Special Education Needs - Information for Parents

 

 

 

St Thomas More is a Catholic Academy. The work and values we have towards our work and others is Christian based. In our Academy we recognise that every child is an individual and that children learn in different ways and have different needs, some requiring more support than others.

 

The motto "You are the best, be the best today" is constantly emphasised throughout the school to encourage and help build the students' self-esteem

 

St Thomas More is a Catholic Academy. The work and values we have towards our work and others is Christian based. In our Academy we recognise that every child is an individual and that children learn in different ways and have different needs, some requiring more support than others.

 

 

The SEN team supports students in a variety of ways, including training and advice for staff, resources, co-ordination outside agency assessment and input, Reading and Spelling Club, in-class support, , some small group and individual withdrawal and assessments. Some subjects also have smaller teaching groups. We aim to fully integrate our students and to support them primarily in the classroom alongside their peers by working with students, their families, support and teaching staff.

 

The Special Educational Needs co-ordinator within St Thomas More is Mrs Denham.

 

The SEN team is advised by Local Authority services including: The Educational Psychology Team, The Language Communication Team (LCT), Speech and Language Therapy Team (SALT), Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team (CAMHS) Disability and Additional Needs Service (DANS) plus medical teams such as Occupational Therapy, Hearing Impairment (HI) and Visual Impairment (VI). The teams work together to provide appropriate assessment and support for students with SEND and support us with:

  • Transition
  • Access
  • SEND training and advice for staff
  • Admissions
  • Examination Access Arrangements
  • Statutory assessment and review.

 

What would the SEN department offer your child?

 

The department aims to work with students, families and support agencies to identify and provide for special educational needs, enabling students to participate in the school curriculum and achieve their potential.

 

Children who require support will always be part of the mainstream school environment and will always be treated with the same courtesy and respect that any other pupil would receive.

 

Access

The school has ramps to the front entrance and rear buildings, including mobiles. There is a lift which serves the rear buildings and access can also be gained to the Sixth Form from the lift via the library. Most sections of the school are accessible by wheelchair. Science room accommodate classes on the ground floor for those students which have difficulty accessing the stairs. Hand rails are in place in sections of the school as advised by the safety officer and risings are marked in yellow for high visibility. We have 4 accessible toilets. Advisory teams are regularly consulted to ensure that we are providing a safe and accessible environment for our SEND students.

 

Teaching

SEN in St Thomas More RC Academy follows:

  • A mixture of integration (where SEN pupils are taught together with all other pupils)
  • Individual withdrawal (from one or two classes)
  • Supported groups (with an extra adult)
  • Small sets
  • Mixed ability classes

 

Within St Thomas More, we aim to make the curriculum accessible for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. This is done in a number of ways, primarily through teacher awareness and differentiation. SEN students are primarily supported in class with some identified students being taught in smaller sets and having access to additional SEN input through Literacy and Numeracy groups, Reading and Spelling Club, and some specialist withdrawal work as agreed with students, teachers and families.

 

 

Pupil progress is monitored carefully by teaching staff. Students may be in a small set supported teaching group for one subject and in a larger mixed ability group for another, depending on ability and needs.

 

 

Transfer from Primary School

During transition from feeder primary schools, information is carefully scrutinised to ensure that appropriate support can be made. The Senco and Assistant Senco visit feeder schools to discuss SEN pupils and contact external schools to request information. The SENCo attends Transition Annual Reviews for students with Statements of Special Educational Needs.

Students transferring to St Thomas More have at least one visit to the Academy and a number of Pastoral and subject teachers visit our primary schools as part of the transition process. Special needs support staff also try to spend some time in our feeder schools and those with students transferring with Statements to help to ease transition and be a point of contact on transfer.

Parent/carers have the opportunity to meet the SENCo at the Year 6 Intake Information evening in the summer term prior to transition. Parents are invited to share SEN / Disability information with us to ensure appropriate support is put in place.

Additional meetings can be arranged at St Thomas More on request.

At St Thomas More we aim to make the transfer from primary school to high school as smooth as possible. We will do our very best to try and solve any problems, which may occur. We also try to ensure that the pupils are receiving the best level of education for their ability.

If you have any problems or queries about the SEN department please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Denham or any other member of the SEN staff.

 

SEN Across the school

  • Every subject within the school receives SEN help in a variety of different ways e.g. via small groups, supported groups or differentiated materials or different software.
  • The school has a link group representative for each department. This enables us to hold regular meetings. The SEN link group also supports subject specialists.
  • Information can be given via Link members and there is a monthly update of register and information (via link group).
  • Monitoring the child's progress, support, groupings and set movements are discussed at every meeting.
  • This is held in addition to the meetings in every subject department where SEN is a regular agenda item in the departmental meetings.
  • The SENCO has frequent meetings with pastoral staff, the learning mentor, school councillor, she attends HOY meetings when possible and EWO and social work conferences by invitation.
  • Liaison is carried out informally on a day to day basis. The school employs classroom assistants who are deployed by the SENCO.
  • The range of special educational needs currently supported across the school includes Literacy and numeracy difficulties, General Learning Delay, Speech Language & Communication, Asperger Syndrome, Social Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties,Moderate learning difficulties, Dyslexia / SpLD / Meares-Irlen syndrome, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, Hearing Impairment, Visual impairment, Medical needs including: ADD/ADHD, Mild Cerebral Pasley, Brittle Bones, Tourettes Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Speech and Language Commnunication.
  • Students with adolescent mental health issues are jointly supported by the Pastoral Team, School Counsellor, Learning Mentors and SEN under the guidance of the Child and Adolescent mental health Service (CAMHS) and the school nurse as appropriate.

The SEN department is involved in several other areas viz: cross-curricular, literacy, numeracy, the total learning challenge and the Basic Skills Award.


SEN Inset and Training

The SEN team hold a range of specialist qualifications and has regular updated training on aspects of SEN.

The team is actively involved in training sessions across the school and the SENCO has delivered a range of training workshops within the Local Authority and Universities. The Department has participated in University and national research work.

 

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