"Good for outcomes, Good for teaching, learning and assessment, Good for personal development, behaviour and welfare, Good for 6th form, Good for leadership and management - Ofsted 2017"

Cedars Upper School

Cedars images

Learning Support

Team Leader: Ms F Moore   

Disabled students and those who have special educational needs are helped to thrive and make good progress. Teaching assistants support these and other students extremely well in lessons.”   Ofsted 2013  

Department for Supported Learning ethos:

We believe in achievement and inclusion for all. Put simply this means, "What do we need to do to enable this young person to be successful?"

We believe that students with Additional Needs (AN) or disabilities:

  • Have more in common with their peers than differences
  • Have skills, talents and abilities which we as a school have a responsibility to develop to the full
  • Should expect that all staff will have high expectations of them and the skills to help them to be successful
  • Require attention to be paid to their emotional and social well-being as a prerequisite for success
  • Should have a voice in how they are supported.

Structure and staffing

The Department for Supported Learning is a large faculty within the school comprising 3 distinct but complementary aspects; Supported Learning, The Base and the Student Support Centre. Supported Learning focuses on the academic support our students need to be successful and the SSC on the emotional well being which is equally important to the students’ happiness and achievement. The focus of the Base is on students with communication and interaction difficulties as defined by the 2014 Code of Practice 

The 15 staff across these 3 support areas work closely together to promote an inclusive ethos within the school and provide a range of expertise and interventions. As well as listening to the students we aim to work closely with parents to build and sustain a working partnership based on the belief that their child’s needs are being met. 

Supported Learning faculty

Supported Learning

Supported Learning is housed in 3 large rooms which are used for a range of purposes including individual and small group teaching as well as extra-curricular support such as: 

  • PiXL CODE Phonics
  • Asdan/CoPE Courses
  • LIBF Personal Finance
  • SAM learning

This is led by the Supported Learning Manager (Team Leader). Teaching Assistants mostly work within subject departments which reflect their knowledge and the different additional needs in the school. This team contains a great range of experience and expertise particularly in the areas of SpLD, ASC, and behaviour difficulties.

TA’s also run a range of extra interventions  e.g. Spelling Club, Homework Club, Books for Boys/Girls plus mentoring.

 “Teaching assistants provide effective support in lessons mainly, but not exclusively, to disabled students and those with special educational needs. They are deployed well, being attached to specific subject departments with dedicated time to plan lessons with teachers.” Ofsted 2013



 ‘The Base,’ is designed specifically for our students on the autistic spectrum. It provides a fully staffed, calm environment to support our students through the complexities of a mainstream secondary school.

We are open from 8am until 4pm each day, break and lunch to make sure there is a place for students to go. Students can get organised for the day and start everyday afresh.

Other support we offer

  • Transition programmes for vulnerable students and those on the autistic spectrum
  • Home - School link book
  • ASDAN/ COPE qualifications
  • Personal Finance Life Skills
  • Use of portable word processors (NEOs)
  • Tailored Timetables
  • Wrap around support for our more vulnerable students
  • Individual and group work



Student Support Centre  

The Student Support Centre has 3 members staff; the Team Leader for Mind Education, a deputy and an assistant. All staff have completed counselling studies courses, as well as courses relating to raising resilience, self-harm, eating disorders, bereavement, anger management, protective behaviours and internet safety.

The Student Support Centre supports inclusion in many different ways. We work closely with the pastoral support teams and the school's Supported Learning Centre. Smaller classrooms make returning to school following a long absence easier and provide a less daunting environment for students who are feeling vulnerable for whatever reason. Liaising with parents, carers and other professionals ensures that all students receive support which is appropriate for their individual needs.

The SSC can also be used as a holding area whilst investigations take place, and we ensure that if a student is isolated they are encouraged to find a way of addressing the cause of concern.

A reintegration programme following a period of exclusion is offered. Our social area provides a safe haven at breaks and lunchtimes.

Support available

  • Ear4U2 - a peer mentoring scheme
  • Anger management
  • 1:1 advice and mentoring
  • Counselling by a professional counsellor
  • Raising self-esteem/increasing confidence
  • Raising resilience
  • Exam stress
  • Internet safety
  • Behaviour management
  • Group work with external agencies
  • Reactive management for behaviour and well being

“The school’s approach to ensuring students’ safety, care and welfare is meticulous and effective.”

“Students say that they feel safe in school. They know about different forms of bullying and say that it occurs rarely and is dealt with well.”  Ofsted 2013




How does Cedars know if young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have an additional need or disability? We talk to the middle school SENCOs about students coming up to Year 9 so we are aware of their needs. We also run our own assessments in September for literacy, numeracy and CATs (Cognitive Ability Tests). Therefore by the end of September we have a good understanding of the strengths and difficulties of the whole year group. Students who are on our Additional Needs (AN) list have a Student Passport which identifies their needs and strategies to support them. This is shares with teachers, parents and students. Parents who have concerns about their child's learning needs should contact the Team Leader.

