Synergy Multi-Academy Trust comprises ten Norfolk schools serving children between the ages of 2 and 18. Our schools work collaboratively together to raise standards and provide education of the highest possible standard, offering the best of opportunities for pupils. The Trust was initially established in 2015. We believe that all of our schools have strengths and areas to develop, and that all can improve through sharing expertise and wisdom. The Trust understands that there will be excellent practice in each school, and that every school will be able to contribute to the development of the Trust as a whole.
The SEND Department Provision
Deputy SENCO and Acting SENCo – Mr Paul Atkins
Assistant SENCO – Mr David Lloyd
The SEND Department is run by Mr Paul Atkins, Acting SENCo. He is supported by a team comprising of Higher-Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs) and Learning Support Assistants (LSAs).
The SEND Department supports the learning of children with special needs. It supports all aspects of the curriculum by monitoring pupils’ progress and giving targeted help where needed. It promotes inclusion by supporting children who have physical disabilities or learning difficulties.
At RHSC the majority of our LSAs support small groups rather than individual pupils. These students are encouraged to work with several adults over the course of a day. The focus of our LSAs is to promote independence and preventing over reliance on one key adult.
Our SEND support is built around a mainstream system, with our goal being to enhance ‘Quality First Teaching’. Each year a small number of KS3 pupils form our ACE group. These pupils benefit from a highly differentiated timetable, working for approximately 40% of the time in a small mixed age group with HLTAs or subject specialists. For September 2020 we will continue to have the lower ability Maths support group running independently of ACE and alongside the mainstream maths sets; something which was working really well prior to lockdown. The ability to form this group irrespective of any other literacy needs, collaborating closely with the Maths Department and adjust the setting of pupil’s mid- year if necessary, is a huge step forward. It is our goal to build on this with a similar provision for science in Sept 2021 if timetabling will allow. The department’s main classroom is open to pupils before school, at break and lunchtime providing a social area for pupils who might benefit from a smaller supervised social setting. Two additional rooms upstairs have also been used to support smaller groups during unstructured time.
Throughout their time at RHSC, pupils can benefit from a variety of personalised support measures such as small groups, IDL Cloud Dyslexia intervention, the Fresh Start and Key Skills programmes. Last year we used our memory intervention successfully with a number of Y7 and 8 pupils. This coming year we would like to expand the work started on resilience and start delivering a social use of language programme. We remain keen to expand our provision for literacy, this year trialling ‘Magic spelling’ with a number of pupils and intend to use this again. We are exploring the possibility of working towards a Functional English qualification as preparation for GCSE entry.
The department encourages pupils to make use of technology, promoting a range of supporting equipment such as C-Scan Reading pens, tablets and laptops. Pupils can use this technology to support their independent learning and ensure that they are developing the relevant skills to complement their exams access arrangements.
This year we also intend to trial a read/write computer package that can be used school wide to support pupils with literacy needs, both in examinations and in their everyday learning.
Staff try to capture pupils’ thoughts and feelings by involving them in writing their own Pupil Passports. These have been adapted this year at KS4 to provide more of an opportunity for pupils to share information specific to their needs. These are shared on our management system along with key documents such as EHC plans and Educational Psychologist reports for all staff to access. The school’s SENCO is also the designated teacher for Looked After Children and a member of the Safeguarding Team.
The department enjoys specialist accommodation on the school’s main corridor in Learning Base 1 (LB1) as well as two other specialist rooms known as Learning Base 2 (LB2) and Intervention 1 (IN1). The rooms are used to deliver highly differentiated lessons to small groups and individuals. IN1 is the base for Fresh Start literacy intervention, and both LB1 and LB2 are used for various other forms of provision. The department currently has 8 computers and a specialist library in LB1.
At Reepham, we work hard to get things right from the outset.
The LSAs team work for the majority of their day in classes supporting groups of pupils who have been identified as having a specific learning or health need. Many of these pupils will have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
Disability Provision - disabled access is provided through ramps and lifts. There are disabled toilets and adjustable sinks and desks in some classrooms. There is a large screen PC in LB2.
In Year 7 extra teaching groups have been created within the English and Maths departments. This allows identified pupils to learn in well supported small groups. In addition to this, this year we have created three tutor groups who have daily LSA support at the start of the day and those pupils who need additional literacy support, study the Fresh Start programme of intervention. We are also pleased to welcome a Hearing-Impaired Specialist Support.
Assistant (SSA) to the school, funded by the Virtual School.
Throughout Key Stage 3 a small group of pupils work in ACE for their core lessons and re-join their peers for more practical subjects. This year we expect to have 3 pupils who have this full provision in Y7, with another 5 being offered partial support. These few pupils will only take one MFL subject and in place of the second language be offered extra literacy support, homework support and other individualised interventions to meet the needs set out in their EHCPs. In year 8, we have 2 pupils with this adapted offer and another 4 in Y9. Approximately 18-24 pupils will have their Maths lessons in a small supported group. In Y9 pupils also return to a mainstream science set in preparation for GCSE.
We continue to run IDL Cloud intervention by taking pupils out of an assembly once a week. Upwards of 40 pupils now benefit from this. A small handful of pupils have targeted 1:1 mentoring and we are intending to establish our new intervention programs on improving memory and resilience. We trialled IDL Numeracy as a catch-up programme last year and will be reviewing the impact of this. The bulk of our support continue to be in lessons or through unstructured time. There are times when we will need to take pupils out of lessons to deliver intervention but this is done with a lot of thought so as not to interrupt curriculum time.
In Key Stage 4 Pupils in Years 10 and 11 benefit from the creation of an additional teaching group in English, Mathematics and Science. Some pupils receive homework support and are dual entered for Entry Level Maths and GCSE Maths. We also have two ASDAN courses which pupils may be offered the chance to study in place of a GCSE.
In Key Stage 5 Most pupils are supported through ‘Quality First Teaching’ and through individualised exams access arrangements. High level support is tailored specifically to the student and may take the form of anything from a 1:1 weekly mentoring session - up to daily LSA support. Appropriate and additional funding to support post-16 learners has to be applied for, so please contact the SENCO on application to discuss this should you feel it necessary.
For any parent or carer of a child considering RHSC as their secondary school of choice, please do not hesitate in getting in touch if you have any queries that you would like to discuss. We are always happy to meet and arrange a visit for you and your child to offer reassurance that we would fully support your child’s needs.
Paul Atkins, Acting SENCo Jan 2021