Special Educational Needs

Learning Support Department: Hope, Believe, Achieve

"God has something great in your future."  Isaiah 43:19

"You are the light of the world…Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."  Matthew 5:16

"So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God."  Galatians 3:26

Powerful knowledge

  • We recognise the individual needs of learners, providing opportunities to support and enhance learning, fully develop their abilities, interests and aptitudes and gain maximum access to the curriculum and school based activities.
  • Students with SEND are fully included in all activities of the school in order to promote the highest levels of achievement.
  • We celebrate and recognise the differences within our school community.
  • Students achieve to the best of their abilities, despite any difficulty or disability they may have, providing all students with a sense of achievement.
  • Students will develop the skills needed to make a successful transition to adulthood, further education, employment or training. This includes supporting students with skills such as communication skills, literacy and numeracy skills, road safety, acquiring basic cooking and knowledge of nutrition, self-care and money management, organisation and independence.
  • Students will gain independence, self-worth and confidence in what they do.
  • Students will have opportunities to embed what they have learnt during additional support sessions.
  • Students will be treated as individuals; they will have the opportunity to share their voice about their specific needs, difficulties and future aspirations.
  • Students will have access to a broad range of interventions to enable them to overcome any barriers they face.
  • Parents will be kept informed about the progress and impact of any intervention.
  • Staff are aware of and sensitive to the needs of all pupils, teaching pupils in a way that is more appropriate to their needs.
  • We work in partnership with parents/ carers, pupils and relevant external agencies in order to provide for children’s special educational needs and disabilities.
  • We identify at the earliest opportunity, all children that need special consideration to support their needs (whether these are educational, social, physical or emotional.)

Curriculum intent

We provide an inclusive education for all students and value all students highly as individuals, focussing education on ‘the whole child’. All students receive an education that will best meet their particular needs, to enable all pupils to receive their full entitlement to a broad, balanced and appropriate curriculum.

The Catholic High School, Chester prides itself in being inclusive and will endeavour to support every child regardless of their level of need. All pupils follow the National Curriculum at a level and a pace that is appropriate to their abilities. At times and when it is felt appropriate, modifications to the curriculum may be implemented.

We believe that positive relationships are the foundation of all learning and therefore have developed an ethos that values these above all else. Providing good role models for our students is essential if we expect considerate, appropriate behaviour from them. We also believe that praise and encouragement is the best way to improve self-esteem and foster motivation amongst our pupils. We also believe that all children learn best when their basic needs are met. Therefore we will work closely with parents and other agencies to ensure that pupils are able to make good progress, adopting a person centred approach to any provision.

We recognise that our pupils have different strengths and weaknesses and will develop and progress at different rates. Each child is unique and we aim for them all to reach their full potential.  We celebrate every small step of progress that they make. Pupil assessment is an ongoing process and is used by teachers to differentiated lessons to ensure all children are working to their full potential. Teachers are also well informed of students’ specific needs and strategies that support them in lessons through individual student passports.   

Early interventions enable students to make good progress in English and Maths and, ultimately, across the curriculum. The Learning Support Department provides catch up support for students in year 7 who need additional support. Literacy and numeracy intervention programmes are delivered by highly experienced Learning Support staff. The sessions are offered to students before, during and after school.

All students in year 7 will complete an Access Reading Test. This will provide the school with a standardised reading score. This, in conjunction with KS2 data is used to highlight any student who scores under 90. Many standardised assessments categorise scores of under 85 (below average) to identify students who require intervention. At The Catholic High School, we raised this level to 90 to ensure that any student who may be on the cusp of average are provided with catch up literacy support. This may also be beneficial for students whose literacy levels have dipped following the 6 week summer break and require a top of intervention programme.

Within year 7, we identify a small cohort of students who for part of our nurture group. Students are identified through were identified through literacy and numeracy screening assessments, data from primary school and feedback from their class teachers. We also take into account other SEND information. The nurture group will follow a programme to incorporate catch-up work from Year 5 and 6 which is mapped onto some of our schemes of work, but delivered at the appropriate level. Targeted sessions will address gaps in learning which have arisen from the lockdown and earlier knowledge gaps where these have been identified. The long-term planning has taken into consideration other subjects including, but not limited to, History, Geography, Art, DT, Food Tech., Computing, Drama and Science. These will be delivered as part of literacy sessions, key skills sessions and during themed weeks which take place approximately once a term. Where possible the curriculum has been mapped onto the content being delivered at Year 7 e.g. Goth Girl and the ghost of a mouse in place of Gothic Fiction; animal poetry instead of 'Nature and the Romantics'. The Mathematics curriculum is broad and tackles most topics at a differentiated level with some content being left until the summer term when progress will have been made.  This will ensure that the students within the nurture group don’t fall further behind in their core curriculum areas. For a small number of students who are working well below the expected level, supplementary interventions in reading/phonics and Maths will be provided in addition to the nurture group sessions. The SEND Information Report includes more detail about specific interventions that we offer in school.

