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Engaging Minds, Broadening Horizons


Please see Local Offer link for more information from Durham County Council.

SEND at Seaham High School

A child or young person has SEND if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made that is additional to or different from that made generally for other children or young people of the same age (Code of Practice 2015, pg16).

There are 4 broad areas of SEND

  1. Communication and Interaction

  2. Cognition and Learning

  3. Social, Emotional and Mental Health

  4. Sensory and/or Physical

All students within the school who have SEND, will be identified in one of the four categories.

At Seaham High School, we have experience of supporting children and young people with a wide range of needs. We currently have students with Autism Spectrum Condition, ADHD, Cognition and Learning Needs, Hearing Impairment, Visual Impairment, Sensory and Physical Difficulties and Social and Emotional Needs. The school provides data on the levels and types of need to the Local Authority. This is collected through the school census. In April 2023, we have 206 students on our SEND register, including 25 students with Education Health and Care Plans. Through the use of data, progress and tracking software (SISRA, SIMS Assessment and Reporting, SENDit and CPOMs), the SENCO and the Learning Support Team monitor and support the progress of all students on various stages of the ‘Graduated Response’. All the students in school are coded as follows:

  • N No Special Educational Needs

  • SEN K These students have Support Plans and will receive additional support. Some students also have a modified curriculum or designated staff to support their learning. These students’ learning plans contain strategies and information to help staff plan differentiated work and approaches to help students progress as much as they can. The SENCO and SEND team are responsible for monitoring and evaluating these plans, in consultation with parents and carers. Students coded K are on the school’s official SEND register and may be receiving additional professional support from the NHS, the Local Authority or other external agencies

  • E These students have EHCP – Education Health and Care Plans. This is the highest level on the graduated response. The EHCP replaced the ‘Statement of Special Educational Needs’ and recognises the additional requirements of the child in law. It places statutory duties upon schools to use their best endeavours to meet them. EHCPs are reviewed every year, although it is good practice for schools to meet regularly with parents/carers throughout the school year. Parents and carers must be placed at the centre of the process and their views and those of the child are of paramount importance when progress and aspirations are discussed.

The school is committed to constantly reviewing and evaluating its practices, systems and curriculum provision. See School Policies on the homepage of the school website:

  • SEND Policy

  • Behaviour Policy


If your child currently has an EHCP plan an annual review will be conducted to review your child’s progress. You will also have the opportunity to review your child’s progress with school at an annual parents’ evening and also at an additional time throughout the academic year.


Teachers are responsible for the progress of ALL students in their class. High quality first teaching and adaptive teaching is used to meet every child’s need. This is the first step in supporting students who may have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). All children are challenged to do their very best. This is enough for most students to make progress.

All students will be taught a broad and balanced curriculum; differentiated to the needs of each individual. Where children require extra support, specialist resources or extension materials, will be provided wherever possible. All students are known well by their form tutors, who develop strong relationships with them. Good behaviour and work is rewarded through the use of Classcharts, positive letters home and calls home.

Frequently asked questions

How is information about my child passed from primary to secondary?

During the transition period, from KS2 to KS3, the school requests transfer information from all feeder primary schools about the children in Y6 who may have special educational needs and disabilities. All medical needs are requested too. During this process, the current SEND information is transferred electronically to our school. Towards the end of Y6, the Special Educational Needs Coordinator, (SENCO), visits all feeder primary schools, with the Head of Student Guidance, to discuss all children who are about to transfer up to the secondary school. This allows the staff to pass over all SEND information to the new school. The SENCO, where possible will also attend the Y6 annual review that will take place at the primary school. Seaham High School holds a Y6 parents evening during the summer term, for parents to visit their child’s new school. This is an additional opportunity for parents to pass on their concerns, worries and SEND information about their children.

What should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs and disabilities?

If you have concerns about your child’s learning and feel there may be underlying learning difficulties, please don’t hesitate to contact school to discuss the matter. This conversation or meeting will be the starting point to an assessment of your child’s needs, progress levels and provision.

What happens if the staff in school identify a difficulty with my child’s learning?

Once children have enrolled at Seaham High School, staff will run baseline assessments in all subject areas. This assessment gives teaching staff a realistic picture of a child’s current level within a particular subject area.

Within our English lessons, children in Y7 will complete reading and spelling assessments. The tests currently used for this are the ‘Literacy Assessment Online’ tests. Again this is valuable information, which can highlight any underlying difficulties that may need addressing. All staff in school can raise concerns about any child’s learning and progression. If this is the case, the issue raised will be discussed and support will immediately be put in place for that child. If the issue requires further intervention from an outside agency, such as an Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist, a Specialist in Dyslexia etc., a referral will be made, after a discussion with the parent. Permission from the parent will be required before this next step can take place.

