How did the College respond to COVID for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities?

March- April 2020

  1. 14 students- SEND Support accessed school as part of the key worker/ vulnerable group
  2. 5 students- EHCP accessed school as part of the key worker/ vulnerable group (these students accessed school due to their SEND needs
  3. 1 student- EHCP continued to access external alternative provision throughout.

The following information outlines the measures and actions taken from the Inclusion team, to ensure safeguarding, academic and emotional support of students whilst not receiving face to face contact in addition to the whole school approach:

  • Every student with an Education, Health and Care Plan, Looked After Children and those deemed as vulnerable received their weekly phone calls by the Inclusion Leadership Team.
  • Additional phone calls took place to support individual students who were flagged as struggling.
  • Key workers contacted students as an additional means of communication.
  • Staff emailed students and parents with additional support.
  • Some students deemed as most vulnerable or struggling due to their needs received more frequent checking in, some of which have been daily.
  • The Senior Teacher for Inclusion monitored CPOMS daily for concerns flagged for Inclusion students requiring additional actions.
  • Nurture Group packs were created and supplied to students. Initially this was for Nurture group students only, however students from across the whole school accessed these resources when they struggled with the content of the main body of academic resources. These packs included additional resources to support home learning such as hundreds squares. These also included activities to develop fine motor skills and handwriting activities that can be done at home.
  • Paper packs of work were provided for students who do not have computer access.
  • Paper packs were provided on coloured paper to support dyslexic learners with their colour preference.
  • Colour overlays were sent to students to support with reading at home.
  • Due to shielding, some students were unable to physically touch paper packs sent out due to the risk of contamination, therefore work was supplied to these students electronically.
  • Some of our most disadvantaged students received laptops and dongles so they could access online learning.
  • For students who have struggled to engage in learning due to their Special Educational Needs (for example ASD learners who need to differentiate between home and school), challenges were shared on Social Media including opportunities to develop social skills.
  • Life Skill development opportunities were shared with students and parents/ carers on an individual basis where required.
  • Vocational support was provided to students.
  • Additional nuggets were set for students who access the Shine Centre on Century Learning.
  • Revision guides/ exercise books were provided to students with additional support and guidance to complete tasks.
  • Additional phone calls took place to parents to offer specific learning support and advice for students with various areas of difficulty e.g. how to support your dyslexic student at home- this was done on an as and when required basis.

May – July 2020

  1. 7 additional students- EHCP started attending school during June 2020 as part of Key worker/ vulnerable group. This cohort of students were mainly reintegrated into school due to their anxieties and social and emotional health affected by lockdown.
  2. All EHCP students accessing school have received additional conversations to prepare them for sessions in school. Contact with most parents/ carers occurred weekly to keep them informed of the provision and support plans for the week ahead. Some students received photographs to prepare them for the new layouts, restrictions and rules and some attended shorter ‘pre-visits’ with a gradual increase in time when appropriate.
  • Bullet points as detailed March- April 2020 continued throughout May- July 2020
  • Reading Pens were provided to all year 10 students who are eligible for readers in their exams. Sessions took place in school for these to demonstrate and support with accessibility.
  • The Assessment and Intervention Lead created an online wellbeing intervention for students who were struggling with feelings of negativity during the lockdown situation. This was aimed at students who receive little support or involvement from external agencies.
  • ELSA sessions took place with students over the phone and whilst students were in school.
  • Pre- Educational Psychology assessments took place for some students accessing the building.
  • 1:1 face to face sessions for some of our most vulnerable students took place to try and engage them in their learning.
  • Joint work with CAMHS.
  • Tours and ‘pre-visits’  for some SEND students prior to them accessing the building.
  • Hand delivering food vouchers to some students.
  • Support on translation of letters to some students with EAL.


Year 11:

  • Additional communication, meetings and phone calls with year 11 students identified as requiring additional support in moving into post 16 providers.
  • CSP’s updated for identified year 11 students requiring information for College.
  • Telephone meetings with post-16 providers to discuss SEND needs of identified students.
  • Access Arrangements information provided to colleges where requests have been made.

Year 6:

  • Weekly contact made with Local Authority to discuss and update on EHCP students
  • Telephone conversations from Senior Teacher for Inclusion and Assistant SENDCo to all parents of EHCP students
  • Zoom meetings with Senior Teacher for Inclusion, Assistant SENDCo and Key Worker to all EHCP students and parents
  • Zoom meetings between EHCP students and their key workers which replaced the enhanced transition that would normally take place.
  • Face to face tours of the school for all EHCP students and their parents alongside their key workers.
  • Risk Assessments created to allow face to face tours to take place.
  • Meetings in school for some EHCP parents to discuss student’s needs.
  • Zoom meetings/ telephone meetings will all primary school’s where students with SEND are transitioning to HTCS.
  • Transition tracker collated alongside Local Authority and pilot primary schools.
  • Student Overviews and other documentation collated on SEND students to provide information to staff on all SEND needs.
  • Electronic EHCP’s obtained for all new students.
  • Differentiated transition booklets provided to SEND students.
  • Zoom meetings with schools regarding Looked After Children.
  • Additional phone call contacts made to Looked After Children’s carers.

Students transitions from High Tunstall to other settings:

  • Transition session continued for students moving into special school provisions from High Tunstall College of Science. Staff attended face to face sessions and meetings for these students.


  • All PEP and LAC reviews have taken place via Zoom Meetings or Conference calls. All LAC students are up to date with their reviews.
  • Zoom meetings with those students involved in mental health interventions.
  • Transition meetings between Senior Teacher for Inclusion and Assistant SENDCO and their primary schools for all SEND students.
  • Zoom meetings for EHCP year 6 students and their parents.
  • Telephone meetings with CAMHS
  • Telephone meetings with Educational Psychology team
  • Telephone meetings with Social Workers
  • Telephone meetings with Speech and Language
  • Email and telephone communications with Local Authorities
  • Shine Centre- Team meetings via zoom, Teams, Text, Email and Phone
  • Inclusion- Team meetings via zoom, Teams, Text, Email and Phone
  • Head of Faculties for Communications, World Affairs and Discovery have attended Inclusion Team meetings to discuss curriculum.
  • Senior Teacher for Inclusion, Assistant SENDCo and Alternative Provision Teacher have met regularly with faculties to discuss teaching and learning of subject areas.
  • Assessment and Intervention Lead has received ELSA Support and Zoom Supervision by Educational Psychology Team.
  • Shine Centre work has continued via meetings with North East Wellbeing service.


Training delivered:

The Assistant SENDCo has delivered sessions to staff on:

  • Four areas of need
  • Low arousal approach to learning
  • Dyslexia
  • ADHD

The Alternative Provision Teacher has delivered sessions to staff on:

  • Trauma informed training

The Education Psychology Team have delivered sessions to staff on:

  • Suicide Response Training

Training attended:

There is an enormous amount of training that has been attended since the lockdown across the Inclusion Team. This includes training on:

  • Child Protection- An Introduction to the Thematics
  • Child Sexual Exploitation
  • Stopping Child Sexual Abuse
  • County Lines
  • Serious Violence and Knife Crime
  • FGM Awareness
  • Forced Marriage
  • Honour Based Violence
  • Fire Safety Awareness in Educational Settings
  • Fire Warden in Educational Settings
  • SEND Leadership Webinars
  • Reach out ASC- Transitioning back to school webinar
  • The Communication Trust- Intro to SLCN
  • Effective SEN Provision
  • Low Arousal Approached to Learning
  • Dr Temple Grandin Webinar- Empowering Autistic Individuals to be successful
  • Breaking the cycle of emotional based school avoidance
  • Breaking the cycle of self-harm
  • Promoting positive body image
  • Meeting the mental health needs of pupils with SEND
  • Bereavement strategies webinar
  • Speech, language and communication needs webinar
  • Responding calmly to meltdowns
  • SEND Code of Practice
  • ADHD- Understanding ADHD
  • Autism- Good Practice in Education
  • Autism, Asperger’s and ADHD
  • ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder)
  • Art and Therapeutic Design
  • Art Therapy
  • Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Behaviour Management
  • Challenging Behaviour
  • Childhood Trauma
  • Depression, Anxiety and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
  • Dyslexia- The Dyslexic Student
  • Dyslexia- Understanding Dyslexia
  • FAST (Foetal Alcohol Syndrome)
  • Lamb Schaffer Syndrome
  • Listening to Young Children
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of other languages)
  • Trauma
  • MYOn Training

