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Firth Park Academy


Firth Park Academy is a larger than average secondary school which supports students with a range of needs.

Ofsted Inspection: Requires Improvement - This inspection was conducted 2 years ago before we converted to an AET Academy. In those two years there has been significant change and progress in a number of areas. An inspection is likely to take place soon.

Who to contact

0114 2576238
School Website

Where to go

Firth Park Academy
Fircroft Avenue
S5 0SD

When is it on?

Time of day
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Inclusion Information

Wheelchair Access
Supports special needs and disabilities
Special needs and disabilities experience
Social, emotional and mental health needs
Medical Needs or long term illness
Speech, Language & Communication needs
Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Profound & Multiple Learning Difficulty
Severe Learning Difficulty
Hearing impairment
Moderate Learning Difficulty
Physical Disability/Mobility Issues

Other Details

Age Range
11 years to 16 years
  • Disabled Facilities
  • Secure setting

Local Offer

Contact Name
Sara Hotston
Contact Telephone
0114 2576238
Contact Email
Latest Ofsted report
school website
Local Offer Age Bands
Secondary (11-16 years)
SEN Provision Type

Schools Extended Local Offer Response

Please state the number of pupils on your roll and your average class size 

We have around 1000 students on roll (from September 2014). Class sizes vary across year groups, subjects and ability ranges. The average class size is…

How does the setting identify learners with SEN? 

We have a referral system whereby any staff can raise concerns about a child and it is then actioned by the Inclusion team. We have a specialist teacher who conducts full assessments and designs and implements intervention programs. We also utilize local authority services such as Educational Psychology services, Speech and Language, Hearing etc.

Is your setting physically accessible to all learners? 
  • The building is wheelchair accessible. There is one main building and a separate sports hall. Students who require wheelchair access or who find using the stairs physically difficult are given a lift pass and can move between floors using the main lift.
  • Some parts of the school routine can be flexible in order to support students with SEN.
  • If a student needs specific equipment to help support their learning, e.g. a laptop, the school provides this. In some cases, it might be appropriate for the school to apply for High Needs funding if the needs of the student meet the eligibility criteria.
  • We have disabled toilet facilities.
  • The school is completely secure, it is surrounded by a relatively high fence and locked gates which are only opened for Y11 students during lunch time if they have a pass. There are always a number of staff supervising students during break and lunch times.
  • Vulnerable students can access the RAP centre at any time, for example, if they are part of a nurture group, or if a student is in a state of crisis following a bereavement. All students can also access the library before and after school and during break and lunch time. There are also other supervised spaces around school for students to go to during their lunch and break time including a wide range of clubs and activities.

If students cannot cope with the noisy canteen/ atrium, they can eat their lunch in the Learning Support Centre with the SEN team.

How does your setting adapt the curriculum for learners with SEND? 
  • At Firth Park Academy, the SENCO is responsible for planning and overseeing a support programme which is tailored to the individual needs of each SEN pupil. The in class support and intervention is largely delivered by Teaching Assistants who are fully trained and experienced in a range of intervention programmes, the SENCO also plans and delivers specialist intervention programmes.
  • The number of sessions of intervention each week varies according to the individual needs of each student; some may be involved in daily intervention and/ or in class support, others may need significantly less.
  • The academy-wide expectation is that all teachers will differentiate the lessons according to the students’ needs so that they can access the learning and make progress.
  • When teachers are ill, rather than using agency staff, we use a small pool of in-house cover supervisors. This means that even if your child’s regular teacher is off ill, they will still be taught by someone who will most likely have taught them before, and who has access to all the relevant information needed to adequately support your child in the lesson.

We deliver a range of programmes all tailored to suit pupils’ individual needs, for example Numicin, Ruth Miskin’s synthetic phonics programme, Units of Sound to support students with specific learning difficulties, Narrative for students with language and communication needs. We also provide laptops for a number of students who struggle with writing.

