SEND Policy

SEND Policy

Name of Policy
Neurodiversity (SEND) Policy
Reviewed by
Ferdinand Doepel / Isabelle Alexander / Rhona Carter
Sept 2023
Date of next review
Sept 2024

This policy refers to both the Junior and Senior Schools

Statement of values

Enabling all pupils to participate in the full range of school life and activities, and to succeed to their individual potential, forms the underlying principle upon which our provision of support for learning is based and is a core part of Wimbledon High School and the GDST’s values.

Our school is committed to creating a positive learning environment which promotes a belief in what may be possible and a view of ability that is flexible, not fixed. This whole-school ethos reflects the value we place on diversity and respect accorded to all individuals. Support for a variety of needs is a collective whole-school responsibility – all teachers are teachers of pupils with individual needs.

Mission statement

Stepping in: we aim for every girl to feel known, supported, confident and able to shine at Wimbledon High.
Striding out: we aim for every girl to leave us prepared to shape the society in which she lives and works.

This policy operates within a wider national and local policy framework, which includes:

  • The Education Act 1996
  • The Equality Act 2010
  • The Children and Families Act 2014, SEND Regulations 2014 and SEND Code of Practice 2015
  • GDST Inclusion Policy
  • Wimbledon High School Access Arrangements Policy
  • GDST Equal Opportunities (Education) Policy
  • GDST Accessibility Strategy
  • GDST and Wimbledon High School Admissions Policies
  • GDST Exclusion Policy
  • Wimbledon High School Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
  • Wimbledon High School Behaviour Policy
  • Wimbledon High School Anti-Bullying Policy
  • Wimbledon High School Teaching and Learning Policy

This policy and the school’s SEND provision are informed by the SEN and Disability Code of Practice 2015.

The policy will be reviewed every year by the Head of Neurodiversity and SENCo , Junior School Head of Neurodiversity and Assistant Head Academic, informed by consultation with other staff, parents and pupils. Next review: September 2024

Aims and Objectives

The aims of this SEND policy are:

  • To define the school’s objectives regarding learning differences and how these will be met (as far as is possible within the limitations of staffing, buildings and other constraints and at the Head’s discretion);
  • To define the role of the Heads of Neurodiversity for the Senior and Junior School and the overall management of learning difference provision in the school;
  • To define the nature and level of school intervention.
  • Pupils with neurodivergent needs are identified as early as possible and procedures are followed to ensure their needs are met;
  • Procedures are in place to ensure teachers and non-teaching staff are aware of such pupils and supported in meeting their needs;
  • Appropriate resources are available and are used in the school;
  • Provision for pupils with Hidden Differences and/or who are neurodiverse is not an added extra, it is a whole school responsibility and every member of staff is involved;
  • Neurodivergent  pupils and those with other disabilities are integrated fully into the life of the school and offered full access to a broad, balanced and relevant education, including an appropriate curriculum;
  • The views of the child are sought and taken into account;
  • All pupils, regardless of need, feel valued members of the school community and their self-esteem is protected;
  • Parents are encouraged in their key role in supporting their child’s education;
  • Full use is made of support agencies outside the school where appropriate;
  • Neurodiversity and Hidden Differences are included on the agenda of department and Heads of Year meetings in the Senior School and the equivalent of the Junior School meetings.

Roles and Responsibilities

Head of Neurodiversity and SENCo for whole school: Isabelle Alexander, and the Junior School Head of Neurodiversity (JSHoN): Rhona Carter

The HN & SENCo’s and JSHoN's role involves responsibility for the following:

