Special Educational Needs and Disability Department (SEND Department)

At Thomas More Catholic School, students with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) are fully integrated into the life of the school. The school believes that students learn most effectively when they feel valued and their efforts and achievements are recognised.

The Curriculum for students with SEND is the Curriculum offered to all students, including those with exceptional abilities and disabilities. However, it is important to recognise and develop the different learning styles of individual students and to emphasise the importance of a variety of approaches in assisting all students to access the Curriculum at an appropriate level.

The success of the school’s policy for SEN and Disability is dependent on a whole school response to the needs of the students. All teachers in every department have the responsibility to provide the learning opportunities necessary to meet all students’ needs and to ensure the progress of students with SEN and/or Disability. SEND provision, in conjunction with the arrangements for pastoral care, reflects the school’s Mission Statement which celebrates the talents of every child.

The SEN Co-ordinator (SENCO) for the school is Mrs Jill Williamson. She is responsible for the day to day operation of the SEN and Disability policies. The Designated Safeguarding Lead is Mrs Mandi Larner who supports the maintenance within the department. The rest of the SEND department consists of one SEN Admin Manager, Ms. Diana McClure, and ten Learning Support Assistants. The Governor responsible for SEND at Thomas More Catholic School is Mr Liam McGivern.

When offers of places have been made, Primary schools are requested to send the SENCO the names and details of all students with SEND. Therefore, there can be early identification of a particular need or difficulty, prior to admission in September.

The SENCO may also be invited to attend Transfer Reviews for students with EHC plans in the Summer Term prior to the student’s admission. This helps to ensure a smooth transition from Key Stage 2.

At Thomas More Catholic School, assessment, monitoring and review form the basis of identifying and addressing the needs of students with SEND. The views of the student and parents are essential in planning for and the monitoring of progress.

The following methods are used as a baseline assessment and to further identify students with SEND:

  • The school’s and LA’s transfer procedures
  • SATS (where held) and Standardised test scores from KS2
  • School and LA assessment procedures for all Year 7 students
  • The recording of initial concerns other than those already identified, in line with the recommendations in the SEN revised Code of Practice and the Disability Discrimination Act, 2010

Levels of difficulty are categorised under four headings.

  • Communication and Interaction
  • Cognition and Learning
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties
  • Sensory and/or Physical Needs

When a student has been identified as having SEND, their name is placed on the SEND Register and Students with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will be assigned a Keyworker. The Keyworker is responsible for assisting the student in target setting and helping to monitor progress through the mapping of provision. All members of staff have access to the Register which is regularly revised so that staff are aware of any changes or additions. Further, all subject teachers receive group lists which include the students’ SEND Level and access to a SEND Student Profiles where applicable. This enables all staff to be part of the monitoring and review process.

All parents/carers are informed that their child’s name is included on the SEND Register. They will be kept regularly informed and consulted on issues relating to their child’s progress.

Students with SEND are encouraged and supported to work in a combination of streamed and mixed ability classes with their peers. Support is provided which is appropriate to the needs of the students using a combination of:

  • Keyworker System
  • 1:1 tuition
  • In class support
  • Small group intensive work
  • Social skills training and support
  • Social Use of Language support
  • Reading and Comprehension support
  • A Break and Lunch club
  • Emotional Literacy support
  • Careers advise and support
  • Speech and Language programmes
  • Special Examination Arrangements
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Counselling (CAMHS)
  • Liaison and support from the Learning Mentoring Team

Thomas More Catholic School benefits from the established working relationships with a range of external professionals and there is an Educational Psychologist and a Specialist Teacher assigned to the school.

Members of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Department are committed to ongoing personal and professional development in order to extend their knowledge and expertise. Opportunities are also given for all staff to benefit from a range of twilight INSETs on SEND issues including policy and practice.

The SEN and Disability provision at Thomas More Catholic School can only be truly effective when everyone involved with the student works collaboratively and all views are represented.

Any concerns regarding SEND provision in the school are dealt with initially by the SENCO. The Headteacher and his deputies and the SENCO are also available to assist in addressing any unresolved issues. Subsequently any matters will be referred to the SEND Link Governor and the Governing Body at Thomas More Catholic School.

Student Testimonials

  • We get a lot of help in the lessons.
  • You get help when you don’t understand something.
  • The Key Workers look after your needs if you have a problem.
  • The LSAs help make the lessons a lot easier.
  • Lunch Club is an excellent place to meet new friends and do homework.
  • I worry less about writing exams now because I know I get support.
  • I am going to College to study as I have made so much progress since I started at Thomas More Catholic School.

Link to the Croydon Local Offer for Special Needs;