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Special Educational Needs

Julia Gardiner - SENCo

The SEN Department Mission

Creative and collaborative.

Tailored approach, providing opportunities to meet individual need.

Empowering students to achieve their full potential.


Last updated: May 2024

The Ursuline Academy Ilford is a four-form entry Catholic comprehensive Academy for girls aged 11-19 in the Diocese of Brentwood.  Places are reserved each year for non-Catholic students reflecting the religious and cultural diversity of the neighbourhood.  This mix serves the Academy well; it strengthens its Catholic ethos and contributes to community cohesion.

The Academy operates an ethos where each student is valued and nurtured to achieve as highly as they can. Students leave the Academy as well-rounded young women with the confidence to go out and make a difference in our world.

The Academy recognises that at some point in a student’s education, she may experience difficulties in one or more of the following areas:

  • Communication and Interaction
  • Cognition and Learning
  • Social, Mental and Emotional Health
  • Sensory and /or Physical

These may be inter-related and may be short- or long-term needs. These needs may require support that is additional to or different from that made generally available for other students in the Academy.

How does the Academy know if students need additional help and what should parents do if they think their daughter has Special Educational Needs?

At the Ursuline Academy students are identified as having SEN through a variety of ways including the following:

  • Liaison in the summer term of Year 6 with our feeder primary schools.
  • In school testing using a range of tests to establish reading and spelling ages.
  • In school testing to establish Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative data.
  • Liaison with previous secondary school, if relevant, following in-year admissions.
  • Staff observation and referral of a pupil finding aspects of school challenging.
  • If a student is performing below age expected levels, we will investigate to determine whether additional support is required.

Issues raised by parents.

  • Liaison with external agencies e.g. Health, as appropriate.
  • Classroom observations of students.
  • Collate feedback from class Teachers.

How will the Academy support my daughter?

  • Many students will have their needs met through adaptive teaching, targeted at student’s individual needs, for example, this could be through the teacher providing adapted work, assessments and adopting specific strategies within the classroom.
  • The SENDCo oversees all support and progress of any student requiring additional support across the Academy and this is monitored regularly.
  • The SENDCo will decide the most appropriate support/intervention programme to match the needs of each student with SEN.
  • There may be a Learning Support Assistant working with your daughter either within the classroom, part of a small group or a personalised programme as determined by the SENDCo.
  • Exam Access Arrangements (EAA) will be applied for in key stage 4 and 5, to enable students with SEND and other pupils, where appropriate, to access public examinations with specific arrangement in place. This is based on students meeting specific criteria in accordance with the guidelines produced by the Joint Council for Qualifications. The Academy has introduced an initial online assessment tool, LASS Exact, to determine which pupils may be entitled to EAA. The next step is to refer students for formal EAA assessment with an external EAA Assessor, where there is the evidence from the initial screener and feedback from Teachers. Students who qualify for EAA, may for example, have the support of a reader, scribe or extra time.
  • At KS4, the Academy offers a non-examined option to support student’s literacy and numeracy skills.
  • The Academy offers alternative qualifications in English and Maths (E.G Entry Level) to try to ensure that students leave with recognised qualifications at a level they can access.

Who will explain this to me?

  • Subject teachers meet with parents/carers at Parents Progress Evenings to discuss student progress.
  • Appointments with the SENDCo are available at Parents Consultation Evening
  • The SENDCo is available by appointment throughout the Academy year.
  • The SENDCO regularly meets pupils and parents whose children are placed on the SEN register.

How will the Curriculum be tailored to meet my daughter’s needs?

We advocate an inclusive environment for all students and where students are kept in the classroom with their peers with adaptations made to support students with needs. All work within the classroom setting, is planned at an appropriate level so that all students can access the work according to their needs. Work may be specific to an individual e.g. for a visually impaired student or for a student with dyslexia. Subject teachers are supported by the SENDCo to make appropriate differentiation for students with SEND through a programme of specific training sessions.

How does the Academy know how well my daughter is doing?

  • We measure student’s progress against national expectations and age-related expectations.
  • Subject teachers regularly assess student progress.
  • Progress in interventions received by students with SEND is monitored by the SENDCo to ensure that the student is receiving an appropriate intervention to meet their needs.
  • Teachers are made aware of any interventions a student with SEND is receiving and will be asked to monitor the impact in the day-to-day classroom setting.


What types of support are available to promote my daughter’s health and wellbeing?

The Academy has a strong pastoral system where Form Tutors and Heads of Year work together to provide day-to-day guidance for students.

  • All Heads of year liaise with the SENDCo when they are concerned that a student might need some extra SEND, pastoral, medical or wellbeing related support.
  • The Academy has a counsellor who works weekly with girls who need extra support. Seeing the counsellor is determined by need and decided by Heads of year and SENDCo.
  • Senior staff and Heads of Year meet on a regular basis to review and identify the needs of students who have been identified as ‘Vulnerable.’
  • This Academy has two trained Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSA) who can support students with an emotional literacy programme.
  • The Academy has its own dedicated Chaplin who can provide students with spiritual support.
  • Medical care plans are in place for students who need them. These are reviewed by the Heads of Year/ SENDCo with advice from medical professionals, where appropriate.
  • Risk assessments are also used to support pupils with temporary medical concerns or aspects of mental health when they may need additional support within school. The pastoral team will establish these and monitor with parent/ carers alongside the pupil concerned.
  • We have a dedicated nurture room as well as an inclusion room, which are areas within the school, where pupils can receive additional support and intervention, when required.

