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SEND Policy

Co-op Academy Swinton

SEND Policy

Version |  September 2023

Approved by AGC


Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Policy        3

Our Mission        4

Our SEND Faculty:        5

Aims for supported students:        6

Objectives:        6

Policy for Multicultural Education        8

Nurture        9

The Strive Centre        9

Assessment of SEND Students        11

Interventions within school and from outside agencies:        11

Review:        12

The allocation of resources to and amongst supported students:        13

Access arrangements for SATs and GCSEs:        14

Arrangements for providing access for students:        15

Appendix        16

Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome        16

Autism        18

Myths about autism        19

Dyspraxia        23

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)        25

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Policy

New legislation (The Children and Families Act 2014), enacted on 13 March, came into force on 1 September 2014. A new SEND Code of Practice released in 2015 also accompanies this legislation.

Definition of SEND The Children and Families Act 2014 section 20 (C & F Act 2014 s.20) defines when a child or young person has special educational needs (SEND). This is when they have either a learning difficulty or a disability and they need special educational provision (SEP) to be made for them. SEP is defined as any education or training provision which is additional to or different from that generally made for others of the same age in mainstream schools or post-16 institutions in England.

More details about the reforms and the SEND Code of Practice can be found on the Department for Education’s website:

The New Code of Practice has introduced several changes, but the most significant change arising from the reforms, is that Statements of Special Educational Needs, for those children with the most complex needs, have now been replaced with a new Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan.

These plans are being supported by an Education, Health and Care Plan Pathway.

The SEND Local Offer is a resource which is designed to support children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities and their families. It describes the services and provision that are available both to those families in Salford that have an Education, Health and Care Plan and those who do not have a plan, but still experience some form of special educational need. The SEND Local Offer includes information about public services across education, health and social care, as well as those provided by the private, voluntary and community sectors:

Our Mission

Our academy ‘Ways of Being’ are;

  • Show you Care
  • Succeed Together
  • Be Yourself Always
  • Do What Matters Most

These values are the foundation on which our educational philosophy is built. We are seeking to establish a culture in which learning is pre-eminent, ultra-professional and efficient, inclusive and participatory and which is prepared to undertake radical change in the pursuit of a quality education for our students. We aim for a culture of achievement, which is based on rewards, not punishment, which encourages individual growth, shares the common value of 'Respect' and the concept of a 'common good'. We value our students' views reflected through a thriving student council.

The following definition is taken from the Code of Practice.

A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability, which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.  

A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

Has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than most others of the same age,


Has a disability, which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.

Children must not be regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught.

Special educational provision means:

a)        provision for children of two or over, educational provision which is additional to, or otherwise different from, the educational provision made generally for children of their age in schools maintained by the LEA, other than special schools, in the area.

b)        Disabled children and young people. Many children and young people who have SEN may have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 – that is ‘…a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. This definition provides a relatively low threshold and includes more children than many realise: ‘long-term’ is defined as ‘a year or more’ and ‘substantial’ is defined as ‘more than minor or trivial’.

This definition includes sensory impairments such as those affecting sight or hearing, and long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and cancer. Children and young people with such conditions do not necessarily have SEN, but there is a significant overlap between disabled children and young people and those with SEN. Where a disabled child or young person requires special educational provision, they will also be covered by the SEN definition.

‘Every Teacher is a Teacher of SEN’

Our SEND Faculty:

Named Governor:        TBC

SENDCO:                Mr Malcolm Dodd

SENDCO Assistants:        Mrs Elaine Seward

HLT Assistant:                Mrs Joy Stewart

Teaching Assistant:        Miss Megan Maher / Mrs Umar / Mr Poluna / Mrs Rice / Mrs Ali / Mrs Scott

Isolation Manager:        Mr Chris Bowcutt

LAC:                        Miss Vicki Macgregor

Year Managers:        Mr Sloan

Miss Daley

Mr Cavanah

Miss Stevens

Miss Carrington

Miss MacGregor

Miss Cope

Mr Williams                                  


Aims for supported students:

To ensure full entitlement and access to high quality education within a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum (including access to the National Curriculum) so that they can reach their full potential and enhance their self-esteem.

