Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) 

Detailed here are the educational, other services and support available at Watergate for children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).  Watergate School is a Co-operative Trust Special School.  The school offers the following specialist range of provision to support children with Severe Learning Difficulties, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties, Multisensory Impairments and Autism.

As all pupils at Watergate have a Special Educational Need, please refer to all areas of the school website for further information.

Watergate offers

 Provision to facilitate and support access to the curriculum and independent learning

All pupils have a Statement of Special Educational Need (SSEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan (ECHP) or are in the process of assessment for SSEN/ ECHP.

The school teaches a modified National Curriculum.  The curriculum is reviewed regularly, particularly in light of National and/or local initiatives.  Individual Education Priorities (IEPs) are developed termly derived from the objectives identified in each pupil’s Statement of SEN or Education, Health and Care Plan.

There are nine/ ten pupils in each class.  Pupils are taught and supported by a Teacher, Higher Level Teaching Assistant, Nursery Nurses in Nursery, Reception and Year1, Teaching Assistants and Midday Meals Supervisors across lunch and playtime. The number of adults supporting in each class ranges from four to six depending on the specific needs of the class group.

There is a very considerable focus on the teaching and development of communication skills.  For some pupils Makaton signing is the most suitable mode of communication.  Some use switch Communication Aids.   Others use the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) as a support.

For pupils with Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties, there is a Multisensory approach to activities enabling pupils to experience and learn in a variety of ways.

For pupils with autism, the TEACCH approach, strategies and interventions are used, along with Sensory regulation techniques such as Sensory diets and sensory circuits for identified pupils.

Promoting independence and independent learning permeates all aspects of the curriculum.

Access to a supportive environment – IT facilities/ equipment/ resources (inc. preparation)

Specialist equipment is provided to support the very individual learning needs of our pupils.

Some pupils require specialist seating, standing frames and other equipment to support and sustain their physical development.

Careful consideration is given to the provision of appropriate resources to enable pupils to achieve their maximum learning potential whilst at Watergate.

Switch communication aids are used by pupils for whom this is appropriate.  All classes have two/ three iPads with relevant learning apps available to pupils.  Some also use iPods.

There are Interactive whiteboards in every classroom

Strategies to support and develop literacy

Pupils are taught Communication English in daily half hour ability groups where they work in smaller groups focusing on Individual Educational Priorities.

Symbol supported text is widely used across the school to develop pre-reading and reading skills.

A gross/ fine motor, pre-writing writing programme (SHINE), developed by Health Service Occupational Therapists working at the school, is taught throughout the school.  The Occupational Therapy Service has also developed ‘Clever Fingers’ programme and they lead groups using this thereby supporting staff to develop their skills in this area.

Strategies to support and develop numeracy

Ability Groups similar to Communication English Groups are being developed.   As well as direct teaching, every opportunity is used to support the development of practical and functional maths skills.

Strategies to support and modify behaviour

Positive Behaviour Management is the major strategy used in keeping with the school ethos.  Recognition and Reward systems are used in all classes and whole school activities (Assemblies).

Social Stories are used for some pupils with autism to help their understanding of how to behave in social situations.

All staff trained in Team Teach de-escalation and positive handling strategies.  The school has a Safe Space ‘The Retreat’ where pupils can spend time when they find situations challenging or distressing.

Social Skills Programmes

Individual eating and drinking, dressing and toilet training programmes are developed, working with Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists and the Special Needs Nursing Team.  Adapted cutlery is provided to support independent eating.

Strategies to enhance self esteem and promote emotional wellbeing

The emotional and social development of our pupils is supported and improved by class and whole school reward and achievement schemes.  Curriculum enrichment activities including yoga, dance and horse riding benefit pupils.  The school has an allotment in the local community. Pupils spend time working here and are very much part of this community.  Wide Horizons lead an outdoor learning programme at their Eltham Centre and are providing training for the school on how best to use our outdoor learning areas.  Residential school journeys take place annually for different groups of pupils.

Support and supervision at unstructured times of the day including personal care

There is continuous support and supervision throughout the day during both structured and unstructured times.  Midday Meals Supervisors are employed to support over the lunch and play period, working with pupils on their eating and drinking/ personal care programmes and supporting pupils learning how to play.

The school runs and After School Club and Holiday Centre attended by Lewisham pupils with Special Educational Needs.

Strategies and programmes to support speech and language

Speech & Language Therapists work throughout the school.   They complete assessments, plan programmes and work jointly/ provide advice to teachers and classteams in the planning of Individual Education Priorities.

Strategies and programmes to support Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Needs

There are two Occupational Therapists and an Occupational Therapy Assistant working at the school.  They plan programmes and provide advice/ equipment on a range of needs including the development of fine/ gross motor skills, functional use of equipment/ resources, and sensory regulation for pupils with autism.  The Occupational Therapy Service also assesses appropriate seating and toileting equipment.

