SEND Information Report

Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) Information Report

September 2017


Dowdales School is a large, mainstream secondary school for students aged 11 - 16 years.

The school is both supportive and inclusive with the needs of students with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) being met in our mainstream setting.

At Dowdales, we operate a policy of inclusion, recognizing that all students are entitled to equal access to the curriculum.

We aim to:

  • provide access to a broad and balanced curriculum which is matched to meet each individual’s needs.
  • provide effective assessment and provision for students with SEND in partnership with parents, pupils, the Local Authority and other specialist agencies.
  • remove barriers to learning
  • raise student self-esteem and build self-confidence
  • develop student independence

Admission of students with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities is considered in line with our admissions policy, which relates equally to all individuals.

SENCo details:

The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) works in collaboration with the Head teacher and school’s governing body in determining the strategic development of SEND policy and provision within the school.

The SENCo holds the National SENCO Award.

For further information contact the:

SENCO: Mrs Linsay Manuel
Address: Dowdales School, Nelson St. Dalton-in-Furness Cumbria LA15 8AH
Phone: (01229) 469800
Email: [email protected]

Identification of Students with SEND

According to new SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years (January 2015), a student has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.

Schools should seek to identify pupils making less than expected progress given their age and individual circumstances. This can be characterised by progress which:

  • is significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same baseline
  • fails to match or better the child’s previous rate of progress
  • fails to close the attainment gap between the child and their peers
  • widens the attainment gap

Special Educational Needs and provision can be considered as falling under four broad areas:

  • Communication and interaction
  • Cognition and learning
  • Social, mental and emotional health
  • Sensory and/or physical

If a student is performing below age expected levels, we will gather a variety of evidence in order to assess to whether the student requires additional support. We evaluate this progress using a range of information including:

  • liaison with primary schools through routine data collection and transition/review meetings
  • analysis of the Key Stage 2 SATs results.
  • liaison with previous secondary school if required
  • advice from the Educational Psychologist, Specialist Advisory Teaching Services and/or other external agencies
  • data from standardised tests/diagnostic assessments
  • parental feedback
  • pupil feedback
  • observation of student in school
  • feedback from teaching staff
  • analysis of the regular tracking of progress assessment points (National Curriculum attainment levels.)

This range of information is compared with the progress of other students in the school and against national performance information, such as national average progress indicators including RAISE online and/or data from the Department for Education.

Initial concerns are not always based on academic progress however, and may be linked to the student’s social and emotional development. Consequently, it does not mean that all vulnerable learners have SEND. Only those with a learning difficulty that requires special educational provision will be identified as having SEND.

Concerns regarding a student having SEND may be raised by any member of staff, any

parent/carer or the student themselves. Any questions should be referred to the SENCo, Achievement Leaders or Head of Department in the first instance. Further investigation may

lead to diagnostic testing before a decision regarding additional support is made.

Overall, this combination of evidence allows us to build an up to date picture of a student’s ability and will determine whether any further assessment or intervention is necessary.

Students identified with SEND are placed on the school’s SEND register and grouped into two categories: SEND support (SENS) and those students who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

When a student is recorded on the school’s SEND Register, parents will be informed and invited to attend termly progress review meetings with the SENCo.


Each learner identified as having SEND, is entitled to support that is ‘additional to or different from’ the differentiated approaches and learning measures normally provided as part of high quality, personalised teaching. SEN provision is allocated according to need and follows the ‘Access, Plan, Do & Review’ process laid down in the revised SEND Code of Practice 2014.

Following discussions with key staff (SENCo/ Achievement Leaders / Subject Teachers) and parents/carers, additional support will be put in place. This may consist of individual or small group interventions and/or in-class support (including enhanced resources) to help the student overcome any barriers to learning. SEND provision may take the form of additional support from school staff or require the involvement of specialist staff from external agencies.

Subject teachers plan lessons according to the specific needs of all of the students in their classes/groups. They will ensure that individual needs are met. In addition, specially trained Learning Support staff can assist the teacher’s planning to support the needs of your child where necessary by means of Student Profiles. These contain relevant information and detail the student’s needs, recommended strategies and achievable targets.

The school supports students with a range of special educational needs with a range of additional resources including: learners on the Autistic Spectrum, students with Speech, Language and Communication Needs, Specific Learning Difficulties (including dyslexia), Attention Deficit Disorders, Visual or Hearing Impairment, Social, Emotional and Mental Health issues, Medical and/or Physical Disabilities.

