Thistley Hough Academy

OFSTED rating

Thistley Hough Academy is a member of the Creative Academy Trust. As such, we align with the view that all children not only receive an academic curriculum, but also additional skills delivered through the combined curriculum:

  • Academic Curriculum (a broad and balanced curriculum of traditional subjects)
  • Ambition Curriculum (including, amongst other aspects:  how students keep themselves safe, careers advice and guidance, health services)
  • Knowledge connected (Founding Principles of the trust: structure, pattern, meaning, practice, performance and human interaction).

Our key values: Pride, Respect and Commitment underpin all aspects of the school and are embedded throughout.

Contact name Stephanie Osborne
Contact position SENDCO
Contact telephone 01782 883500
Contact email
Venue name Thistley Hough Academy
Venue address Thistley Hough
Newcastle Lane
Date Term time 8.30am-2.45pm
Time of day MorningAfternoon
School's extended local offer response

What kinds of SEND does the school provide for?

The school accommodates all SEND in line with Equality Act 2010 and provision is available for all 4 areas of need outlined in the 2015 SEND code of practice.

  • Communication and interaction.
  • Cognition and learning.
  • Social, emotional and mental health.
  • Sensory and/or physical.

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?

In admitting pupils with special educational needs we would expect to have informative discussions with both the pupil’s family and the local authority to ascertain the suitability of our provision.

Once in school, we ensure that pupil’s needs are identified and met as early as possible through:

  • The analysis of data including entry profiles, reading ages, other whole-school pupil progress data
  • Classroom-based assessment and monitoring arrangements (Cycle of assess, plan, do, review)
  • following up parental concerns
  • tracking individual children’s progress over time,
  • information from previous schools
  • information from other services
  • Undertaking, when necessary, a more in depth individual assessment - this may include a range of commercially available assessments, carefully chosen to deliver appropriate, useful information on a pupil’s needs. It may include a bilingual assessment where English is not the first language.
  • Involving an external agency where it is suspected that a special educational need is significant.

Should you have any concerns regarding your child’s needs, please contact the class teachers, Head of Year or Miss Osborne (SENDCO).

How will the setting support my child/young person?

Where children are underachieving and/or identified as having special educational needs, the school provides for these additional needs in a variety of ways and might use a combination of these approaches to address targets identified for individual pupils, including:

  • teachers differentiate work as part of quality first teaching
  • small group withdrawal time (limited and carefully monitored to ensure curriculum entitlement is not compromised)
  • bilingual support/access to materials in translation
  • further differentiation of resources,
  • homework/learning support club
  • support tools such as: reading pens, laptops and fiddle toys.

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

As an academy, we believe that all pupils are entitled to well-differentiated curriculum that is broad and balanced, quality first teaching, including, where appropriate, the use of small group interventions. 

Some vulnerable learners will have access to carefully differentiated activities or approaches directly related to the school curriculum which are part of our good practice in making teaching and learning accessible to pupils learning at different rates. These will probably be pupils who are underachieving and have been identified by the school as needing to make accelerated progress but will not necessarily be pupils with special educational needs. This is considered to be a differentiation of the usual school curriculum - not a special intervention for pupils with SEN.

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

The monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of our provision for vulnerable learners is carried out in the following ways:

  • classroom observation by the SENDCO, other relevant middle leaders and senior leaders.
  • ongoing assessment of progress made by intervention groups
  • work sampling.
  • teacher interviews with the SENDCO/other relevant co-ordinator
  • informal feedback from all staff.
  • pupil progress tracking using assessment data (whole-school processes)
  • monitoring classroom plans and targets, evaluating the impact of classroom plans on pupils’ progress.
  • attendance records and liaison with the local education entitlement services.
  • regular meetings about pupils’ progress between the SENCO/relevant co-ordinator and the Principal / Headteacher
  • Principal / Headteacher’s report to parents and governors.

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

The school’s values of Pride, Respect and Commitment are embedded throughout all practice- including supporting students’ well-being. Alongside the academic curriculum, the Ambition curriculum encompasses all aspects of PSHE, RSE and well-being. A significant drive within this curriculum being mental health.

In order for student support to be accessible when needed, all Heads of Year are non-teaching members of staff. They support students and liaise with families closely. These positive relationships are key to positive well-being.

Where further support is required, the academy invests in its own school counsellor, Integration and Engagement Hub, whilst also working collaboratively with external agencies.  

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

The school actively engages with a number of external agencies to support the needs of pupils. This includes:

  • SEND Services
  • Educational Psychologists
  • Young Minds
  • DOVE
  • Prevent
  • Merit.

Additionally, the school has expertise in English as an additional language, delivered through our EAL specialist team.

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

In accordance with Section 6 of the SEN Code of Practice 2014, our Special Educational Needs Coordinator is a qualified teacher working at our school.

All staff are trained in how to best support all vulnerable learners in order to maximise their achievement as part of the Academy Improvement Plan and annual schedule of continuous professional development. Specific training needs will be identified and met through the appraisal/performance management process.

Specialist advice and expertise in relation to assessment and support of individual pupils is accessed via the Local Authority SEND team. The school has also sought further support from Blackfriars Teaching School and NASEN.

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

As an inclusive school, we do everything we can to ensure that pupils of all abilities and needs are fully included in the life of the school. This includes making reasonable adjustments to ensure students can access residential visits.

