Torfield and Saxon Mount Academy Trust SEN Report 2023 24
Torfield (primary) and Saxon Mount (secondary) are special academies for pupils with SEN. They are part of the Torfield and Saxon Mount Academy Trust. Many of our pupils have moderate learning difficulties. A large number of our pupils are autistic or have speech, language and communication difficulties which impact on their learning. Some of our pupils have more severe learning difficulties and others may have associated social, emotional or mental health needs. Often our pupils experience a number of different difficulties, which means that their needs are described as complex.
All pupils on roll at Torfield / Saxon Mount have an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) describing their individual needs. The plan is used to ensure the pupil is provided with appropriate support to meet their needs. The plan and the provision described in it, is the responsibility of the Local Authority and it is reviewed annually to ensure it continues to both reflect the pupil's needs and support their progress at school. The pupil and his or her parents should be fully involved in decisions about their education. Children who do not have EHCPs are not eligible for placement at Torfield or Saxon Mount.
All pupils have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The style and emphasis of the IEP changes as children progress through EYFS, KS1 and KS2 at Torfield and KS3 and KS4 at Saxon Mount. The IEP describes the ways in which a pupil or group of pupils may be supported and it relates to the areas of difficulty described in the EHCP. If a pupil needs an additional programme to support a specific difficulty, this may be recorded in the IEP. Pupils who are supported through the Community Integrated Therapy Service (CITS) will have programmes set and monitored by the relevant therapist. The targets for these may also be included in the IEP. The IEP also sets out learning targets and criteria for success in English / Literacy, Maths and Personal and Social Development. An ASD specific development target and / or a home school target may be set if it is considered appropriate.
IEPs are reviewed throughout the school year. Parents and carers can contact the school at any point to discuss the support their child receives. There are also up to three formal opportunities during the year to discuss progress and development with the class teacher / teaching staff. In addition to this, parents and carers can discuss their child’s progress at their child's annual review meeting. The schools understand that pupils' needs can change for many different reasons and the IEP is a flexible tool that can be updated throughout the year. At both schools additional support is provided through a team of trained teachers, and teaching assistants. The range and level of support needed by each pupil will vary according to their identified SEN. Therefore, support is targeted for specific individuals or groups and reviewed using the monitoring systems of the school. Changes to the IEP may be made when a pupil's circumstances change and support is required to cope with this, or if the pupil is not making sufficient progress in an identified area, or if an intervention or additional programme is required.
Pupils at both schools have access to a challenging, broad and relevant curriculum which is based on the National Curriculum. Work is differentiated to meet each pupil's needs and learning is enriched through a wide range of visits within the local area as well as further afield. Lessons are planned to include frequent opportunities to learn and practise core skills. Regular assessments ensure that lessons both build on what pupils can do and also develop learning. The schools are well resourced in IT and other specialist equipment to support learning across the curriculum.
The IEP is written by the class teacher / form tutor, with input from other teachers and is monitored by the Senior Leadership Team. Teachers are supported by a team of teaching assistants. In many cases we would plan to deliver additional support in class, thereby minimising the need for pupils to come out of a lesson to receive support. The class teacher / form tutor will discuss the IEP with parents and carers at consultations or at any time a change is made to the plan. Changes to the IEP may be made when a pupil's circumstances change and support is required to cope with this, or if the pupil is not making sufficient progress in an identified area, or if an intervention or additional programme is required.
The progress and well-being of all pupils is regularly monitored. Pupils are set challenging short term and long term targets in all curriculum areas. Both schools have very effective systems in place to monitor progress of individuals and groups. Pupil progress and attainment is compared with pupils of the same age and starting point across the country to ensure we know if our pupils do at least as well as, if not better than, other pupils with similar characteristics.
The governors of the school are regularly kept up to date with the school's systems for monitoring progress and well-being and are informed of current levels of pupil progress and attainment. They make visits to the schools to see these systems in action.
The school curriculum and schemes of work are differentiated to meet the needs of pupils working from Pre Key Stage standards to National Curriculum expectations for Year 6 and beyond (Pre Key Stage standards are used where children are functioning below the level of the National Curriculum).
Pupils with very high needs are placed within the Additional Support Facility (ASF) (or in higher needs classes at Torfield) in order to receive additional levels of support and they may attend lessons in other classes where they are able to access the learning. Sometimes children from other classes in the school attend lessons within the ASF / higher needs classes to support their learning.
There is a personalised approach to learning throughout the schools which supports all pupils to learn and be included at their own level. When approaching Key Stage 4, personalised options for qualifications and accreditations are made available that suit the needs and interests of learners who will be thinking about choices of college and / or future training or employment opportunities. We are proud of the breadth of the curriculum on offer at both schools and the way this curriculum prepares pupils well for the future.
School staff work together with parents / carers to ensure all parties have good information and the pupil's needs are consistently met.
In addition to the information provided earlier in this document, pupils' progress and well-being is regularly tracked throughout the year to ensure any necessary support is timely and effective.
