Acorn Academy Cornwall (AAC) is committed to enabling pupils to achieve in all areas, a vital part of ensuring this is outstanding governance, and as such we are committed as a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) to ensuring that the whole is stronger than the sum of the parts. We do this by working collaboratively across the MAT and ensuring that we are held, and hold ourselves accountable to a very high standard. The structures and functions of governance are vital in ensuring that pupils are kept safe and make progress both academically, socially and emotionally and that the MAT provides good value for money.
The MAT Board is made up of the Chairs of the Pupil Performance Sub Groups (PPSG) the CEO of AAC, a parent representative and representatives of the MATs sponsors, it is independently chaired.
The PPSG is made up of representatives of the feeder schools for their APA, the CEO of AAC & the Principal of the APA, the PPSG are considered to be local governors for their Alternative Provision Academy (APA).
There are clear responsibilities as set out below, with regards to how these levels of governance function at a local and strategic level.
The Chairs of the PPSG play a vital role in ensuring there is a bridge between governance through the MAT Board and governance locally at the PPSG.
Trustees’ Report and Financial Statements period ended
31 August 2017
Trustees’ Report and Financial Statements period ended
31 August 2016
Submission to the Education Select Committee
The Education Select Committee have launched a national inquiry into alternative provision (AP), and we have made a submission to Committee:
Press Release Regarding Free School Application
Trustees’ Report and Financial Statements period ended 31 August 2015
MAT Board Minutes
Acorn Academy Cornwall 2015-2020 Development Plan
MAT Board Register of Interests
Committee Attendance 2016-17
Trustees’ Report and Financial Statements period ended 31 August 2014
Safeguarding and Safer Recruitment: Letter of Assurance
Memorandum and Articles of Association
Annual Accounts 2013-14
Special Educational Needs
How does the school know if students need extra help with learning?
Acorn Academy Cornwall (AAC) is a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) that comprises of 6 regional AP Academies and The Community and Hospital Education Service (CHES) a medical AP Academy.
The AP Academies (APA) provide education for mainstream pupils who have been permanently excluded or are at risk of permanent exclusion or on an intervention basis. We aim to ensure that:
- Pupils with learning difficulties are able to access their entitlement to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum as part of the whole school community.
- Pupils with SEND are educated in an inclusive environment alongside their peers to enable each student to reach his or her full potential.
- We match levels of additional support for learning to the wide variety of individual learning difficulties, while enhancing self-esteem.
- We identify and assess pupils with SEND as early and as thoroughly as possible using the revised Code of Practice (2014).
- Parents/carers and pupils are fully involved in the identification and assessment of SEND, and that we strive for close co-operation between all agencies concerned, using a multi-disciplinary approach.
- We meet the needs of all pupils with SEN by offering appropriate and flexible forms of educational provision, by the most efficient use of all available resources.
- We maintain up to date knowledge of current SEN good practice and methodology in order to offer support and training in these areas to all staff in the APA.
There are four types of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), decided by the Department for Education:
- Communication and interaction
- Cognition and learning
- Social, mental and emotional health
- Sensory or physical
If a pupil has SEND, then their needs will fit into one or more of these categories.
A school’s provision for SEND is defined as support which is additional to or different from that which is available to all pupils.
At the APA, we recognise that pupils make progress at different rates and not always in a steady linear pattern. Therefore, pupils are identified as having SEND in a variety of ways, including the following:
- Liaison with previous/current school
- The pupil performing significantly below expected levels
- Concerns raised by parent/carer
- Concerns raised by teacher
- Liaison with external agencies, e.g. physical health diagnosis from paediatrician
If a pupil is identified as having SEND then their name will be added to the SEN register, but we recognise that pupils’ needs may change over time and provision must reflect this. The aim of any additional provision is for the pupil to achieve age expectations, so once they reach this threshold they may be removed from the school SEN register. If they fall behind again at any point, then they may be added to the register again.
What should I do if I think my child has special educational needs?
Your main point of contact at school should always be your child’s Key Worker. You can start by contacting the Key Worker, who will be able to discuss your concerns. If you need to speak with other staff members, such as the Headteacher or the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO), then the Key Worker or School Secretary will be able to help you arrange this.
How will the APA support my child?
Subject teachers are responsible for the progress of pupils in their lessons. They are trained to teach pupils with all types of additional learning requirements and are responsible for making the curriculum accessible to all pupils.
The SENDCO is responsible for ensuring that:
- Teachers understand a pupil’s needs
- Teachers are trained in meeting those needs
- Teachers have support in planning to meet a pupil’s needs
- The quality of teaching for pupils with SEND, and
- Provision across the APA is efficiently managed.
Sometimes, some pupils require additional support to make progress across the curriculum, because they are significantly below the expectations for their age. Then, the SENCO, in collaboration with the Head of English and Maths if appropriate, is responsible for organising intervention for an individual or small group of pupils, which might include one of these provisions, for example:
- Additional adult support in the classroom – classrooms have Teaching Assistants who support the teacher in helping the learning of whole classes; the SENCO also is able to direct a limited amount of ‘hours’ of additional adult support, in cases where there is evidence that pupils are significantly below the expectations for their age
- Withdrawal sessions – pupils may come out of some lessons for pre-arranged sessions with teachers or Specialist TAs on, for example, handwriting, reading, numeracy, study skills, organisation skills, social skills, etc.
Who will explain provision to me?
- Information about the provision in individual subjects can be discussed with subject teachers or the Headteacher. There is a termly opportunity for this at parents’ meetings, but teachers can meet with parents/carers at any point in the school year to discuss pupil progress.
