Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise

7.1 teaching

To successfully match student ability to the curriculum, Durham Johnston remains committed to:

  • High aspirations for all students
  • A range of teaching and learning styles
  • Differentiated learning materials
  • Access to ICT and Technology
  • Additional in class support
  • Flexible groupings including small group work
  • An innovative and supportive curriculum including a literacy based curriculum at Key Stage 3 and an appropriate work based curriculum at Key Stage 4 where needed
  • Up to date staff training on SEND developments and Quality First Teaching
  • The appropriate use of rewards and sanctions
  • Assessment procedures that emphasise students’ strengths and achievements
  • A broad range of extra-curricular activities

Practically, this means that we understand that children learn and develop in different ways. Teachers and Learning Support Assistants recognise this and use different teaching styles, resources and plan different levels of work in the classroom to cater for the various ways children learn. However, some children, at some time in their school life, may need extra help and support in a variety of different ways. Initially, students’ needs are met through quality first teaching provided by the subject teacher; all teachers at Durham Johnston take responsibility for meeting the needs of students with SEN within their curriculum area. If a student’s needs cannot be met through quality first teaching alone, then, after assessing the student’s needs, additional support or interventions will be put into place in consultation with the staff, parents and the student. The type of support will be matched to meet the specific needs of the student and may include an additional adult working alongside the student or their group, the student taking part in intervention or enhancement programmes outside of the classroom, additional tuition, departmental led interventions, outside agency involvement if necessary. These approaches support us in a cycle of assessing the needs of students, planning to meet their needs, implementing strategies and reviewing their impact.

Durham Johnston School provides a graduated approach to meeting the needs of students with SEND as detailed in the new SEN Code of Practice. The school works in partnership with parents/carers as well as other agencies for additional assessments and advice if necessary. It is vital that a partnership with parents/carers is consolidated as this plays a primary role in enabling young people with SEND to achieve their potential. Parents/carers have key information, knowledge and experience to contribute to the shared view of a child’s needs. Parents will be encouraged to participate fully in supporting their child.

7.2 Monitoring Progress

The progress of all SEND students is monitored closely through continuous, formative assessment and termly summative assessment. Teachers, tutors, SENCO, Heads of Department and Heads of Year work in partnership with students and parents/carers to discuss progress and identify successes and areas for improvement. Underachievement is addressed through appropriate support and enhancement programmes/intervention activities. These are reviewed regularly to ensure that support is matched to need and to evaluate their effectiveness. Assessments may be carried out before the intervention and again at the end to measure the impact of the intervention.

7.3 Focus Group

The aim of the Focus Group is to maximise learning and provide effective and supported transition from primary to secondary education. Prior to Year 7, the most vulnerable students are identified by Year 6 teachers/primary SENCO’S and DJCS Head of Learning Support. In the academic year, these students are taught the history, R.E. and geography curriculum in a small group context, with an additional focus upon learning skills and confidence building. Assessments are delivered in line with those followed by the rest of the year group. The Focus Group has a dedicated learning space and is taught by a specialist teacher. The focus group embraces students from the start of Year 7 until the end of Year 9. However, the aim is for students to make the transition into larger classes as soon as they are able to do so. This is determined through discussion between the student, class teacher, SENCO, Head of Year and parent/carer.

7.4 Behaviour Support and the Student Support Centre (SSC)

The SSC is a focal point for support within the pastoral system at school. The focus of the SSC is to work proactively with identified students to support and modify behaviours across a wide spectrum and to provide support in relation to emotional and social development.

Working with the SEN department, individualised programmes are devised for targeted students. This can take many forms: one to one, small group, counselling, support and guidance for students and parents/carers. The content of the programmes can include anger management, friendship skills and social skills tuition. The SSC also work closely with appropriate external agencies whenever there is a need. The SSC team assess individuals’ behaviour and wellbeing in consultation with teachers and parents and identify patterns of behaviour which allows for bespoke support. This can also be used to inform teaching staff and departments.

The considerable experience of the SSC staff allows them to deal with many of the complex issues a number of our SEND students have. They do so sensitively and with rigour. This enables our SEND students to have the best opportunity to achieve and succeed at Durham Johnston. However, it is recognised that if a sanction is required then the SSC and pastoral staff will work within the school’s behaviour framework. Clear and thorough communication between the SEND and pastoral team is a cornerstone in meeting needs.