include:
• Batteries in different sizes, for adaptive equipment
• Lockdown kit, including portable toilet, privacy screen, toilet paper, toilet bowl liners disinfectant, and plastic bag for disposal
• Bottled water
• Water for hygiene purposes
• Copies of all students’ emergency contact forms
• Hand tools (e.g., screwdriver, wrench, pliers)
• Gloves
• Tarp
• Solar/crank/battery radio
• Flashlight
• First aid kit
• Nonperishable foods
• Antibacterial soap
• Facial tissues
• Whistle/noisemaker
• Pen and paper

Individualized emergency supplies will be provided for SEN students in their ARIS Go Packs. These may include, but are not limited to:
• Student profile with picture, including: name, date of birth, parents information, contact information, medical information, likes, dislikes, possible ways the child will react under high stress situations, and useful intervention ideas (See Appendix A)
• Individualized calming activities, i.e. paper and crayons, books, puzzles, Legos, special stuffed animal, etc.
• ARIS Go Packs will be stored in the students’ homerooms.

During a disaster event, if an SEN student is under your supervision it is essential to understand his or her unique needs. Panicking by teachers and other students, may lead to the rise in the SEN student’s anxiety and uncontrolled behaviour. Consider the triggers and cues for students with Special Education Needs. Anticipate rather than react. Prepare students for changes in routine. Some students may need to be more protected or isolated to minimize distractions and sources of agitation during the height of a crisis. Adult supervision may need to be intensified to ensure health and safety of all the students. Staff who are not in direct contact with students during the onset of a disaster should ensure their safety first and then check on the safety of others.

1) All students and staff are to remain where they are, unless the immediate environment is unsafe (i.e. in the canteen, on the football pitch, etc.).
2) If you have an SEN student under your supervision during this time, you are to consider and act according to his or her unique needs.
3) If the lockdown occurs within the student’s homeroom, they will have their own ARIS Go Pack available. In this pack, there will be vital information regarding how to best manage the student’s behaviour, emergency contact information, any essential medical needs, and a visual communication card.
4) When possible, one adult must be assigned specifically to the SEN student in order to assist in any instructions or actions that are necessary.
5) In an extended lockdown situation, SEN students may resist being held within a confined space. They may exhibit high levels of anxiety, fear, and sadness. These emotions can lead to violent outburst or extreme behaviour, which may put them or others in danger. It is advisable to try all methods of de-escalation before interacting physically with a student.
6) ARIS staff responsible for the SEN student(s), are to stay in communication with the SENCO throughout the situation as much as possible.

1) Once an alarm has been sounded, ARIS staff are to first survey the area that they are in to assess immediate danger. If the area is clear of danger, they are to quietly line up students and calmly walk to their designated assembly point.
2) Provide clear, simplified instructions throughout the moving process.
3) If the student needs physical assistance in moving to a safe space, ARIS staff are to consider safe lifting techniques. In all situations, it is vital to explain to the child that you will be partially or fully supporting their mobility. If they do not trust you, their resistance will increase.
4) Once in a safe space, check in with the student regularly, assessing their emotional and physical status.
5) ARIS staff responsible for the SEN student(s), are to stay in communication with the SENCO throughout the situation as much as possible.

1) In the event of a flood, younger children in the lower level classrooms will need to be moved up to higher ground. In some cases this may require crossing open flowing water, in which student might need partial or full assistance to ensure their safety.
2) Ensure that all communication is clear and simplified.
3) When possible, a teacher should bring the SEN student’s ARIS Go Pack with them in order to help calm the student once at a safe destination.

Children with Special Education Needs are likely to respond to any form of stress with more extreme reactions. Some students with special needs will need more time to comprehend the emergency. When necessary, allow extra time for them to emotionally process what has happened. Allow time for discussion of the traumatic events in a safe and familiar setting; provide choices in activities to give students some sense of control over even a small part of their lives.




APPENDIX A :Go Pack Emergency Card


















Emergency Plan for Students with Special Needs for Marin County School District. Mary Jane Burke, Marin County Superintendent of Schools. April 2010.