SEND Information

2023/24 SEND Information

What is the local offer?

Local authorities must publish a local offer, setting out in one place information about provision they expect to be available across education, health and social care for children and young people in their area who have special educational needs (SEN) or are disabled, including those who do not have education, health and care (EHC) plans. In setting out what they ‘expect to be available’, local authorities should include provision which they believe will actually be available.

The Walsall local offer has two key purposes:

  • To provide clear, comprehensive, accessible and up-to-date information about the available provision and how to access it, and
  • To make provision more responsive to local needs and aspirations by directly involving disabled children and those with SEN and their parents, and disabled young people and those with SEN, and service providers in its development and review

(Source SEND Code of Practice 2014)

What is our ‘Information Report’?

Our Information Report is about providing specific information for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their parents or carers about what services young people and their families can expect from the academy and therefore more choice over what support is right for an individual pupil.

Children and young people with SEN have different needs, but the general presumption is that all children with SEN but without an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) are welcome to apply for a place at our Academy, in line with the school admissions policy. If a place is available, we will undertake to use our best endeavours, in partnership with parents, to make the provision required to meet the SEN of pupils at Shire Oak Academy.
For children with an EHCP, parents have the right to request a particular school and the local authority must comply with that preference and name the school or college in the EHC plan unless:
• It would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person, or
• The attendance of the child or young person there would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or the efficient use of resources.
• Before making the decision to name our school in a child’s EHCP, the local authority will send our governing body a copy of the EHCP and then consider their comments very carefully before a final decision on placement is made.
• Parents of a child with an EHCP also have the right to seek a place at a special school if it they consider that their child’s needs can be better met in specialist provision.

Concerns may be raised by parents/carers, external agencies, teachers, the pupil’s previous school or the pupil themselves, regarding concerns relating to their levels of progress or inclusion in the curriculum.
Screening, such as that completed on entry or as a result of a concern being raised, indicates gap in the pupil’s knowledge and/or skills.
Academy tracking of attainment outcomes indicates lack of expected rate of pupil progress.
Observations of the pupil indicates that they have additional needs

All pupils will be provided with high quality teaching that is differentiated to meet the needs of all learners. The quality of classroom teaching provided to pupils with SEND is monitored through a number of processes that include:
• Classroom observation by the senior leadership team, the SENCo, external verifiers,
• Ongoing assessment of progress made by pupils with SEND,
• Work sampling and scrutiny of planning to ensure effective matching of work to pupil need,
• Teacher meetings with the SENCo to provide advice and guidance on meeting the needs of pupils with SEND,
• Pupil and parent feedback on the quality and effectiveness of interventions provided,
• Attendance and behaviour records.
• Pupils with a disability will be provided with reasonable adjustments (such as auxiliary aids and services) to overcome any disadvantage experienced in schools and increase their access to the taught curriculum.
• All pupils have individual curriculum targets set in line with national outcomes to ensure ambition. Parents are informed of these via the reporting system and also at events such as Parents’ Evenings.
• Pupils’ attainments are tracked using the whole school tracking system and those failing to make expected levels of progress are identified very quickly. These pupils are then discussed in termly progress meetings that are undertaken between the class/subject teacher and a member of the Senior Leadership team and if appropriate, the pupil themselves.
• Additional action to increase the rate of progress will be then identified and recorded that will include a review of the impact of the differentiated teaching being provided to the child, and if required, provision to the teacher of additional strategies to further support the success of the pupil.
• Where it is decided during this early discussion that special educational provision is required to support increased rates, parents will be informed that the school considers their child may require SEN support and their

SEN Mediation and dispute resolution Walsall​

​At times you may disagree with advice or guidance given to you by your local authority. SEN Mediation is a service to support​parents or young people to resolve disagreements with the local authority. ​​Mediation can be used before deciding whether to appeal to the SEND Tribunal about decisions of an assessment or an EHC plan. ​The contact details for Walsall’s mediation service are;

