SEND Information Report 2021

Academy Name: Orion Academy
Address: Knights Road, Blackbird Leys, Oxford, OX4 6DQ
Telephone: 01865 771703
Headteacher: Mrs Lynne Smith
SENCO: Karen Thomas
Governor responsible for SEND:
Date completed: September 2021

What kinds of SEND do we make provision for?

Orion Academy is a Special Academy for students, aged between 11-18, with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs. The academy is situated in Oxford and accepts students from across the whole county. We have 87 students on roll, and are a small and specialised academy, where students are respected, supported and encouraged.

  • Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs, these needs may manifest themselves with anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance abuse, eating disorders or other physical symptoms. Students may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) or attachment disorder.

Our students also have a wide range of secondary special educational needs including;

  • Communication and Interaction Needs, this includes students who have speech, language and communication difficulties as well as encompassing students who are on the autistic spectrum
  • Cognition and Learning Needs, this encompasses a range of learning difficulties including dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia
  • Sensory and/or Physical Needs, this includes students with vision impairments (VI), hearing impairments (HI) or a multi-sensory impairment (MSI)

What is the academy’s policy of identification and assessment of students with SEND?

100% of students enter the academy with a current EHCP which documents their specific needs and gives strategies for how to overcome their personal barriers to learning.

Our starting point in identifying any additional special educational needs is with our in-academy data. We track our students’ progress and act when information shows that students may not be making progress in line with our expectations. At this point, we use Oxfordshire County Council’s guidance ‘Identifying and Supporting Special Educational Needs in Oxfordshire Academies and Settings’ which sets out

  • How we identify if a student has a special educational need;
  • How we assess students and plan for their special educational need, and how we adapt our teaching to overcome any barriers to them making progress;
  • Ways in which we can adapt our learning environment to meet each student’s need;
  • How we review progress and agree outcomes;
  • How we involve parents and the student in decisions.

Please go to to see this document.

How do we know that our provision is effective and how do we review the progress of students?

The progress of all students is tracked throughout the academy year. We hold an Annual Review of each student’s EHCP in line with OCC’s guidance. We also report progress to parents via an end of year report and during our three Termly Outcome Plan (TOPs) consultation evenings each year.

We are moving to ensure that all our interventions and provision for SEND are tracked and evaluated at whole-academy level (with overall provision mapping and analysis of information from our new tracking system) and individual level (with individual provision trackers).

How will the curriculum be matched to your child’s needs and how might we adapt the curriculum and learning environment to meet the needs of our students?

We aim to offer all students a wide-ranging curriculum which will stretch and challenge them. We prefer our students to remain in the classroom as much as possible as we believe that nothing is as important as having access to the best quality teaching each and every day. We follow Government guidelines about the curriculum we offer whilst taking a flexible approach to our provision to ensure each student has an academic experience which is relevant to them.

Our pathways for Year 9s ensure that all students have a Key Stage 4 curriculum which meets their needs. For some students this means accessing an alternative provision for some of their time each week. The alternative provision we currently use includes;

What additional support might we offer to students?

When an additional need is identified, we take an approach which focuses on the individual requirements of the student. All our strategies focus on ensuring a student retains or gains independence.

We have a therapeutic area where our students are able to access 1:1 or small group support for a variety of reasons. The Bridge is staffed by experienced practitioners who are qualified to work with students to help overcome barriers to learning including supporting with strategies concerning anxiety and low self-esteem.

How will your child be included in activities outside the classroom?

All students are encouraged to take part in extra-curricular activities. We are guided by the Equalities Act (2010) in making reasonable adjustments to allow students with a SEND to take advantage of extra-curricular activities including trips away from academy. We will complete a risk assessment when necessary and will use this to guide our provision of support.

The Gallery Trust’s equality policy can be viewed on our website.

What support will we offer for your child’s overall wellbeing?

Students have access to a wealth of services and professionals provided by the academy and by Oxfordshire County Council. We have access to a School Health Nurse, an Educational Psychologist, SaLT (the Speech and Language Team) and SENSS (Special Educational Needs Support Service) and have strong links with other specialist services which are external to the academy such as the Academy Police Liaison Officer, the Locality and Community Support Service (LCSS), Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and Social Care. The academy is also supported by the Community Around the Academy Offer (CASO) which is a multi-agency approach.

At Orion Academy we take bullying very seriously. We help to prevent bullying of students by educating them around the effects of bullying. We deliver specific and robust anti-bullying units of work via our PSHE and ICT curriculums. Where necessary we will incorporate the involvement of external agencies such as SAFE project workers and the Academy Police Liaison Officer. We also offer restorative sessions/meetings between students and in some cases parents and families which are facilitated by a trained member of staff.

What specialist services and expertise are available for your child?

Karen Thomas, SENCO, holds the National Award for SEND Coordination (NASENCO) qualification and has specialist training in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Trauma Awareness. Staff at the academy have ongoing training to keep their practice up to date and relevant. All training is aimed to at helping our staff to meet the particular needs of our students including phonics, writing, autism awareness, trauma informed practice and attachment disorder.

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

The SENCO works with the Head Teacher to ensure that students have access to the most relevant and up to date equipment and facilities to support their progress in academy. Specialist equipment used at the academy includes laptops, reading pens and weighted jackets to help to support our students with sensory processing difficulties and those on the autism spectrum.

How do we work with parents and students?

We will always contact parents if we have a concern that a student may have special educational needs in addition to those stated on their EHCP. We work closely with parents and students when determining provision for SEND. Student participation is crucial in ensuring success as the young people themselves need to be totally on board with decisions about their education.

In September 2018 we introduced an annual student questionnaire and the academy also has an active Student Council to ensure students have opportunities to discuss what is important to them.

How do we support students at key transition points?

We run additional transition activities for all vulnerable students who are joining us in Year 7. This includes visits to the academy to meet key members of staff and to become used to the new academy environment.

We work closely with new settings to ensure a smooth transition for our Year 11s who may need additional support when leaving us. This involves visiting the new setting with a student many times over a period of time running up to the end of Year 11 as well as helping with applying for and securing a place on an appropriate course.

Transitions between year groups (especially from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4) are also recognised as key moments for our students. We work closely with students who find change challenging to ensure they understand what is happening and what to expect from their new year-group.

How accessible is the academy’s learning environment?

The academy’s learning environment is accessible for all our current learners.

We continuously review our learning environments and make reasonable adjustments when necessary.

How does the governing body involve other bodies in meeting the needs of our students and in supporting their families?

The academy and its governing body work closely with different agencies to support the needs of all students. These include social care via the Oxfordshire MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub), LCSS, the Virtual Academy for Looked After Children, SENDIAS and CAMHS.

Where should you go to find more information about the SEND provision in Oxfordshire?

Please visit the following website for more information about Oxfordshire’s SEND provision:

Who should you contact to discuss provision for your child at Orion Academy?

In the first instance, please contact Karen Thomas (SENDCo) or by phoning the main academy number on 01865 771703

Please follow the academy’s complaints procedure if you are unhappy with any aspect of SEND provision. This can be found on the academy’s website.