Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Policy

1. Overview
Ashbourne College is an academically selective independent college. All students applying to join Ashbourne are treated equally given they satisfy the College’s selection procedures (see Admissions policy), which will have regard for whether a student will benefit from Ashbourne’s teaching methods and independent learning environment. Any students with a special educational need or disability (SEND) must be able to meet the academic and behavioural requirements of the College.

The aims of this policy are to:

  • illustrate how students can benefit from the education that Ashbourne provides.
  • outline how Ashbourne assesses and provides support for students with a SEND.
  • clarify our commitment to SEND students that will ensure they access the same provision of education as their peers at Ashbourne.
  • identify the staff responsible for and protocols in place to support SEND students.
  • underscore how the College complies with relevant legislation.

Ashbourne is committed to all members of the student body being fully integrated into the life of the College with due regard paid to individual needs in consultation with students, parents, teachers and external agencies. If students are found to have a special educational need or disability, which is corroborated by the College or by an approved external specialist, Ashbourne will make special educational provision and reasonable adjustments to accommodate their needs whilst at the College (See 8.1 Reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act 2010).

While Ashbourne is not a specialist centre for SEND students, the College’s small class sizes (rarely more than 10 students) and positive, friendly atmosphere provide an excellent learning environment for those who require additional assistance. This is further enhanced through our Socratic teaching methods, which aim to improve student engagement within the classroom and help build students’ confidence as independent learners. Ashbourne has a strong track record for improving student performance recently illustrated by our GCSE and ALIS (computerised) test results far exceeding predictions.

2. Legislation and definitions
Changes to the arrangements for SEND came into force in September 2014 with the implementation of provisions from the Children and Families Act 2014 of which Part 3 is the SEN and Disability Code of Practice, 0-25 years 2014 (SEND Code 2015).
Ashbourne adheres to the definition in the Introduction to the SEND (2014) Code of Practice with regard to provision, which states that a child has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

  1. Has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age; or
  2. Has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools.

Ashbourne is committed to fulfilling its duties in compliance with the Equality Act 2010, and as such will make any ‘reasonable adjustments’ for students with any SEND.

3. Admissions arrangements (See also Admissions Policy)
Students with a SEND have an equal opportunity to join Ashbourne if they satisfy the College’s selection procedures. If examination concessions are required for the entrance assessments (e.g. use of a laptop or extra time), evidence should be submitted to the Admissions department prior to the test date. This documentation will be considered by Ashbourne’s SEND co-ordinator (SENDCo) or the Deputy SENDCo who will make the necessary recommendations.

4. The Learning Support Department
The Learning Support Department comprises the following members of staff:

Ms. Fran Burns – SENDCo. Fran is responsible for co-ordinating provision for SEND students. She liaises between students, their families, teachers, the Examinations Officer and, where necessary, local authorities.

Mr. Lee Kirby – Deputy SENDCo. As Director of Studies it is part of Lee’s role to work closely with Fran and to support her in her role.

Ms. Simone Shaw – SEND Advisor and Assessor. Simone is a dyslexia tutor and specialist assessor qualified to carry out the Access Arrangements tests for examination concessions. She supports students who require curriculum modification due to their specific needs and gives students with dyslexia tailored one-to-one support with their work. Simone is responsible for ensuring all Form 8s, required for Access Arrangements, are processed for SEND applications.

Ms. Blaize Campbell – Educational Assessor for SEND, trainee – She is able to assess students for SEND requirements in the absence of the SEND Advisor and Assessor.

Examinations Officer (to be confirmed for academic year 19/20). The Examination Officer is responsible for overseeing examination procedures and liaising with the SENDCo to provide the relevant Access Arrangements for SEND students. They are also responsible for the collection of all relevant mock examination documentation from SEND students as evidence of their regular way of working within the centre.

5. Procedure

5.1 Students with pre-existing access arrangements
Any students who were provided with access arrangements in their previous place of learning will be given a review assessment at the start of their first term at Ashbourne; for those students transferring onto an A-Level programme this is a Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) requirement. This will consist of a visual processing test (SDMT) and the DASH handwriting assessment. Relevant applications are processed subject to requirement.

If a student does not meet the JCQ threshold, further assessments may be carried out to ascertain if there is an ongoing need.

Given that JCQ threshold guidelines can vary from one year to the next, students who have previously received access arrangements at their former school should not expect that these will automatically be granted when they transfer to Ashbourne.

5.2 Students without pre-existing access arrangements
It is not the College’s policy to screen and assess each student for specific learning difficulties. To be eligible for a screening test students must be referred by an Ashbourne teacher which will lead to the SEND department initiating the process of assessment.

