Mark Hall Academy – SEND Information Report (Summary)

The full document can be found in the Virtual Office – Policies/Document Zone

Academy Transformation Trust’s Offer for Children with Special Educational Needs or Disability.

Click HERE to go to the Essex Local Offer page

Academy Transformation Trust Mission Statement:

The Trust is committed to providing excellence for all students and supporting every child within our academies to achieve. As a Trust we make every effort to be a truly inclusive organisation. We welcome everybody into our Academy community and aim to support every child to reach their full potential.

We believe that:

  • all children deserve a first class education
  • all schools can be transformed to being judged as outstanding
  • all students can and should leave education well prepared for their life ahead academically, personally, emotionally and professionally
  • all of our staff feel valued and supported in reaching their full professional potential

The Academy recognises that a child or young person has SEND if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them and, as defined in Code of Practice 2015.The SEND Code of Practice 2015 (COP) provides statutory guidance on duties, policies and procedures relating to Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014; which came into force in September 2014 and was last revised in January 2015.

A young person has a learning difficulty or disability if they:

  • Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age; or
  • Have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.

The Academy makes provision in accordance with the Code of Practice 2015 and the associated regulations. Our SEN policy and our practice aim to reflect these principles.

Special Educational Needs or disability is identified in terms of learning, communication, interaction, and emotional health, physical and sensory needs. The identification of SEND should be built into the overall approach to monitoring the progress and development of all students. The Academy believes that each child and their parents have a right to be involved in making decisions and exercising choices. The Academy is committed to working in partnership with the child, parents, carers and outside agencies to identify needs, provide support for them and monitor the progress of all students.  

The Trust’s objectives for SEND provision in all our academies is:

  • To ensure students have access to a broad and balanced curriculum.
  • To provide a differentiated curriculum appropriate to the child’s needs and ability.
  • To ensure the identification of all students requiring SEND provision as soon as possible.
  • To ensure SEND students take as full a part in the life of the academy as possible.
  • To ensure parents are kept fully informed of their child’s progress and attainment.
  • To ensure that SEND students are involved in making decisions affecting their future SEND provision.
  • To liaise with specialists and other agencies to access specialist support for students and parents.

Mark Hall Academy

 SEND Information Report

What kinds of Special Educational Needs are provided for?

Students may be identified as having a Special Educational Need (SEN) at any stage of their education. This may be a long term difficulty requiring continuous support or a short term issue which requires a specific intervention. The SEN Code of Practice 2015 identifies four broad areas of SEN:

  • Communication and Interaction, including Autistic Spectrum Disorders
  • Cognition and Learning, including dyslexia, moderate learning difficulties and dyscalculia
  • Social, Mental and Emotional Health, including behavioural difficulties.
  • Sensory and/or Physical, including hearing impairment, visual impairment and cerebral palsy.

How do we identify and assess children with SEN?

Assessment for any of these areas will take place through a variety of sources and may include:

  • Information upon transition from a previous school including SATs results at Key Stage 2
  • Results from reading and spelling tests upon entry
  • Results from CAT testing
  • Feedback from outside agencies, such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Child Development Centre, Pediatrician etc.
  • Feedback from the Academy staff
  • Concerns from a parent/carer

Low reading age results or low test scores do not necessarily mean that your child has a SEN, however if they are not making the expected progress across a range of subjects, we will need to consider the reasons behind this.

Once a range of assessments have been completed, the SENCO may decide that your child requires SEN Support. If he or she continues to have difficulties making progress, it may be decided to apply for an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) through the Local Authority. EHCPs replaced the previous system of statements and cover the age range 0-25 years.

What are the arrangements for consulting with parents/carers of children with SEN and involving them in their child’s education?

The views and feedback of parents and carers are vital to the progress of students with SEN. The following arrangements are in place for parent/carer consultation:

  • Termly review of the individual Learning Plan
  • Parents’ evening consultations
  • Opportunity to join the Academy’s Parent Council
  • Statutory Annual Reviews
  • Response to requests from parents/carers for additional individual meetings
  • Direct email and telephone access to the SENCO
  • Attendance at professionals or multi agency meetings
  • Contribution to parent surveys

The new Code of Practice has a strong emphasis on joint planning with the school, the parent/carer and the student. We will employ the process of ‘Assess, Plan, Do and Review’ for all students with SEN and ensure that the ‘Structured Conversation’ approach is used in all discussions.

What support is available for students with SEN?

The SENCO oversees the support available to all students who may require additional SEN support.

The subject teacher is responsible for planning and differentiating the work for each lesson to ensure that every child makes progress. Most students should be able to make good progress through Quality First Teaching, however if your child is assessed as having SEN, Mark Hall Academy will ensure that a range of support is put in place, matched with need. This could include the following which cover the four broad areas of need as outlined in the Code of Practice:

  • Accelerated Reader
  • Fresh start (phonics based programme)
  • Precision Monitoring
  • Reciprocal Teaching
  • Mathematics intervention groups
  • Paired reading
  • In class support of a teaching assistant who will support in the delivery of differentiated work
  • Access to the Learning Hub, for social, mental and emotional support
  • Social skills groups – anger management, assertiveness, friendship issues etc.
  • Homework Club
  • 1:1 mentoring
  • Access to Counselling services
  • Access arrangements for exams
  • Support from Specialist Teacher team
  • Support from Occupational Therapist
  • Educational Psychologist

How will the curriculum be matched to individual needs?

Upon entry into Mark Hall Academy, students are grouped according to their ability, based on our GL Assessments, CATS testing and Key stage 2 results. This ensures that teaching groups are similar in ability. There is flexibility to move within these groups based on progress results.

