The following areas of need are identified:

• Moderate/Mild Learning Difficulties, which involve learning at a slower pace than others, difficulty with memory and/or processing, and includes Specific Learning Difficulties such as dyslexia, or issues with literacy or numeracy.
• Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs
• Speech Language and Communication Needs, which are often an issue for our pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders
• Physical Difficulties, which include sensory impairments, like visual or auditory impairments; and issues which might affect a student’s mobility. (N.B. The school continually strives to improve our anticipatory capacity; however, we currently do not have disabled access to upper floors or the swimming pool, and the suitability of rooms for visual/auditory impairments is variable.)

In spite of some of the limitations on the accessibility of our site, we always try to make the adjustments necessary to enable the participation of our students with physical difficulties.
We had a student join who had considerable difficulties with mobility due to a long-term condition causing her joint pain and fatigue. We successfully applied for an Education and Health Care Plan for that student on the basis of her physical difficulty. This generated top-up funding, which was allocated to extra tuition for her to catch up work missed due to her condition. She was given time-outs when necessary and the SENCO coordinated the collection of work to ensure she missed as little curriculum time as possible.
Her timetable was adapted to minimise the amount of walking and stairs. She has the option of using a scribe in exams and has extra time when she needs it. She was also provided with an iPAD to reduce the amount of handwriting she has to complete. We have increased staffing and sourced wheelchairs on school trips, to enable her to attend. The school has regularly taken advice from Physical Difficulties Support Services to inform these adjustments, and this student is one of the highest attaining in her Year group. She has secured a place at the sixth form of a local school on the basis of her predicted grades.

The 2015 Code of Practice says that: ‘A person has SEN if they …have significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others the same age’.

The focus is not on labelling children, but rather on finding the right provision for them, and if that provision needs to be special or additional then they will be included in our Special Educational Needs provision.

Furthermore, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities are identified at Cardinal Wiseman using the following:

  • Information from primary schools, including prior attainment
  • Baseline tests in Year 7 (in English and Maths)
  • Specialist agencies to test for indicators of SEND
  • Concerns raised by school staff, pupils, and parents
  • Medical diagnoses
  • Persistent lack of progress in tracking assessments
  • Tests administered by the SENCO to establish whether access arrangements are needed.


A student joined us in Year 7, for whom there had been no prior indication that he had Special Educational Needs. Subject teachers quickly alerted the SENCO to the fact that this student was struggling to spell and read basic words in their lessons, and that he didn’t appear to understand the lesson content.

In response to this, the SENCO completed a range of standardised tests, which revealed the student to have very low reading, spelling, memory and processing skills. To quality-control these tests, Pupil Support Services also conducted tests with the student. The SENCO observed the student in lessons and it became apparent that the student was not able to access the mainstream curriculum.

This student was temporarily withdrawn from mainstream lessons in order to receive intensive additional support for his word reading, spelling, phonics, and comprehension. This took place over 6 weeks, at the end of which the student was able to steadily reintegrate into mainstream lessons and to access the curriculum.

  • Special Educational Needs and Difficulties are provided for in the first instance by teachers in the classroom.
  • Teachers deliver a high quality of lessons, which aim to differentiate to meet the needs of all students, giving access to a broad and balanced curriculum on which they can make progress in their learning.
  • Teachers consider the learning environment and seating arrangements as a routine part of their teaching; and adapt tasks, outcomes or resources as necessary to suit the learning needs of pupils with Special Educational Needs.
  • Teachers’ awareness of students with SEND is established through a Provision Map, which lists all the students who we for whom we have identified SEND, and through Learning Support Plans which give them a one-page profile for each student.
  • The one-page profile recommends strategies with which teachers can support students in the classroom, and many of these are developed in consultation with students and/or parents, and are phrased in the student’s own words when possible.
  • The work of the SEN team is complemented by that of other initiatives within the school, such as the ‘Becoming Wise’ curriculum which develops students’ literacy and assessment.


A student joined us with a heart condition, which caused him physical difficulties regarding his mobility, fatigue, and concentration. We consulted with Physical Difficulties Support Services and the student’s mother and put together a one-page profile to inform teachers’ practice with the following recommendations. He is allowed to fidget with Lego while he works to prevent his hands from stiffening. He has a private changing area in PE, and he is able to start changing before the other students. He is provided with a laptop on which he types work in lessons to reduce the burden of handwriting. He is sat near the teacher with students of similar ability, and receives regular prompts to support his concentration. This student is consequently able to attend all lessons.

