Dr Thomlinson Middle School SEND Information Report 2021/22

Updated and ratified by Dr Thomlinson CofE Middle School Academy Councillors on February 7th, 2021


This information should be read in conjunction with the Northumberland County Council Local Offer.  For further details please follow this link





Welcome to our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) pages. We hope that you will find this information useful. We aim to describe the support available for your child in order that they are able to reach their full potential. 

The Learning Trust is committed to a policy of including all children, where the teaching and learning achievements, attitudes and well-being of all, matter. 

All children, regardless of ability and behaviour, are valued equally. Children with SEND are an equal part of the whole school community and individual children’s needs are recognised and met through varied and flexible provision. Details of the percentage of pupils with SEND and their progress compared to the national average can be found on the DfE School Performance tables. 

Named Contacts: 

The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENDCo) is: 

Ruth Ryan

The Three Rivers Learning Trust Directors with responsibility for SEND are Rachel Johnson and Tom Burston. 

If you wish to make contact with the staff identified above please do so by calling the school office or emailing the admin address of the respective school. 

Telephone: 01669 620287 

Email: admin@dtms.the3rivers.net 

SENDCo Responsibilities: 

In the first instance we would encourage you to speak to your child’s class or subject teacher(s) if you have any initial concerns about how your child is progressing. Either yourself or the class/subject teacher may then decide that it is appropriate to have a discussion about these concerns with the SENDCo.


The role of the SENDCo includes: 

Overseeing the provision for SEND students and ensuring that plans and progress are regularly reviewed and targets reviewed and re-set as required 

Supporting class teachers and learning support staff in meeting the needs of children in their care so that they make the best possible progress 

Co-ordinating the support for children with SEND and developing the school’s SEND policy, provision and practice to make sure all children get a consistent, high quality response to meeting their needs in school 

Ensuring that parents are: 

involved in supporting their child’s learning 

kept informed about the support their child is getting 

involved in reviewing how their child is doing 

Liaising with all the other people who may be coming into school to help support a child’s learning e.g. Speech and Language, Educational Psychology etc


Updating the school’s SEND register termly, and making sure that there are comprehensive records of your child’s needs, programmes followed and progress made.


What kinds of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) are provided for? 

Provision and support exists throughout the school for students with special educational needs and disabilities. The kinds of SEND for which provision is made include (but are by no means exhaustive or exclusive): 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 

Asperger Syndrome 

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) 

Cerebral Palsy 


Hearing Impairment (HI) 

Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) 

Social, Emotional and Mental Health issues (SEMH) 

Specific Literacy Difficulties (SpLD) 

Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) 

Visual Impairment (VI) 

Any child identified as having SEND will be supported according to 4 broad areas of need, in accordance with the 0 – 25 SEND Code of Practice: 2014 

Communication and interaction 

Cognition and learning 

Social, emotional and mental health difficulties 

Sensory and / or physical needs 

All students who are placed onto the school’s SEND register will be identified as either: 

EHCP – having an Education, Health and Care plan 

K – not holding an EHCP, but having additional support as a result of a SEND in one of the 4 categories identified above.


How does the school identify students with Special Educational Needs? 

When a student is in the process of transition from the previous phase, information from a range of sources is used to help identify SEND. This includes information from parents/carers, school to school liaison with the SENDCo, Year Leads and Class Teachers, end of key stage data and outcomes of recent tests in reading, spelling and maths. This information is gathered both before and after entry to the new school phase and then combined to identify whether an additional level of educational support is required for a child. 

During their time at school, our Class Teachers, Learning Support Staff, Curriculum Leaders, Year Leads and SENDCo closely monitor the progress and attainment of all students, including those who have or may have SEND. This continuous monitoring of students allows us to further identify students with a special educational need. We follow a staged and graduated approach to identifying and assessing needs, using the ‘Assess, Plan, Do, Review’ model, after which any member of staff is able to refer a student to the SEND Department if they continue to have concerns. If appropriate, we seek the advice or intervention of external support professionals,


such as an Educational Psychologist or Speech and Language Therapist.


What is the school’s approach to teaching students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities? 

For the most part, students with SEND are taught in the classroom alongside their peers. Teaching techniques and strategies, including differentiated resources and learning tasks, accommodate those of differing abilities. Guidance with regard to the use of these is shared by the SEND department. This enables individual learning needs to be met and allows students to maximise their potential in all areas of the curriculum. The teaching arrangements for those pupils with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will be determined by their EHCP.


How does the school evaluate the effectiveness of its provision for SEND? 

