GDST Inclusion Policy

Definition of educational inclusion

Inclusive education is education which increases the participation of all students in, and reduces their exclusion from, the curriculum, other areas of school life, and the wider school community.

Statement of principles

Enabling all pupils to participate in the full range of school life and activities, and to succeed to their individual potential, forms the underlying principle upon which the provision of support for learning is based and is a core part of the GDST’s values.

Schools have a role to play in creating a positive learning environment which promotes a belief in what may be possible and a view of ability that is flexible, not fixed. The whole-school ethos should reflect the value placed on diversity and the respect accorded to all individuals. Support for a variety of needs should be seen as a collective whole-school responsibility – all teachers are teachers of pupils with individual needs.

Inclusion applies, but is not restricted, to:

  • Pupils with special educational needs (SEN) or other learning needs
  • Pupils with disabilities
  • Pupils whose first language is not English (EAL)
  • Minority ethnic groups
  • Gifted and talented pupils (G&T)

Special Educational Needs Defined

Special Educational Needs are defined in the Children and Families Act 2014:

20.1 A child or young person has special educational needs if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her

20.2 A child of compulsory school age or young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

(a) has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or

(b) has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions

Trust schools are broadly selective, and will have a relatively small proportion of pupils who would be considered to have special educational needs as defined by the Act.

Nevertheless, we recognise that there will be a greater proportion of pupils who will be hindered in accessing the full curriculum and fulfilling their potential without tailored recognition of their needs and individual provision, which is usually a natural feature of high quality teaching and personalised learning in the classroom. These pupils, whilst not considered as having 'special educational needs', will also come under the umbrella of the school's wider learning support provision.

Children may have SEN or other learning needs either throughout or at any time during their school career, and may have SEN or other learning needs in one or in many areas of the curriculum.

Children are not regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught. These children however are likely to have additional needs of a different kind and may well receive learning support for their language development.

Schools' SEN policies and provision will be informed by the SEN and Disability Code of Practice 2015. Where required (i.e. in the Academies, EYFS settings with LA funding, and in the case of pupils with statements/EHC Plans), schools will have due regard to the Code.

Disability Defined

Disability is defined under the Equality Act 2010. A person has a disability if s/he “has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.”

Pupils may have either a disability or SEN or both, and actions taken to comply with the Equality Act should complement the support already provided by schools’ SEN procedures where relevant. Not every pupil with SEN will qualify as disabled under the statutory definition; this will depend on the severity or extent of her needs.

Provision for pupils with disabilities is also covered by the GDST Equal Opportunities (Education) Policy.

Gifted and Talented

There is no agreed definition – or indeed terminology – for what is commonly referred to as ‘gifted and talented’. GDST schools adopt their own definition and terminology as best fits with their curriculum and educational philosophy. However the same principles and expectations will apply to provision for more able pupils as for others with additional needs.


In order to deliver a high standard of educational provision for pupils with SEN, disabilities and/or other needs, GDST schools will:

In terms of policy/strategy/school procedures:

  • Develop, implement, and monitor their own local policies and procedures covering provision for SEN, EAL and other needs;
  • In line with the GDST Accessibility Strategy, have a 3 year accessibility plan showing how they will increase access for pupils with disabilities to the curriculum, the physical environment of the school, and to written information in alternative formats;
  • Have a named member of staff at senior level with designated responsibility for oversight and monitoring of accessibility plans;
  • Make reasonable adjustments for pupils with disabilities, as outlined in the Equal Opportunities (Education) Policy;
  • Take account of inclusion issues in the school's self evaluation, development planning processes and any review of other relevant policies;
  • Have one or more named members of staff with assigned responsibilities for areas of inclusion;
  • Not tolerate the bullying, harassment, or victimisation of any pupil with SEN, disabilities, or other needs, and will take steps to combat this if it occurs.

In terms of educational provision for pupils:

  • Adopt strategies for the early identification of additional needs;
  • Provide a broad, balanced and suitably differentiated curriculum in support of pupils with additional needs;
  • Expect all teachers to set personalised learning challenges and respond to pupils' diverse needs, acknowledging and catering effectively for different learning styles, abilities and preferences, and adopting an increasingly personalised approach to support where required in response to successive cycles of planning and review;
  • Provide clear routes to specialist support where appropriate;
  • Be alert to the emotional and social needs of pupils with additional needs and provide appropriate pastoral support for their well being;
  • Expect all staff to promote equality, mutual respect and appreciation of diversity and difference through the curriculum, the PSHE programme, other school activities and their relationship with pupils, parents, other staff and members of the wider community; and to actively challenge barriers to inclusion such as discrimination, stereotyping, and indifference;
  • Maintain appropriate records of pupils with additional needs, track and monitor their progress, and ensure information is appropriately communicated to all relevant parties;
  • Be alert to any pattern in the progress and levels of achievement of pupils with additional needs, and take appropriate action if necessary;
  • Provide training where required to ensure staff develop the necessary skills and confidence to cater for pupils with additional needs;
  • Facilitate inter-agency collaboration.

