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Special Education Needs

Co-op Academy Stoke-on-Trent Offer of Support and Provision for students with Additional Learning Needs.

How does the Academy know if children/young people need extra help, and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?

We use a wide range of ways to assess if a young person may have special educational needs:

Through effective transition communication and support.

Transition meetings take place with the SENDCo and staff from primary schools to discuss students who are due to transfer to the Academy at the end of year 6. Data is shared and important information is discussed. In some cases we will begin an early transition programme from Year 5 onwards to give students the opportunity to get to know staff at the Academy. For example, we have two students who started to visit the Academy in Year 5 which resulted in them settling very well. 

Through monitoring and feedback.

The SENDCo monitors the progress of students at regular intervals and will speak to parents if there are any concerns. Targeted interventions may be put in place to give the child additional support. The SENDCo may request further assessments to be carried out by professionals who work with the Academy, such as the Educational psychologist or CAMHS.

If you have any concerns about your child’s learning, progress or wellbeing, or require any further information, do not hesitate to contact us. We make every effort to ensure that all students have their needs accommodated in all situations. We understand that the processes involved in assessing your child may be very complicated and at times worrying.

Contact Details

Mrs Drew  |  01782 88 23 74/ 88 23 00  |
Mrs Drew is the special educational needs and disabilities coordinator and a senior member of staff.

Learning support Manager
Miss Rees  |   01782 882325  |
Miss Rees is responsible for the day to day running of the SEND department.

How will our child or young person be involved in the decisions about their learning?

We talk to students about their learning and progress on a regular basis. Assistant teachers are available to have one to one meetings throughout the academic year. Where students have an individual profile (document listing additional strategies), they are encouraged to be involved in the review process via discussion and written feedback.

The Academy has a very thriving and successful student voice process. Our student council and Cooperative Young Leaders (CYL) have students with SEND who are represented.  

All our SEND students are involved in their Student profile reviews, which take place three times each academic year. Students who have a Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) are invited to all annual review meetings and are very much a part of this process. 

The department has conducted surveys with our SEND students and parents which reported that both were happy with the support that they receive from the Learning Support Department. 

How will we be involved in the decisions about the learning of our children and young people?

The Learning Support Department communicates with parents at assessment points to inform of the progress that their child is making. Parents are invited to attend student profile reviews and consultation evenings. Additionally, members of the Learning Support Department are available at all consultation evenings to offer advice and guidance to all parents who feel that their child may have additional needs.

How will the Academy’s staff support my child?

All teachers at the Academy will support students through Quality First Teaching that takes place in the classroom in the first instance. However, some students may need additional support which is personalised to their individual needs. This may mean that a student receives in-class support to ensure that they can access their learning, which can help with concentration, motivation, emotional difficulties and/or behaviour.

Support may also be offered in a small group or on a 1:1 basis. Sessions may be planned to help students develop language and communication skills; reading, spelling or writing; numeracy or mathematical skills; social skills; emotional awareness and improved behaviour for learning. 

What kinds of special educational needs do we provide for in our Academy?

At the Co-op Academy Stoke-on-Trent we are committed to helping all students to reach their full potential and to ensure that they have a positive and fulfilling experience. Every student is valued and treated as an individual taking into account their personal learning style or additional learning needs. At the Academy we have many students who may have a Special Educational Need and Disability (SEND). Children with an additional need may require some extra help and support. All SEND are accommodated in line with the Equality Act 2010 and provision is available for all 4 areas of need outlined in the 2014 SEND Code of Practice, which are: 

  • Learning
  • Development of language, literacy or numeracy skills
  • Social, emotional or behavioural difficulties
  • Sensory or physical needs

There are a number of professionals who all work together to ensure that student needs are met.

The SENDCo will work in partnership with you and your child in order to plan and provide support to ensure that they have every opportunity to achieve their potential.

The Academy currently has approximately 222  students on the SEND register with 28 students having an Education, Health Care plan. Students may move on or off the SEND register depending upon progress made.

All teachers at the Academy support students through Quality First Teaching, however, some students may need additional support which is personalised to their individual needs. This may mean that a student receives in-class support and/or small group intervention or one to one intervention. Timely support like this can help with concentration, motivation, emotional difficulties and behaviour.

At the Academy we support students with a variety of special educational needs or disabilities including, but not limited to:

  • ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • SEMH – Social, Emotional and Mental Health
  • Dyslexia
  • Hearing impairment
  • General learning difficulties
  • Physical difficulties
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Visual impairment

At all times we seek to ensure that our students, regardless of their difficulties or needs, have access to the same curriculum.

How will teaching approaches and the curriculum be matched to the needs of my child?

Before new students join the academy we visit their primary school and talk to their teachers to gain as much information as possible on how to help them settle in and continue to make progress.

