Special Educational Needs

Read here to find out about how CAM supports its students with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator is Ms McManus and she can be contacted at the academy via enquiries@cam.coop or by phone 0161 795 3005.

At CAM we strive to ensure that every student feels happy, safe and secure and makes good progress. If a student doesn’t make expected progress we talk with the student and parent and review our practice. This may result in more differentiation (where the work is matched to the needs of the student) for the student in the classroom, in-class support or a specific intervention.

We have a dedicated team of Teaching Assistants which provides additional support to the students with SEN and disabilities.

We are aiming that each student with SEN and disabilities will have a key person who is the main link with their family. We will listen to the child’s and parent’s wishes when planning the support.

For more information on our SEND offer click on the links below

How will the academy support my child?

The CAM values of fairness, ambition and respect are embedded in the ethos of the Academy. We strive to ensure that students with SEN and disabilities (SEND) are able to access their entitlement to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum as part of the whole school community. Every pupil with a special educational need or a disability is valued and respected as equal members of the Academy. We seek to remove barriers to learning and to increase physical and curricular access for all while providing support for any student who requires additional or different provision to help them achieve their potential. The Academy supports all students with special educational needs or disabilities which may include one or more of the following needs:

  • Cognition and learning
  • Communication and interaction (this includes students with autism)
  • Social, mental and emotional health
  • Sensory and or physical

We are currently catering for students with a range of needs such as literacy and numeracy difficulties, autism, emotional needs, ADHD, dyslexic tendencies and hearing impairment. All staff have received training from specialists in supporting students with autism and we continue to improve our provision for students with autism and ADHD as we learn from the students, their parents and from specialist services.

Last academic year 142 students were on the SEND register which was 16.9% of the academy’s population (the average for Manchester was 15.1%). Students are only put on the register if their needs require something different or additional to the quality teaching taking place in the classroom. The register is reviewed during the year and students may be added or taken off if their needs can be met with the universal provision that exists for all students.

Students with SEND are educated, wherever possible, in an inclusive environment alongside their peers.

All the teachers are responsible for the progress of all the children in their lessons. They provide high quality learning experiences and take account of individual needs. All staff in the academy support the children to become independent learners by building up their resilience, sense of responsibility and resourcefulness.

If, despite good teaching and differentiation (where the work is matched to meet the student’s needs), a child is still not making expected progress then other interventions will be planned for. This may be in-class support from a Teaching Assistant or a well-proven intervention to meet the particular needs of the student. In this context an intervention is when a student is taken out of their usual class to work 1:1 or in a small group with a Teaching Assistant to accelerate improvement in a particular area eg to improve literacy or numeracy skills, to improve social or communication skills.

The Support from The SEND Team

The purpose of the SEND Team is to support the children with SEND to reach their potential by working collaboratively with teachers. All the teaching assistants in the department have opportunities to develop a specialism to help equip the team to meet a range of needs. The TAs are linked to different subjects. They provide in-class support and deliver a number of interventions to meet their individual needs. The SEND Team comprises:

Rosalind Paito  Lead for Inclusion, SENCo, Teacher, with the National Award in Special Educational Needs Co-ordination

Laura Marchant Inclusion Manager (Literacy), Vanessa Philpot  (Early Help Assessment Co-ordinator & Looked After Children Co-ordinator)

Teaching Assistants (with their specialist areas):

  • Saira Bashir (Learning Needs)
  • Gaynor Berry (Social-Emotional Needs)
  • Richard Burton (ADHD)
  • Hamish Campbell (Communication & Interaction Needs)
  • Eva Jo Hagarfi (Learning Needs)
  • John Jowett (Therapeutic Support Co-ordinator)
  • Amy Marshall-Sellars (Learning Needs)
  • Jill Moore (Learning Needs)
  • Thomas Murphy (Learning Needs)
  • Craig Philips (Learning Needs)
  • Sharon Ridley (Speech & Language Needs)
  • Ruth Rodgers (Dyslexia and Access Arrangements for exams)
  • Lynn Wrigley (Dyspraxia)

New! – Student Support Centre

Plans are underway to have a new Student Support Centre – a space to cater for the needs of vulnerable students and those with SEND who have in particular, social, emotional and mental health needs or communication and interaction needs (including students with autism). The Student Support Centre will include a Sensory Room which will be calm space for any student feeling anxious. There will also be a kitchen where students can learn cooking skills as part of a new Independent Living Skills course.

