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Priory Woods School & Arts College

Priory Woods School & Arts College A Special Place to Learn

SEND Policy

Adopted by: Priory Woods School

SEN co-ordinator        Hazel Souter


1.1 To achieve our school mission which is:

By working together, our pupils will enjoy a creative, innovative, exciting and challenging curriculum within a safe environment which will enrich and enhance every child’s learning.

This will be done through our school aims which are to:

  • recognise the individual needs and talents of each pupil and to facilitate the development of their intellectual, moral, physical, social , spiritual and creative capacities
  • ensure that the curriculum incorporates statutory requirements and is broad, balanced, creative  and relevant to the varying and specific needs of our pupils
  • monitor the standards of pupil achievement and the quality of teaching
  • measure, assess and record the progress of each pupil in a systematic way, enabling us to ensure that each pupil achieves their fullest potential
  • provide equality of opportunity for all
  • work closely with parents, professionals and the wider community

To this end, during their time at Priory Woods we will encourage all our pupils to become conscientious young citizens by helping them to develop:

  • Effective communication and social skills
  • Enquiring minds, problem solving and thinking skills
  • Independence, self esteem and confidence
  • Flexibility and an ability to cooperate with others and influence the world in which they live
  • Tolerance and respect for themselves and others
  • Imagination and creative expression through a wide range of media
  • Pride in their achievements and a desire to succeed

1.2 To use our resources as efficiently as possible through good management, communication, and liaison and through the adoption of clearly defined informative policies and procedures.


Priory Woods School & Arts College caters for young people aged 4 to 19 years The school caters for pupils with a wide range of learning difficulties which include moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD) and profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD). A large proportion of pupils have complex needs and their learning difficulties may be exacerbated by ADHD, ASD, physical, sensory issues, attachment issues, or behavioural problems.

The school organises the curriculum into 3 areas; informal, semi-formal and formal. Students access the curriculum model to meet their specific and individual needs.

The school is presently organised into 3 separate departments:

Lower School (4 to 11 years) –

Pupils are grouped according to their chronological age. There is an early-years department and six further classes. Classes are paired or grouped and teachers work together to plan and deliver the curriculum models. Pupils are grouped according to their needs and ability for the curriculum to ensure their individual needs are met.  Pupils who have been identified as needing additional sensory support are withdrawn at specific times throughout the day to receive a specific sensory diet or bespoke programme to meet their needs. Pupils identified as gifted and talented will access the additional activities/tasks to challenge them further.

Upper School (11 to 16 years)

At Key Stages 3 and 4 pupils are in tutor groups according to age. They are also grouped according to individual need and ability for different curriculum areas. We operate different timetable models and personalise learning to try, as far as possible, to meet the needs of individual pupils. Potential Entry Level students have access to additional Maths and English,lessons, where appropriate. Teachers with some degree of expertise teach specific subjects.

Post 16 (16 to 19 years)

At Post 16 students are in mixed age tutor groups for registration but follow courses in line with their year groups. Programmes of study are specifically aimed at increasing independence skills and preparation for adult hood as students’ transition into adulthood.Students have the opportunity to take part in different work experiences and to participate in courses at local FE colleges and vocational courses in other local settings. The curriculum at this stage is personalised as far as possible to maximise each individual’s strengths.  Some students may need regular access to the sensory room, hydrotherapy pool, rebound therapy etc.


The majority of our pupils are admitted to Priory Woods School with a completed EHCP.  However, should this not be the case we would then refer to the LA referral guidance and follow the pathway prescribed.

Priory Woods School will admit pupils aged from 4 to 19 years at the beginning of a new half term providing there is a place available.  The child will be admitted after consultation with the parents / guardians, the local authority SEN team and relevant professionals.

Before a child starts at our school we would aim to work through the following procedures:-

  1. receive written literature outlining the child's special needs and relevant background information
  2. discuss our provision on site with the parents / guardian and where possible the child.
  3. be involved in any case reviews / meetings at the child's host school or Early Years setting where decisions on the child's future placement at Priory Woods school will be discussed.
  4. visit the child at their current school or Early Years setting / home prior to offering a place at Priory Woods school
  5. liaise with the relevant professionals (ie. Health, SaLT, Occupational Therapy etc)  involved with the child and their family and gain their expert advice around the child’s needs.
  6. where necessary secure the relevant equipment or staffing prior to admitting the child full time in to school.
  7. provide several opportunities for the child to visit school as part of his/her transition

For pupils / students leaving Priory Woods School we would aim to adopt the above procedures in terms of liaison and communication with the relevant bodies.  Students will also be presented with a record of their achievements at the end of year 6 and on leaving Priory Woods.


