Key Contacts: SENCo: Nicola Wilby


SEND – Special Educational Needs and Disability- Information Report 2023-2024

Our vision:

Our school strives to ensure that all students leave Thomas Gainsborough as confident, resilient individuals, positive about their future and equipped to deal with challenges – having a learning difficulty or disability is not seen as a barrier to making progress. There is a shared belief that all students can achieve: ‘Excellence for each, for all.’

Who does our school cater for?

Thomas Gainsborough School is a mainstream 11-19 secondary school which caters for students with a wide variety of needs. We strongly believe that through quality teaching all students can be challenged in their learning to make their best progress. While preparing the different learning challenges at all key stages, we ensure that the needs of all students are met through concise planning, differentiation and quality first teaching.

How are additional needs catered for?

On some occasions some of our students will need to access additional support to that which is available in the classroom day to day. This may be to support with their next steps in learning or to help them access the curriculum effectively. This provision may be adaptations in the classroom or in small groups led by a teacher, a literacy tutor or a learning support assistant. It may be for a short or longer period of time and will be regularly monitored by the class teachers and the SENCo by measuring the progress being made by the students. Parents and the student will be consulted and informed about the interventions offered and how they are making progress.

What are Special Educational Needs and how are they identified?

If a student’s needs are significantly greater than those of their peers, or if they have a disability which may hinder their educational progress and attainment, then they are considered to have a Special Educational Need. Special Educational Needs can be categorised as difficulties with;

  • Communication and interaction

  • Cognition and learning

  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties

  • Sensory and/or physical difficulties

The four categories and below expected progress will be identified through whole school assessment systems, supported by additional testing and monitoring of reading, writing, spelling and mathematics and through classroom observation.

What provision is in place for children with Special Educational Needs?

We follow national guidance regarding stages of SEND, which is a staggered approach classed as waves. Learners may move up or down the waves as necessary, according to their needs, alongside consultation with the student and their parents. Quality first teaching ensures teachers plan and deliver learning challenges for all learner groups within the class.

The following categories are used to identify students:

Additional Needs (A)

Students are added to the additional needs support register when their primary need is not SEND but they are receiving support to reduce or remove barriers to learning. For example, the use of a chrome book or coloured paper resources.


Students who have a documented SEND need will be added to the SEND register. This allows the SENCo to monitor those students more closely and to target additional intervention, where appropriate, in order to support progress.

If a student continues to make little or no progress over a period of time, the SENCo will seek advice from outside agencies such as Speech and Language Therapists or the Educational Psychologist. In this case, the student and their parents will be consulted in a meeting and asked to give written consent for

external agencies to work with their child. The external agencies and school will then work together to devise the best ways to support the student. Individual interventions will be planned to support progress.

What is an Education, Health and care plan?

In a minority of cases, where the student continues to make little or no progress, or is found to have a specific educational need, then the school and/or parents can request a Multi-Disciplinary Assessment. This is where professionals come together from a variety of agencies and discuss current support and progress of the student.

This may then move towards an assessment for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

The Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan puts parents, children, young people and families at the very centre of the assessment and planning process, to make sure that all views are not only heard but also understood. It is a statutory recognition that a student needs specific support in their learning. The EHCP is for students who have special educational needs and disabilities and where an assessment of education, health and social care needs has been agreed by a multi-agency group of professionals.

The School’s contribution to the Local Authority’s Local Offer can be found on Suffolk County Council’s Website.

The Unity Trust SEND policy can be found on our website.