Special Educational Needs & Disabilities

Ark Helenswood Inclusion Faculty shares and supports our whole school vision that 'every child can succeed'.  We work with students with a wide range of abilities and skill-sets, and we celebrate the achievements and progress of all. We work with students who require additional support with their academic or social development and always make every effort to meet these needs.

Identification and assessment of students with special educational needs:

The school has procedures for identifying and assessing students with special educational needs as well as investigating any under-achievement. These tracking procedures build upon the information and support provided from parents, external agencies and primary schools and continue throughout Key Stages 3, 4 and 5.


All teachers and support staff are made aware of the students’ individual special educational needs and are provided with recommended strategies to enable students to access the curriculum. Students with Statements/EHCPs receive their required support, as per their entitlement. Some students who have special educational needs but do not have a Statement or EHCP will receive additional support by participating in the interventions outlined below.  Our focus in on knowing the student as an individual and providing her with appropriate, tailored support. 

Monitoring and record keeping:

The SENCO, Heads of Year and Inclusion Faculty Leads monitor the progress of students, recording and evaluating the impact of any additional support. Teachers, support staff, students, parents/carers and external agencies  all contribute to target-setting and review processes.

The use of outside support services and agencies:

Ark Helenswood is fortunate to have an excellent team of dedicated and experienced staff available to support students with special educational needs and disabilities. We also have support delivered in school from visiting SEND professionals such as Educational Psychologists, CAMHS, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists and ASD Outreach. Our strong relationships with our external agencies reflects the importance with which the school views support for SEND; every effort is made to ensure we are a successful and inclusive school.

The Maple Leaf Centre:

Literacy and Numeracy Support 

We offer small group and individual support in English and Maths for students we have identified as likely to benefit from literacy and numeracy development in a small group environment. Students are identified from KS2 data, information from parents/carers and guidance from primary school staff. Teachers liaise with one another to share best practice and jointly evaluate progress.

Speech and Language Groups:

We are a working with East Sussex County Council (ESCC) as a pilot school for speech and language interventions.  Some of our students need extra help in learning how to speak clearly and communicate their thoughts. Our speech and language interventions are delivered either on a 1:1 basis or within a small group and are guided by our Speech and Language lead.

Social Skills Groups:

Social Skills Groups are run by Teaching Assistants and Individual Needs Assistants as well as by specialist visitors to the school, experienced in encouraging the social development of our students. The sessions involve group activities that provide students with the opportunity to interact positively with their peers in a supportive, structured setting.

Reading Interventions:

We provide additional support for students identified as needing extra assistance in achieving their chronological age in reading and writing. Teaching Assistants/Individual Needs Assistants deliver a variety of programmes (Toe-by-Toe, phonics, 1:1 or small group reading) depending on which method is best suited to the individual student.

Jump Ahead

This programme to support secondary age students develop their gross and fine motor skills is run by trained Individual Needs Assistants who also work closely with Occupational Therapists and physiotherapists to provide a joined up approach for students in school.

Calm Club:

Calm Club is our daily lunchtime provision for any student who requires support at unstructured times of the day. It is a quiet, indoor space for students to eat their lunch and then choose to participate in any of the following activities: arts and crafts, jigsaws, board games, conversation or reading, with a film on Fridays. The group is supervised by  LSAs who encourage students to develop their confidence and their social skills. Many friendships are built here!

Juniper Room:

The Juniper Room provides a nurturing environment for students who are experiencing emotional, social or mental health difficulties. Our purpose is to help the students:

  • remain engaged with education
  • build their confidence and self-esteem
  • improve their behaviour and social skills
  • improve their attendance
  • understand the consequences of their behaviour

Where interventions involve withdrawal from a lesson or registration time every effort is made to ensure minimal disruption to learning. Interventions are planned and reviewed on a half-termly basis. We will always contact parents/carers to inform them of any changes to their child’s timetable and are very willing to discuss and review any of our practice.  

If you have any queries about SEND at Ark Helenswood please contact Lucy Culshaw, SENCO.


Other documents:

Supporting Students With Dyslexia at Ark Helenswood Academy

At Ark Helenswood we recognise that dyslexia can affect up to 1 in 10 children in schools. Up to 1 in 4 children fail to master the basics of writing by the end of primary school and for reading this is 1 in 9. This can have a lifelong impact.

All students transferring to Ark Helenswood in Year 7 are screened for dyslexia. This means that we know from the moment that your daughter starts with us if she is at risk of dyslexia. We work with specialists from the Ark Schools education team, and the Driver Youth Trust to ensure that all members of our staff team are well trained in supporting students with dyslexia. In the words of Eddie Izzard: ‘You can get help’, and Ark Helenswood is the place to find it for girls in Hastings.

Watch the video below to find out more about how to get involved in the campaign to make sure that all children have every chance to be successful.