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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: October 2022

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 in order 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 Academy, if relevant, following in year admissions.
  • Issues raised by parents.
  • If a student is performing below age expected levels, we will investigate to determine whether additional support is required.
  • Student’s teachers may raise concerns, for example, low self-esteem could be affecting performance and indicate an underlying need.
  • Liaison with external agencies e.g. Health, as appropriate.
  • Classroom observations of students.

How will the Academy support my daughter?

  • The majority of students will have their needs met through High quality teaching targeted at student’s individual needs. Most students will have their needs met by quality first teaching this for example could be through the teacher providing differentiated work and assessments.
  • The Senior Leadership Team and SENCO oversee all support and progress of any student requiring additional support across the Academy and this is monitored regularly.
  • The SENCo will decide the most appropriate support/intervention programme to match the needs of each student with SEN.
  • Timetables are tailored to individual need.
  • There may be a Learning Support Assistant or SEN Teacher working with your daughter either within the classroom or as part of a small group or individually on a 1:1 programme as determined by the SENCo.
  • Access arrangements to enable students with SEN to access public examinations is based on students meeting specific criteria in accordance with the guidelines produced by the Joint Council for Qualifications. SEN students may for example, have the support of a reader, scribe or extra time provided they meet the requirements set out in the guidelines.
  • 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 Consultation Evenings to discuss student progress.
  • Appointments with the SENCo are available at Parents Consultation Evening
  • The SENCo is available by appointment throughout the Academy year.
  • The SENCo regularly meets pupils and parents whose children are placed on the SEN register.

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

We advocate an inclusive environment for all students and where possible 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 in advance at an appropriate level so that all students are able to 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 SENCo to make appropriate differentiation for students with SEN.

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 SEN is monitored by the SENCo to ensure that the student is receiving an appropriate intervention to meet their needs.
  • Teachers are made aware of any interventions a student with SEN is receiving and will be asked to monitor the impact in the day to day classroom setting.

What support is offered to support my Daughters health & 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 SENCO when they are concerned that a student might need some extra pastoral or health 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 SENCo.
  • Senior staff, Heads of Year and SENCO meet on a regular basis to review and identify the needs of students who have been identified as ‘Vulnerable’
  • This Academy has its own trained Emotional Literacy Support assistant (ELSA) who can support students with an emotional literacy programme.
  • The Academy has its own dedicated Chaplin who can provide students with spiritual support.
  • For KS4 students sitting examinations a system of mentoring is available for students who need support academically or emotional to prepare for their examinations.
  • Medical care plans are in place for students who need them. These are review by the Academy nurse.

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

  •  The SENCO is a qualified teacher and has achieved the post graduate SENCO award.
  • The Academy works with the Local Authority SEN services such as, Hearing Impaired, Visually Impaired, Speech and Language, Educational Psychology and Occupational Therapy.
  • The Academy works closely with external agencies they feel may benefit your daughter including GPs, Academy Nurse, CAMHS
  • We also access Outreach support from Redbridge Specialist Education and Training Support Service (SEATSS

What specialist training have staff received?

  • Training led by the Educational Psychologist on Mental health
  • Training led by the Hearing-Impaired service on supporting students with a hearing impairment
  • Regular staff training on differentiation and ‘quality first teaching’.
  • Whole staff training on changes in the ‘SEN code of practice’

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 1:1 support

How accessible is the Academy environment?

  • The main Academy building was built in 1903 and some areas (art rooms, school hall and 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. The plan for the future would be to improve access to the main school hall for all.
  • There is a ground floor first-aid room with an en-suite toilet and sink.
  • The Academy has two disabled toilets located on the ground and first floor. Access to and egress from the site is also wheelchair-friendly. The main Learning Support classroom and intervention room is located on the ground floor.

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

  • All prospective students with SEN are encouraged to visit the Academy with their parents/carers.
  • Primary transition is arranged in the summer term for all students, additional visits may be arranged for students with SEN as deemed necessary.
  • The SEN department aims to attend Annual Reviews if invited by Primary Academy’s.
  • The Academy liaises with colleagues when welcoming students with SEN or when students transfer to different Academy’s to ensure a; paperwork is passed on and needs are discussed and understood.
  • The Academy supports students with SEN in applying for college placements.
  • We liaise with colleges/schools and advise them of any SEN, the support we have had in place and any access arrangements for public examinations.
  • All students get at least one individual meeting with a careers advisor. 

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

  • If a child is identified as SEN parents will be informed during reviews of the resources put in place. The resources put in place will be based on need and aimed towards meeting outcomes as set out in their plans.
  • Students with EHC plans will be supported according to their plans. This plan is reviewed at the annual review.

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 reviews
  • Students create presentations to be presented at their Reviews.
  • Students attend parent consultations evenings with subject teachers.
  • 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 SENCO 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, Head of Year or the SENCo.
  • 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 SENCo. 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 SENCo?

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

SENCo:           Mrs Julia Gardiner


Phone:           020 8554 1995

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