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Atkinson Secure Children’s Home

Helping young people to understand and manage their emotions

Combined Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Policy and SEN Information Report Sept 2023 – Sept 2024



Last Updated

Aims of SEND provision

The aims of our SEND policy and practice in this school are to:

  • To make reasonable adjustments for those with a learning disability or additional need by taking action to increase access to the curriculum, the environment and to printed information for all.
  • To ensure that children and young people with SEN engage in the activities of the school alongside students who do not have SEN.
  • To reduce barriers to progress by embedding the principles in the National Curriculum Inclusion statement. (
  • To use our best endeavours to secure special educational provision for students for whom this is required, that is “additional to and different from” that provided within the differentiated curriculum, to better respond to the four broad areas of need:
    • 1. Communication and interaction,
    • 2. Cognition and learning,
    • 3. Social, mental and emotional health,
    • 4. Sensory/physical.
  • To request, monitor and respond to parent/carers’ and students’ views in order to evidence high levels of confidence and partnership.
  • To ensure a high level of staff expertise to meet student need, through well-targeted continuing professional development.
  • To support students with medical conditions to achieve full inclusion in all school activities by ensuring consultation with health and social care professionals in order to meet the medical needs of students.
  • To work in cooperative and productive partnership with the relevant Local Authorities and other outside agencies, to ensure there is a multi-professional approach to meeting the needs of all vulnerable learners.

What are special educational needs (SEN) or a disability?

At Atkinson School, we use the definition for SEN and for disability from the SEND Code of Practice (2014). This states:

SEN: A child or young person has special educational needs if he or she has a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her. A learning difficulty or disability is a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age. Special educational provision means educational or training provision that is additional to, or different from, that made generally for others of the same age in a mainstream setting in England.

Disability: Many children and young people who have SEN may have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 – that is ‘…a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. This definition includes sensory impairments such as those affecting sight or hearing, and long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, mental health issues and cancer.

Within the school setting, conditions like ASD, Dyspraxia, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Dyscalculia all have a long term and substantial adverse effect on a student’s ability to carry out normal day – to – day  activities, and could therefore also be thought of as a disability.

Bearing these definitions in mind, we work under the assumption that all of the young people attending the Atkinson school have SEND of some kind or another, as they all need educational provision which is ‘different from’ and ‘additional to’ that which can be provided in a mainstream learning environment.

The kinds of SEN for which provision is made at the school

  • Children and young people with SEN have different needs, but the general presumption is that all young people with SEN with or without an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) are welcome to apply for a place at our school, in line with the Home Admissions Policy. If a place is available, we will undertake to use our best endeavours, in partnership with the placing authorities, to make the provision required to meet the SEN of all students at Atkinson school.  We would also look to use our expertise to expedite the application for EHC plans where practicable and desired by the placing authority, for all young people who come to the Atkinson School without a current EHC plan.
  • For children with an EHCP, parents/ carers/ the placing authority have the right to request a particular school and the local authority must comply with that preference and name the school or college in the EHC plan unless:
    • It would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person, or
    • The attendance of the child or young person there would be incompatible with the efficient education and care of others, or the efficient use of resources.
  • Before making the decision to accept the young person into the Home, the manager will look at the EHC plan along with all other relevant information required in the admissions policy.

How do we know if young people need extra help at the Atkinson School?

We know when students need help if:

  • Concerns are raised by parents/carers, external agencies, teachers, or the student’s previous school, regarding a student’s level of progress or inclusion at previous schools.
  • Screening, such as that completed on entry to gain a baseline level of attainment, indicates gaps in knowledge and/or skills.
  • Individual student tracking of progress in Student Learning Journeys indicates lower than expected levels of progress.
  • Psychological assessment reports are obtained which outline an SEMH need which affects the young person’s ability to learn and retain new information.
  • Observation of the student by the SENCo indicates that they have additional needs in one or more of the four broad areas of need:
    • Communication and interaction
    • Cognition and learning
    • Social, mental and emotional health
    • Sensory/physical
  • A student asks for help.

What should a carer or placing authority do if it thinks their child may have SEN?