  1. To educate students, wherever possible, alongside their peers with differentiated learning activities so that all students make progress within the school environment and reach their full potential.
  2. To stimulate and/maintain student curiosity, interest and enjoyment in their own education.
  3. To identify and assess students as early and thoroughly as is possible and necessary using outside agencies and the skills of SEND staff to implement a graduated intervention process. Involve a range of strategies and interventions measuring their impact. Through monitoring and evaluating these interventions by both pastoral and specialist staff to affect change on the individual student in a positive way.
  4. To fully involve parents and pupils in identification and assessment, to strive for close co-operation for a multi-disciplinary approach to the removal of barriers to learning. The individual learning passport is to be effectively implemented in the classroom. Support of parents is crucial if an Educational Health Care (EHC) plan or Learning Passport (LP) is in place.
  5. To meet the needs of all the students by offering continual and appropriate forms of educational provision by the most efficient use of all available resources.
  6. To provide support and assistance in setting smart targets for students and tailored learning programmes during lessons and establish working partnerships between support staff and the students.


These objectives relate directly to the six aims of the faculty of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and are intended to show how the structures and systems that are in place put the aims into practice.

1a)         The Coordinator of primary liaison, Year Manager and Senior Line Manager ensure that students are supported through the transition to secondary school. Students are identified before they come into the school and our staff are briefed about successful strategies and interventions that have been used for SEN. For students with a Statement or Educational Health Care Plan, determines admission with advice from the SENDCO at the secondary school so that the school can meet the needs of the child, along with parental preference and in consultation with governing bodies.

1b)         The Director of Learning works closely with subject leaders of the school curriculum and timetable to ensure:

  • It is balanced, i.e. it allows for and facilitates adequate development in each faculty and skill area;
  • It allows for differentiation according to individual needs;
  • It offers equality of opportunity and access to the different curricular and skills areas.

The curriculum is reviewed to ensure that it is relevant to the children and provides challenge to all students regardless of their ability. Changing avenues of learning through (IDL) multi-sensory approaches to learning which are student centred provides key life skills and develops self confidence and addresses gaps in pupils’ development to acquire new skills and enhance self well being.

2a)         The faculty offers advice and Inset (training) opportunities to subject teachers and other departments on employing differentiated teaching methods and resources. Through department meetings and cross curricular SEN meetings, teachers discuss difficulties and develop solutions through practice and experience and cascade information to colleagues. We work with subject teachers, parents and students in developing Learning Passports which assist teachers in differentiated learning approaches.

2b)         The Faculty of SEND will:

  • provide expertise in the education of students with learning difficulties
  • provide expertise in the education of students with emotional and behavioural difficulties
  • provide expertise in the education of students with ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Autism etc
  • provide care and expertise for a small number of students with a physical disability or medical condition that affects access to the curriculum.
  • provide staged integration into mainstream for vulnerable students through Nurture groups and mentoring by pastoral staff - Form Tutors/Year Managers.
  • encourage older students to take on mentoring roles to help the younger students  
  • Peer mentoring, Nurture mentors etc
  • provide a learning base for students with little or no spoken English.

2c)         The Teaching Assistants will support students in mainstream lessons and will be assigned to different students following advice from the (EHC) plan to determine how much support is required. The teacher and TA will also offer support to other SEN students in the lesson that will benefit from the TA being in the lesson (incidental support) from the SEND support register.

Direct support is not always possible and so we will, on request, differentiate class work and homework resources. Close liaison between subject teachers and the support staff is necessary to develop the staff’s skills with respect to differentiation, making full use of the Learning Passports for SEN students.

The support staff ensure that subject staff are fully informed as to the special educational needs of any students in their charge. This is done by the publication of Individual Education Plans for academic staff to follow.

Educational provision is achieved through full integration into the mainstream school. Sensitive and creative adaptation of the curriculum may be required to match what is taught and how it is taught to the children’s aptitudes and abilities. This can be done by adopting appropriate teaching methods and resources which are sensitive to the expected pace of learning.  We consider that one of our key roles is to raise awareness of staff in these issues and to support them to ‘deliver’ multi sensory differentiated teaching from the curriculum to maximum effect.

Lessons are conducted in a secure, supportive and disciplined manner. The students and the staff interact in a manner that demonstrates mutual respect. The support staff believe that learning takes place most effectively in the context of a caring relationship and that good teacher/student relationships foster trust and promote self reliance and initiative.

Staff use a reward system, e.g. direct verbal praise, achievement points and/or praise in public (PIP) award. This encourages students to work to their full potential and to experience a sense of achievement.

The effectiveness of any assessment and intervention will be influenced by the involvement and interest of the child and his/her parents/carers. Both the parents/carers and the child have important and relevant information to offer. Successful education is dependent on the active and positive participation of parents/carers/students/teachers, supported when and where appropriate by other specific professionals and agencies. Parents/carers are always contacted if assessment or referral indicate that a child needs support.

