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SEND Information Report

SEND Report - Reviewed and updated September 2023.

Our SEN Information Report will be updated annually to reflect plans within Willoughby Academy. This report states the current provision within Willoughby. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 require the academy to publish certain information regarding our provision for all pupils with SEN. We hope parents of current and prospective pupils find the following information helpful and we encourage all interested parties to contact the school for more information.

What kind of special Educational needs does Willoughby make provision for?

Willoughby is a 2-19 special academy for pupils with moderate, severe and profound learning difficulties. We are part of the Priory Federation of Academies Trust and are situated in Bourne, South Lincolnshire. All pupils who attend Willoughby have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). The school currently caters for 141 pupils and has a strong reputation in the county. We pride ourselves on our commitment to the development, achievement and well-being of the whole school community and the support we provide for parents and their children. 

Our ethos is simple – for each child to achieve. 

The aims of willoughby academy

All children and young people are entitled to an education that enables them to make progress so that they achieve their best, become confident individuals living fulfilling lives and make a successful transition into adulthood. We realise that being supported towards greater independence and employability would be life transforming and at Willoughby this support starts early, centring on the aspirations, interests and needs of the young person. With high aspirations, and the right support, we believe that young people can go on to achieve successful long-term outcomes in adult life. Therefore, we work with other partners to help our young people to realise their ambitions in relation to: 

Participating in society, having friends and/or supportive relationships, and participating in,      and contributing to, the local community.

Developing independence and life skills.

Employability – this includes exploring work experience, work related learning, enterprise education, and/or different employment options.

Being as healthy as possible in life and having good emotional well-being.

The highest level of communication.

Willoughby is committed to safeguarding and equal opportunities and our ethos promotes all staff, pupils, parents/carers, visitors and volunteers to share this commitment. This commitment includes policies and procedures for safeguarding all pupils with respect to Children Missing from Education, Child Sexual Exploitation, the Prevent Duty agenda, E-Safety, Female Genital Mutilation and Equal Opportunities. Willoughby is committed to the promotion of Social, Emotional, Spiritual & Cultural and Fundamental British Values.

What specialist facilities does your school have?

The academy has been specifically designed around meeting the needs of children with severe and profound learning difficulties. Willoughby has recently benefited from Lincolnshire’s £50 million capital investment plan to boost special needs teaching and in September 2021 were proud to open a new build which has enhanced and expanded our previous provision. The academy is decorated to ensure that young people with visual difficulties and those with sensory issues have the best opportunity to learn and concentrate in a safe environment. Specialised space for interventions exist in the form of a sensory room, sensory integration suite, hot spa and 4D Immersive Space. The academy also benefits from withdrawal rooms and flexible spaces in classrooms as well as an extensive outdoor area which includes an on-site Forest School. Any specialist equipment required is ordered, by the school, as recommended by health professionals/specialist professionals, in line with individual pupil requirements.

what is your approach to teaching pupils with sen?

Willoughby currently caters for 141 pupils. The current age range spans from 3 - 19 years. We are committed to providing our learners with an outstanding educational experience by creating a well-organised learning environment that is challenging, fun, stimulating and based on preparing young people for adulthood. At Willoughby, we value a climate that fosters the best outcomes for all pupils and take pride in establishing and maintaining excellent relationships between all stakeholders. The academy has a clear focus on the continuous improvement of the quality of provision, teaching & learning and outcomes for pupils, as per whole school observations and ongoing self-evaluations. 

We provide high quality resources. These may include signs and symbols and bright and colourful resources such as Colourful Semantics (reading) and Numicon (maths). Teachers break instructions down to ensure they are understood and opportunities to reinforce learning are provided for all learners. Computing and IT equipment are used to support learning for all young people (Communicate in Print, Symwriter, Clicker, iPads). In addition to this differentiation, some pupils are provided with adapted equipment. 

There are currently 16 classes across the school age range. Class sizes are small to ensure enhanced learning opportunities. Class sizes currently range from 7 to 15 pupils. Classes are led by a class teacher and supported by teaching assistants. Pupils follow a curriculum that meets their individual needs. For some, this may mean following a highly modified and creative pre-formal, formal, semi-formal or informal curriculum with additional sensory regulation opportunities in order to develop skills.

How do you adapt the curriculum and learning environment?

We adapt resources, environments and learning programmes to suit individual pupils. Some classes have sensory activities (including movement breaks) and resources readily available whilst other environments are set up with more sophisticated subject specific learning walls and displays. Staff are trained in a range of teaching approaches. All classes have high quality IT resources such as Interactive Whiteboards and iPads.

