Torfield and Saxon Mount Academy Trust SEN Report
What types of Special Educational Needs do you cater for and how is support provided?
- Torfield (primary) and Saxon Mount (secondary) are schools for pupils with SEN. Most pupils have moderate learning difficulties. A large number of pupils are autistic or have speech, language and communication difficulties which impact on their learning. Some pupils have more severe learning difficulties and others may have social, emotional or mental health needs. Often pupils have a number of difficulties, making their needs complex.
- All pupils at Torfield/Saxon Mount have a statement or an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) describing their individual needs. The statement or plan is used to ensure the pupil is provided with appropriate support to meet their needs. The statement or plan is reviewed annually to ensure it continues to reflect the pupil's needs and support their progress at school. This means the pupil and his or her parents are fully involved in decisions about their education. Children who do not have statements or EHCPs are not eligible for placement at Torfield or Saxon Mount.
- All pupils have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The style and emphasis of the IEP changes as children progress through KS1 and KS2 at Torfield and KS3 and KS4 at Saxon Mount. The IEP describes the ways in which a pupil may be supported and relates to the areas of difficulty described in the statement or EHCP. If a pupil needs an additional programme to support a specific difficulty, this will be recorded on the IEP. Pupils who are supported through the Community Integrated Therapy Service (CITS) will have programmes set and monitored by the therapist. The targets for these will also be included in the IEP. The IEP also sets out learning targets and criteria for success in English/literacy, Maths and Personal and Social Development. An ASD specific target and/or a home school target may be set if considered appropriate.
- IEPs are reviewed regularly throughout the school year. Parents and carers can contact the school at any point to discuss the support their child receives. There are also up to three formal opportunities during the year to discuss progress and development with the class teacher / teaching staff. In addition to this, parents and carers can discuss their child’s progress at their child's annual review. The schools’ understand that pupils' needs can change for many different reasons and the IEP is a flexible tool that can be updated throughout the year. At both schools additional support is provided through a team of trained teachers, and teaching assistants. The range and level of support needed will vary according to the identified SEN. Therefore support is targeted for specific individuals or groups and reviewed using the monitoring systems of the school.
How do school staff support learning and how is the curriculum matched to individual needs?
- Pupils at both schools have access to a challenging, broad and relevant curriculum which is based on the National Curriculum. Work is differentiated to meet each pupil's needs and learning is enriched through a wide range of visits within the local area. Lessons are planned to include frequent opportunities to learn and practise core skills. Regular assessments ensure that lessons both build on what pupils can do and also develop learning. The schools are well resourced in IT and other specialist equipment.
- The IEP is written by the class teacher / form tutor, with input from other teachers and is monitored by the Senior Leadership Team. Teachers are supported by a team of teaching assistants. In some cases a specific teaching assistant, teacher or class group will be identified in order to provide specific individual or small group support. In most cases we would plan to deliver additional support in class, thereby minimising the need for pupils to come out of a lesson to receive support. The class teacher / form tutor will discuss the IEP with parents and carers at consultations or at any time a change is made to the plan. Changes to the IEP may be made when a pupil's circumstances change and support is required to cope with this, or if the pupil is not making sufficient progress in an identified area, or if an intervention or additional programme is required.
- The progress and well-being of all pupils is regularly monitored. Pupils are set challenging short term and long term targets in all curriculum areas. The school has very effective systems in place to monitor progress of individuals and groups. Pupil attainment is compared with pupils of the same age and starting point across the country to ensure we know if our pupils do at least as well as, if not better than, other pupils.
- The governors of the school are regularly kept up to date with the school's systems for monitoring progress and well-being and are informed of current levels of pupil attainment.
- The school curriculum and schemes of work are differentiated to meet the needs of pupils working from P-Scales to National Curriculum expectations to Year 6 and beyond (P-Scales are used where children are functioning below the level of the National Curriculum). Teachers plan lessons that are differentiated to meet the needs of the range of learners in their class.