  • Working closely with the Head, SLT and JLT, to be involved in the strategic development of the SEND policy and provision;
  • Influencing whole school teaching and learning;
  • Being alert to the emotional and social needs of pupils with different needs and provide appropriate pastoral support for their well-being;
  • Focusing on learning differences rather than difficulties so that the most effective interventions can take place in the classroom;
  • Monitoring and evaluating the impact of the SEND policy and provision, reporting back to the Head, SLT and JLT, and making recommendations regarding future developments;
  • Overseeing the day-to-day operation of the school’s SEND policy;
  • Managing the SEND budget;
  • Encouraging staff to report their concerns to the HLS or JSLSC using agreed forms of communication;
  • Coordinating the educational and support provision for pupils with learning differences;
  • Overseeing screening procedures for SEND;
  • Overseeing a referral and follow up process for students of concern;
  • Assessing, screening and interpreting the learning difficulties of individual pupils;
  • Reviewing diagnostic tools and procedures used for key assessments;
  • Overseeing a system whereby information about SEND students is available to all involved in teaching and learning, including advice on strategies to support the student and target setting where appropriate;
  • Tracking and monitoring rates of progress and welfare of SEND students, and the effective use of this data;
  • Overseeing the collection, recording and updating of records for all pupils with SEND and ensuring these records are available and the neurodiversity/Hidden Differences register up to date;
  • Ensuring information on pupils with SEND is distributed to all relevant staff, including the Examinations Officer and the member of staff in charge of UCAS submissions; and the Head of Sixth Form as necessary;
  • Acting as a point of reference / contact point with regard to national regulations on arrangements for pupils with SEND in external tests and examinations; i.e. Access arrangements;
  • Ensuring Junior / Senior liaison with regard to learning differences;
  • Liaising with, advising and supporting fellow teachers, including Heads of Department, Pastoral Coordinators, the School Nurse etc;
  • Identifying training needs, liaising with the Inset Coordinator, and contributing to staff INSET;
  • Liaising with parents of pupils with SEND and reviewing status;
  • Liaising with feeder and / or receiving schools;
  • Liaising with external agencies including the educational psychology services, health and social services and voluntary bodies;
  • In consultation with the Head, being alert to any pattern arising in the school’s identification of pupils with SEND;
  • Contributing to the school’s audit of provision, including intervention planning;
  • Keeping up to date with relevant legislation, research and current good practice, and revising policies and procedures as necessary;
  • Developing and coordinating additional provision in the form of focused groups, study and skills lessons.

The role of teaching and non-teaching staff

All teaching and non-teaching staff in GDST schools are expected to provide teaching and learning opportunities for pupils which maximise their access to the curriculum and enable them to reach their potential. This will involve:

  • Being fully aware of the school’s procedures for identifying, assessing and making provision for pupils with learning differences;
  • Being aware of which pupils in the school have learning differences as appropriate;
  • As practitioners usually responsible for working with a child on a daily basis, adapting their teaching to take account of individual needs;
  • Assessing and monitoring the progress of pupils with educational differences and providing relevant information for the HLS and JSLSC;
  • Raising concerns about pupils with possible educational differences with the HLS and Junior School LSC.


Our School Context

WHS is an independent selective day school for girls aged 4 to 18. The ability profile of the Junior School is above the national average, and that of the Senior School is far above the national average. Selection from Years 1 - 13 is based on the school’s own tests and assessments and nationally standardised verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests. 4+ admission is by ballot.

When applying to all year groups a child who attained the required academic standard (or by ballot in Reception) would only be refused entry if the school was unable to cope with the child’s disability after having taken reasonable steps to do so. At admission, each pupil is looked at as an individual case to see whether the school can effectively meet their needs and every effort is made to accommodate these where possible. At this point, parents must disclose to the school any known or suspected circumstances relating to their child’s health, development, allergies, disabilities and/or learning difficulties. The school reserves the right to subsequently withdraw any place offered based on incomplete disclosure of known or suspected SEND circumstances. Based on such disclosures, the school will confirm whether or not it is able to fully meet the needs of the child.

In accordance with our Equal Opportunities policy, the School will make reasonable adjustments to the admissions process for a particular pupil and, where applicable, to the School’s provision for specific learning differences in so far as these can be met given the nature of the School. We ask parents to contact School Admissions to discuss any special arrangements which are required in respect of the assessment process.

Identification and Assessment

Special Educational Needs Defined

Special Educational Needs are defined in the Children and Families Act 2014:

20.1 A child or young person has special educational needs if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.

20.2 A child of compulsory school age or young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

  • Has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
  • Has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.