Once that identification, assessment and intervention have taken place, students and parents/carers are kept regularly informed by a variety of means, e.g. personal contact, reports, annual reviews and letters outlining support arrangements. Meetings are organised as appropriate and all concerned individuals and agencies will be invited to attend.

Co-op Academy Swinton offers The Three Waves approach for SEN teaching.

  1. Quality first teaching
  2. The Strive Centre Page 9
  3. Nurture Page 9

Policy for Multicultural Education

The faculty’s contribution to multicultural education at Co-op Academy Swinton is essentially practical AND supportive of the student.


a   to improve the literacy skills of pupils for whom English is an additional language

b)  to facilitate access to the curriculum

c)   to ensure good progress throughout school career


a)   Students with little or no spoken English

The school has been advised that ‘immersion’ is the best way to develop linguistic skills in English.  Students therefore who enrol with little or no English are placed in mixed ability form groups and are encouraged to interact with their peers, both in lessons and in the playground. Hence, subjects such as Drama will actively use lessons to include EAL students. Pastorally, the Year Manager and Form Tutor will ensure that these children are befriended and helped by their peers, particularly during the first vital weeks in school.

EAL students are monitored in reading and spelling until they achieve literacy attainments appropriate for the secondary school curriculum, i.e. over 10.6 years on both tests.

Staff are required to use this information to differentiate their resources and guide classroom practice.


There are several key elements that contribute to the development of a successful Nurture group. Co-op Academy Swinton Nurture groups usually consist of approximately six students to two members of staff across Key Stage 3.

Once the children’s learning needs have been assessed, support is provided to help remove barriers to learning. The National Curriculum is moulded around the child’s needs and they are given work that is appropriate and meaningful, whilst considering developmental needs.

Staff involved understand how children develop and interact with them in a carefully considered and consistent way. They try to respond to the needs of the students in a measured manner. There is a strong emphasis on language, and staff try to make sure the child has been understood; nothing is taken for granted and everything is explained.

The relationship between the adults involved is explicitly supportive and nurturing, offering the children a role model that they will eventually emulate. Food, the most fundamental expression of care, is shared, helping children to attend to the needs of others and develop social skills. As the children learn, both academically and socially, they develop confidence. They become responsive to others, learn self-respect and take pride in behaving well and in achieving. Most are ready after about three school terms to return to their mainstream classes on a full-time basis.

The Boxall Profile:

Nurture groups use the Boxall Profile, a resource that helps teachers to plan effective intervention and support. The profile makes it easier to identify some of the reasons why students are behaving in a certain way and the skills they need to learn to make good use of their educational opportunities.

The Strive Centre

Our Strive Centre offers its students Supported Targeted Educational Programmes (STEPS) as an intervention strategy for those students who are experiencing difficulties within a certain area of the curriculum. These could include literacy, numeracy, self-esteem and confidence.  

Within the SEND department we aim to identify the barriers to learning and then work with our students and their parents/guardians to identify strategies, which can be used to enable successful reintegration in mainstream lessons. SEND staff will carry out assessments to see if learning difficulties are prevalent and affecting the displaying behaviour in a mainstream setting

National Curriculum documents highlight the need that all schools should provide inclusive, effective learning opportunities by:

  • Setting challenging but attainable targets
  • Respond to students’ diverse learning needs
  • Overcoming potential barriers to learning and assessment to demonstrate continuous progress.

At Co-op Academy Swinton, we believe that by working collaboratively with our mainstream colleagues we can provide a varied, challenging and individually tailored programme to meet the diverse needs of our students.

Students are referred to the Strive Centre after consultation between the SENDCO and year manager based on the students’ progress, both in lessons and around the school.  Students are initially referred for a series of interventions working in small groups helping students with their academic studies  

Following reintegration students’ progress is continually reviewed and usually have the option to attend drop in clinics on a weekly basis.

The Strive Centre has classes which contain approximately 6-8 students. Students are taught English, Maths, Science, Design, Music, Drama, Art along with a programme designed to enhance numeracy and literacy levels. There is also some specialist nurture input aimed at improving communication and language with a focus on behaviour management.

Aims of The Strive Centre:

These aims below work in partnership with our whole school aims.

