Special Educational Needs Policy

Introduction The purpose of this policy is to set out our procedures for ensuring that every student with special educational needs fulfils their potential. Young people with special educational needs are identified as those learners who need something ‘additional to’ or ‘different from’ routine educational provision within their school setting.


The Acorn Free School Academy is fully committed to inclusion. We will ensure that all young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) are given the individualised help, advice and support needed to be fully included in all aspects of school life, to realise their potential and to feel valued.

The Acorn Free School Academy is committed to the following aims:

  • To ensure the SEN, Disability Act and Department for Education Code of Practice and guidance are implemented effectively across the school
  • To ensure full entitlement and access for all young learners to a high quality, education with a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum
  • To meet the individualised needs of all young people with SEN by offering the most appropriate and efficient use of available resources
  • To have an identified SEN co-ordinator (SENCO) and link SEN Governor to ensure there is effective provision for SEN
  • To identify and assess young people with SEN as early and thoroughly as possible
  • To ensure that there are rigorous procedures for tracking and monitoring pupil’s progress in identified areas of need
  • To fully involve young people with SEN in their education, taking account of their views and working with them in any planning and decision making which that affects them
  • To fully involve parents/carers at every stage in plan’s to meet their child’s additional needs
  • To refer to and work co-operatively with a wide range of agencies to achieve the best possible outcomes for young people
  • To ensure that an inclusive environment is created and fostered where all members of the school community respect and care for each other

Arrangements for co-ordinating SEN provision

The headteacher has overall responsibility for the day-to-day management of all aspects of the school’s work including provision for children with Special Educational Needs.

The SENCO is responsible for

  • The effective and efficient deployment of the learning and behaviour support team
  • Co-ordinating provision for young people with Special Educational Needs, including implementing and monitoring individual educational plans, organising reviews and liaising with external agencies
  • Maintaining the school’s SEN register and ensuring that all teaching and non-teaching staff are aware of individual pupil needs

All teaching and non-teaching staff are responsible for implementing agreed programmes of support for pupils with SEN and for the school’s procedures for identification and assessment of SEN.

Identification and Assessment

The majority of pupils will arrive at Acorn Free School with a record of identified additional need and will be placed on the Special Educational Needs register at the identified stage. All students will however be screened for literacy and numeracy levels and be assessed using SDQ and SIP for emotional and behavioural concerns.

Identification and assessment are ongoing, particularly as a pupil’s behaviour and engagement may change when entering a new environment. Regular observation and review of pupils by teaching and non-teaching staff will be used to inform the identification of any additional need.

The Acorn Free School, with the support of additional agencies, will meet the needs of all pupils on the SEN register at ‘school action’ and ‘school action plus.’ If, after taking action to meet the needs of the child, it is still felt that additional intervention is required then the Acorn Free School will liaise with the referring school and apply to the LA for statutory assessment


  • Access to a balanced and broadly based curriculum, meeting the specific needs of the learner is achieved through
  • Small teaching groups – between 6 and 12 learners
  • Individual and small group (1-4 pupils) to address specific learning or emotional/behavioural needs
  • Advice, support and sessions from outside agencies (e.g. YOT, School Nurse, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service)
  • Curriculum teaching programmes incorporating social skills, anger management, co-operation, reflection and confidence building
  • Engagement activities focused upon the interests and motivation of the learner

Resources for additional needs and inclusion are purchased as appropriate and are matched to recurring needs throughout the school. Specific individual resources are purchased where this is viable and are used to support other children where this is appropriate. Specialist resources for children with Statements of SEN will be accessed through the provision of the statement

Progress, Review and Monitoring

All young people with identified SEN at either ‘school action’ or ‘school action plus’ will have an individual education plan (IEP). The plan will identify the areas of concern, the proposed support and resources to meet those needs and the contribution of the student and parent/carer. The individual education plan will, in agreement with the young person, set specific targets for improvement. Targets may be wholly focussed upon behavioural/emotional needs and re-engaging the learner, rather than on academic needs. These targets will be used by all teaching and non-teaching staff to focus work on the needs of the individual.

IEP’s will be reviewed termly in consultation with the student and parent/carer. Progress will be measured against the targets set and improvement will be assessed in a holistic way to include

  • Engagement with the learning process and ability to access the curriculum
  • Emotional wellbeing, social or personal skills
  • Improvements and/or changes in behaviour

Pupils with a statement of Special Educational Needs will have termly IEP reviews and in additional an annual review will also be held. The purpose of the annual review is to evaluate the effectiveness of the provision of the statement and consult with external agencies for their view on this matter.

Student and Parent/Carer Involvement

The views of the student are of paramount importance and it is the responsibility of all teaching and non-teaching staff to engage positively with the young person and view the world through their eyes. Targets and IEP’s are written in agreement with the student who will be encouraged to set meaningful and realistic targets and self-assess their progress on a weekly basis.

We value the contribution that parents can make and believe the most effective way of working with a young person is where the parents and school work in partnership. Parents have a vital role to play and it is therefore important to ensure that information is accessible, their views are sought and they feel welcome in our school.

The Acorn Free School will therefore

  • Ensure that parents are aware of our policies and procedures and how to contact members of staff
  • Ensure parents/carers are invited to all meetings and that arrangements are made as accessible as possible to enable the parent/carer to attend
  • Welcome parents/carers into the school at any time
  • Ensure that a member of the non-teaching team makes telephone contact with parents/carers on a weekly basis to provide an update on progress
  • Contact parents regularly by telephone call and/or letter to celebrate successes and achievements

External Support Services

The Acorn Free School works positively with a large range of external support agencies and will liaise with and co-ordinate advice from appropriate services to ensure the needs of the young person are met. These support services are listed below – further information about the services are available by contacting the SENCO

  • Social Care
  • Educational Psychologist
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
  • Speech and Language Service
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Youth Offending Team
  • PCSO’s and the Police
  • School Nursing Team
  • Addaction
  • Family Action

Monitoring the Effectiveness of our SEN provision

Monitoring of practice against this policy will be carried out by the headteacher, SEN governor and SENCO and will include

  • Lesson observations
  • Monitoring pupil progress of SEN students against initial literacy/numeracy and emotional/behavioural assessments
  • Seeking feedback from students/parents and carers at review meetings
  • Reviewing the attendance of pupils with SEN
  • The SEN policy will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Acorn Free School Trust


If a parent wishes to complain about the SEN provision or policy they should, in the first instance, raise it with the SENCO who will try to resolve the situation. If a parent remains concerned the parent should submit a formal complaint in writing or any other accessible format. The headteacher will reply within 10 working days
Any issues that remain unresolved at this stage will be managed according to the Acorn Free School Complaints policy