Meet the team

Sarah Richardson is our Special Educational Needs & Disabilities Coordinator (SENCO).

She is skillfully supported by a team of Higher Level Teaching assistants (HLTAs) and Learning Support Assistants (LSAs): Jillian Carlson, Lorna Elliot, Helen Hutchinson, Kirsty White, Megan Harris, Brigette Elliott, Hayley Douglass and Nikita Stones.

Mrs Richardson has completed the National Award for SENDCOs as an additional qualification. If you would like to talk to her, please email or phone the school office (0191 349 9538) to arrange a meeting.


Marden Bridge Middle School provides support for pupils within the four broad categories of need identified in the SEND Code of Practice 2014: Communication and interaction, cognition and learning, social, emotional and mental health difficulties and sensory and/or physical needs.

Identifying the Special Education needs of pupils is done using a graduated approach:


  • Concerns expressed by form teacher, subject teachers, parent/carer
  • SENDCO is made aware of concerns


  • SENDCO and class teacher discuss strategies and resources to address the concern
  • Class teacher uses strategies with SENCO’s support over 6 week period


  • SENDCO and class teacher review what progress has been made.
  • A decision is then made as to whether further intervention is needed.
  • The use of standardised assessments may be necessary and possibly assessment by specialist personnel where required.


Provision for pupils with special educational needs will be initially met by high quality differentiated teaching in a classroom situation. Teachers will be made aware of relevant needs and advice will be given about appropriate strategies. Teachers and the SENDCO work together to provide for pupils with special educational needs.

In the case of specific learning difficulties pupils may receive some specialist teaching in intervention groups, or in 1:1 situations. The school will also act upon any concerns from previous schools or outside agencies. Results from standardised tests may also be a reason for intervention from class teachers and the SENDCO. Pupils have 'Learner Profiles' which show their needs and strategies for school staff. These profiles are reviewed every half-term. In addition to these, North Tyneside SEND support plans are completed by school, parents and pupils to discuss and review outcomes. These document all interventions, outcomes, pupil and parent/carer views.

Pupils with Educational Health Care Plans (EHCPs) are supported in class and during unstructured times, depending on their individual needs. This is usually in-class support. If pupils need a more focused 1:1 approach for their specific needs, then Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) are timetabled to provide this.

Pupils who do not have EHC Plans but have specific needs, and therefore a SEND support plan, are also supported in class, or with more focused interventions decided on by LSAs, teaching staff and recommendations from outside agencies. This intervention is measured by assessments and observations.

These are reviewed on a half termly basis when teachers meet with Learning Support team and when outside agencies meet with the SENDCO, HLTAs and LSAs to discuss and evaluate progress and interventions.

Every teacher at Marden Bridge Middle School is a teacher of every child, including those with special educational needs. We offer an inclusive curriculum to ensure the best possible progress for all our pupils, whatever their needs or abilities.

There are 5 HLTAs and LSAs who support pupils with special education needs. This may be in class, or in a small group but also during non-structured times of the day at break and lunchtimes and on school trips or if there is a different pattern to the normal day. One of the LSAs is a home/school link for pupils who have English as an additional language.

All pupils access a broad and balanced curriculum. All activities are planned with the needs of all pupils in mind and the relevant adaptations are made. This is done by staff members liaising with the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities department, outside agencies, parents and carers and previous schools.

The effectiveness of interventions is measured and evaluated in several ways: In half termly data analysis, observations of support staff and learning walks conducted by the SENDCO and the headteacher and/or governor for SEND.

Marden Bridge has a nurture group which supports pupils who may have specific requirements in relation to social and emotional needs. This is available to any pupil who learning support staff and the SENDCO feel need the additional support and is run 3 days per week before the school day starts by one of our LSAs.

The pupils support room is available for all pupils with Special Educational Needs during breaks and lunchtimes. Support is also available for pupils who need additional support for their social and emotional needs during breaks and lunchtimes. These give pupils the opportunity to discuss any concerns they may have, including bullying and friendship worries. Staff in school, and within the SEND department, build up strong working relationships with pupils and make themselves available for pupils who wish to share their views, concerns or needs. Pupils with Special Educational Needs have the opportunity to take part in all of the extra curricular activities. If this requires support from staff, then this support is provided, including all educational visits.


