Sybil Andrews Academy

SEND – Frequently Asked Questions

  • All students have full access to the curriculum – including access to enrichment activities and all school trips.
  • Teaching Assistants support full inclusion.
  • Environmental alterations have been made to make the site accessible for students with physical disabilities.
  • Specialist equipment is available for students with hearing, visual and physical disabilities.
  • Technology supports students in lessons – individual laptops and iPads for students with visual/physical disabilities plus a range of software programs are made available according to need.
  • In Key Stage 4 additional curriculum options are available for students who prefer an alternative to a traditional curriculum offer, this includes ASDAN and Entry Level English and Numeracy.
  • Early identification of needs are through:
    – Information from primary schools/other settings.
    – Regular Progress checks in all subjects.
    – Class teachers make referral to Curriculum Support for advice/assessments if they have concerns about students’ progress.
    – Range of additional assessments are carried out if progress is not made following personalised teaching approaches and support within class.
  • The school follows the SEND Code of Practice 2014: 0-25 years’ graduated approach with regard to the identification and review of pupils with special educational needs: The four key actions are Assess, Plan, Do and Review.
  • Teaching Assistants support students identified as having SEND or who are under-achieving. Support from TAs is focused on developing students’ independent learning skills and managing their own learning. The emphasis is on the process of learning, not simply task completion.
  • One-to-one and small group support targeted at developing skills – phonics, reading comprehension, writing organisation, touch-typing, motor skills, Maths, communication skills.
  • There is a School’s Medical Conditions Policy – Care Plans are in place for all students needing them.
  • Standardised assessments of reading and spelling are carried out when students enter in Year 7.  These assessments are repeated in Y8 to assess progress.  Any student whose scores are particularly weak will receive additional, targeted support for spelling/reading.
  • The Curriculum Support Department have a range of assessments which are used to identify specific needs in literacy and maths.  These assessments provide additional information to inform teaching – within whole class and intervention groups.
  • Students take Preparation Exams during Key Stage 3/4.  These, plus class-based assessments provide evidence of need for support in exams.
  • Formal Assessments are carried out in Key Stage 4 so that Exam Access Arrangements can be put in place for public exams for students who meet the criteria.  Students and parents will be informed (please see separate detailed information on EAA).
  • Referrals for an Education, Health and Care Plan (previously Statement) will be made if a student remains significantly behind their peers and continues to make little or no progress following interventions and/or additional support.  Referrals will be made following discussion and agreement with parents/guardians.
  • The Academy works with staff from County Inclusive Resource, Advisory Teachers for sensory impairment, educational psychologists as well as physiotherapists and occupational therapists for students with physical disabilities.  Requests for support from outside agencies will be made when specialist advice is needed.  Priory and Thomas Wolsey Schools’ Outreach Services offer additional assessments of students as well as support and training to staff.
  • All staff have regular training – on teaching and learning, high-frequency special educational needs, child protection.  All TAs have had training in the regulations governing Exam Access Arrangements.
  • All Teaching Assistants take part in the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Course – See Story Boards of TA practice.
  • A number of TAs have achieved a Level 3 Certificate from the British Institute of Learning Difficulties in Autistic Spectrum Conditions.
  • The SENCO has achieved the National SENCO Award and has undertaken post-graduate training in teaching students with Dyslexia.
  • Two other teachers within the Curriculum Support Department have specialist qualifications in supporting students with dyslexia.
  • In addition to the SENCO, the Curriculum Support Department has highly experienced teachers and Teaching Assistants who offer interventions in literacy, numeracy and social and emotional development.
  • Breakfast Club sessions are run offering support in literacy and numeracy – providing additional support to take place outside of the curriculum.
  • Teaching Assistants work within departments as well as running small group and one-to-one study skills, literacy and numeracy intervention.
  • Touch-typing is offered as both a Breakfast Club and Enrichment activity – students with co-ordination difficulties are encouraged to learn to touch-type to reduce the need for a scribe within class and for exams therefore building independence.  Students with significant difficulties in handwriting are provided with laptops.
  • The Inclusion Officers support students across the whole age range – they provide support for behaviour and social and emotional issues.  The IOs work closely with the Assistant Heads, the Deputy Head for pastoral support and the SENCO.
  • There is a school counsellor to support social, emotional and mental health – the school counsellor also works with the IOs and provides staff training. In addition a trainee counsellor supports the work of the school counsellor.
  • Specialist Teaching Assistants work with students who have social and emotional or behavioural difficulties – working with the school’s Inclusion Officers and the school counsellor.
  • Life skills are developed through the PHSE curriculum for all students.
  • Independent Advice and Guidance regarding careers education is offered to all students.  A specialist careers advisor supports the most vulnerable students.
  • In addition to the school’s extensive Transition Arrangements, specific arrangements are put in place for vulnerable students.  The SENCO visits all main feeder primary schools before Transition.
  • A Higher Level Teaching Assistant, who has the role of Transition Co-ordinator, visits schools following the SENCO visits to work with individuals or groups of students who may have SEND or who are anxious about transition.
  • Students who have Special Educational Needs or who are anxious about transition are invited to Sybil Andrews Academy for additional visits during the summer term – they get to know the environment and key staff.
  • A One page Profile is created and shared with staff at the Academy.  This is completed with students and highlights students’ strengths and targets for development as well as successful support strategies.
  • Some vulnerable students are assigned a Key Worker to provide support during the Transition period  – and beyond if necessary.
  • Preparation for transition from Key Stage 3 into Key Stage 4 for vulnerable students takes place during the summer term through small group meetings and opportunities to meet with Inclusion Officers.
  • Students with Statements/Education, Health and Care Plans have Transition Plans in place following their Year 9 Annual Review.
  • Travel training is offered to vulnerable Key Stage 4 students who are moving on to college post-16. A Teaching Assistant will accompany a student on the bus they will take to college, carry out a risk assessment, building confidence to the point where the student is able to make the journey independently.
  • Parents/carers are invited to Pupil Review Day interviews three times during the year – the SENCO will attend meetings where needed.  This is an opportunity to discuss progress and any concerns.
  • In addition to the school’s policy of communicating and reporting to parents/carers, the SENCO can be contacted at any time by phone or email .
  • Monthly SENCO drop-ins are held during Period 6 and Period 7 – parents/carers are invited to make appointments.  On occasions, outside speakers will be invited to discuss specific issues/areas of Special Educational Needs.  Parents/carers will have information about this in advance. Appointments may also be made to meet with the SENCO at other times.
  • Parents/carers are involved in decisions regarding pupils being placed on the SEND register.  It will only be suggested that students are put onto the register if they are significantly behind their peers and there is little or no progress following additional support/interventions within the classroom.
  • Parents/carers are always involved in referrals for Education, Health and Care Plans and for specialist advice/support from Educational Psychologists and outside agencies.  All decisions about students needing additional support will only be made after consultation and agreement with parents/carers.  Parents/carers may also request referrals to be made.