Students with SEND are taught in mainstream classes with a minimum of withdrawal for specialist input e.g. to attend a weekly speech and language or dyslexia support lesson, social skills /SERIS groups or literacy interventions. Typically, a student would attend these intervention sessions for a defined period of time after which, progress would be reviewed and support adjusted.

Additional literacy and numeracy support is provided in a variety of ways:

  • Literacy Nurture Groups - students are withdrawn from another lesson to
  • receive additional literacy tuition
  • Regular reading and/or spelling interventions in withdrawn study support sessions.
  • Dyslexic students may attend a weekly withdrawal support lesson
  • English GCSE support groups in KS 4 with a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA).
  • Exam Access Arrangements – testing at the end of Y9 determines which students qualify for a range of special arrangements in their GCSE exams. Students may, for example, have the support of a reader, scribe, or extra time, provided they meet the requirements set out in the JCQ guidelines.

Some students with SEND are offered the opportunity to complete a modified/alternative curriculum, this may include:

Alternative qualifications (Entry Level Certificate Courses)

ASDAN/COPE Youth Award Scheme

SERIS/Social skills sessions

Work placements


The effectiveness of the support and the impact on your child’s progress are reviewed regularly. This information, along with the views of parents/carers and children, forms the basis for the revision of the support.

Monitoring progress is an integral part of teaching and learning within at Dowdales School. Parents/carers, pupils and staff are involved in reviewing the impact of interventions for learners with SEND. We follow the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ model and ensure that parents/carers and students are involved in each step. Before any additional provision is selected to help a pupil, the SENCo, subject teacher, parent/carer and learner, agree what they expect to be different following this intervention. A baseline will also be recorded, which can be used to compare the impact of the provision.

This review can take the form of a formal meeting held at least once a term, where all stakeholders discuss progress and next steps. If a learner has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), the same discussions will take place, but the EHC plan will also be formally reviewed every 12 months.

If parents/carers have any concerns regarding the progress of their child they should contact the Subject Teacher involved. You may also be directed to the SENCo to discuss the identification, planning and delivery of any additional support. As a parent/carer, you will be primarily involved in supporting your child’s learning and access to the curriculum.

Individual student progress is routinely analysed by the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), Achievement Leaders, the SENCo and selected subject teachers during weekly progress/intervention meetings. Student progress is evaluated using:

  • recent assessment data
  • lesson observations/learning walks
  • sampling of class books
  • staff liaison
  • standardised testing data to measure improvement in literacy skills
  • discussions with students
  • parental feedback

After each progress/intervention meeting and/or data collection, any students failing to make expected progress are discussed at the team meeting at which intervention strategies are agreed or adjusted on an individual basis.

A small number of students may require closer monitoring; this could be in the form of: daily contact through the student planner, e-mail, telephone contact and letters as appropriate.

In some cases students may make sufficient progress to be broadly in line with their peers. In this instance students may be removed from the SEND register, at which time parents will be informed of the decision.

Information on individual students with SEND is held electronically in the school’s secure

database; this is accessible to all teaching staff and is regularly updated. It includes relevant information on student attainment levels, areas of weakness and recommended support strategies. Individual SEND Student Profiles are accessible to staff through the database.

The database information is also used to populate school/national census data.

Teaching and Learning is supported by regular communication between home and school through the school’s web pages, letters/newsletters, emails, parent/teacher meetings, KS 3 and KS 4 parent seminars, Extra revision sessions for GCSE courses, Homework club, Options Exhibition, contact with VLE (IT Virtual Learning platform), School Calendar, student planner (including Pupil Review/Progress pages) and contact with Achievement Leaders for each year group.


In our school we have access to various specialist services. These include:

  • Local Authority support services
  • Health and Social Care agencies
  • Voluntary sector organisations

Dowdales School works closely with the county Educational Psychologists, Access and Inclusion Team, local Specialist Advisory Teaching Services for Autism, Speech, Language and Communication needs, Visual and Hearing Impairment and Physical Disability

We liaise with a wide range of health and social care agencies including: GPs, the school nurse, Children’s Therapy Services (Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy), Community Paediatrics Service and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

Dowdales has links with South Cumbria Dyslexia Association (SCuDA) and INSPIRA, which offers opportunities in careers guidance for young people.

