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 is 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.
Concerned parents can phone, though sending a note or email are the best ways to contact us, as teachers do not have free time during the day unless it is planned. The first port of call should be the student’s tutor or subject teacher via a note in the Planner. Should a student be giving cause for concern, then the teacher will refer to the SENCO. We are student and family centered, so parents can expect “no decision about me without me.” When we assess SEN, we discuss it with parents so that we are all helping the student to progress.
Subject teachers, who oversee, plan and work with each student 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 a student, 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 the parent by the teacher when the support starts. If the student still shows slow progress, then the student will be referred to the SENCO (Mr. Grimes), Assistant Principal (Mr. Roberts) and Heads of Year Mrs. Turner (Year 7,) Ms. Blackmore (Year 8,) Mr. Cue (Year 9,) Ms. Mallord (Year 10) and Mr. Richards (Year 11.) At this stage, the student will be placed on the SEN Register and parents informed.
The subject teachers meet with parents at Parents Evening and tutors meet parents on Academic Review days. Both of these are annual events. If the student is receiving support additional to, or different from, that which is normally available to their peers, then that will be discussed with the parent, the teacher and the SENCO when that support is decided upon.
Mrs. Moseley 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 students with SEN; this report does not refer to individual students 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.
Our curriculum is reviewed and adapted annually to meet the needs of each cohort. For example, this year we are offering Horticulture, i-course in 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 (for example ELSA-run courses) to cater for the needs of our more challenging students. We occasionally use, with parental agreement, outside providers such as The Tor School and Special Schools, for short-term or dual placements.
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. We have three members of the support team trained as ELSA practitioners. CAT scores and Screener 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 students 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.
We offer an open door policy where parents are welcome anytime to make an appointment to meet with either the teacher or SENCO and discuss how their child is getting on. We can offer advice and practical strategies that the parent can use to help at home.
We believe that the student’s education should be a partnership between parents and teachers, therefore we aim to keep communication channels open and communicate regularly, especially if the student has complex needs.
We operate a home/school link book (The Planner) which students take home daily so that comments from parents and teachers can be shared, and responded to, when needed.
We employ a Parent and Family Support Advisor (PFSA), Mrs. Reynolds, who can make home visits and meet students in school. If the student is on the SEN register, an additional annual meeting with the SENCO will be arranged.
If the student has complex SEND or an EHC Plan (Statement,) formal meetings will take place to discuss the student’s progress and a report will be written and shared with all parties.
As a school, we measure student’s progress in learning against national expectations and age-related expectations.
Teachers continually assess each student and notes areas where they are improving and where further support is needed. As a school, we track student’s progress from entry at Year 7 through to Year 11 through three formal reporting points using a broad spread of data including “I Can . . . “ statements and Reading and Spelling ages.
Students who are not making expected progress referred to Review meetings with the tutor, SENCO and Assistant Principals. In these meetings, a discussion takes place about why individual students are experiencing difficulty and what further support can be given to aid their progression. If the student is discussed at one of these meetings and we have concerns, the parent will be informed.
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 Pastoral team looking after all of our student’s needs, whether academic, social or emotional.
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 the parent’s first point of contact. If further support is required, the tutor liaises with the SENCO or Head of Year 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 students and parents during the school day.
The school has a policy regarding the administration and managing of medicines on the school site. We have trained first-aiders, and the Office Manager, Mrs. Smith, carefully monitors medicines.
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 students so that all staff are able to manage medical situations. However, administration of any medicines must be overseen by Mrs. Smith.
Behaviour difficulties do not come under the remit of SEN, though we believe that inappropriate behaviour often masks other difficulties. If a student has behavioural difficulties, a Behaviour Support Plan (BSP) is written alongside the student 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. The Assistant Principal, Mr. Roberts, oversees pastoral Support Plans.
The Tutor monitors attendance of every student on a daily basis. 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.
If a student is accessing SEN support, then their views, together with the parent’s views, 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.
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 student’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.
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, our school nurse (Carrie McMullen), counsellor (Jackie Woodman), PFSA (Cassie Reynolds) and Educational Psychologist (Dawn Thorley) are all fully qualified for the positions they hold.
All students are included in all parts of the school curriculum and we aim for all students 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 student 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 Academy.
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 EMATES (Ethnic minority and Traveller Education Service) who assist us in supporting our families with English as an additional language.
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 students 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 student 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 students to different settings ensuring all relevant paperwork is passed on and all needs are discussed and understood.
We ensure that the needs of all students 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 student’s needs. The budget is allocated on a needs basis. The students who have the most complex needs are given the most support, often involving a Teaching Assistant.
Subject teachers, alongside the SENCO, will discuss the student’s needs and what support would be appropriate. Different students 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.
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.
Students 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. Whenever a student moves on, or off, the SEN Register, parents are informed and invited to discuss the decision with the SENCO should they wish to.
The first point of contact would be the student’s tutor to share parent’s concerns. The parent could also arrange to meet Mr. Grimes our SENCo. The Somerset Parent Partnership is independent organisations that will help with any situations that the parent feel are not right. The Parent Partnership can also arrange for an “advocate” to speak on the parent’s behalf if the parent feels 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/
Parents should contact the school Admin office to arrange to meet the Principal Mrs. Pilgrim, Deputy Principal Mr. Musson, Assistants Principals Ms. King or Mr. Roberts, Mrs. Turner (Year 7), Mrs. Blackmore (Year 8), Mr. Cue (Year 9), Ms. Mallord (Year 10) Mr. Richards (Year 11) or Mr. Grimes (SENCO) who would willingly discuss how the school could meet the child’s needs.