This approach ensures that additional support is targeted and, in addition, the groups will usually be smaller in number.

Students with more complex needs will have a personalised programme developed, which may include off site provision at Key Stage 4. Students’ strengths and abilities are taken into account when planning these programmes. Alternative courses are available for those students who may not be able to access the full range of GCSEs.

The SENCO works in close collaboration with the Heads of Faculty to ensure that schemes of work are appropriately catering for those students who have SEN.

Progress is analysed each half term and, as a result, the curriculum can be adapted to meet individual needs. Where skills gaps are identified, teachers can then put in place interventions.

How will parents and carers be informed about their child’s progress?

  • Parents and carers will receive data on their child’s progress in each subject on a half termly basis. This includes attitude to learning assessments.
  • The SENCO will liaise with the parents and carers of all students with SEN after each data drop where there are concerns and keep them informed of any additional strategies.
  • Individual Learning Plan meetings for all students on the SEN register will take place during the academic year. At these meetings your child’s progress will be discussed and achievements highlighted. This will be the forum in which to raise any concerns you may have.
  • Parent consultation evenings will give you the opportunity to discuss the progress of your child with subject teachers and the SENCO.
  • The Academy is part of the Achievement for All programme and you may be involved in ‘Structured Conversation’ meetings with key staff.
  • Annual Reviews of Education Health and Care plans will take place throughout the year, focusing on the long term targets and progress made against them.

In what ways is teaching adapted to meet the individual needs of students?

All teachers are responsible for the progress of all students with SEN in their teaching groups. The following strategies can be used in order to meet individual needs in the classroom:

  • Advice from the SENCO regarding specific individual needs
  • Observations and assessments of students to inform planning
  • Differentiation by the classroom teacher and the teaching assistant
  • Use of ICT
  • Use of writing frames to support understanding
  • Use of scaffolding to support understanding
  • Effective use of teaching assistants in the classroom
  • Visual aids to support learning
  • Use of key word banks to develop a wider subject vocabulary


What is the expertise and training of staff who support students with SEN?

Mark Hall Academy places SEN at the heart of its training programme. Staff briefings are used to inform staff of key themes relating to SEN, and to share case studies of individual students and their needs.

Whole staff briefings take place on the requirements of the Code of Practice 2015 so that staff are updated and strategies shared to promote progress and effective support.

We work closely with the Educational Psychologist and other professionals who provides on- going training to key staff which is based on the identified needs of the students.

A fortnightly forum, where priority students are discussed in depth, supports staff in ensuring a range of appropriate strategies are in place.

Heads of Faculty have SEN as a standing item on their meeting agenda and this allows for on- going continuous professional development.

All staff have an SEN target as part of their performance management cycle

The SENCO is part of the Academy Senior Management team and is therefore able to prioritise the training needs of staff.

What support is there for improving the emotional, social and mental development of students?

Students with emotional, social and mental difficulties can face a challenging time in school. We have a range of specialist support to ensure that students have a positive experience and thrive in school.

  • An experienced and dedicated pastoral team
  • The Learning Hub provision where students can access small group support, anger management, social skills and outside agency intervention
  • A fortnightly forum to discuss key students who may be displaying a range of behaviours which are a barrier to their learning
  • Access to a comprehensive Personal, Social and Health Education curriculum
  • Achievement for All programme
  • Access to a personalised learning programme at Key Stage 4, where appropriate
  • 1:1 mentoring
  • Access to an Educational Psychologist
  • Allocated school nurse
  • Young Concern Trust and Relate counselling services
  • Young Carers support
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health service

What are the Transition arrangements for students with SEN?

Key Stage 2 – Key Stage 3

  • Close liaison with our feeder Primary schools where key information is gathered
  • The SENCO, Heads of Houses and Guidance Managers work closely to ensure students with SEN are fully prepared for the transition
  • Summer Transition Academy, just prior to the start of year 7, provides a strong transition
  • Additional visits on an individual basis are arranged for students with a high level of need

Key Stage 3 – Key Stage 4

  • Intensive support with option choices based on accessing a relevant curriculum
  • 1:1 mentoring
  • Additional parent/carer meetings to discuss choices for students with SEN
  • Annual Review planning, which includes outside agencies, to support choices for students with statements
  • Early discussions with key staff at year 9 regarding career choices and future plans

Key Stage 4 – post 16

  • Individual meetings with students and parents/carers to discuss course options
  • Individual interview with the Transitions Pathways service
  • Multi agency planning meetings through the annual review to plan for college placement or apprenticeships
  • Individual visits to Harlow College
  • Support with CV writing and application forms

Who do parents contact for further information (SENCO, Link Governor)

The Children and Families Act 2014 requires all Local Authorities to publish and keep under review information about services they expect to be available for children and young people with SEN aged 0-25. This is known as the Local Offer and can be found at

Key Members of staff to contact:

SENCO – Vacancy

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Person – Zara Tippey

Link Governor for SEND – Victoria Barnett

Academy Transformation Trust SEND Lead 

Heads of Houses

Administrative Support for SENCO – Stephanie Thurstan-McGowan

Local Offer

Click HERE to go to the Essex Local Offer page

Useful telephone numbers and contacts

Local Office – Special Educational Needs and Children with Additional Needs (SENCAN) 01279 – 781550

Parent Partnership – 01245 436036

Educational Psychologist Helpline – 01245 433293 (Mondays 1 – 5pm)

Family Operations (Previously Social Care) – 0345 6037627

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service – 033301 34209.

Child Development Centre –  01279 342161

Council for Disabled Children –

Preparing for Adulthood –

Families Acting For Children (FACE)