Friday 20 April 2018

SEN Information

  1. What does the Special Needs Information include?

    Everything we provide for your child who has, or may have a special need.

  2. What do we mean by a Special Need?                                   Anything that creates a barrier to stop your child learning and making the progress they should be making, for exampe: medical issues, dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism, aspergers, social, emotional, behavioural issues as well as low attainment in literacy and numeracy. These needs can be supported in school and by outside agencies if needs be.

  3. How are pupils with Special Needs identified at Thornhill?
    • Meetings with Year 6 primary teachers and the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) take place to share information about your child's needs in preparation for their transition to Thornhill.
    • Screening and testing is also used to identify any problems which may arise as well as regular dialogue between teaching staff and the Learning Support team.
    • Regular assessments may highlight problems and then where possible, intervention will be put into place.

  4. Who do I contact if I think my child has a barrier to learning?
    • Mrs P Barron - School SENCO
    • Your child's Head of House


  5. What support is available to my child?
    • If your child has a statement or an Education Health Care plan every effort will be made to give your child the recommended hours of support.
    • There are three levels of support available if your child needs it.  They may be given level 1, 2 or 3, or a mixture of tiers depending upon their level of need.
    Tier 1
    • Quality first teaching which is differentiated to suit the needs of individual learners        
    • Breakfast Club
    • Accelerated Reading programme
    • Targeted intervention for numeracy / literacy/ social skills
    • Medical pass
    • Extra activity clubs
    Tier 2 + tier 1 if needed
    • Literacy / numeracy intervention
    • Reading intervention
    • Circle time
    • Small group work
    • In class support / extra support
    • Individualised timetables
    • Support from Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs) and Teaching Assistants (TAs)
    Tier 3 + tier 1 and 2 if needed
    • Behaviour Intervention team
    • Educational Psychology service
    • Pupil referral unit
    • Returners Unit
    • Pitstop (alternate placement)
    • Wear Kidz
  6. How do we provide emotional support for your child? 

    The SENCO and pastoral staff provide emotional support for pupils and where necessary outside agencies are approached for expert intervention.  Parents are contacted if any issues arise around the welfare of their children. If parents/carers wish to inform school of any issues affecting their son/daughter's  education or emotional wellbeing, staff will endeavour to put measures in place to support them. A school counsellor has recently been appointed to help pupils who may need some extra emotional support. intervention  A quiet room is also available within the Learning Support department for any pupil needing time out or time for reflection. Any safeguarding concerns are reported to the Designated person for all pupils in the school.  



    Agencies working with Thornhill include:


  • CAHMS - Child and adolescent mental health services
  • CYPS - Child and young people services
  • School nurse
  • Hearing team
  • Speech therapy team
  • Behaviour Support team
  • Connexions - careers advice and guidance team
  • Springboard - post 16 training provider
  • Sunderland 6th form college 

Families needing extra support will be referred to the Strengthening Families panel or the agency best suited to meet their needs.



  1. How will my child be supported at Thornhill?
    • Pupils identified as working below expected levels of attainment will be placed in the 7T-transition group with a differentiated timetable and a high level of support to help them adapt and cope with life at Thornhill

    • All staff are expected to deliver Wave 1 Quality Teaching which is differentiated teaching to meet the needs of every pupil in the school

    • Lap tops,coloured overlays, coloured glasses, exercise books with coloured pages and larger lines are available to pupils with dyslexia and or visual problems, as well as this work is enlarged for those pupils who require it

    • Scribes are provided for pupils who struggle with handwriting, especially during eaminations

    • Pupils with hearing problems are encouraged to wear their hearing aids; teachers have experience of wearing loops to enhance the quality of teaching hearing impaired pupils recieve

    • If your child has a statement or Education Health Care plan they will be entitled to a given number of hours support and where possible any specialist equipment that is recommended in the plan will be available

    • Higher Level Teaching Assistants and Teaching Assistants are trained to support your child in certain aspects of their learning

    • There are trained first aid and safeguarding officers within school

    • Access arrangements and special consideration for examinations will be put into place by trained staff if they are deemed necessary for your child

    • Pastoral support from your childs' Head of House and tutor is readily available

    • Pupils are not discrimated against if they have a special education need.  All pupils have equal opportunties; pupils who may struggle with some activities will be given support

    • Any activities that involve pupils with SEN are discussed with the SENCO and support is provided to enable all pupils to have access to activities and visits

