Special Educational Needs

Our Intent

At Writhlington we are committed to supporting every student to access a high quality education that meets their ability, interests and aspirations and which enables them to enjoy success in their learning. The SEN department supports students with needs that require provision that is different from or additional to those made generally for students of the same age. This includes those with learning difficulties or a disability.

For these students to achieve their full potential, we must recognise these difficulties and plan accordingly. Writhlington aims to provide all students with a broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated curriculum.

We believe that every child should have equal access to the educational opportunities offered by the school and that the potential of each student should be encouraged to the fullest. Skills and talents should be developed through a range of inclusive activities to enable the individual to mature and share a sense of responsibility.

This special educational provision under Section 21 of the Children and Families Act 2014 states that ‘High quality teaching that is differentiated and personalised will meet the individual needs of the majority of children. Some children need educational provision that is additional and different to this.’

As a school we will endeavour to:

  1. Ensure that each student is able to access a broad and balanced curriculum which is relevant to his/her specific needs;
  2. Promote positive attitudes and individual confidence, ensuring all children experience success;
  3. Identify, assess, record and regularly review students’ special educational needs;
  4. Fully involve parents and students in the support given to those with special needs;
  5. Ensure that every teacher is prepared to respond to the special educational needs of each student with support from specialist staff;
  6. Work collaboratively with relevant outside agencies

“The support that my daughter has been given has surpassed all expectations.”

Parent Survey 2022


On arrival at Writhlington all students are tested using the GL suite of tests for reading and spelling. Students are also tested using CATS, the results of which are used alongside detailed information from Primary Schools to build a picture of any potential special educational needs. If additional needs are identified our students will begin to receive support from the Special Educational Needs Department, led by the SENDco.

The SENDCo coordinates all the provision for pupils and ensures that all pupils are able to access a high quality education.

The SEND department is led by Assistant Headteacher for Literacy and SENDco, Jo Newland. Our Deputy SENDCo is Kelly Belbin who is primary trained and has 8 years of experience as Head of Year 7.

Sarah Smart, our Higher Level Teaching Assistant, is the Learning Support Coordinator for our department and also ELSA trained.

Nicola Shreeves, Level 3 TA, is also a trained Speech and Language Therapy Assistant working closely with our visiting Speech and Language Therapists.

Hannah Chambers, Level 3 TA, is a trained ELSA practitioner.

Terry Cook, Level 3 TA and qualified Teacher, is our Autism Lead and is trained to Level 2 AET and is working towards his Level 3 qualification.

The rest of the team are Level 1 or 2 trained Teaching Assistants and run literacy interventions, social skills groups and gardening interventions.

The SEND team meets weekly for continuing professional development and takes part in all whole school staff training sessions. Additional training sessions from SEND professionals occur throughout the year in areas such as Autism and ADHD.

Our Learning Support base in CO22 is used to support students throughout the day with Google Chromebook allocation and other logistical support during lesson times. The base is open before school and at break and lunch times for our students to socialise with their peers, supported by our team of TAs.

At Writhlington we divide our provision into five main areas:


ADHD/ADD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/ Attention Deficit Disorder

ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder)

SEMH (Social, Emotional and Mental Health disorder) Anxiety and Trauma

Speech and Language Therapy

Examples of Students with Additional Needs and How we Support Them

Student A is Dyslexic and has been diagnosed with ADHD.

Student A will undertake twice weekly sessions in school using a phonics based programme called IDL. This programme helps to improve students’ fluency of word decoding using phonic sounds.

Student A will receive two sessions a week of Rapid Readers, a comprehension based programme. They will also work on their summarising, predicting and reading fluency in a TA led small group.

Student A will complete a Visual Stress Test to find out if they would benefit from a coloured overlay.

Student A has been diagnosed with ADHD which means they may need a concentration aid, movement break card or doodle book to help them concentrate while listening to the Teacher. The SENDCo or Deputy SENDCo will observe Student A in lessons to determine what support they would benefit from.

Student A may need to complete their assessments in the Learning Support Base where they will be able to have a movement break. This will allow the student to complete the assessment in an environment with limited distractions.

The Teachers of Student A will receive a detailed learning support plan which outlines classroom based strategies to support them. The support plan is reviewed three times a year.


Student B has been diagnosed with Autism. 

Student B will complete an Autism Checklist in school and our Autism Lead will meet with them weekly for a 1:1 session.

In these 1:1 sessions they may work on social stories or comic strip conversations to help develop strategies to cope with social interactions and social situations.

If needed, Student B could join the Autism Friendly tutor group, run by our Autism Lead Mr Cook, where they will be warned in advance of any changes to their school day.

Student B can access CO23, a safe and quiet space that is low sensory, before school, at break and lunchtime and briefly between lessons.

Student B will join a small social interaction group with their peers, led by an experienced and Autism trained TA.

The Teachers of Student B will receive a detailed learning support plan which outlines classroom based strategies to support them. The support plan is reviewed three times a year.

Student C has been withdrawn and stressed in class due to a recent bereavement in the family.

Student C will be referred to our in house ELSA Practitioners. ELSA stands for Emotional Literacy Support Assistant. ELSAs work with children on aspects of emotional literacy including: self-esteem and resilience, managing emotions, social and friendship skills, loss and bereavement and transitions.

Student C will meet weekly for a 1:1 or small group sessions with one of our ELSAs for 8-10 weeks to work on an individual programme based on their needs.

Student C may be helped to create a memory jar or book and will learn strategies to help them cope in lessons.

Our ELSA practitioner will liaise with Student Cs family.

The Teachers of Student C will be informed of the bereavement and how best to support the student.


A concern about Student D has been raised by one of their Teachers. They have concerns over Student D’s understanding of multi-part instructions and can’t always recall all of the tasks they have been asked to complete and not always in the correct order.

The SENDCo will request that all of Student D’s teachers complete a google form questionnaire specially designed to identify potential Speech and Language difficulties.

Student D will be referred for an assessment which will be completed by the Speech and Language Therapist (SALT). Once the assessment has been completed the therapist will recommend some targets that will be delivered by the therapist or therapist’s assistant.

The Speech and Language Assistant will contact Student D’s parents to discuss the report’s findings and suggest ways that the parents can support Student D at home such as cooking together and following a recipe.

All of Student D’s teachers will receive a detailed Learning Support Plan, outlining strategies to support them in class such as a visual checklist of instructions to complete in the correct order.

Student D will be retested later in the year to ensure they are making good progress against their targets.

Local Authority Information

Information about services available for young people up to the age of 25 with SEND can be found at the links below:

> B&NES Local Offer

> Somerset Local Offer

> Wiltshire Local Offer

Parents/carers are always welcome to contact Jo Newland, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator on 01761 433581 ext 6058 or via our contact form.