Special Educational Needs

During their time in statutory education, all children will need support of one kind or another in school. This could mean anything from time spent in hospital, and support from Hospital School, to children who require physical support to access the curriculum in our school.

At St Mary's we have a specialist teacher, Mrs Hawkins, who is not based in class, but whose role is to ensure that all of our children with additional or special educational needs meet their targets and thrive. It is our policy that 'no child is left behind' and we ensure that, by the End of Key Stage 2, all children are successful learners who are prepared for the next chapter of their education at Secondary School (we call this 'secondary ready'). 

To ensure that this takes place, Mrs Hawkins works closely with the school leadership team, and there is a specific governor, Father Dane, who is responsible for Special Educational Needs. We know that 'the St Mary's way' works, because our data shows that, by the end of KS2 all pupil groups are achieving at least the 'expected' standard, if not better.


What can we offer?

Time2Talk Counselling

If your child has a worry or concern, which is preventing them focusing upon their studies, and developing the strong relationships pupils have in Primary School, Mrs Sue Clubb is available in school for counselling. She is a qualified, experienced counsellor, who will make contact with parents and work alongside children to explore and resolve their worries.

Counselling is only available with parental permission, and if you would like to access this for your child, please contact the school office for a permission form.

Speech and Language Therapy

We have a qualified Speech and Language Therapy Assistant in school for half a day, every week. Mrs Dymond is able to help with the assessment of need, and delivery of specialist programmes prepared for pupils in school. She works closely with the local Primary Healthcare Trust, to ensure that all of the children at St Mary's have the support and help they need at the earliest point in their schooling.

Better Reading Stamina


All Teaching Assistants have been trained in delivering the Better Reading Stamina programme, which ensures that no child falls behind in reading. This programme supports the reading Recovery programme which is delivered in KS1.

Reading Recovery

St Mary's has been delivering the Reading Recovery programme for Years 1 and 2 for ten years now, and we have a long history of success with reading and writing. Mrs Ashford is our brilliant Reading Recovery teacher, who works with 4 children every day (the same four pupils until they complete the programme) to ensure that their reading and writing progress is accelerated, and achievement is secured.

Where pupils stall in KS2, this is followed up by the Better Reading Stamina programme.

If you are interested in this programme, please contact Mrs Ashford or the school office for more information.

One-to-one and small group mathematics support

We have specialist staff on site, whose role is to ensure that every child is making accelerated progress and meeting their targets. If we se that a child needs help with, for example, fractions, then we will provide additional lessons for that child to ensure they are able to continue with confidence in the class, and do not fall behind.

Nurture Groups and Social Skills Groups

We know that some children need guidance on how to get along with other children and manage their distractions. We have created small, games based groups to support pupils in this transition towards a mature approach to sharing and managing their relationships (which we know has an impact upon their performance in the curriculum). This has the benefit of helping children develop their confidence and resilience to manage their relationships with friends, adults and people they meet on an irregular basis; as well as supporting them in develop life skills (patience, sharing, tolerance, listening) and enables them to focus and use behaviours for learning which supports our curriculum.


This amazing programme provides pupils with the opportunity to develop skills in directing others, following instructions and leading situations - which are skills that they will need throughout their life. These groups are run with three children, who all take a specific role, which will develop their confidence and behaviours for the classroom.


Our Family Liaison Officer Mrs Kennedy has undertaken training with Kent's Educational Psychology service to deliver blocks of therapeutic work to develop improved mental wellbeing and social interaction strategies. As an ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) Mrs Kennedy receives ongoing supervision from the Educational Psychology Service. 


This year we have been able work with Trinity Theatre to offer a drama- based intervention called Speech Bubbles to 20 children in Key Stage 1. The aim is to develop confidence in speaking, listening, storytelling and drama skills and the evidence based programme, which runs for 20 weeks, directly improves children's outcomes in speaking & listening, reading and writing. The work is delivered by a Drama specialist from Trinity who runs the weekly sessions. 

                                   Sensory Circuits

Sensory Circuits is a motor skills programme which helps to focus children for learning behaviours. Children participate in 10-15 minutes of activities, designed to improve brain processing efficiency.