St Thomas More Catholic Academy
The Catholic Life of our school is one that is vibrant and growing. It is also one which is all-inclusive, no matter what faith or beliefs a young person has. We are constantly looking at ways to continue to grow the Catholic Life of our school to best serve the young people who belong to our school community, and to ensure that they fully realise how amazing, how special and how loved each one of them is.
Who to contact
Where to go
Longton Hall Road
Stoke on Trent
- ST3 2NJ
- Local Offer Age Bands
- What kinds of SEND does the school provide for?
St Thomas More Catholic Academy provides education for students ranging from age 11 to age 18 (yrs 7 – 13). Some of these pupils have areas of difficulty in the areas outlined below under the Four Broader Areas of Need:
- Cognition and Learning
- Communication and Interaction
- Social, Emotional and Mental Health
- Sensory and/or Physical Difficulties.
- How does this setting know if their children/young person needs extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?
We identify and assess students with SEND using information from the following sources:
- Concerns are raised by parents/carers, teachers, or the pupil’s previous academy
- Our academy data reveals that there is a gap between your child’s targets and their current grades
- Standardised tests
- Staff referrals
- Outside agency referrals/recommendations
- Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) – Equality Duty
- There is a change in the pupil’s behaviour
- We also have strong links with our primary academies. All information about your child will be transferred to our Academy and meetings between the Academy SENCo and Primary SENCo will take place to ensure a smooth transition. This will include Year 6 NC levels.
St Thomas More Catholic Academy is a fully inclusive academy and all of the academy’s students, including students with Special Educational Needs, follow a highly ambitious National Curriculum. The academy places students in appropriate teaching groups (via data from their primary academy and other tests). All of the academy’s teaching and educational support staff are fully trained to enable them to provide high quality inclusive teaching to support all of our learners.
Teaching staff have a toolkit that incorporates SEND resources in order to provide Quality First Teaching for those students with SEND and this is reviewed annually. Added to this, all Learning Support Practitioners carry their own toolkit of resources to each lesson, so that they are able to support the teacher in adaptive practices and scaffolding. The academy operates an open-door policy, whereby teaching staff can visit the SENCo for guidance whenever they require it. Staff members are supported in the delivery of their lessons with specialist training on SEND, so that they are well equipped to adapt and scaffold their lessons effectively and provide a truly inclusive environment.
- How will the setting support my child/young person?
Each pupil on the SEN register will have a Pupil Passport. Your child’s Pupil Passport will be created with you and your child and adapted to match your child’s individual needs. Personal strategies will be set for your child to support teaching staff with teaching and learning. There may be additional information on the Pupil Passport to indicate use of particular resources (e.g a laptop or coloured overlays). A copy of the Pupil Passport will be given to you as a parent/guardian.
If a pupil has needs related to more specific areas of their education or social skills, such as spelling, handwriting, numeracy & literacy skills etc. then the pupil may have extra intervention where applicable. Parents will at all times be included in such decisions and you will also be notified of this in writing. The length of time of the intervention will vary according to need but will generally be between 10 and 12 weeks. The interventions will be regularly reviewed by all involved to ascertain the effectiveness of the provision and to inform future planning. These interventions will be recorded on a Provision Map. This is a record of the interventions, timings and cost of the intervention. We will also measure the impact of the intervention and feed this information back to you.
If you have any queries related to the interventions please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Lovatt, Mrs Mutton or Mrs Wheeler. Parent Evenings are held twice a year. These meetings give you the opportunity to meet all your child’s subject teachers about general progress. You will also be able to meet the school SENCo and Assistant SENCos for a more focussed discussion about your child’s individual special needs.
Occasionally a pupil may need more expert support form an outside agency such as an Autistic Specialist, Dyslexia Specialist or an Educational Psychologist etc. We always ensure that before we recommend any outside agency, parents are fully informed of our intentions and permission is obtained. Once this has taken place, referral forms are then and forwarded to the most appropriate agency. After a series of assessments, a programme of support is usually put into place that will target your child’s particular area of need.
- How will teaching approaches and the curriculum be matched to my child or young person's needs?
