Academy SEND Co-Ordinator & The Bridge Faculty Leader
Ms. K Giermaniuk
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Inclusion is at the heart of everything we do at ESSA Academy. We serve a vibrant and diverse community; rich with different cultures, languages and a varying range of academic, communication, social, emotional, physical and sensory needs. We embrace the fact that every child is different and make every effort to meet the needs of any child, regardless of aptitude, ability or special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), or whether they speak English as an Additional Language (EAL).
We strongly believe that each student should be given equal opportunities to quality education and have access to a full curriculum. Therefore, as a team, our aim is to facilitate these opportunities. We are fundamentally committed to inclusion and advocate it through our ethos. We promote and encourage personal growth of each student and support them on their journey; as we believe that each student, regardless of their individual differences, has the capacity to achieve.
We offer structured support throughout the each students time at the Academy, but also during the most essential transition between Key Stages to ensure they are well prepared and are able to grow, develop and become valuable members of the community and wider society. We recognise the need for some students to have an extended, supported transition time between Year 6 and 7, when they join our Academy, as it can be a very stressful time. What is more, we work closely with our students, their parents or carers, our Careers Officer and outside agencies to embrace our students’ ambitions and support them during their next steps to adulthood.
We do our utmost to ensure that students' needs are met through support in the classroom wherever possible. Staff in The Bridge faculty work closely with teachers and colleagues in all subjects, to ensure that work set is differentiated and appropriate. Staff are given strategies to support each individual student, providing materials and training to assist progress and attainment where necessary. Teamwork is at the core of our practice and it is our responsibility to maintain good relationships with all parties involved in order to meet the common goal: celebrating the success of SEND and EAL students.
We prioritise our students’ wellbeing and use a various of methods to ensure they are happy, feel safe and are able to form and maintain positive relationships with peers. Through a range of interventions, clubs and our Nurture facilities available to students during unstructured school times, we are able to develop and strengthen the communication needs of our SEND and EAL students. This is all achieved with the belief that we are supporting and enhancing their abilities to transfer these skills into the wider community.
We also recognise that some students need to be appropriately challenged, especially those for whom English is not their first language. We understand that languages are not a barrier to learning and ensure our students receive excellent support from the very start to ensure that by the time they leave the Academy, they can communicate in English effectively, but have also had multiple opportunities to celebrate their cultural and language heritage.
Furthermore, our team also works closely with a range of professionals and external agencies to provide informed SEND support, and to support learning, based on students’ specific, individual needs. Our Team has very clear procedures on engaging with outside agencies and other professionals to ensure our staff are best prepared to meet the unique needs of our learners.
We work tirelessly to listen to our students and to work with their parents and carers, ensuring that everyone has a voice. It is a key priority of ours to listen to their aspirations and those of their children, to ensure that we achieve the most appropriate provision to meet their needs. Our Team is in regular contact with parents and carers and address any concerns they may have with the view that this enables The Bridge team have a more holistic view of each student that they are then able to share with staff.
SUPPORTING THE CURRICULUM INTENT
We want our students to be valuable citizens of society, community and country. We aim to develop confident and resilient learners prepared for their life beyond Essa. Our desire is for our students to be well equipped with life skills to become independent, self-confident members of the community. We aim to empower the students in the contemporary world to meet the demands of the daily life and the level of sophistication in literacy skills and ideas that are part of the culture in our society. We strongly believe in providing all learners with access to the full curriculum and opportunities to succeed in subjects of their choice by facilitating appropriate support to help them in overcoming their barriers to learning. We promote inclusion, also by considering the views of young people as part of the decision-making process and informing the curriculum.
We support the whole curriculum with the intent that students will be able:
• To communicate effectively in different situations and amongst different groups of people.
• To access literacy in everyday situations and to raise ambition via a nourishing and language rich diet.
• To understand how to function in different communities by being exposed to a broad cultural capital within lessons.
• To have a secure awareness of own wellbeing and how it can be affected by different factors and be able to take responsibility of improving it.
• To have a secure understanding of safety in the community and being able to recognise risks and take appropriate action if necessary.
• To develop basic numeracy skills and be able to manage a budget in order to complete a specific set of tasks related to real-life situations.
• To express knowledge in a variety of different ways.
• To have a full access to a broad and balanced curriculum and able to achieve their full potential in all lessons.
• To succeed regardless of their starting point in education.
• To be able to overcome barriers to learning with appropriate support in place.
• To have access to well-differentiated lessons as a reflection of individual needs.
• To have confidence that their individual learning styles will be recognised within each lesson to ensure they can apply their strengths to learning.
• To experience smooth transition into both KS3 and post-16 education.
• To feel valued.
• To fully participate in the school life, including extra-curricular activities offered by the school.
• To apply their unique skills to learning in order to help them achieve their full potential.
Unique Selling Points
• Our curriculum is flexible and adaptable to the changes in the school population.
• Thanks to the flexibility, we are able to account for students’ ideas and needs and improve the plethora of interventions available.
• We are proud to offer a fully student-centred approach through which students are empowered and their views accounted for.
• Each student’s needs can be met individually via tailored choice of subjects.
• Specialist teachers deliver lessons of the highest quality.
• Our range of interventions are tailored to the students’ needs.
• Our curriculum is fully inclusive.
• It supports building positive relationships between peers as well staff.