- In the case of individual or small group interventions, SENCO will contact parents/carers explaining the aims of the intervention. Letters, phone-calls or emails will be used to keep parents/carers updated on their child’s progress and discuss support in more detail, if required. For some interventions (for example the THRIVE emotional development and readiness for learning programme), there can be a parent information/activity ideas session during the course so that parents and carers can be fully involved.
How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs? What are the APA’s approaches to differentiation that will help my child?
Subject teachers are responsible for planning lessons that are accessible to and differentiated for every pupil. In some curriculum areas (English, Maths and Science) pupils are grouped by levels of attainment, whilst other curriculum areas are taught in mixed attainment groups. Pupils are entitled to participate in all areas of the curriculum and it is the subject teacher’s role to differentiate resources and activities to ensure the pupil can access the learning. This can mean teachers plan:
- Visual, auditory or kinaesthetic activities
- Small group or 1-1 learning with a teaching assistant (TA)
- Pre-teaching content or vocabulary
- Over-learning topics
- To provide specially targeted texts and resources appropriate for pupils’ reading ages
- To provide additional apparatus or materials
- To adapt and adjust resources and materials to make them accessible for pupils with specific learning difficulties
At Key Stage 4 (year 10 onwards) pupils choose from a range of GCSE and vocational courses, which help to prepare them for the next steps in their education, be that college, apprenticeships or work. Pupils and parents/carers are offered advice and careers guidance at the appropriate time to help make these important decisions- with Careers South West.
How will I know how my child is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning? What opportunities are there to discuss my child’s progress?
Parents and carers are welcome any time to make an appointment to meet with either a subject teacher or Key Worker teacher, and discuss how their child is progressing. Parents/carers can contact staff members directly by email or by writing a note, or through the school office – different APA contact details are available on: www.acornacademycornwall.org.uk
Planned arrangements for communicating between APAs and home include:
- Each year group has at least one parents’ meeting each year, when all Key Worker teachers are available to meet with parents/carers and discuss progress and learning
- Each year group has a report programme, which includes one progress check (current levels of attainment) and one full report (alongside current levels of attainment). These are sent home to parents/carers and provide a basis for discussion about progress in different subject areas
- If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or Statement of SEN, then there are legal requirements for at least one formal meeting each year (the Annual/Transfer Review) organised by the SENCO and attended by parents/carers, teachers and outside agencies involved in the student’s education. The APA also offers an Interim Review between Annual/Transfer Reviews if this is required.
How does the APA know how well my child is doing?
Teachers, as part of their professional standards, monitor and review all pupils’ progress throughout the year. The whole school system at the APA includes:
- Data collection each half term, from all teachers, showing the current level of attainment of all the pupils they teach. This means that teachers in each subject area can track the progress of pupils across the school year and intervene if pupils experience difficulties.
- In the case of intervention programmes, progress is reviewed every half term, which might include testing or screening. These programmes are reviewed by the SENCO, who use the information to plan and design the next half term’s intervention programme.
- In-class additional support is reviewed weekly by teachers and daily at staff briefings. TAs and teachers work together on a day-to-day basis, planning and reviewing lessons.
- Teachers are observed by senior leaders and line managers as part of the school Performance Management system; the deployment of additional adults in the classroom and the progress of pupils with additional learning requirements are part of the Teacher Standards, against which the quality of teaching is measured.
- The Headteacher is responsible for whole school data and tracks the school’s progress against national standards. This provides guidance for subject teachers when planning the curriculum and additional support for pupils.
- At the start of their time at the APA, pupils are screened with reading and spelling assessments. These tests, alongside other testing, allow us to identify when pupils may need further support, intervention, or additional assessment to detect any underlying difficulties.
- The APA positive behaviour management system (e.g. SchoolPod commendations) provides parents/carers with information about how well a pupil is engaging with the learning opportunities.
What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being? What is the pastoral, medical and social support available in the APA?
The APA uses a positive behaviour management system. Every lesson, some students will receive a Green behaviour ‘mark’ from the teacher for effort, behaviour and achievement.
Green behaviour commendations are monitored by Key Worker teachers who can then identify students falling behind their peers, investigate and address the reasons for this.
The SENCO liaises with Key Worker teachers as necessary, to discuss additional pastoral support for their pupils. THRIVE assessments can also support pupils and staff with successful emotional development action plan implementation, to help their readiness for learning. Examples of the type of outside support that is available and can be arranged with Support organisations are Local Youth Projects (1:1 mentoring for young people), The Dreadnought Centre (group support) and Penhaligon’s Friends (bereavement support).
Pupils who struggle with social situations are provided with quiet spaces where they are supported by TAs to manage unstructured social time.
If a pupil is unwell during the school day, then they will be sent to the Deputy Headteacher who is also a First Aider. If the pupil is too ill to stay at the APA, their parent/carer will be contacted and asked to make arrangements for collecting them as soon as possible.
In a medical emergency, the Headteacher or Deputy Headteacher as First Aiders will attend urgently, or may call for an ambulance if the pupil requires hospitalisation. Pupils who have severe allergies or other significant health/medical needs are flagged-up to all staff throughout the school year.
How will the APA prepare and support my child to join the school, transfer to a new setting or the next stage of education or life?
All pupils joining the APA will have an induction meeting the with Head or Deputy headteacher and parent/carer – at the meeting APA expectations, routines, rules, uniform and curriculum opportunities will be discussed. Previous Schools will provide academic and pastoral information about the pupil. The pupil will be allocated a Key worker who will be their mentoring adult.
The APAs have good liaison between local feeder schools and in line with a pupils behaviour, attendance and individual pupil needs, a transition programme for reintegration will be organised. The APA will also send progress reports, emotional/behavioural action plans and behaviour/attendance records to the new provision.