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Secondary Phase Frequently Asked Questions

What is Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)?

SEND is the term used for Special Education Needs and Disabilities. 

“A pupil has SEND where their learning difficulty or disability calls for special educational provisional, namely provision different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age” (chapter 6.15 Special Education Needs and Disability, Code of Practice 0-25).  

However experience and good practice shows that where “the focus remains on higher quality teaching, fewer pupils require such support”.

SEND represents a detailed look at the reasons behind why some students need additional support to overcome obstacles that may otherwise be a barrier to learning.  These learning barriers are usually summarised within 4 categories:

  • Communicating and interaction
  • Cognition and learning 
  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties  
  • Sensory and/or physical needs

How does your school know if my child has SEND and needs extra help?

  • If your child is transferring to GNSA and already has a special educational need, your primary school will inform the Special Educational Needs Co-coordinator (SENCO) at GNSA andwhere applicable the SENCo may visit your child in their current setting.
  • There is planning between the schools and with parents/carers in Year 6 to support thestudent’s move from primary to secondary school.
  • On entry to the school, all students are screened on key cognitive skills, language skills and certain core academic skills. This system can pick up potential difficulties at the earliest stage.
  • The SENCO attends annual reviews of every pupil with an Educational Health Care Plan whowill be attending GNSA in Year 7.
  • Some children do well at primary school but find the transition to secondary education more difficult. The teachers are highly alert so that such areas of need are spotted early and referred to the Pastoral Team (Progress Leaders / Pastoral Assistant Principal) so that support can be coordinated promptly.
  • The school listens to parents. Sometimes, the first signs of difficulty are picked up through conversations at home so parents are always welcome to contact the school to discuss any concerns.
  • During the Year 7 ‘Settling in Evening’ the SENCo arranges meetings with all parents of students identified as already having SEND or where we believe there may be an additional need.

Please click here to see the process we follow to identify SEND concerns. 

What should I do if I think my child may have a special educational need or disability? Who can I contact for further information?

  • If a parent has concerns about their child they are encouraged to speak to your child’s subject teacher, form tutor or Progress Leader For specific SEND concerns please contact the school’s SENCO,  Hannah Lowder, via the school office; please see contact details on home page of the school website.

Hillingdon Borough

  • London Borough of Hillingdon’s SEN information, advice andsupport

  • The ‘Hillingdon Borough Local Offer’


Ealing Borough

  • London Borough of Ealing’s SEN information, advice and support

  • Ealing Children’s and Family Directory

Please be advised that every Local Authority has a local offer; this may differ according to where you


  • Your doctor or other local child health services charities and other organisations that offer information, advice and support.
  • SENDIASS- Hillingdon SENDIASS (Special Education Needs Disabilities Information Advice & Support)
  • ISAID Ealing (Impartial Support, Advice and Information on Disabilities and SpecialEducational Needs)

What is an EHCP?

  • An EHCP, Education Health and Care Plan is a legal document that identifies a pupil’s SEN needs and focuses on the support required to meet agreed outcomes. The Plan includes outcomes for education, health and social care needs.

How will I know if your school is supporting my child? How will I know how my child is doing? How is student progress monitored?

All students :

  • ‚óŹ We will communicate with you directly if we are proposing to offer your child support that is additional to or different from what is already in place for all mainstream students.
  • Target setting days and parent consultation evenings are both opportunities to discuss your child’s progress and needs and to find out about support options.
  • Parents are always welcome to contact their child’s Form Tutor at any time to discuss particular concerns as they arise.

Students with EHCPs:

  • Your child will have identified needs and a Learning Plan in place from the time they start at GNSA; where this is gained after joining us, the document will be available online for parents to view and comment on.
  • All students with EHCPs will have an Annual Review of their progress and needs. This comes in the form of a full written school report in advance of a meeting between students, parents, staff and representatives of other agencies involved in supporting that individual pupil. During this meeting, students, parents and staff have the chance to express their views about the progress being made and the provision they are receiving at school.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

  • Every pupil on SEND register will have an Individual Learning Plan which includes their individual needs, strategies to support them with targets to achieve. This is shared with all staff through our main system of information management (SIMS) as well as an online tool; Provision Maps.
  • All staff are trained, (through a programme of Continuing Professional Development seminars), in adapting lesson plans to increase the use of elements known to support students who need extra help. For some students with lighter needs, this is all that is required to help them make progress.
  • Teachers also have access to the profiles of students known to have specific needs and they can collaborate with the specialist staff to build adaptations to activities especially for those individual students.
  • Key curriculum areas have additional staff to cater for the needs of students with SEND through quality teach first.
  • Many lessons benefit from having a teaching assistant in the class who can spot difficulties and help to give instant support.
  • You will have opportunities to discuss GCSE exam choices with the aim of selecting subjects based on your child’s strengths and interests.