In the Strive Centre we endeavour to:

  • Promote independence
  • Encourage the building of new relationships based on trust and respect
  • Encourage a positive attitude towards learning
  • Build confidence socially, emotionally and academically
  • Make students’ learning experiences both purposeful and fun
  • Create a positive and motivating learning environment

Expectations, discipline and homework:

As a staff we have high expectations of all students regarding behaviour, class work and completion of homework.  All students are always expected to be polite and courteous and show their understanding of classroom rules and the schools’ ways of being.

Within the Strive Centre and in the playground a high standard of behaviour is maintained.  

Sanctions range from short 30-minute corrections after school, to, in more extreme cases, 1 hour Corrections after multiple failures to engage with school rules.  In addition, parents/carers will be contacted to collect the student from school. In our contract with parents/carers it is also agreed that students can be held for up to 1 hour after school on the day of the incident.

At all times parents will be informed of any disciplinary action.


Within the SEN department we believe that homework is an important feature of our students’ education.  Homework should be a mutually supportive activity between home and school.

Work set should be supervised at home and as parents/carers you are encouraged to take an active interest in your child’s learning.

Homework will be given every week and your child will be told when it is due back and will record this in their planner for their own and your reference.

Assessment of SEND Students

  • Assess literacy of new intake at Junior School using Graded Literacy Assessment (GLA)
  • Identify students in need of support
  • Inform Pupil Progress Coordinator and Primary Liaison Coordinator of GLA and special educational needs of students identified through assessment and liaison work
  • Assess and monitor literacy for all Year 7 students
  • Assess and monitor progress in literacy for supported students, throughout the school
  • Collate assessments and provide staff with information on reading and spelling
  • Provide all staff with a record of student assessments and progress through Individual Educational Plans
  • Conduct diagnostic assessments among a group of students whose language/literacy skills were under-developed in relation to their intelligence with EP assessments
  • Discuss assessments with parental request
  • Assess new entrants to the school and ensured staff awareness of outcome
  • Reward students for progress in literacy and spelling

Interventions within school and from outside agencies:

In relation to working directly with supported students, the staff:

  • Set targets for students
  • Inform all staff of targets through Individual Educational Plans
  • Devise specific teaching programmes for all SEN students
  • Teach tutorials and give in-class support to Year’s 7-11
  • Inform parents of students with support
  • Invite parents of students into school to discuss specific interventions
  • Make staff aware of interventions through Individual Educational Plans
  • Work closely with the Education Inclusion Service to gain additional support for students
  • Plan the support for students with EHC plans with the Support Service, revising at the review
  • Liaise with the Senior Leadership Team with respect to the timetable, especially where support is statutory


To maintain student progress, the Faculty:

  • Reviews targets, support arrangements and resources on a termly basis
  • Coordinate information from subject teachers termly reviews and conduct Annual Reviews for students with Statements of SEND
  • Coordinate review of subject targets of supported students, throughout the year groups across all faculties in the school
  • Liaise with Year Managers to reward good progress on specific subject targets with respect to the review
  • Plan 16+ transition of students with statements with Careers Service
  • Reviewing the success of the policy
  • Review policy and handbook as appropriate

The individual educational needs of our children are catered for by:

  • The school organisation
  • Junior school links
  • The curriculum
  • Post-16 links
  • Classroom management        
  • Teaching and learning styles
  • Individual programmes
  • Differentiation
  • Parental participation
  • Vocational placements
  • Support services
  • Educational psychologist
  • Community links
  • The STRIVE Centre
  • Links to specialist provision
  • Nurture

Within this framework the named person is expected to work within their respective pastoral teams and faculties helping good communications, individual targets and resourcing for recorded students. Problems that cannot be resolved at faculty or pastoral level should be referred to the Head of Faculty. The needs of supported students are formally coordinated within the school structure by:

  • Faculty meetings
  • Pastoral year group meetings
  • Family action meetings
  • Annual reviews
  • Pastoral referral system
  • Parent evenings
  • Cross-curricular review for all supported students
  • Liaison with Careers Service and sixth form colleges
  • Liaison with feeder junior schools via regular cluster meetings

The allocation of resources to and amongst supported students:

General Principles

The resourcing of students is guided by the following beliefs:

  1. all teachers are responsible for breaking down barriers to learning
  2. many barriers are essentially remediated, especially at a younger age
  3. some students with complex and/or moderate learning difficulties need an appropriate curriculum
  4. some students need the protection of an EHC plan

Individual Educational Programme

i)        Resources available for Individual Programmes to improve are:

  • Cognitive abilities
  • Dictionary skills
  • Reading
  • Spelling
  • Comprehension        
  • Handwriting
  • Phonics
  • Writing skills

ii)        We also focus on improving:

  • Classroom behaviour
  • Relationships with staff
  • Peer relationships
  • Cooperation and teamwork


All members of staff teach supported students within their Faculty areas and care for their pastoral needs within mixed ability for groups. Faculty Heads are expected to resource the need for a modified and/or differentiated curriculum from their annual capitation.

