We warmly welcome you and your child to St Thomas More Catholic Academy.
We understand what a stressful time transition to High Academy can be for both children and parents and we want to make the transition as smooth and as happy as possible. With this in mind we have generated a number of frequently asked questions and answers for you. The list is not exhaustive but we feel it may help to settle your mind about our daily practices with pupils with Special Educational Needs. As an Academy SENCo I am passionate about Special Educational Needs and at all times strive to help young people to access the curriculum in a meaningful way. This process starts right at your child’s primary Academy where links are made as early as year 5. Once we have received confirmation that your child will be joining us, a transition programme is put in place. This can be more or less intensive, depending on your child’s particular needs. Below are a variety of questions and answers. I have tried to imagine the types of questions that I would want to ask if I was a prospect parent. However, anything that isn’t addressed please do contact us. We do hope that your child will be very happy at our Academy and we will do everything possible to ensure that they are able to make sustained progress regardless of their ability. Please note, this also incorporates our SEND Policy.
NB. The SENCo at St Thomas More Catholic Academy is Mrs Diane Lovatt
As an academy we feel that ‘Every teacher is a teacher of Special Educational Needs’. Therefore, we aim to ensure that if a child has a Special Educational Need, they are offered the same high quality teaching as their peers. This is evident in the way that each teacher differentiates their curriculum subject to match the needs of each learner. It is also evident in the high quality marking of the pupils’ work, whatever their ability.
St Thomas More Catholic Academy provides education for students ranging from age 11 to age 18 (yrs 7 – 13). Many of these pupils have areas of difficulty in the areas outlined below and outlined in the New Code of Practice:
We identify and assess students with SEND using information from the following sources:
St Thomas More Catholic Academy is a fully inclusive academy and most of the Academy’s students follow a highly differentiated National Curriculum. The Academy places students in appropriate teaching groups (via data from their primary Academy and other tests). All of the Academy’s teaching and educational support staff have been given training to enable them to provide high quality teaching and learning for students regardless of SEN status.
Teaching staff have been provided with a toolkit that incorporates SEN resources in order to provide Quality First Teaching for those students with SEN and this will be reviewed annually. The Academy operates an open door policy whereby teaching staff can visit the SENCo for guidance should they require it. Staff members regularly have the opportunity to access specialist training on SEN.
If you have concerns about your child, you are able to contact: Mrs Lovatt (the SENCo) or Mrs Templeton (Assistant SENCo) on: (01782) 882941. Alternatively, the email addresses are as follows: Mrs Lovatt – email@example.com or Mrs Templeton – firstname.lastname@example.org
St Thomas More Catholic Academy’s arrangements for assessing and reviewing the progress of pupils with SEN is done in several ways:
Each pupil on the SEN register has a Personal Passport. Your child’s Personal Passport will be differentiated to match your child’s individual needs and will be compiled with your child at the centre of the process. Personal targets will be set with you and your child. This may include additional general support by the teacher or teaching assistant in class, or use of particular resources (eg. a laptop or coloured overlays).
If a pupil has needs related to more specific areas of their education or social skills, such as: spelling, handwriting, numeracy and literacy skills etc. then the pupil may be placed in a small focus group. This is something that would be discussed with you the parent. The length of time of the intervention will vary according to need but will generally be between 10 and 12 weeks. The interventions will be regularly reviewed by all involved to ascertain the effectiveness of the provision and to inform future planning. These interventions will be recorded on a Provision Map. This is a record of the interventions, timings and impact of the intervention. If you have any queries related to the interventions please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Lovatt, or Mrs Templeton.
We follow the Assess, Plan, Do and Review process as set out in the Code of Practice (2015). These Pupil Progress Meetings are held three times a year. The first meeting is an opportunity to meet all your child’s subject teachers about general progress. You will also be able to meet the Academy SENCo and Assistant SENCo for a more focussed discussion about your child’s individual special needs. The second and third meeting will take place separately. It is an opportunity to meet with your child’s teacher, the SENCo or the Assistant SENCo. At this meeting you will be able to discuss your child’s passport, targets and the results of any interventions that have taken place. This shared discussion may highlight any potential problems in order for further support to be planned.