Your child’s Pupil Passport will be shared with your child’s subject teachers. This is to inform them of the strengths and difficulties that your child has in the classroom. Once the subject teacher understands the needs of your child, they will adapt their lessons to remove any barriers to learning and to enable your child to access the curriculum more easily.
A Learning Support Assistant may be allocated to work with your child in the classroom, or as a 1-1 on a tailored intervention. At times it may be appropriate for us to use specialist equipment: coloured overlays, pen/pencils grips or specialist scissors. These will be purchased by the SEND department.
- How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support their learning?
You will be able to discuss your child’s progress in lessons at the two Parents' Evenings. We will also call you in to discuss your child's Pupil Passport. We also offer Parent Surgeries for parents/guardians to be able to drop in to discuss their child's special educational needs. A letter will be sent home to you 2 weeks before the Parent Surgery to let you know the date and time. However, if you have concerns about your child’s educational needs that need addressing immediately, appointments can be made with Mrs Mutton or Mrs Wheeler by contacting them by phone (01782 882900). It is very important to us that your child is supported by both school and home. It is also very important to us that your child is fully involved in all decisions that are made about their education.
- What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall wellbeing?
St Thomas More Catholic Academy offers a wide variety of pastoral support for pupils who are encountering emotional, social and behavioural difficulties.
- Members of staff such as the Heads of Year, Key stage 3 and 4 support workers, form teachers, progress managers, learning support assistants and SENCo, are readily available for pupils who wish to discuss issues and concerns
- Pupils who find lunchtimes a struggle are able to go to a safe area which is run by Miss Mutton and a number of experienced teaching assistants. If required, we are proud to provide a welcoming quiet eating area
- Pupils with medical needs are also able to access this area. It is located on the ground floor and is easily accessible. There are also facilities on this floor for a disabled toilet (multi-access)
- The academy has access to a number of agencies for pupils with emotional and social difficulties
- If a pupil has a medical need then a detailed Care Plan is compiled by the academy nurse in consultation with parents/carers and the academy SENCo. With permission, this is discussed with all staff who are involved with the pupil
- Where necessary and in agreement with parents/carers, medicines are administered in the academy where a signed Medi-Careplan is in place. Anti-biotics may be given in some circumstances on discussion with the office staff and on completion of a medication form.
- What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting?
- Designated Safeguarding Lead – Mrs Jamie Stubbs (Safeguarding Lead)
- Deputy Safeguarding Leads - Mrs Alison Staton and Mrs Kellie Williams
- Mental Health Lead - Mrs Kellie Williams
- Educational Psychologist – Dr Y Yates
- Visually Impaired (Inclusive Learning Services) – Mrs Rachel Bagley – 01782 232538
- Hearing Impaired (Inclusive Learning Services) – Mr Will Potts - 01782 232538
SENMAS - Assessment and Monitoring (Stoke LA):
Yr3-Yr7 = Ms Nicole Barrow – Nicole.Barrow@stoke.gov.uk and Ms Rayana Sardar – Rayana.Sardar@stoke.gov.uk and Ms Laura Rushton - firstname.lastname@example.org
Yr8-Yr11 = Ms Sharon Tudor - email@example.com and Ms Jenny Norman- - jenny.norman:stoke.gov.uk
Yr12+ = Ms Jane Titley – Jane.Titley@stoke.gov.uk
- CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service) -please paste this link into your search engine CAMHS
- Education Welfare Officer – Mrs D Dutton
- Inclusive Learning Services to support pupils with: ASD, SLCN, SPLD, hearing/visual and sensory Impairment – Mr Will Potts (HI) Mrs Rachael Baggeley (VI)
- Social Services - Tel: 01782 235100
- Children’s Therapy Team (Speech & Language/Occupational Therapy)- Tel: (0300) 123 1161
- Academy Nurse Service –Tel: 0300 1240362
- Mental Health Support Team (Low level CBT and small group interventions) - Referrals via school staff and the school Mental Health Lead – Mrs K Williams
- Stay Well Service (Psycho-education workshops and 121 counselling) - 01782 418518
- Dove Service (Bereavement Counselling and Support) - Tel: 01782 683155
- New Era (Domestic Violence support) - Tel: 01785 601690
- Youth Offending Preventative Service - Referrals via the safeguarding team
- Catch 22 (For any young people at risk of exploitation) - Referrals via the safeguarding team
- Young Carers - Referrals via the safeguarding team
- Ruff and Ruby (Mentoring) - Referrals via the safeguarding team
- What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND have had or are having?
