St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy

OFSTED rating

St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy is in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, serves the Catholic community of northern Stoke-on-Trent and offers an all-round education in a Christian setting.

The school has an excellent reputation and is oversubscribed, appealing to all parents who share our values-values based on love, justice and forgiveness. We celebrate the fact that each person is unique and we strive to see God in everyone.

Within a friendly, positive environment, expectations are high and each child is encouraged to fulfil his or her potential. We celebrate high standards of achievement in examination results, in the arts and in sport. Relationships within our community are based on trust and respect, serving to affirm the dignity and self-esteem of every child.


Contact name Sara Condliffe
Contact position Senco
Contact telephone 01782 883000
Contact email
Venue name St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy
Little Chell Lane
Stoke on Trent
Date Open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 3.30pm
School's extended local offer response

What kinds of SEND does the school provide for?

 The type of SEN the school caters for are:

  • Communication and Interaction - speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), ASD – Asperger’s and Autism.
  • Cognition and Learning - Moderate learning difficulties (MLD), Specific learning difficulties (SpLD), e.g. dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.
  • Sensory and/or Physical Needs - visual impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) or physical disability (PD).
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties - Anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder and attachment disorder.

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 St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy, pupils who may have a SEN are identified in a variety of ways. These include:

  • Information from their primary school shared prior to transition
  • Key Stage 2 results
  • Reading and spelling test results (the academy is able to test pupils using standardised reading and spelling tests)
  • Subject teachers may identify pupils based on their performance in lessons.

Parents/Carers may also be involved in identifying an SEN in the child. For pupils with possible Social, Emotional & Mental Health Needs a series of questionnaires are used to identify any underlying issues.

How will the setting support my child/young person?

The SENCO usually takes the lead in planning school support for a student with SEN that relates to Cognition & Learning; Language & Communication; Sensory and/or Physical Difficulties. The SENCO will deploy Learning Support Practitioners (LSPs) from within the Learning Support Team to work alongside students who require additional support either in, or out of the classroom. LSPs will be responsible for organising and delivering the planned interventions to identified pupils. This may be on a one to one basis or in a small group. Depending on the provision made and the nature of the SEN, there will be variation in the time and frequency of the interventions. Some will be daily interventions, others may be two or three times a week. The SENCO, along with the Assistant SENCO, will oversee programmes of intervention. They routinely assess what impact interventions have on pupil progress by looking at:

  • Reading and Spelling Ages
  • Performance in curriculum areas
  • School Reports
  • Feedback from curriculum staff.

The SENCO writes a letter home to inform parents of interventions that have been arranged for pupils. An invite to discuss the additional provision, either by telephone or in person, is extended to parents in this correspondence. The school holds parent drop in days where staff from the SEND team are available to discuss the provision made for students with their parents. Members of the SEND team are available at the Year 7 parents evening and the SENCO attends parents’ evenings. For pupils who have areas of need relating to their Emotional, Mental and Social health, there is a team approach used in the school to look at what additional provision can be put in place. This team includes the DLS manager, SENCO/Assistant Senco, attendance & Safeguarding teams. The DLS manager & Deputy Head will oversee the process and assess the impact on pupil progress. As stated above, the time and frequency of interventions will depend on the extent of the needs of the student.

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

Staff use a wide range of strategies to adapt the curriculum as part of a differentiated approach. For those at School Support and with Education, Health & Care Plans, a pupil passport is written. Pupil passports outline what additional strategies are required in the classroom to support a student. These are produced with the student so that their views of what helps them are taken into account. Some pupils benefit from having an adapted curriculum. This is determined on an individual basis, depending on their needs and the views of parents, pupils and other agencies involved. Most subjects are taught in mixed ability groups; here the work is planned and adjustments are made, to take into account the range of ability.

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

Pupil progress is monitored regularly by the school. The HOY routinely scrutinises progress data to identify underperformance. The SENCO and Assistant SENCO scrutinise data to inform decisions over what provision might be required to support pupils who have an SEN. A progress report is provided to parents every term so that parents can see how their child/young person is progressing. School staff meet with parents, as required, to discuss ways in which their child/young person can be supported. There is a formal opportunity every year for parents to meet with school staff. This is either at the parent consultation day or for some year groups, parents’ evening.

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

The school has dedicated pastoral teams for each year group. These comprise of a HOY; Ass HOY; Form Tutors. Pastoral teams meet regularly where the well-being of pupils can be discussed. Pupils’ overall well-being is monitored by this team of people in the first instance. For most students, their well-being needs are met through such pastoral arrangements.

Certain staff in school have a more specific role in monitoring pupils’ well-being such as the safeguarding staff: Mr Johnson (Deputy Principal) and Mrs Holdcroft. For some students, it may be that additional provision is required in order to meet their well-being needs. This is discussed & implemented by the HOY & the pastoral team. A referral can also be made by the pastoral team for further advice & input from the SEND team.

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

The school accesses support from various external providers such as:

  • The Educational Psychology Service
  • SEND Services (see Local Offer)
  • The School Nurse 
  • Family Support Workers
  • Social Care Services
  • Voluntary Sector Services such as Yellow House, The Dove Centre, NSPCC
  • Medical Professionals such as Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy
  • The Careers Service NB This is not an exhaustive list.

