Special Educational Needs

How The Whitehaven Academy supports the progress of students with Special Educational Needs

Welcome to The Whitehaven Academy

We are committed to supporting all the young people in the Academy including those with additional needs. We believe it is important to motivate and challenge all our students. It is our responsibility to enable students to achieve their full potential in all aspects of their academy life and we work closely with parents/carers to ensure the success of our students. Where necessary we seek advice and support from external specialist agencies.

All students have equal access to the buildings, curriculum and life of the academy wherever this can be reasonably achieved.

The two and three storey buildings are spread out on a large campus with one building having a lift to all floors. We move teachers to a ground floor classroom wherever this is required to allow access for students with restricted mobility.

Our SEND Team

Mrs J Cole

Higher Level Teaching Assistant- 
Mrs K Tyson

Senior Teaching Assistants-
Mrs S Rossi
Ms R Glasson

Teaching Assistant- 
Mrs J Rose

We are also supported by our SEND Governor –

Our SEND Provision

Students with additional needs are fully included in all aspects of academy life. Our vision is to see them flourish into adulthood and we therefore aim to increase the level and quality of inclusion within the mainstream classroom whilst protecting and enhancing more specialist support for those who need it.

The Accelerated Learning Centre (ALC) is the base from which we assist students who have barriers to learning, whether they are academic, physical, sensory, communication, emotional or social barriers.

Literacy intervention is a priority, designed to promote independent learning and to help students to access the curriculum more easily as well as developing this vital skill for their future.

Subject based intervention is in the main provided by subject specialist staff taking place in one to one, small group or whole class settings.

Classroom based support is available through a team of experienced Teaching Assistants.

Updates are made available to staff, by the SENCO, via staff briefings, email or face to face meetings. External training is available to support the staff.

How We Will Know If Your Child Has SEN

On entry to the academy, students already identified with special needs will be placed on the Special Needs Register.

We attend SEND reviews in primary schools enabling us to plan for the arrival of our new Year 7 students, especially those with SEND.

Students with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP or formerly a Statement of Special Educational Needs) and their parents/carers will meet with the academy SENCO at the Year 5 transition review and Year 6 annual review. We have excellent links with our local primary schools and during Year 5 and especially in Year 6 we meet with Primary SENCOs where SEND information is shared.

During the transition to Year 7, all students are assessed using standardised reading tests and Cognitive Ability Tests as well as spelling assessments to help us understand their needs and the results show us if further assessments or support is necessary.

In The Whitehaven Academy there are Key Assessments each term. These assessments show student progress and allow us to identify those who may need extra support.

Our teachers inform the SEND team of any concerns they may have throughout the year.

For students who join us later in their educational career, we request information from their previous school and if necessary, we contact the SENCO. In addition, we carry out our own assessments to evaluate their ability in order to inform teachers and to provide any necessary support.

How the Academy Develops its Overall Teaching and Adapts its Curriculum

We expect all our students to make excellent progress.

To make this happen, our teachers are made aware of the needs of all our students through a register of their needs and an individual student profile. These are completed in discussions with both students and staff to inform teachers about specific needs and strategies that can help individuals within the classroom. These help the teachers plan for successful learning experiences for all students. Students feel challenged and supported to make progress.

Lessons are planned with clear learning objectives and challenging but achievable outcomes, designed to meet individual learning needs.

In our marking and assessment of their work, students are encouraged to understand how to improve and develop their own skills.

At all times, parents and carers are encouraged to make contact with teachers and the SEND team, with any concerns they may have.

There are a number of different learning environments within the academy designed to enhance learning and encourage progress.

A small number of students receive a Life Skills programme of study from Year 9. These students have considerable learning difficulties and benefit from developing their literacy and numeracy in the skills for work and independence programme.

How We Know if Your Child is Making Progress Towards Targets

Every student is set targets when they arrive in the academy based on both their attainment in their previous school and on the assessments we carry out.

These targets are used to:

  • Check that each student’s rate of progress is similar to that of their peers
  • Show if there has been improvement from their last assessment
  • Ensure they are catching up with their peers and not falling behind

These targets are reviewed termly and are discussed with students. New targets and ways to help achieve these are shared with all staff involved with each student’s learning.

In Year 7, before the autumn half term, parents are invited into the academy to discuss the way their child has settled into the academy and the progress they are making.