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

  • The SENDCo is a qualified teacher, has achieved the post graduate NASEND Award and trained as a Senior Mental Health Lead. The SENDCo is part of the Senior Leadership Team.
  • The Academy works with the Local Authorities SEND Advisory Service, known as SEATTS, who provide specific support via Advisory Teachers specialising in the following areas: Hearing Impaired, Visually Impaired, Communication, Cognition, Physical Disabilities/ Medical Needs.
  • Speech and Language Therapists.
  • Educational Psychology.
  • Occupational Therapy.
  • The Academy works closely with external agencies they feel may benefit your daughter including GPs, Academy Nurse, CAMHS.
  • Redbridge Behaviour and Inclusion team.
  • Redbridge Emotional Wellbeing Team.
  • Redbridge SEND Services and other local authority SEND Services, where appropriate.

What specialist training have staff received?

  • Regular staff training adaptive teaching.
  • Autism Education Trust Training.
  • National College Training.

How will my daughter be included in activities and Academy trips?

We actively seek to provide an inclusive environment where all students are included in all activities. All out of Academy activities are individually risk assessed and where necessary reasonable adjustments are made to maximise the engagement whilst ensuring safety for all students. When necessary, we can provide additional adult support.

How accessible is the Academy environment?

  • The main Academy building was built in 1903, areas such as Art rooms and the library are only accessible by stairs, as it has not been possible to adapt these areas. However, all other areas have been adapted or designed for accessibility and are wheelchair friendly. The Academy has one passenger lift and one platform lift. These lifts provide access to all other parts of the Academy’s buildings.
  • Student support areas included an inclusion and nurture rooms which are situated on the ground floor as an accessible toilet facilities.

How does the Academy prepare and support students when joining or leaving the Academy?

  • All prospective students with SEND are encouraged to visit the Academy with their parents/carers.
  • Information is obtained from primary schools in relation to all pupils joining our Academy in year 6 with additional information being sought for pupils with special educational needs and additional needs.
  • Our Primary transition day is arranged in the summer term for all students, additional sessions will be arranged for students with SEND to provide extra support for transition.
  • The SEND department aims to attend EHCP Annual Reviews and IEP/ SEND Reviews during year 6.
  • The Academy liaises with colleagues when welcoming students with SEND or when students transfer to different Academy’s to ensure sharing of valuable information take place.
  • The Academy supports students with SEND in applying for college placements with the support of the local Connexions Advisor.
  • We liaise with colleges/schools and advise them of any SEND, the support we have had in place and any access arrangements for public examinations.
  • All students get at least one individual meeting with a career’s advisor.

How is the decision made about what support we can give to a child/young person with Special Educational Needs?

  • If a child is identified as SEND, parents will be informed of what support is put in place. This will be based on need and specifically aimed towards meeting outcomes as set out in their plans.
  • Students with EHC plans will be supported according to their outcomes and provision. This plan is reviewed at the annually.
  • If we feel a pupil requires, over and above support usually providing through our Academy SEND provision, we will consider collating supporting evidence and making an application for an EHCP Assessment. This application needs to be submitted to the local authority in which the pupils reside.
  • For a small number of pupils, our educational offer of mainstream lessons, may not be appropriate or sufficient to meet their needs. In these instances, we will seek advice from the Redbridge Behaviour and Inclusion team as well as SEND services, to see if there is an appropriate alternative educational provision.

What arrangements are made for consulting young people with SEN and how does the Academy involve them in their education?

  • Students attend and contribute to their review meetings.
  • Students attend parent progress evenings with subject teachers/ SENDCo.
  • Each form class has a class elected representative on the Academy council. All students can forward their view to Academy council via their class representative.
  • All students are given teaching and learning questionnaires to complete anonymously which are read and discussed at senior management.

How do we keep parents informed?

  • Parents are invited into Academy for regular reviews with the SENDCO during this time parents and students get the opportunity to raise any concerns that might have in any aspect of Academy life.
  • Talk to us – first contact your daughter’s Subject Teacher/ Form Tutor, Head of Year or the SENDCo.
  • To achieve academic excellence there needs to be open lines of communication with parents/carers and we encourage parents/carers to keep the Academy informed of any changes in circumstance and alert the Academy to any concerns in a timely manner.

Arrangements for Considering Complaints about SEND Provision within the Academy

At The Ursuline Academy Ilford, parents and students are consulted at every stage of the education of the student, particularly if they have an identified SEND. In cases where the parents are unhappy with the provision provided, they are invited initially to approach the SENDCo. Parents are also invited to ask the Redbridge Parent Partnership for their advice and support. Formal complaints should follow the Academy’s Complaints Procedure.

A parent may ask the LA to conduct a formal Statutory Assessment on their daughter and if they disagree with the outcome, the have the right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal.


How can I contact the SENDCO?

The SENDCo at The Ursuline Academy Ilford is Mrs Julia Gardiner - Assistant Headteacher.  Should you wish to contact her details are outlined below:

SENDCo:           Mrs Julia Gardiner


Phone:                 020 8554 1995

Address:             Ursuline Academy Ilford, Morland Road, Ilford, Essex IG1 4JU