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SEND - Special Educational Needs & Disabilities

The Children and Families Act 2014 requires Local Authorities to develop and maintain a ‘Local Offer’ of services for children and young people with special educational needs. St Helens College welcomes students with a wide range of learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LDD) and strives to meet their individual needs.

St Helens College is an inclusive learning environment, providing courses and support for students with a range of additional needs in every curriculum area, and at every level. We also have a range of courses designed specifically for students with learning difficulties and or disabilities in the School of Preparation for Work and Life.

The College Offer detailed on this webpage is intended to highlight the provision available for students with special educational needs and disabilities and how we can support all elements of their education. It is intended to answer questions that may be asked by parents of children with SEND and the way that you and your child may receive support from your Local Authority, Health and Social Care services and St Helens College.

St Helens College Offer for Young People with Special Educational Needs or a Disability

1. How are Special Educational Needs defined within St Helens College?

A young person has special educational needs if he or she has a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made available for him or her.

Students have a learning difficulty if they:

  1. Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of students of the same age; or
  2. Have a disability which prevents or hinders the young person from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for students at St Helens College.
  3. Are under compulsory education age and fall within definition (a) or (b) above; or would do so if special educational provision was not made for them.


2. How will St Helens College know if my child needs extra help?

  • Information about a young person's disability/difficulty are shared with College staff during transition meetings between their school and St Helens College.
  • The College receives Education Health Care plans from the Local Authority; these contain information regarding the young person's needs.
  • At enrolment the Learner Support team is available for parents/ the young person to discuss any SEN needs and the adjustments required on their study programme.
  • On the course the tutor may raise concerns regarding progress and refer the young person to Learner Support. 
  • Parents can raise concerns regarding a disability/difficulty with  curriculum staff.  This information is passed on to the Learner Support Team.
  • Parents/carers are able to contact Learner Support for advice and support with any concerns throughout the academic year.


3. Who is the best person to talk to about my child's Special Educational Need or disability?

The Learner Support Team is available for parents to contact at any time during the academic year. The team will discuss concerns, meet the young person and arrange to carry out any assessments deemed necessary. This will ensure a detailed support plan is put in place for the student.


4. How will I know how the College will support my child?

A detailed support plan is written for students who have had a referral with Learner Support; this is shared with all relevant teaching/pastoral staff.  Students receiving additional support will have regular support review meetings with the Learner Support Team, tutors, and parents.


5. How will the curriculum be matched to my young person's needs?

The curriculum will be reviewed to identify what reasonable adjustments can be undertaken to meet the student’s needs.

Following an initial assessment and identification of preferred learning styles, a Learning Support Plan is created for the student.

This will detail all the physical support, adaptations and strategies required to ensure the student can progress and achieve on their course. Tutors use a variety of learning methods and activities based on the individual needs of the student. Additional support tutorials are available for students to assist with their understanding of coursework and assignment briefs if required.


6. How can I track progress that is being made whilst at College?

St Helens College uses a comprehensive tracking and monitoring system called ProMonitor. This is used to record regular assessments that are undertaken by tutors.  Tutors and wider support staff also use it to record comments, concerns, meetings, actions, and targets. Parents have access to this information through a password-protected link called ProPortal. Parents can log in at any time and review the progress of their son or daughter.

A number of formal Parents Evenings are planned to enable parents to come into college to discuss progress based on the formal termly Progress Review between the student and their Personal Tutor.  Parents are invited to the Progress Review meetings if it is deemed appropriate.  In addition to these reviews, tutors and members of the Learner Support Team will contact parents if they have any concerns they need to share.


7. How will the College help me to support my young person's learning?

Once the young person is enrolled, a referral appointment is offered with the Learner Support team, during which a Learning Support Plan is created. This gives parents the opportunity to discuss all aspects of developmental and behavioural needs, therefore identifying potential support needs.

The young person will also have an Individual Learning Plan within curriculum, which will be reviewed and monitored throughout the year at the Progress Reviews.

Student progress and performance can be reviewed at any time by parents by accessing ProPortal. Parents may send communication/comments to tutors via ProPortal, phone or by requesting a meeting if they have any concerns or additional information, they would like to share that may have an impact on their son/daughter's progress at college.


8. What support will be available for my young person's overall wellbeing?

All students have a named Personal Tutor who will help to support their wellbeing whilst at College; this includes monitoring and following up absence from College and discussing barriers to learning and planning appropriate interventions. There is support available for students with disabilities/difficulties within the curriculum, support with personal care, break-time and lunch-time assistance will be provided as appropriate.

There is wellbeing support available via the Safeguarding, Wellbeing & Mental Health Team through a CPOMS referral.