What training have your staff received to support learners with SEND? 
  • We organise staff training in order to ensure we adequately provide for the needs of our students, for example, we have scheduled training on epilepsy and diabetes in light of the needs of some of our students.
  • All staff in the school, including teachers, office staff, cover supervisors etc, are all aware of each child’s needs because we have a ‘student passport’ for each child. This outlines their individual needs and strategies which support them in a range of settings. A summary is also provided on SIMS (where students are registered) as a quick reference.

The strategies identified in the Student Passport come from specialists, e.g. the Speech and Language therapist, the students themselves and parents.

How do you communicate with and involve families? 
  • Between annual reviews, we communicate with parents through the whole school reporting system. This is done three times over the academic year. In addition, we keep in touch via parents’ evening, progress days, the student planner, regular phone calls, emails and face-to-face meetings. This includes a range of staff including the SENCO and key workers identified in SEN, but also the wider Inclusion team, Student Support Officers and Heads of House for example.
  • Each term a report is sent home to parents/ carers. This identifies the progress which pupils are making. This also outlines Academy expectations for how much progress each child will make.
  • For students with SEND, the school will arrange a meeting with parents/ carers where the needs of the student are discussed and the plan is agreed and put in place.
  • Parents and carers have the opportunity to meet with the SENCO and/ or key workers to discuss and have an input into how the learning is planned and strategies to support this at home. There are also opportunities to attend workshops throughout the year. These are focused on key areas, e.g. literacy and numeracy.
  • Each student with SEND has a Student Passport which identifies their needs, strategies in which they can support themselves, and which teachers can use in lessons. This is shared with all Academy staff so they are fully aware of each child’s needs and can plan appropriately for them.
  • We have offered training for parents to help support students with literacy difficulties for example. The aim of these sessions is to equip parents with some practical strategies to support their child with their learning at home.

Due to the high number of English as another language (EAL) / NTE students we have an EAL/ NTE base where students participate in an induction and school readiness programme. This involves small groups led by a member of the EMTAS team. This provision has been extended over the last few years to include two additional translators who support communications with students and parents.

How does the setting evaluate the effectiveness of its provision for learners with SEN and how often does it do this? 
  • The school uses evidence based interventions to support students with SEN. The effectiveness of these withdrawal sessions is then monitored during and at the end of an intervention programme.
  • Firth Park Academy has a rigorous tracking system whereby all students’ progress is tracked across all curriculum areas. This includes tracking of progress made in withdrawal groups.
  • Overall, the effectiveness of the SEN provision is judged on the outcomes for SEN students – are they making expected levels of progress?

Each year, a full audit of the provision is undertaken and a development plan is drawn up and implemented. This is then reviewed at three key points over the year. This ensures the school makes adequate provision for the specific needs of the students which are currently on roll.

What support do you provide for the learners' overall wellbeing? 
  • Some students are particularly vulnerable and/ or struggle to make friends. To help them we timetable them some time in the RAP centre where they can take part in nurture groups, friendship groups and/ or the breakfast club. Vulnerable pupils can also access the RAP centre during break and lunch times if they are feeling anxious.
  • If students are feeling anxious about school generally, they can meet with their key worker, usually a Student Support Officer or their Head of House, can be buddied up with someone in their form group, spend some of their timetable in the RAP centre and gradually build up the time in mainstream lessons/ school.
  • We have care plans which are also linked to the main school database (SIMS) so all staff are aware of the care plan. Where necessary, we arrange for staff training from specialists e.g. Epilepsy burse and diabetes nurse. When a student is required to take medicine during school time, there is a personalised medicine sheet. If a student has been under Hospital home education, they will be involved in setting up a care plan for that student, it will then be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure it is fit for purpose. Students requiring a care plan are always checked against the list collated by the school nursing team.

