SEND – Special Educational Needs and Disability- Information Report (September 2021)

Our vision:

Thomas Gainsborough School strives to ensure that all students leave as confident, resilient individuals, positive about their future and equipped to deal with challenges – having a learning difficulty or disability is not seen as a barrier to making progress. There is a shared belief that all students can achieve: ‘Excellence for each, for all.

Who does our school cater for?

Thomas Gainsborough School is a mainstream 11-19 secondary school which caters for learners with a wide variety of needs. We strongly believe that through quality teaching all children can be challenged in their learning to make their best progress. While planning the different learning challenges at all key stages, we ensure that the needs of all students are met through concise planning and differentiation.

How are additional needs catered for?

On some occasions some of our learners will need to access additional support to that which is available in the classroom day to day. This may be to support with their next steps in learning or to help them access the curriculum effectively. This provision may be in the classroom or in small groups led by a teacher or a learning support assistant. It may be for a short or longer period of time and will be regularly monitored by the class teachers and the SENCo by measuring the progress being made by the pupils. Parents and the young person will be consulted and informed about the interventions offered and how they are making progress.

What are Special Educational Needs and how are they identified?

If a learner’s needs are significantly greater than those of their peers, or if they have a disability which may hinder their educational progress and attainment, then they are considered to have a Special Educational Need. Special Educational Needs can be categorised as difficulties with;

  • Communication and interaction
  • Cognition and learning
  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties
  • Sensory and/or physical Difficulties

and slow progress will be identified through the whole school assessment systems, supported by additional testing and monitoring of reading, writing, spelling and mathematics and through classroom observation.

What provision is in place for children with Special Educational Needs?

We consider national guidance when making decisions about whether a student is placed on the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) register, the SEND code of practice states that the school will take action to remove barriers to learning for a student with SEND needs. To do this we implement a four-step cycle, which is detailed below. 


In identifying a student as needing SEND support, the class teachers working alongside the SENDCo and student support team carries out analysis of a student’s needs. This can include observations, assessments and feedback from students and their families. It is important to take a holistic view of a student’s needs and consider information available from any external services they may be working with or have accessed previously. Assessments are completed regularly within subjects and every student at the school has their progress monitored, across all subject areas, 3 times a year as part of our academic review process. 


Once a decision has been made to provide additional support, we liaise with the student and their family to discuss the next steps. Decisions on suitable action and interventions consider the views of everyone working with the student to ensure that everyone feels listened to. Following these conversations, the information is recorded and available for staff to view. Plans and progress are monitored by an identified member of staff with the suitable skills and experience. 


When an intervention starts, the most appropriate member of staff will be allocated to complete and review the progress of the work. There is an expectation that reasonable adjustments, in line with the requirements of quality first teaching continue to be made. The SENDCo is involved in decision making, monitoring and reviewing impact of the work that is done.  


Is important to review the impact of any work to reduce or remove barriers to learning that support pupil progress. The most appropriate staff member will take responsibility for considering the impact, and the views of the student and their family over an agreed period. Every student will have their progress monitored at least 3 times a year as part of our academic review process with their tutor. In addition to this, subject teachers, heads of department, heads of house and senior leaders, review progress of learners and learner groups. 

Where a student has an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) an Annual review is completed every 12 months, this is in addition to their academic review. If the student is in the care of the local authority a personal education plan will be completed termly. We take a holistic view of a student’s needs to ensure that target setting is shared with colleagues and supports achievement of goals and outcomes.  

What is an Education, Health and care plan?

In a minority of cases, where the learner continues to make little or no progress, or is found to have a specific educational need, then the school and/or parents can request a Statutory Assessment. This is where professionals at the local authority (Suffolk County Council) come together and discuss current support and progress of the child. This may then move towards an assessment for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or may be declined if it is felt that the young person's needs can be met at their setting through the local offer..

The Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan is a way of working that puts parents, children, young people and families at the very centre of the assessment and planning process, to make sure that your views are not only heard but also understood. It is a statutory recognition that a learner needs specific support in their learning. The EHCP is for children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities and where an assessment of education, health and social care needs has been agreed by a multi-agency group of professionals.

The School’s contribution to the Local Authority’s Local Offer can be found on Suffolk County Council’s Website.

Key Contacts:

SENco: Nicola Wilby  – and Tina O'Beirne -