How do we know if your child needs extra help?

We have a rigorous transition process, as soon as students are offered their place at St Mary’s we start liaising with their primary setting.  Both the SEND team and Nurture team meet with staff at primary settlings and profile the needs of students.  When students are identified as having additional needs we then develop a package of support for transition.  In some cases when St Mary’s is going to be named on a student’s Statement or EHCP we will start this process earlier in Y5.

If a student arrives at St Mary’s with no need identified, but then struggles to make progress in any area of their learning – both academic or social we have a number of ways we can identify their needs using a graduated response.  Initially all students take CATs (Cognitive Abilities Tests) this information is used by staff to inform their understanding of students’ abilities.  If there are discrepancies in ability or concerns this information is picked up by the SENDCo and Intervention teams.  In addition all students are screened for Literacy and Numeracy levels when they arrive.  These assessments pick up any areas of weakness that can be targeted over the first year at St Marys.

As part of our graduated response our lead learning mentor Mrs Hindley is qualified to complete the academic screening assessment which is an assessment of need which highlights any areas of specific need.  If there are any further areas of need identified that require specialist support then students can also be referred on to the Educational Psychologist service, Targeted Educational Support Team or Speech and Language team in Wigan.

All teachers and TAs have regular training in relation to SEND and there is a regular dialogue about how students are performing.  If any staff have concerns there is an internal referral procedure which is used.


What should I do if I think my child may have a special educational need?

If you have concerns that your child has a special educational need that has not been identified you can contact the SENDCo Joanne Cooke via the school.  Any concerns will be fully investigated and relevant support put in place where appropriate.


How will the school staff support my child?

Teachers at St Mary’s are kept up to date with the needs of all the students in their lessons, a history of any support or need is kept centrally and linked to registers so confidential but easily accessible for these who need to know.  A provision map and details of needs are linked to registers so that all staff, including cover staff and temporary staff know what the needs of students are.  Information and advice about supporting additional needs is regularly passed on to staff via email, bulletins, meetings and INSET.  Teachers will use a variety of differentiation strategies to support the varied needs of the students in their care.

As laid out in the SEND Code of Practice, many children can be successfully supported through quality first teaching and suitable differentiation within the classroom.

However, where additional support is required assessments will be completed and a plan will be put into place which could include:

§ In class support

§ Small group/1-1 literacy or numeracy intervention

§ Small group/1-1 support to help pupils with social, mental and emotional health difficulties

§ 1-1 support for behavioural coaching and mentoring.

§ Small group 1-1 support for developing social, communication and interaction skills.

§ Small group/1-1 support for improving fine motor skills and handwriting.

§ Access to specialist literacy/numeracy packages.

Intervention is time limited and targeted. Where intervention packages are put in place, this will sometimes mean some withdrawal from some mainstream classes.  We endeavour to minimise impact by rotating timetables and using registration time.  In some instances we ask for support from home with some students completing interventions remotely from home.


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

We currently have students across all 4 areas of need including cognition and learning, communication and interaction, physical and sensory and social, emotional and mental health making good progress from their individual starting points across the curriculum. We offer a learning programme at St Mary’s designed to offer breadth of learning and set students up for successful achievement in their exams at KS4 and KS5. In most cases all children will follow the same curriculum, however this will be differentiated according to need and ability ensuring that all learning is accessible and that all pupils can experience a sense of progress.

Classes are set according to ability in most subject areas (this is phased in at KS3 and into KS4) – in Y7 there is an intervention group who are disapplied from Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) in the first year so they pick up more intensive literacy support with a small number or students allowing for more specialist individual teacher input and there will normally be additional TA support.

We have specific extra - curricular activities for SEND pupils and provide specific homework support when necessary.


How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?

a) In addition to the normal reporting arrangements what opportunities will there be for you to discuss your child’s progress with staff?

  • Open door policy – You can contact school at any time to request to speak to a member of the SEND team and at our earliest availability we will arrange a meeting or telephone conversation.
  • All students receiving SEND Support have a designated Keyworker who tracks progress and reviews interventions. 
  • SEND staff will be available for additional meetings on review days and parents evenings.
  • Annual review of Education, Health and Care plans.
  • PSP initial meetings and reviews.

b) How does the school know how well your child/young person is doing?

