SEND – Special Educational Needs and Disability- Information Report (September 2021)

Our vision:

Thomas Gainsborough School strives to ensure that all students leave 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 learners with a wide variety of needs. We strongly believe that through quality teaching all children can be challenged in their learning to make their best progress. While planning the different learning challenges at all key stages, we ensure that the needs of all students are met through concise planning and differentiation.

How are additional needs catered for?

On some occasions some of our learners 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 in the classroom or in small groups led by a teacher 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 pupils. Parents and the young person 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 learner’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

and slow progress will be identified through the 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 child or young person and their parents. Quality first teaching ensures teachers plan and deliver learning challenges for all learner groups within the class.

Wave 1

The class teacher, academic tutor or student support manager will discuss progress with the young person and their parents and plan to provide additional support within the classroom, to help secure progress and close gaps in learning. Support will be closely monitored. If no progress is made or further strategies are needed, they will discuss next steps with the Head of House, SENCo or student services manager. Parents will be informed about any outcomes and next steps. All students at TGS have an Individual Education Plan and this is completed during academic review day with the form tutor, targets are agreed and support identified where appropriate.

Wave 2

The class teacher, academic tutor, head of house and the SENCo, may plan extra interventions to support learning if it is felt that a learner needs different or additional support than what is happening within the classroom. This support could be, for example, extra support from a learning support assistant, learning mentor or personalised resources. This provision will be discussed and planned with the young person and their parents and progress will be monitored by the staff in conjunction with the appropriate staff member.

Wave 3

If a young person continues to make little or no progress over a period of time, the SENCo or Student services manager will seek advice from outside agencies including the local authority, Inclusion service or health. In this case, the child or young person and their parents will be consulted in a meeting and may be 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 learner. Personalised interventions will be planned to support progress.

What is an Education, Health and care plan?

In a minority of cases, where the learner 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 Statutory Assessment. This is where professionals at the local authority (Suffolk County Council) come together and discuss current support and progress of the child. This may then move towards an assessment for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or may be declined if it is felt that the young person's needs can be met at their setting through the local offer..

The Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan is a way of working that puts parents, children, young people and families at the very centre of the assessment and planning process, to make sure that your views are not only heard but also understood. It is a statutory recognition that a learner needs specific support in their learning. The EHCP is for children and young people 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.

Key Contacts:

SENco: Nicola Wilby  – and Tina O'Beirne -