About the Beacon of Light School
The Beacon of Light School is a Free School for a maximum of 40 students. It will provide an exciting and innovative Alternative Provision for an identified group of young people who are currently marginalised within mainstream education. It will engage them in their own learning, help change attitudes and behaviours and improve their future life chances.
The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENCo) is Mrs Lindsay Howells who can be contacted by telephoning the School on 0191 551 5152, or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
All students follow a broad balanced curriculum that is appropriate to their age and stage of development which is personalised to take into account their needs and abilities, including a work based placement for those students in KS4.
In order to identify a student’s special educational needs we use all of the information about the student’s progress and compare it with the progress of other students in the school and against national performance information. The first wave of support at the Beacon is to provide quality first teaching for all students.
If a student is not making the progress that would be expected with quality first teaching, their parent/carer will be involved as soon as possible. We will discuss our concerns with the parent/carer and student and obtain their views about:
- The student’s strengths and areas of difficulty
- Concerns that the parent/carer and student has
- Agreed outcomes
- Agreed next steps
Following discussions with parents/carers and the student, we will then agree outcomes that the student will be working towards and the support or programmes of study that are needed to meet these outcomes. From the records of progress and discussions with parents/carers, the school will then decide the support or programmes of study that are needed to meet these outcomes.
Concerns are not always based on academic progress but could also be linked to the social, emotional development, or the mental health of the student. They will be allocated to one of the four broad areas of need:
- Communication and Interaction
- Cognition and Learning
- Social, emotional and mental health
- Sensory and/or physical needs
Any concerns that school staff or parents raise in this area may lead to a further investigation by the SENCo.
Assessment, Monitoring and Review
Each student’s progress is continually monitored by their subject teacher and the SENCo in a number of ways, including additional educational testing completed within school. The SENCo oversees any additional support the student may need and at the beginning of the new academic year, data is analysed and tracked to obtain a clear indication of which students need support with their academic work.
Progress is discussed regularly in staff meetings, tracked closely by departments and staff and is reviewed formally every term. The student is given a baseline test upon entry. This is shared with parents/carers and, if necessary a support package is developed.
The level of support given to each student depends on their additional needs and any other factors that may improve or hinder their progress. When a student has been assessed and is not making progress against their outcomes with the help that they have been given, we can refer students to a number of different agencies to gain further support.
Depending on the student’s needs, referrals can be made to the:
- Special Educational Needs Team
- The Educational Psychology Service or Behaviour Support Service within Sunderland Council, health services such as speech and language therapy
- School nursing service
- Occupational therapist
- Emotional Wellbeing Team or Children and Young People’s Service
- Social care teams such as SEND social workers or the Family Intervention Team.
We might suggest completing a Common Assessment Framework (CAF) form in order to get a team of professionals (Team around the Family (TAF)) together to work with the student and their family but this will only be done with the parent/carers agreement.
If the student does not make progress with support that has been suggested by specialist staff, we can make a referral to the Local Authority (LA), for an assessment for an Education, Health and Care Plan. This is a legal process, which is carried out by the LA which sets out the amount of support that will be provided for the student.
Involving Parents/Carers and Students
Parent/carers can contact the Beacon of Light School with any concerns about their child. They will also be contacted throughout the process.
We hold regular review meetings for all parents/carers. If your child has special educational needs, or a disability, parents/carers and the student are involved with regular review meetings to discuss progress towards current outcomes and setting outcomes for the future.
Annual Reviews are held for students with Single Plans or statements of special educational needs. The reviews focus on achievements, the progress made towards the outcomes, support and future plans and are held with parents/carers, the student and any other agencies involved, including the commissioning school.
Progress reports can be provided to parents/carers in alternative formats if required.
Students are encouraged to share their aspirations and views in review meetings, and we value their contribution in letting school know how they prefer to be supported.
These meetings will include the commissioning school so that a strong link is maintained during the placement, and to support the students transition back into mainstream education.
