Special Education Needs

A child or young person is considered to have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for additional provision ‘that is above and beyond what is offered to other pupils of a similar age’ (SEND Code of Practice 6.15). 


At Central Academy, our core values give us a clear sense of direction. We are determined to bring out “the best in everyone” through a creative curriculum tailored to generate enthusiasm for learning and an ambition to succeed. Every teacher is a teacher of SEND and will use Quality First Teaching to ensure learners have the best opportunity to access our curriculum. Our high level of varied teaching and learning works to instil respectful learners who have the confidence to work hard and achieve their aspirations.

How we help

The Inclusion Team has a team of experienced staff comprising of Teaching Assistants (TAs), Social, Emotional and Mental Health Specialists (SEMH) and teachers. Staff support students according to their experience and training, including Autism Spectrum, Communication and Interaction and Dyslexia. In our inclusive school, the majority of support is offered within mainstream lessons however there are some booster small group intervention sessions focusing on key skills for those who require more personalised, intensive, support. 


Following an inspection in May 2017, is Good

Inspectors noted: “Pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities are well cared for, treated with respect and currently made good progress. The additional funding has been used more effectively since the last inspection to ensure that resources, including teaching assistants, are carefully deployed to meet their needs and disabilities. Leaders track pupil progress frequently and adapt plans to ensure that pupils receive the necessary support to flourish personally and academically.”

“From their starting points, pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities have made stronger progress since the last inspection. This is because leaders are correctly identifying pupils’ needs and abilities, putting in place effective support and monitoring their academic and pastoral progress carefully.”

SEN Team

Helen Robinson – Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO)
Christina Graham – TA and Communication and Interaction Specialist
Sally Mulraine – TA and Cognition and Learning Specialist
Jane Hutton- TA and Literacy Specialist
Karen Osborne- TA and SEMH/Diabetes Support Specialist
Amanda Currah – Administrator to SEN Team

All TAs work within class and deliver bespoke interventions outside the classroom for identified pupils individually and in groups.

Preparing young people to join us

The school has a transition process that enables all students arriving at Central in Year 7 to look forward to their new school.

KS2/3 Transition

•        Termly meeting between main feeder primary schools and SENCO in a cluster meeting

•        SENCO and primary schools make contact to talk about EHCP pupils.

•        SENCO and Inclusion team attend Year 5/6 Open Evening, with time and space to discuss student needs and additional visits and tours are also offered.

•        SENCO meets with each Primary SENCO individually to discuss Year 6 pupils and paperwork

•        SENCO works with primary SENCOs, Year 7 Head of Learning and Teaching Assistants to create list of pupils who require additional transition

•        Additional transition visit offered for SEN pupils one week before main Year 6/7 transition day

•        Information gathered from meetings and additional transition day support main day and provision put in place for pupils

•        Additional visits offered throughout June and July

•        Teaching assistants visit identified students in their primary school and meet with Year 6 teacher

•        SENCO joins cluster meetings at the Gillford Centre (PRU) in Spring Term

•        Pupil Passports created for Year 7 pupils identified for the Additional SEN Transition Day and shared with staff ready for September


KS3/4 Transition

•        Students with learning needs and their parents/carers are supported through the GCSE options process to ensure appropriate choices are made.


KS4/5 Transition

•        Work experience placement opportunities

•        Get into 6th Form experience days

•        Meetings with KS4/5 Transition co-ordinator

•        Key speakers visit to talk to and mentor students

Visits to Carlisle College

Two-way partnership

Parents / carers are invited and welcomed to be involved in every decision about their child’s future. The Academy encourage, welcome and value all support from home. We recognise the importance of support from home and understand that no one knows your child better than you.

We will invite you to be involved with all reviews of your child’s progress and will keep you informed of all developments in their intervention and progress and how the academy is meeting your child’s changing needs. Reviews can take place in the format of a meeting, over the phone or information passed by email or letter. The Academy will strive to accommodate parents as much as possible. We expect and encourage all of our parents / carers to offer their thoughts about how to meet their child’s needs in school and will where possible implement these suggestions as appropriate.

