Department Philosophy

Our aim is to enable every student in the school to achieve their potential. The Learning Support Team works closely with every department in the school, encouraging pupils to recognise their strengths as well as to overcome their weaknesses. We work with a number of external agencies and we also encourage 6th form students to take an active part in supporting the department.

Key Stage 3

Assessments in Maths, reading comprehension, writing and spelling are carried out at the beginning of Year 7. These, alongside information from primary schools and parents, are used to identify needs. Learning support staff then offer recommendations, appropriate teaching strategies and curriculum modifications. Detailed information about all students on the SEN support list is made available to staff at the beginning of each academic year and is regularly up-dated on the school’s intranet.

The majority of support is provided in class. However, occasionally, students are withdrawn from lessons, either in groups or individually, depending on the level of need. We aim to be flexible in our approach to support and try to meet individual needs.

In Year 7, the emphasis is on raising literacy standards to enable all students to access the secondary curriculum. This is achieved by:

  • Paired Reading with 6th former for reading comprehension
  • Toe-by-Toe, a phonic based reading programme to develop reading accuracy and fluency
  • Literacy Catch-up for those students who have not achieved level 4 in English
  • Homework club at lunchtime with two Learning Support Assistants

A small number of year 8 and 9 students are offered additional literacy and numeracy lessons to further develop skills.


Key Stage 4

The majority of support is provided in class. We aim to provide opportunities to achieve the highest possible grades, sometimes in a reduced number of subjects. There is also the opportunity for some pupils to do an extended work experience programme. Those studying a single science receive additional literacy and numeracy support. Certain students continue to have one-to-one support as specified in their Education Health and Care Plan.


Key Stage 5

Individual students are helped with essay skills, study skills and any specific difficulty.


Extra-curricular activities/clubs

  • Drop-in homework and games club each lunchtime


Mrs. M. Shallcross, SENCo 

The department has four Learning Support Assistants


External Agencies

Education Psychology Service

Low Incidence Team (sensory and physical impairment)

Communication Disorders Team

Speech and Language Therapy Service

Chessbrook Outreach



See SEN Information Report below.


SEN Core Offer



  1. How does the school know if children/young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have Special Educational Needs?

The subject teachers in the school will identify if your child has Special Educational Needs (SEN).  They will be the first people to address your child’s individual needs within the classroom setting. They will also use information provided from primary schools and results from prior testing. Information from parents regarding their child’s history is valuable evidence in supporting identification.Your child is assessed regularly throughout the school year and the results from this help assess whether or not your child has SEN.

If you think that your child has SEN, please contact the school directly.

  1. How will school staff support my child?

The majority of your child’s learning needs will be supported or addressed by high quality, differentiated teaching in the classroom.

Additional SEN Support may be required where evidence points to the pupil needing support ‘additional to or different from their peers’.

For a few SEN pupils, highly differentiated and individualised interventions may be necessary.



  1. How will I know how my child is doing?

If your child is identified as having SEN, you will be notified by the school and a graduated approach supporting your child will be put in place.  Your views and the views of your child will be requested when considering appropriate interventions.

Information will be shared with you at review meetings in addition to normal reporting arrangements.


  1. How will the learning and development provision be matched to my child’s needs?

All teaching staff work towards ‘Quality First Teaching’ which ensures that provision is made in each lesson for meeting the diverse needs of all learners. This may include appropriate seating plans within the classroom, specialist IT equipment for students with specific needs and where identified, additional support may be offered in lessons.  Relevant staff will be made aware of your child’s identified needs.


  1. What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?

The school will have access to medical intervention by the Student Welfare Officer or key members of staff.  There are also first aid trained staff, opportunities for vaccinations, health checks and staff training where appropriate.

Pastoral teams are also available to support the student’s social and emotional wellbeing and will liaise with parents/carers.  There may be referral to appropriate outside agencies.

Access to the Hertfordshire County Council School Nurse Service


  1. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?

Specialist teacher for Access Arrangements, Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language Team, Low Incidence Team (sensory & physical impairment), Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), Communication Disorders Team, Targeted Youth Support Team, Counsellors, Education Support Team for Medical Absence (ESTMA) and other services as required and appropriate.


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

The school has an ongoing programme of Continuing Professional Development opportunities both in and out of the school for all staff.

In addition, your child’s teachers and support staff will have access to a designated Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). 


  1. How will you help me to support my child’s learning?

We will communicate with you regarding your child’s progress on a regular basis.  This may be through parent’s evenings, normal reporting procedures, contact with form tutors, subject teachers, pastoral leaders, and/or the SENCO.


  1. How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child’s education?

All the contact mentioned in section 8 will provide you with an opportunity to discuss plans for your child’s education.

In addition, the pupils receiving SEN Support will follow the graduated response as recommended by the SEN Code of Practice, 2014 and will include you in the ‘Assess, Plan, Do, Review’ formula.


  1. How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?

All reasonable adjustments will be made in order that your child is given the opportunity to participate in activities outside the classroom including school trips.


  1. How accessible is the school environment?

The school has an accessibility plan and most areas of the school are accessible for students who have good to moderate mobility.  Some areas of the school are inaccessible to students with poor mobility.  This is addressed in the School’s Accessibility Plan.


  1. Who can I contact for further information?

Your first point of contact in the school will be your child’s Director of Learning who may liaise with the Learning Support Team if required. The Senco is Mrs Maggie Shallcross email


  1. How will the school prepare and support my child to join the school, transfer to a new school or the next stage of education and life?

The school will help prepare and support your child through their transition from primary school by liaising with their previous school and sharing information.  We will further provide information to ongoing schools or colleges in line with statutory requirements from the SEN Code of Practice, 2014.


  1. How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s Special Educational Needs?

The budget for SEN pupils is used to provide staffing and relevant resources for those pupils identified as requiring SEN Support.


  1. How is the decision made about how much support my child will receive?

All teaching staff work towards ‘Quality First Teaching’ which ensures that provision is made in each lesson to meet the diverse needs of all learners. 

The support that your child will receive will depend upon the type and degree of need which is ‘additional to and different from that of their peers’.


  1. How can I find information about the local authority’s Local Offer of services and provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disability

Via Herts SEND