A variety of other support services are provided by Cumbria County Council; they are listed in the Local Offer website available here


At Dowdales, we value the input of parents and carers in supporting their child’s

education and liaison with home is on-going throughout the school year. Wherever possible, parents are consulted and their views sought in the overall process for SEN.

Parents of pupils with SEND are routinely invited to:

  • A workshop evening for parents/carers of all new Y7 students
  • An annual parents’ evening for each year group
  • Open Evenings for transition from KS 2 to KS3
  • KS4 seminars for parents
  • Individual SEN Support meetings to address any interventions/concerns
  • Team around the Child/Family meetings for specific SEND problems
  • Annual review meetings for those pupils with an EHCP

All students with an EHCP attend and participate in their Annual Review. Any meetings involving your child will always have their views sought in advance.

Teaching and Learning is supported by regular communication between home and school through the school’s web pages, letters/newsletters, emails, options exhibition, VLE (IT Virtual Learning platform), the school calendar, student planner and contact with Achievement Leaders for each year group.

Your child can raise any issues with their Form Teacher and/or Progress Mentor team each day. Students can also contact their pupil-elected School Council which has an open forum for any other issues or viewpoints to be raised.

Students are routinely involved in setting learning targets in their curriculum subjects and evaluating their success. During the school year, your child will complete student questionnaires (Pupil Voice) to gauge their views and opinions.

The local, independent Information Advice & Support Service (formerly Parent Partnership) offers information, impartial advice and practical support to students and parents/carers of children with special educational needs. See contact details:

Parent Support Advisors: Celia Jones or Karen Hull
Tel: (01229) 407439 / 407559
[email protected] or [email protected]


The Learning Support Team consists of the Head of Learning Support/SENCo, a Specialist Teacher and 15 support staff. They work on a 1:1, small group and whole class basis with identified students with SEND to support academic, social and emotional needs as appropriate.

The Head of Learning Support/SENCo works in collaboration with the Head Teacher and governing body, in determining the strategic development of SEND policy and provision in the school.

At present, the Learning Support Team includes:

  • 1 Specialist Teacher for Dyslexia Support
  • 1 Principal HLTA (Higher Level Teaching Assistant) and School Counsellor /SERIS worker
  • 2 HLTAs (supporting English and Science).
  • 2 STAs (Senior Teaching Assistants) with responsibilities for Literacy and Numeracy intervention and Speech and Language support programmes.
  • 10 TAs (Teaching Assistants) for 1;1 and small group in-class support

Most students will have their needs met through quality first teaching in the mainstream classroom; however, if a student requires extra support, the Learning Support Department has staff trained with the following specialist qualifications:

  • Dyslexia Support
  • Counselling
  • Reading Intervention
  • Autistic Spectrum Conditions
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Social and emotional resilience
  • Stress management (Bio-feedback)

Our SENCo holds the National SENCO Award and a current Assessment Practising Certificate (PATOSS) qualification.

Since 2007 Dowdales has been accredited as a Dyslexia friendly school by CReSTeD (Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Students).

Training for staff relates to the needs of the school and pupils and is done both in school and through external course providers.


Here at Dowdales, all students are given the same opportunity to attend extra-curricular activities and school trips off-site. During the school year we offer an extensive range of popular clubs and activities. Students with SEND are encouraged to take part according to their individual interests. The list of clubs/activities for this term can be found on our school web page here

A regular after-school homework club is also available over 3 evenings during the week. The homework club is supported by several Learning Support staff and is open to all students.

We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to ensure participation for all, so please contact our Extended School Activities Co-ordinator and/or the SENCo to discuss any specific requirements.


We are an inclusive school and welcome individual diversity. School staff encourage students to be resilient with high self-belief in order to ensure their well-being.

In Dowdales School all students and staff have the right to feel happy, safe and included, bullying is therefore unacceptable.

As a school we will work to promote an environment free from threats or fears thereby enhancing individual aspirations and achievement. Our Anti-Bullying Policy can be accessed through the school’s web page.

Students with SEND can contact either the SENCo, Form Teacher or Form Progress Mentor for any concerns regarding their social or emotional well-being. In addition, the Head of Pastoral Support and the ‘Head Start’ Leaders can offer further support and advice. Student concerns will always be taken seriously and treated in confidence.

