SEN & Disabilities
Our Approach to Inclusion at The Oxford Academy
At The Oxford Academy we are inclusive and a school for all in our community. We work to meet the needs of our students - whatever it takes. Everyone works to make sure all learners feel welcome and valued, and that they get the right support to help them develop their talents and achieve their goals. We promote genuine personal, social, and intellectual inclusion in our policies and our practices.
The Oxford Academy aims to ensure that appropriate provision is available and that every student has equal access to curriculum opportunities. We work to ensure that the curriculum is accessible to every individual learning need.
The first layer of our inclusive practice is our commitment to exceptional teaching. Across the school, the graduated approach is central to ensuring quality first teaching, and supports all school staff in noticing, and being curious about, the children and young people in their classes: their strengths and interests, times when they are successful and times when they experience challenges to engagement and curriculum accessibility. The graduated approach, the assess-plan-do-review learning cycle, enables adults in school to create an environment where children and young people can maximise their potential and develop the skills needed to prepare for the next stage in education and beyond to adulthood.
Where additional support and intervention is needed beyond that provided in the classroom, our learners are supported by our STARS hubs. Inclusion is divided into different hubs, each catering for a different barrier to learning:
Sky: Offers specialist support to remove barriers to learning for young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder or Speech Language Communication difficulties.
Thrive: Provides emotional and mental health support to enable vulnerable pupils who are withdrawn and struggling due to high levels of anxiety to re-integrate and thrive in a mainstream environment. Thrive can also support pupils returning to school after long-term medical absence.
Achieve: Offers a range of evidence-based literacy interventions which support pupils to access mainstream lessons.
Resilience: Short-term targeted interventions for pupils who are reluctant to engage with classroom learning or who struggle to regulate their emotions in a school environment.
Score: Our numeracy support programme for those who find maths a particular challenge.
The hubs work closely with their mainstream colleagues to offer supplementary support to the regular curriculum, or work with identified students who need specific intervention for a fixed period of time. Targeted intervention programmes include for example Freshstart, Zones of Regulation, ELSA support and access to other outside agencies.
Our Inclusion Team is led by our Assistant Headteacher-Inclusion who is also our SENCo. This senior member of staff is supported by:
An Assistant SENCo
Five Lead Intervention Tutors, each leading one of the hubs
A team of 14 Intervention Tutors, each working in a specific hub
A teacher of SEND and HLTA leading the Enhanced Pathway
A full time administrator
Support for Learners with Lower Starting Points
At The Oxford Academy we support some students in groups where the curriculum and teaching strategies have been specially adapted to meet their needs. These classes are supported by additional staff members and offer consistent teaching by a team of highly trained and experienced teachers who know the students, and their learning needs well. This helps us to ensure all students raise their attainment, literacy skills and enhance their social skills and understanding of the wider world.
Enhanced Pathway Provision
For a small group of no more than 10 identified students per year, we offer an Enhanced Pathway provision. Year 7s identified for this pathway by both the LA, primary schools and The Oxford Academy (maximum 10) will have one teacher and a HLTA for the duration of the year. The group will have access to a specialist room and bespoke, differentiated curriculum offer, whilst the young people have reduced cognitive load by only requiring to build relationships with key members of school staff whilst getting used to a larger setting.
As the cohort moves to year 8, key lessons will be identified by students and staff and a strengths-based timetable will be built. A second teacher will then be employed to support this cohort within lessons, supporting staff with strategies, and core teaching at a base to include work on emotional regulation as well as key curriculum areas. The timetable will increase over the year to at least 50%.
As the cohort moves to year 9, in year 3 of the programme, the young people should be fully involved in the timetable as their peers in school. The base will offer a safe place to regulate, assess pre teaching or homework support.
While The Oxford Academy is a large site in terms of square footage, teaching and learning spaces, as well as toilets, are fully accessible, either because they are on the ground floor or through lifts providing access.
Our school uniform policies support those with sensory needs in an inclusive way- because students come to school in PE kit on the days they are taking part in a club or attending a PE lesson, we are happy to organise PE uniform as standard for those with sensory needs. We aim to reduce sensory overload by reducing classroom displays, eliminating noises like whole school bells, and by maintaining calm, ordered environments in school. Our large site allows us to have year group specific areas for both learning and unstructured times, meaning that our students have smaller groups to interact with at lunch and breaktime.
Enrichment and Additional Offer
We are proud of our varied and busy enrichment offer at The Oxford Academy. All students are encouraged to take part in our range of clubs, which run every day. In addition to our main offer, anxious and vulnerable students across the school have daily access to breakfast and lunch clubs, run by our inclusion team, which enable them to have a safe space for unstructured, busy times of the day. We also offer homework clubs specifically tailored for children working with our hubs and who are on our SEND register. We provide resources to support the learning of those who will benefit from them (such as chromebooks, reader pens, etc.) and constantly monitor, support and intervene when any individual is falling behind with their personal, social or intellectual development .
The SEN Policy and Information report can be found in the Policy Section of our website