Guidelines for students with special education needs


Studies show that students with extra support needs can be more at risk of experiencing bullying behaviours in schools (which is one key focus of the W@S surveys). Therefore it is important to include the views of these students as you collect data.

As a starting point, your school could review the different learning and support needs of current students, and depending on these needs, determine appropriate strategies so that all students are able to take part in the W@S self-review process. Strategies could include:

  • Assisting students to complete the W@S surveys
  • Providing opportunities for students to contribute to alternative forms of data collection (such as individual or group discussions to share views, or assisting students to take part in visual surveys).

For students with physical, behavioural, or communication support needs

  • The W@S Primary survey is designed so that it can be understood by Year 5 students with the range of literacy levels likely at decile 1-10 schools. The primary survey is designed to be read aloud to all students. This should provide extra support for ESOL students and those with lower literacy levels. Teachers are also encouraged to use their professional judgement and read the W@S intermediate and secondary survey aloud to students if required.
  • Students with mild special learning or literacy needs can be supported to complete a survey in a small group situation. A staff member could read the survey to students at a pace that suits them, and answer any queries that may arise.
  • Students with moderate literacy or special learning needs, or physical needs, can be assisted to complete the W@S survey with one-on-one support from a trusted staff member the child is used to working with (such as a SENCO, speech-language therapist, classroom teacher, or teacher aide.)


For students with high special learning needs 

For students’ whose learning needs suggest that they will not be able to complete a W@S survey, to ensure their views are heard and included in the wider school self-review process students can be involved in an individual or group discussion with a trusted support person. This discussion could explore students’ views about how safe and caring their school is (or “feels”), the extent to which they experience any aggressive behaviours such as bullying, as well as pro-social (helping and caring) behaviours. Techniques could be used such as drama or drawing, or the use of photos or images as prompts. Some of the visual prompts included in the surveys below could be used for this purpose.