Pastoral intervention and maintained support for students with SEND in school includes:

  • Regular contact with the school Pastoral Team
  • Regular contact with the SENCo /Learning Support Staff
  • Student Services (Main building)
  • Daily contact with Form/Progress Mentors.
  • The ‘HeadStart’ Programme
  • Access to the school Counsellor based in Ashburner House
  • Social Emotional Resilience in Schools (SERIS) programmes
  • Liaison with Child and Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  • Access to the Educational Welfare Officer and Social workers


Students at Dowdales will be fully supported during their transition from and to another school or college of further education.

We maintain well established and routine links with all feeder primary schools and ensure appropriate support arrangements for students with SEND.

The structured transition process from primary school includes:

  • Information packs/school prospectus
  • School Open Evening (September)
  • Primary Transition meetings (liaison between the primary class teachers, primary school SENCo ,Dowdales SENCo, SEND students and their parents/carers)
  • Invitational Sports days for prospective Y6 students (July)
  • Pupil/Family Induction Meetings with Senior School Staff (July)
  • Y5 Class Taster-days.(Summer term)
  • Y6 Induction Days (July)
  • Any extra visits deemed necessary (either individual or small group)
  • Collaborative support from representative primary school staff
  • Transition of relevant SEND paperwork

The structured transition process for transfer to another secondary school includes:

  • transition meetings between the representative SENCos
  • personalised individual site visits (accompanied by Dowdales staff)
  • prompt and safe transfer of relevant confidential paperwork

The structured transition process for transfer to further education includes:

  • input and advice from school’s INSPIRA /Careers facilitator
  • personalised individual site visits (accompanied by Dowdales staff)
  • FE College – SEN Additional Learning staff will be invited to the EHCP Annual Review meeting held at school.
  • ongoing collaboration with SEN representative FE College staff (including site visits)
  • prompt and safe transfer of relevant confidential paperwork


Dowdales Senior Leadership Team reports to all governors on a regular basis. There is a named governor with responsibility for SEND who meets regularly with the SENCo. They also report to the school governors to keep them informed of the school's systems and processes for supporting pupils with SEND. The current SEN Governor is Mr M. Ridyard.


Much of the school is wheelchair accessible with ramped access at specified fire exits on the ground floor. There are separate disabled toilet facilities on the school site as well as accessible changing rooms in the performing arts building and sports hall. Dowdales School has 2 lifts located in the main building. They comprise of 1 standard access lift and 1 small short-rise lift. Both lifts are suitable for wheelchair users. Stair lifts are also located in the main building. These provide access to the first floor for students with mobility difficulties.

Most classrooms are carpeted to improve acoustics. Subject Teachers are familiar with school’s wireless radio aid system which can be used to support pupils with Hearing Impairment.

A range of improvements have been made in auditory and visual environments including interactive whiteboards, specified seating areas in classrooms, and sound / projection facilities in the school hall.

Currently, there are 4 disabled parking bays (2 located in separate car parks adjacent to the school drive, 1 next to Ashburner House and 1 outside DASH – Sports Hall).

The Virtual School and Equalities Learning Team (Cumbria County Council) are based in Carlisle. They assist us in supporting vulnerable students and families within the following groups: Looked After Children (CLA), Children with English as an Additional Language (EAL), Black and Minority Ethnic groups (BME), Travellers and Young Carers.

Dowdales School supports students whose first language is not English by liaising with the local county EAL advisory unit to locate a designated mediator/ translator to assist home to school communication. In addition we use modern technologies to aid students in understanding in lesson. The school employs a buddy system for these students and support is given when appropriate.


In the first instance, please address any complaints to either the SENCo or the Head of Year, who will investigate your concerns and endeavour to reach a satisfactory outcome.

If you feel that your complaint has not been resolved, please follow the School’s complaint procedure. This can be found on the school website.


Details of the LEA’s ‘Local Offer’ can be found on the dedicated website page click here

The school’s contribution to the ‘Local Offer’ is attached to the school website click here


The school’s SEND Policy has recently been revised to ensure it is fully compliant with the regulations of the Children and Families Act, 2014 and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 0-25 years, 2014.

The SEND policy will then be reviewed every year and modified in discussion with parents, students with SEND, staff and governors.

Both Dowdales School SEND policy and the SEN Information Report are accessible on the school’s website.