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City of Peterborough Academy Special School


  • Building is purpose-built to suit the needs of students with ASD
  • Single level wheelchair access to all areas in the school
  • Disabled toilets throughout the school
  • All rooms have glass frontage for safeguarding allowing pupils and staff to be visible at all times
  • Physical structure in teaching rooms
  • Changing facilities for students
  • Disabled car parking spaces available
  • Signage so that all areas are clearly marked visually
  • Display boards are limited to reduce visual stimuli and distraction
  • Diagrams in rooms showing fire exits and assembly points
  • Doors operate on a fob system throughout the school for safety reasons
  • There is a contained pod on entry to reception with 2 sets of double doors to secure pupils who may abscond
  • There are nappy changing rooms including shower facility
  • There is a shower room designated for older girls hygiene
  • All necessary equipment and adjustments to the environment are funded through the school budget and the school development plan
  • There is a Disability and Equality Policy
  • We have an Accessibility Plan (click for link)

SEN and Disability Policy
The Greenwood Academies Trust have a SEND and Disability Policy which can be found here

Local Offer
The Peterborough City Council SEND Local Offer can be found here

Academy SEND Information Report 2017/18 

Our mission is to provide a curriculum which:

  • is adapted to the needs of all learners;
  • enables every pupil to achieve at least 3 points of progress;        
  • takes full account of the assess, plan, do, review cycle;achieves all outcomes of the EHCP for all learners;
  • promotes life-skills and independence for all learners.

    We will ensure the curriculum:
  • is clearly differentiated with learning objectives be specified for all differentiated teaching, including gifted and talented children;
  • embeds individual provision stated within the pupil’s EHCP
  • incorporates individual termly targets stated on the one page profilewithin quality first teaching (QFT) ,
  • embeds provision of the 4 SEND areas of need for:
    communication and interaction, 
    cognition and learning, 
    social, emotional and mental health
    sensory and physical
  • combines a holistic approach through incorporating the recommendations of therapists and other professionalsis practical and multisensory is centred on pupils interests and fascinations (primary phase)
  • ensures learning assistants have a clear role and promote independenceis ASD friendly 100% of the time
  • continues to embed the NAS standards of accreditation for best autism practice
  • includes the outside areas, in order to ensure opportunities for a range of practical activities, which will develop appropriate knowledge, skills and understanding;
  • considers behaviour support plans which are consistently adhered to;
  • is delivered in a well ordered environment in which all are fully aware of behavioural expectations.
Our Academy 

We opened in September 2012 as a purpose built academy.  We are a special academy for 103 pupils aged 4 -16 years with a diagnosis of autism as their main presenting need.  All pupils have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP).  We are one of 32 schools belonging to the Greenwood Academies Trust (GAT) and an ‘outward facing’ academy working collaboratively with local authorities, other schools, professionals, parents, the local and wider community.  

Many pupils access the taxi transport service to and from the academy, arranged by parents through the local authority.

Intake of pupils is through consultation by the local authority.  Pupils can join at any age and time within the year unless:

  • The school would be unsuitable; or
  • The child’s placement would be prejudicial to either the efficient education of other pupils or the efficient use of (the Local Authority’s) resources. 
  • Pupil number reaches 103
Our Leadership Team 

Mrs Tracey Ydlibi – Executive Principal
Mrs Laura Ives – Head of School & SENCO
Mr Jamie Hill – Deputy Head of School (secondary)
Mrs Lynn Combes – Assistant Head of School (behaviour)
Mr Tom Wales – Assistant Head of School
Mrs Stephanie Smith - KS3 Phase Leader/Assistant SENCO
Mrs Jenny Wicks - KS4 Phase Leader

Our Ofsted Rating 

In our recent Ofsted inspection (September 2017) the summary of key findings stated ‘This is a good school’

  • Leaders at all levels have sustained good quality teaching and learning since the previous inspection. As a result, pupils are making good progress.
  • Behaviour is good, and pupils have positive attitudes to learning and stay safe.
  • The school provides a safe and secure environment and staff maintain high levels of supervision to ensure that pupils stay safe.
  • Teachers have good subject knowledge and know their pupils well. This promotes good learning and progress. 
  • The early years provision is good, ensuring that children make good progress in learning.
  • There is a strong emphasis on developing communication and social interaction skills throughout the school, particularly in the early years and early years foundation stages 1 and 2. Leaders also ensure that teachers give priority to the development of the basic skills of literacy and numeracy in the lower school with a wider range of other subjects, including science and the foundation subjects of the national curriculum.
  • Pupils of secondary-school age benefit from an increasingly wide range of academic and vocational examination courses to choose from. These are linked to their chosen pathways following high-quality careers guidance. This enables them to make informed choices for further education, employment or training.
  • The curriculum is enhanced by a range of after-school clubs, including sports clubs, and a range of visits and visitors to the school. Pupils develop confidence and self-reliance through their forest school work.
  • Teaching assistants provide good support for pupils who have more complex needs, such as those who need additional help with communication and social interaction. For example, they use a variety of well-chosen resources, such as pictures, concrete materials and signing, to augment communication for non-verbal pupils so that they fully access learning. As a result, these pupils make good progress over time in social interaction and communication skills. They also provide good support for pupils who need additional help in a wider range of subjects, including mathematics and science.
  • Teachers set high expectations for the oldest pupils to achieve at least five recognised qualifications before they leave school, which they do. 
  • Staff work closely with therapists and healthcare professionals to ensure that pupils with poorly developed social interaction skills and poor communication build in confidence and self-esteem.
  • Pupils who have more complex needs, such as non-verbal pupils, make good progress because teaching assistants break tasks down into small achievable steps and make good use of a variety of well-chosen resources to develop their communication skills. 
  • The most able pupils in the school, including the very few most able disadvantaged pupils, make good progress from their relatively higher starting points because teachers use assessments well to set aspirational targets and set high expectations for their learning. For example, the oldest pupils familiarise themselves with examination courses in Year 9 before taking entry level. Then in Year 11, the most able are entered for a range of GCSE subjects.
Pupil voice and partnership with parents 