The school rigorously and routinely monitors the effectiveness of Teaching and Learning for all students, including those with SEND, through the analysis of students progress and attainment data. Frequent data analysis allows school to identify areas of strength and development and to drill down to individual students and where a specific area might need to be further supported. 

Regular feedback from parents and students provides qualitative information about the impact of the Special Needs provision. This information is used to create and implement development plans for all aspects of school life.


What are the school’s arrangements for assessing and reviewing the progress of students with SEND? 

The progress of children with SEND is monitored carefully and further support is put into place if necessary. Rigorous tracking systems inform us of any student who is falling behind and who may need further help. We aim to keep parents fully involved in the process and, equally, if parents have any concerns we encourage them to make contact with school via the subject/class teacher(s) at the earliest opportunity so that we are able to work together to best meet the needs of each child and ensure that good progress is made. 

Parents will be kept informed of any support which we feel would benefit a child. The SENDCo will work closely with subject/class teacher(s) to offer further advice if necessary, so that a child is able to access and manage the curriculum that they are following. 

All children with SEND have a student profile which outlines the needs of the child, the views of the child and the parents and suggested teaching support strategies.


How does the school adapt the curriculum and learning environment for students with SEND?


It is a guiding principle of our school that children with SEND are valued and their needs are recognised and met through a varied and flexible provision, which begins with Quality-First teaching. 

We believe that every person should be treated equally and with respect. As long as the school is the best place to meet the needs of an individual, he/she will be admitted and every care will be taken to ensure appropriate access to the full curriculum. However, a small number of students have a more personalised curriculum to match their individual needs and abilities. This may include additional literacy and numeracy support, intervention groups, the number of subjects studied and additional out of class support. 

All staff and adults are aware of those children who need additional support for any reason and are provided with suggested strategies for how our children with SEND can best be supported in lessons. Work is carefully differentiated as appropriate by the subject/class teacher to meet the students’ needs, ensuring progress. Due to highly focused support by our SEND team and an understanding of specific needs, we endeavour to give students the very best possible chance to maximise their potential and raise their self-esteem. 

As far as is practicably possible the physical needs of every student will be catered for. The school provides accessible toilet facilities for students and adults. Any student with a disability that may make movement around the building more difficult will be fully supported, with plans put in place 

to facilitate their access around the building. A risk assessment will be undertaken if required. Specific equipment and resources for HI and VI students will be provided if necessary. 

There are members of staff within school who are first aid trained and trained in administering prescribed medication to students. All medication is stored in a locked cupboard away from the students. The school endeavours, where practically possible, to cater for all medical needs and will request any additional training or expert advice as required. Students with additional medical needs will have a Health Care Plan completed by parents / carers outlining the specific needs of the child.


What additional support for accessing learning, the wider enrichment curriculum and additional school activities is available to students with SEND? 

The SENDCo will coordinate support and interventions for your child. This may include: 

In-class support where a Teaching/Support Assistant, will work closely with the teacher, in order to help your child to access the curriculum. 

1-2-1 or small group support as appropriate where the Teaching/Support Assistant will work with your child either individually or with other students. 

Homework Club where staff who know the expectations for the subject are available to help your child to complete homework. 

Social Clubs where staff encourage social skills development and the building of relationships between peers with an emphasis on enjoyment. 

Medical – there is a person with an overview of all medical difficulties. Provision for pupils with physical disabilities is made as appropriate. First Aid is always available from trained members of staff. 

Targeted ‘In-Class’ Support


To make the most effective use of additional support staff in our lessons, teachers and Teaching/Support Assistants need to plan together and work together as a team. Support may be provided by a Teaching/Support Assistant or a member of our teaching staff. 

Some key features of high quality (Tier One) support in class are: 

Working with small groups of students 

Observing student behaviour and keeping records 

Ensuring students have understood the task given 

Helping to mark work 

Preparing adapted resources (with the teacher’s guidance) 

Working with a larger group so that the teacher can work on specific tasks with a small group 

Being an extra pair of eyes and ears 

Praising, encouraging and recording good work 

Supporting individuals with reading and written work 

Recording in student’s planner where appropriate


If your child is falling behind, Tier Two Strategies are available: 

This means: 

That your child is slightly behind expectations for the class but well placed to improve and make progress with regular individual or small group support, usually from a Teaching/Support Assistant, for either a short or sustained period 

Tier Three Strategies are also available: 

This means: 

That your child is likely to require more help to make progress in the short term and that work covered in class may be inappropriate 

