Special Needs

At The Charter School East Dulwich, we believe in creating inclusive environments that meet the needs of all students.

We want all of our pupils, including students with special education needs and/or disabilities (SEND), to make excellent progress in their learning and personal development and to fully participate in school life.

The specific objectives of our SEND policy are:

  • To ensure that all students make the best possible progress
  • To identify students with special educational needs and disabilities and to ensure that their needs a remet
  • To ensure that students with special educational needs and disabilities play a full and active part in the life of the school
  • To ensure that there is effective ongoing communication between the school and parents/carers
  • To promote effective partnership and successfully involveoutside agencies where appropriate

Everything you need to know about SEND at Charter East

For your child to access the best possible support, it is important that special educational needs are identified early. At The Charter School East Dulwich, dependent on a student’s specific areas of need, assessment can take place in many ways:

  • observations
  • student/parent/teacher questionnaires
  • screening
  • standardised testing
  • referral to external or partnership services.

Assessments can involve the student and their parents and school staff. External professionals including community health services, speech and language therapy (SaLT), Educational Psychology (EP), Occupational Therapy (OT) and specialist teachers for sensory impairments may also be involved.

Assessment and screening activities are always developmentally appropriate for individual students.  

We always work closely with families to agree on assessment methods.

At the Charter School East Dulwich, we have a 3-tiered approach to SEND support across the school.  Depending on students’ strengths and difficulties, support will look different for individuals.

A diagram displaying the Charter Trust's 3 wave approach to SEND

Wave 1 – Universal Support

To a great extent, good teaching for students with SEND is good teaching for all. Our first priority at The Charter School East Dulwich is to ensure the highest standard of inclusive teaching possible for all students.  This forms Wave 1, the of our 3-tiered SENDoffer.  

This level of support will involve a range of evidence-informed strategies including: flexible grouping of students, supporting students to develop independent thinking and learning strategies, clear and precise instruction and explanation, use of technology and ‘scaffolding’ of work to allow students greater access to learning.


Wave 2 – Targeted Support


When progress for pupils remains a concern despite high quality Wave1, universal support,  elements of Wave 2, targeted provision may be necessary to supplement but not replace their  classroom experience. These provisions will usually be targeted, group-based support for a fixed  term (usually 6 weeks) with clear pre and post assessment to monitor. These sessions, are usually  run by Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) and include support for difficulties across the 4 broad  areas of need such as: 

  • Cognition and Learning: specific literacy and mathematical skills, organisation and study  skills 
  • Communication and interaction: language groups, social skills 
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health: ELSA, mentoring, emotional regulation,  
  • Sensory and Physical: Sensory circuits, OT activities, Motor skill development 

Wave 2 support aims to help students make accelerated progress against their individual targets  and remove barriers to learning. The impact of these targeted support strategies is evaluated on a  termly basis. 

Wave 3 – Specialist Support


For a small number of students, a highly personalised and individualised approach to learning is  required, using recommendations from external professionals such as a speech and language  therapist (SaLT), Educational Psychologist (EP) or therapists or specialists from other services.  This type of support will vary hugely between individuals dependent on strengths and difficulties.  Students who might benefit from Wave 3 support will most often have or require an Education,  Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in order for the school to provide the level of specialist support  required.  

All support across the school is monitored and evaluated every term. This is to ensure that the  support in place is meeting the needs of individual students. 

At The Charter School East Dulwich, we pride ourselves on providing high qualitySEND support for our students through our tiered approach.   Through working with the Local Authority and as a network of schools across The Charter Schools Educational Trust, we aim to provide the best possible support for students with a wide range of difficulties across the 4 broad areas of need.  

With high student numbers, the more specialised/individualised resources mainstream schools have access to is limited, such as ‘learning support assistant support and access to external professionals such as Educational Psychologists and Speech and Language Therapists.  For students who might require higher amounts of time with specialist teachers and professionals, it can be difficult to meet students’ needs whilst still meeting the needs of all students in the school. Students who require high levels of specialist support may benefit from attending a resource base (specialist unit attached to a mainstream school) or specialist school. An Educational, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is required to access these types of schools.  Resource bases and special schools  often have specialist teachers, speech and language therapists and psychologists who work at the school on a full-time basis.  If you have any questions about the type of support your child may need and what might be available, please email: cwalton@chartereastdulwich.org.uk



For students who have physical disabilities and require special/specific equipment to support mobility, please see our accessibility policy.

As parents/carers and students, you have vital and unique knowledge of your child’s or your own strengths, difficulties, interests, likes and dislikes. At The Charter School East Dulwich, we believe that you should be fully involved in every step of the SEND process, from initial identification right through to making decisions about support in place in school.  We call this SEND process the Assess, Plan,Do, Review (APDR) or Graduated Approach. Communication between school and parents should be two-directional and the information below outlines what you can expect.



Assessment of needs or difficulties is the first step and may be initiated by the school, parents or health and care professionals (i.e., GP/social worker).

School initiated:

If your child’s teachers or head of year has concerns, they will first of all, speak to you to ask for your thoughts and input.  They may speak also to the School’s inclusion and SEND teams for tips and advice.


