Bowden House School is a smaller than average specialist school providing weekly residential boarding for boys age 9-18yrs with severe social, emotional and mental health issues (SEMH), previously behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD). Every school is required to identify and address the SEND of the pupils they support and must use their best endeavours to make sure a child with SEND gets the support they need – in this instance, this means doing everything they can to meet children and young people’s SEMH needs. As a supplementary memorandum in the Education and Skills Committee report (2005), Baroness Warnock exclaims that some students with less profound disabilities may “be unable to learn in a large comprehensive school even if they have Teaching Assistants for a certain number of hours a week”, “Those with emotional and behavioural problems.. difficulties will increase as long as they stay in school” (Ev.9). At Bowden House School all students have an EHCP and the use of teaching assistants is integral to the teaching and learning of our students. Budget constraints in secondary schools is impacting on school SEND provision. The SEND code of practice (6.2) specifies ‘Every school is required to identify and address the SEN of the pupils and use their best endeavours to ensure the students get the support they need’. On a recent visit to an inclusive secondary school, it was interesting to note from the SEN policy in place that “All teachers are teachers of students with special educational needs”. However, not all students with SEND worked with the learning support department or had an EHCP. Looking specifically at SEMH students, the teaching assistants mainly worked with the SEMH students within the department and not in the classroom setting. This was because they did not have many teaching assistants, so it was not possible to provide support for all the students in the classroom. Where students needed support from the teaching assistants in lessons, the students shared a TA. This led to the students being grouped into 4-5 with a high level of need in one class. There is then the need to ensure that ‘sink groups’ were not created. The main aim is to make the students more independent so they can cope in lessons on their own with differentiation and quality first teaching. Are TAs necessary in supporting SEMH in mainstream secondary lessons? Or were they hindering the student and holding back progress?