- Pupils with higher needs are placed within the Additional Support Facility (ASF) and may attend lessons in other classes where they are able to access the learning. Sometimes children attend lessons within the ASF from other classes to support their learning.
- There is a personalised approach to learning throughout the school which supports all pupils to learn and be included at their own level. When approaching Key Stage 4, personalised options are made available to suit the needs and interests of learners who will be thinking about choices of college and / or future training or employment opportunities.
How will I know how my child/young person is doing and how I can support their learning myself?
- Working together with Parents and Carers ensures all parties have good information and the pupil's needs are consistently met in all settings.
- In addition to the information provided earlier in this document, pupils' progress and well-being is regularly tracked throughout the year to ensure support is timely and effective.
- At Torfield and in some cases at Saxon Mount, pupils have a home/school book which is filled in each day by school staff. Parents and carers can arrange to speak to a teacher or teaching assistant at the beginning or end of the day by phone and where necessary meetings can be arranged.
- Formal consultations take place up to three times a year and a review of the statement occurs annually. These meetings give an opportunity for school and parents and carers to discuss the needs of the pupil and work together to ensure these needs are consistently met in all settings. The schools are committed to working in partnership with parents and carers to ensure pupils reach their potential.
- At Torfield, parents and carers receive progress information at the beginning of the year when the targets for the year are set as part of the IEP. At Saxon Mount, annual review reports show progress against targets set and indicators to advise what the pupil needs to do next to continue improving.
- At annual review, parents and carers receive a summary of progress in all areas. Annual reviews are scheduled throughout the school year, usually in year group order.
- At the end of the year Parents and Carers receive an annual report and which describes progress in all areas of learning.
- Torfield School offers a series of Family Learning sessions throughout the year including Makaton, ’Supporting your Child with Phonics’ and ‘Understanding Autism’. Parents, Carers and other family members are welcome to attend some or all of these informative sessions. Themes for these sessions are suggested by parents and Carers.
- Parents and Carers are supported to help their child learn at home through the setting of homework where appropriate and access to a range of online programmes used in school. Access is through the school's virtual learning platform (VLE) which provides pupils with safe and secure online access to activities set by the school.
- Regular newsletters provide parents and carers with information and photographs about school events and new initiatives.
- At Saxon Mount, local college providers are invited to attend parents’ evening, providing parents with an opportunity to find out about courses available post- 16.
- Parents of pupils in year 9 are invited into school for an additional consultation to discuss the options available for pupils in KS4
What support can be provided if my child/young person is not well for a period of time or to help with social communication, behaviour and well- being?
- Small class groups and high staff / pupil ratio at both schools ensure all pupils are well known to the adults supporting them. Pupils are well supported to develop effective relationships with their peers and the staff.
- Pupils who are placed in the Additional Support Facilities are provided with opportunities to develop wider social interaction through planned opportunities to join their peers in other class groups or at breaks and other times.
- Play times and lunch breaks are structured to enable pupils to be supported in developing independent social and play skills and self-help skills. Lunchtimes also promote independence in eating and drinking as well as in social interaction.
- Pupils with medical needs are supported by trained staff. All staff receive training in working with pupils with a range of SEN. All staff are trained to meet the needs of pupils with autism and associated communication difficulties.
- The schools are part of the accreditation programme run by The National Autistic Society.
- There are high expectations that pupils will behave well towards each other and follow the school rules. A highly motivating reward system enables pupils to see that their hard work and good behaviour is recognised and appreciated. Sanctions are in place for pupils who do not follow the rules and support for some is identified through an Individual Behaviour Plan (IBP). We know that some pupils need a higher level of support to succeed in managing their behaviour. The IBP describes the triggers for behaviour and the strategies that successfully support the pupil.
- All staff are trained to manage challenging behaviour and any incidents of such behaviour are reported and monitored by the senior leadership staff and the Behaviour Working Group (Torfield) / Additional Support Group (Saxon Mount). Additional support may be provided for pupils who struggle with managing their behaviour and this can be included in the IEP.