How are the school’s resources allocated to these needs?

  • GNSA has embedded the quality teach first approach in its delivery of the curriculum and teaching core subjects e.g. English and Maths through subject experts in small groups of students.
  • If your child is specifically funded through their statement or EHCP, meetings with the SENCO will include discussion and agreement about how that funding is used and monitored.
  • A provision map about where the additional resources are used and deployed is shared with the parent at the annual review.

Will my child be able to access the school environment?

  • GNSA adhere to all guidelines on equalities (Equality Act 2010) and have a range of facilities for meeting the needs of our students with sensory and physical needs. A range of measures are put in place to ensure GNSA building is accessible for all these include; disabled toilets, ceiling track hoists, lifts in every block of the building, level access to main reception with wider access doors throughout the building.

How is progress monitored by the school?

  • Each identified pupil will have an Individual Learning Plan with identified targets set in consultation with parent
  • A range of quantitative and qualitative data is used to monitor progress.
  • Every subject teacher provides termly report on every pupil progress.
  • The SENCO monitors the progress against the outcomes defined in EHCP which is shared with parents during the annual review process.

What specialist services and expertise are available at the school?

  • The SEND team consists of staff who have received additional formal training in their area of specialism learning/literacy, speech/language/social communication needs (SLCN), mentoring for social/emotional/mental health
  • The SEN team also has access to Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs), Occupational Therapists (OTs), Physiotherapists provided by the Local Authority.
  • The SEND team receives regular Continuing Professional Development training and coaching for specific issues / students, from the relevant specialists.
  • The school brings in additional expertise (assessment, staff training and intervention) from outside agencies, including and not exclusive to:
    • Educational psychology
    • Occupational therapy
    • Visual Impairment Support
    • Hearing Impairment Support
    • CAMHS-Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

How will you help me in supporting my child’s learning at home?

  • GNSA provides parents with advice on how to support your child’s homework. Parents are always welcome to contact their child’s Form Tutor for more specific advice at any time.
  • Parents will be invited to attend other specific events during the year e.g. Parents evenings, Options Evening which give further support to parents and students.
  • Your child’s recent Individual Learning Plan will include a section on support strategies, many of which apply to home as well as school life. If you are not sure how you can apply them, contact the SENCO.
  • Annual reports written at GNSA School often contain advice that will be discussed and developed with you at the face-to-face Annual Review meeting.
  • Parents are always welcome to contact their child’s support team for ongoing advice.
  • Where outside agencies have been involved through working with or assessing your child
    then suggestions and programmes of work/activities are usually provided that can be used at
  • Where applicable, the SEND Team work with families and students on an individual basis to
    provide targeted support.

What support will there be for my child’s well-being?

  • Members of staff such as the Form Tutor, Progress Leader, Learning Support Assistants and members of the SEND Team are readily available for students who wish to discuss issues and concerns.
  • Our Safeguarding Team works closely with all staff and families to support student’s well-being on an individual basis. In addition to this, all Progress Leaders are safeguarding trained.
  • The school provides programmes which support students to cope with significant change in their lives, such as the Seasons for Growth programme.
  • Social interaction and attention groups are run by our SEND Team.
  • Access to a regular member of the Safeguarding Team who has also received further training in student wellbeing.
  • Your child will have full access to ‘Toot Toot’ an online resource to share any concerns with a member of the Safeguarding Team at any time.

How will the school help prepare my child for transfer to post-16 education or to another school?

  • All students will have at least one meeting with a Career advisor. During this meeting students will have the chance to discuss different Post 16 options.
  • The Careers Advisor is invited to attend the annual review meetings especially in year 9 and 11
  • Students may take part in programmes of work which help prepare them for life post-16
  • Students will receive support with completing college applications.
  • Transition Officers from local college attend annual review to advice various pathways
  • Academy staff will liaise with work experience placements to ensure that their staff are aware
    of student needs.

Will the school continue to help my child if they attend GNSA VI Form?

  • Of course, support will continue up to the age of 25 years depending on the student’s needs,.
  • Admission at VI form depends on the provision of courses in the VI form and that appropriate courses are available