The Academy aims to give every student the opportunity to reach their full potential. It recognises too, that all students have their own particular needs and seeks to ensure that each student is able to learn, experience success and feel valued in an environment free from obstacles and prejudice.
A pupil has SEN where their learning difficulty or disability calls for special educational provision, namely provision different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age.
The Academy is committed to ensuring all students receive their full entitlement to a whole-school curriculum. The documents below outline our procedures and how we support our pupils.
At The Hundred of Hoo Academy, we are committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff. We have a supportive and caring ethos and our approach is respectful and kind, where each individual and contribution is valued.
The Hundred of Hoo Academy has an onsite Counsellor, Mentor and a Social & Emotional worker who support children across the school in a variety of ways. We run Nurture and Self-esteem groups to support the children. Children are given the opportunity to speak about how they feel and to support each other. These staff members will also support in the classroom where required and is available to those in need, including parents.
We hold fortnightly Inclusion meetings where the needs of pupils who have been referred are discussed and the most appropriate strategies and support are assigned. The range of support offered is shown in our tiered support triangle.
Mr Harry Paterson and Mrs Sarah Doyle – SENCo
To view our SEND, Accessibility and Equality Policies, please visit our Policies page.
- Assistant Principal/ Director of Inclusion: Mr L Webb
- Primary SENCo: Mr H Paterson
- Secondary SENCo: Mrs S Doyle
- Head of SWC – Mrs J. Whittman
- Working Hours: Full Time (out of class)
Questions about your child’s progress?
The St Werburgh Centre
The St Werburgh Centre (SWC) provision is for students aged 11-19 with a primary SEN designation of ASD, with associated learning difficulties. The Centre is a Local Education Authority (Medway) Specialist Resource Provision, which is designed to meet the needs of the growing number of pupils with difficulties in communication and interaction. The provision currently offers an adapted curriculum, environment and teaching strategies to 56 pupils with an EHCP to ensure they achieve their full potential.
All pupils in the centre will continue to follow an integrated model, giving them the opportunity to attend mainstream lessons, however the centre will provide them with an alternative if they are struggling to access classes around the academy.
All students placed at the Centre will have an Education, Health and Social Care Plan (EHCP) with a clear diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Pupils will have the potential to cope within an environment that is fully integrated with the mainstream, with appropriate support.
Admission to the Centre is based on assessment of each individual student’s needs. In addition to a diagnosis of ASD, each student referred to the Centre will be assessed by the Head of Centre to ensure that the student’s needs can be met without detriment to the efficient education of other students attending the Centre or The Hundred of Hoo Academy.
Inclusion and mental health support
The Academy has an on site school counsellor for 4 days a week. Paula supports pupils with high level needs.
- a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety or an eating disorder
- a difficult life event, such as a bereavement, a relationship breakdown or work-related stress
- difficult emotions – for example, low self-esteem or anger
- other issues, such as sexual identity
Due to the increasing number of pupils joining the academy who present with issues such as anxiety, every Monday lunch we have a drop in session dedicated to year 7 pupils only.
The Academy is now working in partnership with MIND, a charity that offers advice and support to young people who are struggling with their mental health.
Every year, one in four people will experience a mental health problem.
A representative from the charity will be on site each week supporting pupils in making sense of what’s going on, why they may be feeling a certain way and most importantly, that it’s okay to ask for help.
Emotional Wellbeing Practitioners
- The Emotional Wellbeing Practitioners form part of the Government’s national initiative to work alongside schools to support and improve children and young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health.
- Pupils aged 7-18 who present with mild to moderate anxiety or low mood. Whole year groups, assemblies or classes.
- They offer up to 8 weekly sessions of support for low mood (feeling down, unmotivated or lacking enjoyment in life) or anxiety (feeling tense, worried, nervous). This may be delivered in a group format or on a 1:1 basis. This support will involve talking to young people about what they want to work on, supporting the young person to learn about their difficulties and emotions, set goals and learn new skills to help them to feel happier and more confident.
