This is a follow on from my review of Southchurch High School (formerly known as Futures Community College)

This department needs a review of its own as this is so important to students and parents who use this department.

I have to start by saying how impressive the staff are in this department. Like so many schools, they have a ridiculously small budget, a small amount of staff but many pupils who need their help. Even though this is the case, pupils and parents are never made to feel that they are a burden on resources or time.

Children with unique needs are listened to carefully and treated with care and kindness. There are warm, quiet and comfortable areas where they can go when feeling overwhelmed. They each have ‘passports’ which contain important details about themselves so that each teacher can understand their needs. These are updating regularly.

Whenever I have emailed or telephoned the SENCO department they have got back to me very quickly. Once, I sent an email over the weekend and I had a phone call back at 7am on Monday morning! The two main department members, who are both female are very nurturing. They see the the good qualities in the pupils under their care. These students are not labelled by number or disability but are encouraged and praised for their achievements.

I understand the plight of a parent whose child has extra needs which are not deemed severe enough to warrant a Special Educational Care Plan (formerly known as a statement). This means that they are often left at the mercy of their catchment school instead of a school that they really need.

If you are in this position and living in Essex in the Southchurch High catchment area then you can feel much more positive. The staff work incredibly hard, from early morning till late after school. They are available to speak to. They get to know your child very well. They are not judgmental. They are parents themselves.

Your child has every chance of success if they apply themselves to learning as they would have done in a school of your preferred choice. We intend to send our second child there soon.

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