How does the school know if pupils need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
All pupils that attend The Woodlands Academy have a full statement of Special Educational Needs. This will inform the school of any specific diagnosis pupils may have, as well as any areas that are considered ‘high risk’. The statement also informs the school of any emotional, social and behavioural concerns.
The Woodlands Academy supports pupils with a variety of complex needs. These may include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism (ASD), Oppositional Demand Avoidance (ODD), Attachment Disorder (AD), Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.
As an academy we offer a range of bespoke, tailored intervention packages that are designed to support pupils who would benefit from improving literacy and numeracy skills, memory skills, social and communication skills, fine and gross motor skills as well as emotional and behaviour understanding and regulation. We also offer targeted interventions for pupils who have been identified as having Dyslexic tendencies and those who struggle with many other learning difficulties. All of these areas are overseen by our SEND-Co and the interventions and pastoral care teams with the support of tutors, teachers, key workers and relevant agencies. Central to everything we do is our belief that every pupil has the right to the best provision we can offer not only academically but also socially, emotionally, medically and pastorally.
As an academy we regularly monitor the progress of our pupils. If an individual is noted to be having difficulties that relate to specific areas of need previously unidentified, we will seek advice from outside agencies if no ‘in-house’ specialist or intervention can be offered.
If parents/carers feel that their child has additional needs not mentioned in the Statement, it is advised that the school is contacted as soon as possible so that we can decide on the best course of action. This might be that as a school with access to specialist knowledge and service provision from within our own staff team we set up a bespoke intervention programme in-house, or we work with parents/carers to see a GP or specialist health or social care professional, or as a school to bring in specialist support from outside (Autism Outreach, Educational Psychology Service or other support services relating to learning and behaviour).
How will the school support my child?
The Woodlands Academy supports pupils in many ways. Firstly, we do our best to ensure that any barriers to learning are addressed so that pupils can learn as effectively as possible and achieve well in accordance with National Progression Guidance. Secondly, our Pastoral Team, Tutors and Key Workers are able to meet emotional and social needs through individual and group social skills work, crisis management and referral to our in-house specialist counselling service. The school is organised as a mainstream secondary school, with Core and Foundation Faculties in addition to our SEN-D and Inclusion faculty. In terms of provision, all pupils have full access to the curriculum as well as interventions to close gaps in learning. From Year 9 the school promotes a personalised curriculum where students make their options choices that will be continued in Key Stage 4. This encourages students to engage in their learning fully with the support of suitably qualified staff and targeted interventions.
How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
Pupils have full access to the curriculum, which is differentiated for their needs. Pupils are asked to work to their ability, giving enough challenge to engage them, whilst also being accessible. We teach pupils who are working at P Scales (below Level 1) all the way up to Level 8. Pupils take Entry Level Qualifications, GCSE’s in all subjects as well as equivalents such as NCFE and BTEC Qualifications. We also offer Industry Standard Education. When entering Year 9, pupils have access to a personalised curriculum where pupils continue to receive Core teaching, but can also opt for other qualifications that may be of interest to them, or that are needed for particular career choices.
How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?
On entry pupils are assessed in reading, comprehension, spelling and mathematics. Six weeks after admission, the school has a Post Admission Meeting (PAM) which highlights areas where interventions may be appropriate. This includes information and curriculum levels for each subject. Assessment data is collected six times per year. This is then analysed by our SEN-DCo and Director of Learning responsible for Core. Pupils not making expected progress due to literacy or numeracy difficulties are then identified and are enrolled on a suitable intervention programme. Their progress is then analysed in the next round of assessments. After this, the school collects and formally analyses assessment data on all pupils three times a year. This information is then used to target additional in class support and Options choices.
Parents/carers receive two written reports a year and are invited to one Parents Evening. As pupils are all fully statemented, they also have an Annual Review, which parents/carers are asked to attend. In addition to this, each pupil’s IEP is reviewed three times a year to ensure that targets are still applicable and manageable. Weekly phone calls are made to parents/carers by the child’s Key Worker to let them know of any issues that have been raised and general behaviour throughout the week.
Staff at The Wooldands Academy are always available to talk to if you are unsure of how to support pupils. We can give advice or put parents/carers in touch with any outside agencies that may be able to support you in particular cases.
What support will there be for my child’s overall well being?
The safety and well being of all pupils at The Woodlands Academy is a priority. All staff are trained in first aid, Team Teach and Child Protection. Senior Leaders are also trained in Safeguarding.
The Pastoral Team consists of trained counsellors who can offer pupils timetabled sessions when needed or on a ‘drop in’ basis.
If necessary, positive handling may be used to ensure the safety of pupils, to stop a criminal act or to maintain good order. If this happens, a full debrief is given to pupils involved and parents/carers are fully informed.
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?