Specific strategies (which may be suggested by the SENDCo or outside agencies) are in place to support your child to learn 

Small steps of progress will be identified and shared with parents and pupils Your child may have a plan of intervention which explains their current abilities, the targeted ability within a 6-8 week time frame, and the programme being followed to help your child reach their goals as part of the graduated response 

Your child may work individually or in a small group with an adult, usually a Teaching/Support assistant, several times a week, and may also have differentiated work to follow in class to develop their independence when reinforcing the skills they are learning 

There will be an informal assessment at the beginning and end of the intervention period to help determine starting points and measure progress. This process is known as ‘Assess, Plan, Do, Review’ and the outcomes of this may be communicated to parents 



Our purpose is to show each child that they matter and will be valued for their contribution to school and to the world in which they live. We provide learning an enriching experience to inspire, motivate, stretch and meet the needs of all learners. 

Wherever possible, children with SEND will take part in all of the enrichment activities our school provides. Our policy of inclusion covers all areas of the curriculum, school visits, residential trips, sporting activities and social activities.


What support is available for improving the emotional, mental and social development of SEND students? 

We aim to ensure that your child’s learning needs are met whilst any emotional and behavioural difficulties are also supported. 

We do this by linking the various pastoral systems which are in place to support your child when appropriate if these needs occur. An active role is taken in helping students to manage themselves and their learning in school.


There are a variety of programmes in place to help your child with settling in and feeling comfortable in the school community. These include: 

Pastoral support from form tutors and teaching / support assistants. 

Nurture groups which run throughout the school year. These are delivered by ELSA-trained members of staff, who are highly experienced at supporting a range of emotional and behavioural needs. 

A positive behaviour programme which is used at appropriate times for students with needs in these areas. 

Medical Needs 

There are a number of staff designated and trained in First Aid for all pupils, including: 

Miss Carnaby, Mrs Creigh, Mrs Donkin, Mr Fuller, Mr Heath, Mrs Potts, Mrs Sharkey, Mrs Sutton. 

Further information is available in the Medical Needs Policy which is available at the bottom of this page.


What are the expertise and training provisions for school staff in relation to students with SEND, and what specialist expertise can the school secure? 

School staff expertise and training:


We have a SEND Department which is made up of a SENDCo, two senior Support Assistants and a team of Teaching/Support Assistants. Within this team we have staff who have a range of experience, training and qualifications covering various special educational needs. Training is provided to all staff, including teachers and Teaching/Support assistants, as the need arises. There is on-going training for all staff as well as many opportunities to further develop skills. Staff who are new to the school follow an induction programme which includes training and information on SEND. 

Additional Specialist Expertise: 

If the class teacher’s or parent’s request for advice in providing for a child cannot be met from within the expertise of the staff in school, the SENDCo or Headteacher may identify the need for extra specialist support in school from an outside professional e.g. Northumberland Inclusive Education Services (NIES) , Sensory Support Services or outside agencies such as EOTAS (Education Other than at School) and CYPS (Children and Young People’s Service).


For your child this would mean: 

Your child has been identified by school staff, or you may have raised your own concerns, as needing specialist input in addition to quality first teaching and intervention groups. 

You will be asked to give your permission for the school to refer your child to a specialist professional e.g. a Speech and Language Therapist or Educational Psychologist. This will help the school and yourself understand your child’s particular needs better and be able to support them better in school. 

A visiting specialist professional will work with your child to observe their work, behaviour, ask them to complete assessment tasks if appropriate and respond to direct questions 

The specialist professional will discuss the staff’s hopes for the outcome of the visit and look at records of the child’s assessment and the targeted work to date. 

The specialist professional may give immediate verbal feedback to staff and will prepare a written report which is shared with parents. 

You will be asked to come to a meeting to discuss your child’s progress and help plan possible ways forward. 

The specialist professional will work with your child to understand their needs and make recommendations, which may include: 

Making changes to the way your child is supported in class e.g. some individual support or changing some aspects of teaching to support them better. 

Support to set targets which will include following programmes in their specific area of expertise. 

A group run by school staff under the guidance of the outside professional e.g. a social skills group. 

A group or individual may work with the outside professional. 

The school may suggest that your child needs some agreed individual support in school. They will tell you how the support will be used and what strategies will be put in place. 

This type of support is available for children with specific barriers to learning that cannot be overcome through Quality First Teaching and intervention groups. 