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

The SENCo holds Qualified Teacher Status and a National Award for SEN Co-ordination. The Assistant SENCO holds a BA Degree in Education and a Masters qualification in Psychometric Testing, Assessment & Access Arrangements.

All Learning Support Practitioners hold relevant qualifications to their post, at NVQ level and/or degree level. All Learning Support Staff complete ongoing Continual Professional Development related to their role. Most recently, training has been aimed at Emotion Coaching.

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

All students, regardless of their SEND, are included in activities outside the classroom, including Educational Visits. Staff planning activities and trips take anticipatory action in order that pupils can be included. Students with disabilities or special educational needs have also been included on residential trips in the UK and overseas.

How accessible is the environment?

The Academy has recently undergone extensive building work to improve the facilities and physical environment. Height adjustable furniture, lifts access, ramps and more disabled parking are examples of some of the improvements that have been made. Adjustments are made to rooming if there is a specific reason why a pupil is unable to access a part of the school.

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

Moving on to another setting can be a difficult time for children/young people. The Academy takes certain steps to ensure that this happens as smoothly as possible. These include:

  • Attendance at Primary School meetings where this is felt to be needed.
  • Preparation and transfer of information from the previous school or on to the receiving school or college.
  • Additional visits in advance of starting at the Academy, where required.
  • Meetings with parents individually or at the Y6 parents’ evening.
  • Friendship day where pupils sample some of the curriculum and meet their form groups. Further transition days & summer club.
  • The Year 7 Mass which celebrates the move to secondary school. For older pupils, the transition may be to Further Education, Higher Education or even a work placement.

Again, pupils are supported through:

  • Involvement of the Careers Service.
  • Visits to Colleges/Universities, sometimes with a support worker, if required.
  • Work experience or college taster days, supported by Academy staff, as required.

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

Most students’ needs can be met from within the school’s resources. For some students, there is a need to put in additional resources to help them, make progress. The Academy has a range of interventions programmes or strategies that can be used to address the range of needs. Interventions are research based in order that they are quality assured. When a student is identified as requiring additional support, the SEN team, in collaboration with others staff in school and external services decide on what provision would be the most suitable. Progress is monitored and evaluated to determine whether the resources allocated are having an impact.

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

The amount of support that a pupil receives is based on an analysis of need which takes into account the areas that pupils find the most difficult. Priority support is usually given to developing students’ literacy and number skills. The amount of support given may also be determined by the type of intervention received and how much time this requires for delivery.

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

Students are involved in discussing the support they need through the completion of a Pupil Passport. This document allows the young person to share what information they think would be useful for their teachers to know about them. This will help them to take your young person's needs into account when planning lessons.

Students are also frequently involved in meetings between parents/carers and school staff. Their views are important and we try, wherever possible, to take them into account when making plans to meet their needs in school.

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

All parents are encouraged to contribute to their child’s education. This may be through: 

  • Discussions with the subject teachers or form tutor.
  • During parents’ evening.
  • Comments in home/school planners.
  • During discussions/meetings with SENCO, or other professionals.
  • School questionnaires.
  • Pupil Passport creation and reviews
  • Annual Review meetings for pupils with Education, Health & Care Plans.

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

The SEN team run drop in sessions for parents to talk to members of staff about their child’s needs. There is a formal opportunity for parents to meet with teachers to discuss their child’s progress at parents’ evenings and consultation evenings. SEN staff are also available on these occasions to speak to parents about students who may have SEND. The school involves parents in a wide range of school activities such as: masses; transition events; sports day and prize evening.

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

There are a number of personnel in the Academy with whom you may raise concerns; there are however, key people who you may wish to contact should you have a concern: 

The Fidei Tutor 

Prior to transferring to the academy, pupils are placed in Fidei groups; each form group has a Fidei tutor. This person is the first point of contact for any concerns that a parent/carers may have about their child.

Assistant Head of year (Ass HOY) 

For each year group there is an Assistant Learning and Progress manager who is responsible for supporting and monitoring the development and standards of the students within their year group.

Head of year (HOY) 

For each year group, there is a Head of Year. This person is responsible for monitoring the progress of all pupils in the year group in the areas of: Uniform; Behaviour; Attendance; Progress and Homework. Each LPM has a senior line manager who assists them with aspects of their role.

The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) 

The Academy has a Special Educational Needs Coordinator; this member of staff is responsible for the policy and process in place to meet the needs of pupils with SEN.

The SENCO is managed by the Vice Principle. In some cases, this person may be involved in concerns raised by parents/carers.

In rare cases, the Head Teacher may become involved. 

Contact with any of the above individuals can be made in the following ways:  

  • Through the pupil planner
  • By telephone
  • By letter
  • By email
  • Through meetings.

If any person feels that their complaint has not been dealt with adequately by the school staff, they are able to contact the Governor of Special Educational Needs and Disability, who will report their concerns to the Governing Body.

In addition, the Local Education Authority provides a disagreement resolution service.

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

Stoke-on-Trent Safeguarding Children Board

Tel: (01782) 235100



Special Educational Needs Assessment and Monitoring Service (SENMAS)

Tel: (01782) 232740


SEND Information, Advice & Support Service (SENDIASS)

Tel: (01782) 234701 or 234847