Occasionally a pupil may need more expert support from an outside agency such as an Autistic Spectrum Disorder Specialist, Dyslexic Specialist etc. We always ensure that before we recommend any outside agency, parents are fully informed of our intentions and permission is obtained. Once this has taken place, referral forms are then completed and forwarded to the most appropriate agency. After a series of assessments, a programme of support is usually put into place that will target your child’s particular area of need.
St Thomas More Catholic Academy offers a wide variety of pastoral support for pupils who are encountering emotional, social and behavioural difficulties. These include:
At times it may be necessary to consult with outside agencies to receive their more specialised expertise. The agencies used by the Academy include:
All staff who work with SEN take part in regular training related to SEND. These have included sessions on:
Activities and Academy trips are available to all pupils regardless of their Special Educational Needs. We actively encourage our SEN pupils to join our drama groups, student voice panels, to become prefects, to join in assembly items etc.
As an Academy we are happy to discuss individual access requirements. Facilities we have at present include:
St Thomas More Catholic Academy understands what a stressful time moving schools can be. Therefore, many strategies are in place to enable your child’s transition to run as smoothly as possible. These include on entry:
The Nurture Group began in September 2012 and has proven to be extremely successful. Pupils are recommended by their primary schools to go into the Nurture Group if they have emotional difficulties or if they would find the transition from Primary to Secondary school difficult. The Nurture Group provides a caring and supportive environment for students who attend each day for an hour. During the Nurture session, qualified Learning Support Practitioners provide extra Literacy and Numeracy sessions and life skills lessons with a focus on Emotional Literacy. A network meeting is held for parents of the Nurture Group three times per year so that parents are able to track their child’s progress and see their work in more detail.
In September 2017 a new group called the Family group was set up. This facility is for the most vulnerable pupils and pupils who need almost Special School facilities. The Family group only holds up to 10 pupils at any time and the pupils are taught for the majority of their lessons in the Reconciliation Centre. These pupils follow a part-time programme of English, Maths, Science, RE, Geography, Art and Cookery. The remaining part of their lessons focus on Horticulture, ASDAN, Inference Skills, Language Group and Social Skills. The pupils remain in their Family group until the Easter of year 8. They are then weaned into some Core lessons of English and Maths and they are slowly integrated into the mainstream lessons where appropriate.
The governing body welcomes other organisations to provide information, advice and guidance on students with SEN. If an external body or agency is already involved with a particular student then they will also have the opportunity to attend any consultations or reviews concerning that student.
The Academy will recommend any other agencies or bodies to the family where necessary via Early Help, Child in Need, Child Protection, Annual Reviews and Parents’ Evenings.
Mrs Jane Johnson is the Local Academy Representative who is linked to the SEN department and holds regular meetings and consultations with both the SENCo and Head Teacher regarding SEN matters. She is there to ensure that provision is robust and that it is having an impact on the progress of the SEN children in the Academy.
The Stoke on Trent Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) provide a range of information from education law to related law on disability, health and social care to help parents/carers, children and young people in making informed choices enabling them to play an active role in relation to education decisions. They can offer support if you have concerns with or without an Education Heal Care Plan in place for the child or young person. They can be contacted by telephone, letter or email:
Tel: 0178 234701
Stoke on Trent Information, Advice and Support Service The Mount Education Support Centre
Stoke on Trent ST4 7JU
If you wish to discuss your child’s Special Educational Needs or other aspects of their provision at St Thomas More Catholic Academy, please contact one of the following:
Appointments can also be made with any of these staff through the Academy Office. Tel: 01782 882900
I hope this has gone some way to answering any queries you may have. However, please do not hesitate to contact the Academy if you have further questions. We are always happy to help.
Mrs Diane Lovatt (SENCo)
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