At The Discovery Academy we welcome everyone into our community. The Discovery Academy endeavours to make available inclusive provision to ensure that all students, including those identified with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), can enjoy and benefit from a broad and balanced education with access to the National Curriculum at an appropriate level, so that they may achieve their full potential.
Our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) is Ms Rebecca Prince.
We are committed to narrowing the attainment gap between SEND and non-SEND students and offer a range of personalised learning intervention/opportunities to support this. We are very proud of all our students and their achievements and our aim is to give them the tools in order to become independent learners.
1. How does the academy know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
At The Discovery Academy students are identified as having special education needs through a variety of ways including the following:-
- Liaison with previous school
- Child performing below age expected levels
- Concerns raised by parent
- Concerns raised by the child
- Concerns raised by teacher for example behaviour or self-esteem is affecting performance
- Liaison with Multi-Agencies
- Health diagnosis through paediatrician
2. How will the academy staff support my child?
- The academy staff will support individuals at a level appropriate to their needs through effective differentiation in the classroom.
- The Extended Learning Department provides intervention programmes to meet a variety of needs relating to literacy and numeracy skills; emotional and social difficulties; and communication and interaction difficulties.
- The provision is reviewed every year to ensure it addresses the needs of current students.
3. How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
- The Extended Learning Department aims to ensure the fullest possible access to the curriculum for students with Special and additional Educational needs.
- In Key Stage 4, the academy offers a range of pathways to ensure that students are able to achieve their maximum potential by being matched to the pathway which addresses their learning needs while presenting some challenge.
4. How does the academy know how well my child is doing?
- The academy measures children’s progress in learning against national expectations and age related expectations. The teachers continually assess each child and note 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, using a variety of different methods including National Curriculum levels and Reading and Spelling ages.
- Children who are not making expected progress are picked up through Review meetings with Heads of Year, Heads of Department and the SENCO. In this meeting a discussion takes place concerning why individual children are experiencing difficulty and what further support can be given to aid their progression.
- If your child has a statement or EHC Plan then when this is reviewed comments are made against each objective to show what progress the child has made. If the child has not met the target, the reasons for this will be discussed, then the target may be adapted into smaller steps or a different approach may be tried to ensure the child does make progress.
5. What opportunities are there for me to discuss my child’s progress?
- As a parent you will receive regular reports with regard to your child’s progress. In addition to this there are the Parents’ Evenings which provide an opportunity to meet with subject staff and discuss progress.
- We offer an open door policy where you are welcome any time to make an appointment to meet with SENCo and discuss how your child is getting on. We can offer advice and practical ways that you can 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.
- Children with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan or a Statement of SEN will also have an Annual Review Meeting and outside agencies may be invited to attend. We consider that the parents/carer’s views are a vital part of the review and therefore request your attendance and support for your child.
6. What support will there be for my child's overall wellbeing?
- We are an inclusive academy; we welcome and celebrate diversity. All staff believe that children having high self-esteem is crucial to a child’s well-being. We have a caring, understanding team looking after our children.
- The Head of Year has overall responsibility for the pastoral and social care of every child in their year group, therefore this would be the parents’ first point of contact. If further support is required the Head of Year liaises with the SENCo for further advice and support. This may involve working alongside outside agencies such as Health and Social Services.
7. How does the academy manage the administration of medicines?
- The academy has a procedure regarding the administration and managing of medicines on the school site. Parents need to contact the academy 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.
8. What support is there for behaviour, avoiding exclusion and increasing attendance?
- The academy has a very positive approach to all types of behaviour with a clear reward system that is followed by all staff and students. If a child has behavioural difficulties meetings are held with the child and parents to identify the specific issues, put relevant support in place and set targets. As a result of the support we give, our rate of exclusions has drastically reduced over the past year.
- After any serious behaviour incident we expect the child to reflect on their behaviour with an adult. This helps to identify why the incident happened and what the child needs to do differently next time to change and improve their behaviour.
- Attendance of every child is monitored on a daily basis by the Attendance Officer. Lateness and absence are recorded and reported upon to the Head of Year. Support is given through an incentive scheme where good attendance is actively encouraged throughout the school. We have had many successes where families were struggling with lateness but are now able to get their children into the academy on time.
9. What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the academy?
- The staff working at The Discovery Academy are highly trained and experienced in supporting a wide range of SEND conditions. Our SENCo is fully qualified and accredited.
- The academy works closely with any external agencies that we feel are relevant to individual children’s needs within our setting including: GPs, school nurse, clinical psychologist, paediatricians, speech & language therapists; occupational therapists; social workers and Educational Psychologists.
10. What training have the staff supporting children with SEND had?
- The Extended Learning Team has staffed trained in delivering reading and spelling / phonics programmes, impulse control programmes, behaviour support, speech and language programmes. All our staff take part in on-going SEND training programmes.
11. How will my child be included in activities outside this classroom including academy trips?
- All children are included in all parts of the curriculum and we aim for all children to be included on academy 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 ensure 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 the academy.
12. How accessible is the academy environment?
- The academy site is wheelchair accessible with several disabled toilets that are large enough to accommodate changing. The academy has lifts to enable those with restricted mobility to access the upper floor.
- We liaise with the Local Authority EAL Team who assist us in supporting our families with English as an additional language.
13. How will the academy prepare and support my child person to join the academy or the next stage of education and life?
- We encourage all new children to visit the academy prior to starting when they will be shown. For children with SEND we would encourage further visits to assist with the acclimatisation of the new surroundings. We would also visit them in their current school.
- For those transferring at the end of Year 6 we arrange a transition day for them to have the opportunity of spending the whole day with us.
- We run a programme specifically tailored to aid transition into Year 6 for the more vulnerable students.
- We liaise closely with staff when receiving and transferring children to different schools ensuring all relevant paperwork is passed on and all needs are discussed and understood.
Transition to post-16 provision:
- The Careers Advisor attends Year 10 and 11 annual reviews to give independent advice and guidance to students and their parents
- Towards the end of Year 10 students have a one to one meeting with our Careers Advisor
- Taster sessions and informal visits to college take place throughout KS4
- Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs), are shared with local colleges. These are soon to be replaced, along with Statements of Special Educational Needs, by Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)
- Our Foundation Learning curriculum is specifically designed to prepare our more vulnerable students for their post-16 options and to enable them to develop independent living skills.
14. How are the academy's resources allocated and matched to children's special educational needs?
- We ensure that all children who have Special Educational needs are met to the best of the academy’s ability with the funds available.
- We have a team of Learning & Teaching Assistants (LTA) 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 are given the most support often involving an LTA.
15. How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?
The SENCo or the Head of Year will meet with you to discuss your 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. This will be through on-going discussions with parents. We know if this has had an impact:
- By reviewing children’s targets and ensuring they are being met
- The child is making progress academically against national/age expected levels and the gap is narrowing – they are catching up to their peers or expected age levels.
- Through verbal feedback from the teachers, parent and child.
- Children may move off of the Extended Learning register when they have ‘caught up’ or made sufficient progress.
16. What do I do if I want to make a complaint?
The complaints policy is published on the Academy´s website or alternatively you can request a copy from the Academy by contacting reception.
17. What other support is available to parents and how can I contact them?
The Discovery Academy will offer an Early Help if parents or families need extra support. Other support for parents include the SEND Information, Advice Support Service (SENDIASS), Safeguarding board and access to the Stoke-On-Trent Local Offer where links to a range of supportive agencies can be found.