If parents/carers/ the placing authority have concerns relating to their young person’s learning then please initially discuss these with the young person’s keyworker or the SENCo. His name is Marc Herbert and he can be reached on the Home’s main phone number: 01392 457999

• Parents/ carers/the placing authority may also contact the Head of Education directly if they feel this is more appropriate.

• All parents/ carers will be listened to. Their views and their aspirations for their young person will be central to the assessment and provision that is provided by the school. As all Young People who attend the Atkinson School are Looked After Children, there is a statutory requirement for them to have a PEP, Devon CC has specified that this should happen within 3 working weeks from when the Young Person joins us. At that point the initial progress of the young person will be reviewed, and any additional needs or requirements will be formally identified. 

How will the school support a young person with SEND?

  • All students will be provided with high quality specialist teaching that is differentiated and individualised to meet the diverse needs of all learners.
  • Students with a disability will be provided with reasonable adjustments (such as auxiliary aids and services) to overcome any disadvantage experienced in schools and increase their access to the taught curriculum.
  • The quality of classroom teaching provided to students with SEND is monitored through a number of processes that includes:
  1. Classroom observation by the Head of Education and external verifiers,
  2. Ongoing assessment of progress made by students with SEND,
  3. Work sampling and scrutiny of planning to ensure effective matching of work to student need
  4. Teacher meetings with the SENCo to provide advice and guidance on meeting the needs of students with SEND as needed
  5. Student and parent/ carer feedback on the quality and effectiveness of interventions provided
  6. Attendance and behaviour records

All students have individual English, Maths and behaviour targets set which are ambitious yet achievable, in order for them to make good progress. Parents/ carers are informed of these via the reporting system and also at various meetings such as LACs, PEPs, SARs and Placement Planning meetings.

Students’ attainments are tracked and those failing to make expected levels of progress are identified very quickly. All students’ progress is recorded on a 3 weekly rotation of Student Learning Journeys that are completed by the specialist teacher for each subject and reviewed by the Head of Education and Administrator on a monthly basis. Each young person has an IPP (Individual Pupil Planning sheet) which records their area of need, targets, and planning for the next few weeks from each subject so that progress or lack of progress in each area is instantly identifiable. We also share their progress with the young person and their keyworker in 1:1 tutorials.

Additional interventions to increase the rate of progress will then be identified, implemented and monitored. The intervention record will include a review of the impact of the intervention being provided to the young person, and if required, provision of additional strategies to the subject teachers to further support the success of the young person. Parents/carers will be kept informed of any interventions being used and any positive impact on progress.

Where it is felt that a more individualised timetable requiring a higher level of staffing is needed in order to help the young person make good progress; additional funding will be sought from the placing authority, which will be kept informed of positive impacts of the intervention, as above.Where it is felt that a more individualised timetable requiring a higher level of staffing is needed in order to help the young person make good progress; additional funding will be sought from the placing authority, which will be kept informed of positive impacts of the intervention, as above.

  • Action relating to SEN support will follow an assess, plan, do and review model:

Assess: Data on the student held by the school will be collated by the SENCo in order to make an accurate assessment of the student’s needs. Parents/carers will always be invited to contribute to this early discussion to support the identification of action to improve outcomes through the PEP meeting which should be held at the Home in a face to face situation, within 3 weeks of the young person starting at the home with us.

Plan: If review of the assessment of needs indicates that “additional to and different from” support to that received by students at the Atkinson school will be required, then the views of all involved including the parents/carers/ placing authority and the student will be obtained and appropriate evidence-based interventions identified, implemented, monitored and recorded by the subject teacher in conjunction with the SENCo.

Do: SEN support will be recorded on a plan that will identify a clear set of expected outcomes, which will include stretching and relevant academic and developmental targets (this may include for young people targets around preparing for adulthood) that take into account parents’/carers’ aspirations for their young person. Parents/carers and the student will also be consulted on the action they can take to support attainment of the desired outcomes. This will be recorded and a date made for reviewing attainment.

Review: Progress towards these outcomes will be tracked and reviewed termly with the parents/carers and the student during the following PEP meeting.

If progress rates are still judged to be inadequate despite the delivery of high quality interventions, advice will always be sought from external agencies regarding strategies to best meet the specific needs of a student.