Trust schools are broadly selective, and will have a relatively small proportion of pupils who would be considered to have special educational needs as defined by the Act.

Nevertheless, we recognise that there will be a proportion of pupils who will be hindered in accessing the full curriculum and fulfilling their potential without tailored recognition of their differences and individual provision, which is usually a natural feature of high quality teaching and personalised learning in the classroom. These pupils, whilst not considered as having ‘special educational needs’, will also come under the umbrella of the school’s wider neurodiversity provision.

Children may have learning differences either throughout or at any time during their school career, and may have SEN or other learning needs in one or in many areas of the curriculum.

Children are not regarded as having a learning difference solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught.

Additional Learning Needs (ALN) is the designation used by the GDST for pupils who do not have SEN as defined by the act, but are nevertheless hindered in accessing the full curriculum and fulfilling their potential without tailored recognition of their needs and individual provision.

Pupils may have either a disability or SEN/ALN or both. Not every pupil with differences will qualify as disabled under the statutory definition; this will depend on the severity or extent of their needs.

Children may have a disability/SEN/ALN either throughout or at any time during their school career, and may have SEN/ALN in one or in many areas of the curriculum.

Slow progress and low attainment do not necessarily mean that a child has learning differences or disabilities. However, they may be an indicator of a range of learning differences or disabilities. Equally, it should not be assumed that attainment in line with chronological age means that there is no learning difference or disability. Some learning differences and disabilities occur across the range of cognitive ability and, left unaddressed, may lead to frustration, which may manifest itself as disaffection, emotional or behavioural difficulties.

WHS’s SEND policies and provision will be informed by the SEN and Disability Code of Practice 2015.

Disability Defined

Disability is defined under the Equality Act 2010. A person has a disability if s/he “has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.

Pupils may have either a disability or SEN or both, and actions taken to comply with the Equality Act should complement the support already provided by schools’ SEN procedures where relevant. Not every pupil with SEN will qualify as disabled under the statutory definition; this will depend on the severity or extent of her needs.

Provision for pupils with disabilities is also covered by the GDST Equal Opportunities (Education) Policy.

This policy applies to all pupils in the school including those in the Early Years Foundation Stage, it sets out the procedures for ensuring that pupils identified as having learning differences or Special Educational Needs (SEND) have their needs addressed through supported access to a broad and balanced curriculum.

Any amendments to this policy and a review of its implementation, including the allocation of resources, will be made in consultation with the Head and formally recorded.

Identification at Admission: If information has been passed on from parents or the previous school, the HoN or JSHoN may decide to carry out further assessment to decide how the school can meet the specific needs of the child.

Identification through Screening: Cohort or whole class testing as outlined above may raise concerns about a pupil’s learning, where problems have not been previously identified. The HoN or JSHoN then gathers information from staff and may decide to carry out further assessment to determine how the school can meet the specific needs of the child.

Identification through Teacher Concerns: Class and subject teachers make regular assessments of progress for their pupils. Where pupils make less than expected progress given their age and individual circumstances, the first response is to take a graduated approach to personalising learning in order to target areas of weakness through quality first teaching. Where progress continues to be less than expected the class or subject teacher will work with the HoN and JSHoN to assess the pupil.

Identification through parent or pupil concern: The school recognises that parents and the pupils themselves have a unique perspective on their learning. WHS will listen to and address concerns raised directly by parents and pupils themselves. The first response should be to adopt the graduated approach as detailed above, moving to involvement with the HoN and JSHoN if difficulties persist.

Emotional, social and mental health difficulties: These are likely to be identified and addressed through the school’s pastoral system – tutors, year group heads, school nurse and counsellor. All staff should be alert to changes in attitude and behaviour which may indicate such difficulties, and involve pastoral staff and the HoN or JSHoN as appropriate. Where difficulties are long-lasting or severe the school will consider whether the pupil might have learning differences and require additional support.