  • We regularly review and revise our whole school curriculum in line with current thinking on good practice and government guidelines and recommendations. We recognise that our children are working significantly below the age-related expectations of their mainstream peers. Our curriculum is designed in light of current thinking, e.g. by Professor Barry Carpenter and also in response to the Rochford review, recognising that our learners are not neuro typical and therefore need a curriculum model which takes this into account. We operate several curriculum models, informal, semi-formal and formal to ensure the differing needs of pupils are met. Every pupil has access to ‘a curriculum designed to be ambitious and to meet their needs’ ( Ofsted Inspection Framework May 2019)
  • In Lower School the curriculum is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage and is delivered through topics.
  • In Upper School, students are in inclusive form groups and are then grouped for lessons according to identified need in terms of accessing an informal, semi-formal or formal pathway. There is fluidity between curriculum models if this is deemed in the best interests of the student’s needs; regular assessment will ensure that provision remains appropriate.
  • Each pupil's timetable is tailored to meet his or her individual needs. For example, a pupil with physical disabilities will require a significant percentage of curriculum time assigned to physiotherapy/motor learning routines as well as personal hygiene needs that may be associated with their disability.  Some of our pupils have access to a range of therapies, e.g. speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, Tree Tops, rebound therapy, hydrotherapy and sensory integration. Therapies are an integral and essential part of our curriculum. 
  • In both Lower School and Upper School, learning is divided into three strands as mentioned above. Learning opportunities are devised to develop communication, problem solving, thinking and learning skills, physical skills and independence with an eye always on preparing for adulthood.
  • As a specialist arts college we specialise in the delivery of arts subjects and actively promote the development of creativity.
  • Thrive is an integral element to the ethos and practice in school. Some students access Thrive individually, as small groups or as part of a larger group. A Friday afternoon is dedicated to Thrive across lower and upper school.
  • Tutor time is used in part to helping pupils review their progress towards independence, PSHE and personal development towards their Thrive profile .


 At Priory Woods we believe there are different purposes for assessment. These include:

  • Careful and collaborative planned discussions to establish progress made against a pupil’s own personal learning intentions, i.e. ipsative assessment and planning the next steps in learning.
  • analysis of personal progress, examining if this is the expected achievement and, if not, giving consideration to potential barriers to learning and addressing these.
  • being able to report to parents on individual achievement and progress.          
  • Supporting and informing the EHCP process and planning for the future.

Assessment at Priory Woods is threefold and linked to the recording process and curriculum planning.

  1. Baseline Assessment
  • Baseline assessment is carried out in accordance with statutory/LA guidelines.
  • Pupils in lower school are assessed within 7 weeks of starting school using the EYFS Development Matters.
  • Students who transfer to Priory Woods in Y7 or during the school year are baselined and assessed, in the core curriculum areas, in their first term and the information inputted into MAPP2.

2. Formative Assessment

  • Formative assessment is ongoing and used to inform;
    • Pupils’ MAPP learning intentions
    • Learning intentions in teachers’ planning.
    • Annual Reviews /EHCP Outcomes and Targets
  • Assessment for the curriculum areas of problem-solving, communication, physical and sensory, social and emotional, thinking and learning and creative and is  carried out using MAPP2 for our curriculum model and PIVATS where appropriate to do so
  • Assessment data is inputted into MAPP and analysed so ipsative progress can be monitored
  • Assessment is moderated/interrogated in regular learning and progress teacher meetings                      

Additional assessments can be used to inform pupils’ learning intentions and EHCP outcomes. These can include:

Speech Therapist Reports

Physiotherapist Reports

Occupational Therapist Reports

Treetops reports

CAMHS reports

Educational Psychologist’s reports

Pupils' achievements are celebrated, this could be in a whole school or phase assembly.  Each pupil selected by the class teacher receives their ' Star of the Week ' certificate with details of their success. 