Additionally, the school employs a Head of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SENDCO) and four teaching assistants. The model for additional resourcing, based on both general principles and individual needs, is worked towards, but constrained, by timetabling and staffing requirements throughout the school.

Access arrangements for SATs and GCSEs:

The purpose of making special arrangements for students is to enable them to demonstrate their attainment through tests.

1.        Special arrangements at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 are researched by:


Heads of Faculty

Year Managers

Subject Teachers

Outside Agencies


General Management Meeting

News Bulletin

Liaison with HoF

2.        Special arrangements can be made for students experiencing:

  • Physical disabilities
  • Visual impairments
  • Hearing impairments
  • Specific learning difficulties
  • Reading support at Key Stage 3

3.        The range of special arrangements which may be made include:

  • Time allowances (generally up to 25%)
  • Means of access to questions – e.g. enlarged papers, modified print, Braille, reading of questions, signing of questions, special amplification, use of taped recordings, use of bilingual dictionaries.
  • Means of presenting responses – e.g. use of mechanical/technological aids, use of amanuensis, dictation of responses onto tape, use of practical assistant.
  • Alternative accommodation arrangements - e.g. hospital, home.
  • Coursework - e.g. reduction for pupils with disabilities
  • Exemption - e.g. where severe impairments hinder assessment, a special award may be given.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar – e.g. severe disabilities or temporary injuries permission will be given for use of amanuensis and candidates will not be expected to dictate spelling, punctuation and grammar.

At the time of writing, discretionary special arrangements at Key Stage 3 include:

  • Explaining and simplifying the language of the tests.
  • Allowing students to have access to specific apparatus during the test.

Arrangements for providing access for students:


All students, including supported students are entitled to a balanced, broadly based curriculum, including the National Curriculum, providing a rich and rewarding educational environment.

Access is gained by:

  • Mixed ability form groupings
  • Faculties having an ‘entitlement’ policy
  • Differentiation by tasks, resources, support and response to students
  • Student groupings - supported students are often placed in smaller classes
  • Welcoming in-class support
  • Small groups and support in across both Key Stages
  • Use of ICT


This appendix provides a guide to help teachers learn more about the different SEN traits and to inform planning as to how to encourage students to reach their full potential. These are general overviews of different conditions and will need adaptation to fit the individual student.

Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome

A Guide for Teachers


The school environment is where students with Tourette Syndrome (TS) face some of their greatest problems and hurdles to their self-confidence. School staff may find these students very stressful to support and teach without proper understanding and training.  

Medical Background: Questions and Answers 

Q: What is Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome?

A: Tourette Syndrome is a medical condition with a genetic component but is, as yet, of unknown cause. It is characterised by a combination of chronic muscular tics (twitch-like movements) and vocal tics (involuntary * noises) and is often social stigmatizing. It usually starts in childhood and is likely to persist throughout life, though the degree of severity may differ between individuals in most cases. TS often include obsessive compulsive behaviour and attention deficit disorder with or without.

Tourette Syndrome in the classroom

Disruption of the class as a consequence of a students’ tics and outbursts may lead to the child being thought of as disruptive and naughty. This can cause increased tension and misunderstanding. The student may also be subject to constant teasing by his or her peers, which may result in withdrawal and social rejection. Many children with the syndrome also have associated behaviours described above which can cause special learning difficulties. The most important of these is probably an inability to concentrate in class due to ADHD. Additional factors in education are school phobia (occasionally medication-related) and excessive anxiety associated with academic assessment. Children with TS have a normal IQ (i.e. the same range as the general population) but there is a tendency for them to underperform socially and occupationally as adults. We want every child with TS to have the opportunity to reach their full potential - teachers have a critical role in preventing ‘damage by ignorance’.

Should the child be told firmly to stop making the tics?

As explained above, the tics and associated behavioural features of TS are thought to be involuntary, that is, beyond the individual’s control. However, many of the individuals with the condition may be able to suppress the symptoms for brief periods of time. This again may lead an observer to think that the child is putting it on. This is not the case, in reality there is some build up of internal emotion when the tics are suppressed, such that these quiet periods are often broken by substantial outbursts of tics and abnormal behaviour. Reprimanding the child is thus more likely to be unhelpful and may even make the tics worse by increasing the child’s anxiety.