- Pupils will build their resilience, learn how to manage difficult thoughts and regulate their emotions.
The presence of a therapy dog in our school supports cognitive development: concentration, attention, motivation, and relaxation and helps reduce high stress levels, which inhibit effective learning and performance. The benefits of having therapy dogs in the classroom include:
- Physical benefits. Interaction with therapy dogs has been shown to reduce blood pressure, provide physical stimulation and assist with pain management.
- Social benefits. A visiting therapy dog promotes greater self-esteem and focused interaction with other students and teachers.
- Cognitive benefits. It has been empirically proven that therapy dogs stimulate memory and problem-solving skills.
- Emotional and mental health benefits. A recent national survey of adolescent mental health found that about 8 to 10 percent of teens ages 13 to 18 have an anxiety disorder. A therapy dog can lift moods in the classroom, often provoking laughter. The therapy dog is also there to offer friendship and a shoulder to lean on for students.
Frequently asked questions
We can only screen for dyslexia, and this will provide an overview of your child’s strengths and areas for development. Screening reports are then shared with teachers so they are aware of how to support your child through Quality First Teaching in the classroom. Depending on the results we may identify a program of support to help your child with their difficulties.
Yes the school can refer your child for a diagnosis of ADHD, ASD or other referrals needed such as Speech and language. These referrals are completed by the SENCO with support of the pastoral team and teachers. You may prefer to discuss this with your GP as they can facilitate a referral too.
This is an Educational Healthcare Plan. This used to be called a Statement of SEN. About 1% of children in mainstream schools have an EHCP. Most children with an EHCP require specialist provision (special school) and an EHCP allows a parent this choice.
An EHCP is a legal document owned by the Local Authority. It sets out a child’s needs, the provision needed to meet those needs, and the school placement. The criteria for an EHCP is stringent.
A parent can apply for an EHCP for their child by submitting the online form that can be found here: https://www.medway.gov.uk/downloads/file/3973/request_ehc_needs_assessment_-_parents_form
It is so important the parent knows the school’s view, because the school provides a significant proportion of the evidence to the Local Authority. School and parents should be in agreement that specialist approaches are needed to enable the child to make progress. It is not about lots of diagnoses necessarily although any diagnosis is supportive.
Medway Local Authority website (https://www.medway.gov.uk/info/200311/ehcps) contains documentation about the ‘pathway’ and timelines, but the whole process, from request to ‘decision to issue’ the plan is 20 weeks. Sometimes, if there is a lack of evidence, the process stops at 6 weeks. If a parent is unhappy about a decision, they can appeal to the Local Authority.
A school can also make a request for an EHCP but need to be sure that they have sufficient plan/do/review (3 rounds of provision plans) and evidence of what has been in place (high levels of provision) not working.
It is worth noting that quite a few outside agencies are giving the wrong message to parents about EHCPs. E.g. your child has an ASD diagnosis – have you considered an EHCP?
This will be dependent on the level of SEND that your child presents with and support needed at home and at school. The process will require your child to have a personalised plan, if appropriate, that is reviewed at least 3 times and likely with some specialist involvement. They might be in receipt of Higher Needs Funding – which you would have been informed about via the SENDCo. If you would like to discuss this further please contact the SEND department.
Higher Needs Funding (HNF) or E3 funding levels are dependent on need. The money school receives can be used in a variety of ways to support their needs
Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition. Therefore, any diagnosis of autism is a life-long health diagnosis and is not educational. There is no ‘test’ for autism. Instead, a paediatrician will collate evidence about a child’s social communication skills, repetitive or restrictive interests and sensory differences so that a judgement against particular Health criteria can be made.
Why does the parent think this? What behaviour do they see at home? Does the class teacher see the same traits?
This is a school-based referral, where the school agrees that there are social/play/sensory differences that should be explored. Perhaps interventions have taken place to help the child with their social skills.