During the course of the year, if a child is not making progress at the same rate as his/her peers, or is progressing at a slower rate than they had previously, the staff will look into underlying issues. This can sometimes be an indicator. Approaching KS4, students that perhaps struggle with their Literacy skills, will be highlighted and assessed for ‘Access Arrangements’. If a child is eligible for ‘Access Arrangements’, they may receive a variety of support for KS4 examinations and controlled assessments. Support can range from having a Reader, Scribe, Oral Modifier, extra time, use of a laptop etc. for examination and controlled assessments. There are however times when such arrangements are not allowed, such as reading sections of an English examination, where the reading ability is part of the examination.

Where a student is identified as having a special educational need, Seaham High School will follow a graduated approach which takes the form of cycles of ‘Assess, Plan, Do, Review’.

  • Assess a child’s special educational need.

  • Plan the provision to meet your child’s aspirations and agreed outcomes.

  • Do put the provision in place to meet those outcomes.

  • Review the support and progress.

What are the roles of the SENCO and Keyworkers?

All students requiring SEND support will be assigned a keyworker. The keyworker will be a key member of staff working with the student on a regular basis.

The SENCO, will be the keyworkers for all students within school who have an Education Health and Care Plan. They are also keyworkers for some students who have greater Special Educational Needs and therefore require an extensive SEND Support Plan, but do not have an EHCP. LSAs and Year Managers are keyworkers for all other students who are on the SEND register.

The role of the keyworker is to work with the student and parents, to ensure that the student’s needs are met and progress is monitored. The keyworker will review the student’s academic progress to date, their attendance record, behaviour tracking, Class charts points and any other data that is available. During this process, the SENCO or Keyworker will go through the student’s targets for each subject and will highlight where the student is currently, where they need to be and how they are going to get there. It also allows for a discussion with the student, parent and the school about any additional support that maybe required. Strategies that work for the individual will be discussed at this meeting (which will be held in October for year 7 and January / February for all other year groups.  During the meeting, the “Support Plan” that is in place for that student will be reviewed. It will outline the Special Educational Needs of the student, refer to their strengths and weaknesses and include the student’s views and the views of their parents. The “Support Plan” will also highlight specific targets and will list specific strategies for the members of staff working with the student. These strategies will be incorporated in the planning of the student’s lessons and will be used by other members of staff who work with them. We use a digitialised system called ‘SENDit’ provided by Impact Education Software to hold our SEND information and parents have access to this at all times.

Who are the SEND team?

  • Mrs Whitehead – Assistant Head teacher – Designated teacher for Child Protection/SENCO link

  • Miss Brown – SENCO/ in charge of Nurture Provision 

  • Mrs Harrison – Teacher of Nurture Provision

  • Ms Douglas – Learning Support Assistant

  • Mrs Curtis – Learning Support Assistant

  • Mrs Young – Learning Support Assistant.

  • Mrs Jones – Learning Support Assistant.

  • Miss Bourdiec – Learning Support Assistant

  • Miss Spence – Learning Support Assistant

  • Mrs Purdy – Higher Level Teaching Assistant

  • Mrs Stephenson - Learning Support Assistant

  • Miss Morgan - Learning Support Assistant

Student Guidance

  • Miss Thynne – Head of Student Services

  • Mr Carr

  • Mr Bolton

  • Miss Hebron

  • Mr Remmer

  • Mrs Bannister

  • Miss Flack

  • Mrs Davison - Education Welfare Officer.

SEND Governor

Mr Malcolm Wilkinson

How does the school evaluate the effectiveness of its provision for SEND students?

Every year the faculty is reviewed by the Head teacher and Senior Leadership Team. During the course of the review, lesson observations take place for teaching and support staff. A work scrutiny, data review and student voice is also carried out as part of the review process. The work of the Support Faculty is evaluated throughout the year by the SENCO as part of the Quality Assurance process. Lesson observations, student voice and work scrutiny checks take place to ensure standards of provision across the faculty and findings inform the Development Plan for the faculty.

How can I support my child’s learning?

You will be invited into school at least three times a year, one of which will be the formal parents evening. Some of these meetings will be with your child’s keyworker. The greatest support to your child is to attend these meetings. If you are unable to attend at the allocated time, please contact the school to rearrange the meeting for a time that is convenient for yourself and school. It is incredibly important that you attend these meetings to discuss your child’s progress. This is a great opportunity for you to discuss how your child is doing in school and also how you can support your child in their learning at home. During the year you will receive reports on your child’s progress. Annually a more formal report will outline detailed comments from teaching staff and also areas for improvement. Please take the time to go through these reports carefully with your child. If you have any concerns or need clarification on any matters, please don’t hesitate to contact the school immediately to address the matter. At any time during the academic year, you can make an appointment to come into school to discuss your child’s progress or any concerns you may have. Please don’t feel you have to leave issues until school invite you to a progress review.