School staff are trained in specific areas where there is a current SEND. The Principal collects information on areas for development through appraisals and staff meetings and liaises with the SENCo to invite appropriate professionals to deliver it as whole staff or individual training. Training is also provided for staff when students are admitted to school with a SEND that no-one in school has experience of. Managers of Literacy and Numeracy areas find appropriate specialist support training and enrol staff on courses.
Staff within school have different levels of expertise in order to support students with special educational needs:
- Awareness – this is basic awareness of a particular type of SEND. All staff who come into contact with the student will have this level of training and it will be carried out by the SENCo, SENIT, Educational Psychologist or other specialist service.
- Enhanced – this level of training will be carried out by staff working with the student regularly, such as class and subject teachers, and will focus on how teaching and learning can be adapted to meet the student’s needs. The training can be carried out by SENIT, Educational Psychologist, staff from special schools or other specialist services.
- Specialist – this is in-depth training about a particular type of SEND for staff who will be advising staff who support students at an enhanced level. This could be a specialist SEND teacher or a SENCo if they have appropriate qualifications. Our SENCo has the National Award for the Co-Ordination of Special Educational needs and PGC in Teaching and Support Pupils with SpLD (Dyslexia) within the School Context.
At The Beacon of Light School, SEND training is given to all staff on a termly basis and is developed based on the needs of our students.
Transitions can be difficult for a student with SEND and we take steps to ensure that any transition is a smooth as possible.
- Students with statements of special educational needs or Education, Health and Care Plan (Single Plans) will undertake a review to ensure any transition, to the commissioning school, or Post 16 Provider, is carefully planned and structured
- Before your child moves to The Beacon of Light School the SENCo will contact the SENCo from their previous school. Whenever possible, we will arrange for your child to visit us to meet their new teachers and classmates.
- We will invite all parents to review meetings
- If your child is moving to another school we will contact the SENCo at the new school and ensure they know about any special arrangements or support that need to be made for your child. We will also make sure that all records about your child are passed on as soon as possible. Where possible your child will visit their new school before they start and in some cases staff from the new school will visit your child in this school. When your child moves to secondary school, staff from The Beacon of Light School will discuss the specific needs of your child with the SENCO of their primary school.
- Information is available for all staff from the school’s computerised records so staff will be aware of your child’s needs. Students with a greater level of need are identified to all staff as appropriate.
- Students also move to college or apprenticeships at the end of Year 11 or the end of Year 13. Students will have support from a Connexions Personal Adviser from Year 9, who will provide independent support and advice about Post 16 options. In some cases it may be suitable to use the support of Disabled Social Work Team to support the transition into adult services for the student.
PLEASE NOTE: If your child has a statement of special educational need or Single Plan they must have an annual review before they move to a new school.
All students receive excellent targeted classroom teaching also known as Quality First Teaching.
For your child this would mean:
- That the teacher has the highest possible expectations for your child and all students in their class.
- That all teaching is based on building on what your child already knows, can do and can understand.
- Different ways of teaching are in place so that your child is fully involved in learning in class. This could involve things like using more practical learning.
- Specific strategies are in place to support your child to learn.
- If your child’s teacher has decided that your child has gap in their understanding/learning after carefully checking on your child’s progress they could receive some extra support to help them make the best possible progress.
- Differentiated academic pathways at KS4, to include vocational qualifications as appropriate
Alternative education opportunities for learning outside of the school setting if appropriate
All students will get this level of support but other types of support are available for students with SEND:
- Specific work with a small group of students.
This type of support is available for any student who has specific gaps in their understanding of a subject/area of learning and will be put in place if the SENCo or Head of Department thinks that they need extra support in school. The groups, called “Intervention groups”, are based around areas such as literacy, numeracy, social skills, transition, dyslexia, “Nessy Fingers”, Study Skills or MFL.
