Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Green Spring Academy Shoreditch is a truly inclusive academy. Inclusion is our highest priority. The achievement of students with Special Educational Needs is outstanding and the personalised support we put in place for students means they are able to flourish as independent and confident learners. The base for our Special Educational Needs provision is a dedicated and well equipped suite of rooms. This area is home to the Learning Support Unit and Pastoral Support Centre. One of the most important aspects of provision is the in-class support given by our highly skilled and committed team of Teaching Assistants working across all curriculum areas. We also have a team of Learning Mentors who support students both in and out of the classroom. We recognise that, for students to succeed, curriculum access to all subject areas is essential. This can only be achieved where students can confidently read, understand and respond to the material being studied. At our academy, we are committed to improving literacy skills for all students. Our highly experienced Literacy Team constantly promote the importance of reading for pleasure and specifically targets those students for whom additional support is required. This is done through a variety of interventions including one-to-one and small group literacy interventions. Our aim is to ensure that poor literacy is never a barrier to achievement and we strive to enable all of our students to have regular access to a wide range of high quality literature.

Read our Vision and Ethos here.

Gifted and talented students

Gifted and talented students are stretched and challenged during lessons to ensure they achieve their full potential. There is also a wide variety of extra-curricular activities such as university visits, business mentoring and debating clubs which are aimed at raising student aspirations and adding extra elements of academic challenge to the curriculum.

The SEND Information report is part of the Tower Hamlets local offer which seeks to comprehensively signpost and support parents and carers in finding the right provision for their child.

You can click the button above to view and download the report.

Our Ofsted Report

Green Spring Academy Shoreditch is immensely proud to be considered ‘Outstanding’ in all four Ofsted categories. The inspection report comments that ‘students’ achievement in Key Stage 3 and 4 is remarkable’. It further states that ‘the standards they reach overall at the end of Year 11 are higher than those of other students in the country even though the majority start at the academy with attainment that is below the national average’. We are proud that report recognises the achievements of our students with SEN and/or disabilities; ‘disabled students and those with SEN do extremely well’. Our Ofsted report places Green Spring Academy Shoreditch amongst the very best academies and schools in the country but, like our students, we are continually striving to improve all we do.

Furthermore, we are extremely proud of our recent accreditation the Inclusion Quality Mark for outstanding inclusive practice. The Mark judges a variety of areas and involves a two full day assessment process that involves a range of academy staff, student, professionals and parents/carer. The report writes ‘Passionate, articulate, hardworking, engaged, analytical, purposeful, creative, inspirational and visionary are all adjectives that can be attributed to GSAS’. Click to see the IQM report

Your questions answered

Click on the questions below to find out more about our SEND Information report.

Is our school building accessible?

Green Spring Academy Shoreditch is an outstanding school. We pride ourselves on setting a rigorous programme of self evaluation and goal setting in order to ensure we never rest nor settle with second best. Our school has already undergone works to ensure we can accommodate a huge range of students who may have varying needs in relation to accessibility. The building design and layout of the academy is spacious, light and airy. The site has full disabled access and three lifts provide access to all teaching areas above ground floor level. There are four toilets that are accessible to wheelchair users. Changing rooms and showers are also accessible for wheel chair users.). The Inclusion Department has a dedicated suite of rooms located on one corridor on the ground floor; the area also has a disabled toilet.

However, our diligent and inclusive student council have undertaken an audit of the academy in order to draw up an action plan with the support of people with a range of disabilities. The plan will form the basis of our next steps in ensuring we can meet all accessibility needs.

What about if my child has a medical need?

If a student is deemed to have a short term or long term medical condition, the academy will ensure that arrangements are in place to support them. In doing so, we will ensure that the student can access and enjoy the same opportunities at school as any other student. The academy, health professionals, parents and carers and other support services will work together to ensure that a student with a medical condition receives a full education.

How do we decide if a student has special educational needs?