Prior to October half-term, teachers will be asked for feedback about any students who may have a SEND. If necessary the SEND department will invite relevant students for an initial screening involving a program called LUCID EXACT (a JCQ recognised assessment tool). Further assessment may follow subject to initial results. Where results yield standardised scores of 84 or less in areas of processing, (e.g. reading speed, visual processing, cognitive function etc.) an application for examination concessions can be made.

For more complex access arrangements such as 50% extra time, further testing would be required and appropriate scores (69 or less) would need to be recorded. Ideally, this would be done by an educational psychologist who would carry out a full diagnostic assessment. However, our SEND Advisor and Assessor could carry out this assessment if required. In the case of students with conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) alternative access arrangements may given (e.g. rest breaks). All access arrangements are reviewed on an individual basis with consideration to the needs of the student and the needs of the wider student body.

If a student believes that they have a SEND, they must first discuss this with their subject teachers who are responsible for referring them to the SEND department. If no referral takes place, the student must go to the SEND department themselves.

The SEND department will assess a student for access arrangements only. The specialist assessor does not offer a full diagnostic assessment; this should be done by an educational psychologist. In addition, students who require testing for dyscalculia will need to be assessed elsewhere (e.g. with an educational psychologist).

Any students who have not received prior access arrangements but do have an educational report detailing a need will meet with the SEND Assessor for further testing. This will involve two tests in processing, and a handwriting test if Word Processing is required.

5.3 Testing procedure for SEND
A variety of tests are used:

No prior access arrangements

  1. LUCID EXACT – Computerised program to test reading speed, writing speed, typing speed plus single word reading, reading comprehension. This test takes approximately 40 minutes.

Existing prior access arrangements

  1. Symbol Digit Modality Test (SDMT) – Visual processing; and/or
  2. Rapid Naming subtest of CTOPPII – Cognitive processing; and
  3. DASH handwriting assessment (10-20 minute assessment, usually followed up with a typing test of similar length).

Further assessment might include:

  1. WIATIII – tests of attainment.
  2. TOMAL 2 – assessment for memory.
  3. ADHDT2 for attention deficit and impulsivity.

6. Supporting staff
The SEND team meets with teachers on a regular basis in order to offer advice and support.

The SEND Advisor and Assessor uses these opportunities to introduce new staff to methods for the identification of SEND students and how to meet their individual requirements in the classroom.

These meetings also provide the opportunity for staff to discuss their concerns about individual students and discuss strategies to support them.

7. Failure to disclose a pre-existing SEND
Before a place is offered at the College parents of a candidate with any known or suspected circumstances relating to a disability, long-term medical condition or special educational need, must provide full written details as part of the application process.

Should parents or students fail to disclose any relevant information prior to acceptance, the College may be unable to meet the needs of the student and in some circumstances, this may result in the offer of a place being withdrawn.

Where a student’s SEND is identified, or develops after beginning at Ashbourne, the College will continue to support the student under the following conditions:

  1. The College possesses the appropriate resources and facilities to provide the support required; and
  2. It is in the best interests of the student and of the College community for the student to remain at Ashbourne.

Where either of these conditions cannot be met the College reserves the right to withdraw any place that has been awarded.

8. Access arrangements
Ashbourne offers SEND students a number of different access arrangements for examinations, which include:

  1. Extra time
  2. Laptop
  3. Special seating arrangement within the exam hall

Ashbourne’s criteria for extra time are in line with the Joint Council for Qualifications guidelines on extra time and are subject to regular review by the disability committee.

Ashbourne does not have the resources to offer separate invigilation for any examinations. Those students who have previously required a reader will be issued with a specialised reader pen and headphones to allow them to complete their examination in the same room as other candidates.

8.1 Reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act 2010
Ashbourne will endeavour to make any reasonable adjustments for the provision of education to any SEND students to enable them to perform to the best of their academic potential within our learning environment.

In accordance with guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission relating to ‘reasonable adjustment’, the College considers the following factors when assessing provision:

  1. The extent to which special educational provision complies with Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014
  2. The resources of the College and the availability of financial or other assistance.
  3. The financial and other costs of making any relevant adjustments.
  4. The extent to which taking any particular step would be effective in overcoming the substantial disadvantage suffered by a disabled student.
  5. The practicability of any adjustments.
  6. The effect of the disability on the individual.
  7. Health and safety requirements.
  8. The need to maintain academic, musical, sporting and other standards.
  9. The interests of other students and prospective students.

Ashbourne will assess each application for adjustments on a case-by-case basis.

Authorised by The Principal
Date July 2019
Effective date of the policy July 2019
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / Students on request
Review date September 2020