The Highcrest Academy


"Highcrest goes out of its way to make sure all students are looked after. This is a school that genuinely cares." Mr Kershaw - Father of Sixth Form student

Our aim is to empower our students with the resilience they will need to emerge as successful adults. The care, development and progress of our students is the concern of all members of the teaching and support staff, and our pastoral system prioritises providing a happy, safe, secure and inclusive environment for all.

At The Highcrest Academy, we fully understand that at times we all need a little extra help and support, and we pride ourselves on the range of personalised options that we are able to offer our students.

Our experienced and highly qualified team build trusted relationships with students and their families that enable us to offer an extensive range of solutions to any barriers to learning that may arise. Whether it be a Special Educational Need, an EAL issue, a mental health difficulty or anything else, we work together to deliver comprehensive intervention packages.

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 our 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


The school is known in the community for reaching out to all available services that can support students and their families in school and beyond.” Inclusion Quality Mark Assessor: December 2023 

Need help or support from us? Click HERE now.

Please click this button if you require help or support. The email will be checked at the beginning and end of every working day. If you require more urgent support, please speak to one of the members of staff listed below.

Inclusion Support 

For those students who need additional support, our inclusion package can work for some.

Students may be placed into our Inclusion Support Room by their Head of Learning, our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, or a member of the Senior Leadership Team. This provision is used to support students who, for various reasons, are unable to access their learning in the classroom environment. Where possible, students follow all of their normal lessons, supported by a member of staff. They will also receive any additional interventions they need. The support provided is tailored to the individual, in agreement with them and their family, and allows for a timetable that is best suited to their needs, whether that is a 'one off', a regular lesson or full time placement for an agreed period of time.

Students will receive supportive interventions through a Personal Development Plan (PDP).  The focus of these sessions is on the building of social and emotional resilience and strategies to promote self-development.

Whatever the reason for being in the Inclusion Room, we will work with our colleagues and other agencies, where necessary, to promote the wellbeing of the students we look after.

Ms L Newsholme, Inclusion Key Worker  

Year Team Support

Each Year group is led by a Head of Learning and an Assistant Head of Learning, supported by a team of Form Tutors who are the first point of contact for both students and parents alike.

Together they have a special responsibility for the pastoral welfare, academic and personal development of a designated group of students. Each team of staff is readily available to support our students, who are able to drop in and speak to them at any time to seek advice or guidance in relation to any worries or concerns they may have.

Each team strive to motivate and inspire our students to be the best version of themselves.

Year 7 Head of Learning: Mrs L Amos 
Year 8 Head of Learning: Mrs R Gladwell 
Year 9 Head of Learning: Mr W Theobald 
Year 10 Head of Learning: Mr P Shaw 
Year 11 Head of Learning: Mr D Tate 
Sixth Form Head of Learning: Mrs A Bingham 


Mental Health Support 

“They care about emotional wellbeing and put in the support of a counsellor when he really needed it. He's now thriving and creating his coursework with confidence in Sixth Form. We are so grateful to the school." Parent of current student

Our experienced Mental Health Lead is skilled at identifying early stages of mental health difficulties in our students and makes accurate and detailed referrals signposting them to the most appropriate support. We have a toolkit of interventions that are tailored to the needs of the child, these include two in-house counsellors, a youth mentor service, child bereavement, Youth Enquiry Service, Bucks Young Minds, SAFE and others if appropriate.

Our Mental Health Lead works closely with the Bucks Mental Health Support Team (MHST) who are part of the Oxford Health NHS Trust. They support children and young people who have difficulties with their mental health and emotional wellbeing, including anxiety, low mood and challenges with behaviour, confidence and self-esteem. They provide evidence-based therapeutic support including CBT, both individually and in groups to young people and parents. MHST support has increased year on year, since we engaged with them in 2020. We now have two 1:1 Education Mental Health Practitioners and a Family Support Specialist worker allocated to The Highcrest Academy. The number of students with mental health difficulties are being supported swiftly and effectively.

When these tiers of intervention do not result in the  expected benefit for a student, or there is a very complex set of circumstances, our Mental Health Lead can refer to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service).

Mrs J Folkard, Mental Health Co-ordinator 


School Counsellors 

At Highcrest, we have two in-house Counsellors who are managed by our experienced Mental Health Co-ordinator, ensuring professional practice is upheld at all times. They practice Person Centred counselling, giving our students the time and space to explore their thoughts and feelings in an holistic way, with no time constraints. The additional counsellors also provide the consistency students need to trust and share honestly.

In addition, the wellbeing department work collaboratively with other external youth organisations, with one of our most successful interventions being delivered by, ‘My Future Self Matters’. This provision is targeted at those students that struggle with motivation, attendance and within the care system. The team have been engaged with many students over the past 2 years.