This will only be undertaken after parent/ carer permission has been obtained and may include referral to:

  1. Special Educational Needs Support Service 
  2. Dyslexia Centres
  3. Speech and language community team
  4. Occupational Therapy
  5. Autism Outreach Team
  6. Hearing Impairment team
  7. Visual Impairment team
  8. Autism and Sensory Support
  9. Educational Psychologist Service  
  10. GP assigned to the Home
  11. Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service

In addition, the school will involve external agencies as appropriate including health and social services, community and voluntary organisations for advice on meeting the needs of students with SEND and in further supporting their families.

For a large percentage of students, whose needs are significant and complex and the SEN Support required to meet their needs cannot reasonably be provided from within a mainstream’s school’s own resources, a request will be made to the placing local authority to conduct an assessment of education, health and care needs.

As a school, we have access to the relevant professionals needed to complete a range of assessments including a Cognitive assessment and Speech and Language assessment. The professionals who can provide these assessments work on a privately funded basis, and we would ask the placing authority to cover these costs, in order to expedite any request for assessment for suitability for an EHC plan. This may result in an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan being provided by the placing Authority’s 0-25 team.

How will the curriculum be matched to each young person’s needs?

• Teachers plan, using students’ achievement levels and areas of interest, differentiating tasks to ensure progress for every student in the classroom. They record the plans on an Individual Pupil Plan so that as a staff body we can make cross curricular links and support the young person in every aspect of their education, making it as relevant to them as possible.

• When a student has been identified as having special educational needs, the curriculum and the learning environment will be further adapted by the subject teachers to reduce barriers to learning and enable them to access the curriculum more easily.

• These adaptations may include strategies suggested by the SENCo and/or external specialists.

• In addition, if it is considered appropriate, students may be provided with specialised equipment or resources such as ICT and/or additional adult help. All actions taken by the SENCo and subject teachers will be recorded and shared with parents/ carers/ the placing authority.

How will parents or carers know how their child is doing?

  • Progress made towards the identified outcomes will be shared with parents/carers/the placing authority termly through feedback within SEN support reviews and PEPs and through the school reporting system.
  • Parents/ carers are encouraged to arrange an appointment to discuss their young person’s progress with the permission of the placing authority, with the SENCo or a member of the senior leadership team at any time when they feel concerned or have information they feel they would like to share that could impact on their young person’s success. Please contact the Home admin office who will arrange this appointment for you. The contact number is 01392 457999.

How will parents or carers be helped to support their child’s learning?

  • Care staff within the home will be supported to help the young people complete any homework set by the education staff.
  • The SENCo may also suggest additional ways of supporting your young person’s learning upon leaving the Home.

What support will there be for student’s overall well-being?

The school offers a wide variety of pastoral support for students. These include:

  • Student Voice mechanisms are in place in the form of a student Forum every Monday evening that are monitored for effectiveness by the management within the home. NIAS also visits on a weekly basis and sees the young people informally, as well as on a one to one basis as required.
  • 1:1 and small group evidence-led interventions to support student’s well-being are delivered to targeted students and groups. These are identified on the provision maps and aim to support improved interaction skills, emotional resilience and well-being.
  • The Home assigns each young person a keyworker, and they do direct 1:1 work with their key child on PSHE issues arising from a thrive assessment and the reasons for admission.
  • We have a CAMHS service on site with an advanced practitioner and a psychologist on hand, who regularly meet with all young people within the Home, at a time that is acceptable to the young person.
  • Within school, young people are offered THRIVE sessions. They will be profiled on the THRIVE system and any developmental gaps in their childhood will be identified and these gaps will be targeted within 1:1 THRIVE sessions. They will have an individualised action plan which will be shared with all education staff so that everyone can be aware of developmental gaps and how to support the young person with their wellbeing.
  • Young people are also offered daily pastoral sessions which aim to support them with their wellbeing and emotions. These may include, but are not limited to, time in the sensory room, use of kinetic sand, sensory toys, games, art activities and work on their life story.
  • Young people benefit from visits from therapy dogs twice a week.

