Identifying and Assessing SEND

Additional needs can be considered under 4 broad areas:


  1. Communication and interaction
  2. Cognition and Learning
  3. Social, Mental and Emotional Health
  4. Sensory and/or Physical


The College will ask about any additional needs during the application and enrolment process and this will be followed up with an initial needs assessment with the Learning Development Team Manager. Information will be requested from schools if there is any formal paperwork, such as Educational Psychologist reports, Learning Difficulties Assessments. Some schools will invite the college in for a transition review in year 11. If the young person had no additional support at school, but their initial assessment or their teacher raises any concerns that they may need support, they will be assessed by the Learning Development Manager. A dialogue will also take place with parents/carers, who can raise concerns about support at any time with the Learning Development Team Manager or the young person’s Academic Mentor.

The Learning Development Team will take responsibility for providing additional support. They will undertake an initial needs assessment and agree the support strategies to be deployed with the teachers concerned, and the young person. They will regularly review with the student whether the support is meeting their needs.

Support can be provided individually in class by a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) if the student receives High Needs Funding agreed by the Local Authority.

Small groups can also be set up to support students with their literacy and numeracy. For all other students, the Learning Development Area (Room B101) is open during the college day and any students can come to seek help at any point with particular issues.

As this is a college and not a school, we aim to empower our students to be able to ask for help when they need it, rather than to impose it, and to be more in control of the support they receive, in order to prepare them better for adulthood.

Social, Emotional, Mental Health

All students at St Brendan’s have an Academic Mentor who reviews their progress with them on a 1:1 basis and also sees them for tutorials. You can contact them at any time if you have any concerns, and you will be invited to a New Parents/Carers’ Evening in October to meet the AMs.

The Learning Development Team will support any young person if they have any mental health issues such as self-harm, anxiety, depression etc. They can also arrange for students to see a psychotherapist or the Welfare Officer who work several days a week at the College, or to join a drama therapy group.

Bristol Drugs Project offers a drop in service for anyone affected by alcohol or drug misuse in the family. We can refer students to external agencies such as Off the Record for counselling or other support if necessary.