The role of the Head

The Head takes overall responsibility for the school’s policies and procedures in relation to areas of inclusion, ensuring that these accord with the principles and aims of the Trust’s Inclusion Policy, and that all staff are aware of their responsibilities in this area.

The Head will also establish the appropriate staffing arrangements, and assign clear responsibilities to post holder(s). Expectations of the post holder(s) in terms of levels of responsibility, the time available to undertake the role, commitment of other staff and linkages to key personnel should be made explicit.

The role of the SENCO / G&T Coordinator / EAL Coordinator etc.

Assigned staff are responsible for the day to day implementation of relevant policies, and managing provision. This will encompass:

  • Overseeing identification, referral and assessment of additional needs;
  • Developing and coordinating support systems;
  • Managing other staff in the learning support team (where relevant);
  • Managing the budget and other resources;
  • Maintaining records and ensuring relevant information is communicated to other staff, particularly at transition points;
  • Tracking and monitoring pupil progress;
  • Advising and supporting non specialist staff, and contributing to INSET;
  • Working with the Examinations Officer to ensure appropriate access arrangements are in place for external assessment;
  • Working with parents;
  • Liaising with external agencies;
  • Monitoring and evaluating the impact of policy and provision;
  • Keeping up to date with relevant legislation, research and current good practice, and revising policies and procedures as necessary;
  • Working closely with the Head and SLT to advise on policy development and relevant aspects of whole school planning.

All GDST schools should have a SENCO (or named equivalent post). Some schools may have separate posts in the junior and senior schools. Responsibilities for other additional needs will be assigned at the school’s discretion depending on need and internal organisation.

Whilst it is recognised that, given the differences between Trust schools, it would not be appropriate to prescribe one staffing model, experience shows that SENCOs require time for: planning and coordinating away from the classroom; maintaining appropriate individual and whole school records; teaching pupils with SEN; observing pupils in class without a teaching commitment; managing the effective deployment of other teachers in the SEN team; managing, training and supporting learning support assistants; liaising with departmental and pastoral colleagues, other schools, parents and external professionals.

In terms of level of responsibility and time required for the task, the role is broadly similar to other middle leadership posts, so that the post holder is unlikely to be able to effectively discharge other significant school-wide responsibilities, although this may be possible in specific circumstances. The SENCO should report to and be in direct consultation with the school’s SLT.

Administrative assistance allocated to the SENCO is recommended, and, given the sensitive and confidential nature of much SEN work, it is beneficial to have a work or meeting space and telephone extension for this purpose, within the constraints of the accommodation available.

The role of other teaching and support staff

All teaching and support staff in Trust schools are expected to provide for diverse pupils’ needs, maximising their access to the whole educational offer, and enabling them to succeed. This will involve:

  • Being involved in the development of the school’s policies relevant to inclusion and fully aware of the procedures for identifying, assessing and making provision for pupils with additional needs;
  • Being aware of which pupils in the school have additional needs;
  • Having a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with SEN and other learning needs, those of high ability, those with EAL, and those with disabilities, and being able to personalise their approach in order to overcome barriers to learning and engage and support them;
  • As practitioners responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the pupils in their class, planning and delivering an individualised programme and differentiating their teaching and resources to take account of additional needs;
  • Assessing and monitoring the progress of pupils with additional needs and recording and reporting relevant information

Partnership with Pupils

Children with additional needs have a unique knowledge of their own needs and circumstances. Schools should seek their views and include them in all the decision-making processes that affect their education. The ethos, organisation and culture of a school should support pupil participation, and encourage them to take responsibility for their own learning.

Partnership with Parents

The relationship between the school and parents has a crucial bearing on the progress of pupils, particularly those with additional needs. Schools should actively seek to work with parents as partners and value their contribution. Teachers, SENCOs, pastoral and other staff all have an important role in developing positive and constructive relationships with parents. Schools should have a clear and flexible strategy for working with and encouraging parents to play an active role in the education of their children.

Related GDST policies and procedures

The Trust and individual schools operate a range of other policies which are expected to reflect inclusion issues. These include:

  • Equal Opportunities (Education)
  • Accessibility Strategy
  • Safeguarding and Child Protection
  • Admissions
  • Exclusions

Legislative and National Policy Framework

  • Education Act 1996
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Children and Families Act 2014
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014
  • SEN and Disability Code of Practice 2015

Monitoring and Evaluation of this policy

The implementation of this policy will be reviewed, monitored and evaluated via:

  • The outcomes of school inspection;
  • Monitoring of ethnic origin data in relation to the application and admission process;
  • Periodic review of schools' complaints and bullying logs;
  • Periodic audit in consultation with Heads and assigned post holders with responsibility for areas of inclusion.