Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Our SEND Vision

Inclusive Education

Balcarras School uses quality first teaching to provide a broad and balanced curriculum that engages with the pupils in every classroom. Teachers use proactive, adaptive teaching to meet the individual needs of pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The opportunities for pupils with SEND are not restricted at our school; we value diversity and celebrate individual qualities allowing all pupils to feel part of our community and to thrive during their time with us. Our teachers set challenging but achievable, individual targets for pupils with SEND and encourage pupils to progress and succeed in a caring, accessible and inclusive environment.

Collaborative Working

Working in partnership with all school stakeholders is important to ensure the progress of pupils with SEND. Pupils, parents and staff work collaboratively (including external agencies when necessary) to establish early identification of holistic needs. The strengths of an individual pupil are recognised and highlighted. Independence is developed by building a pupil’s resilience and self-confidence to overcome any challenges they might face. We recognise the diversity of our pupils and endeavour to empower them by placing them at the centre of all discussions. Our aim is that pupils with SEND are happy, engaged and successful and their time at Balcarras School is memorable and enjoyable. Reviews take place regularly, with input from all stakeholders, to ensure that pupils achieve their aspirations for the future, are prepared for adulthood and are able to contribute to the wider community.

Professional Development

Every teacher at Balcarras School is a teacher of SEND and provides high quality, evidence-based teaching to our pupils with SEND.  Training and development of school staff is vital in supporting a pupil with SEND. Consequently, we follow current guidance, legislation and innovation to meet the SEND needs of our pupils. Teachers and teaching assistants are given opportunities to work collaboratively to develop their knowledge and skills in enabling the best possible outcomes for pupils with SEND to ensure they reach their full potential.

Our SEND Team

  • Jeanette Corinaldi - SENDCo and Head of Individual Learning Department (NASENCO & QTS)

Jeanette is the school SENDCo and leads the Individual learning department. Jeanette has been at Balcarras School for over 20 years and during this time she has had a number of senior roles including Head of Department, Head of House and Subject Leader at the University of Gloucestershire.  

Jeanette promotes high standards and aims to build positive relationships with children and parents and prevent barriers to learning by meeting the individual needs of our pupils.  Outside of school Jeanette loves to travel and visit places in her campervan both at home and abroad.

  • Catherine Williams – Assistant SENDCo and assessor for exams access arrangements (NASENCO, PGC in SpLD & QTS)

Catherine Williams, who is a qualified Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) teacher, joined the school in 2003 as a teaching assistant. She then became qualified as a Specialist Teacher and Exam Access Assessor and was the school SENDCo at the school for ten years. She is now supporting the department as the Assistant SENDCo.

Outside of school Catherine is a keen gardener and enjoys arts and crafts. She has been supporting a child in Russian lessons for the past four years and has decided to take her GCSE this summer! Although Catherine loves languages, she feels that her heart now lies firmly in special needs education. Her motto through life has always been ‘Just be kind.’

Working with Jeanette and Catherine are a fantastic team of specialist teachers and teaching assistants:

  • Samantha Clarke – Teaching Assistant responsible for supporting the needs of children with physical disabilities and sensory impairments (PD/SI)
  • Lorainne Dewdney – Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) responsible for supporting the needs of children with literacy difficulties and Teacher of Literacy Functional Skills (C&L and QTS)
  • Mia Dodds – Study Support Teacher and Teacher of Functional Skills (QTS)
  • Joseph Harris - Teacher of Numeracy Functional Skills (QTS)
  • Ben Millard – Numeracy Lead (QTS)
  • Cristina Nistor - Teaching Assistant responsible for supporting the needs of children with numeracy needs (C&L)
  • Caroline Powell – Teaching Assistant responsible for supporting the needs of children with social, emotional and mental (SEMH) health needs
  • Hannah Wranosky – Literacy Lead (QTS)

Working with the department are:

  • Rebecca Atkin (Assistant Head) - The line manager for the SEND department (QTS)
  • Laura Williams - SEND Governor (NASENCO & QTS)
  • In addition there is an Individual Learning Department Administrator

We also have a dedicated team of teaching assistants who work alongside classroom teachers to support adaptive teaching and add value to the learning of our pupils. They work with teachers to develop independent learning skills and encourage pupils to manage their own learning.