How is the curriculum arranged to support students with additional needs?

On entry to Seaham High School, all students are placed in a Curriculum pathway. This is initially based on their Y6 SATS and Teacher Assessment results at the end of Year 6. Also, the level of support highlighted by the primary school may determine which Curriculum Pathway your child is placed into. During the course of Year 7 and other year groups, The Year Leaders hold regular meetings with the English and Maths departments. This is where students are reviewed and monitored. Students underachieving will be discussed and support allocated where necessary. Sometime students are moved between the Curriculum Pathways if it is felt such a move is appropriate.

The Curriculum model adopted at Seaham High School is tailored for the needs of our students and between the years of 7-11.  Our Nurture Provision Curriculum is heavily weighted to support the Literacy and Numeracy needs of the students and their individual needs. These classes are much smaller classes, ranging from 13-16 students per class. Some students also access intervention lessons, working in small groups in the Pitstop. At KS3 this intervention supports there needs based on the four main area of SEND; Communication and Interaction, Cognition and Learning, Social, Emotional and Mental Health and Sensory and/or Physical . At KS4 students are supported in areas of the curriculum where they are underachieving.

How is the decision made about the type and how much support my child will receive?

Seaham High School has a substantial support team, who provide learning and behaviour Support. In class, Learning Support Assistants usually work with students with EHCPs in core subjects when required or in the Nurture Provision classes. . All SEND students on the SEND Register have a keyworker and a Support Plan, on SENDit. Successful strategies / provision for the student are incorporated in the plan and then teachers ensure that Quality First teaching is provided for all students.

If the student has an Education Health and Care Plan, it will outline clearly what support they are entitled to, as directed by the Local Authority. This is however, subject to review at the annual review meeting. During the review process, a ‘Costed Provision Map’ will outline the level of support the student receives in school. Support can vary from 1:1 session, small group intervention or support within the classroom setting. Students may access targeted Literacy support such as the phonics based ‘Fresh Start’ programme, r ‘Lexia’ At Key Stage 3, if your child has SEND they will be assessed by a specialist to see the level of Access Support he/she may need to support them throughout their GCSE/BTEC examinations and controlled assessments. This can range from being allocated a reader, a scribe, extra time during the examination, given timed rest breaks, having an oral modifier etc. As a parent, you will be invited to attend all of your child’s reviews and progress meetings. You will be involved in your child’s progress every step of the way from their transition from KS2 to their transition into KS5.

When meeting additional needs some targets will be linked to learning and will often be specifically related to literacy and numeracy. However, for other students they may be related to social interaction, communicating with other young people and adults or around emotional difficulties. The most important factor is that the targets and support provided are particular to the needs of each individual child.

At Seaham High School, we offer many forms of additional provision, including:

  • Additional in and out of class support

  • One-to-one support

  • Flexible groupings (including small group work)

  • Access to specific resources and learning programmes

  • Mentoring

  • Counselling

  • Access to a wide range of outside agencies.

What activities are available for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in addition to those available in accordance with the curriculum?

All students, regardless of need have the opportunity to actively get involved in extracurricular activities within our school. Every Faculty within the school have a range of lunchtime and after school clubs and activities. Within the Nurture Provision, part of the Curriculum involves termly days out to Space centres, animal sanctuaries etc. and Culture Days to incorporate all lessons. Care Plans and discussions with parents may be necessary, in advance of a trip, if your child’s needs require additional planning, but students will not be exempt on the basis of need or disability. Within the school’s rewards procedures, all children can achieve Class Chart points for their work, behaviour and engagement in lessons.

What support will there be for my child’s wellbeing?

Student Services offers pastoral, medical and social support to all students within the school. All students in each year group have a Year Manager who monitors and supports the students within their Year Group. This support can range from welfare, pastoral, social, attendance and behaviour support. The school employs an emotional wellbeing co-ordinator and works with other outside agencies, such as CAMHS and the Emotional Well-being nurse to support students who struggle with their mental health.

Emotional Wellbeing co-ordinator - Sarah Kernan

How does the school support students with medical needs?

School has a team of trained first-aiders to support medical needs. We manage all medical needs by working closely with parents/carers and medical professionals. Students who have medical needs have a Health Plan and staff attend training when it is needed. See the website for “Supporting Children with Medical Conditions Policy”. The school employs a First Aid & Health Co-ordinator to support students in school with medical needs and first aid.

First Aid & Health Co-ordinator - Mrs Haswell

How does the school take the views of students?

A student’s views are taken into account through many avenues within the community of the school. Student voice is an important part of our quality assurance processes in school, and we gather student’s views in a variety of ways. The SENDit Support Plans also reflect their views on progress and targets, in the students voice section.

How are “Looked After Students” supported in school?

