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Birley Academy


Birley Academy has integrated resources available for adolescents with complex communication difficulties.

Who to contact

0114 239 2531
School website
Parent Organisation
Birley Spa Primary School - Integrated Resource

Where to go

The Birley Academy
Birley Lane
S12 3BP

When is it on?

Time of day
Session Information
8:35am - 3:00pm

Inclusion Information

Wheelchair Access
Supports special needs and disabilities
Special needs and disabilities experience
Social, emotional and mental health needs
Speech, Language & Communication needs
Down's Syndrome
Visual impairment
Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Severe Learning Difficulty
Hearing impairment
Physical Disability/Mobility Issues
Able to accommodate other cultures/ethnicities

Other Details

Age Range
4 years to 16 years
  • Quiet Area
  • Visual aids

Local Offer


Birley Community College is a larger than average secondary school with 1152 students on role. It includes an IR unit for students with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with 25 places and currently has a total of 20 statements, alongside this we also have an additional 23 statements within mainstream and a further 136 students on school action plus (SA+). The numbers of children on SEN Support or have a ECHP are well above the national average. The primary needs in terms of SEN are currently speech, language and communication and ASD.

Contact Name
Miss M Thomas
Contact Telephone
0114 2392531
Contact Email
SEND Information Page
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 

There are currently 1126 students on roll with the average class size being 28 students.

How does the setting identify learners with SEN? 

Assessments relating to literacy, numeracy and cognition are completed by staff within school.

The school works closely with external agencies, such as the Speech and Language Therapy Service, the Educational Psychology Service, the Autism Team, CAMHS and Ryegate Children’s Hospital for special assessment.

Is your setting physically accessible to all learners? 
  • The school is a new building and was built with wheelchair accessibility in mind. As such there are 3 lifts and modified tables in each subject area. The practical based subjects such as food technology have a low version cooker; The D and T rooms are modified for our disabled students. 
  • At break and lunchtimes, the HUB provides a calm and safe base for children to eat.
  • Visual aids such as visual timetables.
  • Laptops, I-pads  and spell checkers are accessible to students, via the IR budget as well as bids for external funding.
How does your setting adapt the curriculum for learners with SEND? 
  • Birley Community College has a very proactive approach to differentiation, we are committed to a high level of training and support for teachers to enable them to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum which allows all learners to progress and succeed. There is a particular focus on teaching and learning with regards to learners with Autism.
  • The learning needs and preferences of learners with SEND is taken into account when planning provision, and modifications are made where necessary, such as with regard to having permissions to leave lessons early and arrive late in order to miss the crowds; working in small groups and individually where resources allow; special consideration in examinations; and careful planning of “escape routes” and safe areas to go when needed and at all non-lesson times of the day.
  • They have targeted intervention to address their needs with regard to social communication, speech and language, behaviour and communication, as well as literacy and numeracy groups, catch-up groups for various subjects, and in Key Stage 4 we have specialist HLTA that works with small focus groups to help improve students numeracy.
  • Some learners access external providers for courses outside school, such as vocational courses on cycle maintenance, Hair and Beauty, Animal care and Horticulture.
What training have your staff received to support learners with SEND? 
  • Staff within the SEN Team have received a broad range of training, for example training in the following areas: Autism , Team Teach, Oral Modification, Speech and Language Needs, Sensory Needs, Social  Communication, anger management, and delivering literacy intervention.
  • Information about individual learner’s needs are provided to all staff through Sims and the school’s Managed Learning Environment (MLE). Teaching Assistants are deployed effectively to communicate with teaching staff about the teaching and learning needs of the individual learners they support.
  • The SENCO has very close links with the Speech and Language Therapy Service, Autism Team, Educational Psychology Service and a range of professionals at Ryegate Children’s hospital.
  • Many staff are trained in the administration of medicines and First Aid, and some are trained in personal care such as moving and handling and Stoma nurse training.
How do you communicate with and involve families? 
  • Staff within SEN communicate with parents regularly by phone, email, meetings, parents evening, and via the students’ planners. We have a termly SEND Parent Forum, whereby the parents and carers come in and discuss issues pertaining to the welfare and progress of their children with SEN, share ideas and strategies, and have input into the planning of SEN provision.
  • Training events are being planned for parents with regard to support student with SEND.
How does the setting evaluate the effectiveness of its provision for learners with SEN and how often does it do this? 
  • evaluation of interventions – at 8 week intervals
  • analysis of academic progress – termly
  • evaluation of individual provision through Annual Reviews and Termly Progress meetings
  • student voice surveys, questionnaires and focus groups
  • Parent voice surveys, questionnaires, and SEND Parent Forum
What support do you provide for the learners' overall wellbeing? 
  • Learners who are struggling to make friends can be supported within the HUB at social times to spend time with other learners who have shared interests or can model good social behaviour. Social communication intervention groups address how to make friends.

