1. About this report


The Children and Families Act 2014 says that all maintained schools must publish a Special Educational Needs (SEN) Information Report every year.  This report explains how our school meets the needs of children with SEN.  It will be shown on our school website and in the ‘local offer’ on

In the report, we explain how we meet our duties towards pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.  This report is also our SEN policyThis report is also the information we provide to the East Sussex local offer which show the support that is available for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in East Sussex

We will review this report every year and will involve pupils and parents.  If you want to give us your views about the report, please contact the school office.


  1. Who do I contact?

If you are thinking of applying for a place, contact SEN Department at County Hall Lewes.

If your child is already at the school, you should talk to the child’s tutor as a first point of contact.  School phone number 01323 69100 opt 3.

The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) is responsible for managing and co-ordinating the support for children with special educational needs, including those who have Education Health and Care (EHC) plans.  The SENCO also provides professional guidance to school staff and works closely with parents/carers and other services that provide for children in the school.

SENCO: Petra Pribylova


  1. Which children does the school provide for?

We are a specialist SEN school and part of the SABDEN Multi Academy Trust.  We admit pupils from age 10 to 16.

All our children have a range of special educational needs, which are identified within their Education, Health Care Plans (EHCP) or SEN Statement.  The school only takes children where the local authority has named the school in the child’s statement or Education, Health and Care plan.  If you want to ask for a place at the school, contact your Assessment and Planning Officer at East Sussex County Council.


  1. Summary of how the school meets the needs of children with SEN and disabilities

St Mary’s is a rural school for pupils with social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH); a school where our vision is to ensure every pupil fulfils their potential and is prepared for their transition into adulthood. 

All our pupils have an EHCP or SEN Statement, and all the staff have a responsibility to meet the needs of all the pupils.  An annual review is held every year and parents/carers and other relevant external agencies are invited to attend so that the pupils EHCP can be reviewed.

If the child is looked after by the local authority, they will have a Care Plan including a Personal Education Plan (PEP) and a Health plan.  We will co-ordinate these plans with the SEN support plan and will involve parents and carers as well as social workers and virtual school caseworkers in discussions.

  1. How does the school identify children’s special educational needs

We aim to identify children’s special educational needs (SEN) as early as possible, so that the child achieves the best possible outcomes

A pupil has SEN where their learning difficulty or disability calls for special educational provision. That is provision, which is different from, or additional to that normally available to pupils of the  same age.

Children may have one or more broad areas of special educational need:

  • Communication and interaction – including speech and language difficulties and autism
  • Cognition and learning – including developmental delay and specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.
  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties – including difficulties with behaviour, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, an attachment disorder or anxiety.
  • Sensory and/or physical needs- including visual and hearing impairment, dyspraxia, cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities or medical conditions which affect a child’s learning.  

All pupils who attend St Mary’s School have a statement of special educational needs or an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP).  Their statement/EHCP outlines the provision and support we must make in order to meet each pupil’s needs.  In addition to this, the school undertakes a broad range of formal and informal assessments to enable us to constantly review the needs of our pupils and respond accordingly.

We assess each pupil’s skills and level of attainment when they start at the school. We continually assess each child’s progress.  If a child is making less than the progress we would expect for their age or individual circumstances, we will consider what additional support/intervention is needed.


  1. How does the school teach and support children with SEN?

Class sizes are small in comparison to mainstream schools with a maximum of ten pupils who are supported by a tutor team.  In lessons, each class is allocated a Teacher and Teaching Assistant and this allows for a high level of support for learning within the classroom.  The tutor team is responsible for each child’s individual learning plan; personal learning and behaviour targets are set and reviewed regularly throughout the year.  Progress is reported to parents and carers on a weekly basis.  Staff formally assess pupil progress each term (six times a year).


