We aim to ensure that Catcote Academy is a friendly and secure place, with a stimulating and rewarding environment. We want every student to make as much progress as possible and aim to offer enriching experiences alongside a broad, balanced and personalised curriculum, using a range of strategies and approaches appropriate to individual needs and learning styles. The Academy adopts a proactive approach to disability equality, incorporating it into all decisions and activities.
Policies are in place to ensure the wellbeing of the whole school community, and that the aims set out above are supported.
The Academy subscribes to the vision for high aspirations and expectations set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2014, and work to realise it for all of our students. The Code of Practice states that Local Authorities, education providers and their partners should work together to help young people to realise their ambitions in relation to successful preparation for adulthood, including:
Higher education and/or employment;
Participating in society;
Being as healthy as possible in adult life.
Admissions criteria and guidelines
Admissions guidelines, set out by the Local Authority (LA), were agreed by the Governing Body in February 2015:
Prospective students must have a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or Education, Health and Care Plan which indicates that specialist provision is required to meet an individual student’s needs (i.e. their needs cannot be met in a mainstream school). In exceptional cases, a student may be admitted prior to the completion of statutory assessment (e.g. a student moving from outside of the authority where there is a consensus that specialist provision is required);
The student must have the ability to achieve within the curriculum offered by the Academy*;
There must be a place available in the Academy**;
In accordance with the SEN Code of Practice (2014), the admission must be compatible with the efficient education of other students in the school;
The Academy must have the required resources to meet the needs of the student. Where current resources are insufficient, the Academy will provide the LA with details of what is required to meet the student’s needs. The admission of the student on these grounds must represent efficient use of LA resources.
*The Academy offers a range of curriculum options up to Level 1.
**When the places available are filled, the Academy may be asked to admit additional students who fit the categories of special educational needs described in Section 3. In the case of oversubscription, the Headteacher will negotiate funding with the relevant local authority. Numbers in different year or need groups can vary and some classes may be able to absorb an additional student.
Areas of need
The Academy caters for a range of SEN for students between the ages of 16 and 19 at three sites – the main Academy building for those with the most complex needs, the Sixth Form building located on Brierton Lane and a satellite learning centre within the Catcote Metro retail outlet in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.
The Academy groups areas of need according to those set out in the SEND Code of Practice. It is anticipated that all students will have some level of learning difficulty, as described below.
Communication and Interaction
Autism Spectrum Disorders
In addition to a diagnosed Autistic Spectrum Disorder, students will have moderate learning difficulties such that they are working at a minimum of two whole levels below that which is generally expected for students of the same age***. Their ASD will result in significantly delayed social interaction skills and communication skills. Their behaviours may be characterised by inflexibility of thought.
Cognition and Learning
Moderate learning difficulties
Students’ attainment will be significantly below the level expected for their age. Alongside this, their cognitive profile will be at or below the second percentile in the majority of areas assessed.
In addition, it is anticipated that students will have difficulties in one of these following areas:
Impaired social interaction, communication or a significantly restricted repertoire of activities, interests and imaginative development;
Significant social and/or emotional difficulties characterised by issues in relationships with other students and adults and/or significant delay in the development of life and social skills. Such students would be considered to be socially vulnerable;
Medical or physical difficulties.
***For admission at age 16, students will usually have been working below the level required to sit GCSEs i.e. Entry Level
Severe learning difficulties
Students will present with marked limitations in learning across all areas of development. Their cognitive profile will be at or below the first percentile.
Students may also present with additional needs, as outlined above.
Profound and multiple learning difficulties
Students will present with severe developmental delay such that they will remain within the earliest stages of development (between 0-24 months) throughout their schooling. In addition to cognitive and communication difficulties, students will present with multiple needs that may include sensory and/or physical impairment. Their understanding of their interaction with their environment and of actions/events will be severely limited.
Formal request to consider admission
A formal written request to consider admission will be made by an officer from the LA SEN Team after the student is discussed at the Admissions Panel. This request should make clear reference to the responsibility of the Headteacher to consult with the Governing Body, as required by the Children and Families Act 2014. The Governors have delegated their responsibility for consultation on admissions to the Chair, who is required to report to the Governing Body on actions and decisions made under delegated powers via the Headteacher’s termly reports. Clarification of the student’s needs or any special resourcing issues may be sought either verbally in writing. There is no priority given to students transferring from particular schools.
All admissions to Catcote Academy will be considered by the Admissions Panel, which comprises representatives of the Academy and the LA SEN team. The panel will meet on a monthly basis to discuss potential admissions and any associated placement issues. Agreement will be reached on the extent to which the student meets the admission guidelines and criteria detailed above, and the type of place to be offered.
The admissions authority for the Academy is the Hartlepool Aspire Trust. The ultimate decision to offer a place to a prospective student lies with the Trust, who will endeavour to work closely with the LA to meet individual needs.
There are several scenarios where admission to the Academy may be sought:
End of phase transfer (from KS4 to post 16 provision);
Change of placement recommended by an Annual Review of a student’s ONE Plan or Statement (not at the end of Key Stage);
Specialist provision recommended by Statutory Assessment;
Student moving into the LA area;
Request from another LA, where the student resides outside of Hartlepool.
All admissions must be part of a planned process, as described in section 7.
Students transferring to Catcote Academy at the end of a Key Stage will complete an induction programme of visits prior to their full time admission. Ideally, these will take place during the summer term of their last year in the current Key Stage;
Students transferring to the Academy as a result of the Annual Review process will complete an induction programme of visits over a minimum of three weeks, following the offer of a place. The most appropriate date for a full time admission will be negotiated between the LA, the student’s parents and the two schools. Catcote Academy will comply with the statutory timescales and respond to the LA’s formal request for admission within 15 days of receiving it;
Students transferring to the Academy as a result of statutory assessment will complete an induction programme of visits over a minimum of three weeks. The most appropriate date for a full time admission will be negotiated between the LA, the student’s parents and the two schools;
Students who have moved into the Hartlepool area will be admitted as soon as possible following the offer of a place at Catcote Academy, and the completion of an initial visit. The Academy will comply with the statutory timescales and respond to the LA’s formal request for admission within 15 days of receiving it;
When a request is received from another LA, the Academy will comply with statutory timescales and respond to the requesting LA within 15 days of receiving the request. Where this is not possible due to the dates of the Admissions Panel, the Academy will inform the requesting LA of the likely date of its response. Any agreed admission will be completed within six weeks (if not an end of Key Stage transfer) or on a mutually agreed date.
Application of the policy
The policy will be applied for all admissions to the Academy, with each case discussed and any additional information taken into account. The Academy will consider every request received and endeavour to meet individual needs.