The Highcrest Academy


"I can only say brilliant things about the SEN team at Highcrest. The amount of support given is excellent, and my child's needs are always paramount."  Miss Warwick - Mother of student in 7 Pink

The Highcrest Academy is currently working towards the SEND Inclusion Award. This is an externally monitored process and will take between 12 - 18 months to complete.  The award will help ensure the Academy delivers high quality education for pupils with SEND. The aim is to; remove barriers to learning, ensure early identification of need, continually develop inclusive teaching and leadership. Our focus is to continually evaluate provision, the impact of provision for pupils and improve classroom practice and pupil outcomes. The Learning Support Department exists to support pupils who need a differentiated approach to learning and additional support in reaching their full potential.

Our Special Educational Needs department offers a wide range of provision for students with Education, Health and Care Plans and SEN Support Plans. Our aim is to ensure that every child, regardless of ability, receives a broad, balanced, rich and deep curriculum.

Our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities department are just one part of our Inclusion Team. We work closely with our Heads of Learning, Inclusion Support Manager, Mental Health Co-ordinator, Child Protection Officer, More Able (challenge) Coordinator, and our EAL Departments. All staff in out team are well trained, highly experienced and student-centred. We work together to identify needs and support and challenge your child to achieve their very best.

Identification of needs

A pupil may be identified as needing additional provision and support by the subject teacher or any member of our team. As part of our identification process, we administer reading and spelling assessments twice yearly (September and January) in order to track progress and screen for difficulties. This enables us to identify students who may require additional support or personalised intervention. This could include:    

  • Support from our Learning Support Assistants, for groups or individuals
  • Key Steps and ASDAN curriculum. 
  • Specialist provision
  • Literacy support - small group intervention for invited students
  • Numeracy support - small group intervention for invited students
  • Social skills groups small group intervention 
  • Forest School group
  • Examination Support
  • Weekly Extended Learning support for all year groups
  • Key Stage 4 alternative curriculum support
  • Personalised Provision Passports (PPPs)
  • Support from various outside agencies, such as the Educational Psychology Service, Specialist Teaching Service, Speech and Language Therapy Service and others.

Learning Support Assistants (LSAs)

We have a large team of Learning Support Assistants who work in the classroom alongside our teachers to guide students through their learning tasks. Some Learning Support Assistants also deliver the Precision Teaching Intervention to identified students to help close the gap with literacy or numeracy. In addition, two of our Higher Level Teaching Assistants delivering ASDAN life skills courses to some of our higher need students.

We are also proud to have a fully qualified Emotional Literacy Assistant who offers 1:1 support to students in need of resilience training and who may be struggling to reach their potential either socially, emotionally or academically.

Key Steps Curriculum and ASDAN

A small minority of students are disapplied from Modern Foreign Languages and will instead complete the ASDAN awards; Key Steps and Personal Development Programme. Key steps take place in Year 7. In Year 8 we follow ASDAN’s Personal Development Programme. A student disapplication is decided by the SENDCo working in collaboration with parents, Assistant Heads of Learning, Heads of Learning, department staff and other professionals already supporting the student. A combination of information from KS2 attainment, initial assessments undertaken upon entry to The Highcrest Academy and the specific learning needs of each student are considered on a case-by-case basis before a final decision is made.

In Key Stage 4 a small cohort of students may opt to work towards the ASDAN course Personal Social Development at either Entry Level 3 or Level 1.

If a student is identified as requiring SEN Support families will be informed. Provision will vary according to the needs of the individual student. This may be in the form of in class support from Learning Support Assistants, in house intervention run by Learning Support Assistants or Higher-Level Teaching Assistants. Some students may be in receipt of intervention run by external agencies.

Specialist Provision

At Highcrest we are fortunate to be able to provide an Alternative Provision for a small cohort of students who require a different approach to their learning. They follow a bespoke curriculum to ensure they are fully prepared for their next steps in learning at the end of Year 11.

Literacy and Numeracy Support

Learning Support Assistants are trained to deliver Precision Teaching. A dedicated literacy and numeracy intervention to track and monitor progress whilst helping consolidate learning and close the gap in these areas. Students requiring this intervention will have daily intervention. This ensures the skills learnt are accurately applied. Students see success daily and are more motivated to engage in learning.

Social skills groups small group intervention 

Some students require help managing their interactions and ability to communicate with peers and adults. Learning Support Assistants run social skills groups following the Talk About for Teens programme. Sessions are held weekly for identified students. We also have a fully qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistant, ELSA, who holds 1:1 interventions for students requiring a more targeted approach to managing their emotional regulation.

Forest School Group 

For some of our more vulnerable learners we offer the opportunity to experience Forest School. Forest School at The Highcrest Academy has a holistic, inclusive, proactive and learner led approach to education in natural environments. We build confidence, resilience and friendships together through small achievable tasks. We work with the Chiltern Rangers, in small groups in the school and with the wider community . We are eco champions for our setting and our natural surroundings. Our Forest School participants will develop skills they already have and learn how to adapt to situations. In a safe and secure environment, we will learn how to assess and take risks. Through working together with new materials, tools, peers, habitats and ways of thinking, Forest School participants and practitioners will achieve and support each other. Through a planned programme on a 6-week cycle with identified students, we will have weekly sessions where we will assess and monitor our achievements through work-based activities. Once a term we will have a whole day excursion to support volunteers in our local community to protect our woodlands, streams and wildlife. Forest School is a safe environment, but most of all Forest School is fun!

Miss A Watson, Forest School Practitioner

Examination Support

Some students may require Access Arrangements and or reasonable adjustments for external examinations. They access arrangements allow candidates with specific needs; such as special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to access an examination and show what they can do without changing the demands of the assessment. The Highcrest Academy must follow the clear guidance regulation of JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications). Please see the Exam Policy for specific details.

Personalised Provision Passports (PPPs)

Passports are produced for pupils who have additional provisions in place. These are discussed at the bi-annual Parents' Evenings and at Annual Reviews for pupils with Educational Health Care Plans.

The Highcrest SEN 8

Some of the ways our teachers support SEN will be an extension of good practice in the classroom, whilst other, more specific strategies may be particularly useful in supporting particular needs. The Highcrest SEN 8 are 8 teaching and learning strategies that can be used to support our SEN students but also all learner groups in the classroom. 

SEN Virtues

SEN Parent Evenings

Our SENCo runs dedicated Parent Evenings for the student and families of any young person on a SEN Support Plan or in receipt of an EHCP. The SENCo is also available at all Parent Evenings should you wish to raise a concern about your child.

Extended Learning Support

The department has a large bright facility that offers supervision for students before school, at break and lunchtime and after school for students that find completing Extended Learning tasks away from the Academy a challenge.  

External Agencies

The Academy works with a range of external agencies and providers who also deliver interventions to support self-esteem, emotional regulation and anger management. These include:

  • Educational Psychologists
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Nudge Education
  • One Eighty Project
  • Family Support
  • Bucks SEN Team
  • Specialist Teaching Services
  • Autism Company

Reports and Policies

SEND Information Report 2023 to 2024

Special Educational Needs/Learning Support Policy