EAL pupils: Care needs to be taken to ensure that lack of competence in English is not equated with learning differences. At the same time, when children who have English as an additional language make slow progress, an in depth assessment may be needed to ascertain whether their language status is the only reason for this; or whether they also have learning difficulties

Information sources checklist for identification / assessment of students:

  • Records from previous schools or nurseries including IEPs if appropriate;
  • Outcome of baseline assessment e.g. CATS, MidYIS;
  • Entry assessment of all pupils;
  • Progress against National Literacy / Numeracy Frameworks;
  • Tracking data across time and subjects;
  • Standardised screening tools;
  • Other standardised tests e.g. PTE, PTM, YARC, HAST 2
  • Health checks;
  • Teachers’ monitoring – observation and class assessment;
  • Reports / academic review procedures;
  • Evidence of Need
  • Work samples;
  • Writing analyses;
  • Parents’ information and concerns;
  • Students’ own concerns;
  • Medical information;
  • Advice of other professionals.

The Four Areas of Need

The SEND Code of Practice outlines four broad areas of need which can help with identification:

Communication and interaction

  • Children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) have difficulty in communicating with others. This may be because they have difficulty saying what they want to, understanding what is being said to them or they do not understand or use social rules of communication. The profile for every child with SLCN is different and their needs may change over time. They may have difficulty with one, some or all of the different aspects of speech, language or social communication at different times of their lives.
  • Children and young people with ASD, are likely to have particular differences with social interaction. They may also experience challenges with language, communication, imagination and sensory sensitivities, which can impact on how they relate to others and their environment.

Cognition and learning

  • Support for learning differences may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation. Learning differences cover a wide range of needs, including moderate learning differences (MLD), severe learning differences (SLD), where children are likely to need support in all areas of the curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication, through to profound and multiple learning differences (PMLD), where children are likely to have severe and complex learning needs as well as a physical disability or sensory impairment.
  • Specific learning differences (SpLD), affect one or more specific aspects of learning. This encompasses a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia/developmental coordination disorder (DCD).

Social, emotional and mental health difficulties

  • Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained. Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attachment disorder.

Sensory and/or physical needs

  • Some children and young people require special educational provision because they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided. These difficulties can be age related and may fluctuate over time. Many children and young people with vision impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) or a multi-sensory impairment (MSI) will require specialist support and/or equipment to access their learning, or habilitation support. Children and young people with an MSI have a combination of vision and hearing difficulties.
  • Some children and young people with a physical disability (PD) require additional ongoing support and equipment to access all the opportunities available to their peers.

Needs may cut across some or all of these areas and may change over time. Any assessment should ensure that the full range of a pupil’s needs is identified, not simply the primary need.


Junior school provision, including EYFS

If a pupil continues to fail to make the expected progress following quality first teaching in the classroom, the class teacher will refer the pupil to the Junior School Head of Neurodiversity by completing a Cause for Concern Form.  The JSHoN will then carry out appropriate assessments and, in consultation with parents and teachers, will decide on the action needed to help the child progress.

Class teachers will remain responsible for working with the child on a daily basis and for planning and adapting their teaching as appropriate. Provision beyond the classroom may take a number of forms, including individualised targeted lessons, small group intervention, access to specific resources, pastoral support and/or referral to external specialists.

The progress of students is monitored by the school’s systems and these take into account any special educational needs a student may have. The JSHoN undertakes additional monitoring for certain pupils where this is considered helpful. It is integral to all SEND procedures and policies that pupils and their parents should be fully consulted at every stage.

Out of Class Support

For some children, Learning Support lessons away from the classroom may be needed to help support class work. These may involve withdrawal from timetabled lessons. As far as possible pupils will  miss no more than half a term of any one subject and it is taken as a working principle that the full curriculum should be offered to all pupils as far as is practicable.