Our SEND Provision

Our approach to teaching pupils with SEND varies from one pupil to another as we believe in meeting the individual needs of the pupils who attend our school. The SEND needs of our pupils include:

  • Communication and Interaction Needs (C&I): Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN)
  • Cognition and Learning Needs (C&L): Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) or Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) for example, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dyspraxia.
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs (SEMH): Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or mental health difficulties such as Anxiety or Depression, self-harming, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained.
  • Sensory and/or Physical Needs: Visual Impairments (VI), Hearing Impairments (HI) and Physical Disabilities (PD).

School staff are made aware of the individual needs of our pupils via a pupil passport.  A blank copy of this document can be found using the ink below.


Pupil voice is a vital part of this process and we record this information on a My Profile document.


Our SEND provision can be found in detail by reading section 3.3. of the Balcarras School SEND Policy, Information Report and Local Offer. However, please click on the links below to find out more about Study Support in Years 10 and 11 and Functional Skills.




Our SEND Facilities

We are fortunate enough to have a whole building dedicated to SEND. In 2012 the school won a Government grant to build the Individual Learning Department known by the school community as ‘Block 9’. The block contains 2 teaching rooms, 4 offices, a small kitchen and storage area. Every pupil is welcome in Block 9 and it is open and supervised by teaching assistants from 8:30am every morning and throughout break and lunch. This enables pupils to drop in and get help and support on any matters that are worrying them.

In addition to this the school also has facilities to support children with sensory and physical disabilities:

  • Automatic doors, ramps and handrails to help provide access to the ground floor of all buildings.
  • Lifts to provide access to the first floors of buildings.
  • Toilet facilities for individuals with disabilities on the ground floor in the main building which include a shower, an accessible bed, a Closomat toilet and an electric hoist.
  • There are 5 further accessible toilets
  • Yellow markings have been added to outdoor steps to help visually impaired pupils.

Supporting children with an EHCP in the transition from primary school

Which Secondary School?

It is important parents and children make an informed choice when deciding what secondary school to attend. For children with an EHCP, this process should begin in Year 4/5 and it should always include a school visit. We recommend every parent / child considering Balcarras School attends the school Open Evening.  This takes place every September and parents are encouraged to check our website and school socials for details of this event each year. We also recommend children with an EHCP and their parents / carers visit the school during a normal working day. These visits and tours are by prior arrangement and this can be done by contacting the school administration team. In addition to this, parents are also advised to read the Balcarras School SEND Policy, Information Report and Local Offer document that can be found using the link below. This outlines a wealth of information on our provision and SEND at Balcarras. If parents then have further questions they should contact the school SENDCo.

Supporting children in the move from primary to secondary school

It is important we support all our pupils and their parents in the transition from primary to secondary school. A detailed report of how we support children with SEND can be found in section 3.2 of the Balcarras School SEND Policy, Information Report and Local Offer.



 Exam Access Arrangements (EAA)

Have you got concerns about what support your child can get in GCSE exams? Do you think that they may need additional time? Or would benefit from using a computer? Or will need to take rest breaks?

In secondary school, the allocation of exam access arrangements (EAA) is managed differently to KS2 and comes under the regulations of the Joint Council for Qualifications. Pupils do not automatically get the same arrangements as they might have had at primary school.

It is worth noting that there is no real time limit on the KS3 tests/assessments, as these are generally tests that the teacher/department have made up with no ‘quality assured’ time limit. Therefore, the concept of 'extra time' is a false one at this stage. Teachers are encouraged to offer all pupils the opportunity to finish a test that has not been completed within the hour’s lesson.

As a consequence, it is the school’s practice not to apply any formal EAA during KS3 (unless a student has an EHCP) as there can be no guarantee, of what the pupil may ultimately qualify for. The JCQ rules state that assessments for EAA cannot take place before Year 9. We must try to avoid a situation where we would find ourselves having to remove the extra time that a pupil was accustomed to getting because they did not meet the strict criteria for GCSE.

EAA can also be granted at A Level but it is not a given that the support at GCSE will automatically follow. There is a process in place to ensure that there is evidence that a student still requires EAA.

What you can do to make school aware of your concerns:

  • Take a look at our EAA policy for more detailed information
  • Fill in an EAA referral form and send to cw@balcarras.gloucs.sch.uk