On entry to the Co-op Academy, tests will be carried out in order to determine every student’s learning ability. Students are then set in groups so that they receive the appropriate teaching to ensure that they make the expected levels of progress. In each setting the students will receive high quality teaching. Reasonable adjustments may be made to meet all students’ learning needs and styles within the group.

The progress of all students in the Academy is monitored termly. If a student is identified as not making progress, targeted interventions may be put into place. 

How will both you and I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support learning?

All students at the Academy will be assessed termly and progress will be monitored by class teachers, heads of faculty, senior management and the SENDCo. This information will then be provided to parents in the form of a written report.

Regular consultation evenings take place throughout the academic year to which parents are encouraged to attend. The teaching staff, form teacher and SENDCo are all in attendance at these meetings.

All students on the SEND register have a Student Profile that explains to all staff the strengths and difficulties of the child. Targets and strategies are given to help support them. The profiles are reviewed on a termly basis with you and your child and members of the SEND department.

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?

These decisions are made depending upon the level and type of need that a student has. Parents, teachers, students and the SENDCo are all involved in the decision making process. If we feel that your child has a learning need we will inform you so that you can be involved from the outset.  A student profile will be created and following on, there will be a termly review in which information on progress will be presented. Following this, the support given is evaluated and changed if necessary.

If there are further concerns about a young person and their learning, we may refer to an Educational Psychologist (EP) who will carry out further assessment and may suggest that the Academy needs to apply for an Educational Health Care Plan. The academy now has an EP who comes into school on a regular basis.

How are parents involved in the Academy? How can I be involved?

Parents and students are the major stakeholders of the Academy. Every effort is made to ensure that parents and students are involved in all aspects of Academy life. Parent’s views are sought regularly during parent consultation evenings and they are regularly involved in planning the support and learning activities for their children.

We encourage all parents to attend Student Profile meetings termly so that they are informed about their child’s progress. Students are also invited to the review meetings, where they are encouraged to offer their views, share any concerns and agree to their targets. 

The Learning Support Department is accessible to students throughout the day if they need to discuss any difficulties or concerns they may have. We have a dedicated room that is open to young people before school, at break and lunchtimes if it is required. We also have a sensory room that students can access if they are feeling particularly anxious or worried. Parents are encouraged to contact us if they have any worries or questions they may have.

How are the Academy’s resources allocated and matched to children/young people with special educational needs?

As previously mentioned, upon entry to the Academy, information is gained from Primary Schools regarding the support a student will need.  According to their needs, we allocate resources to support the child. This may involve an adult supporting in the classroom or specialised equipment being made available including but not limited to overlays, pens, ICT equipment.  All students are individuals and therefore will receive an individual package of support.

How will the Academy prepare and support my child in preparation for the next stage of their education and life?

At the Co-op Academy our motto is ‘Be the Best.’ Our aim is to ensure that all students become the best that they can be and every effort is made to ensure that all students develop the necessary skills to enable them to lead fulfilling independent lives. Students are encouraged to become well balanced individuals with a strong moral sense and social responsibility. All students will be supported fully during the post-16 transition into college or work. Every student from Year 10 onwards will have the opportunity to meet with the careers team until they leave the Academy. The careers team will be invited to attend all statutory reviews from Year 9 onwards.

Careers appointments will help to support students in making appropriate choices and completing applications to secure college courses post 16. Students with SEND will be supported by the Learning Support team during this process/transition. Work experience and college visits take place during Years 10 and 11 to inform and prepare students for life beyond the Academy. If necessary, a member of the SEND team will accompany students on their first visit to college and to any subsequent interviews.

How accessible is the Academy environment?

Building Design Features

The Academy consists of ground, first and second floors to accommodate 1,150 pupils with DDA compliant access and circulation provided throughout the site so that the school can continue to be fully inclusive and cater for a diverse range of Special Education Needs. All external doors and fire doors have flat access/egress routes (no steps or ramps) and are consequently suitable for wheelchair users.

Wheelchair Accessible and Ambulant Toilets

A wheelchair accessible toilet is located amongst each toilet block featuring larger cubicles, hand/grab rails, larger toilets and a closing/opening bar on the door. Sinks and hand dryers are also positioned at a lower height. In addition to this, there is one ambulant WC toilet located in each same-sex toilet block, again featuring a wider cubicle, handrails, outward-opening doors and a larger toilet. Finally each toilet block features one enlarged toilet cubicle, with outward opening doors and a closing/opening bar on the door.

Disabled Toilet Alarm System

A disabled toilet alarm system has been provided within all disabled toilets to provide the occupant with a means to call for help if required. The occupant, if in distress, can utilise the ceiling-mounted pull cord which will activate an alarm, alerting staff of the situation so that assistance can be provided.

