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Special Educational Needs & Disability

We are committed to ensuring all students make excellent progress. This may involve providing some additional small group or individual support focusing on individual needs. We offer a warm and nurturing learning environment. The Ockendon Academy is fortunate in having an excellent student support team comprising of a trained counsellor, speech and language support team, teaching assistants and social workers who offer additional support to our most vulnerable students. Our aim is to ensure that all students, whatever their need or disability, make good progress throughout their academy life.

The Send Information Report 2018/2019

The Ockendon Academy is a mainstream setting for students aged 11 to 18. The Academy is an inclusive community where every student has the opportunity to thrive and succeed in their learning. We provide support and encouragement to enable each child to reach their academic and personal potential which is embraced by the Academy’s motto of “Enjoy being the best you can be”. We are committed to the principle and practice of equality of treatment for all students, regardless of background or need, and provide a tailored, appropriate programme of support for all students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). We ensure that our provision links closely with the services available through the Thurrock Council Local Offer which is available to view on the council’s website. The SEND team at The Ockendon Academy is led by the SENCO, Sarah Gwynn, who can be contacted directly to discuss any issues relating to a student’s particular needs. The Governor with responsibility for SEND is Lorraine Hodges.


The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Code of Practice 2015 states that a child has SEND when they have, either, a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or a disability that limits or prevents their access to teaching, learning and wider academy life.

The Code of Practice categorises SEND into four broad areas of need:

  • Communication and Interaction
  • Cognition and Learning
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health
  • Sensory and/or Physical

The Academy uses a range of methods to identify needs to ensure that the support put in place for a student is timely, appropriate and individual.

  • The SENCO liaises with teaching staff and SENCOs at the feeder primary schools to gather information about students with SEND.
  • KS2 data and current progress data is analysed by the appropriate Year Team Leader (YTL) and the SENCO to allocate students to appropriate ability sets. This also applies when a student enrols at the Academy after the start of the academic year.
  • A battery of baseline tests gives further information about reading and spelling attainment, and mathematical understanding. Students’ reciprocal communication skills are also assessed using the Secondary Language Link programme. These tests are revisited annually to inform progress data.
  • Termly data, classroom observations, book monitoring and teacher feedback provide further information about learning needs.
  • Parents are encouraged to raise any issues with learning needs for discussion with the SENCO and YTL.
  • Outside agencies and medical professionals work with the Academy to provide further information on the needs of the individual.

Most of the students who are identified with SEND are termed as SEN Support (SIMS code K). The Ockendon Academy currently has 135 students in this category. A small percentage of students with more complex needs are identified as requiring an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) (SIMS Code E) There are currently 29 students who have these plans. EHCPs were introduced by the 2015 Code of Practice to ensure that all agencies associated with a child’s needs are involved in the process of assessing their educational, health and care needs. An EHCP is issued by the Local Authority following a process of statutory assessment and is reviewed annually.

Learning, Teaching and Assessment

The Code of Practice 2015 puts in place a continuum of support for students with SEND, described as the graduated approach. This involves a cycle of Assess, Plan, Do and Review of an individual’s needs. It is a continuous process which is reflected in our monitoring, evaluating and reviewing practice. As a result a student may have access to different waves of intervention:

      • universal changes to their learning, environment or curriculum
      • targeted provision to focus on specific skills to promote progress
      • specialised adaptations and interventions

At The Ockendon Academy Students with SEND experience a rich learning experience through the graduated approach.

First Wave of Intervention

Lessons in the Academy are differentiated to suit the learning needs of the students with SEND. Class teachers are responsible for the appropriate teaching and learning in their classes and use a range of approaches and strategies to meet the needs of students with SEND to accelerate progress. Challenging targets are put in place to stimulate engagement and stretch the learning potential of all students. Class teachers are supported by the SENCO who ensures that they have access to all the relevant information about SEND students and are involved in discussions regarding appropriate strategies and approaches. A Year 7 Catch Up programme is put in place to ensure that students with low attainment develop the required skills to access the KS3 curriculum.

Second Wave of Intervention

There are a range of provisions available at The Ockendon Academy which target the range of needs of students with SEND.

  • Teaching Assistants
    There are currently 21 Teaching Assistants employed at The Ockendon Academy. They are a valuable resource and are deployed to support the learning of identified students with SEND, having a strong presence in the lower ability sets. They work closely with class teachers to jointly plan appropriate tasks and approaches, and are then directed by the class teacher to work with individuals, breaking down tasks, adapting language and scaffolding questioning. They attend weekly training sessions to develop their understanding and knowledge of the needs of students and how best to enhance progress.
  • Literacy Interventions
    Students who have been identified as being critically low readers and have attained low scores in reading assessments are identified as benefitting from targeted intervention in literacy. These may include:
    Lexia, a phonics based programme provides an opportunity to practise key reading skills,
    Spelling Stars, a bespoke programme that targets subject specific words,
    Lucid Booster, which practises comprehension skills,
    Hackney Lit Programme, a reciprocal teaching approach to reading comprehension,
    Accelerated Reader, a motivational library based reading programme.
  • Speech and Language Intervention
    Students who have been identified as having speech, language and communication needs will be considered for relevant interventions to develop their skills in this area. These include:
    Talk Fitness, which practises the social use of language, Lego Therapy, to develop listening skills and social interaction, Social Stories, to support the understanding of social context and structures.
  • Maths Intervention
    Following baseline assessment, key needs are identified and specific intervention is targeted. A SEND teacher with specialism in Maths works closely with the Subject Team Leader (STL) to deliver appropriate support for a targeted group, in class and in groups.
  • Extended school provision