Speech, Language and Communication support


If your child has been identified as requiring additional speech and language support and has been assessed by the SEND Speech, Language and Communication Service, there are trained and experienced support assistants within school to deliver programmes, following the recommendations of the specialist who also visits school at least termly. These support assistants also work within your child’s class or key stage, can therefore follow up targets in other lessons and can link practical and oral activities to the topics being studied. Your child is referred to this service via school as soon as a specific need is recognised. Children may have also been referred to this service before starting Middle School, in which case, school can liaise with a professional from the Speech, Language and Communication Service to continue this support. 

For your child this could mean: 

  • Working with a support assistant within school usually 1:1 for 2 short sessions each week 
  • A visit by the Speech, Language and Communication specialist to school once a term, to which you are invited, to review progress and set new targets 
  • Following up programmes within class where the specialist, class teacher and support assistant can plan together to address needs 
  • Bringing home visual materials to reinforce the speech sound or area of grammar addressed, so that you can practise together at home 

Support for Fine and Gross motor skills 

Your child may have been referred to an Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist and require a specific exercise program which needs to be carried out regularly at home and in school. Referrals can be made through your family doctor. 

We will allocate a specific member of staff to carry out recommended exercise programs, and class teachers will build in activities eg to improve manual dexterity, to whole class or targeted group work as necessary. We have support assistants who have experience of delivering motor skills programmes, and these staff and class teachers will meet professionals from Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy services to discuss programmes, review the child’s progress and update exercises as required. Additional resources are sometimes required to follow programmes, which can be bought by the school or loaned by the therapy services. 

For your child this could mean: 

  • Following a specific physiotherapy programme, checking specialist clothing for comfort, completing daily exercises and warm ups before PE lesson on a 1-1 basis 
  • Following gross motor physical programmes in a small group as an alternative to or in addition to the usual PE lessons 
  • Following fine motor programmes including handwriting and hand strengthening exercises in a small group 
  • Following other fine motor programmes which would be built into class lessons including art and technology and could also be completed by many or all of the classmates Using adapted materials such as training scissors 

Autistic Spectrum Condition 

We have significant experience of integrating children with ASC in school. Our support staff have undertaken specialist training in this area. We continue to use a range of teaching and pastoral supports for children with this diagnosis.

For your child this may mean: 

The support of outside agencies observing your child in the classroom and discussing their provision with school staff – possibly leading to a diagnosis and additional funding for adult support becoming available 

Working in a quieter corner of the classroom or a side room near to where other children are working, in specific circumstances 

Using overt routines, rewards and consequences which are understood by your child Withdrawing to a quieter area for specific intervention such as a social skills group or individual social story 

Working through a set of tasks with minimal adult involvement to build up academic or motor skills alongside increasing independence 

Gradually adjusting all of the methods above so that your child can work towards accepting most activities and to promote positive interactions with peers and staff 

ADD and ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder) 

We will work with families and other professionals to ascertain the specific reason for your child’s difficulties and help them to overcome them. This may mean using some of the strategies mentioned above to help your child understand reasons for our rules and routines, integrate successfully with their peers, and achieve their best. 

For your child this could mean: 

Attending individual or group appointments at CYPS (Children’s and Young People’s Service) and being observed by CYPS staff in school 

Using methods such as a workstation or rewards and sanctions 

If diagnosed, receiving medication which could be administered at school if required


How will facilities and equipment to support students with SEND be secured? 

If a child requires additional facilities and equipment to support their learning in school then the school will identify the best way to secure these, working with additional services and professionals as required. This may include: 

Purchasing the materials directly e.g. writing slopes, reading rulers, overlays etc Looking for options to rent or lease more expensive items 

Liaising with professional organisations to support with the provision of specialist items e.g. electric wheelchair 

Working with our facilities team to make any reasonable adjustments that may be required to support a child’s learning 

We aim to ensure that all students who attend the school have access to the school curriculum and wider enrichment activities and that all reasonable effort is made to ensure that the facilities and equipment needed to enable this to happen are in place. Where appropriate a needs assessment and / or risk assessment will be undertaken to support this.


What are the arrangements for consulting with the parents of students with SEND and involving them in the education of their child? 

Before the transition to Middle school there are opportunities for parents to meet with the SENDCo and Class Teachers to plan the support for their child. Once in the school, there are termly


parents’ evenings and reviews of intervention plans (Student Profiles) and a schedule of Annual Reviews for children with EHCPs. Communication between the school and parents is essential for the needs of the child to be appropriately met.


What are the arrangements for consulting with students with SEND and involving them in their education? 