The academy sends progress summaries to parents three times a year. These show progress towards targets and a numerical indicator for their responsibility for learning.

The Accelerated Learning Centre (ALC) tracks student progress through data from termly assessments. Intervention and support are provided for students where required. Parents are invited to Academic Review Day and the Form Tutor Parents’ Evening to discuss their child’s progress.

In addition, students with SEN and their parents/carers will be invited to discuss progress with a member of the SEN team. Any concerns about a student’s progress can be raised at any time by the student, parents or academy staff.

Some students will have targets to support their very specific needs, for example, spelling, reading accuracy and numeracy. These will be monitored and reviewed regularly.

How We Ensure Your Child Makes a Successful Transition

Year 6/7 Transition

During the summer term before your child moves to The Whitehaven Academy, we use our links with local primary schools to ensure a smooth transition.

The Head of Year 7 and the SEND team meet with primary SENCOs and Year 6 teachers to discuss prospective students. They share the information necessary to support a smooth transition. This information is shared with teachers, so that they are aware of each child’s needs.

Every student is invited to attend a transition day where they meet their new tutors and teachers and have an experience of some lessons. They are given a tour of the building so they can familiarise themselves with the academy.

Additional visits are arranged for students who may be vulnerable or lack confidence and can be arranged through the primary school or any agency involved with the child. This is an opportunity for new students to get to know the academy and the support staff.

At any time during a child’s primary school life, parents may contact the academy to arrange a tour and to meet with the SENCO.

Transition from other provisions and non-routine admissions for SEND students

Students and their families are invited into the academy to have a tour and to meet with the SEND team to discuss their child’s needs and any provision necessary to meet those needs. Information will be requested from the child’s previous school. In addition, we carry out our own assessments to evaluate ability in order to inform teachers and to provide any necessary support.

All relevant information will be shared with the academy staff.

Transition from the Whitehaven Academy

We liaise with our Post-16 Centre and further education and apprenticeship providers to ensure that students can transition onto suitable courses.

We work closely with Inspira to support students in making decisions about their post-16 education. Supported visits can be arranged to the local Further Education College for vulnerable students who are likely to progress onto a “Pathways” course once Year 11 is completed.

If a student transfers to another school or academy at any point in Key Stage 3 or 4 the SEN team will provide information regarding their individual needs.

Additional Services and Expertise

We may involve specialists at any time to advise us on early identification of SEND and to provide support. To access this support, we obtain parental permission to involve these services, then submit a referral request.

Services we have access to include those offered by Cumbria Council SEND team. These include:

SATS (Specialist Advisory Teaching Services) incorporating:
Physical and Medical Needs
Sensory: Hearing and Visual Impairment
Speech and Language service
Social Communication Needs (Autism Spectrum)
Severe learning difficulties
Inclusion Support Officer (Behaviour)

Additionally we can request help and advice from:

Educational Psychologists
Parent Partnership
SALT (Speech and Language Therapy)
Children with Disabilities Team
Social Care
The Howgill Centre

NB The Local Authority have produced The Local Offer where parents/carers and young people can find out about more specialist provision available, including health and care provision.

Link to the Council’s Local Offer for children with SEN and Disabilities.

How Parents/Carers Can Contact Additional Services

The Council’s Local Offer aims to pull information about all the available services into one place and make it clear and accessible for you and your family. Follow the link to the Local Offer in the “Additional Services and Expertise” section above.

You can of course contact our own GP or the School Nurse directly if you have concerns about your child’s health or emotional well-being.

Please feel free to contact the SENCO within the academy if you need support with contacting any of the services.

How We Know Our Provision is Effective

Students at The Whitehaven Academy are happy, safe, and secure and they are well supported by experienced staff.

All students have equal access to the curriculum and the opportunity to study a broad and balanced range of subjects. Some students with specific literacy needs receive additional support which may mean they are withdrawn from other subjects for a short period of time; good literacy skills are vital for students to cope with the increasing demands of the secondary curriculum.

Effective monitoring and tracking of progress through assessment data allows us to ensure our provision is effective. Progress Summary reports are issued termly.

As part of this reviewing cycle, any interventions necessary because of personal circumstances, medical needs or short-term changes in a student’s situation may be discussed and agreed with parents/carers.