There are three physiotherapists and one Physiotherapy Assistant working at the school.  They plan and devise physiotherapy, positioning and hydrotherapy programmes for pupils who require them.

Access to medical Interventions

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust provide the following service to the school:

  • Administering of gastrostomy feeds and medication (including provision of relevant care plans)
  • Toileting clinics
  • Health education support

There is a nursing assistant, who is not medically trained, employed by Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, on site but not necessarily fulltime to fulfil the above NHS service. 

Nurses from the Special Needs Nursing Team come to the school to support medicals taking place on site and to support the above NHS provision.

For pupils’ health/ medical needs, 1st aiders (Watergate staff) provide 1st aid response within the school and the school contacts the emergency service as necessary.


There is a School Nurse and the school joint funds, with the Health Service, a full time Nursing Assistant.  Personal Care Plans are devised for pupils with epilepsy/ asthma/ and requiring medication.  School staff are epilepsy and epipen trained.  Consultant paediatricians hold medicals at the school each week.

A number of staff are trained first aiders including Qualified Paediatric First Aiders

Staffing Arrangements to promote access (building; curriculum; information)

The school was purpose built and is adapted for pupils who are wheelchair users and those with Multisensory Impairments.  There is a therapy room, Hydrotherapy pool and Specialist Interactive Sensory Rooms.  A Specialist Support Base provides support for pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties.

As over 50% of pupils at the school have autism, there are classrooms specifically adapted for pupils with autism.  The Learning Environment contains relevant information only, with strong visual cues to support access for these pupils.  There are two Specialist Bases with small individual rooms (workstations) providing the optimum learning environment for pupils with autism.

Many pupils are transported to and from school by Local Authority transport vehicles.   The school has two minibuses with a number of staff trained drivers.

The School website provides detailed information about the school.   Regular Newsletters provide parents and carers with up-to-date information about school activities and events.

Planning and assessment

The school is currently revising the curriculum, keeping up-to-date and adapting the revised National Curriculum.

Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are prepared jointly with parents and other professionals.  Pupils have pupil accessible IEPs written in symbol supported text/ photos to enable easy understanding of the target.

Progress towards identified outcomes is regularly assessed and reviewed.  Staff have been trained in P level assessment.

Annual Reviews provide the opportunity for parents/ carers and staff to review/ amend the Statement/ ECHP as necessary.

The school jointly funds a Transition Support Assistant.  This member of staff supports Y6 pupils moving into Y7 in our Federated Secondary School.

Engagement with parents/ carers

Parents and carers are always welcome to visit and spend time in the school.  The school works to develop a partnership with parents and carers.  Each pupil has a home school contact book.  Parents are welcome to attend weekly and termly Achievement Assemblies and Collective Worship.

The school has recently appointed a member of staff whose role is to sustain and improvement engagement with parents and carers.

Liaison and Communication with Professionals

The school works closely with the Education Psychologist, Children and Adult Mental Health Service (CAMHS), Lewisham Social Care Complex Needs Team, Multiagency Planning Pathway (MAPP), the local Primary Collaborative Group of schools, the Special Schools Consultative group and Education Teaching Alliance Lewisham. The overriding aim is better learning outcomes and improved wellbeing for Watergate pupils and all pupils with SEN in Lewisham.

Arrangements for specialist expertise from within the school

A number of teaching staff, including the Leadership Team, have MA/ Postgraduate diplomas in the education of pupils with Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties/ Hearing Impairment and autism. A member of the Leadership Team is a Specialist Leader in Education (SEN). The school has supported staff in achieving Higher Level Teaching Assistant status. Staff receive regular training in Makaton, Multisensory Impairment, Picture Exchange Communication System, TEACCH principles, Team Teach and other related SEN guidance.

Arrangements for specialist expertise from outside school

A Specialist Teacher for Multisensory impairment works in the school with classteachers and teams providing advice and practical support.

The Educational Psychologist works within the school advising on positive behaviour management for specific pupils.

A Music Therapist works with identified pupils on a weekly basis.

CAHMS lead a termly drop-in session for parents/ carers.

Monitoring and evaluating the impact of the ‘additional and different’ arrangements on progress and outcomes for pupils with SEN

The effectiveness of the provision is assessed and evaluated by the analysis and interrogation of pupil assessment data, comparing this to National data, using CASPA/ Progression Guidance/ National Transition Matrices.  IEP achievement is analysed and monitored.  The impact of interventions is carefully monitored and assessed to ensure better outcomes for pupils.

The Equalities Act 2010

The school is purpose built and specially adapted to meet the needs of Watergate pupils and will make reasonable adjustments where necessary and possible in keeping with the Equalities act