Special Education News and Disabilities (SEND)

Supporting Special Educational Needs

Welcome to our SEND Information Report which is part of Durham County Council’s Local Offer for children and young people with Special Educational Needs.

At Woodham Academy, we recognise that all students are entitled to a quality of provision that will enable them to achieve their potential. We believe in positive intervention, removing barriers to learning, raising expectations and levels of achievement and working in partnership with other agencies to provide a positive educational experience for all our students including those with a special educational need or disability. Our school recognises there are particular groups of students whose circumstances require additional consideration by those who work with them to support their SEN.

At Woodham Academy our SENCO (Mrs Keenan) ensures that all teachers in school understand the implications for those children who have SEN. At Woodham Academy we ensure that all students, regardless of their specific needs make the best possible progress. There are now four broad areas of SEND. These are:

  • Communication and Interaction. This area of need includes children with Autism Spectrum Condition and those with Speech, Language and Communication Needs.
  • Cognition and Learning. This includes children with Specific Learning Difficulties, Moderate Learning Difficulties, Severe Learning Difficulties and Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties.
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties. This includes any students who have an emotional, social or mental health need that is impacting on their ability to learn.
  • Sensory and/or Physical Difficulties. This area includes children with hearing impairment, visual impairment, multisensory impairment and physical difficulties.

From September 2014, Local Authorities (LA) and schools are required to publish and keep under review information about services they expect to be available for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) aged 0-25. This is called the ‘Local Offer’.

The intention of the Local Offer is to improve choice for families and will also be an important resource for parents in understanding the range of services and provision in the local area.

Further information about the Local Offer can be found on the County Durham Families Information Service website County Durham’s Families Information Service | County Durham’s Families Information Service (countydurhamfamilies.info)

SEND Code of Practice SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If you would like to discuss your SEND requirements in detail, please contact the school to arrange an appointment.

SEND School Admissions

We are committed to meeting the needs of all children including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. We would ask parents to discuss the identified needs with the school prior to starting so that appropriate intervention and support can be planned and implemented. Advice from the LA or other agencies may be requested to ensure the school can meet any needs appropriately.

Full details of the admission arrangements can be found in the Primary and Secondary Admissions brochure produced by Durham County Council and further information can be found in the school Admissions Policy that can be found in the School Policies section of our website.

Visit the Durham County Council website for information regarding the school admission process and secondary school admissions. To appeal against an admission decision visit: School admissions-appeals.

Applying for a school place if your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan or a Statement of SEN

Children and young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan follow a different admission and transfer process for a new school. Please continue to complete Durham County Council’s parental preference form, as part of the admission process to a new school. You continue to have a right to request a particular school and this will be considered alongside the information that we have about your child’s special educational needs. The information would have been provided as part of the Education, Health and Care assessment or following the review meeting.

If you would like to discuss your SEND requirements in detail, please contact the school to arrange an appointment with our SENCO (Mrs Keenan/Miss Patterson)


The SEND budget allocation is agreed between our school and the Local Authority at the beginning of each financial year. Detail of how this money is used to support children and young people with SEND is shown below. This is monitored each term by the Governing Body.

This is used to support children and young people with SEND by helping to support the creation of the following:

  • A supportive curriculum that is responsive to need
  • A nurturing academic pathway
  • A Wellbeing room for those who need this resource during social time
  • training of staff to ensure quality first teaching
  • Student group interventions (e.g. ’Talk About Teens’, ‘Toe by Toe’ reading programme)
  • Emotional and social support programmes
  • Additional specialist support with post 16 careers/training decisions
  • Specialist group support from outside agencies
  • Specific individual support for children whose learning needs are severe and/or complex
  • Specialist equipment to support and enhance learning
  • Mentoring a broad range of extra-curricular activities
  • Differentiated materials

If a child has complex special educational needs, we could also receive additional funding from the Local Authority to meet the agreed outcomes.

A Costed Provision Map will be developed in liaison with the child, young person, parent or carer. If you would like to discuss your SEND requirements in detail please contact the school to arrange an appointment.

