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Robert Smyth Academy

innovation & excellence


SEN Information Report 2016

The areas of SEND provided for

We are a non-selective academy for pupils aged between 11 and 19 years. Our Academy site comprises a range of buildings. Most buildings, including the canteen and Year 7 tutor base allow access for students with physical disabilities.  At Robert Smyth Academy, identifying and assessing students with learning support needs, at the earliest opportunity, enables us to work out what action the academy needs to take to achieve the best outcomes for the students concerned. The four areas outlined below give an overview of the range of learning needs we plan for:

  • Communication and interaction
  • Cognition and learning
  • Social and emotional difficulties
  • Sensory and /or physical needs

In practice, individual students often have needs that cut across two or more of these broad areas and may change with time. The support provided is based on an understanding of a student’s particular strengths and difficulties.

Learning Support Department

  • SENCO: Mrs Victoria McNair
  • SENCO Assistant: Mrs Karen Barton
  • HLTAs: Ms Imogen Alden & Mrs Donna Frearson

The Learning Support Department exists to help students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD),

Communication and interaction

  • Speech language and communication needs (SLCN)
  • Difficulty with some or all aspects of speech
  • ASD including Asperger’s and Autism

Cognition and learning

  • Moderate learning difficultiues (MLD)
  • Severe learning difficulties (SLD)
  • Profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD)
  • Specific learning difficulties (SpLD)

 Social and emotional difficulties

  • Challenging disruptive or disturbing behaviour (ADD, ADHD or attachment disorder)
  • Mental health difficulties

Sensory and /or physical needs

  • Vision impairment (VI)
  • Hearing impairment (HI)
  • Multi-sensory impairment (MSI)
  • Physical disability (PD)

We support the holistic personal development of our students as well as their academic progress.

The departments work includes:

  • Classroom support
  • Reading (NGRT) and spelling tests (Vernon) starting in Year 7
  • Additional studies
  • Study skills sessions
  • Literacy and numeracy intervention
  • Afterschool homework club
  • Assessment for access arrangements for school and public exams ·
  • Referral to external agencies when appropriate ·
  • Regular liaison with staff and parents ·
  • Staff training ·
  • Ensuring that the school is up to date with any new initiatives such as the new Code of Practice

Our department includes a number of well-trained and dedicated Learning Support Assistants who support either individual students or groups within the classroom. Their support is invaluable as they give the students far more than just a helping hand with their learning. They are often available as a listening ear, assisting with organisation, facilitating a student’s access arrangements in an exam, liaising with home and enabling the student to grow in confidence.

We often have the pleasure of observing many students realise their full potential as a result of our nurturing atmosphere.

Policies for identifying students with SEN and assessing their needs

Robert Smyth Academy, class teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the students in their class including where students access support from teaching assistants, support teachers or specialist staff. High quality teaching, differentiated for individual students, is the first step in responding to students who have or may need learning support. Additional intervention and support cannot compensate for a lack of good quality teaching.

The decision to provide learning support will involve consultation with parents and the student (where appropriate). The class teacher in partnership with parents, together with the SENDCo, will consider all of the information gathered from within the academy about the student’s progress, alongside national data and expectations of progress. This will include accurate formative assessment, using effective tools and early assessment materials. For higher levels of need, we will arrange for more specialised assessments from external agencies and professionals. All teachers at The Robert Smyth Academy have access to and are familiar with the Learning Support Policy and the Learning Support Register. These are accessible to staff at all times via the intranet.

Arrangements for consulting and involving parents of students with SEN

At Robert Smyth Academy we are committed to working in partnership with parents, who play a vital role in supporting children with additional needs. The decision to raise a child as ‘causing concern’ or to make special educational provision will involve consultation with parents and, where appropriate, the student. This will enable parents to play an active and informed role in supporting their children. Regular feedback and discussion is encouraged, with opportunities for meetings at the official Parents’ Evenings or before or after school, by arrangement. Practical support and advice will be made available to parents where possible.

Arrangements for consulting and involving young people with SEN

Where appropriate, students are encouraged to participate in discussions regarding any difficulties they may have and are also invited to contribute to the creation of their one page profile and Need Assess Provision Support Plan (NAPS).

Arrangements for assessing and reviewing student’s progress towards outcomes

Following the identification of a student with special educational needs, parents, the Head of Faculty and SENDCo, will agree on interventions which are additional to, or different from, those provided as part of the usual curriculum.

The interventions provided will be selected to meet the outcomes identifies for the student. Parents will be kept informed of the planned support and intervention and where appropriate their involvement should reinforce or contribute to progress at home. In consultation with parents and with the support of the SENDCo, the academy may seek advice and support from a variety of external agencies, as appropriate, for example, speech and language therapists, educational psychologists, occupational therapists and special needs consultants.

With liaison through the Learning Support Department, a Needs Access Provision support Plan and one page profile may be devised in association with the child and the child’s parents. The NAPS will reflect the additional needs identified and will aim to overcome the barriers to learning or close the gap in knowledge and understanding. The strategies on the NAPs will be used by the subject teachers to inform their planning and support the students’ progress.  The progress of students with SEND will be reviewed in line with the academy assessment calendar.  In association with parents, the subject teacher and SENDCo Assistant, outcomes will be shared and new targets will be set as appropriate.