- The schools are committed to ensuring a high level of pupil attendance. Attendance rewards are given twice a year. Attendance is monitored termly and low attendance is challenged and addressed. Holidays are not authorised during term time due to the impact this has on pupils' learning.
- A Pupil School Council meets every term and provides all pupils with a voice. Pupils contribute towards their annual review and may attend in person where appropriate. PSHE and / or ‘Circle Time’ sessions cover a range of topics and encourage pupils to discuss issues affecting them. At Torfield, all pupils are supported through Talking Together sessions and through all areas of the curriculum to develop good communication skills.
Are school staff trained and do any specialist services /advisors help support with pupil’ learning or development?
- The staff working within the schools are themselves trained and / or experienced in supporting a wide range of SEND conditions and especially so in the areas of autism and associated communication difficulties. Training is ongoing and ensures staff have the skills to meet the needs of all pupils. It includes training for teaching, learning support, autism and SEN, managing challenging behaviour, child protection etc. Below is a list, which is not exhaustive
- All staff are trained in working with pupils with ASD and the schools hold National Autistic Society accreditation.
- Some staff have received PECS training as appropriate and Makaton training as appropriate
- Staff regularly renew training in behaviour management and there is a rolling programme for all staff in positive handling.
- All teaching assistants and some teachers are trained in first aid.
- All new teachers engage in a teacher induction programme.
- All staff have had training in Assessment for Learning, and support for learning.
- Teaching Assistants receive training and support in effective support for learning
- Most staff who teach in Key Stage 4 have attended exam provider courses.
- All staff have undertaken Prevent training.
- All staff receive regular child protection training, this includes e-safety training
- The school is supported by the Community Integrated Therapy Service. Pupils can be referred for assessment where a need arises. Speech and language therapists assess all pupils and recommend a range of strategies as required.
- The school is allocated the support of an identified school nurse. There are good links to social care through the input of an attached Social Work colleague
- Torfield School provides an outreach service to support pupils in mainstream schools and pupils moving from Torfield into mainstream schools. Saxon Mount offers transition opportunities from year 6 to 7 and also offers a supported transition to Sussex Coast College Hastings for the most vulnerable Year 11 pupils who are leaving school and in need of additional support to access College successfully.
Will my child/young person be able to participate in activities outside the classroom including school trips?
- Both of our schools are committed to offering a wide range of activities and visits to stimulate and enrich learning. Our vision and ethos centres on the promotion of independence and participation in the wider community; we aim to prepare all pupils to be ready for life after school. All classes have regular opportunities to explore learning outside school. Parents and Carers are asked to contribute towards the costs which are highly subsidised by the school. The schools are imaginative in identifying low cost activities. Teachers plan visits and activities that are challenging and appropriate for the pupils in their class. Parents are informed about forthcoming trips and activities and are encouraged to discuss any concerns they may have about their child’s participation. Residential visits are planned for Upper KS2 class groups and in KS3 and KS4.
How accessible are the schools?
- The Croft Road building is on three levels and some areas are not wheel chair accessible. There is a disabled toilet on the middle floor. The Early Years Centre at Parker Road is on one level and also has a disabled toilet. Torfield School is not adapted to meet the needs of pupils in wheelchairs.
- The environment is well maintained, free from clutter and free from unnecessary distractions. It is predictable and safe for those with disability, SEN and ASD.
- Saxon Mount is a fully wheelchair accessible site with ramps to access all areas where steps may also be necessary. There is also a lift from the Ground to the First floor by reception. All areas of the school are very well maintained, well lit and free from damage or clutter, making the environment comfortable to be in and predictable and safe for those with disability , SEN and ASD.
How do the schools manage transitions either to new classes, or to a new setting / school / college or the next stage of education and life?
- The information in this section largely relates to transition to school at the usual starting point of Reception at Torfield or Year 7 at Saxon Mount. However, many children start with us outside of these times, often with a period of difficulty and uncertainty prior to this. We work with parents/ carers to plan a suitable transition that enables a pupil to start with us as quickly as possible once placement has been agreed.