- Exam invigilation training
- Trauma and attachment in the classroom
- Restorative practice and building positive relationships
- Creating an autism friendly environment
- Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Children and Young People’s Mental Health
- Diploma in Child Counselling Course QLS Level 4
- Diploma in Child Psychology QLS Level 4
- Foundation Degree in Education
- Level 3 teaching assistant –
- ELSA – Our ELSA is Miss Mutton
- Introduction to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Early Trauma Online Training Course
- Mental health first aid training
- Fresh start training (phonics based programme)
- Safeguarding training - level 1
- Emotional Literacy Training
- Identification and assessment of students with Speech, Language and Communication Needs
- Relationship between home and School (AIS Project)
- Autistic Communication
- An Introduction to Understanding Selective Mutism (PEGIS)
- Moderation Training for Achieve: Prince's Trust
- How to support students with a Hearing Impairment (training by Will Potts)
- How to support students with a Visual Impairment (training by Rachel Baggeley)
- Emotion Coaching
- Relational Care in Education: Attachment and Trauma
- The school has recently completed the Autism in Schools Project which was led by the Local Authority. This focus of this project has been to dramatically improve the outcomes and experiences of our young people with Autism or suspected autism (as yet undiagnosed).
- How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?
Activities and school trips are available to all pupils regardless of their Special Educational Needs. Risk assessments are carried out and procedures are put in place to enable all children to participate. If a health and safety risk assessment suggests that that an intensive level of 1:1 support is required, an LSP may also be asked to accompany the child during the activity in addition to the usual school staff. We offer an extensive Enrichment Programme that offers opportunities for all learners and these can be adapted to support your child's particular special educational needs.
Risk assessments and safety plans are carried out and procedures are put into place to enable all children to participate.
If a health and safety risk assessment suggest that an intensive level of 1:1 support is required, an LSP may accompany your child during the activity in addition to the usual academy staff.
- How accessible is the environment?
As an Academy we are happy to discuss individual access requirements. Facilities that we have at present include:
- A lift is installed in the main body of the academy to make the site accessible to all. This leaves only a few classrooms that would be unavailable to a wheelchair user.
- Toilets have been adapted for disabled users.
- Double doors are in place in many parts of the building.
- For our Visually Impaired pupils, we have access to a variety of resources to ensure that they are able to access the curriculum. some of these include: enlarged IT keyboards, touch typing sessions from the Visually Impaired Unit and Ipads that link to each classroom etc.
- For our Hearing Impaired pupils, we have monthly visits from Mr Will Potts from the Hearing impaired Unit. Mr Potts checks all of the children's hearing aids, checks their hearing, brings in batteries and supports us with training for staff on how to use Radio Aids etc. (last training was on 6/9/22)
- We are actively planning further improvements to make the academy more accessible and have an up to date Accessibility Plan.
- How will the setting prepare and support my child/young person to join the next stage of education and life?
St Thomas More Catholic Academy understands what a stressful time moving schools can be. Therefore, many strategies are in place to enable your child’s transition to run as smoothly as possible.
These include on entry:-
- A planned programme of visits in the spring and summer term prior to the September start. This includes a visit with parents/carers to become familiar with the academy site and to explain the various facilities available; visits with teachers from your child’s primary academy. Parent/carers are invited to a formal meeting at the Academy led by the Head Teacher and Head of Year 7 so that they know what to expect and are encouraged to share any concerns with the staff.
- Our SENCO (Mrs Lovatt) and Assistant SENCOs (Miss Mutton and Mrs Wheeler) visit all children with Special Educational Needs in their primary setting. Where concerns are raised, Mrs Lovatt, Miss Mutton or Mrs Wheeler may visit the setting and meet with parents to discuss any issues or concerns.
- Mrs Lovatt meets the SENCOs from the MAC Primary Academies on a termly basis to share information regarding SEND pupils.
- Opportunities to work with local primary academies are actively encouraged so that children are familiar with them (e.g. French taster sessions, Maths taster sessions, English taster sessions etc.)