Once a referral by school is sent to the local CAMHS Single Point of Access team, parents can expect to wait 2-3 years before being notified about an appointment. The psychiatrist will observe the child and discuss the information given already with parents, before making a judgement about whether the child should move onto the ASD pathway.
The pathway lasts up to 3 years. In this time, the neurodevelopmental team will collect more evidence from parents and school. The child is invited to a longer ‘joint communication clinic’ where a highly specialised speech and language therapist and a psychiatrist work together to make a diagnosis, or not.
*For primary aged children, a referral is made to Medway Community Healthcare (MCH) and they follow the same process to be assessed and possibly diagnosed. In recent times, waiting times have increased but they are not as long as stated above but can still take over a year.
As above, this is a Health diagnosis. This is a behavioural disorder.
Same principles apply – school based referral to a CAMHS Single Point of Access. We need to see inattentive or hyperactive/ impulsive behaviour that is significantly different from the majority of the peer group and across different environments, to refer. Children cannot be referred until they are 6.
There is no specific ‘test’ for ADHD. Instead information is collated from home/school and a certain ‘threshold’ must be met when comparing parent and school scores – and the child is observed in the clinic. A Connors questionnaire is common to determine the level of difficulty.
Medication is a possibility depending on the severity of the ADHD and parental views.
Some children have a diagnoses of ‘ADHD–inattentive type’, which is the old ADD (no hyperactivity).
*For primary aged children, a referral is made to Medway Community Healthcare (MCH) and they follow the same process to be assessed and possibly diagnosed.
The British Dyslexia Association says:
Dyslexia is a neurological difference and can have a significant impact during education, in the workplace and in everyday life. As each person is unique, so is everyone’s experience of dyslexia. It can range from mild to severe, and it can co-occur with other learning differences. It usually runs in families and is a life-long condition. It is a specific learning difficulty.
If your child has a significant weakness in single word spelling and/or reading (and has had good educational opportunities, teaching and interventions) then they may meet the criteria for dyslexia.
For us to gain a better understanding of your child’s literacy skills (this is where weaknesses are most evident) we can carry out a screener. This identifies a possible dyslexic profile or dyslexic tendencies. It helps us identify weaker ‘cognitive’ skills such as phonological processing (being able to identify and manipulate the sounds in words) which can signify dyslexic tendencies.
We would then want to gather information from you and the class teacher, and look at a child’s work. A screener is a limited snapshot of a child’s ability – it is important we gather a full picture and look at interventions over time too.
Therefore, we can screen your child for a possible dyslexic profile and to help us identify possible interventions, but this is not the same as a dyslexia diagnosis. We cannot diagnose dyslexia in our school. This would need to be an independent certified assessor. It is an educational diagnosis that is life-long and results from high levels of psychometric testing. A diagnosis is recognised under the Disability Discrimination Act (2010), permits an older child to have access arrangements at secondary school and adaptations in the workplace. This is private and comes at a cost. Assessors look for a discrepancy between a child’s general ability (like their IQ) and a child’s literacy skills.
Our teachers have dyslexia awareness training and can make adaptations to their teaching so that your child can access the curriculum like their peers. Very often, good strategies for dyslexic children are good for all children. Our focus is always on good teaching and good interventions, rather than the label.
Dyscalculia is a specific maths difficulty. It is inherent rather than just being ‘weaker’ at maths. A child will display intrinsic difficulties with their quantitative understanding of number at a basic level – i.e. show them 3 counters, then 6, and they could not quantify that one set was larger than the other, nor could they give sensible estimates for each quantity.
This would be a child with very poor conversion of number. We cannot diagnose dyscalculia. This would fall to a certified assessor external to school, and would likely be a private educational diagnosis.
Dyscalculia is specific – so a child is likely to be average in many aspects of schooling, apart from maths. It probably could not be considered if a child has general learning difficulties, a bit like dyslexia.
The important thing is to understand a child’s mathematical gaps and work with them through intervention and class-based support.