Students with medical needs

  • Students with medical needs will be supported with medication etc by the care team under the supervision of our local GP once permission is given by carers/the placing authority.
  • Care staff who administer and supervise medications are trained to do so and hold all the correct up to date qualifications.
  •  All medicine administration procedures adhere to the LA policy and Department of Education (DfE) guidelines included within Supporting students at school with medical conditions (DfE) 2014 and identified in the school Medicine Administration Policy.

What specialist services are available at the school?

The school has access to a range of specialist support that are identified above.

What training do the staff supporting young people with SEND undertake?

In the last three years school staff have received a range of training at two levels; awareness and enhanced.

Awareness training has been provided to all staff on:

  • how to support students with attachment difficulties or disorder
  • how to support students with behavioural difficulties

Enhanced training has been provided to staff (HLTA) and the SENCo on:

  • Leading Forest School
  • Attendance at the yearly SENCo Conference
  • Attendance at the yearly Designated Teacher Conference.

The Educational Psychologist can visit at the beginning of a young person’s stay to assess and plan support for a targeted student. These programmes are then delivered by a trained Teaching Assistant.

How will a young person be included in activities outside the classroom including mobilities and work experiences?

  • Dynamic risk assessments are carried out and procedures are put in place to enable all young people to participate in all school activities when they are deemed safe to do so by the Assistant Home Manager on duty at the time.
  • The school ensures it has sufficient staff expertise so that no young person with SEND is excluded from any school-provided activity.
  • Work experience is negotiated with the young person around their interests; placements are found as quickly as possible to meet their needs. A risk assessment of the placement is always completed and a dynamic risk assessment of the young person is done before taking them out to the work experience placement. Diaries of their experience are completed with the member of staff that goes with them.

How accessible is the school environment?

In the last three years the following adaptations have been made to the school environment:

  • Disabled parking spot marked and located next to the school reception.
  • Ramps lead up to the pupil and public entrances to the Home.
  • One toilet has been adapted to ensure accessibility for visitors with a disability.
  • A medical room has been provided in order to enable a safe place for medical examinations and administering of medication.
  • A Sensory Room has been developed to improve inclusion in classrooms for vulnerable students.
  • Our Accessibility Plan (statutory requirement) describes the actions the school has taken to increase access to the environment, the curriculum and is available via the school website.

How will the school prepare or support a young person when joining or transferring to a new school and placement?

A number of strategies are in place to enable effective student transition, these include:

On entry

  • A planned induction assessment is delivered when students first start in school before they are allowed to attend lessons, in which expectations and routines are gone through and baseline assessments are completed.
  • The SENCo meets, where possible, with all new carers/ placing authorities of students who are known to have SEND at their initial planning meeting to allow concerns to be raised and solutions to any perceived challenges to be identified as soon as possible after they start in school.
  • If students are transferring from another setting, the previous school records will be requested immediately, and all relevant information shared with staff in order for them to know how to best support the young person in their class.

Transition to the next school, preparation for adulthood and independent living

  • The transition programme in place for students is organised by their casework coordinator. Each young person has a transition programme set up based around their needs and that of their next placement. It is formulated in conjunction with carers, the placing authority and the next placement in order to enable the young person to successfully move on from secure provision.
  • Accompanied visits to other providers can be arranged as appropriate as part of the transition plan.
  • For students transferring to local placements with education provision, the SENCos of both settings will meet or have phone conversations, to discuss the needs of students with SEN in order to ensure a smooth transition.
  • The records of students who leave the school mid-phase will be transferred within five working days of the young person moving on to their next provision.

After school

The school adheres to the guidance in Careers guidance and inspiration in schools: Statutory guidance for governing bodies, school leaders and school staff (April 2014). This places a duty on schools to secure independent careers guidance for all year 8-13 students.

This guidance includes information on the range of education or training options, including apprenticeships and other vocational pathways. A member of Careers South West attends the school regularly in order to provide students with careers advice.

Parents or carers may like to use the National Careers Service website. It offers information and professional advice about education, training and work to people of all ages or examine options identified in the local offer published by Devon County Council which sets out details of SEN provision – including the full range of post-16 options – and support available to young people with SEN and disabilities to help them prepare for adulthood, including getting a job.