  • We have in place a rigorous assessment and monitoring schedule and we hold regular progress meetings throughout the year to discuss and evaluate pupil progress.

c) How will you know what progress you child should be making?

  • Our termly reporting system.
  • Parents’ evenings.

d) How will we explain to you how your child’s learning is planned so that you can support this outside of school?

  • Curriculum overviews on school website.
  • Parents’ Evenings offer an ideal opportunity to discuss learning in specific subject areas with subject specialists who can offer advice.
  • Planners can be used for home school contact.
  • Through the annual review process staff will provide information on the strategies employed within the classroom which can be discussed and reinforced at home.

e) How and when will you be involved in planning your child’s education?

  • When your child is identified as having a Special Educational Need we encourage you to be fully involved in planning and shaping their support.
  • Parental views are regarded as vital to the planning process and these will be sought in a number of ways throughout the school year.
  • If as a school we decide that your child would benefit from any form of intervention you will be informed via letter or phone call that this is being offered and you will be given the opportunity to discuss with relevant staff.


What support will there be for my child’s overall wellbeing?

a) What is the pastoral, medical and social support available for children with SEND?

  • In addition to the extensive whole school pastoral support package young people with SEND could receive additional personalised support including : Nurture class support, access to support and intervention through our Learning Support Centre; access to the Learning Support Centre before and after school and at break times and lunchtimes.
  • The HUB area, including the nurture room and LR1 are safe spaces for our students where they know they can receive support and help with problems however small.
  • Through our Nurture Team we offer a wide range of interventions to help pupils with social, mental and emotional health difficulties tailored to individual need and circumstance.

b) How do we manage the administration of medicines and providing personal care?

  • Where young people are identified as having a physical medical need(s) requiring medication to be administered in school a Health Care Plan will be completed and necessary arrangements implemented. We have a school based First Aid Officer who also works with the school nurse team.

c) How do we support children during unsupervised time?

  • Staff are deployed at break times to supervise activity in all areas of the school.
  • At lunchtimes the Senior Leadership Team supervise activity alongside staff.
  • Pupils with SEND are invited to spend their lunchtimes in the SEND area which is fully staffed and a range of activities are on offer, including help with homework.
  • The nurture team run a programme of activities during lunch such as Film Club.

d) How does school manage transitions between different activities during the day?

  • We insist on a very orderly and prompt transition between lessons throughout the day and there is a high staff presence to ensure this ethos is upheld.
  • When necessary students can be escorted to and from lessons should this be appropriate.
  • If necessary visual timetables are available to support the transition between lessons and enable pupils with SEND to prepare their day and transitions in advance.

e) What support is there for behaviour, avoiding exclusions and increasing attendance? How will your child be able to contribute his/her views?

  • Through our Nurture Team we offer a wide range of interventions to help pupils with social, mental and emotional health difficulties tailored to individual need and circumstance.
  • We have a full and comprehensive rewards and sanctions policy with the emphasis on rewarding achievement and positive contributions to school.
  • We employ a restorative approach to dealing with behavioural issues.
  • We have an internal exclusion room to avoid external exclusions and ensure that education is not interrupted due to poor behaviour wherever possible.
  • Parental contact is a high priority when any incidents of poor behaviour occur in order for issues to be remedied and a consistent approach to be adopted.
  • We employ Behaviour and Attendance workers and work closely with the Startwell Team to support pupils and parents in maintaining excellent attendance to school.
  • Our attendance policy is inclusive of rewards for excellent attendance and punctuality. This is celebrated in whole school assemblies.
  • When problems with behaviour and attendance are persistent we engage with external agencies to offer increased and personalised packages of support including Pastoral Support Programmes.
  • Young people’s views are taken into account at every stage of their education through pupil voice, contributions to meetings about their progress and achievement and through surveys completed annually.

f) How will we use the expert knowledge you have about your children?

At all relevant points in your child’s education your views and advice will be sought in order to help us fully understand their needs, strengths and difficulties.


What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?