As with their parents, all children with SEND are asked to contribute to their Student Profile reviews. As interventions are evaluated regularly, children are involved in this process and any changes are actioned. Strong and frequent communication between all school staff and the child are essential to this process.


What arrangements are in place for supporting students with SEND transfer from their First School and into the High School? 

We will do everything possible to ensure that your child’s needs are identified early, before transfer, and support measures will be put in place on entry. The SENDCo will meet with the SENDCo from the feeder school to discuss the specific needs of each child. If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), there will also be a ‘phase change’ review meeting. This is carried out at an early stage to allow parents and staff to carefully plan the transition which will take place at the end of each school phase. 

Additional support will be offered to ease the transition of some children who may feel more anxious or be vulnerable. Extra visits, before transfer, will enable your child to feel confident and secure. Targeted support, after transfer, will ensure that your child does not ‘flounder’ and is given the best possible opportunity to succeed. 

Year 4 children are invited to a number of transfer activities including a Mini Sports Day organised by our Young Sports Leaders, and a general ‘getting to know you’ day organised by the Year 5 team. Our ‘new year 5’ will also receive a welcoming booklet which tells the children what they can expect and look forward to. All children and parents will have the opportunity to meet the new class teacher in the Summer Term. 

At KEVI, an extensive transition programme is run by a senior member of our team which aims to help vulnerable students with a variety of needs to cope with any stresses or practical problems associated with changing schools. 

Further visits for those children who are particularly anxious about the move from First to Middle or Middle to High, are arranged either through consultation with the feeder school, or by parental request.


What provision is in place by the Governors for dealing with any concerns or complaints from the parents of students with SEND concerning the provision made by the school?


What do I do if I have a concern? 

If you have a concern then contact your child’s class teacher in the first instance. If concerns persist, then contact the SENDCo Mrs Ruth Ryan. 

Please provide details of your concerns and who you have discussed these concerns with and what the outcomes were.


What do I do if I am still concerned that the issues have not been addressed appropriately? 

Please contact the Headteacher: Mr Liam Murtagh.


What is the Local Offer? 

The Local Offer is essentially the provision available for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). This requirement is laid out by the Children’s and Families Act 2014, the Special Educational Needs and Disability regulations 2014 and the 0-25 SEND Code of Practice, 2014. 

The Local Authority will produce a Local Offer for Northumberland and all schools will produce one for their establishment. 

The Local Authority Local Offer has two key purposes: 

To provide clear, comprehensive and accessible information about the support and opportunities that are available 

To make provision more responsive to local need and aspirations by directly involving young people with SEND, parents and carers and service providers in its development and review. 

The Northumberland Local Offer can be found here. 

Offers designed by each school should also have these key principles in mind. 

Local Offers from Neighbouring Authorities: 

As a comparison, please see other examples of Local Offers: 

North Tyneside 



What other support services can be accessed by parents of children with SEND?


Additional information can be found via the following links: 

Northumberland Local Offer


What are Education and Health Care Plans? 

These were introduced in September 2014. Students with previous Statements of Special Education Need have had these updated and converted to EHC Plans. 

The 0 – 25 SEND Code of Practice 2014 states that: 

The majority of children and young people with SEN will have their needs met within local mainstream early years providers, schools or colleges. 

A local authority must conduct an assessment of education, health and care needs and prepare an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) when it considers that it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person through an EHCP. This is likely to be where the special education provision required to meet the child or young person’s needs cannot reasonably be provided from within the resources normally available to mainstream early years providers, schools and post 16 institutions. This statutory assessment should not be the first step in the process; rather it should follow on from planning already undertaken with parent and young people in conjunction with an early years provider, school, post-16 institution or other provider. 

EHCPs must be focused on the outcomes the child or young person seeks to achieve across education, health and care. EHCPs must set out how services will work together to meet the child or young person’s needs and in support of those outcomes. EHCPs will be based on a co-ordinated assessment and planning process which puts the child and young person and their parents at the centre of decision making. 

Statutory assessment will not always lead to an EHCP being allocated. The information gathered during an assessment may indicate ways in which the school, college or other provider can meet the child or young person’s needs from within available resources.” 

If an application for an EHCP is made, this process will take at least 20 weeks to complete before a final EHCP is agreed. More information about EHCPs can be accessed via the Northumberland County Council website.


All related policies can be found here.


Date: January 2021


Review By : January 2022

For details on the Local Offer published by Northumberland Local Authority please use the following web link:

Our SEND Policy and Accessibility Plan can be found on the Policies page.

For details on the Local Offer published by Northumberland Local Authority please visit their website.

Careers Programme Information