Meeting the needs of students with Special Education Needs and Disabilities

“Don’t make them learn the way you teach; teach the way they learn.”

At Helsby High School, we understand that some pupils have barriers to their learning and that we need to work collaboratively to alleviate these barriers. We don’t want our pupils to simply survive, we wish for them to thrive.

Whilst ensuring fulfilment of academic potential is of paramount importance, we see the role of our school to be more than this. We wish for our pupils to be well-grounded and well-rounded, displaying motivation, self-belief and a strong moral compass.

We want you to feel that school and home are a team, working for the very best for your son or daughter.

Please have a good look around our website and if you would like further information or feel that your queries are not answered, do not hesitate to get in touch.

In conjunction with the Local Authority’s offer, schools are expected to outline their provision for children and young people with SEND. The Code of Practice (2015) states: A child or young person has SEND if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.

Mrs G Walker – SENDco

For more information regarding the Helsby’s SEND provision, please contact Mrs Gemma Walker by contacting

Useful links:

Our SEND support

This is an inclusive school and there are high expectations for the achievement of SEND students. The school has a regard for the Code of Practice 2015 in that:

  • It sees that all students are entitled to an education that enables them to make progress.
  • All students have access to a broad and balanced curriculum.
  • Teachers are expected to set high expectations for every student, whatever their prior attainment
  • Teachers are expected to use appropriate assessments to set targets which are deliberately ambitious. Potential areas of difficulty are identified and addressed at the outset.
  • Teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the students in their class, including where students access support from teaching assistants or specialist staff.
  • The school regards high quality teaching, differentiated for individual students, as the first step in responding to students who have or may have SEND.
  • The school regularly and carefully reviews the quality of teaching for all students, including those at risk of underachievement.

Our ethos is that all students should receive an appropriate education; one that is appropriate to their needs, promotes high standards and the fulfilment of potential. A pupil should be included, not just integrated in their learning.

This should enable them to:

  • achieve their best
  • become confident individuals living fulfilling lives, and
  • make a successful transition into adulthood, whether into employment, further or higher education or training

The quality of teaching for students with SEND, and the progress made by students, is a core part of the school’s performance management arrangements and its approach to professional development for all teaching and support staff. There are whole-staff SEN briefings, where advice and strategies are shared.

We adapt the curriculum for pupils with SEND in the following ways:

The most crucial element to adapting a pupil’s timetable is by listening to the needs, worries and aspirations of the pupil themselves. Sometimes this is direct, and sometimes it is through meetings with their parents. Whilst we encourage all pupils to complete a full suite of GCSE courses (and A Level courses), we appreciate that there are exceptions to rules. We do in some situations offer the following:

  • Reduction of timetable
  • Flexibility of the school day timings
  • Relocation of lesson delivery
  • TA support (1:1 or small group)
  • Targeted 1:1 or small group intervention in Social Skills, Literacy/ Numeracy

We enable pupils with SEND to engage in the activities of the school, together with children who do not have SEND, in the following ways:

All pupils have a right to enjoy the broad school life at Helsby. In PE, pupils have the opportunity to shine, as there are so many sports on offer. For pupils whose disability means that they cannot participate in the transitional sports such as football and basketball, netball and hockey, a bespoke programme is created.

All SEND pupils have the same access to school visits and the SENDCo ensures that full risk assessments are written which enable to pupil with SEND to participate safely.

All pupils with disabilities are timetabled with their class into classrooms which meet their needs. This may include, for example, a downstairs laboratory, a food bench with wheelchair access or a DT room with a low-level work bench.

The following emotional, mental and social support is available for pupils with SEND:

There is a Students Support Coordinator (SSCs) for each year group in school. These are non-teaching members of staff who are available throughout the school day to help pupils with any problems and worries they may have. This is sometimes a resource that is used as a one-off or it can be a resource that pupils use on a regular basis.

We have counselling provision accessible, via referral from the SSCs, in school available to all year groups.

The school has an allocated Start-Well nurse who visits on a regular basis and appointments are available by request of the school.

Pupils with difficulties in one of the 4 areas of need on the Code of Practice;

  • physical and sensory difficulties

For example, children and young people with visual and/or hearing impairments, or a physical need that can give rise to difficulties in accessing learning without appropriate support and equipment.

  • cognition and learning difficulties

For example, where children and young people learn at a slower pace than others their age, have difficulty in understanding and/or organisation and memory skills, or have a specific difficulty affecting one particular part of their learning such as in literacy or numeracy. An example of a specific learning difficulty would be dyslexia.

  • communication and interaction difficulties

For example, where children and young people have speech, language and communication difficulties which make it difficult for them to make sense of language or to understand how to communicate effectively and appropriately with others. This area also includes with Autistic Spectrum Condition.

  • social, emotional and mental health issues

For example, where children and young people have difficulty in managing their relationships with other people, are withdrawn, or if they behave in ways that may hinder their and other children’s learning and/or that have an impact on their health and wellbeing. This area also includes children with ADHD

Some children and young people may have SEN that covers more than one of these areas.

The following is a list of some of the conditions we currently cater for at Helsby. This list is not exhaustive.

  • ADHD
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Visual stress
  • Stammers
  • Processing speed difficulties
  • ASC
  • ODD
  • PDA
  • Impulsivity disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Arthrogryposis
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta
  • Hearing Impairments
  • Visual Impairments

The SENDCo will visit all partner Primary Schools to discuss with their SENDCo and Year 6 teacher the needs of a pupil with SEND. Information will be gathered in the form of:

  • A Learning Profile, written in conjunction with Key Stakeholders.
  • Prior Attainment Data
  • Medical Information

In the Summer team, key members of the SEN team from Helsby High School will visit your child in the Primary setting to observe them in an educational setting, to work with them and to start to get to know them.

