Priorslee Academy is an inclusive mainstream school with ambitious aims for all of our children. In seeking to fulfil this aim, we offer a range of provisions to support children with SEND.

At Priorslee, we follow the SEND Code of Practice 2015: we assess the needs of individual children through the graduated approach (Assess, Plan, Do, Review) and work with external agencies as necessary. We identify the best way to support our pupils in the best way we can.

If you would like to apply for a place at Priorslee and have a child with SEND, please contact us first. It is vital that we understand your child’s needs. We hope that speaking to us before you apply will give you a more informed understanding of our school community and how we help children with diverse needs achieve their potential.

We would encourage to speak to our SENCo, Mrs Brewer.

01952 387927


Priorslee’s SEN Information Report 2022 23

Telford and Wrekin  SEND – Local offer (

Four Broad Areas of Need

There are 4 broad areas of need. Every child’s needs are different.  Often a particular child has one ‘prime’ area of need, however, it is common for children to have needs in more than one area.

‘Children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) have difficulty in communicating with others. This may be because they have difficulty saying what they want to, understanding what is being said to them or they do not understand or use social rules of communication. The profile for every child with SLCN is different and their needs may change over time. They may have difficulty with one, some or all of the different aspects of speech, language or social communication at different times of their lives.

Children and young people with ASD, including Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism, are likely to have particular difficulties with social interaction. They may also experience difficulties with language, communication and imagination, which can impact on how they relate to others.’     p.97 0-25 SEND Code of Practice 2015

Difficulties with communicating can affect pupils in many different ways. Communication and interaction difficulties include speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

Children can experience a speech sound disorder which may make their speech sound different, and, in some cases can make it so difficult to understand that it impacts on the child’s ability to convey their message. Some pupils may have issues with dysfluency or a stammer, and this can also affect how a pupil’s speech sounds.

Language difficulties can take many different forms:

  • difficulties with understanding what has been heard
  • difficulties with constructing sentences or retrieving the appropriate vocabulary item
  • difficulties in using language skills to communicate with others (e.g. grammar & vocabulary may be fine, but struggling to interact with others)
  • difficulties with creative thinking skills like prediction and inference, particularly in older children.

Children with social communication needs find it difficult to communicate with others for a range of reasons. They may have difficulties participating in conversations, taking turns in a conversation, staying on topic, taking the listener’s needs in to account, reading non-verbal cues etc. They may also have difficulty understanding what the speaker is saying to them or have other speech and language difficulties.

Some pupils may experience a mild difficulty that can be managed through high quality teaching, while others with more significant difficulties may require group and/or 1:1 intervention with advice recommended by a speech and language therapist.

‘Support for learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation. Learning difficulties cover a wide range of needs, including moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD), where children are likely to need support in all areas of the curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication, through to profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), where
children are likely to have severe and complex learning difficulties as well as a physical disability or sensory impairment.

Specific learning difficulties (SpLD), affect one or more specific aspects of learning. This encompasses a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.’ P.97-98 SEND Code of Practice 2015

General learning difficulties 

The psychologist, Jean Piaget, described four stages of normal cognitive development shown in this video:

Children with general cognition and learning difficulties may be

  • Working just below age-related expectations
  • Having some difficulties with the acquisition of language / literacy / numeracy despite regular attendance, quality teaching and appropriate intervention
  • Finding the pace of the curriculum delivery challenging
  • Having some difficulties in understanding and retaining new concepts

Pupils may :

  • Avoid doing their work (e.g. continually being out of their seat, sharpening pencils, talking, toilet trips etc)
  • Be involved in low–level disruption / display challenging behaviour
  • Appear over confident (e.g. “it’s easy”)
  • Have low self-esteem as they become aware of learning differences
  • Spoil their own work
  • Have a poor working memory
  • Struggle with organisation
  • Lack independence / rely on adult support

Children making slow progress and low attainment do not necessarily have SEN and should not automatically lead to a pupil being recorded as having SEN. However, this may be an indicator of a range of learning difficulties or disabilities.

