St Joseph's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School Coundon

St Joseph's Primary school is a small Catholic school serving the parishes of St Joseph's, Coundon and St Thomas's, Shildon. We work closely with parents to provide excellent care, support and guidance for all their children.

 "The school offers highly sensitive care and support and makes sure pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural awareness is developed well." Ofsted 2014



When is it on?

Session information
Monday to Friday 8.55am - 3.30pm term time only

Who to contact

Contact name
Mrs M Brown
Contact position
01388 602 608

Where to go

Victoria Lane
Bishop Auckland
County Durham
DL14 8NN

Other details

Cost description
Community school within Durham LEA.
Referral and availability notes

Places at the school are allocated by Durham LEA - please contact the admissions team at Durham County Council for further information:

School Admissions, Room 3/127, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UJ
Telephone: 0191 265 896.

Related links
Ofsted reports

Local Offer

Local Offer description

The school's Local offer can be found on the school website:


Contact name
Mrs K Stevenson
Contact telephone
01388 602608
Contact email
SEND at St Joseph's

How do you identify Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)?

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

Early intervention is the aim at St Joseph’s. When a class teacher identifies a child with SEN they inform the SENCO, Mrs Kiri Stevenson. As a team, school staff ensure that interventions are put into place for that child and that the teacher plans carefully ensuring they are addressing any additional needs. If there are still concerns after monitoring over a period of time, then a decision will be made whether the school can implement other strategies to meet the needs of this child or if they need to seek advice and support from other professionals. Children usually progress onto this level when despite the additional support being offered they are struggling to make the necessary progress in their area of difficulty. At this point the school will seek advice from other professionals and implement recommended strategies and advice.

If a child’s needs dictate that a higher level of support than what can be provided through school support or additional support, then a request for statutory assessment may be made. The SENCO completes the relevant paper work and submits a school report along with reports from other relevant professionals to Durham LEA. The paperwork is looked at and the panel decide whether to proceed to statutory assessment. At this point a range of professionals will decide if an Education, Health and Care Plan should be issued to support the child's needs.



How will you support my child with their special educational needs and disability?

How will early years setting/school/college staff support my child/young person?

School will use assessment as a continuous process. Progress will be monitored by class teachers through observation and assessment. Attainment will be shared with the head teacher and SENCO who will track progress of children with SEN. As a shared responsibility, all practitioners of pupils with additional needs will refer, plan and deliver appropriately according to the needs of the pupils in their care. The importance of early identification, assessment and provision is recognised by the school. If a special educational need is identified, this will be discussed with parents and regular progress meetings can be arranged. Annual reports and reviews are produced by the school and open evenings are arranged twice a year. Children with an IEP, will have an online record of their targets. This can be accessed and added to by parents of these pupils.


How will you make sure my child's education meet their needs?

How will the curriculum be matched to my child's young person's needs?

All practitioners will be aware of the needs of the children in their care, this is shared through staff/ parent meetings and suitable training opportunities are provided for relevant staff. Teaching staff will plan and deliver differentiated lessons and activities to meet the needs of all learners. Children will access to a range of additional adult and software support.  Staff will utilise strategies suggested by external professionals where appropriate.


How will we know my child is progressing?

How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child's/young person's learning?

For children with SEN, there will to be an IEP in place. School has recently invested in new software that allows parents to view their child’s IEP online and add any comments they may have. This is a new strategy the school are embedding at the moment so they hope to improve this service. The school SENCo Mrs Stevenson meets parents of children with SEN and gives updates as required. Annual reviews for children with statutory assessment take place in school time and Mrs Stevenson oversees these. Teachers hold progress meetings with Senior Leaders in school and this information is shared with the SENCo. Parent’s meetings and other opportunities are available for discussion regarding your child’s progress. It may be relevant to offer training to parents so they can support their child at home and differentiated homework/ web based software is available to enable you to work with your child outside of school hours.

How will you support my child's overall wellbeing?

What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall wellbeing?

The school are fortunate to employ a full time Learning Mentor, Mrs Hutchinson. Whilst all staff are approachable and the school operate an “open door” policy, Mrs Hutchinson deals primarily with children when they have emotional or behavioural problems.  The Mentor spends her time supporting children in class but also devotes a good deal of time to improving attendance and liaising with the BALE Centre who offer bespoke programmes supporting children with self-esteem, confidence building, friendship skills, anger management and nurturing. Further to this, they offer an Inclusion service for children who have presented with behaviour which is less than expected. The link with the BALE centre has allowed the school to maintain good behaviour and avoid exclusions.
Any specific medical problems that children may have are dealt with discreetly and confidentially. Any training for staff is current and up to date. Any medication is administered according to prescription and parents are asked to grant their permission in writing to allow staff to do this. All medicines are store securely in school.