The Woodlands Academy prides itself on the amount, quality and success of interventions that are on offer in- house. This includes Reading and Numeracy Recovery, Counselling, Motor Skills, bespoke Dyslexia Intervention Programmes such as Toe-By-Toe and Hickey, extra Maths and Science lessons after school and Booster Groups amongst others. We also work in close partnership with CAMHs, Addaction, Specialist Counselling, Educational Psychologists, Autism Outreach, School Nurse and the Hearing and Visual Impaired Service.
In the near future it is hoped we will be able to include many more interventions such DORE, Cranial Osteopathy, Physiotherapy and Neuro-Physiotherapy among others.
What training have the staff received or will receive to support pupils with SEND?
Staff are trained in many of the special needs that pupils have such as ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Autism. All staff are trained and refreshed in Team Teach, First Aid and Child Protection as well as Therapeutic Counselling, Grief and Loss Counselling, DORE programme delivery and fine motor skills development. The staff team consists of a mixture of Teaching Assistants, Instructors, Teachers and Directors of Learning as part of the Senior Leadership Team. Training days and Twilight sessions cover a variety of areas, which are delivered by both internal staff and external agencies.
How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?
Pupils at The Woodlands Academy are encouraged to engage in extra curricular activities and educational visits which can be accessed as a reward for good behaviour, as an intervention or to support education. Parents/carers are always fully informed of any excursions or residential visits and permission is sought where necessary. Trips and extra curricular activities are accessible to all pupils but dynamic risk assessment may impact on this if the school feels that the pupil is displaying behaviour not conducive to the event. During enrichment activities, there are many steps taken to ensure that pupils are supported such as a high staff:pupil ratio and the writing of individual risk assessment where appropriate.
How accessible is the school environment?
The school is wheelchair accessible although at the moment, there are areas that are not ideal for wheelchair users. There are disabled changing rooms and toilet facilities in the sports area as well as the main building. Those pupils with physical disabilities are fully catered for in terms of visual and hearing impairment, by individual equipment and support from the Visual and Hearing Impaired Service.
How will the school prepare and support my child to transfer to a new setting or the next stage of education and life?
Before pupils attend The Woodlands Academy, a transition plan is in place for all rising Year 7’s that involves Annual Reviews, Pre Admission meetings and two transition days within the school itself. Annual Reviews and regular assessment allow us to evaluate the current provision for each pupil and make the necessary changes. When pupils are preparing to leave the school at the end of Key Stage 4, further transition plans are in place including the organisation of work experience, college interviews and placements.
How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to the pupil’s special educational needs?
Part of the budget the school receives is allocated to all faculties to help resource subjects appropriately. We have a wide range of resources and equipment which can support all pupils regardless of ability. In addition to this, further money is spent on interventions that are populated with pupils that require extra support. It also pays for enrichment and extended day activities, which all contribute to the achievement and progress of the pupils.
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
All pupils are fully statemented when they are admitted to the school. In addition to the information received from previous schools, the Pre Admission meeting and the statement itself, the school organises an internal Post Admission Meeting (PAM) that evaluates the current provision for each pupil and highlights potential interventions that may enable them to close gaps in learning, raise confidence or address specific learning difficulties. This is then supported through our six termly collation of data and analysis that in turn informs us of pupil need and progress and enables us to target additional intervention appropriately. If the need arises an early annual review can be called to discuss recent diagnosis and the implications, crisis management, risk assessment, identified additional and much more.
At The Woodlands Academy we feel that working in partnership with parents/carers is a vital part of ensuring each pupil achieves well. As such we are always available to discuss additional needs or issues from outside school that may be impacting on the individual.
How are parents/carers involved in the school? How can I be involved?
At The Woodlands Academy we strongly believe in a person centred approach to planning. We work closely with Health, Social Care, Home, the students themselves and other agencies to provide all services necessary to enable every child to meet their potential.
Parents/carers are encouraged to be involved in their pupils learning from start to finish. It is a legal requirement that parents are invited to Annual Review meetings and if attendance is impossible, we do everything we can to ascertain parental views on the progress their child is making and their views on the school overall. Parents/carers are contacted at least once a week by their child’s Key Worker and if there are any concerns about behaviour or an incident has taken place, parents/carers are informed as soon as possible.
Toward the end of Year 8 parents and pupils will be invited to attend an Options evening where curriculum choices for Year 9 and Key Stage 4 will be discussed. Post 16 providers and Career advisors will also attend this meeting and will be able to offer support and guidance relating to long term goals and career pathways. This service is extended into Year 9, 10 and 11 in order to ensure appropriate accreditation choices and a smooth transition to Post 16 provision.
We also have a Parent Governor who attends all Governor Meetings to represent parents/carers of pupils at the school.
Who can I contact for further information?
Telephone: 01790 753902