At Thomas Gainsborough School, we have two Access classes: small groups of about 15 students, where the curriculum is tailored to individual needs. Access 1 is broadly for the younger KS3 students and Access 2 primarily for years 9, 10 and 11. Largely, it is operated on a ‘stage not age’ approach, depending upon each student’s academic, social and behavioural needs.
The Access classes are modelled on the primary classroom; staffed by one teacher and a learning support assistant at all times; teaching a combination of literacy, numeracy, themed humanities curriculum and social/life skills. Schemes of work are differentiated to allow for all students, across the ability range, to meet their academic potential, staying together with their teacher for a number of lessons, depending on their individual needs. Subject specific staff are also timetabled to deliver lessons such as science, PE and technology.
Provisions in the Access classes are individually focused upon each student and cater for all years, across the whole ability range. Some students attend for only a few weeks; others might attend throughout their school career. Some attend full time and others part time. Access is also used to support well-being needs, long term-absence phased returns and other social or emotional barriers to learning where school staff identify this provision as a supportive strategy. The Key Stage 3 Access students stay together as a small group for varying amounts of their timetable depending on their needs, accessing subject specialist teaching in mainstream classes for practical subjects where appropriate. KS4 students are supported in the Access class on an individual basis depending on where they need support in their timetable.
Mrs Canham, Mrs Sewell & Mrs Wills are the class teachers for Access 1 and Mr Bishop is the class teacher for Access 2. All have extensive experience of dealing with students with additional needs and are supported by a number of key learning support assistants.
- Entering the Access provision is the decision of the school but the criteria that is considered for entry is below:
- TGS SENDCO liaison with feeder primaries to the school, typically from year 5.
- Year 6 Transition meetings with TGS staff and primary staff to gather information.
- Data received e.g. SATs scores, EHCP information, SEN support or profiles/ plans
- Transition meetings with parents. These supportive conversations help align information from feeder schools and family voice.
- Student voice
- Observations and feedback from staff and parents during Transition week at TGS
- Monitoring individual students' situation throughout the school year and being aligned to student needs e.g. short term SEMH support, wellbeing support, SEND specific needs, Attendance / EBSA support. This is obtained via school information, observations of students, liaison with families and outside agencies.
- Senior Leadership / SENDCO reviews
Ongoing monitoring of the personal progression of each student takes place via the Access class teachers and meeting with the SENDCO. Agreements are then in place when a student transitions out (partially or full time. Provision remains available to re-enter at any time. Families are kept informed of any changes planned to an individual’s timetable.
- Entering the schools Access provision is the decision of the school but the criteria that is considered for exit is below:
- TGS liaison with subject specialists, tutors and student support teams.
- Data received e.g. assessment and testing scores, EHCP information, SEN support or profiles/ plans
- Meetings with parents. Supportive conversations to gather additional information and family voice.
- Student voice
- Learning walks and observations after exiting (partially or full time)
- Continued monitoring of the individual students' situation throughout the school year and being aligned to student needs. This is obtained via school information, observations of students, liaison with families.
- Into external specialist provision via the Local Authority
- Senior Leadership / SENDCO review of learner