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
- 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 know when pupils need help if: concerns are raised by parents/carers, teachers, or the pupil’s previous school. Our school data reveals that there is lack of progress, lower than average test scores, there is a change in the pupil’s behaviour.
We also have strong links with our Primary schools. All information about your child will come up to the Academy with them and meetings between the Academy SENCO and Primary SENCO will take place to ensure a smooth transition.
- How will the setting support my child/young person?
Each pupil on the SEN register will have a Personal Passport. Your child’s Personal Passport will be differentiated to match your child’s individual needs. Personal targets will be set for your child. A copy of the targets will be given to parents. This may include additional general support by the teacher or teaching assistant in class or use of particular resources (e.g. a laptop or coloured overlays).
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 be placed in a small focus group. You will be notified of this in writing. This will be run by the teacher or teaching assistant. 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 (for each year group). This is a record of the interventions, timings and cost of the intervention. The impact of the intervention is recorded separately on an interventions sheet.
If you have any queries related to the interventions please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Lovatt, Mrs Mutton or Mrs Templeton. Pupil Progress Meetings are held twice a year. The first meeting is an opportunity to meet all your child’s subject teachers about general progress. You will also be able to meet the school SENCO and Assistant SENCO for a more focussed discussion about your child’s individual special needs. The second meeting will take place separately. It is an opportunity to meet with the Assistant SENCO or SENCO only. At this meeting you will be able to discuss your child’s passport, targets and the results of any interventions that have taken place. This shared discussion may highlight any potential problems in order for further support to be planned.
Occasionally a pupil may need more expert support form an outside agency such as an Autistic Specialist, Dyslexia Specialist 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 Personal Passport will be shared with your child’s subject teachers. This is to inform them of any difficulties that your child has in the classroom. Once the subject teacher understands the needs of your child, they will differentiate their lessons to remove any barriers to learning and to enable your child to access the curriculum more easily.
A teaching assistant may be allocated to work with your child in a 1-1 or small focus group to target more specific needs. appropriate, specialist equipment may be given to your child e.g. coloured overlays, pen/pencils grips or specialist scissors.
- 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 at the two Progress Meetings. If you have concerns about your child’s educational needs that need addressing immediately, appointments can be made with Mrs Templeton or Mrs Mutton by contacting them by phone (01782 882941). Your child’s updated Personal Passport will be sent home each term. Targets are usually set by the Assistant SENCO the child and the child’s parents at Progress Meetings. 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?
The school offers a wide variety of pastoral support for pupils who are encountering emotional, social and behavioural difficulties. These include: Members of staff such as the Head of Year, form teacher, teaching assistants, SENCO , are readily available for pupils who wish to discuss issues and concerns. Pupils who find lunchtimes a struggle are able to join the Reconciliation Centre run by Mrs Templeton, Mrs Mutton and a number of experienced teaching assistants.
If necessary, a quiet eating area is provided. Pupils with medical needs are also able to access this area. It is located on the ground floor and is easily accessible.
If a pupil has a medical need then a detailed Care Plan is compiled by the school nurse in consultation with parents/carers and the Academy Walker . 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 school 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?
At times it may be necessary to consult with outside agencies to receive their more specialised expertise. The agencies used by the school include:
- Child Protection Advisors – Mrs Jamie Stubbs (Assistant Principal)
- •CAST (Child & Adolescent Support Team)
- CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service)
- AAP (Attendance Advisory Practitioner previously known as Educational Welfare Officers)
- PASS (Physical & Sensory Service) to support pupils with hearing/visual Impairment
- Inclusion Team – Mr David Weaver
- Social Services
- Children’s Therapy Team (Speech & Language/Occupational Therapy)
- School Nurse • Vision Impaired Service – Mrs Rachael Baggaley
- Hearing Impaired Service – Mr Will Potts.
An Educational Psychologist is allocated to each school. She would normally only work directly with pupils whose needs are felt to be quite considerable and have not responded well to the interventions previously put in place for them. In order to help understand the pupil’s educational needs better, the educational psychologist will generally meet with the parent and give feedback after the assessment has been completed. They will offer advice to the Academy and parent/carers on how to best support the pupil in order to take their learning forward.
- What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND have had or are having?
All staff have received some training related to SEND. These have included sessions on: How to support pupils with a diagnosis of dyslexia;
- How to support pupils on the autistic spectrum;
- How to support pupils with behavioural difficulties;
- How to support children with sensory issues;
The school is supported by the Speech and Language team. The school also employs several teaching assistants who have received extra training, enabling them to deliver more specialised support. The Academy is pleased to say that it has Dyslexia Friendly Status Level 1.
- 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
- How accessible is the environment?
As a school we are happy to discuss individual access requirements. Facilities we have at present include: A lift is installed in the main body of the school 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. We are actively planning further improvements to make the school 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 summer term prior to the September start. This includes a visit with parents/carers to become familiar with the school site and to explain the various facilities available; visits with teachers from your child’s primary school and several visits to the Nurture Club (if your child is part of this) Parent/carers are invited to a formal meeting at the school 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 school
- Our Assistant SENCOs (Mrs Templeton) and Mrs Mutton visit all children with Special Educational Needs in their primary setting. Where concerns are raised, Mrs Templeton or Mrs Mutton may visit the setting and meet with parents to discuss any issues or concerns. In some circumstances, individual arrangements may be tailored for starting school such as shorter hours
- Mrs Templeton or Mrs Lovatt meet the SENCOs from the primary schools to share information regarding SEN pupils
- Opportunities to work with local primary schools are actively encouraged so that children are familiar with them (e.g. French taster sessions, Maths taster sessions, English taster sessions etc.)
- The child’s Primary school will forward your child’s records to us. Where there are concerns the primary SENCO will be contacted by phone.
- How are the setting's resources allocated and matched to children's/young people's special educational needs?
The SEN 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 school staff or outside agencies (e.g. Inclusive Learning Services) Funding may be used to buy in specialist support (e.g. Dyslexic assessment/tutor) Individual Pupil Premium payments are also used to support a pupil’s learning. The money from Pupil Premium may be used in many ways, ranging from employing specialist staff to running breakfast clubs etc.
- How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?
The SENCO (Mrs Lovatt) and Assistant SENCO (Mrs Templeton) will agree the level of support needed. This may take the form of additional individual 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.
- 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 Assistant SENCO and SENCO during Progress Meetings, 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 Personal Passport with possible suggestions that could inform their child’s targets.