A pupil’s SEN may not have been identified in Primary School, so it is important that identification continues higher up the year groups. This is done in the following ways:

  • Concerns raised by parents, through
  • By teachers who complete an SEND concern form.
  • By pupils who refer themselves to a member of staff.

Tests used at Helsby include:

  • Dyslexia screener
  • Visual stress screening (sometimes referred to as Irlen’s)
  • Reading
  • Spelling
  • Sentence comprehension
  • Processing speed
  • Handwriting assessment
  • This list is not exhaustive

Subject teachers, supported by the senior and extended leadership team, will make regular assessments of progress for all students. These should seek to identify students making less than expected progress given their age and individual circumstances.

This can be characterised by progress which:

  • is significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same baseline
  • fails to match or better the student’s previous rate of progress
  • fails to close the attainment gap between the student and their peers
  • widens the attainment gap

Teacher assessment will include progress in areas other than attainment – for instance where a student needs to make additional progress with wider development or social needs in order to make a successful transition to adult life.

Our arrangements for reviewing the progress of pupils with SEND are as follows:

Methods of assessment:

  • Subject teachers and Subject Leaders will track the progress of SEN pupils within their groups.
  • To SENDCo will assess the data of pupils with SEN.
  • Where a targeted intervention is in place, it will be reviewed, modified or changed as necessary.
  • The SENDCo provides regular reports to the governing body on a yearly and termly basis to share successes and outline plans for areas of improvement.
  • Progress is monitored through the school’s data tracking system.
  • For students on EHCPs, personalised learning targets and set and reviewed regularly.
  • Pupil voice
  • Rescreening/ retesting and comparing to baseline results.

Reviews will evaluate the effectiveness of the support given and the impact on the student’s progress. Assessment information will be gathered, measured against desired outcomes.

SPLD (specific learning difficulty)

  • Screening tools
  • ICT support
  • IDL intervention
  • Subject specific small group interventions
  • MS Teams immersive reader
  • In learning support centre support

SLCN (incl ASC) (Speech, language and communication need

  • Talkabout/ Social skills intervention
  • Adapted school day (Incl. sensory breaks)
  • Visual prompts/ timetables
  • 1:1 support/ daily reflections
  • Meet & great
  • Supported non structured times
  • MS Teams immersive reader
  • In learning support centre support
  • Daily/ regular parental feedback
  • Greenbank Outreach

SEMH (incl ADHD)(Social emotional and mental health)

  • SSCs
  • Fidget bands/ accommodations
  • A2L cards
  • In learning support centre support
  • 1:1 support/ daily reflections
  • Meet & great
  • Supported non structured times
  • Adapted school day/ timetable
  • Reaseheath Forest school outreach
  • Start Well Nurse
  • CAMHS and Healthbox

PD/ HI/ VI (Physical disability/ Hearing/ Vision Impairment)

  • Adapted rooming/ seating positions
  • Accessible/ wheelchair access
  • Visual Stress accommodations
  • Supported non structured times
  • Adapted school day/ timetable

Our targeted intervention programme is offered to identified pupils in the following areas:

  • Talkabout- Social Skills intervention/ programme. Involves a base line assessment and group or individual sessions focusing on areas of identified need with social communication. Cohort comprises of year 7 and 8 pupils with communication and interaction difficulties and those with an Autism diagnosis.
  • Literacy/ Reading- Use of Accelerated Reader data/ reading ages and CATS data. Targeted reading and comprehension intervention. Cohort comprises of year 7 initially.
  • IDL- IDL programme is a targeted intervention to improve spelling and reading. Cohort comprises from students across both key stages, with morning sessions run in the Learning Support Centre and home logins shared with students/parents.
  • Numeracy- Use of ‘Numbots’ and ‘TTrockstars’ software to target students with gaps in maths knowledge of numbers. Targeted intervention in addition/subtraction and multiplication/division.
  • Literacy/ Numeracy- KS2 teacher delivering small group sessions in maths/ English or both to students with low CATS scores or identified through transition data/ teacher cause for concern. Cohort comprises of year 7 and 8 pupils based on data analysis and assessment of need.

  • Potential addition of TA hours, dependant on top-up funding
  • Development of Sensory Room

Our arrangements for ensuring the necessary involvement of parents are as follows:

  • The SENDCo is available at all transition evenings and days.
  • The SENDCo is available at all consultation evenings.

If parents wish to speak to the SENDCo, they should contact

Our arrangements regarding SEND related complaints from parents are as follows:

If you have any complaints related to SEND, they should be emailed to in the first instance.

Our SEND co-ordinator (SENCO) is: Mrs Gemma Walker  who has completed The National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination and Level 7 Specialist Assessor in Assessing Access Arrangements qualifications.

Listed below are the names of staff members possessing expertise related to SEND:

Mrs Newman – Mental Health
Mrs Dunbavand – ASC/ Speech and language/ Visual stress
Mr Higgins – Maths/ MFL/Sixth Form
Mrs Burdon – English/ Outdoor learning
Mrs Chow – Year 7 catch up/ PE
Mrs Jones – Science
Mrs Davies- Child psychology/ EAL

In addition, we use the services of the following specialists:

Dyslexia specialist – Becki Tall
Edsential SEND training – Sue Calverley
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
Epilepsy Nurse – Hayley Eccles
Diabetic Nurse – Helen Griffiths
The Autism Service – Gilll Cosford

Leaders accurately identify the needs of pupils with SEND. They routinely share information about pupil’s needs with teachers. Leaders have ensured that staff receive the training that they need to meet the needs of pupils with SEND. This enables pupils with SEND to learn alongside their peers and achieve well.

July 2023

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