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Special Needs

Welcome to the SEND department home page. Our SENCo is Mrs A McCafferty who can be contacted on 020 8907 8828.

We firmly believe that all children have the ability to learn and should be equally valued whether they have special educational needs or disability or not. Inclusion is most likely to be achieved when their diversity is recognised and regarded positively. All staff at St Gregory’s have a responsibility for inclusion.  

All children and their parents/carers are entitled to be treated with respect and have their views taken into account

The aim of Inclusion at St Gregory’s is to consider the structure, teaching approaches, pupil grouping and use of support so that they respond to the needs of all pupils.  Special educational provision at St Gregory’s is underpinned by Quality First teaching.

High quality teaching that is differentiated should meet the individual needs of the vast majority of children and young people and we are very proud of the outstanding learning experiences that our students with SEND receive. Where this is not possible, extra adult support and intervention is put in place. Building strong and trusting relationships with students that nurture and develop are also key to this.

St Gregory’s is dedicated to providing positive learning experiences for all students, regardless of their ability. 

 learning support assistants

The work of the Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) is very important as they support pupils in the classroom.

The LSA is responsible for supporting students in the classroom (predominantly those with an EHCP) and ensuring that they are able to access the work given and break down barriers to learning. The LSA may work with students on a 1:1 basis or small groups. As much as possible LSAs will circumnavigate the classroom and support a number of students so that SEND students do not feel singled out or embarrassed with at the use of ‘velcro’ support and they aim to empower our learners with SEND as much as possible.

For those students who have an EHCP, the LSA sets individual targets for them fortnightly. At the end of each fortnight, the LSA reviews these targets and sets new ones if appropriate. The progress of students is discussed regularly at SEND department meetings.

The relationship between the LSA and pupil is very different to the relationship between teacher and pupil. One of the most important roles of an LSA is to help pupils with SEND become successful learners; they are able to do this because they help pupils with SEND in all areas of school life. We hope that as time goes on the LSA and pupil build a relationship based on trust and mutual respect where the pupil feels they are able to confide in them and that their worries will be dealt with effectively.


Reading is a pupil’s passport to learning and therefore one of the most important roles of the SEND department is to ensure that all students can read to the best of their ability. At the beginning of year 7, every pupil’s reading age is assessed using a combination of ACCESS reading test results and Key Stage 2 SATS reading scores. If their reading age is below 10, they join a reading booster programme. Three times a week during form time, students in a small group read with a member of staff and their reading is assessed again in the Easter term. Generally, 90% of students improve their reading age and those who do not undergo a full assessment.

If a pupil’s reading age is a serious cause for concern then they follow a phonic programme called Units of Sound. The students will be withdrawn from non-core lessons once a week to work with the Deputy SENCo on this programme. Units of Sound is a phonics programme aimed at pupils with a reading age below 8 years. It focuses on reading, spelling, memory and dictation in order to improve the skills of the pupil. The pupil is assessed prior to starting the programme and this process ensures that the pupil follows an individual programme that matches their need.

In January of year 7, every pupil is screened for dyslexia using an online diagnostic tool called Lucid Lass. If a pupil’s profile raises concern, they undergo a full assessment with the school’s dyslexic trained teacher.

Reading intervention can continue all the way through from year 7 – 9, as progress may be evident but slow. Requiring ongoing support.

If any or all of the above do not resolve a pupil’s difficulties, they may be referred to the Brent Consultant or the Educational Psychologist to ascertain the causes of the difficulties they are experiencing.


Spelling helps reading. Learning to spell helps to cement the connection between the letters and their sounds, and learning high-frequency “sight words” to mastery level improves both reading and writing. At the beginning of year 7, every pupil’s spelling age is assessed using the VERNON spelling test.

If a pupil’s spelling age raises concern then they will be withdrawn from a non-core lesson once per week to work with the Deputy SENCo on an online program called Spellzone. They will be given weekly spellings to learn and will be frequently assessed to measure progress.

Spelling intervention can continue all the way through from year 7 – 9, as progress may be evident but slow. Requiring ongoing support.

If a pupil’s difficulties with spelling do not appear to be improving with this intervention, they may be referred for 1:1 teaching with the school’s dyslexic trained teacher.