The College has clear expectations for behaviour and performance; these are stated in our 'Standards for Learning' and they are presented and discussed with all students during the induction period. The College's Student Behaviour Policy clearly states the informal and formal disciplinary processes. All key information that is discussed with students is also presented to them in a Programme Handbook.


9. What happens if my young person has a high level of need?

Most young people with a high level of need are already known to the Local Authority through their schooling. The Local Authority provides the College with top-up funding through a Statement or a Provision Agreement to provide support to help these young people with their learning needs. Support will be provided for those students who need it based on the individual level of needs.

All students who request additional support will be referred to the Learner Support Team within St Helens College. There is support available for students based on their individual needs on all programmes throughout their College day.


10. What specialist services and expertise are available at St Helens College?

The Learner Support Team are highly qualified staff who assess and work with young people with a wide range of disabilities and difficulties.

There are Learning Support Assistants and Health Care Assistants who are qualified to at least level 3 in supporting teaching and learning in the classroom with students with disabilities or difficulties.

Support staff have experience of working with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Hearing Impairments, Partially Sighted, Mobility problems, Moderate to Severe Learning Difficulties and more.

There is wellbeing support available via the College Safeguarding, Wellbeing & Mental Health Team through a CPOMS referral.

We work closely with the Connexions service to ensure a smooth transition into college.

We have good relationships with CAMHS and the Local Authority Access and Inclusion Teams.


11. Are the staff at St Helens College who support young people with SEND provided with appropriate training?

All College staff complete mandatory training in Safeguarding, PREVENT, Equality and Diversity and Health and Safety.

The Care Team have regular refresher training for administering midazolam medication, epilepsy awareness, and infection control, etc. The Learning Assistants have regular CPD to update their training on Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Moderate to Severe Learning Difficulties and more.
There are trained First Aiders on campus.


12. How will my young person be included in activities outside of the classroom, including trips?

Any adjustments required to enable a student to participate in college activities/trips will be accommodated by the course area, with advice from the Learner Support Team.

External visits are planned to enhance the students' learning experience. All external visits require parents to provide written consent to enable the student to participate in the activity. The visits are risk assessed and any additional support requirements will be provided.

The College also encourages participation in sports and lunch-time activities.


13. How accessible is the College environment?

The College conforms to all accessibility requirements. There are lifts in all buildings and disabled toilet facilities. The College has a range of specialist equipment available; other equipment or services can be arranged through our contacts with external agencies, including interpreters.

College information is available upon request in alternative formats to meet additional needs.


14. How will this college prepare and support my child when they are starting college, leaving school or moving to another year?

Prospective students are invited to attend a range of transition events prior to leaving school. These events range from a few days to several weeks depending on the level of need. All new students receive a College induction prior to starting their course. All students have an allocated Personal Tutor.

Moving On Reviews are held well before the end of the course with case conferences for those students moving out of college provision. Appropriate agencies attend these conferences to discuss future opportunities. Transition to these future opportunities will be organised and supported by St Helens College.


15. What if my child needs transport to and from college?

The College provides Bus passes to most students.

The Local Authority provides some young people with supported transport. Parents should apply to their Local Authority for this. 

In some instances, a student can apply to the College Learner Support Fund for financial assistance with travel costs.


16. How does the College allocate its resources and match them to the young people's special educational needs?

We use our budget to fund our Learner Support Team which we deploy effectively.

We deliver one-to-one sessions in literacy and numeracy, as well as aiding pupils in class and also in exams, as appropriate.


17. How is the decision made about how much support my young person will receive?

The College holds transition meetings with schools for some young people, or case conferences are arranged with the Local Authority to discuss support needs for those young people with an EHCP.

These meetings are attended by parents, tutors, Learner Support, Local Authority, and any relevant external agencies. The support requirements are discussed, and any additional assessments arranged prior to the young person attending College. The Support Plan is put in place at the start of the course and reviewed regularly. The tutors and support staff ensure the support is relevant and is assisting the student’s learning and personal progress.


18. How will I be involved in planning for my young person's education?

Your involvement will begin during the discussion about provision during transition review meetings. Parents Evenings will provide the opportunity to meet teaching staff and discuss progress. The Inclusive Learning Department will hold regular interim, annual and progress review meetings to which you are invited.

The Teaching staff and Learner Support Team will liaise with you if they have any concerns they need to share.

Future decisions will be taken in conjunction with the young person, their tutors and you – the parents.


19. Who can I contact for further information?

Parents can contact the Learner Support Team on 01744 623260 / 623263. The Learner Support Manager is Anne Ignatius.