The Student Support Centre is currently made up of the SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator), Assistant SENCo, SEN Administrator, a Learning Mentor and 14 TAs (Teaching Assistants). The team benefits from a wealth of experience and the wide range of personal interests, which have led to TAs having a range of responsibilities and jobs within the Department.
Pupils on the SEN register have a range of needs and we aim to make all of them feel included and able to access the academy and its curriculum.
Most support is within the class but there are a variety of groups in addition to this which target identified pupils. Few pupils are withdrawn from MFL (Modern Foreign Language) to follow a Literacy Intervention programme to improve their communication, reading and writing skills.
There are handwriting sessions for pupils identified by staff, pupils and parents- this is usually a small group of students but is sometimes combined with work within the classroom.
We provide mentoring for our Young Carers, Travellers and CIC students allowing them to meet with the same member of staff to discuss any issues or problems plus this allows for any intervention to take place ensuring the well being of these students.
The department has a very successful modified curriculum programme for identified pupils who are unable to manage full time mainstream academy provision. As part of the option grouping Youth Award (PDF) is available to those pupils who find a full curriculum too difficult.
Some of our pupils, for a range of reasons, have a reduced timetable and we therefore have to ensure their time is well used. In some cases we can put in some additional support. They also have access to SAM Learning on the computer to revise and prepare for future examinations.
The department also boasts a very successful outcome rate for pupils who have found just coming to the academy a problem; special arrangements are made to accommodate these pupils with an aim at full integration as soon as possible.
The academy makes sure that assessments are put in place to ensure that Access Arrangements for examinations are arranged giving these pupils access to what they are entitled to.
Pupils on the SEN register have an OPP (One Page Profile) which is reviewed termly and those with an EHCP (Educational Health Care Plan) or statement will have an annual review of their plan including transition reviews in years 9, 10, 11 as well.
There are a range of outside agencies that make frequent visits to the department and work with a very large range of identified pupils. These agencies include CIR (County Inclusive Resource- outreach service for pupils with Autism) the School Nurse, Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist, Advisory Teachers for Hearing and Visually Impaired students, Educational Psychologist, Home Tutors, EWO and many more.
The School Nurse has a weekly drop in at the academy on a Monday lunch time at Bury Road and on a Thursday at Sheldrick Way. A series of stress management sessions are arranged in April/May to support pupils through the difficulties of GCSE and A’ Level examinations. They are given advice on nutrition, relaxation and techniques to deal with those stressful moments.
To support transition from feeder primary schools; visits are made by the SENCo, Assistant SENCo and TAs to gain information and to build up a positive rapport with the pupils. In addition to this, extra visits prior to transfer are made to aid transition even further. The pupils and parents/carers find this very reassuring and have commented on its benefits.
A Firebreak course is run in conjunction with Suffolk County Council Fire service and our Fire Liaison Officer Mr Andy Sheldrick. This is a mini cadet course where the students are taken to Mildenhall Fire Station to do team building and confidence building exercises over a six week period. They wear mini fire officer uniforms and do such activities as first aid, hose work and rescuing people from a smoked filled room. Then at the end of the course they have a passing out parade where parents/carers are welcome to go along and watch and be part of the ceremony. If it is felt the student would benefit from further mentoring then Mr Sheldrick will continue to mentor the students who need some extra support.
The department is well resourced with a base in Room 34 at Bury Road and at Sheldrick Way Sixth Form students have the opportunity to apply for an office with the support from the SEND. Room 34 has an interactive whiteboard which engages the pupils with its interactive approach. Both areas are designed to encourage independent work
We organise paired reading for some out weaker year 7 and 8 pupils. The Year 11 prefects will meet with them during a tutor period to listen to them read and develop their skills and this is all overseen by some of our TAs. Alongside this for our weakest readers we have invested in the Literacy Toolbox programme, this is six week intervention for an hour a day. So far every student on the programme has made progress.