Special Educational Needs

SEN Information Report 

In our school we take great pride in how every child contributes to the school and that children with special needs or disabilities (SEND) are everyone’s responsibility. Our work in identifying and responding to vulnerability always starts with the child and seeks to include parents; we recognise parents and carers as the experts in their children’s lives and actively seek to develop meaningful partnerships with all parents around their child’s learning.

Our work involves additional external expertise as and where appropriate (for example, we work regularly with Alan Ebbens our Educational Psychologist, the Communication Interaction Team, Children’s Speech and Language Service and Child and Adolescent Health (CAMHS) teams and a variety of other specialist staff). This work includes both targeted work in response to specific identified need as well as ‘development’ work that aims to extend the range and effectiveness of provision we offer as a school.

Definition of Special Educational Needs

“A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.

A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

a)  has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age; or

b)  has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.”

A child under compulsory school age has special educational needs if he or she is likely to fall within the definition at (a) or (b) above when they reach compulsory school age or would do so if special educational provision was not made for them.

(SEN Code of Practice, May 2015)

Children must not be regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught.

The school is a part of a wider offer. The Local Offer in Plymouth provides children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities, families and professionals information in one place, helping them to understand what services they can expect from a range of local agencies (including their entitlements). The Local Offer covers provision for children and young people from birth to 25 and includes information on education, health and social care services. The Local Offer has been developed working with children and young people, parents and carers, schools, health services and voluntary organisations – see details below.


Ways of working in our school are as diverse as the individual needs of our children. Responding to individual needs may include, work within small groups (adult and/or peer-led) or wider ‘project’ type work across the Studio or whole School as appropriate. Whatever the way of working, we use an ‘asset development’ (rather than ‘deficit management’) approach; emphasis is placed on developing what is needed and useful (rather than removing what’s not). Staff hold regular meetings where issues around vulnerability (including attainment and progress) are discussed and strategies developed. Where individual needs highlight a wider need/opportunity, work might be ‘co-created’ with outside partners and additional expertise to ensure that the positive impact of identifying and meeting individual needs is shared as broadly as possible.

In our school, we aim to use all expertise and experience as broadly and effectively as possible; SEND is everyone’s responsibility. There are staff with specific skills and focus on SEND, EAL and Safeguarding. The role of these staff is to support and share the development of practice across the school and with families; to work within and alongside Studio teams to create sustainable and effective practice within Studios, and to make sure this practice is shared and developed across the whole school and within the family home. This team, led by the SENCo, also quality assures Studio judgements and maintains an overview of the progress, attainment and development of all vulnerable groups across the school. As a school we track progress carefully so that student needs are attended to and possibility maximised.

Staff have regular and ongoing training with regards to SEND. This includes working alongside specialist staff, training during and at the end of the day linked to specialists within the school and outside the school.

Typically, children recognised as having special educational needs and/or disability have provision recorded and monitored through a separate process. Previously, this has involved an Individual Education Plan (IEP), and currently for children and young people in care Personal Education Plans (PEP’s). Following recent changes in legislation, this process would now be recognised as the ‘Early SEND Support Plan’, with progress reviewed at points during the year.

There is a clear process for recognising and supporting conversations that identify and look more deeply into individual need, and that include others (family members and other professionals) wherever relevant and appropriate. We also recognise that discussion and development around meeting individual needs will frequently give rise to thinking, ideas and practice that will have a much wider use and help to extend and develop progress within the whole Studio group, helping to raise levels of progress and attainment generally across the school.

Achieving differently

Our approach is designed to best support the development of individuals by continually building and extending learning opportunities within the Studio. The more we recognise and respond effectively to individual learning needs, the greater the understanding and resource we have to offer everyone within the school. This ongoing development of learning helps create a genuinely inclusive learning culture; it also reduces the tendency for ‘labelling’ children based on individual difference, encourages a positive understanding of ‘difference’ and reduces the likelihood of bullying and other unhelpful behaviours. Making sure that each and every child is heard and understood also reduces the likelihood of safeguarding issues remaining hidden.

Our school recognises how, in order to be sustainably successful as a human being, it’s necessary to know how you’ve achieved, as well as what you’ve achieved. To achieve this successfully it’s essential to be able to identify the individual needs of learners. And it’s essential to have a learning experience that’s sufficiently flexible and comprehensive to enable individual needs to be met as part of a whole school learning process.

Whatever the need or vulnerability, we’re working to enable children (and our staff) to become responsible for their own learning and development; to create young people who are confidently curious about themselves and the world around them, who are able to think critically and make creatively (for themselves and with others), are excited by what lies over the horizon – and who are resiliently capable of making that journey.

The school runs a support group twice a year for Phase 1/2 and Phase 3/4 for parents of students with SEN. This Parent Support session is run by our Educational Psychology Assistant and is attended by the SENCO.

Parents may want to access independent advice from Plymouth Information, Advice and Support for SEND (PIAS). PIAS provides information, advice and support relating to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) for parents, carers, children and young people within the Plymouth Local Authority area.

Their contact details are below:


01752 258933 / 0800 953 1131


Disability and Equality

As a school we ensure that providing equality is a foundation to our work. The link to our approach around equality and the more detailed objectives that we are working on is below.

Equality Approach and Objectives

Our Team

The following roles exist in relation to SEND

Nick Griffiths – SENCO –

Phase Leaders act under the direction of Nick and work directly with parents, students, staff and other professionals. This means after initial work with studio teachers you are most likely to be working with the Phase Leaders. If you have an idea to help us develop or a concern for your child please speak to a Phase Leader.

Sarah McConkey – SEND Team Coordinator

Owen Bruce – SEND Assistant

Liam Parsons – Trainee Educational Psychologist

Adam Lewis-Cole – Trainee Educational Psychologist

Danielle Ford – Trainee Educational Psychologist

Mike Beard, Deputy Head teacher – Designated Safeguarding Lead

Joanne Anning – Well-being and Mental Health Lead

Simon Rogerson – Behaviour Lead

Renata Chatkevic – EAL coordinator

Further information and detail can be obtained from our SEND Policy and Safeguarding & Promoting Student Welfare Policy.

– Updated July 2018