- Specialist groups run by outside agencies
This type of support is available for students who are not making progress through Quality First Teaching and intervention groups and means they have been assessed as needing some extra specialist support in school. This may be from:
- Local Authority services, an Educational Psychologist or Behaviour Support Service.
- Outside agencies such as the Speech and Language therapy (SALT) Service, Occupational Therapy, Emotional Wellbeing Team.
For your child this would mean:
- Your child will have been identified by the SENCo as needing more specialist input instead of or in addition to Quality First Teaching and intervention groups.
- You will be asked to come to a meeting to discuss your child’s progress and help plan possible ways forward.
- You may be asked for permission for the school to refer your child to a specialist professional e.g. a Speech and Language Therapist or Educational Psychologist. This will help the school and yourself understand your child’s needs better and be able to support them better in school.
The specialist professional will work with your child to understand their needs and make recommendations, which may include:
- Making changes to the way your child is supported in class e.g. some individual support or changing some aspects of teaching to support them better
- Support to set targets which will include their specific expertise
- A group run by school staff under the guidance of the outside professional
- A group or individual work with an outside agency or professional
- The school may give your child needs some individual support in school. They will tell you how the support will be used and what strategies will be put in place.
This is usually provided through an Education, Health and Care Plan (known as a Single Plan). This means your child will have been identified by a specialist professional as needing a higher level of support than the school can provide from their SEND budget. This is a legal process, which is carried out by the LA, which sets out the amount of support that will be provided for your child. School will discuss with you if they think that this is required.
Emotional and Social
As well as providing academic support, school can also provide emotional and social support for students. This can include:
- Social skills/nurture group interventions – provided by both internal staff and external agencies
- School counsellor
- School mediator
- Support from a SLT Mentor
- Support individually or small group intervention work
- Self-esteem interventions – ranging from small group interventions to speech and language interventions
- A Pastoral system which allocates support from all staff
- Anti-bullying policies
- Opportunity to study ASDAN, Employability and PSD (Personal and Social Development)
- Provision provided before and after school for vulnerable students
- Administration of medicines – Mrs Lyndsey Howells
The school is fully accessible to students with physical difficulties. The following facilities are available for students and their parents/carers with physical difficulties:
- Disabled parking bays
- Ramped access to buildings
- Lifts to all floors
- Accessible toilets
- Induction loop for hearing aid users
- Contrast edging and dual height rails on stairs and steps
- Accessible break areas
- Accessible dining area
- A private room for administration of medication
A risk assessment will be carried out and personal evacuation plan will be drawn up for all pupils with physical difficulties. All staff working with the student will be made aware of the plan.
We have an Accessibility Policy which is available to view in more detail.
Students take part in school visits throughout the year. A risk assessment is completed for all school visits. The Senior Leadership Team, overseen by the Principal, makes decisions based on whether it is safe for a student to leave the premises, taking into account the emotional needs of the students.
Parent/carers should contact the SENCo with any complaints about the provision that the student is receiving at school. If the complaint is not resolved, the school has a complaints policy (see school website for more detailed information).
All local authorities have a statutory duty to provide parent partnership services. The Sunderland Parent Partnership Service (PPS) is a free and confidential service which provides impartial information, advice and support to parents and carers of children with special educational needs.
This is a free, confidential service for young people who have SEND and their parent/carers. The service is available whether or not the young person has a Single/EHC Plan.
Sunderland Council has developed a Local Offer which provides information about education, health and social care support for children and young people with SEND in Gateshead. The Local Offer can be found at https://www.sunderlandservicedirectory.co.uk/kb5/sunderland/directory/localoffer.page? .
Further information can also be found by referring to our SEND Policy.
Contact a Family
This is a resource website and also has listings of local events in the area for people with a wide variety of needs
A life-changing school where education and opportunity lead the way to a brighter future. We inspire, encourage and nurture all our students to learn more, do more and be more.