Parents / carers can arrange to speak to a teacher or teaching assistant at the beginning or end of the day by phone and where necessary meetings can be arranged.
Formal parent / carer consultations take place up to three times a year and a review of the EHCP occurs annually. These meetings give an opportunity for school and parents / carers to discuss the needs of the pupil and work together to ensure these needs are consistently met in all settings. The schools are committed to working in partnership with parents / carers to ensure pupils reach their potential.
Annual Review reports show progress against targets set and indicators to advise what the pupil needs to do next to continue improving.
At annual review meetings, parents and carers receive a summary of progress in all areas. Annual reviews are scheduled throughout the school year, usually in year group order.
At the end of the year all parents / carers receive an annual report and which describes progress in all areas of learning.
Torfield School offers a series of Family Learning sessions throughout the year which may include content such as: Makaton, ’Supporting your Child with Phonics’ and ‘Understanding Autism’. Parents, Carers and other family members are welcome to attend some or all of these informative sessions. Themes for these sessions are suggested by parents / carers.
Parents / carers are supported to help their child learn at home through the setting of homework and access to a range of online programmes used in school.
Regular newsletters provide parents / carers with information and photographs about school events and new initiatives.
At Saxon Mount, local college providers are invited to attend a parents’ evening, providing parents with an opportunity to find out about courses available post-16.
Parents of pupils in Year 9 are invited into school for an additional consultation to discuss the options available for pupils in KS4.
Small class groups and high staff / pupil ratio at both schools ensure all pupils are well known to the adults supporting them. Pupils are well supported to develop effective relationships with their peers and the staff.
Pupils who are placed in the Additional Support Facilities / higher needs classes are provided with opportunities to develop wider social interaction through planned opportunities to join their peers in other class groups or at breaks and other times.
Play times and lunch breaks are structured to enable pupils to be supported in developing independent social and play skills and self-help skills. Lunchtimes also promote independence in eating and drinking as well as in social interaction.
Pupils with medical needs are supported by trained staff. All staff receive training in working with pupils with a range of SEN.
There are high expectations that pupils will behave well towards each other and follow the school rules. A highly motivating reward system enables pupils to see that their hard work and good behaviour is recognised and appreciated. Sanctions are in place for pupils who do not follow the rules and support for some is identified through an Individual Behaviour Plan (IBP). We know that some pupils need a higher level of support to succeed in managing their behaviour. The IBP describes the triggers for behaviour and the strategies that can successfully support the pupil.
All staff are trained to manage challenging behaviour and any incidents of such behaviour are reported and monitored by the senior leadership staff and the Behaviour Working Group (Torfield) / Additional Support Group (Saxon Mount). Additional support may be provided for pupils who struggle with managing their behaviour and this can be included in the IEP.
The schools are committed to ensuring a high level of pupil attendance. Attendance rewards are given twice a year. Attendance is monitored termly and low attendance is analysed and where appropriate, is challenged and addressed. Holidays are not authorised during term time due to the impact this has on pupils' learning.
A Pupil School Council meets every term and provides all pupils with a voice. Pupils contribute towards their annual review and may attend in person where appropriate. PSHE and sessions cover a range of topics and encourage pupils to discuss issues affecting them. At Torfield, all pupils are supported through all areas of the curriculum to develop good communication and personal skills, including through Rainbow Rewards. At Saxon Mount, all pupils are supported by weekly skills builder lessons, focusing on the essential skills, including speaking and listening.
If a pupil is absent for a period of time due to illness, we will liaise with their family and plan to support their learning when they are able to. This can include remote learning where appropriate.
The staff working within the schools are themselves trained and / or experienced in supporting a wide range of SEND. Training is ongoing and ensures staff have the skills to meet the needs of all pupils. It includes training for improving teaching, effectiveness of learning support, autism and SEN, managing challenging behaviour, child protection etc. Below is a list, which is not exhaustive:
The Community Integrated Therapy Service provides interventions for those pupils where support is identified within their statement or EHCP. Pupils can also be referred for assessment where a need arises.
The school is able to access support from the school nursing service. There are good links to social care through the input of an attached Social Work colleague.
Torfield provides support for transition into Torfield School and for those pupils moving to new schools at secondary transfer. The school also works collaboratively with nurseries and primary schools to ensure prospective new pupils and their families are well informed and supported. Saxon Mount offers a range of transition activities and opportunities from Year 6 to 7. Staff also work collaboratively with post-16 providers to ensure all pupils have access to bespoke transition programmes so that all pupils make successful transitions when they leave Saxon Mount.
Both schools are committed to offering a wide range of activities and visits to stimulate and enrich learning. Our vision and ethos centres on the promotion of independence and participation in the wider community; we aim to prepare all pupils to be ready for life beyond school. All classes have regular opportunities to participate in learning outside school. parents / carers are asked to contribute towards the costs which are highly subsidised by the school. The schools are imaginative in identifying low cost activities. Teachers plan visits and activities that are challenging and appropriate for the pupils in their class. Parents / carers are informed about forthcoming trips and activities and are encouraged to discuss any concerns they may have about their child’s participation. Residential visits are planned for Upper KS2 class groups and in KS3 and KS4.