Our deployment of additional staffing and resources funded from our devolved additional needs budget through the Local Offer, ensure that all curriculum experiences are available to all pupils in the school (e.g. educational visits, extra-curricular activities), particularly where a voluntary financial contribution from parents is required for the activity to run. This is in compliance with the Equality Act 2010.

How accessible is the environment?

Opened in 2013, the academy benefitted as part of the BSF project. 

Access to the building can be made via both the first and second floors. There are two lifts within the building, one serving the main building connecting the first, second and third floors. The second, enabling access to the sports hall.

A clear colour scheme is used within the building, aiding students with additional needs.

Within the classroom, all rooms have a specialist desk, which can be height adjusted to meet students' needs. 

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

We will ensure smooth transition into our school from the previous phase of education and from our school into the next phase of education.

We will ensure early and timely planning for transfer to a pupil’s next phase of education and, in the year before the year in which they leave, will offer transition meetings to all pupils in receipt of Additional SEN support and all those with statements of Special Educational Needs. Pupils with Education Health and Care Plans will have next phase destinations and transition arrangements discussed at plan review meetings convened by the plan coordinator. A transition timeline will be produced, with specific responsibilities identified.

Support for the pupil in coming to terms with moving on will be carefully planned and will include familiarisation visits and counselling. Pupils will be included in all “class transition days” to the next phase but may also be offered additional transition visits.

Pupils and parents will be encouraged to consider all options for the next phase of education and the school will involve outside agencies, as appropriate, to ensure information is comprehensive but easily accessible and understandable. Accompanied visits to other providers may be arranged as appropriate.

In order to further support the transition to our school, we offer a Summer school to all Year 6 pupils. This has included a boxing school, promoting confidence and self-discipline in a nurturing environment. Through this, pupils build strong relationships with both staff and their peers.

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

The school follows the graduated response as outlined in the school’s SEN Information Report. Through this we actively assess and plan targeted intervention to match pupil’s needs, reviewing the impact on progress.

Where progress continues to be of concern, additional support and intervention will be allocated.

Should the need be considered more complex, the school, in conjunction with parents, pupils and other professionals, will apply for an Education, Health Care Plan.

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

Pupils will be offered additional SEN support when it is clear that their needs require intervention which is “additional to” or “different from” the well-differentiated curriculum offer for all pupils in the school i.e. they have a special educational need as defined by the SEN Code of Practice 2014.

Under-achieving pupils and pupils with EAL who do not have SEN will not be placed on the list of pupils being offered additional SEN support (but will be on the school’s provision map).

In keeping with all vulnerable learners, intervention for pupils on the SEN list will be identified and tracked using the whole-school provision map.

It may be decided that a very small number (but not all) of the pupils on the SEN list will require additional High Needs funding, for which an application needs to be made to the Local Authority, to ensure their underlying special educational need is being addressed. This may particularly be the case where outside agencies have been involved in assessing the pupil or contributing to their provision. 

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

Our approach to SEND is student focused and as such the voice of the child is paramount.

We talk to students about their learning and progress on a regular basis. Key workers in each year group have regular one to one meetings with students. Students are involved in the review of their passports, and are invited to complete questionnaires. The SEND department is accessible to students throughout the day if they need to discuss any difficulties or concerns they may have.

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

It is our belief that in order to support SEND students, parental involvement must be factored at all levels. We have an open-door policy, whereby parents can contact the academy, as they require. This includes the SEND team, who support both the family and students. We endeavour to ensure that parents feel listened to and feel confident in expressing their views.

Thistley Hough uses ARBOR to reward and monitor students. Through the app, parents not only receive notifications, but can message staff members directly, ensuring swift interventions. This ‘live’ reporting, is further supported via the formal school reports and parents’ evenings.  

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

The school aims to work in partnership with parents and carers. We do so by:

  • working effectively with all other agencies supporting children and their parents
  • giving parents and carers opportunities to play an active and valued role in their child’s education
  • making parents and carers feel welcome
  • encouraging parents and carers to inform school of any difficulties they perceive their child may be having or other needs the child may have which need addressing
  • instilling confidence that the school will listen and act appropriately
  • focusing on the child’s strengths as well as areas of additional need
  • allowing parents and carers opportunities to discuss ways in which they and the school can help their child
  • agreeing targets for all pupils, in particular, those not making expected progress and, for some pupils identified as having special educational needs, involving parents in the drawing-up and monitoring progress against these targets
  • keeping parents and carers informed and giving support during assessment and any related decision-making process
  • making parents and carers aware of the Parent Partnership services (SENDIASS)available as part of the Local Offer.
  • providing all information in an accessible way, including, where necessary, translated information for parents with English as an Additional Language.

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

As stated above, we have an open-door policy and would ask that at the earliest opportunity any concerns are addressed to the appropriate staff: form tutor, SENCo, Senior Leader.

If this is not resolved, the Academy's complaints procedure can be found on our website:

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

Special Educational Needs Assessment and Monitoring Service (SENMAS)

Tel: (01782) 231863


SEND Information, Advice & Support Service (SENDIASS)

Tel: (01782) 234701 or 234847



Stoke-on-Trent Safeguarding Children Board

Tel: (01782) 235100