  • Staff in our SEND department access a wide range of training and CPD in order to ensure that the needs of children can be met.
  • We engage support for a wide range of services including: Mental Health teams, Counselling services, Sexual Health teams, Targeted Education Support Services, Educational Psychology Service, Drug and Alcohol Teams, Community Support Services and voluntary organisations, Startwell and Social Care and medical professionals.
  • Where any specific needs arise we ensure that the most appropriate experts are engaged to work with us and our young people and their families to offer the best possible support.

What training have the staff supporting children with SEND had or having?

All staff in the school have received training in differentiating for students with additional needs in the last year.  They have been trained by Speech and Language therapists in relation to Speech, Language and Communication Needs.  They have also had training from the TESS team about supporting behaviour for learning and training support from Oakfield a local outstanding special school. Our keyworkers regularly attend courses and meetings around the area they champion, as well as accessing whole school training.

SENCo Miss Cooke has the national NASENCO qualification.

  • Literacy: We have staff trained in Soundswrite, Read,Write Inc., Talking Partners, Delivering Toe by Toe and Word Wasp, Dyslexia Awareness and Learner Friendly classrooms.
  • Numeracy: We have staff trained in Maths Recovery, Numicon, delivering Plus 1 and Power of 2.
  • Emotional and behavioural Support: All support staff have received training in restorative approaches to behaviour management, coaching and mentoring of individual pupils. Further to this, our support staff have attended a range of training provided by the local authority to support young people who need nurture, anger management etc.
  • Social Stories is used to support the behaviour, communication and interaction of some of our students who find those unspoken social rules difficult to understand.
  • Some of the SEND and nurture staff are being trained up on a targeted behaviour improvement programme using a NLP framework.  


How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom, including trips?

The school provides a wide range of educational and extra – curricular activities taking account of varying capabilities and interests.

  • Teaching assistants and SEND staff attend school trips enabling all pupils to be involved.
  • Parental advice and expertise will always be sought where necessary as part of Health Care plans and in providing consent for pupils to attend educational visits and school trips.


How accessible is the school environment?

  • There is wheel chair access to all buildings and most classrooms, with lifts and ramps allowing access to first floor facilities.
  • We have accessible changing and toileting facilities.
  • We have disabled car parking spaces available.
  • We seek advice and expertise from parents and specialist teams to ensure that the visual and auditory environment is suitable for learners.
  • Where necessary we will employ the support of translators or supportive family members to communicate with parents whose first language is not English.
  • The school SEND budget and personal budgets allows us to provide equipment and facilities to support children and young people with Special Educational Needs.
  • We regularly review and improve facilities in and around the building liaising with occupational therapists and physiotherapists to make the environment accessible and inclusive.


How will the school prepare and support my child to join the school, transfer to a new school or the next stage of education and life?

  • Transition meetings are held with primary schools in which we discuss all children and their strengths and difficulties – these meeting highlight children requiring additional support.
  • We offer a more intensive transition package in addition to regular transition days in order to enable pupils to meet key staff, new classmates and become familiar with their new learning environment and discuss any concerns they may have.
  • At all key transitional points the SEND team offer support to ensure that appropriate provision is available to make the transition as smooth as possible, for example the SENDCo is available to attend and advise at options interviews in Year 9 and can offer support and advice when decisions are being made for Post 16 pathways.
  • When pupils encounter a transition between school post year 7 we liaise with the donor school and any agencies involved to gather pertinent information, complete an assessment of need and put in place a plan for their successful integration into school life with us.
  • We liaise closely with Post 16 establishments to pass on relevant information and where necessary arrange transition sessions. Support can be offered for college assessments and interviews.
  • One of our School careers advisors will attend Annual Review Meetings in year 9, 10, 11 & 13 to help prepare young people for their future. They will also arrange meetings with the young people in school to offer advice and support.
  • We can liaise with the transport team to arrange independent travel training where appropriate.
  • Information sharing when a child moves on is prompt and detailed in order for their needs to be met and for support and provision to be in place. This will include details of support and provision currently in place in order for a new school to implement a similar support package.

How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to the children’s Additional Needs?

