Overview of Special Educational Needs

"I think my child may have a special educational need; who can help me with this at Tanfield School?"

Contact the school on 01207 232 881 and ask to speak to Mrs S Johnson, the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCo).

"My child has a special educational need; what support is there at Tanfield School?"

Tanfield School is committed to the academic and personal development of all our students regardless of ability. We have a shared belief that the potential of our young people is virtually without limit and that it is our mission as a school to get students to attend the best university, or real alternative, succeed in their dream job and thrive in all aspects of their life.

Tanfield is proud to be an inclusive school where our young people are regarded as individuals and no effort is spared to cater for the particular interests, talents and abilities of each and every student. Indeed, personalised learning is the key to academic success and to the enjoyment of education as is the active involvement of young people in all aspects of school life.

There is no conflict between our inclusive ethos and our determination to be outstanding in terms of learning. This requires, first and foremost, outstanding classroom teaching from every teacher and excellent leadership at all levels and then The Learning Support Department assists pupils with any further academic, behavioural, social and emotional barriers to learning that requires more intervention.

The Learning Support Department:

  • supports pupils with statements and complex needs requirements
  • mentors pupils with SEND to support their daily school life
  • supports pupils who have an Educational Healthcare Need in times of illness
  • offers access to outside agencies
  • provides accurate and regularly updated information to aid subject specific additional learning requirements
  • practise in accordance with the school's Equality and Access Policies

Please use the tabs above to find out more information.

Moving between schools

In the Learning Support department we know how important a successful transition is to our pupils with Additional Needs. We provide extra visits for those who we feel will benefit from an enhanced transition. Staff will also take opportunities to visit our feeder primary schools and get to know the pupils in their current setting.

This gives us an opportunity to see what is currently in place for the pupil and how we can support them at Tanfield. Where needed, the Special Educational Needs Coordinator will attend the Annual Reviews to meet the current class teacher, parents and most importantly the pupil to ease any worries or concerns for the move to Tanfield.

There is support provided in Year 9 for students with an SEND in choosing the most suitable options for their Key Stage 4 programme of study. The learning support department will meet with students and their parents to offer support for Key Stage 4 provision, options and if access arrangements are required. Pastoral support is provided by Year Managers from year 7 through all years to year 11.

We also provide an enhanced transition for KS4 pupils moving onto their post 16 choice. This can include visits with familiar staff to the new provision and support for the student and their family in completing their transition plan.

Parents and carers

Parents/Carers are essential to giving support to their child’s education and at Tanfield we believe in establishing and working together as a team around the child to ensure that the student receives the support that they require throughout their time at school and beyond.

A positive and supportive relationship with parents is one of our most powerful resources and has a significant impact upon pupil progress. From a parent raising a concern about their child in school or at home that they require help and support with, very quickly a solution focused meeting is set up with all the relevant people internally and externally to support the student.

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) provision

Any pupil who has Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or communication difficulties can be amongst our most vulnerable learners. At Tanfield; pupils are fully integrated into the mainstream curriculum with support available from Teaching Assistants (TA) and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Coordinator (SENDCO). Staff receive regularly continued professional development on how best to support students with ASD or communication difficulties so that they can provide strategies of support within the school day. The Link is a base which provides a quiet area with activities to help support students during unstructured times of the day.

Medical needs

If your child was suffering from an illness or injury that kept them off school for a prolonged period of time we provide support through the Education Health Needs team where a tutor can work with your child and support them with their reintegration back into school.

External agencies

The Learning Support Team work closely with the following professionals in order to provide the highest levels of support for pupils with a Special Educational Need.

  • SEN Team Durham Children’s Services
  • A teacher for pupils with a Specific Learning Difficulty
  • Specialist Advisory teachers
  • Educational Psychologists
  • Educational Social Workers
  • The Service for the Hearing Impaired
  • The Service for the Visually Impaired
  • The Health Authority, in particular the school nurse
  • The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  • Governors’ Pupil Welfare Committee
  • College links
  • Learning Mentors, Tanfield School
  • Educational Healthcare Needs
  • Virtual School - Durham
  • Social Services
  • One Point

Learning Support Staff

The teaching and learning requirements of all children with SEND is primarily the responsibility of the class teacher (Quality First teaching) with support from their curriculum area. This reflects the principle that SEND is a whole school issue and a recognised aspect of all curriculum planning. All staff at Tanfield School are expected to teach pupils with SEND.

Mrs S Johnson

Assistant SENDCo
Miss C Dixon

Teaching Assistants
Mrs N Malia
Mrs L Kerr
Mrs L Shotton

Year Managers
Year 7: Mr G Davison
Year 8: Mrs L Bell
Year 9: Mr G Parker
Year 10: Mrs M Farrell
Year 11: Mr M Smith

SEND Core Curriculum Links
English: Mrs G Oliver
Maths: Mr J Allan
Science: Mrs J Gainey & Miss A Thompson

How we assess pupils

Pupil Assessment is an on-going process and forms an essential part of teaching and is designed to promote the raising of achievement.

Pupil assessments provide important information for pupil review and support meetings and may also be used as a basis for an initial referral to the Learning Support Team.

The team may also use assessment (reading, writing, numerical) to further assess a pupil’s Special Educational Needs.

It is important to note that not all pupils referred to the Learning Support Team will be SEND pupils; any support and guidance given may be short, medium or long term.