For children requiring personal care, they are allocated a key worker within the inclusion team and all attempts are made for the same person to deliver care where appropriate

What kind of behavioural interventions do you use? 
  • The FPA behaviour for learning system involves pupils being given a ‘choice, chance and consequence’ if they misbehave. The consequence is to attend a restorative meeting with the relevant member of staff, otherwise they are issued with a detention. In addition to this, the school offers additional support including 1:1 mentoring, small group work, emotional support, withdrawal from the mainstream timetable to complete an intense personalised timetable delivered within inclusion base, and sometimes off-site provision for short respite or as part of a longer personalised package.
  • Alongside this in-school support, we also work closely with partner agencies including MAST, CYT, the police, mental health services and other specialist services (e.g. social care, sexual exploitation and drug and alcohol services.
  • The school also regularly looks to support groups of students by delivering specific project-based work, eg. Unique project, as well as workshops and educational activities delivered by external providers about targeted issues.
  • In order to deal with extreme behaviour, we use and explore provisions which deliver intense 1:1 support, e.g. cellar space , and work with partner agencies, parents, carers and pupils to address specific issues and areas of need.
  • Students are consulted all the way through the process and encouraged to get on board. A lot of time spent helping them understand how the process and provisions put in place will benefit them long term. FPA also makes every effort to ensure that students attending offsite provision still remain and feel part of FPA and are not excluded from appropriate activities they could still access.
How do you ensure learners with SEND are included in non-classroom based activities? 
  • We provide additional support to access an activity when necessary. If, even with support, a child cannot access an activity, e.g. the climbing wall because of a physical disability, alternative arrangements are made.
  • Parents are contacted when trips are being planned, for residential visits, parents are invited into school to discuss the plans and raise any questions or concerns.
  • FPA offers a breakfast club, an extensive range of lunch time and after school clubs as well as holiday schools. For example, the FPA summer school offers the following programmes free of charge: musical theatre, language, sports cam, mad science, movie madness, music works, design and technology, dragons den, cartoon mania, arts and crafts. These programmes include trips, e.g. to the ThinkTank Sscience Museum, Paradise Island Gold, Laserquest, the cinema, Rother valley. Knowsley Safari Park, the Sea Life Centre etc.
Do you offer Breakfast Clubs, After School Clubs or Holiday Clubs? Please specify. 
  • Breakfast Clubs.
  • After School Clubs.
  • Holiday Clubs.
How do you consult with and involve learners in their education? 

As part of the Student Passport, students share information which is ‘all about me’ and identify things which they can do to help themselves in their learning, as well as strategies which others could use to support them. They also take part and are consulted in review meetings for example.

How do you prepare learners with SEND to progress to, from and within your setting? 
  • Students who are due to join Firth Park Academy are invited to attend the summer school which gives them the opportunity to get to know the layout of the school, some of the staff and make some friends before they start in September. We also run a Catch-up Summer School for students who need extra support in literacy and numeracy. This is delivered by Fresh Start trained TAs. The timetable includes numeracy and literacy sessions in the morning and fun, skills-building activities in the afternoon.
  • The SENCO and key workers are also involved in annual reviews in Year 6 for students who will be coming to FPA in September.
  • We also have transition meetings with primary schools for all students new to the school, with additional meetings scheduled for students with SEND. These meetings are also used to gather information on friendship groups which then helps inform the setting up of form groups and new classes.
  • Similarly, transition meetings take place to support students making the transition from KS4 to post-16. These meetings are scheduled with colleges across the City and take place in the final term before Year 11 students leave.

Our Sheffield Futures worker meets with the students and parents to support them in their move to post-16 provision and provides them with all the relevant. Key workers within school support this process by attending college visits with students and parents and discussing the different options for post-16, but also services on offer, e.g. independent travel training.

Do you have an online prospectus? Are there open days for families and learners? 

We have a number of opportunities for families and learners to come in to school to find out more information and meet the staff and other students. This includes Open Evenings, Progress Days, Parents’ Evenings, The Summer Fair, Presentation Evening (to aid Y6-Y7 transition) etc.

Do you offer outreach to home educating families? 

Home educating families are supported by the Local Authority Home Education Team. If we are told by a family that they are intending on home educating their child, we make a referral to Children Missing in Education and notify the Home Education Team.

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