How will Cedars support my child? How will I be involved in discussions about my child's education? The Department for Supported Learning run a range of intervention programmes as well as in class support. We are aware that adolescents want to fit in with their peers and therefore we aim to provide support which is appropriate but sensitive. There is some in class support in core subjects and those subjects with heavy literacy content. We run literacy and numeracy programmes in Year 9 and a tailored curriculum in Key Stage 4 for students whom the complement of GCSEs is not appropriate. The aim is always to encourage independent learning. For students with more specific language and social communication needs we have The Base which is a large room staffed full time and which is open before and after school as well as at break and lunch to provide wrap around care.

We consider the emotional well-being of the students to be a crucial factor in their success and our SSC department run a range of courses including self-esteem, raising resilience and anger management. Parents are involved from New Intake Day. We listen to the concerns of parents at the New Intake Parents' Evening. This gives us additional valuable information which can be included on the Student Passport for each student. This is turn is sent to parents in the autumn term for comment and feedback. 

How are young people included in the planning for their support and provision? We believe that students at upper school should have a voice in how they are supported. The Student Passport is written with the student’s voice. Wherever possible students as well as parents and carers are invited to meetings to discuss their progress. We invite feedback from students with AN via questionnaires.

How are the school's resources allocated and matched to the young person's additional needs? How will the curriculum be matched to my child's needs? The needs of the student are at the centre of the support we provide. As students join upper school they prefer, and need, to become independent learners. Our role is to help them develop strategies to take control of their learning and behaviour. A range of assessments and prior data are used to match the curriculum appropriately. Many students with AN are in mainstream lessons and in sets according to their ability for different subjects. Teachers are expected to differentiate for need and work with TAs to plan lessons which are inclusive. Cedars recognise that Quality First Teaching is the bedrock of an effective curriculum. In Year 9 some students do not take French but have additional literacy or numeracy as required. Considerable care, advice and guidance is taken over the options process before Year 10 to match subjects and abilities.

How will I know what support my young person receives? The Student Passport identifies the needs, strategies and support that the young person receives.

How will I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child's learning? The whole school reporting system gives parents information on their child's progress regularly throughout the year. In addition the Parent Consultation Evenings are an opportunity to speak to subject teachers and the Team Leader about your child's progress. The school website should include the homework set by each subject so parents can see what work is required.

What support will there be for my child's overall well-being? We place great importance on the emotional well-being of our students. Each House office has a Pastoral Support Assistant who cares for students on a day to day basis. If a student requires more sustained support a referral can be made to the SSC which runs support groups for a range of needs including self-esteem, raising resilience and anger management. There is also a fully trained counsellor. The Base and Supported Learning offer quiet places to relax at break and lunch time.

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school? Access to the following external services include: Educational Psychology, CHUMS and CAMHs. In school we can offer a trained counsellor, staff experienced in the needs of student with ASC and dyslexia.

How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom, including school trips? All students, including those with AN, have the opportunity to join in school trips and extra curricular activities. Each year the school runs Challenge Day. All students regardless of need are able to choose from a wide range of activities.

How accessible is the school environment? Cedars has an accessibility policy which is regularly reviewed. Cedars is accessible to wheelchair users. There are ramps and electric external doors and lifts in blocks 2 & 4 to enable access to first floor classrooms. There are also Evac chairs to assist students with disabilities in the event of an emergency evacuation. All blocks have a disabled changing and toilet facility.

How will the school prepare and support my child when joining Cedars or transferring to a new school of post-16 provision? Transition between Year 8 & 9 is organised through the New Intake Day in July, In addition to this we run additional programmes for students who may find the transition more challenging. In all cases the aims of transition programmes are to ensure that the students become familiar with the layout of the school, have met key members of staff, have had a taster of some lessons and are aware of the school's expectations. By the end of the transition the students feel confident and ready to move on. All students from Year 10 through to Year 11 receive a comprehensive programme of guidance and support to help them with their post 16 choices whether this is staying on at Sixth Form, moving to college or looking for an apprenticeship. Students with an EHC Plan from Central Bedfordshire will receive additional guidance from the personal adviser from the Local Authority SEND team.

Who can I contact for further information? Fiona Moore is the Team Leader for the Department for Supported Learning and has a particular responsibility for students with Additional Needs. She can be contacted directly or by phone or email. Direct Line: 01525 219351          E-mail: fmoore@cedarsupper.org.uk  

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