  • Schools are given an additional amount, referred to as the ‘notional SEND budget’ it covers around £6,000 per pupil with SEND, over and above core funding. We will use this funding to meet pupil need and where necessary approach the Local Authority when high level needs cost more.
  • As a school we ensure that we are equipped with resources and materials that enable all of our young people to learn. The tools and resources used to make learning accessible for all are sourced whenever applicable to ensure that barriers to learning are broken down and achievement is optimum.
  • Our SEND Budget is devoted to employing well skilled Teaching Assistants, purchasing appropriately differentiated and accessible resources and ensuring that the learning environment is learner friendly.


How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?

We offer a graduated approach to SEND in order to identify difficulties; assess need in conjunction with class teachers, parents and pupils and plan for appropriate support and provision:

  • Where pupils are not making expected progress an assessment of difficulties and needs may be completed to identify specific areas of difficulty. This will inform the teaching strategies and tools needed to enable the individual pupil to make more rapid progress and hopefully overcome difficulties.
  • Where appropriate differentiation and quality first teaching does not have the desired impact and progress continues to be hindered by a young person’s special educational needs then further assessment of need will be completed and small group or 1-1 intervention implemented that is suitable to the needs of the child and assessed regularly.
  • Should the young person continue to make less than expected progress despite support matched to their needs and difficulties then we may involve specialists to complete further assessments and/or offer further advice and guidance to help us offer effective intervention and support. Parental consent will always be sought before involving outside agencies or specialists.
  • At all stages parents should be involved in the decision making process. Our open door policy invites parents to contact us at any time with any questions or concerns.
  • A centrally held, comprehensive information pack outlines the needs and difficulties of any children with special educational needs and the support they receive. This information also outlines advice from specialists and the SEND team, offering strategies for staff to employ when teaching individuals.
  • The SENDCo reviews the SEND register, pupil attainment data and pupils in receipt of support termly. We often take advice from our TESS teacher should we have any specific concerns.
  • Parents, pupils, teachers and teaching assistants are all important stakeholders and can be involved in the decision making process with regards the levels and types of support offered.
  • Parents are encouraged to take an active role in supporting us to enable their child to make good progress. You can be involved by contributing to meetings and discussions at parent’s evenings, by sharing all relevant information, by offering your expert knowledge and by supporting school and reinforcing the work we do in the home.
  • We will measure the impact of interventions in a number of ways to ensure a holistic picture of achievement, some of which are outlines below:
  • Monthly SEND planning meetings;
  • Reviews of attainment data and pastoral data;
  • Learning walks and reviews of pupils work;
  • Pupil voice conversations;
  • Staff consultation in readiness for formal reviews.


How are parents involved in the school? How can I be involved?

By contributing to meetings and discussions at parent’s evenings, sharing all relevant information with school, offering your expert knowledge and by supporting school and reinforcing the work we do in the home you can make a huge difference to the progress and all round development your child makes.

  • Your involvement in your child’s education is crucial. We would encourage talking to them about what they are learning, supporting them with homework and revision and encouraging them to remain positive about their learning experiences and developing attitudes that enable them to see challenges and mistakes as an important part of the learning process.
  • Encouraging reading and reading with your child is hugely valuable and will make a significant difference to their learning capacity and learning attitudes.
  • Seek advice from staff as to how you can support learning in specific subject areas.
  • Attend review days, parent’s evenings and any other meetings pertinent to your child; your views and expertise is valued and always welcome.


Who can I contact for further information?

  • Your first point of contact if you wish to discuss anything about your child would be their form tutor or Head of Year.
  • SEND Team - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Individual class Teachers if it is subject specific
  • If you are worried about anything, contact your child’s form tutor or Head of Year, who will direct you to another appropriate member of staff in the unlikely event that they are unable to deal with your concerns themselves.
  • If you wish to discuss how the school can provide for your child’s SEND you can contact:

Miss Cooke via our SEND Administrator Mrs Emson.

  • You can contact any member of staff by telephoning the school on 01942 884144 or online
  • Further information about support services and the Local Authorities Local Offer can be found at

Alternatively you can contact:

  • Targeted Education Support Service (TESS) on 01942 201914
  • Wigan’s Parent partnership Service Tel: 01942 486131
  • Access & Inclusion Team - Tel: 01942 486132


Staff - SEND

Lead Learning Development Mentor
SEND - Administration Support
Learning and Development Mentor

Contacting the SEN Team

Wigan Local Offer


Targeted Education Support Services (TESS)