Teaching, Learning and the Curriculum

Woodham Academy prides itself in being inclusive and will endeavour to support every child regardless of their level of need. All students follow a broad and balanced curriculum at a level and a pace that is appropriate to their abilities. Our ethos ensures that all students have access to the school curriculum and all school activities. Our curriculum and curriculum support is designed to:

  • Help all students achieve to the best of their abilities, despite any difficulty or disability they may have and provide an education which is as broad, enjoyable, and interesting as possible and allows all students to reach their full potential.
  • Ensure that teaching staff are aware of and sensitive to the needs of all students, teaching students in a way that is more appropriate to their needs.
  • Allow students to gain in confidence, improve their self-esteem and enable all students to understand and value themselves and their community, developing a set of values which will enable students to act with compassion, understanding and tolerance for the common good.
  • Work in partnership with parents/carers, students and relevant external agencies in order to provide for children’s special educational needs and disabilities.
  • Identify at the earliest opportunity, all children that need special consideration to support their needs (whether these are educational, social, physical or emotional)
  • Make suitable provision for children with SEND to fully develop their abilities, interests and aptitudes and gain maximum access to the curriculum, supporting them to achieve the highest possible standards in literacy and numeracy
  • Ensure that all children with SEND are fully included in all activities of the school in order to promote the highest levels of achievement.
  • Give every child the entitlement to a sense of achievement, providing them with a curriculum that leads to qualifications which are appropriate and will support students through further education, training and careers.
  • Encourage students to think clearly and make rational decisions based upon knowledge, information and experience, preparing them to accept responsibility for themselves and their wellbeing, economic and otherwise, and contribute to, and cooperate with society.
  • Give students an appreciation of creative, aesthetic, sporting, scientific, mathematical, linguistic, spiritual, cultural and technological traditions and achievements as well as to promote intellectual curiosity so that students acquire basic knowledge, concepts, skills and practical abilities to equip them for life in modern Britain.

All students receive one lesson of core RS and core PE. PSHE, Citizenship and Careers Education are delivered through weekly Personal Development lessons and afternoon registration periods.

At times modifications to the curriculum may be implemented. To successfully match student ability to the curriculum, Woodham Academy continues to implement a range of strategies that include:

  • Matching teaching and learning methods to individuals to maximise student learning.
  • Differentiated materials (both for reinforcement and extension).
  • Access to digital learning resources where this will enhance learning.
  • Additional in-class support.
  • Additional out-of-class support.
  • Flexible groupings (including small group work).
  • A supportive curriculum – including an integrated literacy and numeracy-based curriculum at Key Stage 3.
  • The appropriate use of rewards and consequence sanctions.
  • Mentoring as appropriate to individual need.
  • Assessment procedures that emphasise students’ strengths and achievements.
  • Applications to examination boards to obtain access arrangements as appropriate.
  • Regularly reviewing the policy and its application in order to achieve best practice

For further information you can view the Teaching & Learning Policy and the Curriculum Development Policy in the School Policies section of our website.

How we ensure our curriculum is accessible

  • Quality First Teaching. At Woodham Academy, we understand that all teachers are teachers of SEND and that it is important that we meet the needs of our students within our everyday lessons. Information sharing is vital to this process so that appropriate and supported differentiation can be put in place for the learner.
  • Specific group work. We offer a range of interventions in the form of small group work. The work that takes place is often linked to literacy and numeracy or social and emotional learning.
  • Specialist group support from outside agencies. There are a number of outside agencies that are available to our school. They can offer a range of support for students here at Woodham Academy. Alongside this, there have been training programmes provided by services such as the Hearing Impairment, Autism and Social Communication that have and continue to take place to upskill our staff so that we can continue support once the agency work comes to an end.
  • Specific individual support for children whose learning needs are severe, complex and lifelong and what this means for your child. At Woodham Academy we rely upon the specialist support and guidance that outside agencies such as, Speech and Language Therapy, Hearing Impairment service, CAMHs etc. provide. The assessment procedures and recommendations that these services offer allow us to put in targeted intervention and support for individual students within our school.
  • Range of teaching and learning styles. We believe here at Woodham Academy that we teach our students how to become independent learners through a very structured range of teaching and learning styles. The intention is that this will support students to become more effective learners. Students will be able to think for themselves, discuss their own learning and transfer the skills that they have learnt in one curriculum area into other curriculum areas. Ultimately, students will leave our school with excellent exam results through high quality Learning and Teaching, but also with the ability to continue to learn effectively in further education and their later life beyond this.
  • A broad range of extra-curricular activities, including homework club and Learning Centre. Students of all ages and abilities are encouraged to attend our enrichment sessions that run across the academic year. Support is available at break and lunchtimes to help with establishing friendships or providing a quiet area if needed. Support is also available to discuss homework or just to have access to a quiet room for revision.

Specialist training for staff is provided by a number of outside agencies: Cognition and Learning team, Educational Psychology, CAMHs, Speech and Language Therapy and the Hearing Impairment service.

Support for children with physical needs
Where possible we endeavour to meet the full needs of our students who have a physical disability. We can do these through physical amendments to the school building, changes to timetable, access to the lifts at all times, time out passes, mentors and specialist training from outside agencies.

Support for children with speech, language and communication needs
Support for students with speech and language difficulties are met through quality first teaching. Promoted strategies include: Careful use of cues, visual contact, repetition of key strategies when decoding tasks, sequencing and chunking information etc.