This is also called Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD).
This affects a child’s gross and fine motor skill development and sometimes their sensory profile.
It can arise with other specific conditions – dyslexia, ASD, ADHD etc.
Does the teacher see functional difficulties with a child’s self-care skills? E.g. changing for PE, gross motor coordination in PE, fine motor skills – scissor and pen skills, knife and fork skills, handwriting? Does the child appear clumsy and less able to coordinate their movements than peers? Struggles to throw and catch in PE? We need to evidence 3 different functional areas that the child struggles with.
A DCD diagnosis is a Health diagnosis and requires a referral to an Occupational Therapist. The OT service is not something readily available to schools.
We use funding to access a specialist Speech and Language service that come to the school to carry out assessments for pupils. These assessments are based on the concerns we identify, once we have gained agreement from parents. Once the assessment has been carried out, the report is disseminated to all teaching and support staff and a copy sent home.
It can also help us identify additional interventions your child may need.
Some children experience a speech or language delay – the difficulty is likely to resolve itself or ‘catch up’ or could be a disorder, which is where more specialist intervention may be needed.
We know that children with speech and language difficulties may go on to have difficulties with learning, particularly literacy, though this is not always the case.
*In the primary setting, we use an online speech and language programme to assess children. In younger year groups, all children are assessed and in older year groups children are assessed if the teacher has concerns. The programme allows us to identify any areas of weakness and suggest, and provides, activities and interventions that can be put in place to support the child. The programme also identifies if a child needs to be seen by a speech and language therapist. Like the secondary setting, the school uses funding to specialist services. If a child has significant speech and language difficulties, a referral can be made to Medway Community Healthcare to assess and potentially provide services to support the child.
Very few children need 1:1 support to make good progress.
The vast majority of children learn when teaching is responsive and adaptive to their needs and work is well differentiated. Class TAs are used to help scaffold children’s learning if they find things more tricky.
Sometimes, 1:1 support can also lead to dependency on an adult (I can only learn when an adult sits next to me) and we all want your child to be an independent learner.
In some situations, we may need to apply for funding to provide a child with some key person/1:1 support. This is called High Needs Funding, and is for children that require bespoke approaches. Applications for this high level of support are stringent and require lots of plan/do/review, evidence and proof of what is spent already on a child’s support.
Please note that an EHCP does not ‘come with’ funding attached or a certain number of hours of 1:1 TA support. This happened in the old system of ‘statements of SEN’, but is not the case now.
We would encourage you to read the Inclusion policy on our website.
The school is bound by a definition of Special Educational Needs as set out by the legal framework, the SEN Code of Practice (2014).
A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.
A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:
has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.
For children aged two or more, special educational provision is educational or training provision that is additional to or different from that made generally for other children or young people of the same age.
Being SEN or being placed on a school’s SEN register is not because a child receives a diagnosis of a condition – it must be because educational provision is consistently different for them to enable them to make progress in their areas of difficulty. Parents must remember that if their child has a Health condition or diagnosis, that this probably falls under the 2010 Equality Act and means that any school or educational provider must make reasonable adjustments for them, whether they are SEN or not.
We support children as their needs arise and teachers adapt work and their teaching delivery as necessary, maintaining interventions for those children that need something additional. Being SEN or not SEN does not change this.
If your child moves onto the SEN register they will be classed as ‘SEN support’ and their teacher will identify long term Outcomes for them to work towards.
* In the Primary setting, if a child is placed on the SEN register, parents will be informed of this by letter. Parents will be made aware of any concerns that the school has before being placed on the SEN register; however, parents and carers are able to discuss this with their child’s class teacher and/or SENCo. Children that are placed onto the SEN register have a Learning Support Plan created for them. This plan outlines a child’s strengths and difficulties, and the provision in place to support the child’s progress. Targets are set by the class teacher and the plans are reviewed at least three times a year. It is important that these plans are co produced with parents and carers, and their insight is obtained and copies of the plan are shared.