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SEND and Mental Health Support


At Sandford St Martin’s Primary School inclusion is at the heart of everything we do.  We welcome and accept children to our community from varying backgrounds and with varying disabilities or special educational needs. Relationships, along with empathy and compassion, are at the heart of our interactions with children in our school including those with SEND.

Class teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress of all children, including those with SEND. Our basic principle of ‘Quality First Teaching’ emphasises that all children should be provided with opportunities to learn at their level and to make the most progress that they are capable of. Work is adapted, differentiated or reasonable adjustments are made as appropriate so that all children can access the whole curriculum at their own level. We strive to ensure that every child receives learning that both stretches and challenges them whilst remaining engaging and inspiring.


We have a SEND team consisting of:

Hannah Colley-  SENDCo

Hannah (Miss Colley) has many years of experience as SENDCo at Sandford and holds the National Award of SEND Co-ordination. She has overall responsibility for SEND across the school and takes more of a lead with children requiring higher level of more targeted provision including those with EHCPS.


Trudy Davies- Assistant SENDCo

Recently qualified with the National Award of SEND Co-ordination. Trudy (Mrs Davies) co-ordinates the SALT team and takes the lead on timetabling and tracking the effectiveness of the interventions across the school and focuses on ensuring provision is in place for children struggling at a class level with things such as dyslexia.


Charlotte Hudson - Senior Mental Health Lead

Charlotte (Mrs Hudson) has completed her Senior Mental Health Lead training. She coordinates and monitors the mental health provision we have in school such as ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support), play therapy and walk and talk.  More information about the mental health support we provide can be found here 

Teaching Assistants 

We also have a TA team who have a wide range of training and skills to support children and deliver interventions.

For example, based on the needs of specific children who attend our school in recent years, specific members of staff have received training in:

  • ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistance)
  • Precision teaching
  • Floppy Phonics
  • The use of Visuals to support children with ASD
  • PEIC-D (Promotion of Early Interaction)
  • Use of independent work stations for children with ASD
  • Sensory Training
  • Elklan (Speech and Language)
  • Forest school
  • Manual Handling

More information of our SEN systems and the provision available at Sandford can be seen in our information reports:

Mental Health Support:

At Sandford St Martin’s Primary the mental health and wellbeing of all children, parents and staff is our priority. We have created a graduated response document to support staff in managing the wellbeing of children which starts with in class support, through to ELSA/ Walk and Talk/ Play Therapy and then moving on to referrals to external agencies.

Children are taught strategies to support their mental health in class and all teachers give the children an opportunity to share if there is something worrying them that they need to talk about.

We have an open-door policy at Sandford St Martin’s Primary so if you have any concerns about your child’s mental health please contact Charlotte Hudson (Senior Mental Health Lead). If you are struggling with your own mental health, we are available to support you through ‘Peer Pod’.

Peer Pod Parent support:

Peer Pod is our supportive parenting group set up by Charlotte Hudson (Senior Mental Health Lead) and Hannah Colley (Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator).  It is open to all parents or carers with no invitation necessary. 

Peer Pod was set up as we noticed a lack of support groups in Dorset for parents struggling with managing their child’s emotions and/or behavior.  We hold a weekly coffee morning straight after school drop off every Friday morning. Once a half term we have a main Peer Pod training session where we deliver a practical presentation on a specific area. Previous sessions include:

  • Anxiety
  • Calming the crisis-dealing with the after-school meltdown
  • Calming the crisis-preventing the after-school meltdown
  • Calming the crisis-repairing and restoring after the after-school meltdown
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Anxiety around transition

During these sessions, we aim to provide some understanding as to why your child may be experiencing these big emotions and also give you some practical tips and resources to help you manage these situations in a better way. Dates for these sessions can be found on the school newsletter.

We have a Peer Pod Library where we have books for parents to borrow.  We have books about various areas of behaviour and emotions including picture and story books to share with children which support them in their own understanding of their emotions.  This library is available during Peer Pod sessions and also during our weekly coffee morning which is held every Friday Morning.

Perhaps most importantly, Peer Pod provides parents with a safe and supportive space to not only get support from school but also from other parents who are also experiencing very similar things.  There is power in numbers and we want parents to know and feel that  are not on their own.

Parent feedback from sessions:

Most helpful thing I took from this session:

‘Say less! My tendency is to want to fix the problem’

‘be more empathetic not sympathetic’

‘The calming breathing strategies- useful to have bank of activities to try’

‘advice from and talking to other parents’

‘meeting parents in the same boat as me’

‘Supporting an anxious child is tiring-these tips have given more energy to keep going’


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