Support for children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties
At Woodham Academy, we have non-teaching members of staff who work with young people in the following capacity:

Anxiety reducing group sessions
Self-esteem and resilience groups
Social skills groups
Information and advice on all aspects of wellbeing
A ‘Well-being’ room, where supervised break and lunchtime activities are run

Support for children with medical needs
It is crucial that we gather information at an early stage in relation to medical needs. Often discussions with families begin the term before they begin their studies here at Woodham Academy. This allows us to make the necessary contact with outside agencies, organise specific training and create a medical care plan that can be shared with staff. In extreme cases we will organise regular multiagency meetings, so we can be kept up to date with what is currently going on for the young person and to discuss if interventions/support needs to be amended.

Support for children with English as an Additional Language
We have strong links with the EAL team at Durham County Council, who are always on hand to help us support our EAL learners.

Support for Looked after Children with SEND
For ‘looked after’ students that also have a special educational need extra support is provided through Pastoral staff. It is important that the needs of the individual are listened to and that they have the opportunity to progress at the same pace as their peers, therefore provision maps are created so that we can ensure that the individual has access to a range of resources.

For specific queries about EAL, Looked After provision, Medical or SEND provision please contact the school.

Progress Tracking

All staff are responsible for assessing, monitoring and tracking the progress of our students. Each student is regularly assessed in class in all subjects and levels are recorded and reported to parents at key points within the academic year. Heads of Learning and the SENCO will check report data after each assessment period and if any of our students are not making the expected progress intervention is provided. A range of interventions are in place across all ability levels. Assessment of intervention programmes also allow us to track progress half termly, so that interventions and support can be amended if needed

SEND Staff

Mrs A Keenan / Miss D Patterson

Learning Support
Mr R Heaven, English, Reading & Literacy Support
Mr T White, Maths & Numeracy Support

Support for Social, Emotional & Mental Health or Communication & Interaction Needs
Mr A Brown (TA)
Mrs N Haynes (LSA)
Miss G James (TA)
Mrs S Meachen (LSA)
Mr S McAulay (TA)
Miss K Reed (TA)
Mrs P Russell (TA)


We recognize that transitions can be difficult for a child with SEND and therefore we take steps to ensure that any transition is as smooth as possible.

Moving from Primary school to Woodham Academy
Woodham Academy promotes strong links with its partner primaries to ensure early identification of students who will be moving to our school. We encourage this link to start from as early as Year 5 depending on the level of need and current SEND support that a student may require. Woodham Academy initiates the link with Primary school staff and subsequently with parents. However, parents themselves can contact the SENCo, who can then discuss increased support regarding transition with our School Transition workers.

Moving year groups at Woodham Academy
Changes between academic years are supported in close liaison with our SEND department, Heads of Learning and the Learning Managers. Moving into Key Stage 4 and beginning exam courses can provide challenges to some students. Selecting optional subjects can be difficult, especially for students who have a SEND. Parents are welcome to contact the school to discuss the options booklet and a parents’ information evening will be available to allow any concerns or queries may be discussed. This is also a crucial time for the SENCO to identify examination access arrangements in an official capacity, through testing.

Moving to another school or post 16 provider
When a student with SEND is transferring to or from other educational establishments, the Head of Learning and the SENCO will liaise with all parties concerned to ensure that the transfer is for the benefit of the student and disruption to the student’s education is kept to a minimum. An early review of progress is arranged and parents are invited to join the review.

At the end of Year 11 students will move on, either into employment or another educational/training establishment. At this time SEND Support Plans will be amended to allow the information contained to be shared with the student’s future educational setting. We aim to ensure that it is up to date and portrays a clear picture of any objectives that may need to be transferred on.

If you would like to discuss your SEND requirements in detail please contact the school to arrange an appointment

How do we consult with our SEN students and their parents or careers

The SENCO and support staff will work with children and young people to identify the support needed to meet agreed outcomes. The provision is planned and interventions are allocated to individual needs. Students take an active role with setting their targets, discussing them with the SENCO and/or support staff. Our students have regular meetings with support staff to discuss their progress and support.

Woodham Academy has a student led council to provide a greater opportunity for students to bring to the school’s attention any areas that they feel could be improved upon.

We are also committed to working with parents and carers to identify their child’s needs and support. Parents and carers will be involved throughout the process.