KIDS West Midlands:
249 Birmingham Road,
Wylde Green,
Sutton Coldfield,
West Midlands B72 1EA

t.0121 355 2707

​w. ​

If a pupil is identified as not making progress the academy will set up a meeting to discuss this with you in more detail and to:

  •  listen to any concerns you may have too
  •  plan any additional support a pupil may receive
  •  discuss with you any referrals to outside professionals to support a pupil’s learning
  • If you have concerns about your child’s progress you should speak to your child’s form tutor initially.
  • If you are not satisfied that the concerns are being managed and that your child is still not making progress you should speak to the SENCo or the Principal.
  • Additionally for SEN pupils termly meetings are held to review progress and develop next steps plans.

If you are still satisfied you can speak to the academy’s SEND Governor, via the clerk.

SENCo: Mrs H Powell
Learning support Manager: Jane Duggan
Assistant Learning support Manager: Jane Coleman
Assistant Learning support Manager: Deb Sartori
SEND Governor: Rachael Armstrong

Responsible for:

  • coordinating all the support for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) and developing the academy’s SEND policy to make sure all pupils get a consistent, high quality response to meeting their needs in the academy.
  • ensuring that parents are:
    • involved in supporting a pupil’s learning
    • kept informed about the support a pupil is getting
    • involved in reviewing how they are doing
  • liaising with all the other people who may be coming into the academy to help support a pupil’s learning e.g. speech and language therapy, educational psychology etc.
  • updating the academy’s SEND register (a system for ensuring all the SEND needs of pupils in this academy are known) and making sure that there are excellent records of a pupil’s progress and needs.
  • providing specialist support for teachers and support staff in the academy so they can help pupils with SEND in the academy achieve the best progress possible.

Form teacher

Responsible for:

  • checking on the progress of a pupil and identifying, planning and delivering any additional help a pupil may need (this could be things like targeted work, additional support) and letting the SENCo know as necessary.
  • supporting the ‘Assessment, Plan, Do, Review’ cycle and sharing information to support pupil progress outcomes.
  • ensuring that all staff working with a pupil in the academy are helped to deliver the planned work/programme for that pupil, so they can achieve the best possible progress. This may involve the use of additional adults, outside specialist help and specially planned work and resources.
  • ensuring that the academy’s SEND programme is followed in their classroom and for all the pupils they teach with any SEND.


Responsible for:

  • the day to day management of all aspects of the academy, which includes the support for pupils with SEND.
  • delegating responsibility to the Assistant Principal/SENCo and class teachers for ensuring that pupil’s needs are met.
  • ensuring that the Governing Body is kept up to date about any issues in the academy relating to SEND.

SEN Governor

Responsible for:

making sure that the necessary support is made for any pupil who attends the academy who has SEND.

Effective teacher input via excellent targeted classroom teaching also known as precision teaching.

For your child this would mean:

  • that the teacher has the highest possible expectations for all pupils in their class.
  • that all teaching is based on building on what a pupil already knows they can do and can understand.
  • different ways of teaching are in place so that a pupil is fully involved in learning in class. This may involve things like using more practical learning.
  • specific strategies (which may be suggested by the SENCo and specialist learning assistant) are in place to support pupil learning.
  • the teacher will have carefully checked on a pupil’s progress and will have decided that the pupil has gaps in their understanding/learning and needs some extra support to help them make the best possible progress.

The Teacher Standards (2012) re-assert that all teachers are responsible for the progress and attainment of the pupils in their class, even where pupils access additional adult support. This means that providing an appropriate curriculum, testing knowledge and measuring progress needs to be appropriate to the starting point of the learner.

The Graduated Response

This process enables professionals working with pupils with an SEND to develop strategies and practices that will enable pupils to make continued progress and achieve positive outcomes in their learning. The process is known as the Assess, Plan, Do and Review (APDR) cycle, shown below.

Academy Support

This means a pupil has been identified by the class teacher as needing some extra support in the academy.