  1. How will the curriculum and learning environment be matched to the child’s needs?

Teachers plan their lessons to enable all learners make progress and to be challenged.  This includes planning different tasks for pupils of differing abilities, allocating increasing amounts support or setting open-ended tasks and allowing pupils to respond according to their level of understanding.  Throughout the school, there is an emphasis on learning outside the classroom and pupils participate in a broad range of activities as part of the Educational Enrichment programme. 

While much of the curriculum is compulsory for all pupils, there is an element of increasing choice as pupils move through the school.  College, work experience and other vocational pathways ensure that the curriculum offer is, as far as possible matched to pupils needs and interests.  As a school, we have developed a balance between the core aspects of learning (English, Maths, Science and ICT) alongside a broader optional curriculum.  These include Art and Design, Humanities, PE, PSHE as well as vocational courses in vehicle technology, food technology and horticulture.  All courses at KS4 are accredited, and as such ensure students have better chance in securing a suitable placement beyond St. Mary’s.

Please also refer to the school's website for more information:


  1. How are parents and carers involved in reviewing children’s progress and planning support? 

Support from home is vital in securing the best possible outcomes for children in education.  At St Mary's School, we endeavour to ensure this is achieved through a variety of ways.

  • Parents and carers receive a weekly communication from a member of the tutor team and this provides the opportunity for all aspects of progress to be discussed and allows any emerging issues to be dealt with promptly.
  • Teachers will report on your child’s progress both formally and informally, as well as the weekly communication to parents and carers there are parent evenings and more formal progress reports that will record your child’s progress against national indicators.
  • Parents and carers are involved in the annual review process for the EHCP.
  • Parents and carers are invited to informal events held at the school to celebrate the pupils progress such as BBQs. 
  • Parents and carers are invited to come in to talk with external agencies to either plan some extra support or intervention for the pupil or to review their progress
  • We involve parents and carers with our internal extra support and interventions which we provide for our pupils.
  1. How are children involved in reviewing their progress and planning support?

At St Mary's we value the input of our pupils and encourage them to become involved with reviewing their progress and planning their progress and programmes of support.  We believe that when pupils are involved in this process they have a better understanding of what the staff are trying to achieve and we understand what works for them or doesn't.  Pupils are given the opportunity to discuss their learning in a range of ways.



Who’s involved?

How often?

Self assessment

Pupil, class teacher/form tutor


Tutor Group times

Pupil, class teacher/form tutor


School Council

Class, class teacher/form tutor


Pupil Voice

Pupil, SENCo, class teacher/ form tutor

At least once a year

Annual reviews (statements and EHC plans only)

Pupil, parents, SENCO, class teacher/ form tutor, support services, local authority.

Once a year


  1. How does  the school prepare and support children to transfer to a new school/ college or the next stage of education and life?

At St Mary's we understand the importance of smooth transitions for all our pupils as they move to our school, more up a key stage, move from class to class, and move on to Post 16 provision, we are sensitive to all their individual needs. 

Pupils that start at St Mary's in year 4, 5, 6 and 7 spend this time in our Bridge area where at least 60% of their lessons take place there.  This area is only for the lower school and it helps the pupils settle in to our school and prepares them for the next step into year 8.

Securing transition to post 16 provisions is extremely important and we plan carefully for this with each pupil according to their needs and their destination route.  Support for this transition starts early and we encourage pupils, parents and carers to visit open events at local colleges and providers to explore what is on offer.  We can help with this process and can give advice about the range of courses, apprenticeships and training and the level of support you can expect for your child as they move on to post 16 provisions.  We support with the application process through the UCAS Progress website.  .

As our vision is to ensure every student fulfils their potential and is prepared for their transition into adulthood.

11. What training do school staff have? 

St Mary’s School along with Cuckmere House School, New Horizons and College Central - all within East Sussex, are part of the SABDEN Multi-Academy Trust, which provides specialised education to young people who demonstrate challenging behaviour and whom may have social, emotional, mental health difficulties (SEMH).  The schools within the trust have worked closely together since 2007 with a mission to raise the educational standards and improve the life chances of all pupils.