Identifying and monitoring support

To ensure students who require extra help are identified as soon as possible, a number of strategies are used:

  • Information gathered from primary schools – including additional transition day and visits both to their primary setting and within our secondary setting; KS2 SATs results; SENCO meetings; TA observations
  • Baseline assessments conducted in the core subjects in weeks 1 and 2 of Year 7
  • Detailed tracking of student progress, attainment and attendance
  • Regular updates of SEND register to reflect and monitor additional learning needs
  • Meetings with parents of children with higher levels of need
  • Whole school focus on Assessment for Learning
  • TA and SENCO observations whenever possible
  • Individual assessment for Visual Stress leading to Dyslexic tendencies when needed
  • Testing for and provision of Access Arrangements for public examinations in year 9-13
  • Dyslexia 1:1 or small group sessions led by specialist teacher
  • Targeted Literacy Intervention group led by specialist teacher
  • 1:1 or small group weekly booster intervention sessions focusing on key skills for cross curricular application
  • Social, Emotional and Communication support and referrals
  • Quiet break out space during social times
  • Referrals to external professionals when greater depth of support is required for pupils who require it.

Exam support

Some students may be entitled to exam access arrangements– this is where a student may be able to access support during internal academy exams and formal GCSEs.

To access this support the student will be tested using approved tests which identify if the child may have a specific need in an exam.

The results of these tests will then inform whether additional support can be applied for. If a student scores low enough for the academy to apply for concessions an application to the exam board will take place at which point they will identify what concessions, if any the student may be entitled to.

If a student is entitled to concessions, the Academy will provide the support required and will encourage the pupil to use the provision within their lessons in order for it to become the normal way of working and provision will be made away from the main exam hall.

Any and all entitlements will be shared with the student and parent.

Supporting physical difficulties

There are weekly Inclusion Team group meeting to encourage discussion of our students. We ensure early identification, effective support and monitoring of student learning and progress and the strategies to guarantee this during these meetings. Referrals for specialist support are made in consultation with parents.

Parents/carers are invited to complete a Care Plan when needed to support pupils with specialist health needs ie allergies, medical conditions etc.

Supporting Learning and Understanding

Strategies to develop literacy:

  • Whole school literacy focus through our Head of English
  • Teaching Assistants to support those who have a requirement within lessons
  • Some individual/additional tuition as part of a personalised support programme
  • Literacy skills lesson once a week as part of form time
  • Rigorous progress tracking monitored by Head of English and SENCO

Strategies to develop numeracy:

  • Whole school numeracy focus through our Head of Math
  • Teaching Assistants to support those who have a requirement within lessons
  • Some individual/additional tuition as part of a personalised support programme
  • Rigorous progress tracking monitored by Head of Mathematics and SENCO

Supporting communication

Pupils with Autism or Speech and Language difficulties are supported by the SEN Team and Special Advisory Teachers. They can access support in or out of class to enable them to achieve. Pupils are tested using the Language Link testing package in order to identify exact difficulties and for interventions to be created accordingly.

Supporting Feelings and Behaviour

  • Teaching Assistant dedicated to SEMH
  • Quiet Room Space available most break and lunch times 
  • 1:1 or small group intervention sessions focusing around SEMH using recognised programmes such as “Talkabout”.
  • Positive Behaviour Support Plans (PBSP) are implemented to support the pupil with strategies for the teacher/school and the pupil to engage with
  • Referrals made to Child and Mental Health Services (CAMHs) when greater levels of need are identified
  • Liaison with SEMH workers (Special Advisory Teachers, ADHD clinicians, Educational Psychologists) when appropriate
  • Meetings and reviews with parents/carers
  • All teachers apply the binary behaviour policy which is led and supported by the Academic and Pastoral Support Centre (APSC)
  • Interventions, assessments and referrals conducted in the APSC
  • Strong pastoral system
  • Pupils who require it are referred to the SEMH Worker for additional support

Quiet Room 'The Base'

Some students are identified for our Quiet Room during breakfast club, breaks and lunches, which develops social and friendship skills.

The Base can support students who start at Central below age related expectations and/or require additional emotional/behavioural support as they transition into secondary school. Sessions promote positive behaviours ie boost self-esteem, confidence, reducing shouting out etc and aids with the adjustment to the faster pace of secondary school, which can be overwhelming to some of our new pupils.

Working with other people

The SENCO and Pastoral Leads meet with our two Educational Psychologists at least once a term for a Consultation Meeting to discuss current strategies and next steps for our SEN pupils.

The SENCO liaises with Professionals such as CAMHs, the Local Authority, statementing officers, autism outreach and Medical Professionals for advice, training and to provide further information about pupils.

Referrals for additional support are made when appropriate. These include SEND Early Help Referrals; CAMHs referrals; Speech and Language referrals.


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