• The interventions and curriculum offered are a reflexion of the expert knowledge of the school population to ensure the needs and aspirations of our students are met.
• Our broad and balanced curriculum takes personal development into consideration. We aim to ensure our students understand the world around them and can function successfully in the community. We facilitate real-life opportunities embedded within our curriculum and these include opportunities such as travel training and off-site experiences.
• We facilitate additional events and encourage participation of our SEND and EAL students, e.g. inter-school sport competitions and a range of trips.
• To meet the individual needs, develop effective communication but also inspire our learners, we offer a range of interventions and clubs. These include:
o Reading Interventions to develop decoding, fluency, comprehension but also a passion for reading
o Grammar and Vocabulary Intervention
o Art, crafts and relaxation
o Lego therapy
o Animal Therapy
o Life Skills Intervention
o Working Memory Intervention
o Sensory Diet
o Film Club
o Games Club
Unique Selling Points in our offer to support the curriculum
• It embraces an open-door policy, also during non-structured school time to ensure students can access guidance and support.
• As a highly diverse and multi-cultural school, we recognise the need to celebrate our students’ talents, unique skills and qualities so that they can succeed in the next phase of their education and the world.
• We are able to plan and adapt resources and the environment as required, using specialist support and guidance from outside agencies where appropriate.
• Students are encouraged to use technology to enhance their learning and overcome barriers, including language.
• Staff monitor progress that students make to identify potential barriers to learning through staff referrals and data analysis.
• Learning Support Assistant (LSA) deployment is continuously reviewed in response to data analysis and in liaison with teaching staff.
• Staff can access regular training, including bespoke sessions in order to raise their awareness and to develop their pedagogical approaches to ensure equity within the classroom.
We use on-going monitoring of students’ progress in order to ensure high standards are maintained throughout. Cooperating and communicating with all faculties is at the centre of what we do as having an in-depth knowledge of our students is crucial to meet their needs.
Regular Learning Walks and Book Looks, together with staff feedback and students voice are triangulated with the whole school Teaching and Learning Walks to assess the accuracy and quality of targeted support to ensure that each SEND and EAL student can achieve their full potential.
Thanks to open door policy, we can offer support and advice to all staff and address all barriers to learning. We work closely with the Wellbeing Team to support Spotlight Events and share key strategies about our students on regular basis.
Our excellent team of dedicated Learning Support Assistants is in regular contact with all students, their parents and carers and teaching staff to ensure our students’ needs are met through high quality support. The team of LSAs is well-prepared, experienced and very knowledgeable and is able to support SEND and EAL students in lessons using a variety of techniques. Their support is regularly quality assured to meet the high expectations of the Bridge Faculty ethos.
We form and maintain good relationships with parents to support home-school communication and cooperation through regular telephone or email contact, Parents Evenings but also, the less formal Coffee Mornings where parents and carers can meet the staff, see their children’s work and chat over a cup of tea and cake.
All staff are encouraged to approach our Team in case they notice a child experiencing learning difficulties. By completing lesson observations, book looks and in-house reading assessments, cognitive abilities tests, Dyslexia and Dyscalculia screenings, our Team is able to identify and address the individual needs of our students.
Thanks to the close cooperation of a network of people surrounding our students, our Team is able to apply the Graduated Response to meet the needs of all learners. This helps us to recognise the necessity for an Education, Health and Care needs assessment which may lead to forming an official Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in certain cases. We proactively seek advice and engage with support of outside agencies to improve and support this process.
Our work and support aims to promote equal opportunities, ensuring that all SEND and EAL students are able to:
• Achieve the necessary skills in line with their specific abilities to be able to pursue the chosen career path.
• Apply literacy skills in order to secure a chosen career.
• Have basic functional skills to ensure a safe and independent life in the community and broader society.
• Have experienced a broad range of activities within school and the community in order to have a broad understanding of the world around them and how in functions.
• Have a secure understanding of appropriate life choices.
• Be able to implement the knowledge gained in order to live a safe and healthy life.
• Understand the value of money and be able to budget effectively.
• Have an awareness of their feelings, good mental help and how to reach for support.
• Have developed effective communication skills in order take an active part in the community life.
• Be able to recognise the needs of others and work collaboratively.
• Have their needs recognised and catered for by well-prepared and effective team of teaching and support staff.
ICT to support SEND Blog
Keep one step ahead with our 'ICT to support SEND' blog. Click here to view the blog.
What processes are involved for students with complex needs?
Students with SEND needs may be assessed for an Education Health Care Plan. Oxfordshire County Council have produced an excellent video, to explain the pathway that students and their families would experience if this was the case. Similar resources that are referred to throughout the video are available through the ESSA SEND Faculty, or through SENDAS at Bolton Local Authority.
This section of our website aims to help students and parents have a greater understanding of key terminology that you may come across in the SEND area. It can be found by clicking here.
How do I contact the SEND Support Team?
The named Governor for Special Educational Needs is Ivan Wadeson, and the Special Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCo) is Ms K Giermaniuk.
Should you have any further questions about Special Educational Needs at ESSA Academy, please feel free to contact our team by telephone, email or by using our contact form below:
t: 01204 333 222
New: Join our Autism Mailing List
Students and parents of students with Autism diagnoses, or Autistic traits are encouraged to join our Autism Support Group mailing list. Find out more by clicking here.