Children with moderate learning disorder (MLD) will have difficulty accessing the school curriculum across most areas, and learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation. However, the vast majority of children can make progress with the use of high quality teaching, differentiation and targeted support.

Specific learning difficulties (SpLD) e.g. dyslexia, developmental co-ordination disorder, dyscalculia

Children with SpLD may show

  • inconsistency in their work (day to day)
  • mild but persistent difficulties in aspects of literacy , numeracy or motor coordination (despite intervention)
  • attention and concentration difficulties
  • slow pace of work
  • sequencing difficulties
  • unable to follow instructions
  • unusual profile of strengths and weakness
  • self-esteem / poor motivation
  • challenging / unusual behaviours e.g. tired/ acting out / bored

When would a child be moved to SEN support for cognition and learning needs?

Where there is a lack of adequate progress despite identified and targeted differentiation.

This is progress which:

  • Is significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same baseline
  • Fails to match or better the child’s previous rate of progress
  • Fails to close the attainment gap between the child and their peers
  • Widens the attainment gap

School should seek to identify pupils making less than expected progress given their age and individual circumstances.

Pupil progress towards individualised targets should be carefully assessed, tracked, monitored and evaluated.

Assessment and advice from appropriate specialists may be sought and implemented.

Planning should reflect a more personalised approach to curriculum differentiation to match identified need.

For the vast majority of these learners their needs will be met by providing appropriate high quality teaching, differentiation and intervention where the support and intervention is targeted on the specific area of need. Therefore the needs of most learners with SpLD can be met without the need for a statement or Education, Health
and Care Plan.

MLD Supporting children in the classroom – ideas

‘6.32 Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained. Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attachment disorder.

6.33 Schools and colleges should have clear processes to support children and young people, including how they will manage the effect of any disruptive behaviour so it does not adversely affect other pupils.’  p.98 SEND Code of Practice 2015

What is SEMH?

Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) is a broad term used to define a range of different needs children may have at any given time. This term has gained more and more attention as teachers and parents have become aware of the increased awareness of mental health in children and the impact that this can have on their well-being and ability to learn.

What causes SEMH?

Social Emotional and Mental Health needs can be attributed to many different causes, some less obvious than others. Life experiences, genetic factors, environments can  all play a part.


Many children have the skills to be able to communicate and exist around others relatively problem free. However, where there is a communicative issue, attachment concern or other challenge, the child may find forming and maintaining relationships with adults and other children a problem. This can affect their sense of wellbeing, access to the community, ability to solve problems and learn effectively. Over time this may lead to more serious, persistent concerns. It is, therefore, vital that children are given the skills to communicate more effectively.


This topic is very broad and covers emotional regulation, recognising and normalising emotions, managing stress, building resilience skills and understanding others’ emotions amongst many many other things. The Mental Health Continuum (see below) shows the different positions children can be in with regard to our emotional wellbeing and mental health. Many emotional wellbeing problems do not need professional therapeutic intervention but do require someone to work therapeutically with pupils – listening, empathising, emotionally coaching.

A child who is having to deal with a transient issue that can cause low sense of wellbeing (bereavement, divorce, relationship breakdown) does not necessarily have a mental health problem. However, if they were to be unsupported in this difficult time and felt unable to cope over a long period of time, this could lead to problems that may require further intervention and may possibly lead to a mental health problem. Normal emotional responses to difficult periods are just that: normal. We do, however, have a role to support children through these times and teach the emotional regulation skills to help them to process what is happening, learn how to destress, understand how to communicate those issues and help them to identify their emotions.

Mental Health

When thinking about mental health in the context of SEMH, this is closer to a diagnosable mental health condition or a set of symptoms that might see someone seek professional support. A key feature of mental health challenges are seemingly irrational fears, obsessional pre-occupations, persistent intrusive thoughts, rumination, safety behaviours and actions/thoughts/feelings that are based on an issue the person may have with how they are processing the world around them. For example, a highly anxious child may see threats in everyday situations based on their experiences or understanding. A child may have a low sense of self worth and this may impact on how they perceive interactions with others or how they tackle school work. A normal response to an adverse situation is not a sign of poor mental health, but poor emotional wellbeing. This period may, however, cause adjustments in a child/young person’s beliefs about the world and responses that may cause problems for them that develop into mental health conditions later on.

