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Esher Church of England High School

Esher Church of England High School

Esher Learning Trust

Frequently Asked Questions about SEND


I think my child has dyslexia, can you test for dyslexia in school?

No unfortunately not, dyslexia can only be diagnosed by an educational psychologist or a person who holds a Level 7 specialist teacher qualification. In school, we are able to use a test called the Lucid Exact which will look at a range of areas linked to reading, processing and writing. These results can prove useful in understanding whether your child may have a specific learning difficulty (SpLD) like dyslexia. Typically if a child has a SpLD, they will have a spiky profile showing high ability in an area such as comprehension but low ability in another area such as reading speed or spelling. However, it is important to note this does not confirm or dispute a diagnosis. Helen Arkell is a dyslexia charity which can provide specialist support.

I am going to get my child assessed for dyslexia, should I speak with the school first?

Absolutely. It is important that concerns are shared with the school. It is also particularly important if you are hoping to get a dyslexia diagnosis to provide evidence for exam access arrangements. Please ensure your child’s form tutor, HOY and the SENCo are made aware.

My child has a diagnosis of dyslexia, do they get extra time?

A dyslexia report alone is not enough to give your child exam access arrangements at GCSE. The JQC states that schools must not accept dyslexia reports alone as evidence. This is because in order for a report to be accepted, the SENCo must have met and discussed the child with the assessor in advance of the testing. The SENCo must complete the first part of the Form 8 and outline the child’s difficulties prior to the test. Furthermore, exam access arrangements can only be in place for GCSEs if it is the child’s normal way of working prior to the assessment. In addition, a recent change from the JCQ states that a supervised rest break must have been trialled first without success.  Please refer to the JCQ Guidance for clarification.

What support is offered to children with dyslexia?

Dyslexia is primarily supported through quality first teaching (QFT) which means that teachers are expected to adapt their teaching to ensure students with dyslexia can make the same progress as their peers. Some examples of QFT are: the use of cream backgrounds in powerpoints, dyslexia friendly font, use of assistive technology such as computer readers or speech to text, use of coloured overlays, handouts utilised to reduce copying as well as providing writing frames and key words for extended writing tasks.

Students can also be supported through an online programme called IDL. This is an online literacy programme tailored to the child’s needs. Students can complete this weekly in tutor time, or they can come after school to our Homework Club in the Hub where there are Learning Support Assistants to provide support.

The SEND department will also read every dyslexia report and create a pupil passport for the child which will be shared with all teachers. In addition, Children with dyslexia are  added to the Ordinarily Available Provision register.


I think my child has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), how can I get them diagnosed?

In the first instance, please contact your child’s tutor and HOY. In your email, please outline what your concerns are, how long you have had these concerns and what strategies you currently have in place to support your child’s difficulties. It is very important to note that ADHD and ASD are life long conditions and in order to receive a diagnosis, you will be expected to provide evidence that their symptoms have been present and pervasive throughout childhood.

After this, your child’s tutor and HOY will notify the SENCo and a 10 week “watching” period will begin. During this period, the school will implement a range of strategies to support your child and the effectiveness of these strategies will be reviewed. A judgement will then be made on whether to proceed with the referral. If the school is unsure, they will seek further advice from Mindworks.

Once a referral is submitted to Mindworks, there is around a 2-3 year wait. Within this time, you will be contacted by Mindworks who may be able to offer you support in the meantime.

I cannot wait this long, can I get this done privately?

Yes, absolutely this is your family’s choice, however, private referrals often come at a huge cost, somewhere between £1500- £2000.

Please note if you decide to seek a private diagnosis, and would like the school to provide feedback, we need a minimum of 4 weeks' notice (term time) to complete these. These forms require a huge amount of time and detail, and teachers will not be able to fill these in without proper notice.

What support is offered to students with ADHD or ASD?

We apply a whole school approach to supporting students with neurodiversity. We do not believe that children with neurodiversity can only be supported by the SENCo; this is not inclusive and goes against the ethos we have at Esher High. Our staff build positive relationships with their pupils and ensure they are aware of children’s special educational needs. The SENCo is expected to provide information to staff about children who have SEND needs and to provide further training to staff where necessary.

It is important that parents share all reports with the SENCo so that accurate information is provided to staff, and the child can be placed on the Ordinarily Available Provision register. The SEND department will also create a Pupil Passport which is a concise document outlining the child’s needs and the strategies required to support them within the classroom.

What if the ordinarily available provision my child is receiving is not enough to ensure they are happy and making expected progress?

In the first instance, please contact their tutor or HOY to discuss your concerns. If you have already done this and feel you need further specialist input, then please contact the SENCo. After this, the SENCo will add the child to the SEND register and notify their teachers. At this point, the HOY and SENCo will begin a graduated approach using the Assess Plan Do Review (ADPR) cycle. A number of strategies will be put into place for around 12 weeks and their effectiveness evaluated. The SENCo may also need to draw on the external agencies outlined in Surrey’s Local Offer for further advice. If after 3 cycles of ADPR, no progress has been made, the SENCo may consider applying for an Educational Health Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA).

I have concerns about waiting this long to complete an EHC, what can I do?

Please use the Surrey Local Offer website to access an area called Learner’s Single Point of Access (L-SPA) and you will see how to apply for an EHCNA as a parent.