The Discovery Academy

OFSTED rating

Our aim at the Academy is to encourage students to Expect Excellence’ in everything that they do and we foster a culture of growth mindset that gives students the confidence and ambition for the future. With dedicated staff who can provide the necessary support and care, I believe all students can develop the skills to become successful.

The Academy engages with parents/carers and students to acquire views on what we need to do together, so the Academy can go from strength to strength.

Contact telephone 01782 882100
Contact email
Venue address Discovery Drive
Stoke on Trent
School's extended local offer response

What kinds of SEND does the school provide for?

The Academy accommodates all SEND in line with the Equality Act 2010 and provision is available for all 4 areas of need outlined in the 2014 SEND code of practice. This includes cognitive learning needs such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia and Moderate learning difficulties. Communication and interaction needs such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder, speech and language. Social, emotional and mental health needs are also widely supported. The Academy has experience supporting physical needs such as students with cerebral palsy, hearing and visual impairments and our building is accessible for any students with mobility needs. 

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?

At The Discovery Academy students are identified as having special education needs through a variety of ways including the following:- •

  • Liaison with previous school
  • Child performing below age expected levels
  • Concerns raised by Parent
  • Concerns raised by the child
  • Concerns raised by teacher for example behaviour or self-esteem is affecting performance
  • Liaison with Multi-Agencies
  • Health diagnosis through paediatrician.

How will the setting support my child/young person?

School staff will support individuals at a level appropriate to their needs through effective differentiation in the classroom.

  • The Extended Learning Department aims to ensure the fullest possible access to the curriculum for students on the Extended Learning Register with Special and Additional Educational Needs.
  • The provision is reviewed every year to ensure it addresses the needs of current students.
  • Please see the school website for more detailed information about the many different interventions which are in place to support our students.

How will teaching approaches and the curriculum be matched to my child or young person's needs?

The Extended Learning Department aims to ensure the fullest possible access to the curriculum for students with Special and additional Educational needs. The provision is reviewed every year to ensure it addresses the needs of current students. 

In Key Stage 4, the school offers three pathways to ensure that students are able to achieve their maximum potential by being matched to the pathway which addresses their learning needs while presenting some challenge.

How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support their learning?

As a school we measure children’s progress in learning against national expectations and age related expectations. The teachers continually assess each child and note areas where they are improving and where further support is needed. As a school, we track children’s progress from entry at Year 7 through to Year 11, using a variety of different methods including National Curriculum levels and Reading and Spelling ages.

Children who are not making expected progress are picked up through Review meetings with Heads of Year, Heads of Department and the SENCO. In this meeting a discussion takes place concerning why individual children are experiencing difficulty and what further support can be given to aid their progression.

When the child’s IEP is reviewed comments are made against each target to show what progress the child has made. If the child has not met the target, the reasons for this will be discussed, then the target may be adapted into smaller steps or a different approach may be tried to ensure the child does make progress.

As a parent you will receive regular formal reports from subject staff. In addition to this there are the Parents’ Evenings which provide an opportunity to meet with subject staff and discuss progress.

We offer an open door policy where you are welcome any time to make an appointment to meet with SENCo and discuss how your child is getting on. We can offer advice and practical ways that you can help your child at home.

We believe that your child’s education should be a partnership between parents and teachers, therefore we aim to keep communication channels open and communicate regularly, especially if your child has complex needs.

Children with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan or Statement of SEN will also have an Annual Review Meeting and outside agencies may be invited to attend. We consider that the parents/carer’s views are a vital part of the review and therefore request your attendance and support for your child.

What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall wellbeing?

We are an inclusive school; we welcome and celebrate diversity. All staff believe that children having high self-esteem is crucial to a child’s well-being. We have a caring, understanding team looking after our children.

The Head of Year teacher has overall responsibility for the pastoral, medical and social care of every child in their year group, therefore this would be the parents’ first point of contact. If further support is required the Head of Year liaises with the SENCo for further advice and support. This may involve working alongside outside agencies such as Health and Social Services.

The school has a policy regarding the administration and managing of medicines on the school site. Parents need to contact the School Office if medication is recommended by Health Professionals to be taken during the school day. On a day to day basis the Admin Staff generally oversee the administration of any medicines. As a staff we have regular training and updates of conditions and medication affecting individual children so that all staff are able to manage medical situations.

As a school we have a very positive approach to all types of behaviour with a clear reward system that is followed by all staff and students. If a child has behavioural difficulties an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is written alongside the child and Parents to identify the specific issues, put relevant support in place and set targets. As a result of the support we give, our rate of exclusions has drastically reduced over the past year.

