Special Education Needs Policy (SEN)

General Policy

The college is committed to complying with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA). This statute applied the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to education providers including schools and colleges. The legislation bans these organisations from treating disabled people less favourably because of their disability, unless they can show that this treatment is justified. It also obliges them to ‘make reasonable adjustments’ to ensure that disabled people in education do not suffer a substantial disadvantage in comparison to people who are not disabled. These provisions apply to students with Special Educational Needs as well as well as physical disabilities.


The college is, and has been, pleased to offer non-specialist provision of education for students with a statement of SEN. Each such application to the college will be dealt with on its own merits and a place offered if the college believes that the student will benefit from education at Ashbourne and not seriously disrupt or impede the education of the main body of the college.

1. For example, Ashbourne has successfully educated students with severe physical handicaps, dyslexia, mild Asberger’s syndrome and emotional/behavioural problems.

2. In general, the college treats all students equally with regard to adherence to college rules and policies. Thus any serious deviation from these may lead to suspension or expulsion.

3. In all cases of SEN the college has worked closely with Social Services and provided an appropriate Individual Educational Plans (IEP). Such documents have been updated and evaluated through half-term reports and face-to-face meetings with all concerned.

Special Educational Needs (SEN) at Ashbourne

Ashbourne enrols one or two students each year with a statement of SEN. As we are not specialists in this area, these places will have been offered (and accepted) provided we believe that we can offer appropriate assistance and the child will benefit both himself and the entire school community.

These needs may be broadly categorised as organisational (dyslexia) and emotional (Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and lack of self-control).

Our strategies for meeting the needs of students with these conditions are outlined below. Both emotional and organisationally difficulties are assisted by Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) and the constant attention of teachers and Personal Tutors


It may be that a student may have a learning difficulty that has not been identified.

Specific indicators may be:

  • Hesitant and laboured reading
  • Omitted or repeated lines and untidy work
  • Confusion of words which look alike (no/on, for/off)
  • Difficulty taking notes at speed
  • The disregard of punctuation marks
  • Disparity of ability between spoken and written language
  • Difficulty completing work on time
  • Confusion of similar letters (d/b, p/q)
  • Difficulty understanding complex instructions
  • Laborious, uncoordinated handwriting
  • The same word spelt differently in the same passage of work
  • Bizarre spelling
  • Difficulty remembering what materials to bring to class.

Helping the students with Specific Learning Difficulties

Students with SLD require the following:

Access to the curriculum

They will benefit from:

  • A variety of teaching approaches
  • Clear, short instructions
  • Selective, relevant correction of written work
  • Use of visual displays
  • Preparation for lessons rather than follow up to lessons
  • Aids for note-taking – e.g. photocopied notes
  • Reinforcement in all areas of the basic rules of spelling
  • Extra time for tests whenever possible

Organisational and Study Skills

Dyslexic students will find the following helpful:

  • A timetable with them at all times
  • A planned time for homework
  • Planning using spidergrams and webs
  • Help with high order skills such as skimming and scanning
  • Assistance with note-taking and précis
  • Tolerance of “off” days. Few dyslexic students can sustain motivation and concentration through the whole working week. The tutor needs to distinguish between “off” days and avoidance techniques

The above procedures are to be applied, when appropriate, by all tutors.

Skill work

All tutors can be involved with helping students improve their skills:

  • Work on a number of “key” subject words aiming for accuracy, fluency and maintenance
  • Stressing the visual and semantic links between words rather than allowing dyslexics to rely upon auditory analysis
  • Encouraging a certain amount of “guessing”. Dyslexic students tend to rely very heavily upon phonic approaches and may abandon the use of context altogether


Although most tutors cannot offer a specialist response to the needs of dyslexics, the College is committed to helping all students to develop useful and effective learning skills.

Authorised by The Principal
Date June 2018
Effective date of the policy June 2018
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / Students on request
Review date September 2019