For a pupil this may mean:

  • they will engage in group sessions with specific targets to help them to make more progress.
  • a specialist learning assistant (SLA), teacher or outside professional (like a speech and language therapist) may run these small group sessions using the teacher’s plan

This type of support is available for any pupil who has specific gaps in their understanding of a subject/area of learning.

Specific group work within a smaller group of children.

This group, often called the ‘assisted learning intervention group’ by the academy, may be

  • run in the classroom or outside.
  • run by a teacher or most often a teaching assistant who has had training to run these groups.

The new SEN code of practice has introduced the ‘single category’ to identify where pupils are in their learning progress, recognising the different needs they may have rather than putting them into categories of support.  A pupil on the single category will typically be part of specialist support run by outside agencies e.g. speech and language therapy or occupational therapy groups and/or individual support for your child.

Academy support

This means the pupil has been identified by a Teacher as needing some extra specialist support in the academy from a professional outside the academy. This may be from:

  • Walsall Children’s Services central services such as SPLD or Sensory Service (for students with a hearing or visual need).
  • outside agencies such as the Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) Service.

For a pupil this would mean:

  • they have been identified by a teacher, with advice from the SLA/SENCo, (or you will have raised your concerns) as needing more specialist input instead of or in addition to quality first teaching and intervention groups.
  • parents/carers will be asked to come to a meeting to discuss pupil progress and help plan possible ways forward.
  • parents/carers may be asked to give permission for the academy to refer a pupil to a specialist professional e.g. a speech and language therapist or educational psychologist. This will help the academy and you understand a pupil’s particular needs better and be able to support them better in the academy.
  • the specialist professional will work with your child to understand their needs and make recommendations, which may include:
    • making changes to the way a pupil is supported in class e.g. some individual support or changing some aspects of teaching to support them better
    • support to set better targets which will include their specific expertise
    • a group run by academy staff under the guidance of the outside professional e.g. a social skills group
    • a group or individual work with an outside professional
  • the academy may suggest that a pupil needs some agreed individual support in the academy. They will tell you how the support will be used and what strategies will be put in place.

This type of support is available for pupils with specific barriers to learning that cannot be overcome through precision teaching and intervention groups.

Specified individual support – Education Health and Care Plan

This will usually be provided for via an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), formerly a statement of special educational needs. This means a pupil will have been identified by a teacher or SLA, with advice from the SENCo, as needing a particularly high level of support. Usually a pupil will also need specialist support in the academy from a professional outside the academy. This may be from:

  • Walsall Children’s Services central services such as SPLD or Sensory Service (for students with a hearing or visual need)
  • outside agencies such as the Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) Service, the NHS or social care.

For your child this would mean:

  • the academy (or you) can request that Walsall Children’s Services carry out a statutory assessment of a pupils needs. This is a legal process which sets out the type of support that will be provided for a pupil.after the academy has sent in the request to Walsall Children’s Services (with a lot of information about the pupil, including some from you), they will decide whether they think a pupil’s needs (as described in the application provided), seem complex enough to need a statutory assessment. If this is the case, they will ask you and all professionals involved with the pupil to write a report outlining the pupil’s needs. If they do not think the pupil needs this, they will ask the academy to continue with enhanced support.
  • After the reports have all been sent to Walsall Children’s Services, they will decide if the pupil’s needs are severe, complex and lifelong and that they need more targeted resources. If this is the case they will write an EHC plan. If this is not the case, they will ask the academy to continue with the support at Academy support and also set up a meeting in the Academy to ensure a plan is in place to ensure your child makes as much progress as possible.
  • The EHC plan will outline the type of support the pupil will receive, whose responsibility it will be to deliver that support, the cost of that support, how the support should be used and what strategies must be put in place. It will also have the pupil’s views and opinions fully included.
  • Additional adults may be used to support the pupil with whole class learning, run individual programmes or run small groups including your child.

