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Learning Support - Edit

Caroline Chisholm Learning Support Department currently supports over 300 students across our Primary and Secondary Phases. We have a strong and experienced team of LSAs/TLAs (Learning Support Assistants/Teaching and Learning Support Assistants) to deliver classroom-based assistance, as well as student-tailored programmes, intervention lessons and progress monitoring.

Staffing details

Ms Lisa West, Assistant Principal (Inclusion), has strategic responsibility for all aspects of SEN across the school.

All mainstream teaching staff and support staff will be offered regular INSET on SEND and in line with the SEND Code of Practice will be expected to use their best endeavours to ensure all student needs are met.

Staff and Governors at Caroline Chisholm School are committed to ensuring the quality of provision in the SEN Unit provision.

Leaders and staff who support children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) understand their needs well. They work closely with external agencies to secure additional support for pupils.

Ofsted, 2020

Role of the Inclusion Leader

Our Inclusion Leaders work within the department to coordinate and manage the daily, termly and annual support programmes. Everything we do is student-focussed and aims to ensure every student in our care can access the mainstream curriculum and makes the maximum achievable progress.

Our Inclusion Leaders are:

  • Jen George – Primary
  • Carol Hamblett - Secondary
  • Kim Millican – Primary & Secondary
  • Daniela Sereno - Secondary
  • Julia Smith – Secondary, Second in Department
  • Sarah Smith – Secondary

Access Arrangements

We test on average just under 100 students each year for exam access arrangements throughout Key Stages 1 – 4. Pupils are assessed using standardised tests for reading, writing, spelling, memory and underlying cognitive ability.

We currently have approximately 60 students with exam access arrangements in Key Stages Four and Five.  One of our Inclusion Leaders, with the qualification required by JCQ to carry out formal testing for access arrangements, co-ordinates all elements of the application process, such as assessing students through standardised testing, making online applications to exam boards and liaising with parents/carers and teaching staff. 

Children We Care For

Caroline Chisholm School is an “Attachment Aware” school and we currently have 25 Children We Care For (CWCF) on roll. The Designated Teacher is Lisa West, Assistant Principal for Inclusion.  An Assistant Principal is designated to oversee their provision and all staff receive “attachment” training and refreshers.

In order to provide bespoke support from the very start, all of our Year 7 CWCF students are placed in a supported tutor group with an additional adult (LSA).  This is also why we offer an extra transition event - ‘Getting to Know you Day’ prior to starting our school, followed by on-going support from an LSA who provides morning breakfast club and break/lunch support for these students.  A meet and greet session can also be provided on arrival to school if necessary.

Our CWCF cohort all receive a laptop as well as other essential equipment to support home study. They have access to a bank of enrichment resources (DVDs, books, games, anxiety-relieving tools etc.); an extensive programme of extra-curricular activities (sports and games clubs); and termly trips to help broaden their horizons.

CWCF students also receive additional administrative support which can include a laminated timetable, a lunch pass to help with organisation and open access to Learning Support where a member of staff is always available.  Lesson timeout cards can also be used to support the most vulnerable.

These students are also closely monitored academically, and target setting is key to success. Progress, attendance, and achievement points are reviewed termly with new targets agreed with each student. Additional Maths and Literacy interventions are also available if extra support is required.

Designated Special Provision (Secondary)

To contact the Learning Support Leadership Team, please email:

Type of Provision

We offer a unit provision within Caroline Chisholm School Secondary Phase for students from Year 7 to Sixth Form with a diagnosis of high functioning ASD. There is a maximum of three places in each year cohort based on an overall unit provision for ten places, including Sixth Form. 

Admissions Criteria and Arrangements

All admissions will be determined by the Local Authority in accordance with the SEN and Disability Code of Practice, July 2014.

Students will have at least one score within the average ability range as measured on a standard test of cognitive ability. This will have been assessed within two years prior to admission to the SEN Unit. Students may display challenging behaviours resulting from their autism, but challenging behaviours are not their identified primary need.

Arrangements for Including Students in Mainstream

Strategies for including students in mainstream are put in place on an individual basis depending on the level of need.

These strategies include:

  • Adapted work
  • Seating plans
  • Exam access arrangements
  • LSA support within lessons
  • Student specific training for staff
  • Dedicated Study Support sessions

Description of Provision

The SEN Unit will enable students from Year 7 to Year 13 to succeed in the mainstream setting by removing barriers to learning and by providing:

  • A supported inclusive educational experience
  • Social support
  • Advice to teachers on individual learning needs
  • SPELL framework (Structure, Positivity, Empathy, Low Arousal, Links)

Curriculum delivery takes place predominantly in mainstream lessons with access to in-class support.

