Here For You

Palmer's is here to support you

Palmer’s College SEND Information Report 2016-17

Study Plus offers a support service to all students at the College. Study Plus is open from 8.30am – 4.15pm each day and is staffed by a team of Learning Consultants who can advise on all aspects of learning and offer support on a 1:1 and group basis. In addition there are a team of learning support assistants who support students in class.

There is a commitment to providing the best and safest learning environment possible to ensure students succeed.  A number of updated guidelines were used to inform practice for this academic year:

  • Handbook for the inspection of further education and skills: August 2016
  • Implementing a new 0-25 special needs system : further education  April 2014
  • Children and Families Act 2014

Study Plus policy

Learning Disability policy

Disability Statement

Safeguarding policy

Counselling policy

Children Looked After policy

Mental Health policy

Vulnerable Groups policy


The kinds of SEN that are provided for:

Study Plus support centre provides support across College to any student that asks for assistance or is referred by their teacher. Examples include help to plan a revision timetable, to help get notes organised or to assist in breaking down assignments. We also support any students with SEN difficulties. We have staff that are trained in supporting students on the ASD ranging from Asperger’s through to Autism; Visual and hearing impairments; Dyslexia; Dyscalculia; Dyspraxia; behavioural and emotional problems. Study Plus supports students with physical and mental disabilities to access all areas of the College including in their lessons, helping them to access the curriculum, and offering more individual support at our learning centre. Where we offer a safe base for students to feel welcome and supported all with the aim of encouraging personal development and independence. Full details of our local offer are available at

Policies for identifying children and young people with SEN and assessing their needs, including the name and contact details of the SENCO.

All potential students that indicate any disability or difficulty on their initial application form will be interviewed by the Student Support Manager, who coordinates the SEN for the College. At this early stage transition visits will be explored and liaison with current schools to help identify any needs the student may have prior to enrolment. This could include adapting classrooms, keeping teachers informed, setting up a programme of support and ensuring any exam arrangements are put in place. A sample list of questions to inform support is given below.

Assessment of study difficulty




Reading and processing printed materials




Producing written work

Essay Organisation





Note taking in tutorials, lectures




Organisation/Time Management











Carrying out practical work




Using the library




Exam arrangements


Word Processor

Extra Time

Timed Rests

Separate room




Mobility / Specialist Equipment








Contact will then be made with these students once the academic year has begun to ensure everything is in place and to monitor their progress and ensure they are not being disadvantaged or underachieving.

Any students can refer themselves for support or to be tested for exam arrangements. Teachers are also required to look out for students experiencing difficulties as part of our commitment to quality first teaching, and after discussing it with the student, refer them to Study Plus. An appointment will then be made with our Senior learning consultant where an initial assessment of the students’ needs will be made. They will then either be set up for a programme of 8 weeks support focusing on bespoke targets or they will be referred on to the Student Support Manager for further testing to explore where areas of difficulty are. As a result of this appropriate exam arrangements, like extra time, access to a reader or coloured paper can then be put in place.

A variety of recognised tests are used together with BKSB initial screening, skills profile using Lucid Exact and discussions of potential Visual Stress, Irlen Syndrome.

If students or parents wish to discuss any aspect of their support they can contact the Student Support Manager, Ian Gilling on 01375 370121 ext 288 or email to 

Palmer’s College conducts examinations under the guidance of the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ)

There are some students who may need adjustments to enable them to access the examination process.

Each student will need to be assessed on an individual basis and permission obtained from the examination boards for arrangements to be put in place.

To do this effectively students must provide appropriate evidence to the College by the end of October 2017. This could include one or more of the following:

  1. Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) previously known as Statement’s of Educational Need/ Learning Disability Assessment’s

  2. Dyslexia Assessment

  3. Medical Evidence of a condition that impacts examinations( physical or psychological)

  4. Evidence from secondary school

This can be provided at any of the interviews pre- enrolment or brought to Study Plus by the end of October 2017.

We recognise that circumstances can change during the academic year and any student who wishes to discuss their examinations should come to Study Plus to discuss their concerns bringing with them any appropriate evidence.  However only emergency situations can be considered after 27 March 2018 and arrangements will then only be put in place at the discretion of the Exams Officer.

Arrangements for consulting parents of children with SEN and involving them in their child’s education

Parents are encouraged to be part of the consultation process right from the beginning with the initial pre-course interviews. Here the young person and parent can express any concerns or SEN that the young person has and the best course for them will be discussed. During the important transition period from school to College extra visits are offered to familiarise the student and parents with the journey to and layout of the College and meet their potential teachers. This is all aimed at reducing anxiety and stress levels and getting the students to feel positive and motivated to start the next stage of their education. Parents are encouraged to keep in regular contact with the College. The Student Support Manager is always available to answer queries from parents about supported students. During the year all parents can keep track of their child’s progress through our online ETracker monitoring system. There are two parents’ evenings where teachers will explain how the students are progressing and termly predicted grades with individual learning plans also explain how the student is doing and what they need to work on.

