the Learning Support Department

The department is situated in the Overpool building and is responsible for supporting and delivering interventions for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The department has a Learning Support Office, SENDCO Office, Quiet Room and Independent Living Skills base.


Mr Davies, the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCo) has significant experience in this role and has worked as a teacher in mainstream and specialist provision for over twenty five years. This is a full-time, non-teaching position, allowing for a comprehensive management of SEND provision.

The department has 21 Teaching Assistants, managed by Mrs Maddocks, who is responsible for their deployment around school. There are also 4 faculty specialist Teaching Assistants who are:

Mrs Roberts – English

Mrs Clare – Humanities

Mr Kavanagh – Mathematics

Mr Spracklen – Science

Our approach to identifying and meeting the needs of students with send

The department assesses each student’s skills and levels of attainment on entry, which will build on information from previous settings and key stages, where appropriate. We have a systematic and extensive transition programme, which involves the Department working closely with primary schools and parents several months in advance of entry of year 7 students.


Teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of all the students in their classes. High quality teaching is therefore our first step (Wave 1) in responding to students who have additional needs and the SENDCo provides support and guidance for staff in meeting this responsibility.


We provide the following interventions at Wave 2 and Wave 3 of the process for identifying and meeting SEND:

  • Emotional Literacy Support – delivered by Mrs Igoe, Ms Morris and Mrs Tinsley
  • Fresh Start for Year 7 students with additional literacy needs – delivered by Mrs Roberts
  • Lexia literacy intervention for identified year 8 and 9 students – managed by Mrs Roberts
  • Paired Reading – delivered by trained Teaching Assistants
  • Tailored Speech and Language programmes – delivered by Mrs Clare and Mrs Roberts and Miss Lloyd
  • Social communication group (Link) – delivered by Ms Greenaway


Interventions are short term, usually for six weeks and aim to meet identified needs. They are subject to careful monitoring and evaluation. Our aim is to enable students to overcome their barriers to learning, develop independence and resilience as learners and subsequently engage more effectively with the school curriculum.

Evalutation the effectiveness of SEND provision

The SENDCo regularly reports to the governing body on improving outcomes of students with SEND and the department is part of the whole school self-review processes.

We evaluate the effectiveness of provision for students with SEND by:


  • Reviewing students’ individual progress each term
  • Reviewing the impact of interventions
  • Conducting Annual Reviews for students with an Educational Health Care Plan and Top Up funding

Other types of support and intervention

Teaching Assistants with a department specialism help coordinate and monitor SEND support and intervention within their departments. They meet regularly with the SENDCo and form an important link between Learning Support and each faculty, as well as providing a greater level of subject expertise when supporting students in lessons.

Some students identified with a high level of need, are allocated a Teaching Assistant to be their key worker who will provide support in lessons, monitor day-to-day issues and liaise with home when necessary.


We have established two Nurture support bases for small groups of students in year 7, to enable a smoother transition to high school and for year 10, for students whose needs mean they struggle to engage in large class groups.  

Inclusive Ethos

No student is excluded from taking part in any activity because of their SEND, unless there is a recognised safeguarding risk. Therefore, we encourage all students to attend:


  • extra-curricular activities and school trips
  • before-and after-school clubs
  • sports day, school performances and special workshops

Additional Support

We have developed informal links with parents through meetings (during transition from year 6 to year 7) and coffee mornings, so they can meet the learning support staff and develop supportive relationships with the adults directly involved with supporting their children. We also work with the following agencies to provide support for students with SEND:

  • Cheshire West and Chester SEND team
  • Speech and Language Team
  • Cheshire West and Chester Autism Service
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  • Educational Psychologist Service
  • Paediatric Team
  • Occupational Therapy Services
  • Young People’s Service


The SENDCo works closely with Pastoral Leaders and external agencies to support a coordinated approach for families requiring multi-agency support.