The SEN team at Colmers is committed to supporting all children with additional learning needs.


Meet Our Team


We are comprised of:

Ruth Bennett – Assistant Headteacher for Academic Inclusion & SENDCO, Designated Teacher for Looked After Children

Rosie Quinney – Lead Practitioner for learners with Autistic Spectrum Condition

Angela Storrie – Lead Practitioner for learners with Specific Learning Difficulties and Speech & Language

Helen Richardson – PA to the SEND Department and responsibility for children in care

Plus 9 Intervention Leads (formally known as Teaching Assistants).


How we help our young people at Colmers


The department works as a team, led by the SENDCO. Each member of the team is responsible for meeting the identified needs of the individual students on the BASE Overview, in liaison with the subject teacher when an Intervention Lead is supporting within the classroom. The SENDCO and Intervention Leads will also consult with colleagues regarding the needs of students who are not on the SEND list but who may be a concern to Teaching Staff.

The SENDCO aims to establish close working relationships between students, staff, parents and outside agencies so that students can be helped in a fully supportive and inclusive environment.


Accessibility Plan


The Disability Discrimination Act, as amended by the SEN and Disability Act 2001, placed a duty on all schools and Local Authorities to plan to increase the accessibility of schools for disabled students.
The school also reflects on and evaluates any barriers to learning, by considering the national Inclusion Standards, adapted for local practice by the Birmingham Educational Psychology Service. Its success and areas for focus are highlighted through the school’s Equality review, which takes place annually.
In 2010, the Equality Act replaced all existing equality legislation.
The Equality Act (2010) placed a legal obligation on all schools, making it unlawful to discriminate against students, staff, parents, governors and visitors, with a disability.
Under this new guidance the Governing Body has had three key duties towards disabled students:
  • Not to treat disabled students less favourably for a reason related to their disability
  • To make reasonable adjustments for disabled students, so that they are not at a substantial disadvantage
  • To plan to increase access to education for disabled students.
This plan sets out the proposals of the Governing Body of the school to increase access to education for disabled students in the three areas required by the planning duties in the Disability Discrimination Act:
  • Increasing the extent to which disabled students can participate in the school curriculum to ensure that students with a disability are as equally, prepared for life as are the able-bodied students in the school. This covers learning and teaching and the wider curriculum of the school such as participation in after-school clubs, leisure activities or school visits;
  • Improving the environment of the school to increase the extent to which disabled students can take advantage of education and associated services;
  • Improving the delivery to disabled students of information which is provided in writing for students who are not disabled.
It is a requirement that the school’s accessibility plan is resourced, implemented and reviewed and revised as necessary. The plan will also review ways to assist students with Special Educational needs who would not be classified as disabled under the Equality Act. For such students the school has a responsibility to meet their special needs, and for those classified as disabled, a duty to prevent discrimination against them in their access to education.
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 defines a disabled person as a person with ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his (or her) ability to carry out normal day to day activities’. The Act defines ‘substantial’ as ‘more than minor or trivial’ and ‘long term’ as ‘has lasted or is likely to last more than 12 months’.
The Act states that an impairment is to be taken to affect the ability of a person to carry out normal day to day activities only if it affects that person in respect to one or more of the following:
  • Mobility
  • Manual dexterity
  • Physical co-ordination
  • Continence
  • Ability to lift, carry or otherwise move everyday objects
  • Speech, hearing or eyesight
  • Memory or ability to concentrate, learn or understand
  • Perception of the risk of physical danger


SEN Policy

Year 7 Literacy and Numeracy Catch-Up

SEND Admissions

We have an Admissions policy and criteria (available to view on our website) which seeks to remove barriers to entry to our school for students with special educational needs and/or disabilities. The support we provide for students with special educational needs and/or disabilities can also be found in our ‘SEND Local Offer’ (available to view on our website). The Admissions policy ensures we conduct admissions on a fair and non-discriminatory basis. Where it is practical to make reasonable adjustments to enable prospective students to take up a place at Colmers School and to satisfy the current admissions criteria, we are committed to providing those reasonable adjustments, as outlined in the Equality Act (2010) and Part 3 of the Children and Families Bill (2014).
In order to fully meet the needs of disabled students, we require complete disclosure of information prior to entry from parents / carers and previous schools. We will ask all applicants for admission to say whether they have received any previous support, have had an educational psychologist’s report or have any disability or other condition of which the school should be aware.
Parents / Carers of a student with a special educational need and/or a disability should provide the school with full details prior to the admissions procedure, at registration, or subsequently before accepting the offer of a place at Colmers. We require this information so that, in the case of a student with a particular need, we can assess those needs and consult with parents about the adjustments which can be reasonably made to ensure that the application procedure is accessible for the student and that we can cater adequately for the student should an offer of a place be made.
In assessing the student or prospective student, we may need to take further advice and request assessments as appropriate from external agencies. We will be sensitive to any issues of confidentiality at all stages. We will do all that is reasonable to ensure that the information and application procedure is accessible for disabled candidates and will make such reasonable adjustments as necessary. For example, we may be able to provide an examination paper in large font for a visually impaired student.
If special educational needs and/or a disability becomes apparent after admission, we will consult with parents / carers about reasonable adjustments in order to allow the student to continue in the school. The school’s policies on SEND, Discrimination and Equal Opportunities are available on the school website.
For those students identified with a special educational need and/or a disability, we consult with the individual parent/carer to seek their views on their student’s specific needs, both physical and sensory. This process is completed as part of our annual IEP review process and EHC Plan reviews.