  2. How do I get to know about my child's progress?
    • Request a meeting with the SENCo or Head of House
    • Attend annual review meetings
    • Attend parents evenings
    • Attend review day
    • From your child's annual report
    • Regularly read your child's planner and use it as a means of contacting their tutor or Head of House
    • Check their planner to see what homework has been set
    • Ask to see your child's books
    • Ring or email school

  3. How can I support my child's learning?
    • Ensure they complete homework
    • If need be, listen to them read
    • Inform school of any appointments or absences
    • Inform school of any change in circumstance or medical updates
    • Attend any organised meetings for your child
    • Encourage your child to do their best
    • Encourage full attendance
    • Listen to your child.  If they have any concerns about their learning or progress contact the SENCO or Head of House

  4. What happens when my child leaves in year 11?
    • If your child has an Education Health Care plan you will be invited to their transition review meeting and this plan may continue until the age of 25
    • If your child recieves Tier 2 and/or Tier 3 support you will be invited to their transition meeting future work providrs or college
    • Meetings are set up with college transition tutors and Connexions
    • Both will interview your child to give advice on the pathway they choose
    • Contact school if you have any queries                 

    If you have any further issues or need any further advice please contact Thornhill School on 0191 5537735 and ask for Mrs P Barron. 


       Thornhill complaints procedure can be found on our website.                                                                                      

                     Further information about Special Needs services for                              pupils living in Sunderland can be found under local                              offer on the Sunderland Learning Hub website.


                                The Support Department

Pupils with special and additional educational needs at Thornhilll are supported by the school’s Support Department. The Department consists of the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO), assistant to the SENCO, safeguarding officer, Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs) and TA's.  The department is centrally located in a suite of multi-purpose rooms.

Roles and responsibilities of the Support Team

Special Educationan Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)
Director of Support
Looked after Children Teacher
Examination access co-ordinator
Mrs. C. Meadwell                                                                 Safeguarding Lead
Attendance Officer
Mrs B.Pape
Higher Level Teaching Assistant
Literacy Intervention
In class support - all departments
Emotional Support
Mrs A. Elliot 
Higher Level Teaching Assistant
KS3 literacy and maths intervention
In class support -all departmens
Transition support
Mrs S. Edmonds
Higher Level Teaching Assistant
English as an additional language support
New school entrants - all years
Support for vulnerable pupils
Mrs S. Legg
Higher Level Teaching Assistant
English department intervention
In class support
Mr A. Ali
Teaching Assistant
In class support - all departments
Community cohesion support
Maths intervention
Mr A. Ahmed
Teaching Assistant
In class support - all areas
Maths intervention
EAL intervention
Mr K. Black
Teaching assistant
In class support - all departments
Maths intervention
Mrs D. Corkin
Teaching assistant
Responsibility for medical issues/register
Maths intervention
In class support

The Support team is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the SEN policy. It co-ordinates the extra support and provision for students with statements and Education Health Care plans as well making provision for students needing extra support. The department also makes provision for pupils with English as an Additional Language and alongside Heads of House and tutors offers a wide range of pastoral support for pupils.

The Support team offers a range of services throughout the school, covering where possible all departments, as well as more specialised support in the department.

The Learning Support department are monitored as part of the school monitoring process. Staff are observed supporting in lessons by senior managers during lesson observations and learning Walks.

Staff are expected to be aware of the needs of the pupils they support

All in year new entrants are welcomed into Thornhill via the Learning Support department and assesssed before embarking on their new timetables.

Central to these services is the belief that every teacher is a teacher of Special Needs and support for pupils is seen as a whole school commitment involving every member of staff. The range of services offered include: -

  • Deployment HLTA's and TA's within school to support individual and group needs
  • Provision and delivery of small group sessions to aid further development in literacy, language and social skills for selected students
  • Provision and delivery of individual programmes for selected students
  • Breakfast club
  • Advice on SEN issues within school including differentiation
  • INSET for staff
  • Liaison with staff regarding SEN
  • Involvement of outside agencies such as speech and language therapy, hearing impaired team, educational psychology service, Connexions and English as an additional language team

The overall aim of the Support Department is for each student to realise his/her potential within an enriched, inclusive community. We aim to achieve this by providing a graduated response for students with SEN which includes a wide range of strategies and a continuum of provision.

Parents wanting further information are invited to contact Mrs Telford SENCo and Director of Learning Support.

 Local Offer - Sunderland Local Authority

For further information about supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities 0-25 years go to: