Stevenage head responds to complaints over SEN provision

PUBLISHED: 15:40 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:43 30 November 2018

Longmeadow Primary School head Emily Howley with Murphy, who will support all children once trained. Picture: Courtesy of Katy Alexander

Longmeadow Primary School head Emily Howley with Murphy, who will support all children once trained. Picture: Courtesy of Katy Alexander


The headteacher of a school hit with a raft of parent complaints regarding special educational needs provision says steps to improve include employing a dog to help pupils with reading.

Parents of children at Longmeadow Primary School in Stevenage have taken to Facebook to express concern that the school is failing pupils with SEN.

Issues outlined include children with government funding for one-to-one support not receiving this support due to staff shortages, and that thousands of pounds spent on a school therapy dog could have been better spent.

There are currently six vacancies advertised at the school, including two SEN one-to-one teaching assistants.

One parent told the Comet: “The school is failing its SEN children, and children in general, on a massive scale and complaints have been made to Ofsted.

“I have reports from several professionals stating failings and how they have resulted in my child not being able to access support from professionals sooner for her SEN needs.

“There are now several parents who have removed their children.

“Something needs to be done before any more children suffer.”

In June, the school employed labrador puppy Murphy as therapy to pupils with SEN.

The dog lives with headteacher Emily Howley, who has been in post since September last year. She said: “The progress of all of our pupils is of paramount importance and we work to ensure every one of them meets their full potential.

“During our Ofsted inspection in July 2016, concerns were raised about the progress of pupils with SEN. We take comments like this very seriously and introduced improvements to our work which has resulted in the progress of our SEN children rising.

“Improvements include appointing a new inclusion team, securing exceptional needs funding for some of our SEN pupils, changing the way we monitor their progress and working more closely with individual children.

“With support from a charity we have also managed to fund an education assistance dog, which is currently undergoing the intensive training required to work with children.

“Once trained, the dog will be used to support all children in a number of ways, including with attendance, their reading and their day-to-day life at Longmeadow.”

Biggleswade, Sandy, Potton

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