Where a student has an EHCP, all reviews of that Plan from Year 9 at the latest, and onwards, should include a focus on preparing for adulthood, including employment, independent living and participation in society.

How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to a young person’s special educational needs?

  • The school receives funding to respond to the needs of students with SEND from the placing authority as part of the cost of the bed, as well as the Pupil Premium funding which provides additional funding for students who are claiming Free School Meals, who are in the care of the local authority or whose parents are in the Armed Services. The school can access these funds once the young person has been with us for 3 months.
  • For those students with the most complex needs, the school may be allocated additional educational needs funding from the Placing Authority’s High Needs SEN Funding allocation.
  • This funding is then used to provide the equipment and facilities to support students with special educational needs and disabilities. The range of support offered is identified on the provision maps.

 These target the broad areas of need:

  • Cognition and learning
  • Behavioural ,emotional and social
  • Communication and interaction
  • Sensory and/or physical
  • If parents/carers wish to discuss the options available for their young person, they are welcome to make an appointment to see the SENCo or the Head of Education.

How is the decision made about how much support each young person will receive?

  • For students with SEN but without a statement of educational need/EHCP, the decision regarding the support provided will be taken at joint meetings with the SENCo, Head of Education, carer and placing authority. As all young people who are resident at the home have complex needs, the option to apply for an EHC plan during their stay will be offered to the placing authority, and the relevant assessments, reports and paperwork will be completed as quickly as possible.  
  • For students with a statement of educational need, the school will endeavour to complete a transfer review to change the statement into an EHC plan during their stay. Decisions about how to support these young people during their stay will be made in conjunction with the placing authority, carers and the SENCo or senior leadership.

How will parents or carers be involved in discussions about and planning for their child’s education?

This will be through discussions with the SENCo or senior leadership team member at Looked After Children meetings, PEPs or Planning Meetings, or meetings with support and external agencies.

Who can parents or carers contact for further information or if they have any concerns?

If you wish to discuss your young person’s special educational needs or are unhappy about any issues regarding the school’s response to meeting these needs please contact the following: 

  • The SENCo, Marc Herbert/Claire Clutterbuck
  • The Headteacher, Marc Herbert
  • Designated Teacher Marc Herbert
  • For complaints, please contact the Home Manager. Her name is Helen Bowkett. He can be contacted via the main home phone number which is 01392 457999.

Support services for parents of students with SEN

  • Parent Partnership Services (PPS) offer independent advice and support to parents and carers of all children and young people with SEND. The nearest PPS can be located via
  • The PPS will also provide information on how to access an Independent Supporter for those parents/carers whose children are being assessed for an EHCP. Independent Supporters aim to provide guidance to parents and carers regarding the EHCP process. A FAQ factsheet on Independent Supporters is located here
  • For parents /carers who are unhappy with the Local Authority or school responses to their young person’s SEND, they may seek mediation from the regional mediation services. Information on this free service is located here
  • Parents and carers can also appeal to the Government’s SEND tribunal if you disagree with the Local Authorities decisions about your child’s special educational needs. You can also appeal to the tribunal if the school or council has discriminated against your disabled child. Information on this process is available here

Information on where the local authority’s local offer can be found

The placing Authority should have a Local Offer available on their website.


The SEND Code of Practice (June 2014) – this Code of Practice provides statutory guidance on duties, policies and procedures relating to Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and associated regulations.

Supporting pupils with medical conditions at school.

SE7 Local Offer: Framework and Guidance.

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014

Schedule 1: Information to be included in the SEN information report.


AS: Additional Support (interventions for children on the SEN register, term used instead of SA or SA+ from September 2014 onwards)

DfE: Department for Education

EHCP: Education, Health and Care Plan

LA: Local Authority

SA: School Action (terminology used for children on the SEN register, before September 2014)

SA+: School Action Plus (The plus indicated the involvement of external agencies, used before September 2014)

SEN: Special Educational Needs

SEND: Special Educational Needs and/or Disability

SENCo: Special Educational Needs Coordinator (also written as SENCO)

Statement: Statement of Educational Need (New Statements no longer issued after September 2014, EHC plans issued instead. All existing statements will be replaced with EHC Plans by Summer 2017)

PPS: Parent Partnership Services

Supported by Devon County Council