After any behaviour incident we expect the child to reflect on their behaviour with an adult, often completing a reflection form. This helps to identify why the incident happened and what the child needs to do differently next time to change and improve their behaviour.

Attendance of every child is monitored on a daily basis by the Attendance Officer. Lateness and absence are recorded and reported upon to the Head of Year. Support is given through an incentive scheme where good attendance is actively encouraged throughout the school. We have had many successes where families were struggling with lateness but are now able to get their children into school on time.

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

The staff working at The Discovery Academy are highly trained and experienced in supporting a wide range of SEND conditions. Our SENCo is fully qualified and accredited.

As a school we work closely with any external agencies that we feel are relevant to individual children’s needs within our school including: - Behaviour Intervention; Health including – GPs, school nurse, clinical psychologist, paediatricians, speech & language therapists; occupational therapists; social services including - Locality Teams, social workers and Educational Psychologists.

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

The Extended Learning Team has staffed trained in delivering reading and spelling / phonics programmes, impulse control programmes, behaviour support, speech and language programmes. All our staff take part in on-going SEND training programmes.

How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?

All children are included in all parts of the school curriculum and we aim for all children to be included on school trips. We will provide the necessary support to ensure that this is successful.

A risk assessment is carried out prior to any off site activity to ensure everyone’s health & safety will not be compromised. In the unlikely event that it is considered unsafe for a child to take part in an activity, then alternative activities which will cover the same curriculum areas will be provided in school.

How accessible is the environment?

The school site is wheelchair accessible with several disabled toilets that are large enough to accommodate changing. The school has lifts to enable those with restricted mobility to access the upper floor.

We liaise with the Local Authority EAL Team who assist us in supporting our families with English as an additional language.

How will the setting prepare and support my child/young person to join the next stage of education and life?

We encourage all new children to visit the school prior to starting when they will meet their buddy and be shown around the school. For children with SEND we would encourage further visits to assist with the acclimatisation of the new surroundings. We would also visit them in their current school.

For those transferring at the end of Year 6 we arrange a transition day for them to have the opportunity of spending the whole day with us.

We run a programme specifically tailored to aid transition into Year 6 for the more vulnerable students.

We liaise closely with staff when receiving and transferring children to different schools ensuring all relevant paperwork is passed on and all needs are discussed and understood.

If your child has complex needs then there will be a transition meeting during which we will invite staff from both schools to attend. Transition to post-16 provision:

The Careers Advisor attends Year 10 and 11 annual reviews to give independent advice and guidance to students and their parents

Towards the end of Year 10 students have a one to one meeting with our Careers Advisor

Taster sessions and informal visits to college take place throughout KS4

Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs), are shared with local colleges. These are soon to be replaced, along with Statements of Special Educational Needs, by Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)

Our Foundation Learning curriculum is specifically designed to prepare our more vulnerable students for their post-16 options and to enable them to develop independent living skills.

How are the setting's resources allocated and matched to children's/young people's special educational needs?

We ensure that all children who have Special Educational needs are met to the best of the school’s ability with the funds available.

We have a team of LTAs who are funded from the SEN budget and deliver programmes designed to meet groups of children’s needs.

The budget is allocated on a needs basis. The children who have the most complex needs are given the most support often involving an LTA.

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?

The SENCo or the Head of Year will meet with you to discuss your child’s needs and what support would be appropriate. Different children will require different levels of support in order to bridge the gap to achieve age expected levels. This will be through on-going discussions with parents.

  • By reviewing children’s targets and ensuring they are being met
  • The child is making progress academically against national/age expected levels and the gap is narrowing – they are catching up to their peers or expected age levels.
  • Through verbal feedback from the teachers, parent and student.
  • Children may move off of the Extended Learning register when they have ‘caught up’ or made sufficient progress.

How will our child and young person be involved in the decisions about their learning?

How will we be involved in the decisions about the learning of our children and young people?

How are parents involved in the setting? How can I be involved?

Parents and Carers are encouraged to communicate through the student planner and are welcome to come into the academy to meet with key staff when a need arises. Working together with Parents and Carers ensures all parties have good information and the student's needs are consistently met in all settings.

Parents are encouraged to contact the academy via email or text as well as telephoning or making an appointment to visit. The academy also has a comprehensive website that gives information for parents about their child’s learning and development and the provision we offer.

The academy holds a range of events throughout the year to which Parents and Carers are warmly invited.

What do I do if I want to make a complaint?

What other support Is available to parents and how can I contact them?