The Croft Road building is on three levels and some areas are not wheel chair accessible. There is a disabled toilet on the middle (ground) floor. The Early Years Centre at Parker Road is on one level and also has a disabled toilet. Torfield School is not adapted to meet the needs of pupils in wheelchairs.
The environment is well maintained, free from clutter and free from unnecessary distractions. It is predictable and safe for those with disability, SEN and ASD.
Saxon Mount is a fully wheelchair accessible site with ramps to access all areas where steps may also be necessary. There is also a lift from the Ground to the First floor by reception. All areas of the school are very well maintained, well lit and free from damage or clutter, making the environment comfortable to be in and predictable and safe for those with disability, SEN and ASD.
The information in this section largely relates to transition to school at the usual starting point of Reception at Torfield or Year 7 at Saxon Mount. However, many children start with us outside of these times, often with a period of difficulty and uncertainty prior to this. We work with parents / carers to plan a suitable transition that enables a pupil to start with us as quickly as possible once placement has been agreed. This can include offering taster sessions. In addition, all new pupils and parents / carers receive a pack of information which includes an age appropriate ‘starting school’ book which illustrates aspects of the school day in an engaging format.
Prior to entry into the Early Years Foundation Stage there will be meetings involving parents / carers to gather information about the pupil, provide information about the school and its workings and to introduce key people. A home visit and a visit to a child’s pre-school are made by school staff wherever possible.
Pupils have the opportunity to visit for a taster session prior to starting at Torfield and transition materials are provided including photos of the school and key staff.
Transition to Saxon Mount is well facilitated with regular opportunities for pupils to experience the secondary school environment prior to transition. This also includes access to a summer holiday club.
Transition plans are in place during the terms prior to transition.
In order to make transition for pupils from Torfield School and other mainstream or special schools as smooth as possible, the following measures are in place:
Staff from both schools are involved in moderating Year 6 pupils’ work before and after transition. This helps to increase the Year 7 teacher’s knowledge of current progress for pupils joining Saxon Mount, enabling effective planning.
The school provides a Summer School which runs over two weeks of the holiday and caters specifically for pupils in transition; this is open to all pupils joining the school in Y7.
During terms 5 and 6, Year 7 teachers from Saxon Mount visit Torfield School and other feeder schools. This provides an opportunity to gain vital information about the pupils and also to see them working in familiar surroundings. The Assistant Headteacher (Additional Needs) from Saxon Mount attends the final Year 6 Pupil Progress Meeting, again, with the aim of deepening knowledge of the pupils in advance of their move to secondary school.
All Year 6 pupils attend a series of taster mornings at Saxon Mount, culminating in a Taster Day which all pupils attend, including those transferring from mainstream primary schools. All parents / carers are invited to an introductory meeting prior to the transition period starting.
All parents / carers are strongly encouraged to attend the meeting which follows this Taster Day. There is always a range of school staff and partners such as school uniform providers available to answer questions across a range of subjects.
Towards the end of Year 10 pupils have interviews with the schools’ careers adviser. During the autumn term, college providers are invited to our parents / carers evening to enable parents / carers to find out what is on offer post 16.
Taster sessions and informal visits to college take place throughout KS4.
Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) / Statements / other key documentation and information are shared with local colleges.
Where appropriate, independent travel training is provided.
Following entry into the school a baseline assessment is made and an IEP is written. A pupil with higher needs may be placed in the Additional Support Facility / higher needs class where the staff ratio is higher. Parents / carers are involved in this process by sharing information with the school about their child's needs and agreeing to attend all parent / carer evenings / AR meetings. Regular opportunities are planned for parents, carers and teachers to meet to discuss needs and progress.
Each pupil's needs are assessed and progress is monitored. This is done through regular reviews of the effectiveness of the support provided by the IEP and teacher assessments of progress in all curriculum areas. Each pupil’s progress is reviewed 3 times annually in our multi agency pupil progress meetings. Additional support will be identified and put in place when a need arises. Progress is tracked throughout the year and any lack of progress is reviewed. Additional support may be put in should this be necessary.
The class teacher / form tutor is the first point of contact for parents / carers whose child already attends Torfield or Saxon Mount. A request can also be made to meet with a senior member of staff or the Headteacher.
Any parent / carer wishing to explore the possibility of a place at the school is welcome to arrange to visit by contacting the school and booking a time with the Headteacher or Assistant Headteacher. Should a request for a placement be made, parents / carers will be invited to meet with the Headteacher to discuss the placement and the support the pupil may receive. Parents / carers should also contact the SEN team at the Local authority.
As well as a comprehensive, website that includes key information and policies, the school can help parents / carers to find support by signposting them to organisations or events. We also publish a useful and informative prospectus annually.
A link to the Local Authority ‘Local Offer’ for SEND is also published on our schools’ website.