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How do we know if your child needs extra help?

During transition visits to the children’s primary schools in Y6 we gather information about the students’ learning needs. We hold three transition days for all the Y6 children due to come to CAM. On those days the children have a chance to experience typical lessons and to take part in team building activities. All the Y6 children take an online reading comprehension test and numeracy test which acts as a baseline measure, which together with their SATs results enables the teachers to match their work more precisely to individual needs whether the student has SEND or not. The assessments help to determine which students will benefit from literacy and/or numeracy interventions.

The Academy offers extra transition visits if any parent feels their child is particularly anxious and would benefit from more familiarisation with the school setting.

The progress of all students against their targets is checked at regular assessment points and this may lead to your child being identified for additional help. To help identify particular areas of need, the Academy uses a variety of additional assessment tools such as non-verbal screening tests (these test the ability to solve problems with visual clues) , a literacy screening programme to highlight specific reading difficulties, a strengths and difficulties questionnaire and the Vernon maths tests. Teachers seek advice from the SENCo and Inclusion Team staff throughout the year. Where there are particular concerns with a student’s progress, a parent may be asked for consent for an Educational Psychologist to carry out an assessment in order to look more deeply into the reasons for the student’s difficulties.

Parents are kept informed of the results of specialist assessments and of any particular intervention that may be offered.

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Who to speak to at the academy if you think your child might have special educational needs?

If you would like to talk about any special educational needs you think your child may have then please contact the SENCo:

Rosalind Paito  r.paito@cam.coop tel: 0161 795 3005

An appointment will then be made and any other relevant members of staff such as your child’s Head of Year will also be invited to attend if you wish.

The SENCo will be present at all the Parents’ Evenings and Open Days. 

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How we consult with young people with special educational needs and involve them in their education

All students with statements or Education Health Care (EHC) Plans are involved in agreeing their desired outcomes and in planning the provision to meet those outcomes. In any meeting to discuss a child’s progress or behaviour the child is invited to attend so their voice can be heard. TAs gather the views of students as they compile the Pupil Profiles. All students participate in a weekly survey to gather their views on a wide range of issues. 

This year, a group of students who all have ADHD have met several times to share their experiences of what it is like to have ADHD and have produced leaflets to share with staff on how they can help them in the classroom.

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How we help you to support your children’s learning

If you wish to request an Education Health Plan, the SENCo will guide you through the process. You will also have the opportunity to talk to the Educational Psychologist who will provide two reports as part of the assessment. You can seek independent advice from the SEND Information and Support Service (SENDIASS) ( 0161 209 8356 weekdays from 10am - 3pm or email: parents@manchester.gov.uk)

In some cases, the Local Authority will offer a Caseworker to give additional support.  

If your child already has an EHC Plan, you will be invited to a meeting every term to discuss their progress. Last year many students’ targets were amended to reflect their current needs. You can email or phone the SENCo at any time should you wish to discuss any concerns as they arise.

All parents of children receiving SEN support are involved in discussing the provision for their child and are kept updated on their progress. Students who have complex special needs or who are particularly vulnerable have a key member of staff who builds up a close relationship with the student, completes and updates their pupil profile and communicates regularly with parents.

“You've not

just shown support to my son who feels he can open up to you but you also keep me updated on any concerns or how he is doing.”

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How we know what progress your children are making and how we keep you and them informed

All the students have targets for each subject and they are regularly assessed to see if they are working on, below or above this target. The teachers track each student’s assessment results to check how many sublevels of progress they are making. If despite the teacher’s differentiation (matching the work to the student’s ability) the student is still not making expected progress then there will be further investigation to assess what the barriers to learning are. The student may then be given an intervention to address a particular need.
If a student receives a particular intervention outside the class, then baseline and exit data are used to judge progress and the impact of the intervention such as an improvement in reading ages or a softer measure such as increased confidence is used. Signs that a student’s confidence has improved might be that the student contributes more answers in lessons or is happy to be a lead learner. If a student has difficulty seeing situations from another person’s point of view, the intervention might focus on using different scenarios and seeing how the student over time learns how to respond more appropriately in different social situations. This might be measured using student and teacher feedback, or by a reduction in behavior logs.
All parents receive one interim report plus one full academic report a year indicating current levels and target levels. If your child has a statement or Education Health Care Plan then you will be invited to a review of your child’s progress every term. If your child is on the SEND register there will be a minimum of three opportunities a year to discuss your child’s progress. Parents can phone or email the SENCo to make an appointment whenever they have concerns.
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How we have supported young people with SEND and adapted teaching to best support them

Every student with SEND has their unique profile and needs. The provision is aimed to meet those individual needs where possible. The teachers are informed of the students’ needs and for many students with SEND the teachers’ quality teaching, modification of tasks (differentiation where the work is matched to the students’ abilities) and awareness of individual issues such as weak literacy skills or difficulty in following instructions is sufficient to allow the student to thrive in their lessons.

Some students have had support from a teaching assistant (TA) in many of their lessons. The TAs have all had training on questioning effectively to develop students’ thinking skills. They have worked with students to develop their resourcefulness, their responsibility and their resilience through modelling good practice and developing each student’s self-belief. Each TA has had two or three key students with whom they have compiled their student profiles that inform staff of their needs, strengths, likes and dislikes and what helps them. The TAs have had regular contact with the parents of their key students and have given updates on their progress and well-being.

A number of interventions have been provided to meet the range of needs of the SEND students as listed below:

For Cognition and Learning Need

Literacy and Numeracy Catch-Up, Guided Reading, Lexia, Think2Read (to develop students’ inferential skills). Specific literacy support to develop phonological skills with resources such as ‘Toe by Toe, and ‘Beat Dyslexia’ and spelling programmes.

Pupil Support Group for students with ADHD.

For Communication and Interaction Needs. 
Social stories, emotional literacy, tutor time preparation for day.

For Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs
Key adult, 1:1 support in tutor time, therapeutic creative play, social emotional aspects of learning, mentoring, counselling, art and drama therapy, raising self-esteem, CAMHS advice, behaviour management.

Sensory Needs                                                                                                 Training and support from Lancasterian Outreach and Inclusion Service. Advice disseminated to all staff.

Physical Needs 
Risk assessment to ensure a student with a physical need can access all parts of the Academy and use its facilities with ease, support in PE if required.

Dyspraxia : intervention to develop co-ordination skills, gross and fine motor skills.


External Support

Educational Psychologist

The academy has had regular support from an Educational Psychologist who has carried out many assessments that have helped pinpoint the difficulties students have. The assessment process involves observations of the student in class, discussions with parents and the Inclusion Team staff. The recommendations in the reports on strategies to support the students have been disseminated to all the staff and parents.

Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) Consultant

Referrals are made to our SpLD consultant when there are concerns about a student’s reading and writing skills. The consultant carries out a thorough assessment and gives recommendations of strategies for the student and staff to use. This year there have been 17 SpLD assessments and eight assessments that have shown students are eligible to have a reader, a scribe or extra time in exams.

Art/drama Therapist

Last year eight students received art or drama therapy to give them a confidential, creative medium in which to express their feelings.

“I now understand myself more by talking about my past and feelings, and how to express myself better, in ways I didn’t know would help me.”

Lancasterian Outreach and Inclusion Service (LOIS)

LOIS has provided the Academy with training and advice to all staff on ways to support our students who have hearing difficulties.

Work Experience

All the students in Y10 have been on work experience in places such as a solicitor’s, The Co-operative Trust, a hair salon and a Nursing Home. For the students with SEND special care is taken that the students are well prepared and know how to make their way to the placement. All the students received at least one visit from a member of staff to check how they were getting on.

Off-Site Alternative Provision

A few students with SEND who have struggled to cope with the learning environment in the Academy are being educated in alternative settings (registered by Ofsted) where they receive more individual attention to meet their needs. This provision includes Harpurhey Alternative Provision, The Lighthouse Group and Kickstart. Their academic progress and well-being is monitored by Dave Casey, the Off-Site Manager.

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How have decisions been made to adapt the curriculum or change the learning environment to best meet your children’s needs?

Whenever the Academy receives specialist advice from external agencies, or has an Education Health Care Plan, we do our best to make the recommended changes eg a student with handwriting difficulties has used a laptop in most lessons and received support to develop his handwriting skills. A student with a physical disability always has access to a lift should he require it. Some students with dyslexia use coloured overlays or a reading pen. A greater variety of courses have been offered this year to suit different abilities and interests such as maths IGCSE, photography, European Computer Driving Licence. Next year we hope to offer an even  wider choice of courses for our students such as qualifications in Life Skills and Employability Skills.

Support in exams

This year 22 students with SEND have been eligible for support in their exams so that they were not disadvantaged due to their particular need.

In total 55 students  received support in exams this year:

10 students had a reader; 16 had extra time; 2 had a scribe; 18 had supervised rest breaks; 8 had a prompter.

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How are staff in the academy supported to work with young people with special educational needs and what training do they receive?

At the beginning of every academic year, all staff are made aware of the needs of the students with EHC plans and other students with significant SEND needs. All new staff receive training on supporting students with a range of SEND needs. This is very personalised training, responding to teachers’ individual concerns over how they can adapt their teaching to meet their students’ needs. Teachers seek advice from specialists in the Inclusion Team on a regular basis. The current staff in the Inclusion Team have expertise in cognition and learning needs, communication and interaction needs, literacy difficulties including dyslexia and social, emotional needs.

The SENCo has the National Award for SEN Co-ordination.

The TAs have received a variety of training such as:

  • Support from The Co-operative Trust– SEND audit with recommendations to improve the SEND provision
  • Level 1 training on Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Practical Solutions for Dyslexia  (British Dyslexia Association)
  • E-Safety
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When we have needed expert advice and support how have we secured that and what services have they provided?

We have sought advice from the following external services

  • Social Services when there have been child protection concerns.
  • Early Help Hub when families have required multi-agency support
  • Eclypse to support students involved in substance misuse
  • The Academy Police Officer
  • Barnardo’s and Safe in the City to support students displaying risky behaviours.
  • Lancasterian Outreach and Inclusion Service for advice on supporting students with hearing difficulties and physical disabilities
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
  • School Nurse (Lisa Briggs) who has provided emotional support and a drop-in service for students. Lisa has also completed health assessments for Looked After Children and attended multi-agency meetings  to ensure the health needs of the students are met. 
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How we check how well we are doing in meeting the needs of students with SEND

There are a number of measures in place to monitor the progress of students with SEND. All students are assessed in each subject every half term and subject leads track this data closely so any underachievement is picked up quickly. There are also regular scrutinies of students' books and lesson observations which look at the engagement and progress of students. There is a quality assurance process for all departments carried out by the senior leadership team. There are regular drop-ins into classrooms to observe good practice which is shared with departments and following this the teachers are given advice on how to improve the provision for all students.

Interventions are regularly reviewed to see what impact they are having- if there is little or no progress, the student will stop the intervention and other types of support will be discussed.

There is report for governors every year. 

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How we ensure that your children are included in activities outside the classroom, including physical activities and academy trips

We strive to be a very inclusive academy. There are no restrictions to access around the academy. For further detail please refer to the accessibility plan. For children with physical disabilities a risk assessment is carried out to see if any adjustments need to be made. If needed, a child will be given a lift fob to use the lifts and will have extra support in practical subjects. Last year there were a number of trips open to all the students eg a trip to Blackpool, The Imperial War Museum North, geography field trips to the Lake District. Key adults were assigned to the more vulnerable students and individual risk assessments were made for students with physical disabilities.

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How we provide for your children’s overall wellbeing

At certain times, a child may need a particular adult in the academy to talk to. This may be one of their teachers, their Head of Year, or a TA. In some cases a child may wish to see the Academy Counsellor. The Inclusion Team have designed a ‘confidence scale’ to rate a student’s confidence with strategies on how raise confidence levels. Some students may be given a ‘time out pass’ which enables them to leave a classroom and go to an identified adult if they feel they are having difficulty coping in the classroom. All students can use ‘just ask’ where they can email a concern and receive advice. Students can also receive help through a peer mentoring scheme. Bullying is not tolerated in the academy and is dealt with promptly. This year some students have received art and drama therapy to give them a forum where they can express their feelings through creative activities. Next year we hope to commission a music therapist.

Children with medical conditions have a Care Plan drawn up by the parent, child, school nurse and the designated member of staff for Care Plans (Catherine Matthews). All medication is stored securely and administered appropriately. All staff are made aware of children’s medical conditions and if any trip is planned, there is always a risk assessment undertaken to ensure any child with a medical need can participate safely.

There are eight members of staffed trained as First Aiders.

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How accessible is our school both indoors and outdoors for young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (our accessibility plan/policy)?

The Co-operative Academy is a fully accessible building which can currently accommodate up to 1020 students at full capacity, and with its full complement of staff.

There is access for emergency service vehicles at the front of the building and a member of staff will always meet any requested emergency service at this point. There are accessible parking spaces for visitors and staff.

All doors throughout the Academy are wheelchair accessible and disabled toilets are available throughout the Academy.

The academy has a specialist SEN suite which is fully accessible for all disabilities. There are ‘sound boards’ throughout the Academy to reduce noise levels. A thorough risk assessment of the suitability of all the chairs and desks for a student with physical disabilities has been carried out, as well as a risk assessment for moving around outside the Academy.

We strive to make all our communication with parents/carers in clear, straightforward language. Whenever parents/carers request face-to-face meetings to discuss written communication this is always provided.

The information on our website is available in a range of languages through a google translation tool. We endeavour where possible to translate important letters into the necessary languages for parents whose first language is not English. We also ensure we have interpreters for some meetings where this is deemed necessary. 

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What are our admission arrangements for young people who are disabled and how do we prepare and support your children when joining the school and moving on from the school?

Admission arrangements

The academy works to the same policy as Manchester Admissions Policy.

Please refer to website http://www.manchester.gov.uk/admissions

If a parent of a child with SEN /disabilities chooses The Co-operative Academy of Manchester then special arrangements will be put in place. The parent and child will meet with the SENCo and Head of Year to discuss the child’s needs, any previous support the child has received and how the academy can support the child to realise their potential. The transition programme for Y6 children runs over three days and extra visits can be arranged.

Preparing for adulthood

In Year 10 all the students have a two week work experience. For students with SEND, the work placements are carefully chosen to ensure the student will cope and find it a rewarding experience. Extra visits are made so that the student can familiarise themselves with the work environment and know how to get there. In Year 11 students with SEND have the opportunity to have extra meetings with our Information and Guidance Officer to discuss the options open to them for the following years ahead. Students with statements/EHC plans have termly review meetings to discuss their aspirations and hopes for the future. The students are supported with their college applications and a range of colleges and apprenticeship providers attend an annual careers evening at the school. Particular care is taken to ensure our students with statements/EHC plans receive as much support as possible from our Information and Guidance Officer who contacts Rathbones (a youth charity which provides access to training and qualifications and other providers that offer young people supported apprenticeships and guidance with finding jobs.

 Where needed, students are supported in learning life skills such as handling money and using public transport. Our sixth form students are given a lot of guidance in choosing courses for university. On GCSE and GCE results day, staff are on hand to support students in contacting colleges and universities to discuss their grades and next steps.

The academy passes on all relevant information, such as assessments, to the student’s next place of study or work.

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Where can you find the academy’s SEND policy and who can you contact for further information?

The academy’s SEND Policy can be found on the academy’s website. For any further information on SEND issues please contact the SENCo, Rosalind Paito at r.paito@cam.coop.

For information about national and local services and organisations which can offer support to Manchester families go to http://manchester.fsd.org.uk.

There are also details of clubs, groups and activities especially for children and young people with disabilities and special educational needs. 

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What are our arrangements for handling complaints from parents of children with SEND about our provision?

If you have any worries or concerns, or you wish to make a complaint, then please contact the SENCo in the first instance.

Please refer to the academy’s complaints policy which can be found on the website, for further details.

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