Subject teachers provide structure and adaptation of tasks to promote effective learning.

The SEN Unit offers targeted individual work and social support, particularly at less structured times of the day. Interventions are offered using the Assess-Plan-Do-Review model. Students are provided with continuous access to the dedicated suite of rooms in accordance with their sensory needs.

EHCP Students

Authority and statutory guidelines govern much of how we monitor, support and review students with an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan).

We have a very personalised methodology at Caroline Chisholm and plan our support very carefully to provide the right balance between hands-on assistance and developing independence. We approach every query and issue individually, working with parents and other agencies to make sure students have access to the mainstream curriculum, whilst remaining happy and positive.

Literacy and Numeracy Interventions (Secondary)


At the start of the Autumn Term, all Year 7 students are tested on their reading skills.  This baseline assessment provides a standardised score and a reading age, that helps in determining the students who will be offered additional literacy support throughout Key Stage 3.  At any one time, usually between 15 and 20 students at Key Stage 3 access our literacy intervention programmes. The focus/resources used during literacy support lessons include:

  • Fresh Start (Read Write Inc) – a cumulative structured phonics programme
  • Grammar practice
  • Reading for meaning, including inferential comprehension
  • Writing skills
  • Handwriting
  • Spelling skills

Students are regularly tested to monitor progress and to ensure that the level and type of interventions remains appropriate.


When a student has been identified as requiring additional numeracy support, we provide a tailored programme based on a three-tier classification by level of need.  Small group work and a less formal setting help weaker students to feel more confident, motivated and engaged, whilst the student groups are carefully chosen to ensure they build relationships whilst remaining focussed.

For those who need a less formal programme of intervention, we use formative assessment to identify gaps in curriculum knowledge, then allocate personalised resources to support accelerated progress.

Primary Provision

Photos of Butterfly Room, Learning Hub, Sensory Cave

In Primary, we have different areas to support our children with additional needs. These areas supports student with their social, emotional and mental health needs; for example, building self-esteem, emotional resilience or conversation skills, through a variety of interventions such as ‘Drawing and Talking’ or ELSA.

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Programme Work

We currently have a small cohort of students who are withdrawn from lessons to complete Programme Work. This supports students with their social, emotional and mental health needs; for example, building self-esteem, conversational skills and anger management.

These programmes are designed collaboratively with the student. Prior to starting this work, the student completes an initial consultation document. Thus, every programme is fully individualised rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach. Our Programme Work is carefully monitored; every session is logged, and we have an evaluation document to help us appraise the intervention.

We also offer informal interventions, such as comic strip conversations, beauty and self-care and weekly ‘check-ins’ which take place during tutor times and lunchtimes.




In-class support (including use of Student Profiles)

Learning Support Assistants are assigned to a student, or group of students, in subject lessons where barriers to learning have been identified. This support can take on a variety of guises, from help to retain focus and manage emotional responses; to offering additional levels of academic adaptation and personalisation and helping to segment and process the lesson materials.

We also use a system of Student Profiles to keep all staff updated with strategies and objectives and these are regularly reviewed and updated. These one-page documents offer more detail for staff than appears on their register, so they have an in-depth knowledge of SEN or monitored students and are able to adapt their classroom support accordingly.

Out-of-class support

LSAs, Inclusion Leaders and our administration team also go the extra mile to help students with their non-academic needs. We offer lots of practical strategies to assist with coping and organisation, which could include being prepared for lesson, accessing the canteen facilities, meet and greet at the start of the school day, issuing time-out cards and printing pocket timetables. We never limit our help and work collaboratively to find a solution to every problem, with a host of unique and personalised solutions.


In Learning Support, we are also intrinsically involved in the transition of students to and from Caroline Chisholm School. This is to ensure all students with a Special Educational Need, EHCP, or those with a quantified level of vulnerability get the extra support they need to transition smoothly and comfortably.

For Primary, the EYFS Leader and Primary Inclusion Leaders go to settings and home visits to meet with students.

For Secondary, each year we undertake a data capture exercise and review the information supplied from every feeding Primary school to identify every student who will have an extra level of need during the transition period. We offer a ‘Getting to Know You’ Day prior to the ‘Transition Day’ in July so these students have an extra visit to Caroline Chisholm before joining and have the opportunity to meet and make friends. Learning Support Leaders will also use this data when reviewing the support deployment prior to Year 7 start in September.

For in-year transitions, Inclusion Leaders will liaise with linked schools, so that SEND concerns and needs are transferred across.


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