August 2020

  • All students on the SEND register and students accessing the Shine Centre (not on SEND register) have had their Student Overview documents updated. Some students have been added to the SEND register and therefore Overviews have been created.
  • Risk Assessments have been written for all students accessing the Shine Centre and/ or Nurture Group/ ARP where appropriate.
  • CSP’s have been updated for all Shine Centre students.
  • Planning for the new curriculum has taken place for the Shine Centre, including- Child Development, Maths, English, Financial Education, Team Building, Form Time activities, work experience opportunities, therapeutic programme, vocational pathways. Links have also been made to ensure the technology and enterprise curriculum in embedded within the Shine Centre curriculum.
  • Target setting, Boxall profiles and student folders are in place for all students accessing the Shine Centre.
  • Word bank resources have been created for students which includes key vocabulary for each subject in each year group.
  • Inclusion Assistant profile handbook has been created to ensure teachers know how to get the best out of the Inclusion Assistants.
  • Curriculum resources have been prepared.
  • Inclusion Assistants have linked in with faculties to support with the differentiation of resources and discussions on how the curriculum can meet the needs of SEND learners.
  • A SEND training resource pack has been created based upon training notes made from all training session attended which will be shared with all staff.
  • Long term plans for ELSA have been written.
  • Individual student assessments have been created into reports.
  • Home visits have taken place to support the emotional needs of identified students.
  • SEND student voice has been analysed and created into a report.
  • SEND attendance has been analysed.
  • Support timetables have been started for next year to support across Mainstream, Shine, Nurture, EAL and LAC support.
  • Nurture group curriculum has been created for September 2020 in line with mainstream curriculum.
  • Work between SEND and faculty leaders has taken place to devise 1-page profiles of how each faculty delivers the curriculum to SEND across Mainstream, Nurture, Shine and Additional Opportunities and Support.
  • ARC displays updated.
  • All EHCP student outcomes have been updated
  • Intervention and entry and exit trackers for the ARC have been updated.
  • Risk Assessments for all EHCP students during lock down have been updated throughout.
  • Liaison with the Local Authority has taken place regularly around updating EHCP.
  • EHCP reviews where they were unable to take place due to closure have happened virtually and all documentation has been submitted to the LA.
  • Timetabling requirements have been shared for mainstream, Shine and Nurture Group.
  • Staff timetables for in school have been updated regularly to meet the needs of students accessing school.
  • Staff recruitment has taken place and all Inclusion Assistants have been made permanent and 2 new Inclusion Assistants have been appointed on fixed term contracts.
  • Team Teach training has been scheduled for September for refresher and November for initial.
  • Student Support logs have been updated.
  • During August, all EHCP parents were contacted and support plans were created based on Septembers Covid restrictions for schools. Each student received an individual support plan.

September – October 2020

  • All students on the SEND register allocated an Inclusion Assistant as a mentor as part of the new Inclusion Mentor Programme. This was devised in response to Covid, acknowledging that students would require a key member of staff to speak to regularly.
  • Inclusion Assistants allocated into year group areas to support with pastoral needs.
  • Continuous work with parents- phonecalls, meetings (mainly virtual but some face to face depending on families)
  • Large number of students tested for dyslexia due to missed time during lockdown being unable to assess students needs.
  • All students with a diagnosis of dyslexia received 1:1 sessions with Assessment and Intervention lead regarding their diagnosis and how we could best support them. Dyslexia was identified as an area where we felt SEND students struggled the most during lockdown.
  • All Inclusion mentors worked with their mentees to update overview documents given new ways of working in school – e.g. staying static rather than moving.
  • EHCP reviews took place in first term to ensure provision was appropriate for students given changes to school.
  • Hydro sessions reinstated for students requiring physical interventions.
  • Team Teach training revisited due to Covid restrictions
  • Limited footfall in ARC to protect students with medical needs
  • Additional reading pens bought to support students struggling with literacy
  • Catch-up sessions put in place to support students across the curriculum.
  • Nurture and Shine centre curriculums adapted in line with Covid restrictions
  • Regular meetings with Educational Psychologists.

November – December 2020

  • As above +
  • All EHCP’s completed virtually.
  • Some students timetables changed and placed into the ARC/ Shine due to struggling in mainstream.
  • All curriculum 1-page profiles updated to show curriculum changes/ adaptations due to Covid

January – March 2021

  • All EHCP students actively encouraged to attend school during lockdown (large proportion of students attended)
  • Much larger number of SEND support students attended school during lockdown
  • Social stories created to support students with understanding the use of masks given updated Covid guidance
  • Continuation of mentoring programme regardless of whether students were in school or out.
  • EHCP outcomes tracker provided to all staff to ensure staff were continuing to meet EHCP legal requirements whether they were teaching face to face or virtually. Tracker updated with student progress.
  • Inclusion Assistants allocated to key worker/ vulnerable groups in school. Teams allocated around relationships with students already formed.
  • 1:1 sessions with students struggling in school e.g. Assessment and Intervention lead
  • Coloured overlays, reading pens, coloured work packs, etc sent home for students.
  • Guidance sent to staff regarding teaching students with visual and hearing impairments via virtual live lessons e.g. subtitles, camera angles etc

March – May 2021

  • Teaching and Learning Lead Teacher for SEND appointed to develop mainstream provision for students with SEND
  • New Assessment and Intervention lead in post to develop individual SEND strategies,
  • Ongoing virtual meetings to address EHCP and SEND Support needs
  • Continuation of development of TPPT for transition
  • Virtual SEND handover meetings and PCP’S
  • Afterschool visits to HTCS for students with SEND in year 6 as part of transition
  • Increase in Teachers who Teach meetings for individual students struggling
  • External provision sourced for student in year 11 with EHCP who has been significantly impacted by Covid
  • Enhanced pastoral support for students with SEND whose families have been impacted due to Covid.
  • All students with new diagnosis’ of Dyslexia have received 1:1 sessions (as done previously with already diagnosed students)
  • HLTA x 2 posts created to develop SEND provision within alternative provisions given increase in need following lockdowns.

The college continue to provide additional support to students as a response to COVID.