Every effort is made to provide for the differences of ability which exist even within a selective school. The school welcomes, and has expertise to support, able pupils with special educational needs. Legally, a child is defined as having special educational needs if he or she has a learning difficulty which needs special help. Although not mentioned in the 1996 Education Act, very able or gifted children can also be said to possess 'special' needs.
All mainstream schools (which includes maintained schools and academies) have a similar approach to meeting the needs of pupils with SEND and are supported by the Local Authority to ensure that all pupils, regardless of their specific needs, make the best possible progress in school. All schools are supported to be inclusive, with the needs of pupils with SEND being met in a mainstream setting wherever possible, where families want this to happen.
Additionally schools have to provide details of the school specific offer – this should reflect Southend Borough Council’s Local Offer which can be found at www.southendinfopoint.org
The school's More Able & Talented Policy attempts to define various special needs and in particular, states how the school will:
- provide support for the minority of pupils who find the academic demands and pace of work excessive;
- challenge and extend exceptionally able pupils;
- provide, as far as resources allow, for those suffering from physical, sensory or medical impairment.
The school has designated an Inclusion Manager (or Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)) who, for example, assists Year 7 pupils who are experiencing difficulties in written expression or personal organisation.
The school has a Gifted & Talented Policy in place and a member of staff is responsible for its implementation. The policy ensures that challenge exists for those pupils who are recognised as gifted and/or talented. As such, the school offers a range of activities that stretch pupils, both as extension activities within the classroom and as extra-curricular activities. In May 2007, Southend High School for Boys was the first secondary school in Essex to obtain the Challenge Award for the quality of its provision for the able, gifted & talented. The school has since been re-accredited twice, and has also been designated as a lead school for gifted and talented provision; as such, it is working with other Borough secondary schools in this regard.
Through the CSSE procedures it is possible for special arrangements to be made with regard to pupils with disabilities sitting the selective tests.
The school has an Equal Opportunities Policy which declares our intention that disabled pupils will not be treated less favourably than other pupils. The school's most recent new accommodation is equipped with lifts for disabled access, whilst the ground floor of the main building is also accessible. The school has undertaken an accessibility audit and has an accessibility plan for a phased increase in access to the school by pupils with disabilities.