All students with an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) will have their progress reviewed at the end of the academic year to assess the appropriateness of targets and support. Parents are invited to these meetings to express their feelings as well.

Arrangements for consulting young people with SEN and involving them in their education

In addition to the initial meetings with supported students, where their views inform the support plan that is drawn up, and the end of year reviews, their views are also constantly being sought by the staff supporting them. Shorter reviews conducted by staff supporting in lessons and staff that support one to one gather the young person’s views and explore what could be improved/changed to encourage independence and adapt the level of support to meet the young person’s needs. These staff can also then liaise with teaching staff and act as an advocate for the SEN of the young person. The views of the SEN student are at the heart of any provision that is put in place. The student is the driver of their support and they can change any part of it as the year progresses.

Arrangements for assessing and reviewing children and young people’s progress towards outcomes. This should include the opportunities available to work with parents and young people as part of this assessment and review

The College and Support department use a variety of systems to track progress towards academic and EHCP outcomes. Students can keep on top of their course progress by using the online ETracker system. The support department uses a database where targets for the supported students are set based on discussions with the student and a review of the outcomes that the previous EHCP meeting set. These can include more social and emotional supported targets. All teachers are made aware of the strengths and needs of SEN students via a one page summary sheet compiled by the support department of the main elements of the students EHCP.

Outcomes sought via the EHCP are discussed at initial meetings prior to starting at the College, further checked in year by the support staff working with that student and then annually reviewed at the EHCP review meeting. At each stage it is the young person’s views that are paramount. Parents are encouraged to keep in touch with the support department via direct contact with the Student Support Manager. Where appropriate parents will be invited in to the College during the year to assist in the support planning for their child. This can include helping the College to plan for trips by working with us to plan for any potential problems and put things in place to make sure everything runs smoothly and, where appropriate, the SEN student can access the same curriculum content that every other student can.

Arrangements for supporting children and young people in moving between phases of education and in preparing for adulthood. As young people prepare for adulthood outcomes, should reflect their ambitions, which could include higher education, employment, independent living and participation in society

We appreciate how big a step it is for a young person to go from their school to our College. To help with this we have several interviews to discuss need. The current schools are contacted for their input on support. We also offer transition visits where nervous or anxious students can come to the College for a tour getting to meet some of their potential teachers before any of the other students. At the start of July Palmer’s invites all first years to attend a taster day. This is a great opportunity for new students to make friends but can also be a source of anxiety. By being able to attend the College before everyone else some of the anxiety of the day can be alleviated. If a student with SEN needed support for these taster days then Study Plus would assess the need and put someone in place to offer support.

The focus of the new EHCP’s are on the student from 0 to 25 and preparing them for independent living and to be able to pursue their dreams and aspirations. To help our students with this we have a specialist SEN careers advisor who attends the College on certain days, she offers support and guidance to our SEN students with the most need. She has many links in the community and has recently been part of a project called “On Track” aimed at young people who leave education but still need some level of structure and support to achieve their goals. We offer general careers advice as well for any students via our excellent and well established careers department. We have been trialling working with a local community charity organisation which supports SEN students with the general life skills they need. This includes travel training, for students who need help to travel by bus. They also offer social events to encourage SEN students to develop social skills.

Support staff that work with SEN students also interview them on their future plans and career goals as part of the review of their support and assist the students to investigate their options. 

The approach to teaching children and young people with SEN

Following initial pre-course interviews with the Student Support Manager, students and parents are asked what information they want teachers to be provided with before the start of their course. Teachers have information on the SEN need of every student in their class. Any student with an EHCP also has a one page summary report of their main strengths and needs sent to all of their teachers so that the teachers know how best to help. Teachers are aware that they are responsible for the learning of all students in their classes and are committed to a Quality first approach to teaching and learning. Study Plus offers support and advice to teachers in a variety of forms. We have, information leaflets, short guides, videos on our Moodle page, and links to the main organisations for SEN support. Study Plus staff also specialise in different aspects of SEN, teachers can seek advice from these expert staff. The main aim of the approach to teaching SEN students is inclusion, and support workers are there to help the student to breakdown their tasks or rephrase questions.

How adaptations are made to the curriculum and the learning environment of children and young people with SEN

Any adaptations that need to be made to courses to allow students with SEN to access them are discussed prior to the student starting at the College. We have recently had visually impaired students, a student in a wheelchair and a variety of other SEN difficulties and disabilities. Through regular meetings with parents, the student and teaching staff all of these students have been successful at Palmer’s with some going on to University. Trips can pose a particular set of problems for SEN students but in each case we will work with the families to determine what the student can and cannot do and where appropriate send support with them. Trips to Snowdonia and New York have all been supported and had a tremendous impact on developing the confidence of SEN students.

The expertise and training of staff to support children and young people with SEN including how specialised expertise will be secured

Staff development has included an externally moderated level 2 course in Providing Learning Support which focused on supporting learners with particular difficulties, including Visual and Hearing Impairment, Dyslexia, Autistic Spectrum Disorders and ADHD. All staff are involved in Continuous Professional Development aimed at supporting learners to achieve positive outcomes and encourage independence. Study Plus has supported a variety of students with difficulties and disabilities and staff are experienced in motivating and organising students. The College has two trained Counsellors that help support the emotional wellbeing of students. Study Plus and the Counsellors act as a safe and secure haven for supported students. We liaise with outside agencies to secure expertise as and when it is required. Just recently we have started working with an organisation to help with travel training. This has been very successful and really improves the quality of life for students and their families. We strive to take a student centred approach to our support, making sure they develop socially, emotionally as well as academically.

Evaluating the effectiveness of the provision made for children and young people with SEN

Students with SEN will have had a meeting with the Student Support Manager where a bespoke package of support will be put in place. The progress of all learners are monitored by a personal tutor. Supported students also have reviews conducted throughout the year to check that provision is appropriate and useful. At the end of each year EHCP’s also have a statutory process of reviewing, involving outside agencies, like the local authority, during these meetings the student’s views are paramount. Parents are encouraged to keep in regular contact with Study Plus to ensure we are kept aware of any outside factors that may be affecting the student.

How children and young people with SEN are encouraged to engage in activities available with children and young people in the school who do not have SEN

The Study Plus support centre is open to all students. We have worked hard to create a culture where support is seen as something for everyone, not just a few. This means there is no stigma attached to getting help and students with a wide variety of abilities can get help or help others. We recently introduced a film club at lunchtimes, checkers and chess championships, which are open to all. We also help facilitate SEN students to socialise and develop emotionally in a safe environment helping to prepare them for increasing independence.

Support for improving emotional and social development. This should include extra pastoral support arrangements for listening to the views of children and young people with SEN and measures to prevent bullying

All students have a, personal Tutor to oversee their welfare at college. We also offer a well-being service, to provide information and support for a wide range of issues such as sexual health. We also provide a reflection room for students who need it.

SEND students are encouraged at pre course interviews to think of Study Plus as their safe place within the College. No matter what happens during their day there will always be someone in our support department that will make time to address any concerns or anxiety. Often inclass support staff will act as advocates for the students raising and solving any issues that might be affecting the students.

Counselling support is delivered by a small team of integratively trained counsellors in Student Services.  They have good links to local agencies including MIND, Emotional Wellbeing Mental Health Services and Social Services.  Students can refer themselves, drop in or be referred by a member of staff.

Palmer’s has a designated safeguarding officer. The designated officer is an active member of Thurrock Local Safeguarding Children’s Board. The College takes accusations of bullying very seriously and we have a number of ways that students can report this; personal tutors, teachers, support staff or Counsellors.

There is a designated member of staff for Looked After Children and other vulnerable students.

Meetings between students and social workers are often held at on college premises where possible to avoid students missing lessons.

We provide a number of qualified first aiders who cover the medical room.  We have a secure cupboard to store spare epipens and insulin where necessary.. Health and safety checks are carried out on all work placements

We have effective arrangements for access and emergency evacuation for students, employees and visitors in place (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan or PEEP)

How the school involves other bodies, including health and social care bodies, Local Authority support services and voluntary sector organisations, in meeting children and young people’s SEN and supporting their families

There is a lack of Tier 2 counselling provision in the borough, the two College counsellors provide a much needed and extensively used service.

Extensive and regular links with external agencies provide robust and supportive referrals.  Student Services staff assess and a decision is taken on how to proceed i.e. mediation, refer on to GP, Social Services, Child and Family Consultation Service (CFCS), Community Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), Adolescent Mental Health Team.  Where appropriate parents and staff are alerted. The student is very much a part of this process.

We recognise our own responsibility and limits of proficiency and have therefore built up a strong network of outside agencies to consult or refer to, for advice and support, e.g. Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)

Fire Service provides termly safe driving presentation as an incentive a car parking space is provided. There are some invited external agencies such as NHS Sexual Health nurses and Samaritans.

Arrangements for handling complaints from parents of children with SEN about the provision made at the school

We work hard at building productive and supportive relationships with SEN students and their parents. The Student Support Manager is always reachable via phone 01375 370121 ext 288 or email Any concerns will always try to be resolved as amicably as possible for both parties. Where there is a more serious complaint that cannot be resolved the complaint can be sent in writing and the Student Support Manager will respond in writing to any complaints/grievances within 48 hours. The relevant Local Authority can also offer advice and guidance to parents or students who are unhappy with the provision made at the College.    

Ian Gilling
Student Support Manager

25 May 2017


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