At Priorslee, we aim to provide children with the skills and opportunities to interact and deal with the world effectively to enable them to reach their full potential. How do we do this? Below is a list of some interventions we use at to try to meet these needs:

  • Nurture groups
  • Structured interactions between pupils through social groups
  • Supportive conversations
  • Speech and language interventions
  • Social stories
  • Circle time
  • Mentoring
  • ELSA interventions with emotional literacy support assistants
  • Emotion coaching.

6.34 ‘Some children and young people require special educational provision because they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided. These difficulties can be age related and may fluctuate over time. Many children and young people with vision impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) or a multi-sensory impairment (MSI) will require specialist support and/or equipment to access their learning, or rehabilitation support. Children and young people with an MSI have a combination of vision and hearing difficulties. I
6.35 Some children and young people with a physical disability (PD) require additional ongoing support and equipment to access all the opportunities available to their peers.’   p. 98 SEND Code of Practice 2015

There is a wide range of sensory and physical difficulties, but it is important to consider the degree to which the difficulties impact on a child’s or young person’s ability to access educational opportunities. Some examples of sensory and physical difficulties include

Hearing Loss

  • Levels of hearing loss can be mild, moderate, severe or profound.

Loss of Vision

  • Visual impairment is an eye condition that cannot be fully corrected by glasses or contact lenses
  • The levels of vision, like hearing loss, can be mild, moderate, severe or profound.

Multi-sensory Impairment

  • Multi-sensory impairment involves a hearing loss and visual impairment, which are both educationally significant, though they may be at different levels.

Sensory Processing Difficulty

  • Our brain receives information through our senses. We process and organise this information so that we feel comfortable and secure. When a child has difficulty coping with these demands, they may have sensory processing difficulties.
  • A child may be under-sensitive or over-sensitive in these areas:
    • Proprioception (ability to perceive the body’s position in space and movement)
    • Vestibular (sense of balance and spatial orientation)
    • Auditory (reaction to certain sounds)
    • Oral Sensory (taste, texture, and temperature of food)
    • Tactile (reaction to touch – e.g light touch or deep pressure)

Physical Difficulty

  • Physical/medical injures may be caused by many factors such as congenital conditions, injury or disease.
  • A child with a physical difficulty may have a diagnosed medical condition which affects them physically. There may be an undiagnosed condition where the child presents with delayed development or impairment with their physical ability.

Parents of children with significant sensory or physical disabilities work with external professionals and school staff at Priorslee to create a plan containing agreed strategies for providing an inclusive education for their child. Specific members of school staff are responsible for monitoring the implementation of the plan. Teachers incorporate the advice from the plan into their teaching, and provide feedback about its success.

How We Support our Children at Priorslee Academy

  • Quality first teaching for all children (See our Universal Offer document below)
  • One Page Profiles
  • Tailored work and activities to make learning accessible to all
  • Resources adapted so they are easily accessible
  • Pre-teaching of strategies and vocabulary
  • Access to iPads and surfaces and other assistive technologies
  • Specialist equipment
  • Multi-sensory approach
  • Additional adult classroom support as needed
  • Use of visual timetables


  • Regular reading with an adult in school
  • Access to a range of reading material, including high interest, low level books
  • IDL Literacy program
  • Nessy Reading & Spelling program
  • Differentiated learning through pre-teaching, lesson resources, levels of support
  • Speaking and listening activities
  • Individual resources for spelling / writing / reading
  • Individual support e.g. precision teaching
  • Small group support
  • Use of technology
  • Encouraging children’s independence through celebrating small steps to success
  • Paired, individual and group writing opportunities
  • Intervention from LSAT, where necessary
  • Small group learning support
  • Use of apparatus and other practical learning materials
  • Practical ‘real life’ maths and problem solving activities
  • IDL Numeracy program
  • Intervention from LSAT, where necessary