Staff across the SABDEN Multi-Academy Trust share best practice and there are opportunities for all staff to develop their expertise in response to pupil’s learning and behaviour needs.  All staff access regular professional development through our ‘in-house’ programme; this provides staff with the opportunity to keep their practice fresh and up-to-date.  We also commission specialists to provide additional training in specific areas that may cover areas such as speech, language & communication, literacy, sensory circuits, forest school, Lego therapy, positive handling and specific behaviour needs.  All staff have regular access to training in behaviour management, child protection and first aid.

In addition to this we have our school counsellor who works under qualified external supervision and within the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) Ethical Framework.

  1. How does the school measure how well it teaches and supports children with SEN?

We regularly and carefully review the quality of teaching for all pupils to make sure no one under achieves. We look at whether our teaching and programmes of support have made a difference. We use information systems to monitor the progress and development of all pupils.  This helps us to develop the use of interventions that are effective and to remove those that are less so.

We complete an annual self-evaluation of our SEN provision and use this to develop an action plan to further improve our SEN provision.

We send home a parent/carer questionnaire every year then summarise the results and feedback to parents/carers.  This information helps to inform the school improvement plan.

We also invite parents/carers to provide feedback at meetings, through attending parent forums and through the Ofsted parent view website.

  1. How accessible is the school and how does the school arrange equipment or facilities children need?

St Marys’ School makes provision for both primary (year 4, 5 and 6) and secondary aged pupils and they occupy separate learning areas of the school.  The classrooms are very well resources and ICT is used effectively to support pupils to access the curriculum.  The building is very well maintained and pupils have a high level of respect for the learning environment.  The site has limited wheel chair access and while wheel chair users can access facilities down stairs and classrooms outside, they would not be able to access the first floor teaching areas, as we do not have a lift.  The site does not have changing or toilet facilities for wheelchair users.

Where parents or carers do not have English as their first language it is not considered appropriate to ask pupils to interpret for them.  If interpretation services were required, we would commission these from local authority approved providers.

  1. How are children included in activities with other children, including school trips?

St Mary’s School offers pupils in all age groups many opportunities to learn outside the classroom.  This can include access local facilities such as sports centres and libraries, or going further afield to visit other places of interest such as museums and historical buildings.  In addition, we have an extensive educational enrichment programme and pupils are able to take part in a programme of enrichment activities as well as residential trips with their year group.

These off site activities are planned well in advance and this gives parents and carers opportunity to consult with us on any issues that arise.  Our expectation is for all learners at St Mary’s School to access opportunities to learn outside the classroom.

Due to the needs of our pupils, occasionally in exceptional circumstances make alternative arrangements for individual pupils.  This will be based on previous risk assessments and the individual pupils’ ability to cope with off-site learning opportunities.

Through careful planning and reasonable adjustments, pupils with SEN engage in the activities of the school together with those who do not have SEN and are encouraged to participate fully in the life of the school and in any wider community activity.

We work with parents and pupils to listen to their views, feelings and wishes to ensure pupils with SEN engage fully in the life of the school and in any wider community activity.

  1. What support is there for children’s overall well-being and their emotional, mental and social development?

St Mary’s School has a very strong ethos based on our core values of respect, honesty, responsibility and achievement.  We have strong pastoral systems in place and we promote self-belief and encourage aspirational personal achievements.  Most pupils attending St Mary’s School have experienced difficulties in their previous mainstream education resulting in fixed and sometimes permanent exclusions.  Here at St Mary’s pupils can access a very high level of support to improve behaviour.

Expectations are high and pupils have targets set that relate to their behaviour and learning.  These are graded each lesson and during breaks and then monitored by the tutor teams.  Pupils are taught to take responsibility for their behaviour and there are clear consequences if behaviour is detrimental to their own learning or that of other pupils.  If this happens, pupils must complete work missed in their own time, privileges may be withdrawn or pupils may be asked to work away from peers.

