top of page

The Aim of the Learning Support Department

Our aim is to increase whole school and community awareness of the importance of quality and equality of opportunity for students, regardless of ability or disability.

We are committed to providing an integrated and inclusive curriculum commensurate with meeting individual needs, promoting positive achievement and independence for all.

Information about Gartree High School’s policies for the identification and assessment of pupils with special educational needs

Pupils with SEND have often already been identified within their primary school provision, and this is shared with us through close liaison and partnerships. The SENCo will attend annual reviews for primary school pupils with Educational Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), to support early transition. Enhanced transitions and early identification of pupils with SEND is essential and a variety of data tools can be used to assess if additional SEND needs have not already been picked up. Key stage 2 SAT results and teacher assessments are used, as well as annual standardised reading and spelling tests to identify any concerns that may not have already been addressed. 

In some cases if a pupil is continuing to experience significant difficulties, further external expertise may be requested. The school will refer to external agencies for assessments as appropriate, following consultation with parents/carers, where it is felt pupils would benefit from additional strategies and/or support. The assess, plan, do, review cycle will be implemented and if progress is limited after two cycles, an assessment for an EHC Plan may be considered.

Provision for pupils with special educational needs 

Information about Gartree High School’s policies for making provision for pupils with special educational needs, whether or not pupils have Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans, including:

(a) How we evaluate the effectiveness of our provision for such pupils

(b) Arrangements for assessing and reviewing the progress of pupils with special educational needs:

Annual Reviews are held each year for pupils with EHCPs, and parents are met by a member of the Learning Support team mid  year to discuss their child’s progress . Parents of pupils on the SEN Record are also met with twice a year, usually at the time around progress reports being sent home. Progress is monitored by subject teachers and the SENCo, with strategies being discussed and implemented if progress is limited. Reading and spelling tests are given at the start of their time at Gartree and then at the end of each year, to track progression and highlight any areas of concern that may have not been identified previously.

(c) Gartree High School’s approach to teaching pupils with special educational needs:

Classroom based support and intervention can take place in 1:1, small groups or whole class settings. Subject based interventions are usually provided by subject specialist staff. Classroom based support is available through a team of experienced Teaching Assistants. Literacy intervention occurs through timetabled lessons and activities, intending to enhance and revisit the basic skills that some pupils struggle with. Classroom differentiation is used to enable all pupils to make progress, and dyslexia-friendly strategies are routinely applied. There is a variety of technologies used to enhance the opportunities for pupils in their learning. 

(d) How we adapt the curriculum and learning environment for pupils with special educational needs:

A variety of adaptations can be made to meet the needs of our pupils. We have a modern building, with equipment built in that can adapt in size and height, such as tables in science and hobs in food technology. There are two lifts at both ends of the building for pupils with physical disabilities. Dyslexia-friendly strategies, such as coloured backgrounds on worksheets, clear labelling and extra time to complete tasks are applied for pupils with specific learning difficulties. Microphones are worn by staff when teaching pupils who have a radio system to assist their hearing impairment. Where SEN pupils have a reading standardised score that is significantly lower than average, literacy intervention groups are implemented in the Learning Support Department – with opportunities for regular reading with staff at registration. Differentiation of learning objectives and tasks are applied in classrooms to ensure all pupils are able to make progress within their ability range. We ensure our learning is fun through high-quality teaching and learning, as well in developing our pupils into positive citizens through our enriched curriculum. Gartree High School will ensure that every pupil fulfils their potential, enjoys their learning experiences and develops a positive set of values, personal learning and thinking skills.

(e) How we provide additional support for learning that is available to pupils with special educational needs:

Pupils with EHCPs are given access to an additional adult in class, the amount of support depending on the nature of the pupil’s difficulties. Additional adults are used flexibly to help groups and individual pupils with a long-term goal of developing independent learning skills. Small group work, including friendship groups, social and communication groups and literacy groups, are implemented to meet specific pupil need within the Learning Support Department.

