Ansford Academy Contribution to the Local Offer
1. How we identify Special Educational Needs
At Ansford Academy, students are identified as having SEN through a variety of ways, including liaison with primary schools through visits in year 6 and conversations between SENCOs, Year 6 teachers and Head Teachers. SEN are also identified by the SENCO (Mr. Grimes) through concerns raised by parents and by students, through a reported lack of progress in lessons despite quality first teaching, and through Liaison with external agencies e.g. paediatrician, Speech and Language Therapist.
2. How parents/carers can raise concerns about their child
A phone call, note or email is the best way to contact us as teachers do not have free time during the day unless it is planned. Talk to us – firstly contact your child’s tutor or subject teacher. Should your child be giving cause for concern, then the teacher will refer to the SENCO. We are child and family centred, so you can expect "no decision about me without me." When we assess SEN, we will discuss it with you and work with you so that we are all helping your child to progress.
3. How we will support your child
Subject teachers, who oversee, plan and work with each child with SEN in their class to ensure that progress in every area is made, continually assess students’ progress. Termly Progress Meetings are held with the SIL. Any student not making expected progress may require additional support. There may be either a Teaching Assistant (TA) working with your child, individually or as part of a group, if this is seen as necessary by the subject teacher. The regularity of these sessions will be explained to you by the teacher when the support starts. If the student still shows slow progress, then the student will be referred to the SENCO, Head of Year and Associate Principal. At this stage, the student will be placed on the SEN Register and parents informed.
4. How this is explained to Parents and Carers
The subject teachers meet with you at Parents Evening and tutors meet you on Academic Review days. Both of these are annual events. If your child is receiving support additional to, or different from, that which is normally available to their peers, then that will be discussed with you, the teacher and the SENCO when that support is decided upon.
5. Governors involvement and responsibilities
One of the Governors has responsibility for SEN and meets regularly with the SENCo to keep up to date with developments. Mrs. Mosley is the Governor with responsibility for SEN and meets regularly with the SENCO to keep up to date with developments. The SEN Governor reports to the full Governors every term to inform them of the progress of children with SEN; this report does not refer to individual children and confidentiality is maintained at all times. The SEN Policy is reviewed annually by the SEN Governor and SENCO and can be seen on the Academy website.
6. How we adapt the curriculum so that we lower barriers to learning
Our curriculum is reviewed and adapted annually to meet the needs of each cohort. For example, this year we are offering Horticulture, i-learning (computing) and a Diploma in Cookery for our year 10 students. All our staff are trained to make materials and ‘work’ easier or more challenging so that every student is able to learn at their level. We also use additional schemes for individuals and small groups of students, which include phonics programmes, reading/writing groups, social skills groups, as well as specific programmes to cater for the needs of our more challenging students.
7. How we modify teaching approaches
All our staff are trained in a variety of approaches, which means we are able to adapt to a range of SEN, including dyslexia, ASC and SLCN. Testing ensures teachers know the preferred learning styles of our students so that lessons can be adapted to suit the learning needs of all. All work within a class is pitched at an appropriate level so that all children are able to access according to their specific needs. Typically, this might mean that in a lesson there would be three different levels of work set for the class, however, on occasions, this can be individually differentiated.
The benefit of this type of differentiation is that all children can access lessons and learn at their level.
8. How the Academy supports your child’s learning, how we can help you to support your child at home, and what opportunities there are for you to discuss your child’s progress.
We offer an open door policy where you are welcome anytime to make an appointment to meet with either the teacher or SENCo and discuss how your child is getting on. We can offer advice and practical strategies that you can use to help your child at home.
We believe that your child’s education should be a partnership between parents and teachers, therefore we aim to keep communication channels open and communicate regularly, especially if your child has complex needs.
We operate a home/school link book (The Planner) which your child will bring home regularly so that comments from parents and teachers can be shared and responded to when needed.
9. How the Academy knows how each student is doing
As a school, we measure children’s progress in learning against national expectations and age-related expectations.
Teachers continually assess each child and notes areas where they are improving and where further support is needed. As a school, we track children’s progress from entry at Year 7 through to Year 11, through three formal reporting points using a broad spread of data including National Curriculum levels and Reading and Spelling ages.
Students who are not making expected progress are picked up through Review meetings with the tutor, SENCO and Associate Principals. In this meeting, a discussion takes place about why individual children are experiencing difficulty and what further support can be given to aid their progression. If your child is discussed at one of these meetings and we have concerns, you will be informed.
10. What support we offer for your child’s overall well-being, including pastoral, medical and social support.
We are an inclusive school; we welcome and celebrate diversity. All staff realise that student’s self-esteem is crucial to that student’s well-being. We have a caring, understanding team looking after all of our students.
The tutor has overall responsibility for the pastoral, medical, behaviour and social care of every student in his or her class, therefore this would be your first point of contact. If further support is required, the tutor liaises with the SENCo for further advice and support. This may involve working alongside outside agencies such as Health and Social Services, CAMHS, Diabetes Team, Hearing specialists, etc.
The school also has a trained Counsellor, Mrs. Woodman, who works with vulnerable children and parents during the school day.
11. How the Academy manages the administration of medicines
The school has a policy regarding the administration and managing of medicines on the school site. We have trained first-aiders, and medicines are carefully monitored by the Office Manager, Mrs. Smith.
Parents need to contact the class teacher if medication is recommended by Health Professionals to be taken during the school day.
As a staff we have regular training and updates of conditions and medication affecting individual children so that all staff are able to manage medical situations. However, administration of any medicines must be overseen by Mrs. Smith.