Specialist Dyslexia Teaching  

For those pupils whose difficulties with reading and spelling are persistent and do not appear to improve with quality first-teaching or small group intervention they will be referred for specialist 1:1 teaching. The intervention is tailored to the pupil’s specific needs and areas of difficulty. This will take place either with the specialist dyslexia teacher Mrs Vlasakova or the SENCo Miss Togher.


At the beginning of year 7 pupils' Mathematics ability is assessed using their Key Stage 2 SATS scores but also the quantitative area of the CATS 4 test. Any pupil who scores in the bottom 10% in the quantitative area of CATs 4 tests or has not achieved the age related standard at Key Stage 2 is tested for dyscalculia, using Dynamo Maths. The Mathematics LSA works closely with the Head of Mathematics to monitor the pupil’s progress and to clarify in which particular area of maths the student is struggling.

The above pupils are invited to attend Maths Club, which is held three mornings a week during form time. The aim of Maths Club is for the maths LSA to better understand the nature of individual pupil’s difficulties, which enables the LSA to support the pupil more effectively in the classroom. The LSA works closely with the mathematics teacher who teaches these pupils.

 Homework Club

The transition from primary school to secondary school is a major event for all pupils and one area that some pupils find difficult is homework. The amount of homework given to pupils is carefully planned and overseen by Mr Knights, Assistant Head teacher. A homework timetable is constructed to ensure that the setting and collection of homework is fair and not overwhelming for the pupils. Nevertheless, for those who find it difficult to work independently, it can be a cause of worry.

Homework Club is held for one hour after school every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Pupils are invited by letter to attend and if a pupil does not attend homework club by 4.00 p.m., parents/carers are informed.

The purpose of homework club is to support pupils who would find it difficult to complete homework independently. Learning support assistants oversee homework club. They are aware of the homework that needs to be completed as they support these pupils in the classroom. This removes anxiety as the pupil leaves school confident that at least some homework has been completed and they have received individual support to help them complete the remainder with parents at home.

 speech and language therapy

The SEND department pay for the services of a speech and language therapist for one day a week. Before interventions are set up, she completes a full assessment of the student to assess what their specific difficulties are and whether they are in the areas of receptive or expressive language (or both). Interventions are then set up on either a 1:1 or group basis.

 social thinking

In year 7 and 8 any student who has a diagnosis of ASD, ADHD or SEMH will be invited to take part in the social thinking course for one hour per week. The social thinking course is designed to allow students to explore their behaviour in different situations and allow them to understand what is expected of them. This gives them a chance to interact with other students they may not usually spend time with.

Students who participate in this course will learn and improve the following skills;

  • Attention
  • Behaviour
  • Social
  • Confidence
  • Empathy
  • Independent work
  • Expression
  • Emotional
  • Vocabulary

 social Club

We know and understand that many students find the playground an overwhelming place. Social club takes place in G9 every lunchtime for the duration of lunch. The area if staffed by the SEND department. Pupils are welcome to join and leave at any time and use this space to play board games, read a book, talk with their friends or watch movies.

 access arrangements

The purpose of an Access Arrangement is to ensure, where possible, that barriers to assessment are removed for a disabled candidate preventing him/her from being placed at a substantial disadvantage as a consequence of persistent and significant difficulties. The integrity of the assessment is maintained, whilst at the same time providing access to assessments for a disabled candidate.

Access Arrangements are pre-examination adjustments for candidates based on evidence of need and normal way of working. Access Arrangements fall into two distinct categories:

  • Arrangements which are delegated to centre
  • Arrangements which require prior JCQ awarding body approval

Reasonable Adjustments

The Equality Act 2010 requires an Awarding Body to make reasonable adjustments where a candidate, who is disabled within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010, would be at a substantial disadvantage in undertaking an assessment.

A reasonable adjustment for a particular person may be unique to that individual and may not be included in the list of available Access Arrangements. How reasonable the adjustment is will depend on a number of factors including the needs of the disabled candidate/learner. An adjustment may not be considered reasonable if it involves costs, timeframes or affects the security or integrity of the assessment.

Please see ‘Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments Policy’ for further detail.

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Our SEND Information Report and SEND Policy can be found here