Special Educational Needs


 Our Mission Statement

As God’s unique family, we love, we learn, we grow joyfully fulfilling our dreams.



                        We value all the children in our school equally and we recognise

                       the entitlement of each child to receive the best possible education.



Our school is an inclusive school where every child matters; we aim to address children’s needs and support their development in the most appropriate way possible and celebrate effort as much as achievement.


Here, at St Cuthbert’s, we believe that quality first teaching will enable our pupils to make good progress and reach their potential. However, there are sometimes barriers to learning which prevent some children from making as much progress as we would hope and this is when additional support or advice may be required.


What do I do if my child is struggling or not making as much progress as they should be? 

If this is the case, your child’s class teacher will already be aware and your child may be

receiving some additional support in the classroom; have access to resources to support them in their learning or be part of a ‘catch up’ or intervention group. Please contact your child’s class teacher if you have any concerns and they will advise you on the best course of action.


Does this mean that my child has special educational needs? 

Some children struggle with some aspects of their learning and may require extra support. If your child makes good progress with the ‘catch up’ programme and class support they may not need any further action.

However, if your child’s progress is still slow or if there is evidence of a specific need, he/she may need an individualised plan. This will be discussed with you, and your child will be set specific targets to help him/her improve. This is called SEN Support.


What is the definition of special educational needs? 

A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.

A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

-has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or

-has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions


 How is SEN identified? 

Class teachers, supported by a leadership team, will make regular assessments of progress for all pupils. These assessments seek to identify pupils making less than expected progress given their age and individual circumstances. This can be characterised by progress which:


• is significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same baseline

• fails to match or better the child’s previous rate of progress

• fails to close the attainment gap between the child and their peers

• widens the attainment gap 

It can include progress in areas other than attainment – for instance where a pupil needs to make additional progress with wider development or social needs in order to make a successful transition to adult life.

 For some children, SEN can be identified at an early age. However, for other children and young people, difficulties become evident only as they develop. We aim to be alert to emerging difficulties and respond early.

 Slow progress and low attainment do not necessarily mean that a child has SEN and should not automatically lead to a pupil being recorded as having SEN. However, they may be an indicator of a range of learning difficulties or disabilities. Equally, it should not be assumed that attainment in line with chronological age means that there is no learning difficulty or disability.


Who do I speak to about my concerns? 

Your first point of contact is your child’s class teacher who knows your child well.

Your child’s teacher will discuss concerns with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO ) – Mrs Mulryan.


You may wish to contact the SENCO – Mrs. Mulryan directly – you can do this via email admin@st-cuthberts.manchester.sch.uk or via the school office, Tel No. 0161-445-6079.


The School’s newly appointed SENCO has 16 years’ experience of working within the school, ranging from supporting children with physical disabilities, class teacher and presently 4 days have been committed to manage SEN in the school.

There is also a dedicated team of teaching staff and assistants who have experience and training in planning, delivering and assessing intervention programmes to support all children.


What are the areas defined in the SEND Code of Practice? 


Communication and interaction 

Children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) have difficulty in communicating with others. This may be because they have difficulty saying what they want to, understanding what is being said to them or they do not understand or use social rules of communication. The profile for every child with SLCN is different and their needs may change over time. They may have difficulty with one, some or all of the different aspects of speech, language or social communication at different times of their lives.

Children and young people with ASD, including Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism, are likely to have particular difficulties with social interaction. They may also experience difficulties with language, communication and imagination, which can impact on how they relate to others.


 Cognition and learning 

Support for learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation. Learning difficulties cover a wide range of needs, including moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD), where children are likely to need support in all areas of the curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication, through to profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), where children are likely to have severe and complex learning difficulties as well as a physical disability or sensory impairment.

 Specific learning difficulties (SpLD), affect one or more specific aspects of learning. This encompasses a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.


Social, emotional and mental health difficulties 

Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained. Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attachment disorder.


Sensory and/or physical needs

 Some children and young people require special educational provision because they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided. These difficulties can be age related and may fluctuate over time. Many children and young people with vision impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) or a multi-sensory impairment (MSI) will require specialist support and/or equipment to access their learning, or habitual support. Children and young people with an MSI have a combination of vision and hearing difficulties.

Some children and young people with a physical disability (PD) require additional ongoing support and equipment to access all the opportunities available to their peers.


 What happens if my child is identified as having SEN?

 Some children enter school already having been identified as having SEN, others are identified during their time at school. If your child has been identified as having a special educational need, your child's class teacher and the SENCO will work with you to set targets for your child and additional support and/or resources provided to aid their learning will also be discussed.

It is important that your child’s views are part of this process and your role in supporting your child is vital.


What is the approach to teaching pupils with SEN?

All staff at St Cuthbert’s agree that “Quality First Teaching is the key to narrowing the gap.

High quality teaching, appropriately differentiated activities for individual pupils, is the first step in responding to possible special educational needs.

Class Teachers have a responsibility for enabling all pupils to learn.