What additional support is available to pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities?

  • When necessary, booster sessions are provided in the Learning Support Centre to help with literacy and numeracy.
  • Social Skills and Resilience sessions are provided when necessary for pupils with Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs.
  • One-to-one mentoring is provided when necessary pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, and Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs.

All booster sessions run for set time-frames and are monitored and evaluated to ensure their impact on student outcomes. This enables the SEN Department to adapt and introduce new interventions to support students when required.


A student joined us with significant Speech and Language difficulties due to a cleft palate and English as an Additional Language. He was also diagnosed with a mild cognitive delay. His progress was regularly monitored by testing by the SENCO, Pupil Support Services and the Speech and Language Therapist.

Throughout Key Stage 3, this student received a range of literacy and numeracy interventions to help empower him to access the curriculum. As he entered Key Stage 4 to begin GCSE courses, it became apparent that his needs were too substantial to allow him to succeed at this, in spite of the access arrangements put in place for his exams.

Therefore the decision was taken to balance his mainstream timetable with the provision of Entry-level courses in numeracy and communication. This enabled him to attain Entry-level 3 in these. He was supported in his transition to post-16 education and was successful in getting a place at a Special School Sixth form.

What training have school staff had in relation to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities?

Teaching staff receive regular training as part of their Continuous Professional Development. This training utilises the expertise of external and internal specialists as appropriate. With regard to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, this has included the following.

  • Quality First Teaching Strategies
  • How to plan precisely for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
  • Ways to support pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders
  • How to use teaching strategies recommended by Specialist assessors.

The SENCO is a qualified SENCO, and is trained in testing to establish eligibility for access arrangements.

Learning Support staff receive training from the Educational Psychologist to ensure the quality of the support they provide.


As the GCSE course progressed, one of our students with Special Needs began to feel increasingly anxious and suffered from low self-esteem to the point that we were worried about his well-being. This was made worse by his Autistic Spectrum Condition, ADHD, and dyspraxia. We involved the school’s Educational Psychologist who met with the SENCO, DSL, and the student concerned; as did the school’s worker from the Communication and Autism Team.

As a result of their advice, the SENCO attended training in the FRIENDS Resilience programme, which was delivered to the student twice-weekly during Year 11. This, and personal mentoring with the SENCO, enabled the student to improve his attendance and continue to make progress in lessons.

The student secured a post-16 destination and was supported by the Communication and Autism Team to make a successful transition, attaining well in his GCSEs.

How does the school use specialist support for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities?

The school’s provision for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities uses the following specialist agencies to identify and advise on how to support students’ needs:

  • Pupil Support Services focus mainly on difficulties with Learning, and also advise on general SEND policy and practice;
  • The Educational Psychologist focuses mainly on Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs, and supports in applications for Education and Health Care Plans if and when these become necessary;
  • The Communication and Autism Team focus mainly on individual pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, and also advise on overall training and strategy for supporting pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders;
  • The Physical Difficulties Support Service, focus on individual students with Physical Difficulties and also advise on the school’s accessibility in general.


One of our students with autism began to have unexplained mental health issues, (possibly linked to a post-traumatic response to an incident at his previous school), which caused him to stop attending school. We conducted regular home visits to support him in resuming attendance, and several of these visits involved the school’s Educational Psychologist and the worker from the Communication and Autism Team. These professionals were able to advise the SENCO about how to approach the situation so as not to exacerbate the issue, and they also helped to reassure the student’s mother. The student managed to resume attendance and continues to attend and excel in school.

How does the school check that its provision for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities is effective?

The effectiveness of the school’s provision for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities is continually monitored, to make sure the pupils make progress. This helps to review and adapt our support for pupils accordingly. The progress of pupils with Special Educational Needs is measured using the following information:

  • Data from tracking assessments, on progress and attainment, (termly);
  • Behaviour logs;
  • Lesson observations;
  • Scrutiny of students’ books and work;
  • Consultation with external agencies;
  • Feedback from students and parents;
  • Baseline tests to inform interventions;
  • Transition information from Primary schools and in-year admissions;
  • Individual diagnostic assessments, including specialist assessments for eligibility for access arrangements, (particularly in Year 9);
  • Strategic review activities.

how can pupils and their parents become involved in decisions about their education?