Provision offered may include:

  • Specific arrangements within the class such as photocopied sheets rather than working from the board, instructions broken down into small steps, specially supported activities beyond the usual differentiation provided;
  • Provision of activities provided for children to do at home with parents;
  • Development of individual learning plans if appropriate;
  • Liaison with external agencies;
  • Small group work with JSHoN or members of the Neurodiversity Board;
  • 1:1 sessions with JSHoN;

In addition the JSHoN will:

  • Liaise with all staff to ensure they are aware of support required;
  • Review the pupil’s progress and arrange follow up meetings or changes to provision as required;
  • Liaise with the class teacher;
  • Maintain records for learning issues;
  • Keep up to date with relevant legislation, research and good practice and revise policies and practice as necessary;
  • Ensure staff are aware of developments in best practice and are supported in their application;
  • In liaison with class teachers, develop lists for pupils who need additional curriculum support or where there is some ‘cause for concern’ but no indication of a current specific learning need. These are reviewed regularly and 'watch lists' are updated accordingly. If this monitoring indicates a specific need then further investigation will be undertaken by JSHoN and appropriate recommendations which could include full diagnostic assessment carried out by an independent professional will be made.

Senior school

In the term prior to entry to Year 7, there is a meeting between the JHoN and the HoN, for students transferring from the Junior School into the Senior School, in which the needs of individual students are discussed, and documentation such as assessment reports are handed over. Names of students who may need extra monitoring during the transition period are also provided to the HoN.

Information about the needs of individual students from other junior schools and those entering the school in other years is passed to the HoN by the admissions officer and/or school nurse or parents.

Effort is made to ensure that girls with specific learning or sensory difficulties are not disadvantaged in entrance examinations and procedures.

The school does not have facilities for providing specialist 1:1 or small group tuition to meet individual needs except on an occasional short-term basis. We occasionally “withdraw” students from mainstream lessons but in the main, pupils’ needs are met within the classroom through Quality First Teaching.

  • The HoN is qualified to carry out assessments for Specific Educational Differences and make general recommendations to parents and class teachers. No charge is made to parents for this.
  • In some cases, it is advisable for a more detailed assessment by an Educational Psychologist/Specialist Teacher Assessor or other specialist to be carried out. There may be occasions when a school-based assessment will not be adequate for the needs of a particular student, for example, when a young person is applying for university and would like to be considered for the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) or when parents require a full diagnostic assessment of their child which is beyond the remit of the school. In these cases any cost is borne by parents. In all cases, the HoN should discuss the issue with parents. If the school recommends an external, independent professional, it is done in good faith, based on past assessments. WHS accepts no responsibility for their opinions nor does the school receive any financial benefit from recommending their services. Privately commissioned assessments cannot be used for access arrangements in public exams. All access arrangements are carried out inhouse. 
  • Mentoring and monitoring of certain pupils can be provided as appropriate.
  • The school makes every effort to ensure that appropriate Access Arrangements are in place for students taking external examinations. This is the responsibility of the HoN in liaison with the Examinations Officer.
  • There is a full-time Nurse on site who is able to provide advice and support regarding the individual needs of some pupils as appropriate.
  • Disabled toilet facilities are available and some ramped access.

Nature and level of intervention

The Neurodiversity/Hidden Differences (ND/HD) list available on Sims is a list of pupils who are considered to have a special educational need or disability in the GDST context in that they are hindered in accessing the full curriculum and fulfilling their full potential without recognition of their needs and some form of provision. It should be stressed that this provision need not be in the form of separate coaching – in all cases the pupil will be catered for in the classroom context.

The ND/HD list also names pupils who are being monitored or who have identified needs historically.

The first level of support for pupils experiencing difficulties takes a graduated approach in the form of a four-part cycle in which the class or subject teacher assesses the pupil’s needs drawing on a range of evidence, plans appropriate differentiation or interventions, puts these into practice and reviews the outcome.

EHC Plans

If concerns about a child’s progress persist, there may be a need for an EHC (Education, Health and Care) assessment.

An EHC plan is for children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs support. EHC plans identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs.

The Local Authority (LA) can be requested to carry out an EHC assessment by a parent, a pupil (if over 16), a member of school staff or other relevant professional (e.g. a doctor). If the school makes the request, parents should be consulted before any action is taken. The LA then has 6 weeks in which to decide whether to carry out the assessment. To inform its decision the LA will expect to see evidence of the action taken by the school as part of SEN support.

