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SEND and Inclusion

Classroom support for children with special needs

Schools and colleges which discriminate against pupils with disabilities, including special educational needs, are breaking the law. Since 2010, this has been covered by the Equality Act which applies to all schools – state, fee-paying, academies, and special schools. Discrimination covers admissions, facilities and curriculum. It also covers unlawful exclusions.


Research suggests that the behaviour and practice of the classroom teacher has the greatest impact on the academic and social outcomes of children with SEN (Efthymiou & Kington, 2017).  However, whilst ultimately responsible and accountable for the progress of these children, some mainstream teachers worry that they are not effectively supporting SEN in the classroom (Warnes et al., 2021).



Fair access

The principle behind equality legislation is to eliminate discrimination on grounds of any of the eleven protected characteristics and to ensure equal opportunities. Schools are required to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in all areas from admissions to curriculum. Equity (as distinct from equality – which is when all are treated the same) recognizes that each individual has different circumstances and gives each person the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.  

To ensure equity schools must focus on making the curriculum accessible, promoting inclusive school values and culture, and ensuring their policies impact favourably on children with different needs. There are some areas that are still not clear cut. For example, though schools have to make reasonable adjustments, which might include providing auxiliary aids (e.g. hearing loops, adaptive keyboards and special software) there’s limited guidance on exactly what would be paid for by a school or local authority. In many cases, this is decided on an individual basis. But the Act is very clear on the type of treatment of a child with a disability that would be discriminatory. For example, when a child with a physical disability is denied the chance to access forest school because of concerns regarding supervision. 


Children with special educational needs may benefit from additional help in the classroom. So what help do we offer and why? 


What helps a child to learn? 

What helps depends on the needs of the child. We us a wider range of analytical data to assess individual learner needs to ensure the most effective curriculum and support structure is in place.

SEMH Needs

What are SEMH needs?

SEMH needs are a type of special educational need where a child communicates through behaviour in response to unmet social, emotional or mental health needs.

Children with SEMH needs often have difficulties in managing their emotions or their behaviour. They can show inappropriate responses to their emotions. They can feel scared, anxious and misunderstood.

It is estimated that around 150,000 children in mainstream and special schools are experiencing SEMH challenges.

Behaviours children with SEMH needs might display could be –


  • Anger

  • Frustration

  • Verbal or physical aggression

  • Lashing out

  • Self-harming

  • Withdrawing

  • Possible law-breaking such as stealing or vandalism



Our approach when working with children who have SEMH needs

  • Try to slowly build a relationship of trust

  • Provide clear and fair boundaries and stick to them (RACER ethos)

  • Help the child to identify their own challenges and give them strategies to develop self-responsibility (PLT sessions)

  • Make every day a fresh start

  • Be consistent and say what you mean


Experience shows that meaningful engagement in education won’t take place until SEMH needs have been addressed.

We use a variety of analytic tools to gain the best picture possible of a learners needs as shown below:  

Academic Levels

Skills Forward Maths and English

Skills Forward is one of the UK's leading eLearning assessment solutions for Functional Skills and GCSE and employability skills and provides us with base line assessment data.

Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT 5)

The Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT 5) is a standardised assessment measure of reading, spelling and maths and is effective from age 5 to adulthood.

Renaissance Star Reading

Renaissance Star Reading is a complete online assessment of our students’ reading growth, showing us skills they have mastered which are aligned to the National Curriculum. Star Reading goes even further to show us the skills each student needs to focus on to meet or exceed expected standards. This enables us to provide colour coded books age and ability appropriate to the individual learner.


Further Assessments

Dyslexia Assessment

A full diagnostic assessment carried out by a highly qualified professional is required to confirm the presence of dyslexia or any other associated specific learning difficulty in a child aged 7 and upwards. The results of this assessment will aid access arrangements and can form part of an EHCP application.

Visual Stress Assessment

Visual stress is also known as visual dyslexia, Mears-Irlen syndrome and scotopic sensitivity syndrome. Many children and adults suffer from visual discomfort when reading. This can affect reading fluency, concentration and comprehension and can cause rapid fatigue. Visual stress can cause symptoms such as movement of print, rivers running through the print and headaches and eyestrain. Use of colour has been found to be hugely helpful in reducing the symptoms caused by visual stress. Once a beneficial colour has been identified, coloured over-lays or coloured lens glasses can be used.


Our Commitment

Inclusive values  

  • Providing an environment that makes all children feel safe and secure.  

  • High expectations for attainment for all children. 

  • Regular and good communication between all those involved with the child, so all understand their needs and how to respond. This includes internal communications, e.g.

  •  Lunch-time supervisors and support staff as well as external communication with parents. A home-school book is helpful when a child may be unable to communicate accurately or has difficulty expressing feelings and emotions. Promoting good communication between children and adults and children and their peers is also vital for wellbeing. 

  • Robust policies to counter bullying, prejudice and discrimination. 

  • Establishing support systems to help vulnerable children who are being bullied, so the child knows exactly who they can go to for help. Autism consultant Carol Gray suggests creating a map of the child’s world and identifying the places where the child is vulnerable to, or safe from, acts of bullying. 

  • Establishing structured activities and clubs at breaks and lunchtimes, e.g. allowing pupils to go to the library or computer room over break. 


Accessible Curriculum 

  • Using the school's IT system to communicate and share work objectives and progress. Many schools put notes and lesson plans online for pupils and their parents to access and indicate important deadlines that are approaching as well as grades and expectations. 

  • Considering how the child will access the curriculum. Thinking about: teaching and learning objectives, appropriate support, allowing extra time and the style of delivery - does it suit all learning styles? 

  • Using a hands-on curriculum supported by multi-sensory teaching, e.g. reinforcing oral instructions with visual and tactile support such as a visual timetable. 


Appropriate Resources 

  • Having a focused learning environment. Too busy and the child may be easily distracted, too minimal and the child may find the environment lacks stimulation. 

  • Providing a quiet area or time out place for children who may become stressed during the day. The child should know that the use of such an area is to facilitate not punish. 


In the classroom 

  • Gaining the child's attention; face to face and, as far as possible, with direct eye contact.  

  • Listening to the child. 

  • Encouraging and rewarding progress. Gold stars, rocket charts and target boards to help a child associate the reward with the task. 

  • Flexibility – tailoring teaching to the individual. Trying different techniques or new approaches, as well as tried and trusted methods. 

  • Having clear routines and planning for changes to routine.  

  • Making sure instructions are clear, precise and understood.  

  • Allowing a child time to think and to process responses to questions/instructions. 

  • Developing a growth mind-set: you can’t do it yet, but with practice and encouragement you will succeed. 

Awareness of difference 

  • Schools must celebrate differences and help other children to recognise and celebrate those differences too. Raise awareness of disability among other children to help them understand why someone may look different, communicate in different ways or behave differently. 

  • Be aware of diversity of the wider community, e.g. religious holidays 

  • Help all children build friendships; use peer mentoring, buddies, friendship benches etc. 


A school must not only be intolerant of discrimination, it must actively engage with and raise awareness of inclusivity among staff, pupils and parents. This is particularly important in promoting anti-bullying, as we know that children with special needs are significantly more vulnerable to bullying, especially children with autism or learning difficulties. 


Click the button above to view our Equality & Diversity Policy

Click the button above to view our Accessibility Policy

Click the button above to view our SEND Policy

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