  • Pupils with Special Educational Needs are involved in creating their own individual Learning Support Plan, which informs teachers’ planning. This gives students the opportunity to have their voice heard about their own learning preferences and ambitions.
  • SEND reviews are conducted regularly, where parents and pupils are invited to meet with the SEND team to discuss their Learning Support Plan and progress across the curriculum.
  • A selection of pupils and parents help to review this SEN Information Report, annually.


In Year 9, one of our boys with autism became disaffected from his learning and found it difficult to meet behavioural expectations of the school. The Behaviour Team made reasonable adjustments to the behavior policy to try and protect him from exclusion, as his place at the school had become at risk. To explore whether mainstream provision remained appropriate for him, he and his mother participated in an emergency review of his Education Health and Care Plan, and visited local specialist provisions with the SENCO. They came to the conclusion that Cardinal Wiseman remained the most appropriate provision for him, and with the support of the Learning Support Department he managed to complete his GCSEs at our school, attaining well and going on to study A-levels at the sixth form of a local school.

How does the school ensure children with disabilities are not treated less favourably than other pupils?

  • Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School complies with its duties under the Equality Act 2010. Reasonable adjustments are routinely made for students with a range of different SEN, including students with challenging autistic traits who have been able to maintain access to mainstream education, by having regular support from the SEN Team.
  • Pupils with Special Educational Needs are admitted to the school in line with the school’s admissions policy.
  • Access arrangements for exams take account of pupils’ physical needs where necessary.
  • Every effort is made to ensure pupils with disabilities are able to participate in all types of school activity, including school trips and PE lessons. For example, wheelchairs have been arranged to enable the participation of a student with mobility issues.
  • The entire student cohort is educated about Special Educational Needs as part of PSHE and Citizenship, (in assemblies and tutor time). This has helped promote acceptance of SEN within the culture of the school, as part of its Catholic values.

How does the school support pupils with Special Educational Needs in transferring to the next phase of education?

  • The school’s careers policy aims to prepare pupils with Special Educational Needs for adulthood in the same way that it does for other pupils, helping them work towards independent living and participation in society.
  • To support pupils in post-16 transition, the school provides support in application, and a personalised programme for helping pupils make the right choices for their development and progressions. For example, a student with Moderate Learning Difficulties who would have found mainstream post-16 provision problematic was supported in gaining a place at a special school with post-16 provision.
  • The school create links with employers, Further Education institutions, and external service providers to be able to provide pupils with current information to assist their decision-making.
  • During transition from Primary school, Cardinal Wiseman staff are proactive and rigorous in compiling information about the SEN of prospective students. This is done by fostering positive relationships with Primary schools, and maintaining regular communication.
  • During transition from Primary school, students whose SEN is likely to make the transition a worrying experience are given the opportunity to visit the school as many times as they need to help them acclimatise to the change and feel secure.

Who is the Special Educational Needs Coordinator? (role)

  • The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) is Mr J Allen, telephone number 0121 360 6383 ext 1142, email address:
  • The SENCO is responsible for coordinating the provision for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities at Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School, to ensure that pupils with SEND are able to make progress on the curriculum and can participate fully in the school community.
  • Provision for SEND is monitored by the Education Life committee and the SEN Governor: Dr. P. Manford. Bottom of FormThe governing body challenges the school and its members to secure necessary provision for any pupil identified as having special educational needs.

What can parents do to support their child’s Special Needs?


  • Check your child’s homework planner and books each night.
  • Discuss your child’s day with them, using their timetable.
  • Share concerns about how their needs are being met with the SENCO.
  • If you observe needs at home which could affect your child’s learning or integration, share this information with the school.
  • Attend parent evenings to discuss the information and strategies being used to support your child, (as outlined in their Learning Support Plan).
  • If you have concern about an underlying need which might justify a diagnosis, arrange an appointment with your GP to discuss this.
  • If you are able to, make time to practise basic literacy and numeracy exercises with your child, including reading aloud together.

N.B. Birmingham Local Authority’s Local Offer sets out the support the council expect to be available for people with special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities, and can be found at .

If you have concerns about SEN, please contact the school SENCO at