Mrs J Folkard, Mental Health Co-ordinator 

Learning Support

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.

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.

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 deliver 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.  

A small minority of students are disapplied from Modern Foreign Languages and will instead complete the Key Steps curriculum or ASDAN course. 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.

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.

You can find out more about our special educational needs department here.

Mrs S Charlesworth, Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator 

Attendance – Family Liaison Support

The Student Welfare and Attendance Manager is responsible for the overall attendance of all students.

The role is a supportive one in which our manager predominately works with parents and students to resolve any issues that may prevent students from wanting to come to school, whether this is due to an issue at school or at home.

The Welfare and Attendance Manager will work closely with families, internal departments and outside agencies to support the attendance of every student and look at bespoke interventions tailored to the individual student or circumstance.

Great school attendance for all of our students remains the main focus for the attendance team and supports the  wider whole school approach. 

Attendance really does matter and guiding our students in the right way to achieving their full potential is at the heart of everything we do. 

Mrs J Hunt, Student Welfare & Attendance Manager  

Therapeutic Horticulture

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 undertaking 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 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 

Young Carers Group

We work with Buckinghamshire Young Carers to ensure all of our students who have a caring role at home are able to access any support they need. We hold regular 1:1 drop in sessions, where young carers can have discussions with someone from the charity about the role they have, and how the charity or school can support them. We also work with the charity to provide a space for them to see a support worker for longer sessions on a weekly basis as required. In addition, we provide a range of in school activities and trips such as cinema visits and bowling afternoons. 

Our Young Carers group recently attended the Buckinghamshire Young Carers Awards Afternoon.

Mr A White, Assistant Head of Learning  


Inclusive education is especially important for young LGBTQ+ people, who may be growing up in communities where they are less likely to see their experiences reflected in the media and the mainstream.  We have a strong pastoral team and work closely with families to ensure students are comfortable with all aspects of their lives, including identity and sexuality. 

We are delighted to be undertaking the Equalities Award at the academy. This will reflect our work to uphold all aspects of equality relating to the protected characteristics outlined in the Equality Act of 2010. 

Our ‘Ambassadors for Change’ are developing our approach to reduce identity-based bullying and are updating our anti-bullying policy accordingly.

Staff training has taken place regarding responding to identity-based bullying, delivered by Equally Safe representatives. 


“The school has a clear and productive, working relationship with external agencies to address, contextual safeguarding risks.”

This page provides easy accessible information with regard to services available to aid in safeguarding.


If you are experiencing online bullying or something else online has worried you please speak to an adult you trust, or you can talk to Childline at any time on 0800 1111 or at
CEOP helps any child or young person under the age of 18 who is being pressured, forced or tricked into taking part in sexual activity of any kind. This can be something that has taken place either online or in ‘the real world’, or both. The CEOP Safety Centre has clear information and advice on what can be reported to CEOP, the reporting process and what will happen if you do decide to make a report. You can visit the CEOP Safety Centre and make a report directly to CEOP by clicking here.
Family Support Service 

Every member of our community has the right to learn and work in a safe and caring environment in order to realise their true potential. We are a community which values respect and positive relationships. School should be a place of tolerance where everyone is free from harassment, humiliation, intimidation and abuse. Our collective

responsibility is to, through positive actions and with mutual respect for one another, protect and maintain such an environment. Therefore, our school does not tolerate bullying or harassment of any member of our community and all incidents are taken seriously. If you experience or witness this, please click on the REACH out button and use the form to report it.

The NSPCC’s service for children and young people, Childline, has launched the Report Remove tool with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to help young people remove nude images of themselves from the internet. The Report Remove tool can be used by any young person under 18 to report a nude image or video of themselves that’s appeared online. The IWF then review these reports, and work to have the content removed if it breaks the law. There are many reasons a young person may have shared a self-generated sexual image. Some may have sent an image for fun, or to a boyfriend or girlfriend, which has then been shared with others or on platforms without their consent. They may also have been groomed online or blackmailed into sharing this content.

To report a nude image or video, the young person has to first verify their age. Our Childline service ensures all young people are safeguarded and supported throughout the process. Young people can expect the same level of confidentiality they would from all their interactions with Childline; they do not need to provide their real name to Childline or IWF if they don’t want to.

If a child has had a nude image shared online it’s vital they know who to turn to for support and our Report Remove tool is available for them. You can also find more ways to support your child if they’ve been sexting here.



Social Care

First Response Team:

You can raise any concerns with the First Response Team. Buckinghamshire Children’s Services have a team that are there to help you. You can also discuss any concerns by contacting First Response. Telephone: 01296 383 962, Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5.30pm or Friday 9am to 5pm.

If you need an urgent response outside of these hours, contact the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) on 0800 999 7677.

0300 777 2722 or