- Prior to entry into the Early Years Foundation Stage there will be meetings involving Parents and Carers to gather information about the pupil, provide information about the school and its workings and to introduce key people. A home visit and a visit to a child’s pre-school are made by the class teacher wherever possible.
- Pupils have the opportunity to visit for a taster session prior to starting at Torfield and transition materials are provided including photos of the school and key staff.
- Transition to Saxon Mount is well facilitated with regular opportunities for pupils to experience the secondary school environment prior to transition. This includes access to a summer holiday club and a teacher from Saxon Mount working with the Year 6 class throughout the year.
- Transition plans are in place during the terms prior to transition.
- In order to make transition from Torfield School as smooth as possible, the following measures are in place:
- Staff from both schools are involved in moderating year 6 pupils’ work before and after transition. This increases the Y7 teacher’s knowledge of current progress for pupils joining Saxon Mount, enabling effective planning.
- Some year 6 sessions are taught at Torfield by a teacher from Saxon Mount. Those lessons transfer in terms 5 and 6 to take place at Saxon Mount, enabling the year 6 pupils to spend time in their future school and to work alongside current year 7 pupils;
- The school provides a Summer School which runs over two weeks of the holiday and caters specifically for pupils in transition; this is open to all pupils joining the school in Y7.
- During terms 5 and 6, year 7 teachers from Saxon Mount visit Torfield School and other feeder schools. This provides an opportunity to gain vital information about the pupils and also to see them working in familiar surroundings. The Assistant Headteacher (Additional Needs) from Saxon Mount attends the final year 6 Pupil Progress Meeting, again, with the aim of deepening knowledge of the pupils in advance of their move to secondary school;
- All Year 6 pupils attend a series of taster mornings at Saxon Mount, culminating in a Taster Day which all pupils attend, including those transferring from mainstream primary schools;
- All Parents and Carers are strongly encouraged to attend the meeting which follows this Taster Day. There is always a range of professionals available to answer questions across a range of subjects;
Transition to post-16 provision:
- The SEN Personal Advisor (PA) attends year 10 and 11 annual reviews to give independent advice and guidance to pupils and their parents
- Towards the end of year 10 pupils have a one to one meeting with our SEN PA
- During the autumn term, college providers are invited to our parents evening to enable parents to find out what is on offer post 16
- As part of the Personal and Social Development (PSD) curriculum, pupils complete their application forms for college
- Taster sessions and informal visits to college take place throughout KS4
- Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) / Statements /other key documentation and information are shared with local colleges.
- Where appropriate, independent travel training is provided.
How does the school decide what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?
- Following entry into the school a baseline assessment is made and an IEP is written. A pupil with higher needs may be placed in the Additional Support Facility where the staff ratio is higher. Parents and Carers are involved in this process by sharing information with the school about their child's needs and agreeing to attend all parent evenings / AR meetings. Regular opportunities are planned for parents, Carers and teachers to meet to discuss needs and progress.
- Each pupil's needs are assessed and progress is monitored. This is done through regular reviews of the effectiveness of the support provided by the IEP and teacher assessments of progress in all curriculum areas. Each pupil’s progress is reviewed 3 times annually in our multi agency pupil progress meetings. Additional support will be identified and put in place when a need arises. Progress is tracked throughout the year and any lack of progress is reviewed. Additional support may be put in should this be necessary.
How can I get further information?
- The class teacher is the first point of contact for parents and Carers. A request can also be made to meet with a senior member of staff or the Head of School.
- Any parent or carer wishing to explore the possibility of a place at the school is welcome to arrange to visit by contacting the school and booking a time with the Head of school or Assistant Headteacher. Should a request for a placement be made, parents and carers will be invited to meet with the Head of School to discuss the placement and the support the pupil may receive. Parents / carers should also contact the SEN team at the Local authority.
- As well as a comprehensive, highly informative website, that includes key information and policies, the school has a Parent Information Contact (PIC) who can help parents to find support by signposting them to organisations or events.
- The Local Authority ‘Local Offer’ for SEND is also published on our schools’ website.