Training & Resources

The areas in which some of the Special Educational Needs Staff are trained in are:

  • Read Write Inc - Phonics, Fresh Start, Language, Literacy and Spelling
  • Language and Communication difficulties
  • ASD-living and Learning with Autism
  • Behavioural, Emotional and Social difficulties
  • ADHD
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Moderate Learning Difficulties
  • Global Learning difficulties
  • Autism
  • Attachment Disorder
  • Auditory Processing difficulties
  • Physical difficulties (motor skills and medical needs)
  • Hearing impairment
  • Self esteem
  • Clicker 6
  • Communicate in print
  • Vocab Aware
  • One of our LSAs has a diploma in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
  • Girls and Autism
  • Lego Therapy
  • Solihull Parenting Programme
  • Supporting pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental health needs
  • We also attend the NASEN (National Association for Special Educational Needs) annual conference.

Two of our Learning Support Assistants have teacher status and two are trained as Higher Level Teaching Assistants. One of our LSAs is our home/school link for our Bangladeshi pupils.

If specialist equipment is needed, it is purchased. If specific training is required then the relevant staff seek training and disseminate their findings amongst the department and beyond, if necessary. The SENCO can apply for resources through the school bursar.


Parents & Carers

Parents of pupils with special educational needs are invited to parents’ evenings to meet the SENCO and LSA linked to their child as well as subject teachers. This happens once per year. They are also invited as part of the transition process to discuss matters from year 4 to year 5 and 6 to 7 if pupils are leaving Primary school.

Parents and carers are also invited to 2 parents of pupils with Special Educational Needs And Disabilities parents’ evenings with the Special Educational Needs And Disabilities department to share information, ideas and offer support. This also gives parents the opportunity to share their views and opinions on Special Educational Needs And Disabilities policies and procedures, meet the staff who work with their children, look at the progress being made and raise any concerns they may have.

Pupils are always invited to their annual reviews and staff are trained in conducting Child Centred reviews. Pupils attend parents’ evenings and have the opportunity to discuss their support with parents and LSAs or the SENCO. Pupils also attend transition meetings with parents and staff from their current school, prior to starting at Marden Bridge. The SENCo and LSAs attend meetings at high school with parents and pupils to ensure a supportive and smooth transition.

Both pupils and parents contribute to the pupils’ learner profiles and their SEND support plans. These are forwarded to any school the pupils then go on to attending. Any Looked after Pupils who have Special Educational Needs are given additional support in completing their PEP (Personal Education Plan).

Parents and carers are also contacted and updated on progress via email and the messenger app Class Dojo

Pupils transferring from year 4 to 5 are invited to 3 additional visits in addition to the 2 days timetabled for all pupils. Pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in Year 8 receive the same opportunity for High school. The SENCo meets all SENCos from feeder schools and High schools to discuss the needs of individual pupils and the interventions and support that has already been put in place. LSAs also meet with other LSAs and Teaching Assistants (TAs) to share information which is vital for transition.

Complaints Procedure

The school’s complaints procedures are set out in the School Policies page. If there is a problem, parents are advised to discuss this with the SENCO in the first instance. Where this cannot be resolved by the usual procedures parents may request independent disagreement resolution. The school will make further information available on request.


Outside Agencies

The Special Educational Needs And Disabilities team are heavily involved with outside agencies tom support pupils with specific needs. When appropriate, outside agencies are contacted and advice is followed. Further assessments from outside agencies may be required. The agencies the governing body involves are:

  • North Tyneside Dyslexia team
  • Language and Communication team
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Child and Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
  • Educational Psychology
  • RHELAC (Raising the Health and Education of Looked After Children) team
  • Silverdale Outreach Team
  • Early Help Assessment team
  • Supporting Families
  • Young Carers

Other agencies may be required as specific needs are identified.

The school will make parents of pupils with special educational needs aware of SENDIASS (The Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service). Parents of any pupil identified with SEN may contact SENDIASS for independent advice and support. (Tel: 0345 2000 109).

*North Tyneside’s Local Offer can be found on the North Tyneside Council website

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