Special Needs

SEND Support

At St Mary’s Catholic High School, we have a strong commitment to ensuring that all students can reach their full potential and achieve the best possible outcomes. We recognise that some students will need additional support to enable them to achieve.

To fulfil this role, we have a SEND Lead who is responsible for managing the SEND Department to ensure that students requiring additional support are effectively supported. We also have clear policies on how we support and teach young people in our school who have Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND). These policies outline our commitment to making sure that all in our care, regardless of need, make the best possible progress.

How we support our students with SEND

We support pupils with needs in the following areas:

  • Communication and Interaction – needs relating to how pupils communicate and interact with other people
  • Cognition and Learning – needs relating to how students process information, remember things and learn.
  • Social, emotional and mental health – needs relating to behaviour, mental health and emotional wellbeing.
  • Sensory/physical – needs relating to the sensory system and physical disabilities

We recognise that some students may have needs in more than one area.

The role of the SEND Lead

The school’s SEND Lead is responsible for co-ordinating the support offered to students with SEND and for making sure that this support is of the best possible quality. The SEND Lead oversees a team of Teaching Assistants who deliver support and interventions to SEND learners both in and out of the classroom. The SEND Lead liaises closely with parents/carers and subject teachers to ensure that the individual needs of SEND learners are met, including providing training for teachers on reasonable adjustments where necessary. The SEND Lead also liaises with external agencies, who may be brought in to offer specialist support to particular students. The SEND department is located in the St Ignatius Suite, an inclusion area that supports the learning and pastoral needs of the school.

How does the school know if a learner needs extra help or has a SEND need?

Many of our students with SEND have their needs identified at primary school and this information will be shared at the time of transition into Year 7. Sometimes, a student’s SEND need(s) only becomes apparent at secondary school.

Students are often identified as needing additional help when:

  • Concerns about learning, communication, social or physical development are raised by teachers, parents/carers or the young person
  • Assessment data shows that a learner is not progressing at the expected rate
  • There are changes in behaviour, mental health or wellbeing.

The SEND Lead, subject teachers, form tutors and Heads of Year will liaise with parents/carers if there are academic or pastoral concerns. If concerns are ongoing, parents/carers will be invited to meet with staff at the school, together with the learner, to discuss next steps.

This meeting will enable the SEND Department and the pastoral Team to:

  • Plan any additional support for the student.
  • Discuss any referrals with outside agencies to support the student’s learning.
  • Listen to concerns parents/carers have regarding their child

Education Health Care Plans (EHCP)

Teaching staff will liaise on a regular basis with the SEND Lead to discuss further strategies for supporting learners in a particular subject area. Learners progress will be carefully monitored to ensure that the support offered is as effective as possible. If the learner is still not making suitable progress over a set period of time provisions will be reviewed and adapted. It may be necessary if concerns remain at the following review to seek specialist advice, this may lead to a recommendation to discuss a request for a statutory assessment by the Local Authority for an Education Health Care Plan. Evidence will be collected showing how the student is progressing and what support the school has already put in place. The local Authority will assess the application and evidence provided and decide whether extra provision is needed. If they approve the application, the school may be able to access further funding and resources to help meet the learner’s needs. If an EHCP is put in place, a meeting will be held annually with parents/carers, key staff members and external agencies to discuss the support that is provided to help the learner meet their outcomes as laid out in the EHCP. The learner will also play an important role in this meeting and will give their own views regarding progress, areas of difficulty and target setting.

What happens after a learner has been identified with SEND?

The SEND Department will inform the learners teachers of the identified SEND needs. Steps will be taken by all subject teachers to ensure that the learning needs of the student are addressed through their style of teaching and resources to enable the student to progress. Every student is monitored and assessed to ensure that they are making progress and interventions will be put in place to help with progression, as appropriate.

Current interventions

Lexia – electronic reading programme designed to improve literacy skills

Accelerated Reader – reading programme

Small group intervention for curriculum support

Speech and Language – to improve communication and vocabulary skills

Guidance and support – 1:1 mentoring

Croydon Drop In – counselling on site

In addition to school-based interventions we access the following external support where appropriate

  • Educational Psychologist
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
  • School Nurse Team
  • Speech and Language Therapy Team
  • Early Help
  • Attendance Team
  • Croydon Sensory Support Service
  • Alternative Education respite for students who are at a high risk of exclusion from school or required specialist education to manage behaviour and Learning.

How will learners be included in general school life and extra-curricular activities?

We operate an inclusive school policy where students’ differences are celebrated. High self-esteem is crucial to learning, general well-being and educational achievement. To support this, teachers make every possible effort to include all learners within the social environment of the classroom, through the curriculum and extracurricular programmes. Our pastoral team and support staff aim to ensure that all students are included in school life, outside of the formal classroom setting. There is a range of extra-curricular activities on offer and all students are strongly encouraged and supported to take part in these activities.

What support do we have for you as a parent of a child with SEND?

The SEND Lead attends parent/carer consultation evenings for all year groups to discuss progress and will be available by appointment to address any concerns you may have throughout the school year. Positive relationships with parents/carers are important therefore, regular lines of communication by telephone or email are utilised to share information. Parents/carers are encouraged to contribute to the setting of targets for SEND learners and attend regular review meetings. Where external agencies are involved in supporting learners, parents/carers will be invited to meet with the lead professional at an appropriate point during the assessment or intervention, reports will be provided following assessment.

Croydon SEND provision

For information on the local SEND offer at Croydon, please visit






SMHS Header2019 2a