This type of support is available for children whose learning needs are:

  • severe, complex and lifelong.
  • significantly over and above those the school normally offers pupils.
  • The budget, received from the academy education grant, includes resources for supporting children with SEND.
  • The Principal decides on the budget for SEND in consultation with the academy governors, on the basis of needs in the academy.
  • The Principal and the governing body discuss all the information they have about SEND in the school, including:
    • the pupils getting extra support already
    • the pupils needing extra support
    • the pupils who have been identified as not making as much progress as would be expected and decide what resources/training and support is needed.

All resources/training and support are reviewed regularly and changes made as needed.

  • Learning mentors
  • The Success Centre
  • Educational Psychology Service staff
  • Sensory Service for children with visual or hearing needs
  • Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) (provided by the NHS but funded by Walsall Children’s Services)
  • Academy first aiders
  • Additional Resourced Provision (ARP) for Dyslexia, funded by Walsall Children’s Services but delivered in the academy.

Dyslexia Support (Additionally Resourced Provision for Dyslexic Students)
Provision Manager: Miss. Laura Holmes
Teaching Assistants: Mr. Paul Lawrence, Mrs. Lynne Baines, Mrs. Heather Brown.

Shire Oak Academy is an additionally resourced base catering for students with dyslexia. Places are accessed through a separate process, managed by Walsall Children’s Services, where criteria must be met.

Dyslexia support employs a specialist teacher and three specialist teaching assistants. Each September two students are admitted, in addition to our intake of 238 students. They are fully integrated into the mainstream school, but are withdrawn for individual lessons where they will receive one-to-one or small group work. They will also have specialised support on a flexible basis in lessons.

The dyslexia provision and learning support department work with the rest of the academy to promote teaching strategies that work with students with learning difficulties.

Who provides support in the academy for improving emotional and social development, including arrangements for looked after children?

External agency support via Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Targeted Youth Support (TYS), T3 (drugs and alcohol misuse service), Young Persons’ Health Advisor (YPHA).

Within the academy via:

  • Success Centre providing a full social and emotional aspects of learning (SEAL) programme
  • Learning mentors
  • Referral unit
  • Full time pupil counsellor
  • Non-teaching year group assistants

All of these provide support for improving social and emotional development alongside scheduled SEN/Pastoral meetings identify areas of need.

Bespoke after school clubs with full additional adult support. At present, these are:

  • Gardening club
  • Cookery club
  • Food Hygiene courses
  • Bike Project
  • Alternative placements for some pupils as advised by child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

From September 2014 a Teens and Tots and a craft club will also commence

Whole academy initiatives to prevent bullying:

  • Academy councils had this as a focus throughout 2013
  • Achieved bronze anti-bullying standard
  • Member of staff currently working towards advanced award for dealing with bullying
  • JLT trained in peer support and this will be rolled out soon.
  • ‘Sharp’ email system
  • Clear anti-bullying policy reviewed annually with input from pupils and parents.
  • Whole school participation in anti-bullying month

Looked after children have regular monitoring meetings with non-teaching assistants who attend their personal education plan reviews.

  • The lower levels of North, South and Mercia building are accessible to pupils with physical disability.  The sixth form study blocks are fully accessible for pupils with physical difficulties.
  • We ensure that equipment used is accessible to all pupils regardless of their needs.
  • After school provision is accessible to all pupils including those with SEND.
  • Extra-curricular activities are accessible for pupils with SEND.