To achieve this they use:- 

Quality First Teaching for All

Class teachers plan stimulating, challenging, creative and differentiated lessons, to ensure all pupils have access to the learning opportunities and make progress. Additional adults are used to support individual children or small groups in accessing this. Differentiated or specialised learning materials are included in lessons to allow children with additional needs to access the curriculum. The learning environment is planned to ensure that it supports, not only those pupils with additional needs but all children.


Teachers identify when there is a barrier to learning for an individual child or a group, reflect on their practice and respond with appropriate strategies to ensure their classroom is supportive and inclusive.


Additional interventions are put in place to allow pupils to catch up and work at age appropriate expectations or above


Teachers and teaching assistants deliver catch up planned intervention programmes to groups of children. Flexible teaching approaches are used to allow the class teacher or teaching assistant to teach the planned objectives. Groups can be withdrawn from the class or be given extra focused teaching time during the day.


Additional highly personalised interventions 

Children receive 1:1 or small group timetabled support to work on personalised learning targets. Teachers are involved in planning the support following recommendations by the SENCO and external agencies. Trained teaching assistants deliver planned interventions following targets recorded on class provision maps.

 At St Cuthbert’s we aim to identify children with additional needs as early as possible through observation and assessment. We acknowledge that gifted children often require additional resources and personalised planning to reach their full potential. Children with English as an additional language may also require planned intervention and differentiation of the curriculum. 

We recognise that not all children with disabilities have special educational needs and that all teachers take responsibility for ensuring the physical environment of the classroom and equipment used, allows for equal access to the National Curriculum and statutory arrangements. 

St Cuthbert’s has a team of trained Teaching Assistants in supporting pupils with physical disabilities, who are experienced in assessing the learning environment, writing and reviewing risk assessments, with the support of outreach services and outside agencies. Teachers will plan and allow sufficient time for the completion of tasks and identify aspects of programmes of study and attainment targets that may present specific difficulties for children with disabilities. 


The DDA, as amended by the SEN and Disability Act 2001, places a duty on all schools to increase-over time-the accessibility of schools for disabled pupils and to implement their plans. Schools are required to produce written accessibility plans for their individual school and Local Authorities are under a duty to prepare accessibility strategies covering the maintained schools in their areas.

Audits are frequently carried out of the school environment and surrounding outside areas, looking for any possible barriers, ensuring all children and adults are able to move freely around the school grounds. All areas within the school environment are accessible to all, including lifts and ramps.

See school's Equality Plan and Policy, which can be found on the school website.

How do we adapt the curriculum and the learning environment? 

St Cuthbert’s staff, through training and following specialist advice, scaffold and differentiate the curriculum to meet the needs of all children.

This is achieved through:  

  • grouping of pupils (1:1 , small groups, partner work)
  • teaching styles ( taking account of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners)
  • flexible teaching to adapt planning and revisit learning objectives for identified pupils
  • alternative ways of recording – use of ICT software/ thinking maps/ photographs and learning journals
  • follow advice from external agencies for pupils with physical disabilities, hearing impairment, visual impairment in order to make reasonable adjustments to the physical environment of the classroom. 
  • provide specialist equipment – sensory cushions, sloping boards, auxiliary aids for pupils with physical disabilities. 
  • provide dyslexia friendly classrooms which include clearly labelled resources, word mats/ words walls/ writing frames/coloured overlays
  • provide language friendly classrooms – visual timetables, visual prompts, sequence cards, low stimulus working areas/ chunking of instructions, thinking time 
  • use the physical layout of the school and classrooms to provide personal learning areas.


What happens if SEN Support is not adequate to meet the needs of my child? 

For the majority of children, SEN support will meet their needs and support them in making progress, thus closing the attainment gap. For some, further advice or support may be required and an Education, Health and Care needs assessment may be required in order for the local authority to decide whether it is necessary for them to make provision in accordance with an EHC plan.

The purpose of an EHC plan is to make special educational provision to meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, to secure the best possible outcomes for them across education, health and social care and, as they get older, prepare them for adulthood.

In considering whether an EHC assessment is necessary, the local authority will consider whether there is evidence that despite the school having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child, the child has not made expected progress.


How can I find out more? 

The SEND Code of Practice published in July 2014 is available on the DFE website.



Manchester City Council also publishes all the services they offer to children / young people with SEN.

You can view this on the following website:




Other useful Links





research autism

Manchester Museum Hands-On Activities for Children with Autism



Downs Syndrome



Message from the Headteacher

Dear Friends

The prayer of which Bishop John has always asked us to say is

“Stay with us, Lord, On our Journey”

This is so appropriate for all of us here in St. Cuthbert’s School Community as we embark on our special journey of making the school Outstanding. The prayer is written throughout the school and is a constant reminder and prompt that all that we do in serving this community is done with the help of the Lord.

May we be generous in embracing change and always be sensitive to one another as we take the next step on our Journey together with the Lord.

God Bless,