    During unstructured times, all learners have access to the HUB and quiet club where they are encouraged to interact with each other and staff.

    For some students, there are aspects of school which trigger anxiety. For these learners, a key worker identifies the aspects that pose difficulty and form a plan for how to manage these, including identifying modifications to the environment that need to be made, providing strategies for the learners to cope with these aspects, and safe places to go when it is overwhelming.

    Within the mainstream student body is a developing group of IR Ambassadors, students who receive training about ASD and who provide support to students in the IR in three tiers: as ambassadors, peer mentors, and Leaders.


What kind of behavioural interventions do you use? 
  • It is our aim that all learners will be able to access all the non-classroom based activities such as extra-curricular clubs and visits.  Teaching Assistants provide a vital service in identifying the modifications that will enable each learner to take part.
  • The school has a rigorous ‘behaviour for learning’ policy that is implemented by every member of staff throughout the school day. Posters in classrooms and around the corridors help to provide support to those students that need additional prompting.
  • Through the training of team teach most of our support staff have had training on de-escalation techniques
  • We currently have an internal exclusion room, whereby students that typically would have been sent of site are now in school on an altered timetable to ensure attendance and access to the curriculum.
  • For a small number of students the BFL programme is ‘tweaked’ to take into account their particular need.
How do you ensure learners with SEND are included in non-classroom based activities? 

All our students have access to non -classroom based activities. We have representatives on the ambassador programmes and where appropriate the activity will be differentiated to meet their needs.

Alongisde this staff are happy to support students auditioning for the school play, and often support during rehersals.

The P.E department are excellent at including the SEND students and as a result some of our ASD students represented the school and won the reginal basketball tournament for disabled students.

Do you offer Breakfast Clubs, After School Clubs or Holiday Clubs? Please specify. 

There is a breakfast club that is run via the HUB and begins at 8:00 each morning

Students have access to a homework club.

How do you consult with and involve learners in their education? 

Students are given the opportunity to use student voice to contribute their views; this is often collated via the HUB. Students are also able to give their views via tutor time

How do you prepare learners with SEND to progress to, from and within your setting? 
  • A robust transition programme is essential in preparation for learners moving from Y6 into Birley Community College. We work closely with families and partner primaries to ensure an individual package of transition is provided to each learner according to their transition needs.
  • Typically, parents/ carers will come to look around during Y5 or beginning of Y6, meet with SENCO and key staff, and discuss the needs of the child. Next steps are for the child to visit out of school hours, then within school hours, however many times it takes for them to familiarise with the building. Transition picks up pace in the Summer term, with the children taking part in sessions in the SEN Department before building up to Induction Week at the end of the school year. During the gathering of information, friendships are taken into account.
  • Careful consideration is given to the transition of learners with into College placements, and support is given at every stage of the process to ensure a successful transition.
Do you have an online prospectus? Are there open days for families and learners? 

There is information about the provision on the Birley Community College website.

Regular open days are organised for families and learners throughout the year.

Do you offer outreach to home educating families? 

In cases where learners are home educated, every effort is made to support the learning by providing resources, and access to school resources where appropriate.

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school, learning disability, disabilities, secondary school, autistic, ASD, SEN, SEND, Special Educational Needs,
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