Inclusion and SEND

Definition Of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Children have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for them. Children have a learning difficulty if they:

  • Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age; or
  • Have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age in schools within the area of the local education authority; or
  • Are under compulsory school age and fall within the definition at (a) or (b) above or would so do if special educational provision was not made for them.

The Four Areas Of Special Educational Needs

Special educational needs and provision can be considered as falling under four broad areas:

  1. Communication and Interaction
  2. Cognition and Learning
  3. Social, Mental and Emotional Health
  4. Sensory and/or Physical

Special Educational Needs & Disability Coordinator (SENDCo)

Stephen Robinson is the Special Educational Needs & Disability Coordinator (SENDCo). He and the team support the needs of students with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities. We work with students with ASD, SMEH, MLD, SpLD, VI, HI, Speech & Language and Communication Difficulties as well as those with Physical Disabilities, e. g. Cerebral Palsy. We pride ourselves on building positive relationships with parents. We are open and honest with parents and hope that they are able to do the same with us.

As SENDCo, Stephen organises, manages, and coordinates provision for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities at The Excelsior Academy.

His role involves coordinating all the support for students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and/or disabilities; developing the academy’s SEND Policy to make sure all students get a consistent, high quality response to meeting their needs in school; updating the academy’s SEND record of needs; identifying and monitoring students’ individual needs to ensure that appropriate provision can be made; carrying out Exam Access arrangements; liaising with external people who help support students’ learning e.g. Speech and Language Therapists, Educational Psychologists, A Space Counselling, Young Hackney etc; providing training to ensure staff are able to offer the correct support and carrying out arrangements for identifying, assessing and making provision available for students with SEN.

The team works to ensure that parents and carers are:

  • Involved in supporting their children’s learning
  • Kept informed about the support their children are receiving
  • Involved in reviewing how students are progressing
  • Fully involved in planning ahead for them.

Providing a one-page profile, for those with an EHCP, which will have their SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time scaled) targets, with the expectation that the student will achieve the target by the time it is reviewed.

Your child’s education should be a partnership between parents and teachers, therefore we aim to keep communication channels open and communicate regularly, especially if your child has complex needs.

As a team, we ensure that:

  • All students have access to educational experiences that are broad, balanced, differentiated and appropriate to their individual needs.
  • All students have full access to the National Curriculum and they are given every opportunity to participate and progress in line with national expectations.
  • Relevant information regarding SEN students is disseminated to staff.
  • Referrals are made to and we work with external agencies.
  • The Annual Review process for all students with SEN statements is planned and overseen.
  • All staff are aware of and actively promote the academy's SEN policy.
  • Students’ individual needs are identified and monitored to ensure that appropriate provision can be made.
  • We plan an effective curriculum to meet the needs of students with special educational needs and ensure targets are SMART.
  • We work in close partnership with and involve parents/carers of students who have special educational needs.
  • All who are involved with students are aware of the procedures for identifying their needs, supporting and teaching them, including outside agencies.

We offer an open door policy where you are welcome any time to make an appointment to meet with either the class teacher or SENDCo and discuss how your child is getting on. We can offer advice and practical ways that you can help your child at home. Please contact Stephen Robinson, SENDCo at:

020 7275 1523

Identification of students with SEND coming to us From primary school

We undertake close planning work to ensure that all students with SEND are identified through the transition process and begin working with primary schools from an early stage. This involves liaising with primary school SENDCos, class teachers and parents. Year 6 students with an EHCP are invited to visit the academy in Semester 6 of the academic year before entry.

Identification of students with SEND at secondary school

Throughout the academic year students with SEND are additionally identified through teacher and teaching assistant feedback. Our staff are trained to identify and to discuss students’ barriers to learning and, if a special educational need is suspected, staff refer this to our SENDCo for further assessment and educational strategies. All teaching staff receive SEND training at the start of the academic year and this learning process is continued throughout the year.

Weekly intervention meetings with identified themes enable us to work with pastoral, welfare, attendance, safeguarding and the SEND teams to discuss students’ needs.  Following each meeting we may decide to monitor, provide intervention (for example specialist groups, providing 6th form or staff mentors), refer to an external agency or undertake testing to identify need.