Parent initiated:

If you have concerns about your child’s learning and/or development, in the first instance, speak to your child’s form tutor or subject teachers. They will be able to give you feedback on how your child is doing in school and your concerns will be shared with the SEND team to monitor progress and consider any further next steps.

Health and Care Professional Initiated:

If a concern is raised by a health or care professional, they will usually communicate only with you, the parents, rather than the school.  It is really important that you share as much information about concerns raised or relevant diagnoses your child might have so we can put the right support in place. Please inform the SENCo, Carissa Walton (cwalton@chartereastdulwich.org.uk), if this is the case.

Further Assessment:

For some students, the type of assessment may be more specific including formal screening in school for specific needs or require referral to a qualified professional such as an educational psychologist, speech and language therapist or paediatrician. You would always be contacted to ask for your consent and contributions towards a referral being made.

Plan, Do & Review

If your child has special educational needs, you and your child (where appropriate) will be invited on a termly basis to review and co-produce your child’s learning objectives. This is an opportunity to meet your child’s Head of Year or SENCo to discuss what is going well, and, sometimes, what’s not going so well and what support could be provided in the coming term.

Progress and attainment is monitored on a termly basis. This monitoring is an important step to ensure students remain on track to meeting their individual objectives.  

In addition to the information shared in the section above, progress reports on how your child is doing might take place in different ways:


Parents’ evening Meetings:

These are a perfect opportunity to meet your child’s teachers, discuss progress against objectives and to shape the planned support for your child.  Meetings directly with the SENCo can be requested by sending an email to Carissa Walton (cwalton@chartereastdulwich.org.uk).

Parent SEND workshops:

These run throughout the year and are interactive sessions where families in the communities are encouraged to attend to learn about and share ideas on the broad array of special educational needs. The schedule for these sessions will be published via the parent newsletter. For more information or requests for specific workshops, Carissa Walton cwalton@chartereastdulwich.org.uk

School Report:

At the end of the school year, you will be sent a school report.  This will include your child’s assessment information over the year.

For some students, our universal and targeted level of support (Waves 1 and 2), are not enough to enable them to learn most effectively. For students with more complex or significant needs, a more personalised and specialist approach might be required. In many cases, a student might require an Education, Health and CarePlan (EHCP).  This is a legal document that describes a student’s special educational needs, the support they require and intended outcomes for the appropriate key stage. The support in these plans must be provided by the local authority, meaning that an EHCP can give a student extra educational support as well giving parents more choice about which school their child can attend.  

An EHCP can only be issued after a student has gone through the EHC needs assessment.  This can be applied for by school or by parents.

For more information about EHCPs, what they are and how to request one, visit the sites below or contact the SENCo:

Carissa Walton





A local offer refers to activities, services, events or support that is available to parents of students with special educational needs.  As part of the Charter Schools EducationalTrust, we are proud of our own ‘TCSET Local Offer’, open to families in our communities and schools. We also signpost families to the ‘Southwark LocalOffer’.

TCSET Local Offer

At The Charter Schools Educational Trust, our local offer is made up of:


Parent SEND workshops:

These run throughout the year and are interactive sessions where families in the communities are encouraged to attend to learn about and share ideas on the broad array of special educational needs. The schedule for these sessions will be published on the school website and emails. For more information or requests for specific workshops, contact Will Cannock wcannock@tcset.org.uk

Parent support:

We have a team of SEND leaders who are always on hand to offer support and guidance. Contact cwalton@chartereastdulwich.org.uk or wcannock@tcset.org.uk to organise a call or meeting.


Clubs and Activities:

We have an array of after school clubs that students with SEND are encouraged to participate in.  Please be in contact if you are interested for your child to take part and we will discuss the support that might be necessary.


Specialist Advice:

We work with a network of experts and professionals across the broad areas of need.  We can help you find the advice you need from experts in the field.

Southwark Local Offer

To learn about the Southwark Local Offer follow click here.

Southwark Information, Advice and Support Team

The Southwark Information Advice and Support team (SIAS) is a service which offers impartial advice to parents and young people. SIAS provide parents, students and young people with the information and support necessary.

SIAS was established to ensure that parents, carers of students and young people aged 0 to 25 years old with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) have access to information, advice and guidance to allow them to make informed decisions about their education and 16 plus choices. For more information, click here.

If you are concerned about any aspects of SEND provision in school, you should contact the SENCo or head of year in the first instance. If a complaint cannot be resolved, parents will then be referred to the school’s complaints policy.

The parents of students with disabilities have the right tomake disability discrimination claims to the first-tier SEND tribunal if it is believed that the school has discriminated against their students. Parents can make a claim about alleged discrimination regarding:

  • Exclusions
  • Provision of education and associated services
  • Making reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services

This policy and information report will be reviewed byThe SENCo and the Deputy Head for Inclusion and Behaviour every year. It will also be updated if any changes to the information are made during the year. It will be considered and approved by the governing board.

Who to contact for more information or to report a concern:

For all enquiries regarding Special Educational Needs please contact:


Carissa Walton, SENCo

020 7346 6685