12. Support for behaviour, avoiding exclusions and increasing attendance
Behaviour difficulties do not come under the remit of SEN, though we believe that inappropriate behaviour often masks other difficulties. If a child has behavioural difficulties, a Behaviour Support Plan (BSP) is written alongside the child and parents to identify the specific issues, put relevant support in place and set targets. If we feel a student is in danger of exclusion, we may create a Pastoral Support Plan. This will pull together all of the support that we can offer, including the services of an Educational Psychologist, in order to avoid exclusion. Mr. Roberts, the Assistant Principal, oversees Pastoral Support Plans.
Attendance of every child is monitored on a daily basis by the Tutor. Lateness and absence are recorded and reported to the Attendance Officer, Mrs. Sweetlove. Support is given through an incentive scheme where good attendance is actively encouraged throughout the school.
13. The views of the child
If your child is accessing SEN support, then their views, together with yours, will be used to shape the interventions that are needed. Any student on an EHC or Statement of SEN will have regular meetings where their views will be recorded.
14. Specialist services and expertise available at, or accessed by, the Academy.
Our SENCo is fully qualified and accredited and is able to assess the needs of our students. As a school we work closely with any external agencies that we feel are relevant to individual children’s needs within our school including: Educational Psychologist Service (Dawn Thorley), school nurse (Mrs. McMullen), clinical psychologists, GPs, paediatricians, speech & language therapists and occupational therapists, social services - including Locality Teams and Social Workers.
15. Training for the staff supporting children with SEN.
All teachers are teachers of students with SEN. Teaching staff have regular training around the more common Educational Needs such as Autism, Dyslexia and Speech, Language and Communication Difficulties. The SENCO is a qualified and experienced teacher and holds the National SEN Coordinator qualification
All of our LSAs have had training in delivering reading and spelling/phonics programmes, social skills, literacy and numeracy skills, and are adept at supporting students at GCSE level. In addition, we have a school nurse (Carrie McMullen), a counsellor
16. Inclusion of students in activities outside the classroom, including school trips.
All children are included in all parts of the school curriculum and we aim for all children to be included on school trips. We will provide the necessary support to ensure that this is successful.
A risk assessment is carried out prior to any off-site activity to make sure everyone’s health & safety will not be compromised. In the unlikely event that it is considered unsafe for a child to take part in an activity, then alternative activities, which will cover the same curriculum areas, will be provided in school. This eventuality has not yet arisen at Ansford.
17. Accessibility of the school environment
Not all of the school site is wheelchair accessible, but most of it is. When we receive a student with physical difficulties then we look to change the school site so that it is accessible. We have disabled toilets and changing facilities in several areas of the school. The school is mostly on one level with ramps at specified fire exits. The PIMST team are always available to help and advise when we receive students with physical disabilities. We also work closely with Sarah Biggs from the Hearing Support Team and Ali Batchelor from the Visual impairment team. We liaise regularly with EMAS (Ethnic minority Achievement Service) who assist us in supporting our families with English as an additional language.
18. Preparing and supporting students when joining and transferring to a new school
We encourage all new students to visit the Academy prior to starting when they will be given a tour. For students with SEND, we encourage further visits to help with acclimatising to the new surroundings. Our Transition Group for Vulnerable Students has been particularly successful, as has our School Entry Plans (overseen by the Educational Psychologist) for those students with complex needs. We visit all our local primaries several times before transition and enjoy close and supportive relationships with all of our feeder schools. When children are preparing to leave us for a new school, typically to go to Colleges of Further Education, we meet with our opposite numbers and discuss every child that is transferring. For more vulnerable students we arrange transition programmes to help and support their move.
We liaise closely with Staff when receiving and transferring children to different settings ensuring all relevant paperwork is passed on and all needs are discussed and understood.
19. Allocation of Academy resources
We ensure that the needs of all children who have SEN are met to the best of our ability with the funds available. The SENCO, Mr. Grimes, is directly responsible for the provision that students with SEN receive.
We have a team of TAs who are funded from the SEN budget and deliver programmes designed to meet groups of children’s needs. The budget is allocated on a needs basis. The Children who have the most complex needs receive the most support, often involving a TA.
20. The type and quantity of support your child might receive.
Subject teachers, alongside the SENCo, will discuss the child’s needs and what support would be appropriate.
Different children will require different levels of support in order to bridge the gap to achieve age-expected levels. Support varies from advice and information to teachers, to specific, targeted interventions outside the classroom.
The level and type of support will be decided through on-going discussions with parents, the student and outside professionals should we consider their expertise useful.
21. Conveying the impact of support to parents
We regularly review student’s progress and convey this to parents 3 times per year. In addition, students that are receiving specific interventions will be invited to discuss the impact of these interventions.
Children may move off the SEN register when they have completed an intervention, but, when reviewed at termly progress meetings, might go back on the register if further interventions are required.
22. Who you can contact for further information
The first point of contact would be your child’s tutor to share your concerns. You could also arrange to meet Mr. Grimes our SENCo. The Somerset Parent Partnership is an independent organisation that will help with any situations that you feel are not right. The Parent Partnership can also arrange for an "advocate" to speak on your behalf if you feel it would be beneficial. They can be found on the Somerset County Council Website. IPSEA (Independent Parental Special Education Advice) is also available to parents and carers and can be found at www.ipsea.org.uk/
23. Who you should contact if you are considering whether your child should join the Academy
Parents should contact the school Admin office to arrange to meet the Principal Mrs. Pilgrim, Assistant Principals Mrs. King and Mr. Roberts, Mrs. Turner (Head of Year 7), Mrs. Blackmore (Head of Year 8) Mr. Cue (Head of Year 9), Ms. Mallord (Head of Year 10), Mr. Richards (Head of Year 11), or Mr. Grimes (SENCO) who would willingly discuss how the school could meet your child’s needs.