Despite high quality teaching some students find it hard to make expected progress which may be because of a special educational need. Most students who arrive at the academy in Year 7 have already had any SEN identified previously. This allows the Academy to immediately begin to monitor and review these students.
However, at times students might have an unidentified need hence we have a variety of whole school structures that check how students are doing and whether there is any further support they need:
1. All students take a Cognitive Ability Test (CAT) when they arrive at the Academy whether prior to joining in Year 7 or before they make the transition from another school. This gives an initial indication as to whether they might have difficulties with verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, quantitative???
2. All students take a reading age test to indicate any difficulties in this area.
3. Every term teaching staff enter student attainment results onto a school wide database. This is analysed to determine whether students are on target. The Inclusion and Pastoral Team use this information to check for any concerns.
4. The SEN referral form allows staff to formally raise concerns about a student to the Inclusion department. This is followed up by observation and student-parent meetings where relevant.
5. We use a handwriting screening tool to check for any concerns with motor control.
6. Our Speech and Language Therapist uses the CAT data and a screening tool to check for difficulties with communication.
5. Our Educational Psychologist, Henryk Holowenko, is able to conduct specialist assessments to determine if a student has a particular difficulty with literacy, numeracy, memory, functioning skills or emotional needs.
6. We might make a referral to a specialist such as the Occupational Therapy team, the ASDAS team, the CAMHS service, the SLS or any other relevant professional body.
7. We talk and work with you. Our parents and carers hold the most powerful insight and key into their son/daughter hence we ensure you feel empowered to support us in identifying any needs or concerns that might be impacting on your child’s progress.

How do we use specialist intervention to support our students?

Green Spring Academy Shoreditch does not have a set list of specialists, our provision is driven by the needs of our students and the list of services is as exhaustive as the needs of our students. The list below should give you a flavour of some services and people we have worked with over the past year;

  • Speech and Language Therapist: an independent therapist who works with the staff team and students in improving provision and access to specialist input in this area. Interventions are particular to individuals/cohorts of students but include; language acquisition, social skills….
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Heath Team (CAMHS)
  • Educational Psychology Service: a specialist service that assesses student needs and provides specialist guidance and recommendations for students, the school and their families.
  • The Tower Hamlets Support for Learning Service (SLS): a range of services who offer advice and guidance on a range of needs including specific learning difficulties, physical disabilities, communication needs and many more.
  • Counselling Service: independent professionals that offer sessions on emotional wellbeing and management including anger management.
  • GAP Mentoring: an external mentoring service for more intensive student support.
  • That Reading Thing: a personalised and kinaesthetic programme for students who struggle with literacy
  • The Phoenix Outreach Service: a service that provides specialist guidance on Autism.

More information about many of these services can be located on the Tower Hamlets Local Offer website

How do we check that our students are making progress?

All students are regularly assessed in class and our Data Entry points are the a culmination of each terms data gathering. This is intensively monitored at all levels of the academy by teaching staff, Heads of Departments, the Senior Leadership Team and Governors to ensure all students are on track to make progress. The Academy sets ambitions targets for all learners and aim for all to make 4 levels of progress rather than the national expectation of three levels.
Where we have a concern we work on an ‘assess, plan, do, review’ model in line with the Code of Practice that incorporates extra academy based and/or specialist intervention and parent liaison to get students back on track.
Some students are supported by Key Pupil Update Reports completed by the Inclusion team in liaison with class teachers and subject Heads of Departments. These reports monitor academic and behaviour for learning targets and are reviewed half termly with students and parents where necessary.
For our students with Statements of SEN or EHCPs the Inclusion Team conduct termly and an annual review in line with the principles of person centred planning. These meetings seeks to involve all those who are involved in the students progress to discuss current progress and next steps.

How do we prepare our students for transition?