Parents/carers are invited to Academic Review Day with subject teachers. In addition, students with SEN and their parents/carers will be invited to discuss progress with a member of the SEN team.

Some students will have targets to support their very specific needs, for example, spelling, reading accuracy and numeracy. These will be monitored and reviewed regularly. This is an opportunity to discuss progress, share concerns, agree aspirations, celebrate success and review targets and provision.

Following review meetings, the SEND Team will, if necessary, adjust intervention, and support teaching strategies to enable the student to achieve their new targets. If needed, more support and advice may be sought from inside or outside of the academy.

Our students are placed in form groups where they are with someone they know. Year 7 Forms may have a Teaching Assistant attached to offer additional support to enable students to settle in and establish fruitful relationships with new students and teachers. Form tutors are an important part of the pastoral team and they will get to know students and their needs as they spend time with them on a daily basis. Heads of Year work closely with the SEN team to ensure any concerns from staff, parents or the students are addressed and any appropriate action is taken.

Students are encouraged to talk about any views or worries they have and are also given the opportunity to participate in surveys, student voice forums and the year / academy council. Bullying is not tolerated and any concerns regarding bullying are dealt with as quickly as possible, normally by the Head of Year.

All students with special needs who are looked after by the local authority have regular meetings to discuss their Personal Education Plans and key staff will attend any reviews with carers or any meetings with Children’s Services. We take our corporate responsibility seriously and will actively look at how we can support the educational needs of individual students who are looked after.

How We Make Our Facilities Available To All

All students have equal access to the buildings, curriculum and life of the academy wherever this can be reasonably achieved.

The two and three storey buildings are spread out on a large campus with one building having a lift to all floors. We move teachers to a ground floor classroom wherever this is required to allow access for students with restricted mobility.

We are currently ensuring that all ground floor areas can be accessed by wheelchairs with the addition of ramps.

Our Additional Staff Expertise

Our team of experienced Teaching Assistants have trained in many areas of SEND, including:

  • Literacy support
  • Numeracy support
  • Dyslexia
  • Autistic Spectrum conditions
  • Speech and language intervention
  • Manual handling
  • Behaviour support
  • Supporting students with physical and medical needs, including Diabetes
  • NVQs in supporting teaching and learning to various levels
  • First Aid

The teaching staff has on-going professional development in quality teaching and learning and differentiation.

Recent INSET has included:

  • Readability of texts
  • Understanding Autistic Spectrum Conditions
  • Differentiation
  • Solution focused
  • Dyslexia
  • The New Code of Practice

All staff are encouraged to access relevant training to support the needs of the students and to enhance their own professional development.

Extra-Curricular Activities

All students including those with additional needs can participate in a wide range of extra-curricular activities with their peers. Opportunities to participate in trips, visits, enrichment activities, social and sporting events are offered to all students, and the SEN team support students as appropriate to access these valuable experiences.

A break and lunch club for our more vulnerable SEND students is provided daily in the Accelerated Learning Centre. Here the students can complete home learning, read, socialise or play games with each other.

A Home Learning Club is available until 4.30pm on Thursdays and students may “drop in” to ALC for advice/support with home learning during any lunch time.

If You Want To Make a Complaint

If you are unhappy with the way The Whitehaven Academy is managing your child’s learning needs you should:

First, discuss your concerns with your child’s form tutor, subject teacher, or Head of Year either by telephoning the academy on 01946 595400 or by requesting a meeting.

If you still have concerns, please contact the SENCO who will try to help resolve the problem.

If, after this, you are still unhappy, then you should ask for a meeting with the Deputy Headteacher to talk about the issue. A decision will then be made on how to make the best use of the academy’s resources to help your child.

If the Deputy Headteacher and the SENCO are unable to resolve the issue then you can contact the Headteacher and ask for a meeting.

If you feel the problem has still not been resolved, you may then contact the academy’s Governing Body by writing to the designated ARC Governor, whose name and contact details can be obtained from the Academy Office.

Finally, if you are unhappy with the academy’s response, you have the right to appeal to the SEND Officer for Copeland, Cumbria County Council, who will follow the guidelines outlined in in the 1996 Education Act, and can be contacted either by telephone on 01946 506238 or in writing to Children’s Services, Blencathra House, Tangier Street, Whitehaven, CA28 7UW.