There is a range of ways this can be done, for example:

  • Parents/carers evenings
  • Ongoing discussions with a class teacher, Head of Learning, support staff and/or SENCO
  • An ‘open-door’ policy, where parents and carers are welcome to come into school to discuss any concerns they may have
  • Through a review of a child’s SEN Support Plan or the Annual Review of their EHC Plan.
  • If your child is on the SEN register you will be spoken to a minimum of 3 times a year by a member of the SEN department where student Action Plans will be discussed and reviewed

If you would like to discuss your SEND requirements in detail please contact the school to arrange an appointment

Agencies and Partnerships

The school enjoys good working relationships with a wide range of people who provide services to children with SEND and their families, particularly when a child is demonstrating further cause for concern or their learning need is more complex and persistent.

The external specialists may:

  • Act in an advisory capacity
  • Extend expertise of school staff
  • Provide additional assessment
  • Support a child directly
  • Suggest statutory assessment is advisable
  • Consult with all parties involved with the child

These include:

  • Durham SEND Information, Advice and Support Service
  • Families/ Parents/ Carers
  • Hearing Impairment Service
  • Cognition and Learning Team
  • SEND and Inclusion Service o Education and Health Care Needs Team
  • DurhamWorks
  • Children and Young People’s Services
  • ASD Team
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech and Language Therapy Team
  • Post 16 Establishments

If you would like to discuss your SEND requirements in detail please contact the school to arrange an appointment

Contact SENCO

The following are the main contacts for Special Education Needs and Disability at Woodham Academy:

• Mr A Bell, Headteacher
• Mr B Winwood, Designated SEN Governor
• Mrs A Keenan & Miss D Patterson, Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCo)

It is the SENCo’s job to:

  • Oversee the day-to-day operation of the school’s SEN policy
  • Liaise with the relevant Designated Teacher where a Looked After students has SEND
  • Advise teachers on using a graduated approach to providing SEN support
  • Advise on the deployment of the school’s delegated budget and other resources to meet the student’s needs effectively
  • Liaise with parents/carers of students with SEN
  • Liaise with and be a key point of contact for external agencies
  • Ensure that the school keeps the records of all SEN students up to date
  • Work with the head teacher and school governors to ensure that the school meets its responsibilities with regard to reasonable adjustments and access arrangements

If you would like to discuss your SEND requirements in detail, please contact the school to arrange an appointment

Compliments and Complaints

Compliments are always greatly received and can be passed on either directly to staff and the SENCO, formally recorded via our regular questionnaires to parents at parents’ evenings, or in the form of a letter to the Head Teacher.

We hope that complaints about our SEND provision will be rare, however, if there should be a concern the process outlined in the school Complaints Policy should be followed. Further information can be found in the school policies section of the website.

We are always seeking to improve on the quality of education we provide for children with SEND and are keen to hear from parents about their child’s experience. We would also like your views about the content of our SEND Information Report. If you would like to comment please get in touch using the school’s email address info@woodham.org.uk

Statement of intent for supporting equality

Woodham Academy are committed to equality. We aim for every student to fulfil their potential no matter what his/her background or personal circumstances. We maintain the aim of embedding principles of fairness and equality across our entire curriculum, in assemblies, in break and lunchtimes, in pastoral support, and in before and after school activities. Under the Public sector equality duty (section 149 of the Equality Act 2010), we are required, in carrying out our functions, to have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited under the Equality Act 2010
  • Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
  • Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it

This will apply to all students, staff and others using the facilities. We will give relevant and proportionate consideration to the public sector equality duty.

Further information about how we support equality can be found in the following policies which can be found in the school documents section on the school website:

  • Disability Equality policy
  • Access Policy
  • Equality Policy
  • Equality Information and Objectives
  • Accessibility Plan

If you would like to discuss your SEND requirements in detail, please contact the school to arrange an appointment

Identification & Assessment

Most children and young people will have their special educational needs met in mainstream schools through good classroom practice. This is called Quality First Teaching.

At Woodham Academy, we follow a graduated support approach which is called “Assess, Plan, Do, Review”.

This means that we will:

  • Assess a child’s special educational needs
  • Plan the provision to meet your child’s aspirations and agreed outcomes
  • Do – put the provision in place to meet those outcomes
  • Review the support and progress

As part of this approach, we will produce a SEN Support Plan that describes the provision that we will make to meet a child’s special educational needs and agreed outcomes. Parents and carers will be fully involved in this process.

A small percentage of children and young people with significant learning difficulties might need an assessment that could lead to an Education, Health and Care Plan. Full details can be found on the Local Offer website.

You can find details of how we adapt the curriculum and make it more accessible for students with SEN below:

  • A supportive curriculum – including an integrated literacy and numeracy-based curriculum at Key Stage 3
  • The appropriate use of rewards and consequence sanctions
  • Mentoring as appropriate to individual need
  • Assessment procedures that emphasise student’s strengths and achievements
  • Applications to examination boards to obtain access arrangements as appropriate