Inclusion and equality are concepts that we pride ourselves on at Grace Academy Darlaston in order to make education and Academy life accessible to everyone by removing barriers and creating opportunities. The Academy’s provisions are wide-ranging and adaptable to ensure that everyone has access to quality-first teaching, exciting experiences and outstanding prospects.
Our ambition is for pupils with additional needs of all varieties to become successful citizens in the community, whilst they achieve their potential and personal goals. We aim to use pupil’s voice to guide our ambitions and support them in making appropriate progress academically and socially.
Students’ work is challenged to be of a high standard through the application of reasonable adjustments to allow students to strive towards the same end points as all students. Lessons are differentiated to include accessibility, as well as stretch and challenge. No students’ curricula should be limited and therefore we provide high support in order to access a consistent and broad curriculum for all.
The curriculum is well adapted to suit the needs of individual classes and students to provide the same opportunities for all in an accessible way. Students who require it, may access 1 to 1 or shared TA support in the classroom to support access of the curricula. Students have access to a range of resources such as fidget aids, time out passes, handwriting pens and more to remove barriers to learning.
The SENCO meets with Heads of Department and Curriculum Leads to discuss a shared vision for students with additional needs. Internal data is carefully scrutinised by the learning support team and the support in place is carefully adjusted to ensure the right help is in the right place, at the right time. Students have access to enrichment and extra support to widen their access to the curriculum through pre-reading and building on wider skills.
The SEND Code of Practice, which underpins our policies and procedures, states:
“All children and young people are entitled to an appropriate education, one that is appropriate to their needs, promotes high standards and the fulfilment of potential.
This should enable them to:
• achieve their best
• become confident individuals living fulfilling lives, and
• make a successful transition into adulthood, whether into employment, further or higher education or training”
With this in mind, we ensure that our focus is not solely on academic progress, but supporting young people in developing their social skills, building their self-esteem and exploring wider opportunities. Our dedicated learning support team have students’ wellbeing and individuality at the heart of their daily practice alongside well-trained staff across the Academy.
Identifying Additional Needs:
We pride ourselves on striving for the best for all young people, which sometimes means identifying and lifting barriers to success. There are many ways in which we, as an Academy, seek to identify additional needs, including (but not exhaustive to):
- Primary to secondary transition meetings and visits
- Parental meetings
- Teacher referrals
- Screening (in particular for dyslexia and dyscalculia but also general learning difficulties)
- Observations (for various areas of need)
- Liaison with outside agencies: CAMHS, Educational Psychology, Speech and Language and many more
We aim to keep parents and carers involved throughout the process of identifying any potential areas of need and keep the best interest of the young person at heart.
SEND Support and EHCPs
1: School Support
Pupils who may benefit from more targeted teacher intervention are placed at ‘School Support’. These pupils are supported through High Quality Teaching. Teachers will plan accordingly with students’ individual differences at the heart of their preparation, delivery and assessment. The teacher may offer enrichment classes, or the pupil may access some internal support interventions such as reading; small group interventions or additional in class support or resources.
If your child is at School Support you can expect to receive regular liaison with the learning support team, teachers, head of year and pastoral staff through parents’ evening and student reports.
2. SEN Support
At SEN Support, pupils feature on the Academy’s SEND list and are recognised as ‘SEN K’. This means that they need some external or additional support on top of the quality teaching that they receive in order to make expected progress.
If we feel that a child would benefit from SEN Support, we may invite you and your child to complete an Individual Support Plan (ISP) with us. This document is developed using expert advice from appropriate stakeholders and then shared with teaching staff on the staff portal. It details how teaching staff may adapt their teaching methods to meet your child’s needs, and informs staff of additional support your child is in receipt of, as well as the outcomes we expect to see if these interventions and provisions are effective and successful.
We will liaise with external agencies as detailed in the Information Report in order to facilitate the best quality intervention to help your child progress.
If your child is at SEN Support you can expect to meet the Learning Support Team three times per year (termly) to review the ISP and identify whether any changes are required.
If SEN Support is not providing adequate support to help your child to progress, in partnership with you we may decide to apply to the local authority for an Education Health Care Plan in order to access further funding and support for your child.
Students who have an Education and Health Care Plan will receive intensive support across the curriculum and during social time founded on their EHCP as drafted by the local authority using a range of expert advice.
The EHCP will be formally reviewed annually in addition to the termly ISP reviews, liaising closely with key agencies.
Progress and Intervention
At Grace Academy Darlaston, we collect progress data regularly for every child, in every subject. This data is collected through a system called Go4Schools, on which every pupil has a unique profile. The SENCo analyses the progress data, following which pupils may be more closely monitored or supported and invited to interventions to accelerate their progress.
The Academy is committed to ensuring we meet the needs of all students, therefore, no one child or young person’s provision is the same. We have robust referral and support systems in place and liaise closely with a range of outside agencies, including (but not exhaustive to), CAMHS, Educational Psychology, Virtual Schools, Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy, School Nursing and many more.
The learning support team run before and after school clubs that are tailored to the needs of our currents students and regularly reviewed. The team will also be in lessons supporting the provision of quality-first teaching by ensuring that everyone access the same curriculum with barriers removed through high support.
In addition, our accessibility plan (as a working document) ensures we are inclusive and diligent in our access for students with physical disabilities. The Academy has appropriate facilities such as a lift, specialist evacuation equipment, and access to adapted tables. Furthermore, we are able to adapt to meet the needs of students who may join us and work with external agencies to make the Academy accessible for a students’ individual needs so that no student is disadvantaged as a result of their disability.
Admissions are applied for via the standard application process. If a parent believes there are specific medical issues which would require their child to have priority over admitting other students, medical evidence must be submitted to support the claim and each case is then looked at on an individual basis. Once we have received all of the information, we would then assess whether we can meet their needs in full.
The SEND Policy and Information Policy (see Policies on the website) provides in-depth information on the provisions available at Grace Academy, however, there is a clear graduated approach as students are supported in ‘waves’ as described above. There is also an Accessibility Plan with detail on our access and equality for all.
Walsall’s Local Offer provides information in one place for children and young people aged 0-25 years with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), their parents/carers and professionals. It includes information on local services to help children, young people, parents and carers make choices about the support they receive. Please visit the website below for further information.
Parental/ Carer Engagement
Parents and carers are invited to attend the reviews as described above but we hold Parental Networking Events too for a more informal opportunity to meet the team and parents / carers of children with additional needs.
All students monitored by the SENCO are assigned a key worker from the learning support team, who parents, carers, the young person and outside agencies can contact and they closely monitor students’ progress in all aspects.
At GAD we welcome feedback from parents and carers who are welcome to contact the SENCO by email LaurenCavell@darlaston.graceacademy.org.uk or telephone 0121 568 3300.