Our new Year 7 students

Ensuring learner progress begins prior to the Year 7 transition point. The academy has close links with the key feeder primary schools that ensures the Year 6 transition lead is able to begin to plan for the summer term transition programme. This transition visit incorporates three key strands: the collating of CATS and reading age data, the Shakespeare day, and meeting key staff members in tutor and lesson time. Meeting key staff, particularly year 7 tutors, allows students to feel safe and included as they make the leap from primary to secondary.
The Year 6 parent interviews allow us to gather a holistic range of personalised data that helps flag a range of needs or interests such as medical needs, care issues, interests or worries. In addition, the year 6 cohort are invited to join the Year 6 summer school run for two weeks by academy staff seeking to build learning skills and secure connections between staff and peer groups before term begins in September.
Individualised transition programmes coordinated by the SENCO/Deputy SENCO further support the students with more complex needs. These students are supported by a lengthier process of visits to the primary, parent meetings and 1:1 visits that target key needs often lead by their own opinions as to what they feel is useful or important to them. The parents are also invited to a meet the Inclusion team evening much earlier in the year (February) to build secure links by the time September arrives. Each student leaves the evening with a transition booklet that they use to record useful information about themselves and questions they want to ask. This allows the Inclusion team to create individual pupil profiles which are shared with staff at Sept INSET and available electronically throughout the year to support differentiated learning for this key group.
A similar rigorous process is applied to our Mid-phase admission students (MPA) who arrive mid-term and, in line with the rest of the academy, make rapid and outstanding progress.

Transition throughout all years

Throughout their time at GSAS, there are many opportunities for students to begin to formulate thoughts about what their future careers might look like.  These include leadership workshops, university visits, employability sessions, visits to a wide variety of businesses in the City of London (Barclays, Allen and Overy, Citi Group) and business mentors.
Students make their choices for GCSE subjects at the end of Year 8. Students and parents receive information through Parent’s Evenings, assemblies and careers workshops, enabling them to make informed choices.   Vulnerable students are supported in the options process through additional careers advice and parental consultation meetings.
In years 10 and 11 students develop clear progression pathways via individual careers interviews, work experience and Head to Head interviews. The careers advice student receive is impartial and balanced.
Vulnerable students receive additional support to ensure that they make informed choices as they move into further education. This is in the form a personalised transition plan and may include additional visits and meetings with staff at the student’s new education provider

Years 12 and 13 receive a significant amount of support to ensure they make the right choice as they move into apprenticeships or Higher Education. There are visits to several universities, including Nottingham, Cambridge and Queen Mary.  Students are supported with their UCAS applications and interview coaching by the sixth form Graduate Achievement coach.

How do we listen to our students?

Student voice is vital and we pride ourselves on being a listening academy. Student voice takes several formats and empowers students to play a crucial role in the decision making process at GSAS.
We have a Student Council made up of students from all seven year groups, they focus on making positive change within the academy and leading on issues that may have a local, national or global concern. The members of the Student Council canvas student opinion at break times and are a powerful force in implementing positive change within the academy
We have a team of Subject Representatives allocated to particular subject areas. These students have received formal lesson observation training from a Lead OFSTED inspector and play a key role in evaluation of learning and teaching at GSAS. One of their key aims is to ensure student voice is developed throughout all curriculum areas.
Sixth form leaders support the Student Council and Subject Representatives; they act as role models and peer mentors to the rest of the academy and are great ambassadors for GSAS.

Special educational needs ambassadors are students who are champions of diversity and support the academy in one of our core values of celebrating difference.  They have built links with other organisations, such as Phoenix Outreach Service, Graeae Theatre and the Orpheus Centre.

How do we listen to our parents?

Our aim is for parents and carers to be fully involved in academy life. Communication is crucial and we use a variety of accessible methods to keep parents and carers up to date about developments at Green Spring Academy Shoreditch. Communication may take the form of meetings with parents and carers, regular letters and text messages, termly Academy newsletters and the Academy website.
Parents and carers requested regular Parent’s Evenings to meet their son or daughter’s relevant class teachers and these now take place twice a year. Attendance is superb and we regularly ask for feedback from parents on these events to ensure the written reports and events meet the parents needs.
Parents and carers are encouraged to take an active role in their child’s education and all have the opportunity to train and volunteer as ‘buddy readers’ for students whose age is significantly below their chronological reading age. Interactive sessions are also offered for all parents to develop the skills to effectively support the development of their son or daughter’s literacy development.
Termly coffee mornings are held to consult parents and carers on changes to academy life.
Parents and carers are also invited to more informal events such as the Winter Fayre, drama, music and dance performances, the Summer Jam (family fun day), celebration events and the termly Farmer’s Market.