Assessment and reporting

Junior School

All pupils are involved in the usual assessment, recording and reporting systems. The aims of these are to enable staff and parents to see progress against their children's individual abilities.

If pupils have specific learning needs raised by the parents or clearly apparent from observations and assessment then additional information and discussion will be held to determine next steps. The JSHoN is available by appointment at parents’ evenings to review provision for girls.

Senior School

All pupils are involved in the usual assessment, recording and reporting systems. The aim of these is to enable staff, children and parents to see progress against their individual abilities.

The HoN and staff are available to discuss the specific needs of students named in the ND/HD list at parent consultation evenings and by appointment.

The HoN carries out additional assessments as appropriate and the outcomes of these are reported to all relevant staff.

Record Keeping

Junior School

Records are held centrally by the JSHoN in secure files within the Neurodiversity Room and on CPOMS.  Summaries of Reports, Pupil Passports and Watch Lists as well as other relevant data are stored in the Junior School Neurodiversity Team and reviewed and updated regularly.  All relevant Junior School Staff have access to this Team.

Senior School

Each student on the ND/HD list has an individual file kept by the HoN in the ND/HD office. This contains details of assessments, contacts with parents and Evidence of Need and access arrangements. Brief details of needs are recorded on SIMS SEN module.

Relevant information is also kept in girls’ files in the Admissions Office. Summaries of assessment reports with recommendation, teaching strategies and access arrangements are available to all teachers via a One Note notebook to all teachers of individual girls as appropriate. These are updated as necessary by the HoN.

INSET and Support/Professional Development of Staff

GDST has an excellent programme of INSET and support for HoNs, SENCOs and JSHoNs and full use is made of this.

The HoN and JSHoN provide an induction session for all newly appointed teachers. A similar session for PGCE students on placement in the school.

The HoN and JSHoN provide other INSET for staff as required and informal advice for teachers and parents on a frequent basis.

Links with outside agencies

Liaison with external support services takes place as necessary.

The HoN and JSHoN hold contact details for relevant agencies and organisations in the area to which referrals can be made. 

Particular attention is paid to the needs of ND/HD pupils at points of transition between schools and to a further or higher education institution. Information is given by the HoN concerning DSA applications and UCAS personal statements as required.


The relationship between the school and parents has a crucial bearing on the progress of pupils, particularly those with SEND/ALN. We actively seek to work with parents as partners and value their contribution. Teachers, Head of Neurodiversity, the pastoral and other staff all have an important role in developing positive and constructive relationships with parents.

  • The SEND Policy is available on the school’s website and parents are welcome to comment on SEND/ALN provision at any time.
  • The school offers parents regular information evenings, including sessions which specifically address how to support their child academically and emotionally.
  • The school seeks to engage parents of pupils with SEND/ALN at an early stage – ideally prior to admission – in order to get a full picture of the pupil’s needs and make suitable provision.
  • Parents of pupils identified as having learning differences will be informed immediately.
  • Decisions regarding provision, monitoring and review will be made in consultation with parents. In the Junior school, as a minimum, parents of pupils with SEN/ALN will be invited to a formal meeting with teachers and the JSHoN twice a year (around the time of Parents’ Evenings in the autumn and spring terms) to discuss provision and progress – although informal contact is likely to be more frequent than this.


The school works, wherever possible, in partnership with parents to ensure a collaborative approach to meeting pupils’ needs. In the Junior School, if a parent has a concern about SEND/ALN provision, in the first instance, they should raise the concern with the JSHoN. If a parent wishes to make a complaint, they should refer the matter to the Head of the Junior School. In the Senior School, if a parent has a concern about SEND/ALN provision, in the first instance, they should raise the matter with the Head of Neurodiversity, tutor or Head of Year. If a parent wishes to make a complaint, they should refer the matter to the Head of the Senior School. All complaints are taken seriously and are heard through the GDST’s Complaints Procedure.