Strategies for schools

The advice that the Tourette Syndrome (UK) Association can provide is not meant to be exhaustive or to replace input by teachers. We want to work in cooperation with school staff to ensure students receive the support and understanding they need and the staff receive the resources and training they require. Our team is highly experienced in dealing with schools and can help by phone or email - see our contact details. More extensive published UK guidance is also referred to at the end of this booklet.

Development of a positive attitude towards learning

Although all students with TS are individuals with varying strengths, weaknesses and interests, the following have been seen to help many students:

  • Verbal skill building is essential as they may have poor fine motor skills such as handwriting.
  • Complex instructions need to be broken down into manageable messages.
  • Anxiety-creating time’s tests should be limited or avoided where possible.
  • Establish a hand gesture or signal, which becomes a reminder to refocus during listening periods.
  • The use of Information and Communication Technology like computers and word processors are often highly motivating and beneficial, and may hold a particular fascination for the child with TS. In particular they often enable them to concentrate for longer periods of time than they generally manage in the classroom.
  • Opportunities for participating in PE and sports should be maximized to encourage students both to compete and cooperate with others.
  • Equally opportunities to play musical instruments should be made available. Some people with TS find absorbing creative tasks like making music can relieve their symptoms in addition to impacting on feelings of self-worth.

A few classroom tips

•        Supporting students who have TS in the classroom:

At times the involuntary movements and noises can be annoying and disruptive to the class.  Please do not react with anger or annoyance. It is important to remember that the child may be trying his or her hardest to control the tics. This may require patience, but reprimanding a child who has TS child for having tics could be compared to scolding a child with cerebral palsy for being clumsy. School staff may be the students’ closest link to adults outside the family and negative reactions may not only result in a fear of school but create a general hostility towards adults in general.

It cannot be overemphasised that teachers are the role models for how the rest of the class will accept the student with TS and how he will envisage society’s understanding of his/her condition.

•        Letting off steam:

Providing pre-arranged and agreed opportunities for the student with TS to leave the classroom to let out the tics and any internal emotion which the child has accumulated often produces very positive results. The provision of a quiet space and support from an understanding adult when the student is going through a bad spell is a sound option used by many schools.


What is Autism?

“A range of ways of experiencing yourself and the world, of processing information
about yourself and the world, of relating to yourself and the world which is different
to that experienced by other people”

In order to receive a diagnosis of an autistic spectrum disorder a person must display ‘qualitative impairments’ in both

(i)        reciprocal social interaction


(ii)        communication

They will also show ‘restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interests and activities’


  • 1 in 156 with ASD (MR C 2001)
  • 3 in 4 people with classic autism are male
  • 9 in 10 people with Asperger Syndrome are male
  • Actual increase or improved diagnosis?

What causes autism?

  • The definitive cause of autism is unknown
  • Recent research suggests that there is often a genetic component
  • Sometimes illness in pregnancy or a traumatic birth contributes
  • Some people believe that environmental factors can trigger autism

Key Characteristics of Autisms

Myths about autism

  • All people with autism have a special talent or gift
  • Inside a person with autism is a potentially non-autistic person waiting to be reached
  • People with autism cannot make eye-contact
  • People with autism are aggressive
  • Poor parenting can cause autism
  • People with autism like to be left alone
  • People with autism cannot show affection

Communication difficulties

Features of communication often include:

  • Difficulty communicating wants and needs
  • Difficulty understanding or processing language
  • Problems understanding and using gestures
  • Echolalia (repeating words or phrases used by others)

Further communication features can include:

  • Taking what people say very literally
  • Difficulty in understanding emotions, body language and facial expressions
  • Lack of awareness of what is socially appropriate

Top Tips – Communication

  • Keep your language simple
  • Remember the six second response rule
  • Don’t shout or raise your voice
  • Consider the use of visual cues and prompts
  • Take your cue from the person
  • Give honest feedback if the person asks
  • Be aware of distractions in the environment

People with Autism say…

“School was torture ground in itself for me because of my lack of social skills and
my absolute terror of people (in part because I didn’t just automatically know the social rules,
and, when I did learn them, I had to think about them all the time) and who can keep up
that sort of coping ALL THE TIME!”

Top Tips - Social Interaction

  • Take your cue from the person
  • Be aware of your facial expressions
  • Be aware of how the person is reacting to their environment
  • Consider using social stories to help them make sense of the “rules”
  • Give honest helpful feedback

Difficulties in flexible thinking

  • Difficulty in coping with change
  • Difficulty understanding that others have a different point of view
  • Difficulty in planning ahead
  • Difficulty in generalizing skills

Top Tips - Flexible thinking

  • Change is difficult.  Introduce gradually and give plenty of warning
  • Use visual cues to prepare and highlight change
  • Use visual timetables that show sequences of events
  • Choice can be difficult, don’t overload

People with Autism say…

“Organisational abilities (being able to bring the right books to a lesson for example)
were also often affected. At secondary school, I adopted the strategy of carrying everything
I might conceivably need at any point in the week around in my school bag at all times
out of fear that I might be caught without something I needed.  Obviously, this strategy
had a significant cost (the school bag got very, very heavy); nonetheless, it was the only way
that I was able to ensure that I arrived a lessons with everything I needed”

People with Autism say…

“I also remember one Christmas when I got a new bike for a present. It was yellow.
I could not look at it.  Extra red was added to the colour making it look orange and it blurred upwards making it look like it was on fire. My favourite colours were those I could see more
clearly than others. I also couldn’t see blue clearly, it looked too light and it looked like ice (imagine the sea on a sunny day, it would look frozen over in spite of the sun) The bike was painted purple, which I liked better because I could see it more clearly” (Darren White)

People with Autism say…

“Dogs, cats and smells like deodorant and aftershave lotion, they smell so strong to me,
I can’t understand it, and perfume drives me nuts. I can’t understand why people wear
perfume, and I can smell hand lotion from the next room”

Stress and anxiety

  • People with ASDs inevitably experience high levels of stress anxiety
  • High incidence of phobias, obsessions, rituals and depression
  • Social situations are likely to be the most difficult

Top tips - stress and anxiety

  • Remember to use timetables and visual cues
  • Keep as much as possible consistent and predictable
  • Reduce language and instructions to a minimum
  • Provide calm reassurance if appropriate
  • Have a quiet place available for difficult moments

People with Autism say…

“Reality to an autistic person is a confusing interacting mass of events, people, places, sounds and sights…a large part of my life is spent just trying to work out the pattern behind everything”

Supporting pupils in mainstream classrooms

It is useful to note that what works for the dyslexic student can also be beneficial to a far wider range of students.


  • Raise students’ self esteem. Reward what can be achieved. This is the single most important factor in achievement according to students themselves.
  • Use the information supplied in the IEP if the student has one. The SENCO will have assessed the student and prioritised what needs to be learned.
  • Give two instructions at a time.  Ask students to repeat instructions to you. Repeat instructions until she/he can repeat them back.
  • Allow more time for tasks such as getting out books, getting started, completing work.  This includes practical tasks.


  • Do not ask students to read aloud without preparation.
  • Teach unfamiliar subject words.
  • Help with study skills such as skimming, scanning, selecting key words.
  • It helps if teachers’ handwriting is legible and worksheets are typed!


  • Mark written work on content and encourage the use of a wide vocabulary.
  • Correct only a few errors.  Do not cover work in red ink.
  • Teach the spelling of subject specific words.  Do not overload students.
  • Give all students a list of subject specific words to be stuck into their exercise books for reference.
  • Have lists of subject specific words on display in teaching rooms.
  • Allow the student to read work back to you if you cannot read it.

Written work:

  • Encourage legible handwriting but do not expect it to change.
  • Do not ask for work to be written out again unless it is much worse than usual.
  • Either give more time, or photocopy notes from another student or a ‘parallel’ book kept by a TA.
  • Accept less written work.


  • Assess through oral responses.
  • When setting long responses, use writing frames.

Ways of assessing understanding without too much writing:

√        Matching questions to answers                √        Table/grid completion

√        True/false statements                                √        Title - paragraph match

√        Sentence matching (‘tops and tails’)                √        Choosing a précis

√        Multiple choice                                √        Sentence completion

√        Labelling diagrams                                √        Sequencing

√        Categorising


Dyspraxia is an immaturity of the brain resulting in messages not being properly transmitted to the body. It affects at least 2% of the population in varying degrees and 70% of those affected are male. Dyspraxia is a disability but those affected do not look disabled. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage.