Identification and Assessment of Needs

Colmers School & Sixth Form College plan for a range of needs as identified by the Code of Practice (2014). These needs fall into four broad areas (CoP 2014, 86-87):
  1. Communication and Interaction
  2. Cognition and Learning
  3. Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties
  4. Sensory and Physical Needs 

The purpose of identifying the needs of students is to ascertain what action the school needs to take, rather than simply to categorise a child. Within our school, we also seek to identify the needs of the whole child, not just their special educational needs. 

A child is often identified as having special educational needs at nursery or primary school, although it can be picked up during secondary school and even later; particularly if the child has developed self help skills that have allowed them to continue to make progress and mask their learning difficulties. In almost all cases, ‘Quality First Teaching’ (where the subject teacher takes into consideration the needs of their students when planning, and provides well-directed learning activities) will encourage learners to make progress. This is the first wave of intervention in terms of ensuring students are able to achieve and make progress. If a student is still not making progress, then it may be appropriate to investigate this further and a recognition of a special educational need identified in the child. This may, depending on the level and type of need, be supported by a variety of actions or in extreme cases, a change of placement. It should be noted that there are many other needs that may not fall directly into the remit of special educational needs, but that can impact on progress and attainment. These are:

  • Disability (the Code of Practice outlines the “reasonable adjustment” duty for all settings and schools provided under current Disability Equality legislation – these alone do not constitute SEN)
  • Attendance and Punctuality
  • Health and Welfare
  • English as an Additional Language (EAL)
  • Being in receipt of Pupil Premium Grant
  • Being a Looked After Child
  • Being a child of a Armed Services woman or man 

Previously, a child displaying challenging behaviours was described by this behaviour in terms such as ‘BESD’ (Behavioural, Emotional and/or Social Difficulties). The Code of Practice now stipulates what many educational practitioners have recognised for a long time, that challenging behaviours are commonly a response to an underlying need. It is Colmers’ intent to clearly identify the underlying needs of the child, which is manifesting in challenging behaviours in the school, and work to resolve and support those underlying needs as a way of improving the child’s behaviours. 


Curriculum Adaptation and Support


We support access through quality first teaching, appropriate intervention, student profiles and allocating extra support to an individual or group according to set criteria and availability of resources. We ensure that the graduated approach encourages ongoing observation and assessment and provide regular feedback about the student’s achievements and experiences to form the basis for planning the next steps of the student’s learning.
An example of Intervention Programmes:
 Targeted Lower School (Years 7 & 8) and Middle School (Years 9, 10 and 11) students will have lessons to focus on key areas outlined below:
  • Literacy, basic handwriting, letter formation, speed writing, spelling and communication skills
  • Reading, processing and comprehension skills
  • Basic Numeracy skills based on KS2 to 3 transition packages
The intervention lessons will be co-ordinated by the SEND team, working closely with English and Mathematics leads (Miss Charlotte Price – English and Mrs Lisa Brennan – Mathematics), to plan and deliver the programme.
In addition, there may be in-class support and intervention and pre-tutoring programmes.
Students in Years 7, 8 and possibly 9 may be placed on a programme using the following criteria:
  • Standardised score of below 85 on the Hodder Reading tests
  • Standardised score of below 85 on the Diagnostic Reading tests (processing, fluency and reading accuracy)
  • Achieve a spelling age of less than 9 in the Graded Spelling tests
  • Standardised score of below 85 on the Hodder Maths tests
  • Standardised scores of below 85 in KS2 English and Maths scores
  • SEND data from primary schools to indicate the level, nature and frequency of support required.
  • Referrals from teachers on barriers to learning following Wave 1 Interventions.
The SEND team will then carry out assessments to judge if it is appropriate for the student to join an intervention programme.
As a result of participating in interventions:
  • students will have received additional time and support with basic literacy, reading and numeracy.
  • students will become more confident and independent learners in their other subjects with the aim of catching up gaps in skills and learning, unless there is SEN present.


Capturing and Using Student Voice


Supporting students to have a voice features in the Code of Practice (2014). Staff will seek to involve students (in an appropriate way) in discussions about their individual intervention programmes. Students will take part in student profile review discussions and will be assessed to look at their progress. Students with an EHCP or provision plan will complete, with support if required, the ‘Student Views’ paperwork prior to their review. Monitoring The SENDCO will monitor progress of students with SEND using seasonal data and reviewing Wave 3/4 interventions recorded on the BASE Overview.
As part of the BASE team, the SENDCO will meet with other BASE colleagues regularly to discuss the progress of SEND students. 


Transition Arrangements


Year 7
During Year 6, the Transition team at Colmers facilitate additional visits for our most vulnerable learners. A morning visit to experience two lessons and a lunch time is arranged with primaries during February – April of Year 6. Certain students will then be invited to attend a 6 week transition support programme in the final half term of the academic year. We also have a two-day transition process for the Year 6 students in early July, during which time every child is invited to experience two full days of learning at Colmers and some assessments to help us prepare well for our new intake and provide the best learning opportunities from their very first day.
Other year groups
Depending on the level of special educational need, we may or may not know much about a child when they first arrive. It is often difficult to liaise effectively with other schools upon a child’s immediate arrival. If your child is arriving at Colmers and you think they might have a special educational need that the school should be aware of, please make immediate contact with the SENDCO through the main school switchboard (0121) 453 1778.
Moving On From Colmers
Students who leave us for college or university will be well-supported with their transition to their new educational establishment. Depending on the level of need of this individual student, we may meet with them to support their application writing; we may facilitate a visit; we may accompany students to their interviews and support them with the emotional challenge of the process; we may even visit them once they have started their new placement, to see how they are doing. Our support package is very bespoke to the needs of the students and we aim to do anything that will allow them to have the most success with their aspirations and dream careers.