How do you assess and review pupil's progress towards their outcomes?

The progress of the majority of pupils is formally assessed and monitored using the Bsquared assessment tool and those following our pre-formal curriculum are assessed using MAPP and the Engagement Profile. Teachers monitor and review progress towards EHCP outcomes termly and in preparation for the annual review.

Individual progress is reviewed in pupil progress meetings alongside senior leaders. Next steps, interventions, targeted support and potential adaptations are discussed.

Intervention programmes are used as recommended by external professionals such as Speech and Language Therapists, Sensory Occupational Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Physio Therapists. We also have close links with the community paediatrician, social workers and CAMHs.

Progress is discussed with parents/carers at the annual review of the EHC Plan. Further opportunities are available through Parent evenings and formal end of year reporting. If parents/carers have concerns about the progress or attainment of their child, they should, in the first instance, speak to the class teacher to discuss their concerns. Teaching staff will then liaise with the Senior Leadership Team, as appropriate.

How do you support pupils with sen to improve their emotional and social development?

Supporting a pupil’s emotional health and wellbeing is very important at Willoughby.  We do this by providing a calm, well-organised and regulated learning environment, with clear routines and high expectations. Teaching matches pupils' needs and staff have a confident and caring attitude. Pupils are encouraged to contribute and develop their confidence through contextualised learning and practical experiences, leading and contributing to achievement assemblies and Student Council focused activities. Weekly lessons provide each pupil with regular opportunities to share their views in a supported environment. Topics such as ‘Anti-bullying’ and ‘Good to be me’ are covered in depth. PSHE (Personal Social and Health Education) is taught explicitly to support the social and emotional development of all young people. 

Extra pastoral support arrangements are in place for listening to the views of children and young people and supporting individual need. We have an ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) trained member of staff who works closely with pupils to support their emotional development. The academy has a dedicated sensory curriculum in place. Sensory needs are facilitated by the use of sensory circuits, sensory integration suite and specific individualised programmes. Pupils are provided with resources to support self-regulation. Staff work closely with other professionals to ensure the best possible outcomes for all pupils. Referrals to external agencies are arranged, as required. 

How do you evaluate your provision?

Willoughby ensures ongoing assessments of pupil progress and attainment in all learning areas. Following assessments, we plan, implement and review teaching programmes and interventions for pupils making below expected progress to ensure that the provision we have put in place is having the expected impact. 

The Priory Federation of Academies Trust are body are responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the provision in place.  The Willoughby Headteacher and Priory CEO meet regularly and discuss the progress of all pupils. The quality of teaching is closely monitored by the Senior Leadership Team through;

 regular observations of teaching and learning 

 monitoring of planning

 work scrutiny 

 learning walks 

 staff appraisals

 peer-to-peer observation

 training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Willoughby networks with comparable SEN schools across the wider area. The academy was inspected by OFTSED in 2016 and described as a ‘Good’ school. The OFSTED Report can be viewed on our website. We also participated in a pilot Ofsted inspection in 2019.

What expertise and training do you provide for your staff team?

At Willoughby we look at the whole child, planning realistic programmes to meet the social, spiritual, moral, cultural, physical, emotional and sensory needs of each pupil. These needs are most effectively met by pursuing a person-centred approach that is undertaken by a team of talented and experienced staff. Each member of staff makes a special contribution brought about by training, CPD and expertise, but all are united in the common pursuit in developing the best outcomes for all pupils, irrespective of their learning challenges.

All staff have clear job descriptions which detail the required qualifications for each post at Willoughby. All staff have a core training programme related to their work within the school and the school team (as a whole) work collaboratively to ensure pupils make progress and are safe at school. Additional CPD opportunities and qualifications are available and considered for all staff members via ongoing appraisals and performance management systems for example, the National Qualification of Senior and Middle Leaders (NPQSL/NPQML). 

Recent training has included:

  • Safeguarding Children and Young People and Child Protection in Education.
  • Bespoke Induction programme for new staff.
  • Identified medical training led by our community training team.
  • Identified training led by Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy.
  • Moving and Handling
  • Postural Management led by Occupational Therapy
  • First Aid
  • Training in administration of medication.
  • Makaton
  • PECs and PECS app
  • Attention Autism
  • Colourful Semantics
  • Read Write Inc
  • Read Write Inc Fresh Start
  • Reading Fluency
  • Zones of Regulation
  • Team Teach
  • Our ELSA has completed training in Lego Therapy, Theraplay, Drawing and Talking, Social Stories.

Please note these are examples and this is not an exhaustive list.

Teachers and teaching assistants ensure pupils are engaged in learning and generate high levels of commitment to learning across the school. This is evident with integrated sensory/ therapeutic interventions promoting independent and active learning.

The academy receives advice from a range of health professionals in order to meet the needs of the pupils as assessed by the appropriate professionals. We respond proactively and positively to changes in national and local legislation and supporting young people and their families/carers in preparation for adulthood. 

We are keen to take a leading role in new initiatives that will benefit the academy team and the wider community and are currently focussing on developing our Supported Employment Project. A careers programme has been developed in KS3-5 to provide access to work related learning and practical work experience opportunities.

How does willoughby consult with pupils at the school and involve them in their education?

Willoughby values and respects the views of all pupils. The academy promotes a range of alternative means of communication and for some pupils ensures that appropriate advocacy is in place. All pupils are treated with dignity and respect and, with support, are encouraged to reflect on their learning experiences and opportunities.

The 'Voice of Willoughby' are elected members of the school community and regularly meet to  contribute and decide on aspects of academy life relating to their needs. 

The assessment and annual review process of EHC Plans includes the choices and views of pupils to share aspirations and future life goals.


How does Willoughby engage and consult with parents and engage them in their child's education?

There are many ways in which we engage with parents and carers.

Examples include: 

 Initial visits to school

 Information on the School Website

 Introductory meetings 

 Daily Tapestry posts for information exchanges and key messages 

 Telephone conversations, emails (as appropriate) and letters home (e.g. Newsletters) 

 Termly curriculum newsletters

 Annual review meetings (EHC Plans and reports) 

 Review of Individual Health Care Plans and Behaviour Plans, as appropriate

 Parent Workshops 

 Parent Evenings

 Events, Celebrations, Assemblies and Achievement Awards 

 Parental representation on the Academy Governing Body 

 Parent involvement in changes in school through informal and formal consultations (SRE Curriculum)

 Parent questionnaires and consultations 

Please note these are examples and this is not an exhaustive list.

What are the arrangements made by the Governing Body at willoughby for dealing with complaints from parents and carers of pupils in relation to the provision made?

The Governing Body encourages parents/carers to resolve issues with the academy by contacting the appropriate member of staff or Senior Leadership Team in the first instance. If this is not possible, or the parent/carer is still dissatisfied, they should follow the process set out in the Trust’s Parental Communications and Complaints Policy.

HOw will the academy prepare and support my child when they join, between phases of education and in preparing for adulthood?

School organisation
The diversity of pupils at Willoughby has meant that class groupings are based on individual need, academic learning, social need and peer groups. Each year, staff very carefully review class organisation to ensure future groupings are well informed. Across each key stage, class sizes vary typically from six to twelve pupils. Each class has a class teacher, and a number of teaching assistants. Teachers ensure that parents are well informed regarding class organisation. 

The academy provides carefully planned and aided transition across classes and when moving on from the academy. All pupils benefit from extended internal transitions, and children new to the academy benefit from a detailed transition plan. In the case of preparation for next steps, the pupils leaving Willoughby will have spent increasing periods at their new placement e.g. college. We recognise that transitions can be a challenge for our pupils, and we take steps to ensure that every transition is as smooth and as positive an experience as possible. 

Moving classes
All transitions are well planned for throughout Willoughby as pupils move from class-to-class. Information is passed to the new class teacher in advance and planning meetings also take place. Where possible, your child will spend time in their new class before they move classes. 

Preparing for adulthood 
We realise that being supported towards greater independence and employability would be life-transforming and at Willoughby this support starts early, gradually increasing support for their transition from the academy to adult life. As young people prepare for adulthood, outcomes reflect their ambitions, which can include college placements, employment, independent living and participation in society. Pupils take part in their Annual Reviews where possible and families/carers input is recognised and applied however possible.


How can i access support for myself and my family?

Pupils join Willoughby from a large catchment area. This means that we currently work with three different local authorities, each of which service a different area and provide different services, known as the local offer. Parents are encouraged to use the websites below to explore what may be available to them. We are also very happy to answer any specific questions you may have or be able to signpost some of the options you may have.

SEND Local Offer – Lincolnshire County Council

Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum – SEN page

Department for Children, Schools and Families