For every child who is in the care of the Local Authority, (a looked after child – LAC), a Personal Education Plan (PEP) will be devised. This plan will establish clear targets and actions to respond effectively to each child’s needs and provide a continuous record of their achievements.

Mrs Whitehead is the Designated Teacher for LAC Students in school.

How to contact the SENCO?

The School SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) is Miss Brown. Miss Brown can be contacted at school on 0191 5161600 or at

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?

At Seaham High School we involve other bodies, including health and social care, local authority support services, charitable and voluntary sector organisations in meeting the children’s special educational needs and to support their families. These may act in an advisory capacity, extend expertise to staff, provide additional assessment, support a child directly or consult with all parties involved with the child.

Examples of the specialists that we work with are:

  • Educational Psychologist
  • Therapeutic Service/Child Psychotherapist
  • Physiotherapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Speech and Language therapists
  • Visually/Hearing Impaired Service
  • CAMHs – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
  • Child and Family Services
  • Emotional resilience nurse
  • Autism and Social Interaction Team
  • Cognition and Learning Team

What training have the staff supporting SEND students received?

All staff within school have completed their Level 1 in Child Protection. All Learning Support staff follow the same Continued Professional Development (CPD) programme as teaching staff within the school. Recent CPD has included training on:

  • Adaptive teaching,

  • Questioning,

  • Literacy

  • Numeracy,

  • Coaching

  • Behaviour management

  • Assessment for Learning,

  • Marking and Feedback

  • Meeting Needs

  • Talk 4 Writing

Staff CPD is sometimes run on a ‘carousel basis’, allowing staff to opt into areas of development that they feel will develop their skills and practice. Some areas of CPD are linked to staff “Performance Management” targets, again supporting the member of staff through their personal professional development over the year. Support staff and teaching staff working closely with students with SEND and have accessed training delivered by specialist professionals in Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Supporting a visually Impaired Student, Dyscalculia, Anxiety, Trauma, ASC, Literacy, ADHD and Access Arrangements.

What happens if my child has SEND needs and moves to the school later in the school year?

If a child joins the school with specific needs, careful transition arrangements are implemented and planning meetings are held to ensure a successful transition for the student. It is vitally important that parents inform school of any specialist arrangements, needs and provision that may be required for their child at the transition planning stage, particularly medical or learning needs, to ensure that provision is available and in place for their starting day at Seaham High School.

How Specialist Expertise is Secured

If a student has complex special educational needs in Years 7-11, school can also receive additional ‘top up’ funding from the Local Authority to meet the agreed outcomes. Usually top-up funding is available if a child’s needs require specific support, which exceeds the first £6000 allocated for that child within the school’s budget. The budget will be used to secure specialist intervention or support, training, in school support, external specialists or SEND resources.

A Costed Provision Map will be developed in liaison with the child/young person and parent/carer. A Costed Provision Map is a cost breakdown of all the resources associated with the child’s needs.

How accessible is the school both indoors and outdoors?

Seaham High School is accessible to all students regardless of disability. More information on accessibility can be found on the school website.

How are parents involved in the school? How can I get involved?

Parental voice is represented on the governing body of the school. Parents are always invited to be part of meetings surrounding the needs, progress and welfare of their children. Each year a parents evening is held, allowing you to meet with your child’s subject teachers and keyworker. All children with SEND will have a keyworker who will hold meetings with you and your child.  Regular meetings will be held with yourself and your child, to ensure your child is progressing well and that their needs are met with the correct support and provision.

All SEND students’ views will be heard through a ‘child centred review’ process. Student voice is very important to us. Students’ opinion and feelings need to be heard when discussing their education and provision. Often a simple conversation with a student about their learning gives a valuable insight into the educational world of that student. All students with an EHCP will be invited to attend their own reviews. Please encourage your child to be actively involved in the progression of their own learning.

How do I report concerns or make a complaint?

If you do have concerns about the provision being made for your child, or their level of progress, please contact Miss Brown, (SENCO) at the school on 0191 5161600.

For welfare, attendance or behavioural issues, please contact your child’s Year Manager, Ms Thynne, (Head of Student Guidance), or Mr Henderson (Deputy Head teacher).

More serious concerns must be placed with Mr Lumsdon– Head teacher at Seaham High School on 0191 5161600. Please contact the school and ask to speak to Mrs McNally-Holmes, Personal Assistant to the Head Teacher, and she will make an appointment for you.

If matters are unresolved parents/carers can seek further advice from SENDIASS on 03000 267 007 or If the concern is directly related to decisions around an EHC Assessment or EHCP, this will be managed directly by the Durham Statutory Casework Team. Parents/carers will be contacted directly by the team to receive information about the mediation and other services available to them.

What external support services are available?

Please see Durham’s Local Offer, outlining all external support services available to you. You can visit the Local Authority website at: