As part of the Children and Families Bill 2014, all Local Authorities and schools have to make available to families details of how they can support children and young people with Special Educational Needs and / or Disability (SEND). This information is called the ‘Local Offer’.
The Local Offer is there to improve choice for families. It is an important resource for parents in understanding the range of services and provision in the local area. Central Bedfordshire’s Local Offer can be found by clicking the link below:
As part of this, every school has to share details of how individual needs are planned for and met in their setting. This is called the ‘SEN Information Report’. The following information will help parents and carers understand what support and provision they can expect to receive from The Academy of Central Bedfordshire.
1. What type of needs does The Academy of Central Bedfordshire cater for?
The Academy of Central Bedfordshire is an Alternative Provision Free School on two sites: one in Houghton Regis and the other in Stotfold. The school caters for up to 120 students.
It aims to meet the needs of students who are struggling to achieve in full time mainstream school by teaching core subjects alongside a practical (vocational) curriculum.
The term Alternative Provision is used for education that does not take place in a mainstream or special school. For some students, an education outside of a regular school may be the most appropriate option. This may be part of a strategy to improve motivation and interest in learning, to reduce the risk of exclusion, or for some students to provide a full time education when school-based learning is no longer an option.
We work closely with the middle, upper and secondary schools in Central Bedfordshire to provide a package of education to meet the individual needs of each student referred to us.
Where a student has specific learning needs identified as a part of their admission, The ACB will identify appropriate support and intervention to address the individual needs.
If The ACB is unable to adequately meet identified learning or behavioural needs the school will liaise with professionals for advice. Sometimes we may make a referral to services within the NHS or we may make a referral to the Educational Psychology Service and we might liaise with Central Bedfordshire SEND Team to consider next steps towards the student accessing a more appropriate educational provision.
For students with an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan), that attend The ACB short-term until a more suitable setting is identified, the school will represent education in reviewing the plans.
2. How would my child/young person get there as I don’t drive / I’m at work?
Students who live within a three mile radius would be expected to walk or cycle to school.
For students only on the ACB school roll, the local authority will transport your child to and from school each day if they live further than three miles away.
For students that are still on the roll of their mainstream school and attending ACB as part of an education package; your child’s mainstream school are responsible for arranging transport to and from The ACB.
3. How will the school prepare and support my child / young person to join the school?
Preparing for your child to join our school is very important to us. We understand that their previous school environment may have been challenging for them and that their enthusiasm for school may have been affected. We manage this by working hard to plan for your child, gathering lots of information to build up a picture of how your child would work best within our school. Our pre-admission process involves:
- Our school Admissions Coordinator contacting your child’s school and /or meeting with a member of staff who knows them well. Important information is gathered including strategies and support that have worked well. Academic information is shared and details of any extra support or interventions they have received and whether these have been effective.
- Our school Admissions Coordinator visits your child and yourself in your home. This is an informal meeting to put your child at ease in their own environment. It is an opportunity for your child to talk about what they like and dislike, what they feel they are good at and to discuss the school curriculum. It gives you both the chance to ask questions. At this point a date will be arranged for a tour of the school
- A tour of the school with Parents/ Carers / and a member of school staff. This is a short tour for you and your child to see our school and it’s superb vocational facilities and confirm their vocational subject choices.
- A timetable is put together and transport arranged. A phased integration is often planned to help support your child to have a gradual start. This means that their first one or two days at the school might be half days to give them a chance to settle in.
- A key worker is allocated to your child. This is a member of staff that we match to your child based on the information we have gathered. This person will work with your child regularly to develop a trusted relationship and contact you with updates on their progress and behaviour. They will usually meet your child at the beginning and end of every day. They will be your contact person at the school.
- The Inclusion Team collates the information gathered before your child starts and distributes it to all staff. This is used to plan your child’s lessons and time in school and to make sure your child’s needs are met.
- All staff meet at the start and end of each day to discuss all students and feedback on progress and well-being. New students are monitored by all staff.
We very much welcome calls and emails from parents and carers if there are any concerns or anything you feel we should know.
4. How does the school know if my child needs extra help and will the school share this information with me?
For part time students and students still on the roll of their mainstream school, your child is likely to have already had needs identified by their school. They will share this information with us prior to admission. We will make sure we meet these needs in our school by following any recommendations that we have received. We will monitor their progress and feed this back through contact with the key worker or subject teacher.
For students who are only on the roll of ACB, we will expect your child to complete a range of tests to identify the level they are working at and to give us a starting point to plan how they can move on. Some of these tests will be completed on the computer, others will be on paper. If we feel that these initial results indicate there may be an additional need, we will look into further assessment, intervention or external advice. We will contact you to discuss this.
5. How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s / young person’s needs?
The Academy of Central Bedfordshire provides personalised learning for all students. We are different because we offer a vocational curriculum with facilities that are rarely found in mainstream schools. Learning through practical, hands on skills is often more successful for young people that find a typical classroom environment a challenge. They can also start to appreciate how learning relates to life skills, employment and their future well being.
Students are taught in very small groups, typically with no more than six students, often with two members of staff. Some students work in smaller groups, and sometimes sessions offer one to one support. This ensures staff can provide work that is well planned and pitched at an appropriate level for your child. Staff are well trained in how to deliver high quality differentiated lessons (lessons matched to the child’s ability), using strategies that support all areas of need. They will use the information provided by everyone who knows your child well before they join The Academy of Central Bedfordshire to think about the way they learn best and how they can develop their enthusiasm and engagement for learning. As a staff team we will plan short term outcomes (goals) with you and your child and will help them to track their journey towards these.
We will discuss progress regularly, and at least three times a year when we meet with you at Parent Consultation Days.
6. What support will there be for my child’s/ young person’s overall well-being?
We pride ourselves as being student focused with our decision making and looking at your child as an individual. We hope to build positive relationships with your child, with them feeling that all staff are approachable and supportive. Often, there are many things that have led to mainstream school becoming a challenge and understanding this is important to us and to your child. Our aim is for your child to learn far more than just the curriculum, we hope to create opportunities to develop social and emotional skills, and improve their self-esteem through understanding and successful experiences.
The key worker and subject teachers will liaise with the SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) for advice and support where necessary. This may involve working with outside agencies such as NHS, CAMHs, CHUMS and in some instances, the Educational Psychologist.
Our Behaviour Policy will help support your child’s success during their time with us. This is followed by all staff. We have a positive approach to all types of behaviour. All staff receive up to date training in Team Teach, a positive handling approach focusing on a process of de-escalation.
Our Behaviour Policy is available on our website.
Positives are recognised through awarding points that students collect towards trips and experiences. During lessons praise slips are given for good or outstanding effort and can be exchanged for other privileges. Students track their daily progress on a visual behaviour pathway moving a day forward for each positive day in school and back where sanctions have been necessary. Once students reach their 20 day goal additional privileges are awarded.
Since spring 2016 we have been involved in a CAMHS pilot programme offering regular support from a professional mental health clinician in school. We were pleased to hear that the funding for this project has been secured for a further 5 years as part of the Futures in Mind Transformation Plan offering us continued access to this service as a long term support.
Our allocated clinician visits the school, offering a route to consultation for individuals that meet the criteria, as well as ongoing advice for staff on supporting aspects of mental health that impact progress and well being.
7. What if my child takes medication?
Students requiring medication during the school day will have this responsibility monitored by either their key worker or a named member of staff. Parents are responsible for ensuring supplies are in school and informing us of changes.
A medical care plan will be completed clearly showing the name of the medication and when it should be taken. Administration of any medicines are recorded and witnessed. Updates of conditions and amendments to medication are communicated through daily meetings and weekly staff training.
Where a student has an NHS Care Plan in place for a medical condition such as epilepsy or diabetes, we ask we have the most recent copy of this in school before your child attends on their first day.
8. What specialist services or expertise are available or accessed by the school?
We are fortunate to work closely with senior staff from Oak Bank School providing us with a wealth of experience in meeting the needs of students with specific barriers to their learning. This well-established special school has already been able to help us create experiences at The Academy of Central Bedfordshire based on successes at Oak Bank.
In addition we have a school nurse that runs a regular drop in session every week.
Our allocated CAMHS clinician visits the school regularly, offering specialist support for identified students in the form of consultation and where students are not already open to the service outside school, in-school assessment.
This service also provides ongoing staff training and advice.
The ACB also host monthly Team around the School meetings bringing together a multitude of services from education, health and care to discuss and advise on the most accurate support for individuals that need it.
All of our students are unique and we will actively seek support from any new service that we feel would support your child.
9. What training have the staff supporting young people with SEND had or what are they currently having?
We have a team of skilled and experienced staff who share the vision of providing outstanding provision to every student.
All staff are Team Teach trained. This is a positive handling approach to manage difficult or dangerous behaviour focusing on a process of de-escalation. Staff are trained to spot early warning signs and support students with overwhelming feelings to stay safe.
We also have some staff trained in TEACCH; an evidence based structured teaching approach for individuals of all ages and skill levels with Autistic Spectrum Conditions.
A member of the leadership team has training in Penn Resiliency, a programme to improve young people’s well-being by building resilience and promoting positive thinking.
Our on-site team also include staff that have the following accreditation and training:
- Advanced Senior Tutor of Team Teach
- Qualified Social Worker
- Certificate in Psychometric testing
- Nurture Provision Practitioner (Nurture Group Network)
- CAMH Protective Behaviours programme
- CHUMS Bereavement Counselling
- Learning Mentor
- Higher Level Teaching Assistant
- National Programme for Specialist Leadership in Behaviour and Attendance
- Tier 1 CAMHS training
- Youth Mental Health First Aid
- Teaching staff holding qualifications in Educational Studies, Special Education, Primary Education, Psychology and Personal Social and Health Education
As our curriculum for part time students is vocational, your child may not access timetabled intervention sessions, but areas of these programmes would be covered during key worker time. As learning is personalised and group sizes are small, strategies can be planned and implemented into classroom practice.
Training needs for staff are identified and relevant training is undertaken as necessary. The SENCo works closely with staff to ensure the needs of our students are clear and understood, and strategies are provided directly or from recommendations by external professionals. SEND training is delivered regularly through visits from professionals and services as well as in house training by the SENCo and other staff.
10. How will both you and I know how my child / young person is doing?
Your child’s teachers and support staff will monitor progress daily and feedback positive praise or concerns during our staff briefing at the end of each day. The key worker will contact you to share any important updates. We would ask positive phone calls home to be recognised and praised to support us to develop positive behaviour and enthusiasm for school.
You will also be contacted to notify you of any behaviours resulting in a sanction. We would ask for your support to acknowledge this with your child, and help us manage this by supporting our behaviour policy. This is available to view on our website.
We track behaviour using our school’s online system which helps us to measure your child’s progress over time.
All students will have their own school plan to help your child identify strengths, what they want to achieve and what we will do to help them to do so. At ACB we use a SEND Support Plan adapted from the one developed by Central Bedfordshire Council. Staff will work with your child to update their plan, recording information from your child, our staff and your own views. This will be shared.
Teacher’s carry out regular assessments within all subject areas including baseline assessments to enable them to accurately track the progress of all students and set realistic, yet challenging, targets for progression.
You will be invited to attend school at least three times per academic year to discuss your child’s progress (these occasions may include scheduled parent consultations).
You will receive three reports each academic year, two interim reports in December and April, as well as an end of year report in July.
11. How will I be able to contribute to my views?
From the very beginning you will be invited to be involved with your child’s education at The Academy of Central Bedfordshire.
You will have already met a member of staff during the home visit and will have been asked your views. You will be regularly contacted by your child’s key worker to update you on progress and you can use this contact to update us too. We may send home information throughout the year that asks for feedback. We would ask you complete this and return it to us, or alternatively discuss it with a member of staff over the phone who can record your thoughts.
You may be asked to come into school to discuss your child’s progress with a senior member of staff to ensure we are clear on your personal views, those of your child and of the school to help everyone work together effectively. You can also request an appointment at school by contacting the school office.
Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
12. How will my child / young person be able to contribute their own views?
We are particularly interested in why your child’s previous educational provision may not have been a positive and successful experience and hope your child will feel comfortable enough to explain how they feel about it.
We have a sound behaviour policy with clear rules and expectations. We value the views of our students and will help them to communicate these appropriately. Much of this work is supported through key worker time, where students can build trusted relationships and begin to feel comfortable enough to talk openly.
Students are invited to pass on their ideas, concerns and opinions about their day to day experience of the school through their ‘House Rep’ to the student council. The student council meets regularly with the Heads of House and outcomes and actions from the discussions are agreed and if necessary or appropriate members of the Senior Leadership Team will be approached to support or implement.
For full time students, our PSHE curriculum and targeted intervention sessions provide further opportunities to explore viewpoints relating to their education, well-being and long term aspirations.
We are developing SEND Support Plans for every student in order for your child to feel we are all working together towards their personal progress. Regular additions to this are supported through specific sessions with the key worker, sometimes through sessions with a Behaviour Support Worker and during parent consultation day. SEND Support Plans also include information on how your child feels about their progress and how they feel about their future.
Students can seek support from any member of staff with whom they feel most comfortable.
Please also see our Safeguarding Policy available on our website.
13. Who should I contact if I am concerned that my child may have a Special Education Need or Disability that has not been identified?
Where students attend a mainstream school as well as The Academy of Central Bedfordshire, you should contact the SENCo at their mainstream school to discuss your concerns. They may want to talk to us about this.
For students that solely attend The Academy of Central Bedfordshire please contact us with this information and we will try to support you with your concerns. We may advise that you arrange a GP appointment to discuss this further. We may carry out some initial screening tests to help plan intervention or to help us decide if we should make a referral to other professionals for more advice.
The named professional in our school for SEND is:
Mr Mark Norwood – Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo)
14. How will the school prepare and support my child / young person to transfer to a new setting, or to the next stage of education or life?
We are continuing to develop our transition arrangements to ensure students are able to move from The Academy of Central Bedfordshire confidently and with the appropriate skills they need to remain in their new setting and reach their full potential.
Our Inclusion Team will aim to work with the SENCo / Pastoral Team at a new school to make sure all information is given in good time. We will work with the new setting in line with their own transfer support programme to make sure your child has visited the school and met with staff.
As we work with so many different schools and education settings, these arrangements are personalised for your child. Some students may need more opportunities to work with new staff or familiarise themselves with a new environment.
We will share your child’s SEND Support Plan to share the journey they have been on with us when they are moving on to another school or educational setting.
Every student receives careers guidance to support them in identifying a post-16 transition plan. Students are supported in applying for post-16 destinations and in attending interviews. All students are tracked on leaving The ACB and further support is provided to students who do not achieve the required qualifications to access their desired education / training / employment.
Further support from external agencies, such as 4YP, is put in place where appropriate to aid Post-16 transfer as well as further support from these agencies if needed during the year following moving on from the ACB.
15. Who should I contact if I am considering whether The Academy of Central Bedfordshire is a suitable setting for my child / young person?
The Academy of Central Bedfordshire may have already been suggested to you as a suitable setting for your child. If you are aware that your child’s school has already made a referral to us for a place for your child you do not need to do anything. We will be in contact to arrange to meet with you. Please make sure the school has your up to date contact details.
If your child is currently not attending school due to a permanent exclusion and you live in Central Bedfordshire you do not need to do anything. We will have been notified of this and will contact you to arrange to meet with you.
If your child is struggling to manage at their full time mainstream school and their progress is being affected you should talk to your child’s school about whether to consider a part-time place for your child to follow a vocational pathway with us.
The Academy Of Central Bedfordshire,
Bedfordshire LU5 5PX
Tel: 01582 343878
The Academy of Central Bedfordshire
Bedfordshire SG5 4NE
Tel: 01462 410450