Plan, Do, Review model

Plan – Form tutors and subject teachers identify students of concern and inform the year team who will meet students and parents as necessary to address any early issues.  Achievable targets are agreed. Students with needs have their provision planned in intervention, TAC (team around the child), EHCP review meetings or other relevant forums.

Do - Targets and strategies are put in place to support students experiencing barriers to learning.  These may include regular mentoring, advice to subject teachers regarding seating position, scripts to be used with students or agreed regular contact with parents.

Review – After an agreed period, the relevant staff will meet to review progress.  Following review, the student may have improved and require no further focused monitoring or may need an extended ‘Do’ period.  For continued low level concerns the team may choose to return to the ‘Plan’ stage.  If the interventions have not been successful and a more complex plan is required, the student will be discussed at the Intervention (Complex Plan) meeting.                                                    

Intervention Meeting (Complex Plan) – The SENDCo may use further appropriate diagnostic tools to assess whether a student is having difficulties in accessing learning. There are several external professionals who we may consult or commission to support students with a range of needs, including the Educational Psychologist and Speech and Language and ASPACE, our counselling service. Consent for support or testing is sought from parents or carers for any assessment by external bodies. 

Do – Interventions may take place over a sustained period of weeks or months as needed

Review – Actions are reviewed at subsequent meetings with a formal review at the end of the semester.  The team will return to the Plan, Do, Review cycle as necessary.

Evaluation the effectiveness of our SEND provision

The provision for SEND students within the academy is monitored via the academy’s quality assurance procedures. The quality of teaching and learning is monitored robustly and evaluating the progress of students with SEND forms a key part of this scrutiny.

The academy’s Leadership Group monitors the work of the SEN team as a part of school improvement and this work is appraised through specific learning centre internal inspections.

The Governing Body also has a role in monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the SEND provision.

Assessing and reviewing the progress of students with SEND

All students are assessed according to the academy’s published assessment map and will sit formal assessments either each semester or each term (depending on the subject). The results of these assessments are recorded centrally and shared with parents and students.

The SENDCo has regular meetings with all EHCP students to monitor their needs and progress and teaching assistants provide regular updates as part of the annual review structure.

Following the Plan, Do, Review, process and with the agreement of parents, if a student has significant ongoing needs requiring additional resources a request will be made for statutory assessment. 

All students have access to independent careers advice and SEND students will also be supported whilst choosing their options subjects at the end of Year 8.

When preparing for Work Experience, vulnerable SEND students are supported to find an appropriate work situation and there is close communication between the academy and staff at the placement.

Activities outside the classroom

All students, regardless of SEND status, will be included in activities outside of the classroom, including educational visits and extra-curricular activities and will ensure that appropriate support or adaptations are put in place to enable students to fully access these activities.

All students in Year 7 and Year 8 are encouraged to participate in at least one after-school club per week.

Some support for students during break and lunch activities is provided in specific circumstances and we provide a separate lunch area for vulnerable SEND students in Year 7  - Year 9.

What support is available for improving the emotional and social development of students with SEND?

Students are supported with their emotional and social development in a number of ways including:

  • Daily check-ins with members of staff from the pastoral team
  • Small transition groups organised by SENDCo and run by the inclusion team
  • Tailored PSHE sessions
  • Students can report any issues or concerns via

There are several further interventions the school will refer to if support is required. For example, through external services such as Young Hackney.

Where appropriate older students in the sixth form act as mentors for some of our vulnerable students.

Support Services for students with SEND

SEND staff are available to offer support and advice to parents and carers of students with special educational needs or disabilities, in addition we are happy to signpost parents/carers to external organisations and services that can provide additional support.

The Hackney Parent Partnership offers a free and confidential service offering support to parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities. They can be contacted at:

Hackney Parent Partnership Service
Resource Centre, Hackney Ark
Downs Park Road
London E8 2HY

Tel: 020 7014 7123

The Academy works closely with the Hackney Learning Trust in supporting a joined up and comprehensive service for students with SEND. Further information regarding the local offer in Hackney can be found at:

Hackney Local Offer

If you are considering whether your child should join the academy, please contact Stephen Robinson on 0207 275 1523 to arrange a visit to the academy and to discuss this further.