(f) Activities that are available for pupils with special educational needs in addition to those available in accordance with the curriculum:

We believe that the curriculum should not be constrained to lesson time, and that all pupils should have enrichment opportunities to support or stretch their learning, to enhance their life experience and simply for leisure and enjoyment. All pupils have access to extra-curricular trips and educational visits, including foreign and local residential visits, sports trips, visits to enhance the curriculum, fieldwork and sports fixtures.  A range of clubs take place during school lunchtimes across all subject areas and there is also Homework Club which runs between 3-4pm Monday to Thursday, all year round.

(g) Support that is available for improving the emotional and social development of pupils with special educational needs:

Pupils at Gartree are assigned to a tutor group for the start of Year 7, with a tutor with whom, in the majority of cases, they remain with for the rest of key stage 3 and 4. The pupil’s tutor is the first point of contact for pupils and parents with any pastoral concerns. Our pastoral team helps address any pastoral needs of pupils who require assistance in overcoming barriers to learning in order to achieve their full potential. In addition, support and guidance are available from Educational Psychologists, CAMHS and Social Care.

A variety of strategies are used to support and modify inappropriate behaviour, using school sanctions and rewards systems in line with the school’s Behaviour for Learning Policy. In addition, support from external agencies such as Behaviour Support Team, Counselling Services, and the link Educational Psychologist can be called upon to gain additional advice . We expect pupils to aim for 100% attendance and to be punctual to school and to all lessons. Where attendance is an area of concern, the pastoral team will initiate support. The pastoral team can offer welfare support for those pupils who are struggling to attend school. Regular liaison between the Pastoral and Learning Support Department ensures that if a pupil is not attending due to a social, emotional or mental need, it can be identified quickly, and appropriate support or external agency guidance can be put in place.

Name of SEND Co-ordinator within the Learning Support Department


The Learning Support Department is led by the SENCo.


SENCO - Helen Collins

As  part of this role they are responsible for:


  • Coordinating provision for children with SEND, and creating opportunities that allow them to access the curriculum in a safe and secure environment;


  • Developing the school’s SEND policy;


  • Ensuring that parents are involved with supporting their child’s learning and access;


  • Informing parents / carers about the range and level of support offered to their child;


  • Including parents in student reviews

  • Supporting successful transition, whether within groupings in the school or to another school or external provision;


  • Liaising with external agencies who can offer advice and support to help students overcome any difficulties;


  • Providing specialist advice and facilitating training to ensure that all staff are skilled and confident about meeting a range of needs.   


  • Assessing pupils for exam access arrangements which comply with the rules set out in the most recent JCQ regulations.

Additional support is provided by Lead Teaching Assistants and a team of experienced Learning Support Assistants.

Pupils with medical conditions or concerns are supported by the Pupil Health Administrator.

The setting’s arrangements for supporting pupils with special educational needs in transferring between phases of education

Effective, supportive and nurturing transition arrangements from primary schools to Gartree are crucial to ensure a smooth transition process for identified pupils. There are a number of opportunities where Gartree and primary schools work together using science, maths, and technology to create a friendly and welcoming experience for primary school pupils, where members of staff visit primaries and teach a lesson. For pupils with identified SEN, towards the end of their time at primary school, transition will start with the attendance of the SENCo at the annual review or multi-agency meetings for these children. In liaison with primary schools, enhanced transitions are offered for vulnerable pupils where it is felt they would benefit from additional time at the school to experience what is on offer.


Additional visits are arranged during the summer time to allow pupils with SEND or anxiety to have further experience of Gartree life. Regular meetings are held between the SENCo and primary schools to ensure that we are fully informed of any pupils with SEND who are transferring to the school. In addition there is the opportunity for parents of these pupils to meet the SENCo in a less formal setting during the summer term by arrangement. This allows parents to chat to with the SENCo who may be able reassure parents of any concerns they may still have. There will on occasion be a need to create a personalized programme for induction and this can be organised quickly with the SENCo to ensure a successful experience for the child.

bottom of page