Pupils are encouraged to reflect on their behaviour and consider alternative strategies to better manage themselves.  We aim to support pupils to return to learning with their peers as quickly as possible and other than exceptional circumstances; pupils start a fresh each day.

Most of our pupils at St Mary's have complex emotional needs some of which are indentified on their EHCPs. These include a high proportion of pupils who have attachment disorders, or ASD diagnosis in addition to their high anxieties of some of the pupils who have had negative experiences in their previous schools.  All staff at St Mary's school have an awareness and are able to respond appropriately to the different emotional needs of our pupils. 

In an effort to secure support beyond the everyday Curriculum on offer, St Mary’s has developed a range of interventions aimed at creating a ‘Support for Learning’ culture that all pupils can access.  Amongst the provisions on offer are the following:

  • Speech and Language therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Counselling
  • Small animal care
  • Lego Therapy
  • Sensory Circuits
  • Small social communication groups
  • Reading and numeracy
  • Key working time
  • Assemblies

All non-attendance is followed up on a daily basis and we work very closely with our pupils, parents and carers to ensure high attendance is maintained and celebrated and that any emerging attendance issues are dealt with promptly

16. What specialist services does the school use to support children and their families?

St Mary's works in close partnership with a broad range of services and external agencies to receive more specialist expertise in order to meet the needs of our pupils.  Our SENCO, Designated Safeguarding lead and Assistant Principals manage the support of these specialist services which include:

  • The Combined Integrated Therapy Services  - which include Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational therapists, and physiotherapists
  • Trained school counsellor
  • CLASS  - Communication Learning Autism Support Service
  • ESBAS - Education Support Behaviour and Attendance Service
  • CAMHS - Child Adolescent Mental Health Service
  • Virtual School - for Children who are looked after by the Local Authority
  • SLTP/LTP - Specialists Learning and Teaching Provision/ Learning Teaching Provision
  • FISS - Family Intensive Support Service
  • FFT - Friends, Families and travellers Service
  • School Nurse
  • U19SMS - Under 19 Substance and Misuse Service
  • Social Care
  • YES - Youth Employability Service
  • National Star  - Lift Travel Training
  • As part of the cycle of SEN, support (assess, plan, do, review) we will consider whether we need to involve other services to make sure the child’s specific needs are met.  Parents are always involved in any decision to involve specialists.



17. Where can I get information, advice and support? 

As a parent or carer, the first point of contact for you would be with a member of staff from your child’s tutor team.  Specialist staff such as heads of year, assistant principals, DLS and the SENCO, will make contact with you if the tutor team is not able to help you with your initial enquiry.

If there are issues you would rather discuss in person, you can make an appointment to see a member of staff in school.  All enquiries should come through the reception on the school’s main number.  While many staff will be teaching, we do aim to return calls on the same day.  All personal information about pupils is treated carefully, if you have urgent information to pass on about your child, this can be shared in the strictest of confidence with a member of our reception team.

If you are a parent of a child with an EHCP or SEN statement, who is not yet at the school but may be considering it as an option, you can call to arrange a visit to the school to see what we offer here.

The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) at St Mary's School is Miss Petra Pribylova.  She can be contacted by phone on 01435 812278 or by email

The ‘local offer’ on the internet

SEND information, advice and support service

Impartial advice and help for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their parents and carers.

0345 60 80 192 

18. What do I do if I am not happy or if I want to complain?

It is important to keep communication between home and school open and to raise any concerns as early as possible.  This can be done by arranging an appointment through the school reception.  We seek to try to resolve any concerns as quickly as possible through informal discussion.  If after talking to the school, you are still concerned or would like to make a formal complaint then the school has a Complaint Policy that can be found on the school website or you can ask a member of the school admin team who will be happy to provide you with a copy.

All complaints must be dealt with in line with the school Complaints Policy.