We provide a range of support strategies for identified pupils. These include:

  • In class support, small group interventions and 1:1 support
  • Personalised timetables in Year 10 and 11 to support option choices and study skills
  • Key workers to build links with home
  • Overlays, reading rulers and tablets
  • Social skills and life skills
  • Speech and language interventions
  • Specific interventions written into a Pastoral Support Plan
  • Autism Resource Base support
  • Access to trinity during unstructured times

Through our intervention programme, we aim to develop portable and transferable skills for students in the following areas to enable them to progress into successful and confident young adults:

  • Communication
  • Social interaction
  • Independence and organisation skills
  • Personal safety
  • Movement and motor skills
  • Self-regulation of sensory needs
  • Self-regulation of behaviour and emotions
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Using ICT as a tool
  • Memory building strategies
  • Independent Travel Training
  • ELSA support strategies

More information can be found on the SEND Provision Map


All students begin school with a full curriculum, other than in exceptional circumstances. This allows students to have a fully inclusive curriculum with equal access to the range of subjects on offer. At KS3, the focus is on early identification and intervention; helping pupils to make good academic and progress and to become independent learners. Following discussion with parents / carers a small number of students with specific needs are withdrawal from certain subject areas to participate in intervention programmes. This is predominantly MFL, History or Geography and can be on a short term rotating basis, or a longer term provision. A small number of students may also require interventions from our trinity provision, which provides social and emotional support for students in school. Teaching staff and Teaching Assistants effectively differentiate for students with additional needs using Quality First Teaching strategies, whilst ensuring that all students are allowed to make progress in line with their ability. Regular learning walks, work scrutiny and tracking analysis allows for this process to be monitored.



The aim of the curriculum at KS4 is to prepare our young people for the transition to further education, training or employment. It builds on the skills that pupils began to develop in KS3 and now gives them the opportunity to apply these skills in a wider context. Literacy and communication skills underpin all areas of the curriculum; therefore teachers will embed these skills throughout their lessons. We assess students for exam access arrangements to ensure the correct additional arrangements are in place for external examinations, to enable all students to have equal access to qualifications on offer at school. Entry Level qualifications are offered to certain students in English and Mathematics to enable them to feel a sense of achievement early on through their KS4 journey end to reinforce the skills and knowledge needed to progress to GCSE courses. BTEC courses and personalised curriculum plans are also offered to support specific students who require a more individual approach. A minority of students may be offered college placements or education within an Alternative Provision to meet their specific needs. This is always in consultation with individual students and their parents / carers. Young People’s Service are involved for students who require more support in their transition to KS4, in articular those students with an Education, Health and Care Plan.


We work closely with Young People’s Services, 6th form staff and local college providers to establish an effective transition to KS5 and find the right pathway for our young people. We use a range of learning methods and resources, links with other professionals and agencies and the community to ensure students achieve their potential. The continued emphasis is on promoting independence and effective communication, whilst fostering students’ ability to make informed choices about their own career and life aspirations.

Curriculum Enrichment

Students are given access to a range of support clubs including games club and reading club. Students from The Autism Resource Base attend an annual Special interest quiz and Base Christmas buffet, which involves students planning, budgeting and shopping for refreshments. We also offer a walking club every Friday for vulnerable students, which is well attended.

Cross curricular integration

AT KS3, Teaching Assistants work across all departments to enable a consistent approach for students and staff. We have specialist Teaching Assistants in Maths and Literacy, who offer a more personalised provision to students at KS4. A literacy specialist HLTA provides support to students and disseminates best practice across subject areas to maximise the impact of interventions.


We aim to build an open communication with parents/ carers and students during the Year 6 Transition, fostering strong links throughout school. The young person and their parent / carer’s views are central to planning and form part of the annual review process and during transition, at any stage. Students who require additional support with transport to and from school may receive guidance from the Independent Travel Service, promoting independence in travel. We involve Young Peoples’ Services to support decision making and offer specialist advice in preparation for GCSE studies. Young Peoples’ Services continue to be involved in career guidance for specific students with SEND and we support applications and transition visits to ease the process of change.