Our students and their families speak a wide variety of languages. The academy ensures the needs of all are met by always providing an interpreter for meetings if parents do not speak English. Staff at the academy speak a wide variety of languages and therefore are able to build positive relationships with families. Letters and other important documents are translated into the home language to ensure they are accessible to all parents. The academy also holds weekly ESOL English lessons for parents who want to learn to speak English.

What about if my child has a medical need?

If a student is deemed to have a short term or long term medical condition, the academy will ensure that arrangements are in place to support them. In doing so, we will ensure that the student can access and enjoy the same opportunities at school as any other student. The academy, health professionals, parents and carers and other support services will work together to ensure that a student with a medical condition receives a full education.

What should I do if I need more information or support?

Your first point of contact should always be your son or daughter’s form tutor. If you remain concerned then you can speak with your child’s Head of Year.
The telephone number for the academy is 02079207900
If your child has SEN, your are worried that they might or you are considering the academy as provision for your son or daughter then please contact:
Aura Fabian, Director of Learning Support.
afabian@gsacademyshoreditch.org.uk
02079207954

The London Borough Tower Hamlets local offer to support parents of children with special educational needs. Website

Parents Advice Centre offers impartial advice and information to parents of children with special education needs:
Tel: 020 7364 6489 and
Email: pac@towerhamlets.gov.uk
Website

We have an open door policy at the Academy with welcoming reception staff that will be happy to direct you to the right member of our team and coordinate an appointment or telephone call for you. Please pop in whenever you need to.

Other links that you might find helpful:

What do we do if a student is struggling?

We offer a range of additional support structures in school that operate collaboratively between the curriculum team and the pastoral and inclusion team. Each method of support is personalised to the individual student and situation. The Academy recognises that there is no one approach and is innovate and willing to try a variety of methods to foster success for all learners. Some of the strategies we use are below:

  • Individual target reports: students can be placed on a target report that provide both the student, home and school with lesson based feedback.
  • Mentoring: we have a range of adults that work with students to support their social, emotional and academic progress. This can be through weekly meetings, in class observation and support or report tracking.
  • Teaching Assistant support: our TA team closely monitor all of our students with Statements/EHCPs. The support they provide is tailored to individual student needs and targets. Link to our TA Code of Conduct.
  • Learning Support Unit:  a small group environment for curriculum support and intensive personalised mentoring for our Key stage 3 students.
  • Pastoral Support Centre:  a small group environment to support Key stage 4 students whose behaviour is impacting on their academic progress.
  • Lexia: a computer based programme that supports students who find literacy challenging.
  • Reading Club: an intervention lead by the literacy team that seeks to foster a love of reading and improved comprehension and decoding skills using student-selected texts
  • Accelerated Reader: a ICT programme that builds comprehension skills through text specific quizzes and point scoring.
  • Numeracy: weekly interventions that target particular areas for development with groups of students run alongside the Maths department.
  • Handwriting: a weekly support for students who have an identified need in this area.

Laptop access: a provision for students who benefit from using typing as a way of recording their learning in key subjects or across the curriculum.

Our Team

The best people to contact this year are:

Deputy Principal: Touheed Piccoli
Assistant Vice Principal and Head of Year Sixth Form: Karen McEwan
SENCO: Aura Fabian
Head of Key Stage 3: Tamsin Constable
Head of Year 7: Rochelle Keith Jopp
Head of Year 8: Lauren Cradduck
Head of Year 9: Akwasi Kwarteng
Head of Year 10: James Guetling
Head of Year 11: Aaron Williams