Children are invited to be part of our Pupil Council to represent their class and offer their views for the improvement of the school. There is also a worry box and suggestion box where children can leave a written message if they have a concern they want to voice.


What specialist services and expertise is available at or accessed by the staff?

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting/school/college?

The school buys into Service Level Agreements with several agencies and support networks offered by County Durham. Among other services, the school access support from Crisis Response, Educational Psychologists, Emotional and Wellbeing team, BALE centre, SEND team, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy and CAMHS.

There are also have strong links with the school nurses. Our SENCo and Learning Mentor keep up to date with training and are conscientious in their personal development keeping up to date with the latest developments in SEND.

How are staff trained regarding SEND?

What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND have had or are having?

Training opportunities are wide ranging for all staff. Where a child has a specific need, training is offered and kept current to support that child. The SENCo attends all SEND network meetings and accesses training as required. Staff are all trained in TEAM Teach and have accessed training linked to Autism Spectrum Disorder. Further training is provided on a needs basis.

What activities outside the classroom will there be?

How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?

The school includes all children in off-site educational visits. Usually each class organises its own visits linked to the curriculum or topic. Children with SEND are accommodated suitably and often parents are invited to join them on adventures! As a whole school, they usually visit the beach in the Summer term and all children attend. Those who require additional support are accompanied in small groups or 1-1 by an adult, other access arrangements are provided for children who require the use of a wheelchair.

How will you support my child's needs?

How accessible is the setting/school/college environment?

The school building is Victorian but has been adjusted to accommodate suitable access for all people. We have suitable hygiene and medical spaces. Wider doors are available in parts of the building to allow access. All specialised equipment is stored securely. There are plans in place for a complete new build for St Joseph’s, this building will have full access for all people. We consider ourselves to be an inclusive school and support children from diverse backgrounds. Where English is an additional language, children are supported through external agencies and by a very dedicated staff.

My child is going to be starting or leaving soon, how will you help them?

How will the setting/school/college prepare and support my child/young person to join the setting/school/college or the next stage of education and life?

On entry into school, the children join the EYFS setting after a period of transition. The class teacher visits the children in their current setting and liaises with their practitioners. Further to this, the teacher arranges to visit the child at home to discuss transition and other matters with the parents of the child. There are visits to school where the children are invited to stay for a few hours at a time. Once admitted to school, EYFS children have a staggered transition, accessing the full school day by week 3. As the children progress through each year group, they spend two days of transition with their new classes in July prior to starting in September. The transition days in July tie in with Y6 transition to the local secondary schools. As the children progress into new classes/ schools, information is shared with colleagues and where appropriate, new training is given to staff.  Key information regarding any SEN/ attainment etc is recorded and filed for the children, and this paperwork travels with them in their school life and into each new setting.


What is available to help my child with their education?

How are the setting's/school's/college's resources allocated and matched to children's/young people's special educational needs?


School’s budget for SEN is used primarily to maintain additional staffing. The school are fortunate enough to be able to employ 6.5 teaching assistants and 1 learning mentor. These adults focus on children with SEN and support our most vulnerable children/ families. Staff evaluate each case individually and plan suitable support. Usually this support takes place in the classroom, however at times children are withdrawn into small groups/ 1-1 to allow more specific intervention. Further to this, the school have invested in programmes aimed at children with SEN eg Frostig. As a school, they have made key investment into up to date software and programmes to support all children especially children with SEN. Children may have an IEP which identifies specific targets, and new software for this process is very parent friendly and allows parents to review/ contribute to the evaluation.


What support can I expect for my child?

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

St Joseph’s work collaboratively with staff and in partnership with parents. The SENCo meets regularly with parents and class teachers to discuss specific cases. Information is shared with the Headteacher and actions are implemented as appropriate. Children’s progress and attainment is tracked termly and staff meet with the Headteacher to discuss each child’s progress on a termly basis/ or more frequently as required. At these key points, the school are able to evaluate the impact of any interventions and identify/plan any further support as needed.

How will I be involved in my child's education?

How are parents involved in the setting/school/college? How can I be involved?

As detailed previously, the school work closely with parents and involve them in decision making regarding their children. They operate an open door policy where parents are welcome to meet with staff and raise any concerns they may have. Parents’ evenings are held regularly throughout the year and the SENCo carries out review meetings as necessary. The school welcome parents’ viewpoints and suggestions; parents are given the opportunity to voice this in questionnaires and more informally with the teacher/ SENCO and HT. Parents have formed a “Friends of..” group to organise activities and share their ideas about school life.


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  • St Joseph's RCVA Primary, Coundon

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Address: Victoria Lane  Coundon  Bishop Auckland  County Durham

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