- Your child’s primary school will forward your child’s records to us and an updated pupil passport. Where there are further concerns, the primary SENCO will be contacted by phone.
Year 9 and Year 11, are particularly important years for your child as it is at this point that they will have to make some important decisions regarding their future education. In year 9, SEND students are fully prepared and support by the SEND department and parents to ensure that they are offered the full range of option subjects and that their option subjects are appropriate for their plans for Post16. They will be supported in the Taster Sessions that the academy provides as part of this process. These Taster Sessions give your child the chance to ensure that they are fully informed about their choices moving forward into year 10. In Year 11, your child will be fully supported by the SEND department to ensure that they are completely ready to move onto further education/apprenticeships. Careers Advisor Mrs Jane Kent will meet with your child on an individual basis to ensure that your child is aware of all the options post-16, and that they are able to make an informed choice. Visits to all of the local colleges can be arranged and pupils will have the opportunity to take part in taster sessions and mock interviews. If your child requires a specialist provision Post16 and 18, this process will be fully supported.
- How are the setting's resources allocated and matched to children's/young people's special educational needs?
- The SEND budget is allocated each financial year. The money is used to provide additional support or resources dependant on an individual's needs
- Further support or resources may be allocated to your child following assessments by academy staff or outside agencies (eg. Inclusive Learning Services)
- Funding may be used to buy in specialist support (eg. bespoke training)
- Individual pupil premium payments are also used to support a pupil's learning. The money from pupil premium may be used in may way, ranging from employing specialist staff to running breakfast clubs and buying specialist resources.
- How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?
The SENCO (Mrs Lovatt) and Assistant SENCOs (Mrs Mutton and Mrs Wheeler) will agree the level of support needed. This may take the form of additional individual support or small group support in class or in other focus groups tailored to your child’s needs.
During their school life, if further concerns are identified due to the child’s lack of progress or well-being then other interventions can be arranged. Parents/carers will be notified if their child is receiving 1-1 or small group support outside of the classroom.
- How will our child and young person be involved in the decisions about their learning?
We take pride in including your child in every decision that concerns them. We actively encourage your child to participate in a Pupil Voice questionnaire twice a year and to attend any meetings with parents and agencies. Your child's input into the decisions about their lives is our priority and we ensure that they have their own copy of the Pupil Passport.
- How are parents involved in the setting? How can I be involved?
All parents are encouraged to contribute to their child’s education. This may be through: discussions with the SENCO prior to your child joining St Thomas More Catholic Academy, during Parents' Evenings, during discussions with other professionals like the Inclusive Learning Services or the Educational Psychologist, In discussions with your child’s Head of Year, parents are encouraged to comment on their child’s Pupil Passport with possible suggestions that could inform strategies to support their child.
- What other support Is available to parents and how can I contact them?
If you wish to discuss your child’s Special Educational Needs or other aspects of their provision at St Thomas More Catholic Academy, please contact one of the following:
- Mrs Lovatt (SENCO) Tel: 01782 882900 (for SEND issues)
- Miss Mutton (Ass SENCO) Tel: 01782 882900 (for SEND issues)
- Mrs Wheeler (Ass SENCO) Tel: 01782 882900 (for SEND issues)
- Mrs Sloan (Head of Year 7) Tel: 01782 882900 (for Pastoral issues)
- Mrs Britton (Student Support for Year 7) Tel: 01782 882900 (for Pastoral issues)
- Mrs Rigby (Head of year 8) Tel: 01782 882900 (for Pastoral issues)
- Mr Harvey (Head of year 9) Tel: 01782 882900 (for Pastoral issues)
- Mrs Martin (Student Support for year 9) Tel: 01782 882900 (for Pastoral issues)
- Mr Dale (Head of year 10) Tel: 01782 882900 (for Pastoral issues)
- Mrs Hoskins (Student Support for year 10) Tel: 01782 882900 (for Pastoral issues)
- Mrs Powell (Head of year 11) Tel: 01782 882900 (for Pastoral issues)
- Miss Beasley (Head of Sixth Form) Tel: 01782 882900 (for Pastoral issues)
- Mr Myatt (Student Support for Sixth Form) Tel: 01782 882900 (for Pastoral issues)