The Academy at Shotton Hall is an inclusive school where every child is valued and respected. We are committed to the inclusion, progress and independence of all of our students, including those with SEN. We work to support our students to make progress in their learning, their emotional and social development and their independence. We aim to create a learning environment which is of high quality but we also actively work to support the learning and needs of all members of our community.
High quality teaching
Staff at The Academy at Shotton Hall strive to provide high quality teaching to all of our students. Teachers prepare schemes of work and lessons which support the learning and progress of all students through a variety of methods, including creative and innovative teaching techniques and the use of a wide variety of resources. Individual departments are responsible for their curriculum and teaching staff adapt their teaching and resources to suit the needs of all learners, including those with SEND, in their classrooms (known as differentiation). Such in-class differentiation may involve many adaptations and strategies, dependent upon the needs of the student.
Staff have access to regular training opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills, including regular CPD sessions on a wide variety of educational concerns, including SEN issues. We also hold training for individual students to address how staff can cater for their sometimes complex needs.
Tracking and monitoring progress
All staff are responsible for assessing, monitoring and tracking the progress of our students. Each student is regularly assessed in class in all subjects and levels are recorded and reported to parents at least once per term. At a whole school level, aspirational targets are set for all students (4 LOP) including those with SEND. Staff are responsible for setting each student achievable yet challenging targets within lessons and having high expectations of progress. Heads of Departments, Sept Tutors, Learning Managers and the SENCo regularly check on the progress of students and if someone is not making the expected levels of progress then intervention is made to provided this. A massive range of intervention strategies are in place both inside and outside of normal levels. Data is tracked at regular intervals so that intervention can take place if needs be.
Despite high quality teaching, some students are unable to make expected progress and this could be for a variety of reasons, one of which is a special educational need. Staff use tracking data and knowledge of students to identify such students and if they have a concern that there might be an undiagnosed special educational need, they will raise that concern with the SENCo. The SENCo will then investigate further by liaising with parents, gaining the views of the student, gathering more information about the student from other staff who teach or support them, carrying out testing as appropriate and referring the student to an outside service (Advisory Support Teacher, Educational Psychologist) if appropriate. Once this information has been gathered, if a special educational need is suspected or diagnosed, a meeting will be arranged, including parents, to discuss the student’s needs and subsequent actions.
Students transitioning to The Academy at Shotton Hall who have already been diagnosed with a special educational need will have information passed on by their previous school. Such students may or may not be placed on the SEN register depending on the information we receive, but will all be monitored and tracked in terms of their progress and supported as appropriate. If a parent suspects an undiagnosed special educational need in their child, they should initially contact the SENCo to share their concerns. The SENCo will then investigate further, as above.
The definition of a special educational need is ‘where their learning difficulty or disability calls for special educational provision, namely provision different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age. Making higher quality teaching normally available to the whole class is likely to mean that fewer pupils will require such support’.
(Definition taken from the Special Educational Needs and 3 disability code of practice :0-25 years)
Students with SEN will be placed on the school’s SEN register, which is accessible to all staff in school. Staff also have access to an Individual Needs register which covers children with a variety of needs, such as low literacy or numeracy skills or medical conditions to help inform their planning.
Supporting SEN students
Where a student is diagnosed with a special education need, support will be put in place to help them make progress. Such support might involve: further differentiation in class by teachers, advice to teachers on a student’s need and strategies to be implemented, small group targeted intervention sessions and referrals to outside agencies, or a combination.
Interventions may involve bespoke packages or a programme developed specifically for that student or group of students. Current interventions include: Fresh Start, 202020, LINK, Moving UP and Better Reading Partnership (BRP) for literacy, Building positive self-concept, The Incredible Five Point Scale, Understanding your emotions and Your Choice for social skills support as well as support from outside agencies for things like speech and language and autistic spectrum disorder amongst others. We have an ongoing SEAL programme available for those students need help with social and emotional aspects of learning.
Interventions follow a monitoring cycle involving: assess–plan-do-review. Where an intervention with a student is not found to be effective, the school will endeavour to find out why and put in place a more effective programme. Interventions are regularly reviewed to ensure effectiveness and to ensure that the school continually strives to improve their intervention programme.
Some students receive support through the use of technology, including the use of a laptop or tablet. If appropriate, the SENCO will apply to ATT for such equipment. Students who are allocated technology are also sometimes provided with software to support their progress. Students with visual or hearing impairments may also be assessed and supplied with equipment to support their needs; this is currently supplied by Durham County’s sensory support service.