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

  • When a SEND pupil is moving from a primary school to our academy:
  • We will contact the primary school SENCo and arrange a visit to observe a pupil at work and talk to teachers and additional support about them.
  • We will arrange opportunities for SEND pupils to attend the academy to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings, meet staff and existing pupils.
  • We will ensure that we receive all up to date records.
  • We will ask the primary school to complete a pupil passport with the pupil in order for us to prepare for reception from primary school.
  • When moving between key stages in the academy:
  • All SEND pupils will have their progress constantly reviewed. Moving between Key stage 3 and 4 is a key transition time in a pupil’s career. Our transition reviews are person centred placing the pupil at the centre of the decision making process about their key stage 4 programme.
  • Moving into Key Stage 4 a key focus of our work with SEND pupils will be preparation for adulthood.  We will work to develop high aspirations in young people around employability, independent living and participation in the local community. Here we have specifically built programmes in conjunction with the Princes Trust to deliver such outcomes.
  • In Year 11:
  • All SEND pupils will receive targeted support for further education/employment. Academy careers advisers will work with pupils to identify their most appropriate career pathway and how their aspirations can be achieved.
  • Where possible we will arrange for a pupil to visit their new education or employment setting to support them in making informed choices about their next steps and a successful transition into early adulthood.
  • Class teachers plan their lessons according to the specific needs of all groups of children in their class, and will ensure that all pupils’ needs are met.
  • SLA’s support teachers to plan to ensure the needs of SEND pupils are met.
  • Specific resources and strategies will be used to support SEND pupils individually and in groups.
  • Planning and teaching will be adapted on a daily basis if needed to meet SEND pupils learning needs.
  • The SENCo’s and SLA’s role is to support the teaching staff in planning for children with SEND.
  • The academy has a training plan for all staff to improve the teaching and learning of children including those with SEND. This includes whole academy training on SEND issues.
  • Individual teachers and support staff attend training courses run by outside agencies that are relevant to the needs of specific children in their class.
  • We have a number of staff with expertise in a range of SEN including Dyslexia, Autism, Visual and Hearing Impairment, Speech and Language, ADHD, ODD, SEMH, bereavement and counselling. We also have a number of staff use their expertise to deliver ongoing training to staff to develop their working practice with SEN pupils.

At our academy we really want to work in partnership with parents and carers to help us do our very best for the pupils we serve.

As Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) and SEN Team at Shire Oak Academy, we will do our very best to:

  • Ensure that you are informed if your child is newly identified as needing additional help and support with their learning.
  • Ensure that I and my team are as accessible to parents and carers as possible (although we may not always be immediately available.)
  • Listen to parents and carers and use your information to help us plan support for your child.
  • Give parents and carers the opportunity to be aware of what you can do at home with your child to support learning strategies used in the academy and help to be consistent.
  • Try to organise meetings at a time to suit everyone who is coming including parents/carers and agree to carry out the actions of the meeting  (or let everyone know why we can’t)
  • Read any reports about your child sent to the academy by professionals or other services, share them with other staff as appropriate and act on them as soon as possible after I receive them.
  • Ensure that your child’s identified individual learning needs are met with appropriate support – regardless of whether they have a diagnosis of a particular condition.
  • Give parents the opportunity to be involved in planning support and in reviewing your child’s progress towards the targets in their support plan.
  • Inform teaching staff and others working with your child (for example lunch staff) of your child’s general special needs, any special support that is needed and what works for them.
  • Work with parents and others involved to carefully plan your child’s move into the academy (or from the academy) according to their individual needs.

As a parent/carer, it would be helpful if you would keep in touch and:

  • Let the academy know if anything has happened that is likely to upset or affect your child in the academy.
  • Ensure that we have your correct contact details.
  • Tell us if your child’s special needs have changed in any way or if you receive a professional report that may help us in planning to meet your child’s needs in the academy.
  • Let us know if you have any concerns or worries so that we can sort these out together.
  • If you want to meet SEN staff, then please if possible make an appointment in advance, unless it’s urgent. This allows us time to gather the necessary information and staff we may need for a meeting to respond fully to any queries you have.

The SEND Code of Practice (2014) provides post-16 pupils with the right to make sole decisions about their SEN and be consulted about their decisions although they can involve parents or others to support them make decisions.
At SOA young people are supported in making their decisions via person centred planning which take place at each school transition and termly review meetings.

As part of the SEND pupil transition programme detailed planning takes place between school, parents, pupils, young people and external agencies to secure all appropriate resources to enable the pupil/young person to fully access all areas of the curriculum and academy facilities.