3. Summative Assessment

  • This takes the form of reports to parents and other professionals. Every student who leaves Priory Woods School takes with them a record of their achievements.
  • Accreditation – as far as possible we recognise pupil attainment through nationally recognised accreditation schemes e.g. ASDAN, AQA, City and Guilds, Arts Award, BADT


Priory Woods is a purpose-built special school and the accommodation offers high quality resources including appropriate specialist teaching rooms - art studio, food technology room, hydrotherapy pool, a sensory room, rebound therapy room and excellent staff facilities. Careful design and planning have ensured that a distinctive primary and secondary school ethos exists.

Priory Woods school has a good staff / pupil ratio.  We also enjoy the active involvement of parents.


The principle of inclusion is embodied within the daily life of Priory Woods School & Arts College.  We have mixed ability tutor groups and we try, as far as possible, to personalise learning to ensure the differing needs of students are met.

We feel it is important for some of our pupils, where appropriate, to have the opportunity to spend time in a different setting with their mainstream peers. We have a member of staff dedicated to providing support to pupils in lower school and a part-time mentor to support Post 16 students. We try and place pupils in the same mainstream school as that attended by their siblings. If this is not possible we use schools local to Priory Woods.  Pupils/students may spend time at the following places:

  • St Joseph’s
  • St Pius
  • Thorntree
  • Green Lane
  • Park End
  • Middlesbrough College
  • Prior Pursglove  College
  • Askham Bryan
  • Outwood Academy at Ormesby

Through inclusion we aim to:

  • offer the pupil the opportunity to learn in a different environment
  • provide the pupil with opportunities to experience different approaches to teaching and learning while promoting continuity of educational experience and progression
  • increase the pupils self advocacy skills
  • increase the pupils' self esteem
  • increase the pupils’ independence skills
  • broaden the pupils' opportunity for social interaction.
  • increase the pupils' understanding of themselves
  • encourage the pupils' to become as confident and independent as possible in their learning

Inclusion not only benefits the pupil, but also provides us with a medium through which the wider community can learn about our school. There are good links with other local schools whereby Priory Woods offers a service to support children with special needs within their mainstream setting.  This may involve staff from Priory Woods working with teachers and pupils in the mainstream school; pupils from mainstream schools are also offered the opportunity to spend time in Priory Woods benefiting from specialist resources and curriculum provision. 


Priory Woods school endeavours to encourage and aid the professional and personal development of all staff, so that as a school we are able to offer the pupils high quality teaching. We have reached the standard of 'Investors in People’ and have been granted this award several times.  Opportunities exist for in - service provision from within school, LA and, where appropriate, outside agencies.  Our CPD plan is linked to the School Improvement Plan in terms of identifying and prioritising need.

Through professional development interviews all teaching and classroom support staff have identified areas where they may require further training, either to fulfil curriculum responsibilities or to further a particular area of expertise.


Priory Woods is striving for a true partnership with parents, developing a genuine dialogue and interaction.  We share a common purpose, educating their children, and so are working towards a more participative approach for those parents who wish to be engaged in school matters, at whatever level. We have a, full-time family liaison officer and she offers a link between school and home and a flexible response to individual parents / families in order to meet their individual needs.  Some parents may require a home visit or telephone call to discuss a particular issue ; others may need extensive ongoing support. Some parents may need offers of transport or creche facilities to enable them to attend a school event.  We ensure that parents have open access to:

  • reports concerning their child
  • the governing body
  • policy documents
  • the school website
  • Twitter and Facebook
  • Evidence for Learning to share photographs

We endeavour to ensure that each pupil has the most appropriate specialist provision, however, parents are asked to contact the head teacher if they have any concerns about the provision of their child's education.


Priory Woods works closely with a number of other agencies in order to enhance the pupils' education.  These include:

Local authority SEND team

Educational Psychology Service

Children’s Learning Disability Middlesbrough community (CLD)

Social Services


School nursing

Local Health Authority & Trusts


OT Service

Speech and Language

Physiotherapy Service


We need to ask ourselves the following questions:

Have the admissions procedures been implemented?

Have we met our legal requirements with regards to EHCPs of individual pupils?

Have the objectives from the Annual Review report been met?

Have we kept to target times for tel,

Janisransitional and other annual reviews?

Have our pupils made progress as a result of our curriculum offer?

Have pupils and families been supported to ensure the best outcomes for our learners?