Arrangements for supporting pupils in moving between phases of education and in preparing for adulthood

The Robert Smyth Academy is committed to ensuring that the transition between classes/year groups and for those moving between phases is planned for and managed to make sure that students continue to build on their achievements. This enables them to transfer between classes or schools with confidence and in the knowledge that information relating to additional provision has been communicated to the new teacher or setting. In order to facilitate a smooth transition there is close liaison between staff in different departments at the academy as well as students and their parents being involved. Information, Options and Transition Evenings are held. In addition to this, the SENCO or SENCo Assistant attends annual reviews or transition meetings with feeder schools or post 16 providers.

The approach to teaching and adaptations made for students with SEN

The Robert Smyth Academy SEND policy details how it will do its utmost to ensure that the necessary provision is made for any student who needs learning support and how those needs are made known to all who are likely to teach them. The academy will use its best endeavours to ensure that teachers are able to identify and provide for those pupils who have learning support needs and to allow students with those needs to join in all activities of the school, so far as is reasonably practical.

The academy will ensure that parents and students are kept informed of any special provision that is being made for their child.  This is reviewed termly.  Where the normal classroom structure with appropriate, individualised and personalised approaches and adaptations in place does not overcome the barriers to learning, procedures are in place to inform the learning support department. A review of provision will then determine whether learning support is appropriate or the student meets the criteria for a placement on the SEN register.

At Robert Smyth Academy we support The Teachers’ Standards 2012 which make it clear that it is every teacher’s responsibility to ‘adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all student’s, including those with Special Educational Needs. We are committed to raising the aspirations of and expectations for all students with Learning Difficulties or Disabilities, with the focus on improving outcomes for all children with Learning Support needs. We aim to:

  • treat every child as an individual
  • identify and provide for students who need learning support or have additional needs
  • work within the guidance provided in the SEND Code of Practice 2014
  • operate a “whole pupil, whole school” approach to the management and provision of support for students needing learning support
  • provide a Learning Support Department who will work within the Learning Support Policy
  • provide support and advice for all staff working with students needing learning support

The expertise and training of staff

The SENCO and SENCO Assistant attend local network meetings. They also meet with staff from the SEND team on a regular basis. We work with professionals such as: Educational Psychologists, Autism Advisory Team, Speech and Language Therapy Team, Occupational Therapy Team, Social Care Team, CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) and the Learning South Leicestershire Partnership.  Support provision at the academy is the responsibility of the Assistant Principal (SENCO). This responsibility is partly delegated to the SENCO Assistant. The Academy employs HLTA’s and a number of Learning Support Assistants who provide additional support within their timetabled commitment. In some circumstances, where the normal support provision is insufficient to ensure a child is able to access the curriculum, it will be necessary to consider the provision of staffing beyond the school’s normal staffing levels usually in the form of an alternative provision with specialist providers.

Evaluating the effectiveness of the provision

The Robert Smyth Academy is committed to regularly and carefully monitoring and evaluating the quality of provision we offer to all students, including those with Learning Support needs. We sample parental views via questionnaires, and sample staff views via staff meetings, raising achievement briefings and staff questionnaires. Our Rewards Policy ensures that all students, including those with Learning Support needs can celebrate their successes, in and out of the classroom, with the awarding of House Points, Merits and House assemblies, as well as postcards, certificates and contact with parents.

How students with SEND are enabled to engage in activities available to students who do not have SEND

We endeavour to ensure that all students, regardless of their needs, have full access to the activities where possible. If any student has needs which are additional to/different from those of their peers, we create and implement an Needs Access Provision Support Plan (NAPS) to assist them in integrating fully. The subject teacher and SEND team monitor and review NAPS on a regular basis. Parents are invited to contribute to these.

Support for improving emotional and social development

Staff at Robert Smyth Academy aim to maintain constant vigilance over the social interactions among the students and to support those who find the emotional and social side of school difficult. The methods we use to support social integration can include: social skills groups, PSHE programmes, personal mentors and supervised social time within the Personalised Learning Centre (PLC) .

How the Academy involves outside agencies

The Principal, with the support of the SENCO and SENCO Assistant as appropriate, are responsible for involving external agencies in the education of children needing additional support. External agencies will usually conduct more specialist assessments to inform planning or measure a student’s progress, give advice on the use of new or specialist strategies or materials, and in some cases provide support for particular activities. In consultation with parents and where appropriate, the support of an external professional may be sought via a GP consultation, an NHS referral or a private appointment with a specialist. In some cases there may be an additional cost involved to parents. The following list contains some of the external agencies that may be consulted:

  • Local Authority SEND Team (SENA)
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Social Services (when children are at risk)
  • Educational Psychologists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Autism Outreach
  • Visual/Hearing Impairment Team

Arrangements for handling complaints

In line with the Complaints Policy and Procedure, complaints from parents will be dealt with according to the five stages outlined in the academy policy.    

 Overview of Progress 2015-16

2014-15 2015-16
5 A*- G GCSE 66.67% 77.78%  + 11.11%
Progress 8 -1.72 -0.27 +1.99
Progress * Gap -1.34 -0.24 +1.1
Eng 3 Levels of Progress -35.04 +1.49 +33.55
Exclusions +30% 24% +6%


Exclusions were lower than previous years with only 6 students on the SEN register receiving 1 or more day’s exclusion.   Two of these students have now received EHCP’s and are education off site by specialist providers.

There were 0 NEETS for the cohort of 2015-16

Last updated: September 20, 2016