Parents/Carers of students with SEN will have regular meetings with school staff to discuss their child’s progress, support needs and any concerns they may have.However, parents/carers are welcome to request a meeting or discussion with school staff at any time, including the SENCO, if they have a concern.
Education, health and care plans
Where a student with SEN is failing to make progress, despite high quality teaching and support through their SEN support, an application to the Local Authority for an Education, Health and Care Plan may be considered. Parents, the Local Authority and outside agencies will be fully involved in such decisions and meetings will be organised to consider and plan such a referral. More information on the application process and criteria for Education, Health and Care Plans is available on the Local Authority website.
Students with current Statements of Special Educational Need will continue on these until the Local Authority reviews their provision to decide if they fulfil the criteria for an Education, Health and Care Plan. There was a three year transition period, starting September 2014, for reviewing all students on Statements of Special Educational Need to decide if they fulfil such criteria and the Local Authority has a programme for this transition. We are currently in our final year of ensuring all students have transferred to an EHC if appropriate.
Students with SEN who have Statements of Special Educational Need or Education, Health and Care Plans will receive a higher level of support than other students and such support is co-ordinated by the SENCO. Their Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education, Health and Care Plan will be reviewed regularly, at least once per year, with the parent/carer, student and appropriate outside agencies.
Working with outside agencies
Where a student with SEN is not making appropriate progress and The Academy at Shotton Hall feel that they need advice and support from external professionals, we will discuss such a need with parents. If it is felt appropriate, we will then refer a student to an external agency and/or professionals for diagnosis, support or advice. Subsequent to such a referral, we will work with the external agency to support such students, using their support and advice. The Academy at Shotton Hall has a contract with the Local Authority EPSS Service (Educational Psychology Support Service) to whom we make referrals for Advisory Support Teachers and Educational Psychologists. The Academy at Shotton Hall also works with other external agencies such as Sensory Support, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Speech and Language Therapy, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Services.
Parent and child involvement
The Academy at Shotton Hall puts working with parents/carers and students at the centre of its work. Students are regularly involved with reviewing their progress and encouraged to express their needs and concerns with relevant staff. Students with SEN are encouraged to express any concerns they may have to the SENCO, their Sept Tutor, their Learning Manager or any other member of staff with whom they feel comfortable to talk about their concerns.
Parents and Carers are equally at the centre of supporting their children. They are fully involved in decisions about support for their child, including decisions to investigate a potential diagnosis, referral to external agencies, planning and evaluating support. They are encouraged to contact any member of staff at school if they have any concerns about their child. The SENCO is always pleased to discuss any concerns involving SEN with parents and carers.
Equality (including accessibility)
‘All schools have duties under the Equality Act 2010 towards individual disabled children and young people. They must make reasonable adjustments to prevent them being put at a substantial disadvantage.’ ‘Schools also have wider duties to prevent discrimination, to promote equality of opportunity and to foster good relations’ (Quotations taken from the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years. Published June 2014 for implementation September 2014.)
The Academy at Shotton Hall is an inclusive school and actively seeks to promote the inclusion of students with SEN and disabilities. We use our best endeavours to ensure that all students with SEN and disabilities are able to fully participate in the life of the school, both in their learning and in the wider provision and life of the school. Adaptations and provisions are made for SEN and disabled students to enable them to participate in all school trips and other out of class activities.
Students with SEN are actively encouraged, supported and given opportunities to become involved with extra-curricular activities. For example, current students with SEN have been involved with the following clubs: lunchtime, breakfast and break time clubs, homework club, steel band, STEM club, sports clubs, and live performance events. SEN students have also participated in student panels for new members of staff, Year 6 transition support and in the annual school production.
Read our full equality policy here.
Please download our school admissions policy here.
The Academy at Shotton Hall is committed to creating a safe environment in which everyone is appreciated for themselves, and in which care and consideration for others is nurtured within a community. Emphasis is placed upon the development of a school culture and expectation that bullying is unacceptable, challenged and resolved. For more information about how our school responds to bullying incidents, please refer to our Anti-Bullying Policy in the Policies section of our website.
Looked after children (LAC)
Any LAC students who have special educational needs have access to our normal provision and the following:
- LACES virtual school
- A special educational psychologist team
- Full circle (therapeutic support)
- Social services