Audio Induction Loop

An audio induction loop is provided at each reception desk to aid the hearing impaired when their hearing aid is switched to the ‘T’ or ‘Transducer’ setting. A portable induction loop is also available for use if required. Students with hearing impairments  also use radio microphones in their lessons 

Disabled Refuge Call System / Fire Telephones

The disabled refuge call system / fire telephone installation consists of a master control panel and remote telephone units. The monitoring of function and versatility are standard within the system.

Wheelchair Accessible Tables

Each teaching space is provided with a wheelchair accessible table which is capable of moving up and down via a hand winch to suit the individual.

All staff differentiate accordingly  and the academy makes reasonable adjustments for individual needs for example risk assessments and additional arrangements being put into place for students who need wheelchair access. Students with a visual impairment have had Braille training, magnified screens and resources. Hearing impaired students use radio microphones and there is additional audio equipment in lessons.

What support will there be for the overall well-being of my child?

The vision of the Co-op Academy is for every student to ‘Be the Best’ and we aim to:

  • Provide a safe place for young people to talk to positive adults and professionals.
  • Empower young people to make informed choices and decisions.
  • Provide a confidential service within safeguarding guidelines.
  • Provide additional sources of help.
  • Be a non-judgmental service.
  • Be a consistent and reliable service.
  • To be a friendly and listening ear.

The Academy Izone is a specialised facility that provides a safe, holistic approach to supporting students. All support is organised in one area of the building. The Izone includes pathways for students to access learning and support from other professionals. Located in the Izone are the Inclusion Support Practitioners who are involved in supporting students and their family with their wellbeing. 

Learning Mentors are also available to help students to remove barriers to their learning. 

The EMAS team support students with the development of language skills to ensure that they can access the curriculum.

There is also access to the careers service who assist students with their post-16 transition into adulthood.

In the Izone students may also access support from various outside agencies, including the school nurse, Young Minds, YOT, Dove, Changes and various self-esteem groups

The academy has a number of trained first aiders and we have the facility to administer and store medicines safely. Should a young person require a medical care plan we work with parents and health care professionals to ensure that an appropriate plan is in place. In the case of a medical emergency, our staff are trained to respond appropriately.

How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom, including school trips?

Students will be provided with support to ensure that they are fully included in all planned activities and Academy trips. Full risk assessments are carried out before every visit and we ensure that appropriate staffing ratios are arranged. If a student requires one to one support, we ensure that a trained member of staff accompanies them on the visit. SEND students have attended residentials as well as visits to local colleges, employers, theatre’s, museums and sporting events.

A wide range of after school clubs take place, to which SEND students are encouraged to attend.

What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or are having?

There are currently 15 members of staff who work in the Learning Support Department. This includes the SENDCo, the Learning Support Manager and 13 Assistant Teachers (ATs). All staff are very skilled and have undertaken specialist training to assess and support young people with special educational needs or disability.

The Assistant Teachers all hold at least a level 3 qualification or equivalent. All staff supporting students are highly qualified and their training is regularly updated.  In addition, most of the team have received further specialised training. The SENDCo is a qualified teacher as well as having the National Qualification for SENDCos.

All Learning Support staff have received a range of training in response to student needs. 

Further training takes place throughout the academic year.  

What specialist services and expertise are available at or can be accessed by the Academy?

The SENDCo liaises with other professionals and outside agencies to ensure that appropriate provision is made to allow your child to achieve the very best that they can during their time at the Co-op Academy Stoke-on-Trent.

The support offered is intended to meet the individual needs of your child. This may be either in-class support, small group work or one-to-one.

The Academy regularly works with a range of outside agencies to secure their services. The services who have worked with young people at the Academy during the academic year include:  

  • Special Education Support and Inclusion Services including VI and HI specialist support
  • Educational Psychologist,
  • DOVE counselling service
  • MIND
  • STAR team
  • Youth workers
  • Occupational therapy
  • School nurses

We have recently secured the services of an independent Educational Psychologist who works with the Academy to offer advice and support for children who may be experiencing difficulty with their learning. 

All referrals to outside agencies are made by the designated teacher at the Academy. Parents may also make referrals if they have concerns; the SENDCo can signpost parents to this support if necessary.

What other support is available to parents and how can I contact them?

For further advice and support you can contact


The Stoke on Trent Safeguarding Board –

You can also view all the support available for parents on the Stoke on Trent Local offer website –

What do I do if I want to make a complaint?

We hope that we can resolve any issues that you may have and would ask that you contact the SENDCo in the first instance.

Information on the complaints procedure will be given to you should you request it.

Call our reception on 01782 882300 or email