These are some of the problems caused by dyspraxia:

  • Clumsiness
  • Poor posture
  • Walk awkwardly
  • Confused about which hand to use
  • Difficulties throwing or catching a ball
  • Sensitive to touch
  • Find some clothes uncomfortable
  • Poor short-term memory, they often forget tasks learned the previous day
  • Poor body awareness
  • Reading and writing difficulties
  • Cannot hold a pen or pencil properly
  • Poor sense of direction
  • Cannot hop, skip or ride a bike
  • Slow to learn to dress or feed themselves
  • Cannot answer simple questions even though they know the answers
  • Speech problems, slow to learn to speak or speech may be incoherent
  • Phobias or obsessive behaviour
  • Impatience
  • Intolerance to having hair or teeth brushed, or nails and hair cut
  • Plasters are too uncomfortable to wear

Not all of these will apply to every dyspraxic, and many of these problems can be overcome in time, but also could be met by more problems. Older children are usually very verbally adept and converse well with adults. They may be ostracised by their own peer group because they do fit in.  They may cleverly avoid doing those tasks that are difficult or even impossible for them.

Dyspraxics can be of average or above intelligence but are often behaviourally immature. They try hard to fit into the socially accepted behaviour when at school but often throw tantrums when at home. They may find it difficult to understand logic and reason.

Not all dyspraxics have all of these problems, but all have a common link. Many parents of normal children will say that their children have some of these problems but if your child is dyspraxic, either diagnosed or not, you will know the difference between a normal child with any of these problems and a dyspraxic.

There is no cure for dyspraxia but the earlier a child is treated then the greater the chance of improvement. Occupational therapists, physiotherapists and extra help at school can all help a dyspraxic child to cope or overcome many difficulties. Sadly, a lot of skills that we take for granted will never become automatic to a dyspraxic and they will have to be taught these skills.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)

Whatever the cause of AD/HD, and many are currently being researched, the core symptoms required for diagnosis are:

  • Impulsiveness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Inattentiveness


  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, or other activities
  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behaviour or failure to understand instructions)
  • Often has difficulty organising tasks and activities
  • Often avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (i.e. schoolwork or homework)
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (i.e. toys, school assignments, pencils books or tools)
  • Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities


  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  • Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
  • Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations which it is Inappropriate
    (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings or restlessness)
  • Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
  • Is often ‘on the go’ or often acts as if ‘driven by a motor’
  • Often talks excessively


  • Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
  • Often has difficulty awaiting turn
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (i.e. butts into conversations or games)

Classroom characteristics which promote success for many children who have AD/HD:

Teacher characteristics that will be helpful
in teaching children with AD/HD:

•  Predictability

•  Structure

•  Shorter work periods

•  Small teacher to student ratio

•  More individualised instruction

•  Interesting curriculum

•  Use of positive reinforcers

•  Positive academic expectations

•  Frequent monitoring and checking of work

•  Clarity in giving directions

•  Warmth, patience and humour

•  Consistency and firmness

•  Knowledge of different behavioural interventions

•  Willingness to work with a SEN teacher

Motor Activity

•  Allow student to stand at times while working

•  Provide opportunity for ‘seat breaks’ i.e. run errands, etc.

•  Provide short break between assignments

•  Supervise closely during transition times

•  Remind student to check over work product if performance is rushed and careless

•  Give extra time to complete tasks (especially for students with slow motor tempo)

Examples of accommodations that teachers can make to adapt to the needs of students with ADHD are grouped below according to areas of difficulty.



•  Seat student in quiet area

•  Seat student near good role model

•  Seat student near ‘study buddy’

•  Increase distance between desks

•  Allow extra time to complete
assigned work

•  Shorten assignments or work periods to coincide with span of attention; use timer

•  Break long assignments into smaller parts so student can see end to work

•  Assist student in setting short term goals

•  Give assignments one at a time to avoid work overload

•  Require fewer correct responses for grade

•  Reduce amount of homework

•  Instruct student in self-monitoring
using cueing

•  Pair written instructions with oral instructions

•  Provide peer assistance in note taking

•  Give clear, concise instructions

•  Seek to involve student in lesson presentation

•  Cue student to stay on task, i.e. private signal

•  Ignore minor, inappropriate behaviour

•  Increase immediately of rewards and consequences

•  Use time-out procedure for misbehaviour

•  Supervise closely during transition times

•  Use ‘prudent’ reprimands for misbehaviour (i.e avoid lecturing or criticism)

•  Attend positive behaviour with compliments etc.

•  Acknowledge positive behaviour of
nearby students

•  Seat student near role model or near teacher

•  Set up behaviour contract

•  Instruct student in self-monitoring of  behaviour, i.e. hand raising, calling out

•  Call on only when hand is raised in an appropriate manner

•  Praise when hand raised to answer question


SEND Policy - September 2023