Students with SEND are offered additional provision before and after directed hours to support and consolidate their learning experience. These include:

  • Homework club
  • Reading group
  • Lexia
  • After school clubs
  • Be The Best You Can Be
  • The Children’s University
  • Thurrock Trailblazers Programme

Third Wave of Intervention

There are a number of students at The Ockendon Academy who require more specific and individualised support in order that they are able to achieve their full potential. The intervention at this level is often linked to identified needs in EHCPs but as an academy with inclusivity at its core, we aim to respond and meet the needs of all students as they become identified.

  • Lesson adaptations
    There may be a range of provisions that an individual may require to be able to access a differentiated lesson. These may include:
    Physical adaptations to access and record work, including the use of IT, a reader or a scribe,
    Individualised literacy provision to address significant needs,
    Opportunities to work in an alternative setting for students with sensory and interaction
    Appropriate support to ensure that all students can be fully included in educational and
    extra curricular visits.
  • Pastoral support
    The wellbeing of all our students is paramount to enabling them to be able to focus on their learning. We do have some SEND students who experience emotional difficulties at times and require support to address these needs. We do have a team of staff who have expertise
    in a range of fields and meet regularly to ensure that provision is relevant and individual to the student. These include:
    Inclusion SLT lead
    Social worker
    Behaviour support worker
    Attendance officer
  • Outside agencies
    The Academy works with a number of agencies to ensure that the wide range of needs of students with SEND are supported appropriately. Their advice and recommendations form a key part of the provision for these identified students. We review our agencies annually to
    ensure that they provide the best service for our students and will investigate other specialist services that may be necessary to support them. These agencies are particular to the needs of the student and may include:
    Educational Psychologist
    Speech and Language Therapist
    Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service (EWMHS)
    Community Paediatricians
    Occupational Therapy
    Parent Partnership Team
    Social workers
    Thurrock Local Authority SEND team

Review of progress

As part of the Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle of the graduated approach, the provision that is put in place is reviewed regularly to evaluate progress and inform future support. Teacher feed back and progress data give a summative basis to monitor practice but key to the process is the involvement of the student and parents/carers. Structured Conversations are held twice a year with students and families on the SEND register to discuss targets and strategies and are actively encouraged to contribute to planning for further intervention. Student voice is at the heart of all decisions relating to SEND and students are invited to all relevant meetings about their educational provision. They are encouraged to contribute their views in a way appropriate for them, so that they can provide information as to how they feel they can best be supported. EHCPs are reviewed annually and all changes to provision submitted to the Local Authority for updating. In addition to these structured meetings, the SENCO is available to discuss progress at Parents’ Evenings, and can be contacted directly within the Academy.

Evaluation of the effectiveness of SEND provision

The quality of teaching and learning for students with SEND is monitored robustly to evaluate the progress within the whole academy systems of assessment. Scrutiny of provision is undertaken by the Inclusion team in the academy and is monitored by the Senior Leadership Team. The Academy has also been awarded external accreditation through national kite marks to verify the work that is undertaken for SEND students. In June 2018 the Academy was awarded the Inclusion Quality Mark (IQM) at the highest level, the Flagship category. The assessor reported that staff were knowledgeable, positive and optimistic, and observed that children showed a can do attitude. The visit was successful and the assessor concluded that she had “no hesitation in recommending the Academy retains its Flagship status”. In addition the Academy holds the Quality Skills Basic Skills award to verify the work achieved in supporting literacy and numeracy provision. This is due to be assessed in January 2019 but an interim visit from an assessor in 2017 was complimentary and

Transitions and Preparation for Adulthood

Careful consideration is given to transition planning for students with SEND. All Year 7 SEND students and families meet with the SENCO within the first half term to support the move to secondary school. Further support is offered to SEND students whilst they are choosing their GCSE options at the end of Year 8. The Local Authority Transition Team support students with EHCPs in KS4 and attend Annual Reviews to advise on post 16 opportunities and provision. Parents/carers and students are involved in discussions regarding preparation for independent living and referrals for appropriate support can be made through the team. The SENCO also liaises with parents/carers of all students with SEND toprepare for successful transition to the Sixth Form and local colleges.

Complaints procedure

The Ockendon Academy takes pride in the provision of a professional and high quality standard of service for all students. If a concern arises we recommend that it is brought to our attention as quickly as possible in order to resolve the matter. The SENCO and appropriate YTL can be contacted directly to discuss any issues relating to SEND students. There may be further intervention from senior staff if the concern is of a serious nature.