The different types of AEN
In this section you will find information about the different types of additional educational needs that exist, and how we aim to help students who experience those difficulties. It is important to note that people often have a combination of needs, and that each need can affect people in different ways. Understanding the individual is therefore a key part of the work we do.
Communication and interaction difficulties
These students have difficulty interacting with others. It may be because they have difficulty speaking, understanding what is being said or that they do not understand the social rules of communication. Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder are likely to have problems with social interaction and have difficulties with language, communication and imagination.
The school gives these student support by providing structure, which will make their day a more predictable and safe environment and in turn gie them autonomy and independence. The school also believes that a positive approach and high expectations will give the student a growing self-confidence and we try to build on the strengths of the student. The most essential quality, which the school excels at, is empathy and this is essential to underpin any approach to develop communication, trust and reduce anxiety.
The teacher will use a range of inclusive strategies and will adopt strategies and differentiated materials that have been identified as useful for individual and groups. An example of a differentiated approach might be to allow a student to take active breaks in a lesson to aid concentration.
Staff like to build a positive relationship with these students from the start to reassure students that we are on their side and allow them to feel part of a caring, friendly and supporting atmosphere. Students with ASD, ADHD or issues with memory or focus are likely to need help during class discussions and teachers have received training on strategies that best support this.
Autistic Specturm Disorder affects people in a variety of ways. Further information can be found here: www.autism.org.uk
Difficulties with learning and understanding
These are children who learn at a slower rate than their peers even with differentiated teaching. This area covers Moderate Learning Difficulties, Severe Learning Difficulties (support required in all areas of curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication) and Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (severe and complex learning difficulties as well as physical or sensory impairment). Specific Learning Difficulties are also covered in this area, these are children who have a specific need which affects one or more specific aspects of learning such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.
Here are some useful websites giving further information about these conditions:
All students in this category are monitored by teachers to ensure their individual needs are met wherever possible, and additional support can be put in place if a student is still struggling.
Social and emotional difficulties
These are children who may be withdrawn or isolated, or who display challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. These behaviours may indicate underlying mental health difficulties. Children with ADHD, ADD or attachment disorders fit into this category.
At BRIT we pride ourselves in being open and extremely supportive, providing a high level of pastoral care and guidance to our students, and especially to those who may be experiencing social, emotional and mental health issues – this is known as our ‘Blue Skies’ programme.
Blue Skies is an all-encompassing approach to positive wellbeing that also tackles the wider issues associated with emotional and mental health. We aim to train all our students and staff to be empathetic and reflective individuals that have the resilience to support themselves and one another, through subject matter and personal development sessions.
Every student is supported by a tutor, who will remain with them (in most cases) throughout their key stage. This provides continuity in care and builds a strong relationship between tutor and student. In KS5 each Strand Director takes responsibility for their cohort’s pastoral care, in conjunction with the KS5 Pastoral Team. Tutors are often the best placed to notice students’ positive or negative changes and they feed any concerns back to their Directors, or the safeguarding teams.
There are many members of staff at BRIT who are able to provide information, guidance and support when a student has social and emotional difficulties, these include:
The KS4 & KS5 Pastoral teams
The school counselling team
The AEN team
The Box Office team
The attendance & medical officer
We also have excellent relationships with a number of outside agencies and charities including: Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services, Children's Services, the Police and local Safer Neighbourhoods Team, Young Minds, Certitude, War Child and many other local and national charities
“My daughter suffers from panic attacks and it has been useful for her to be able to spend time in the SEN department. She has also benefited from one-to-one support.”
AEN Parent & Carer questionnaire 13/05/2015
Sensory and physical needs
This category covers a wide range of needs, including visual impairment, hearing loss, physical disabilities and multi-sensory impairment. We support students with known sensory and/or physical needs throughout the application and admissions process, in order to ensure their needs can be met. We then aim to adapt their learning environment accordingly.
Sensory and physical difficulties are not always immediately obvious, such as in the case of Dyspraxia (developmental coordination disorder or ‘DCD’), which is caused by a disruption in the way messages are transmitted from the brain to the body. This common condition affects fine and/or gross motor coordination, and can cause problems with organisational skills, planning, time management, memory, thought and information processing, perception, articulation and speech, as well as social and emotional difficulties.
Here is a link to further information about sensory and physical needs: