SEND

As part of Bedford Borough's Local Offer to meeting the needs of students with Special Educational Needs, Wixams Academy, with the support of the Local Authority, is committed to ensuring that every student achieves to the best of their potential. As an inclusive mainstream Academy the happiness and progress of every student is carefully monitored ensuring their wellbeing, and any barriers to learning are quickly identified so that additional support can be implemented. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCo), Mrs Lucia Bonforte and team, work closely with all school staff, families and outside agencies to ensure individual needs are met in the best possible way so that all pupils have equal access to a broad and balanced curriculum and opportunities later in life are not limited.

Taking into account the SEND Code of Practice 2014 and 2015, Wixams Academy supports students with additional needs. The four broad ‘areas of need’ are:

  • Communication and Interaction (including ASD continuum)
  • Cognition and Learning (including Specific Learning Difficulties)
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health (Including ADHD)
  • Sensory and Physical Needs

The Code of Practice 2014 defines SEND as follows:

“A child or young person has SEND if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or he. A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

a)     has significantly greater difficulty in learning more than the majority of others of the same age: or
b)    has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post- 16 institutions”

 » View information on Bedford Borough’s Local Offer page

Our Special Educational Needs and Disability Policy can be accessed in our policies section.

The frequently asked questions and answers below will provide more information about how Wixams Academy can support students with additional needs.

How does the academy know if children/young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?

In addition to information provided by the previous school, and baseline assessments completed on arrival, Wixams Academy staff ensure that they know their students so they are able to identify when students are not making progress or are experiencing difficulties in the classroom.  Through the Academy's process of regular monitoring and data analysis, teaching staff are aware of students that are causing concern and the Graduated Approach process will be implemented.  If a parent or carer has any concerns regarding their son/daughter, they should contact the Special Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCo), Mrs Lucia Bonforte: lbonforte@wixamsacademy.co.uk

What is the Graduated Approach

If there are concerns about a young person's progress of learning behaviour, a 'concerns sheet' is completed and sent to the SENDCo, highlighting the difficulty and any strategies that the class teacher has tried and the young person's response.  Once the SENDCo has received this, further information will be sought from Heads of Year, teaching and support staff.  An adult with a good relationship with the young person will have a conversation with them to support the identification of the challenges that they are facing.  Initially, internal support will be offered and the young person's progress will be monitored.  A Passport will be completed to inform all teaching staff of needs and strategies to support the learner.  The impact of the support is reviewed to identify if it should be maintained, reduced or enhanced.  If concerns continue or increase after a conversation with parents or carers, a referral will be made to outside agencies to request support.  If it is thought to be appropriate, it may be necessary to gather the evidence to request an Education Health Care Needs Assessment.

How will school staff support my child?

Quality First Teaching is the key to students making progress. At Wixams Academy the Graduated Approach supports students who experience barriers to learning or are having difficulties engaging in the classroom. All staff, as part of their continuing professional development, have opportunities to receive training on specific strategies to assist students in their learning. Teachers may be supported by Learning Support Assistants. Advice is sought from outside agencies and advisers if required through the Bedford Borough student support referral process, or through continuing professional development work shops. The Learning Support Centre is available throughout the school day for students who require time out of the classroom, or a quiet place to work. Young people who require movement breaks, or have toileting conditions, have a pass that allows them to leave a classroom without explanation. The non-teaching Heads of Year are the pastoral leads and offer support throughout the school day. They liaise on a day to day basis with parents regarding students' welfare.   Interventions are implemented for students who would benefit from additional input in a particular area of the curriculum. Currently, small group interventions in the following areas are on the Wixams Academy timetable: handwriting, maths, reading, spelling and science. There is also a reading/book group for the more able student. 

How will I know how my child is doing?

All students receive regular progress checks and these are sent out on a termly basis to parents and carers.  Any concerns from teaching staff regarding progress or well being will be shared with parents in order to plan a supportive way forward.

If a student has an Educational Health and Care Plan, the statutory annual review process takes place with interim reviews arranged if the needs of the young person change.

How will the learning and development provision be matched to my child’s needs?

At Wixams Academy we aim to make all lessons inclusive. A variety of teaching and learning styles are accommodated in the classroom, and lessons differentiated appropriately. Where identified, small group work or 1:1 sessions may be offered to improve accessibility and improve outcomes. Some students may be offered interventions to meet their individual needs which may be delivered either internally or through an external provider.  If a student has an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), the plan is shared with all teaching staff and the team of LSA’s to ensure that the support provided is appropriate and the provision detailed in Section F of the plan is in place. Support strategies and key information will be transferred to the Pupil Passport.  The plan will be reviewed on an Annual basis as the SEND Code of Practice (2014) dictates or Interim Reviews called as required. 

What support will there be for my child’s overall well being?

Students have access to pastoral support via their form tutor and Head of Year. Emotional well being is promoted at all times. If required, additional therapeutic services such as counselling, drama therapist, draw and talk, school nurse and sensory circuits are also available. These services are accessed through the internal referral process which has clear entry and exit criteria and are reviewed regularly.

What specialist services and expertise are available at, or accessed by, the Academy?

Expertise within the Academy staffing is constantly improving through staff training.  We are able to access a number of specialists through local contacts and the local authority.  This may include services such as bereavement support, autism advice, emotional health support, advisory services, education psychology, hearing or visual impairment, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, medical needs or other services identified on an individual basis.  Additional support can also be obtained for students who may need the services of the school nurse, social care, Early Help, Educational Welfare, Speech and Language or Young Carers..

What training have the staff supporting students and young people with SEND had, or are having?

All staff in the Academy have opportunities to attend training courses, as needed.  Training is targeted to enable advice to be circulated to all staff to address specific needs.  All teaching staff receive ongoing professional development to support early identification of students who may have a learning need and ensure effective strategies in the classroom.  Some members of staff are trained in British Sign Language to Level 3.      

How will you help me to support my child's learning?

Wixams Academy staff have regular contact with parents and carers through tutor contact and parents' evenings. Subject teachers will discuss with parents or carers, specific support that can be provided by home. Some interventions offered in school may be web based and parents and carers will be notified if these can be supported at home.

How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child’s education?

Regular contact with form tutors, Heads of Year and subject staff is the first point of contact for parents. If there are concerns, about a student’s progress, the Learning Support Department will contact parents and carers to discuss the concerns and any Special Educational Provision, which may be offered. Equally, parents and carers should contact the SENDCo if they have concerns about their child’s access to learning. The SENDCo will invite parents and carers in for a meeting to discuss their concerns and to plan a way forward. 

How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including Academy trips?

All activities including trips and clubs are fully inclusive as all learners should have the same opportunities to access trips and extra-curricular activities. Reasonable adjustments will be made to extra-curricular activities to ensure that everyone is able to participate if they so choose. 

How accessible is the Academy environment?

The school building and grounds complies with current regulations. Upper floors can be accessed via an internal lift. There are several accessible toilets and a purpose built “hygiene room”. Accessibility is a consideration when furnishing classrooms and specialist areas.  Advice is requested from expert professional colleagues on an individual basis for students on roll with additional physical needs such as visual impairment or hearing impairment.

Who can I contact for further information?

Contact the Special Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCo) – Mrs Lucia Bonforte: lbonforte@wixamsacademy.co.uk

How will the Academy prepare and support my child to join the Academy, trasnfer to a new school or the enxt stage of education and life?

Wixams Academy works extensively with all primary feeder schools. Academy staff visit all schools initially and the Special Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCo) also liaises with  any students, schools who may need specific consideration for transfer arrangements. The Academy takes part in the Secondary Transfer Day in July when all students spend the day at their new school. If needed, additional visits and familiarisation resources are arranged for individual students. The first week in September involves a programme of induction and orientation activities.If a student transfers to another school, there will be a thorough exchange of information, files and transition arrangements agreed.Systems will be developed to support students moving on to further education as the Academy develops.

How are the Academy’s resources allocated and matched to children’s special educational needs?

There are various funding options available to school when an intervention for an individual student is identified and matched to their specific need.

How is the decision made about how much support my child will receive?

We aim to give students the skills to develop independent learning and resilience. Additional support will be decided by the Special Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCo) on an individual basis and will be discussed fully with parents and carers.

How can I find information about the local authority’s Local Offer of services and provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disability?

The authority’s Local Offer can be found at: https://sendguide.bedford.gov.uk/results.aspx?SS=true 

Bedford Borough Parent, Carer Forum: https://www.bbpcf.org.uk 

SENDIASS: https://www.kids.org.uk/sendiass