Identification of Students with SEND

Subject Teachers may conclude that the strategies they are currently using with a student are not resulting in them learning as effectively as possible.  In these circumstances, they will consult the SENCO to consider what else might be done.  The starting point will always be a review of the strategies being used and the way in which these might be developed. Evaluation of the strategies in place may lead to the conclusion that the students requires help over and above that which is normally available within the particular class or subject. Consideration will then be given to helping the student through School Action.  The key test of the need for action is evidence that current rates of progress are inadequate.  Adequate progress can be defined in a number of way.  It might, for instance, be progress which:

  • Closes the attainment gap between the student and their peers.
  • Prevents the attainment gap growing wider.
  • Is similar to that of peers starting from the same attainment baseline, but less than that of the majority of peers.
  • Matches or betters the student’s previous rate of progress.
  • Ensures access to the full curriculum.
  • Demonstrates an improvement in self-help, social or personal skills.
  • Demonstrates improvements in the student’s behaviour.
  • Is likely to lead to appropriate accreditation.
  • Is likely to lead to participation in further education, training and/or employment.

HTCS adopts a graduated response to meeting special needs that requires the initial use of those resources usually available within the classroom or college as a whole before bringing specialist expertise to bear on the difficulties that a pupil is experiencing.  When a young person is identified as having special educational needs, the college will intervene as described below at School Action and School Action Plus.

School Action: When a student is identified as having special educational needs, HTCS will provide interventions that are additional to or different from those provided as part of the school’s usual differentiated curriculum.  This intervention will be described as School Action.

The triggers for intervention though School Action could be concern, underpinned by evidence, about a student who, despite receiving differentiated learning opportunities:

  • Makes little or no progress even when teaching approaches are targeted particularly in the student’s identified area of weakness.
  • Shows signs of difficulty in developing literacy or mathematics skills that result in poor attainment in some curriculum areas.
  • Presents persistent emotional and/or behavioural difficulties, which are not adequately supported by the behaviour management techniques usually employed in the school.
  • Has sensory or physical problems, and continues to make little or no progress despite the provision of specialist equipment.
  • Has communication and/or interaction difficulties, and continues to make little or no progress despite the provision of a differentiated curriculum.

If we conclude, after consulting parents, that a student may need further support to help them progress, we will consider our reasons for concern alongside any information about the student already available to the college.  The SENCO will support the assessment of the student, assisting in planning future support for the student in discussion with colleagues and monitoring the action taken.  The student’s subject and pastoral teachers will remain responsible for working with them, for assisting in the planning of individualised programme and for the delivery of such a programme.

In some cases outside professionals from health or social services may already be involved with the child.  In such instances it is good practice for these professionals to liaise with the school and keep them informed of their input.  If these professionals have not been working with the college, the SENCO, with the parent’s permission, will contact them.

Nature of Intervention

The SENCO and the student’s subject teachers, in discussion with the child’s parents, will decide on the action needed to help the student to progress in the light of their earlier assessment.  This might be:

  • To provide different learning materials or special equipment.
  • To introduce some group or individual support.
  • To devote adult time to devising the nature of the planned intervention and to monitoring its effectiveness.
  • To undertake staff development and training aimed at introducing more effective strategies.
  • Access to LA support services for one-off occasional advice on strategies or equipment or for staff training.
  • To provide effective intervention without the need for regular or ongoing input from external agencies.


School Action Plus is characterised by the involvement of external services such as special needs advisory teachers, education psychologists etc.  A request for help form external services is likely to follow a decision taken by the SENCO and colleagues, in consultation with parents, at a review of the child’s LSP, although if concern is noted prior to such a review we shall contact parents to discuss the possible involvement of external services at this time.  At School Action Plus external support services will usually see the child, so that they can advise subject and pastoral staff on new LSPs, with fresh targets and accompanying strategies, provide more specialist assessments that can inform planning  and the measurement of a student’s progress, give advice on the use of new or specialist strategies or materials, and in some cases provide support for particular activities.   The triggers for School Action Plus could be that, despite receiving an individualised programme and/or concentrated support, the student:

  • Continues to make little or no progress in specific areas over a long period.
  • Continues working at National Curriculum levels substantially below that expected of pupils of a similar age.
  • Continues to have difficulty in developing literacy and mathematics skills.
  • Have emotional or behavioural difficulties which substantially and regularly interfere with their own learning or that of the class group, despite having an individualised behaviour management programme.
  • Has sensory or physical needs, and requires additional specialist equipment or regular advice or visits, providing direct intervention to the student or advice to the staff, by a specialist service.
  • Has on going communication or interaction difficulties that impede the development of social relationships and cause substantial barriers to learning.

When we seek the help of external support services, those services will need to see the student’s records in order to establish which strategies have already been employed and which targets have been set and achieved.  The external specialist may act in an advisory capacity, provide additional specialist assessment or be involved in teaching the student directly.  External agencies to be consulted may include the Educational Psychology Service, Advisory and Support teachers, the Education Welfare Service, Social Services and the Health Service.  The resulting IEP for the pupil will set out the new strategies for supporting the student’s progress with the strategies specialist in the IEP, implemented in most cases in the classroom setting. Application of the IEP will remain the responsibility of subject teachers.

If the SENCO and the external specialist consider that the information gathered about the student is insufficient, and that more detailed advice must be obtained from other outside professionals, then the consent of the student’s parents will be obtained.

Information regarding the needs of any student deemed to have ‘SEN’ is held on a centrally maintained, confidential SEN register.

School Request for Statutory Assessment

For a few students the help given by HTCS through its provision at School Action Plus may not be sufficient to enable them to make adequate progress.  It will then be necessary for the college, in consultation with the parents and any external agencies already involved, to consider whether to ask the LA to initiate a statutory assessment.  Where a request for a statutory assessment is made to the LA, the student will have demonstrated significant cause for concern and we will provide written evidence as required by Hartlepool LA detailing:

  • The school’s action through School Action and School Action Plus.
  • Individual education plans for the students.
  • Records of regular reviews and their outcomes.
  • National Curriculum level attainments.
  • Other assessment data.
  • Written reports from an advisory specialist support teacher or an educational psychologist if available.
  • Views of the parents and of the student.
  • The involvement of any other professionals.
  • Any known involvement by the social services or education welfare service.

Depending upon the outcome of such a request, statutory assessment may take place.  Parents will be offered an Independent Parental Supporter (IPS)Correct term for Hartlepool? to help them through the statutory assessment process. Following statutory assessment, the LA may issue a statement of the child’s special educational needs.

Annual Review of a Statement of special educational needs

All statements will be reviewed at least annually with the parents, the pupil, the LA and HTCS to consider whether any amendments need to be made to the description of the student’s needs or to the special educational provision specified in the statement.  The annual review will focus on what the child has achieved as well as on difficulties that need to be resolved.  The annual review held in year 9 is particularly significant in preparing for the student’s transition to employment, the further education sector, work-based training, higher education and adult life.  The aim of the annual review in year 9 and subsequent years is to review the young person’s statement and draw up and review the Transition Plan.