Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Bedlington Academy is an inclusive school which ensures that all students achieve their educational potential with an additional focus placed on spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC). We are committed to achieving equality and providing full access to the National Curriculum for all students, including those with special educational needs. Currently, our support register consists of 14.4% of our student cohort.

The intention of this Local Offer is to inform parents/carers how we, as a school, support all students who attend Bedlington Academy, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

As a school we have consulted with parents/carers in the production of this offer by sharing information regarding the changes to the SEND code of practice. We have implemented this initially in the form of a letter produced by the Department for Education and will continue to follow this up with parental focus groups.

Further information can be found using the following links:

Supporting your child

We will contact families to let them know about any concerns about a student’s learning via the senior leadership team (SLT), SEN co-ordinator (SENCO), student performance leaders (SPL) or one of the raising achievement leaders (RAL).

Contact between school and home is vital so that students are able to make progress and can be carried out using a number of methods including:

  • A phone call
  • An invite for parents/carers to come into school for a meeting
  • An email
  • Parents evenings
  • Target setting appointments (options choices)

Along with pastoral support, we employ four assistant learning mentors whose aims include the removal of any barriers to individual’s learning, providing both social and educational support in diverse and individualised ways.

In addition to this our SENCO will;

  • Prior to school transfer, the SENCO visits our feeder middle and primary schools to gather information about students coming into Year 7 and Year 9. It is the intention to meet with feeder SENCOs in December for an initial discussion and again in June.
  • For pupils with an education health and care plan, other agencies may request a joint meeting with both school and parents/carers. In these meetings, a plan will be devised to allow the needs of the young person to be fully met.
  • The assistant learning mentors within school also liaise with feeder schools and arrange visits for the vulnerable students prior to transfer day. This can involve the use of public transport so that the young people become familiar with the bus routes and the journey.
  • Additional meetings with parents/carers are set up to help alleviate any uncertainties, concerns or misconceptions that they may have.

How is my child doing?

Bedlington Academy will carry out internal assessments on a frequent basis in all subjects. Each student will receive three reports in an academic year.

Two reports will be an electronic progress check (EPC) which include subject teacher assessments, subject concerns and the student’s attitude towards learning within each subject. The third report will include the EPC and written feedback on performance and how to make improvements from all subject teachers as well as form tutor comments.

In addition to these reporting arrangements, we will contact parents/carers on a regular basis sharing information of both achievements and areas of difficulty within school. This is carried out using a number of key staff. The SENCO, student performance leaders and key workers (ALM’s who work closely with an individual child or young person) will make frequent contact via phone calls, and if necessary invite parents or carers to attend a meeting to discuss the student and the steps that can be taken to support them.

In addition to the key staff listed above, class teachers and form tutors are encouraged to contact parents/carers via phone calls and using student planners to have an open dialogue between school and home. An option of using a home to school diary to help transfer information and maintain good lines of communication can also be a valuable tool.

Education, health and care plans

If your child received support and was in receipt of a statement of special educational needs before September 2014, they will move to an education, health and care plan (EHCP) by Spring 2018.

An EHCP is for children and young people aged from 0 to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs support.

EHCP plans identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs.

This will normally happen at a planned review, or when your child moves school. We will contact you to confirm this unless otherwise stated by Northumberland County council who will also be involved within this process.

Exam arrangements

Each year there are a small number of students who require special arrangements for exams due to their additional needs. To be eligible for these special arrangements the pupils must meet criteria set out by the Joint Council for Qualifications.

Special arrangements can include the following:

  • Reader
  • Scribe/laptop
  • Extra time
  • Prompter
  • Rest break
  • Modified / enlarged papers
  • Additional setting

This is not an exhaustive list as other extenuating circumstances may allow students other access arrangements to be put in place.

For a pupil to meet the Joint Council for Qualifications criteria not only must standardised assessments show their needs but there must be evidence that they have required that particular arrangement regularly in lessons, in order for them to make expected progress. If a student makes expected progress in class without special arrangements then they do not meet the required criteria.

Applications are made during the second year of the exam course. If a student continues their study after these two years, another application to the Joint Council for Qualifications will need to be made.

Our school has qualified staff who are able to carry out educational tests of both ability and attainment which are used to assess if students require additional access arrangements for exams or tests. Arrangements can be applied for by using reports from outside agencies and are also useful for additional evidence. However, students must also meet the criteria as described above within school.

If you feel more could be done for your child, or if you have any queries, please contact school and ask to speak to the relevant member of staff. The relevant staff for each year group is as follows:

Miss R Short – Year 7 & 8 Director of Learning

Mr D Waddle – Year 9 & 10 Director of Learning

Miss S Armstrong – Year 11 Director of Learning

Mr M Laidlaw – Head of Sixth Form

Mrs S Pritchard – SENCo and Assistant Headteacher