SEND – Devon’s Local Offer
Devon County Council is committed to ensuring that all children and young people have a good start in life. Some children and young people have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and these differing needs mean varied levels of support may be required at different times.
In Devon, we believe that children and young people with SEND should have the expectation to be part of their local community and to be included and educated alongside their peers. We aim to provide a range of support and opportunities to enable this to happen and these can be described as the ‘local offer’. This sets out what you can expect to be available to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged 0-25 along with Devon’s approach and underlying principles.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Provision at The Ilfracombe Academy
The Ilfracombe Academy is extremely proud of the provision available for our pupils with additional learning needs and disabilities. We have built strong links with our feeder primary schools and through regular meetings and visits are able to identify many students who have learning difficulties and plan effective intervention prior to their entry into Year 7.
Regular data panel meetings enable us to track student progress at half termly intervals and map appropriate provision for all students as the need arises. Our Learning Support Team consists of a number of highly qualified Teaching Assistants, Higher Level Teaching Assistants with specialist roles, Specialist departmental Teaching assistants and a full time SENCO. We are supported by the Pastoral Coordinators from each year group who have first-hand insight to the pupils in their own year. The HLTA’s have specialist roles which enable particular groups of students to have specialist support throughout their time at the Academy. These roles include support for the hearing and visually impaired, and THRIVE trained practitioners who support students with communication and interaction difficulties including ASD and ADHD alongside other emotional difficulties. In addition, students with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties receive support from an experienced HLTA in our school HUB which offers a variety of bespoke learning packages.
Those students with specific learning difficulties including dyslexia, students with numeracy and literacy difficulties have access to Specialist literacy and numeracy coordinators who plan programmes of intervention to match need. An Access Arrangements Coordinator provides additional examination arrangements predominantly for pupils in Key Stage 4 but also ensuring that arrangements are well established and therefore the normal way of working for a child who is in Key Stage 3. Our designated teacher for children in care adopted children works alongside the THRIVE specialist TA to provide support within school and to liaise with outreach support services to ensure the best provision and resources are sought for our pupils.
Our teaching assistants work flexibly to support students within lessons and in small group situations. They are placed in subject areas that are of strength, gaining a strong understanding of subject content, which enables them to assist the students more effectively whilst building strong relationships with specific departments.
During tutorial sessions all teaching assistants are involved in running intervention programmes which include reading recovery, spelling, handwriting, touch typing, and numeracy. Some act as mentors and they will meet regularly with the pupils and will support the writing of IEP’s for pupils. Pupils with an EHCP are assigned a key worker who will meet regularly with the student, monitor progress and attend reviews.
Our Learning support department offers a range of support programmes for all year groups, including support into the 6th form. In addition to the support outlined above we offer a number of other programmes within our purpose built Learning Support Unit and classrooms. The HUB provision, a Literacy room and THRIVE room are available to those with needs different needs.
Identified students will participate in bespoke provision which may include some of the following: art therapy, retracking, a variety of groups including, girls group, boys groups, health and hygiene awareness, sexual health groups, social skills, the Woodland Project, the Outdoor Programme, The unit award scheme, Study support, Certificate of personal effectiveness and other life skills programmes.
Where there is a need, we try to address it! Working extensively with our many community links and outside agencies forms much of the work within our department. Our Curriculum is reviewed regularly to ensure our students have the best learning experience possible. A number of developments in this area have occurred in recent years enabling more students to feel successful and achieve relevant skills and attributes for working life in addition to their academic qualifications. In Key Stage 3 identified students may follow a slightly different curriculum to meet their needs. We have introduced AQA unit awards in humanities, entry level AQA English certificates and AQA entry level Maths specifications and literacy, numeracy and ICT support sessions. In Key Stage 4 some students benefit from our work placement schemes, and an alternative curriculum including the COPE level 1 and 2 qualification and study support option. We recognise that every year group and the children within it are different and it is from this that we plan the most appropriate courses.
Students with Special Educational Needs have access to all the extra-curricular programmes available for every student. However, we recognise that some pupils may need more encouragement to attend and therefore we run particular activities to invited pupils who may otherwise lack the confidence to attend. The Teaching Assistants run or supervise a number of activities during lunch times and after school. Some of these include games club, cookery, art, ICT, and homework club. During break and lunch periods many students access our supervised indoor areas in the HUB, LSU and Learning support teaching classrooms, building strong relationships with each other and the Teaching Assistants who share these sessions. For many it is a safe and comfortable space, particularly for our more vulnerable pupils, away from the busy playgrounds.
In summary, we are very proud of our Learning Support Department. We have a committed team of professionals who have a diverse range of interests and personalities to inspire the different personalities and uniqueness of every individual child. We are all passionate that every child is important and we are always adapting what we do to meet their needs. The pupils speak highly of the support they receive and we will continue to listen to their opinions to make improvements each year.
Life in all its Fullness