We work in a person centred way. We have a pupil council who are nominated from across the school to represent the views of the pupils. Pupils are encouraged to develop their own voice in many ways, including self-assessment during lessons, participation in assemblies, pupil questionnaires and involvement within the EHCP review.  Parents are central to the EHCP review and transfer process, along with their child.

Pupils participate in a meaningful way in the annual review meeting wherever possible, sharing their point of view, examples of their work and their aspirations. When pupils are in Year 9, they are supported to give their opinions and views in order to plan for their career pathway and post-16 provision.

Parents are central to the support we offer to our children and young people. We have 2 family support workers who work closely with our families. 

Parents are encouraged to attend parent support groups, parent training sessions, teaching and learning sessions, coffee mornings, pupil concert performances, celebration assemblies, charity events and a range of school events throughout the year. Parents are elected to be members of our Academy Council (Governing Body).

Reporting to parents 

Teachers set individual targets each term for every child in English and Mathematics. This is in addition to the formative assessment targets the teachers communicate to the children on a weekly or daily basis where appropriate. These are shared with the child and parents through one page profiles to encourage partnerships in learning.  Homework is considered to be a valuable element of the learning process.

We report to parents twice a year through consultations and once through a written report. Review of the EHCP takes place annually.

Transition to our setting 

All pupils are referred to the school when an EHCP has already been written, detailing their needs under the four areas of the SEND code of practice. 

The offer of a placement is the decision of the SEN Panel at Peterborough local authority.  The local authority consult directly with the Head of School/SENCO. parents are welcome to telephone the school receptionist to arrange a visit.  Parent tours are held once a month by the Head of School/SENCO.

When new pupils join, a transition meeting is held, attended by other professionals working with the pupil and parents in order to gather information and advice from their present setting.  Pupils will visit the academy prior to joining and a social story/transition pack will be given as well as school uniform.

When there is more than one pupil joining a class, there may be a staggered intake to make this process as smooth as possible.  

An admissions meeting will be held attended by parents and the pupil in the first half term of starting to review how they have settled and focus on individual targets from the EHCP, detailed within the pupil’s one page profile.

Quality First Teaching: Provision and interventions we offer

Links to SEND provision and intervention documents:


Language and Communication
Lego Therapy
Reading Recovery™
Rebound Therapy™
Sensory Circuits
Sensory Processing

Coming soon.....
Price Positive Handling™
Colourful Semantics™
Attention Autism™
Precision Teaching
Time to Talk programme
Intensive interaction
Switch On reading™

Strategies we use in our daily ‘ASD Friendly’ Practice
Social Imagination Social Communication Social Understanding Sensory Sensitivities
Use timetables/schedules to help pupil predict what will happen next, and to inform of any changes ahead of time Provide a means to communicate in all situations Use social stories Warn pupil prior to any tactile input
Diaries, lists and symbol cues to help organize themselves and carry out tasks independently Use language that is clear, precise and concrete Foster understanding among the pupil’s peer group Consider sensory needs during all activities
Use visual cues to support understanding Use less language – keep it simple and specific Promote interaction with pupils peer group through strategies like Circe of Friends Create a workstation
Allow structured time for rituals, routines to be carried out of special interests to be discussed, inform the pupil of when this will be Say what you mean and mean what you say Encourage recognition of pupils own emotion Close windows and doors to reduce external noise
Limit choices and make them clear to avoid confusion Give time for processing instruction or comments Encourage recognition of another’s needs, eg: collecting lunch for self and one other person Use voice scale (adults as well as pupils)
Help pupil to make links between experiences Attract attention – begin with the pupils’ name then follow through with request or information Use sideways hugs Calm and quiet transitions along corridors with one adult at the front of a line, another at the back
  Use positive directive language ‘hands still’ rather than ‘no hitting’ or ‘write on paper’ rather than ‘don’t write on the wall’ Use turn taking games and mutual help activities to encourage interdependency.  Use a task which is an area of strength and interest for the pupil Restrict movement behind a child, allow them to stand at the back of a line
  Present information visually Develop social skills groups Sit on a chair instead of the carpet
  Do not use metaphors or sarcasm   Break down activities into small steps





Develop language and communication groups through circle time


Implement movement breaks and sensory diets






































Every Primary Classroom includes:
  • Displays of high quality which are well maintained, reflect learning and act as a resource, e.g. language and communication board, working wall. 
  • Displays which reflect the topic or theme; show pupils work, which is carefully mounted with captions and key vocabulary to support learning; a title and are regularly changed
  • A well prepared and structured outdoor area, as an extension of the indoor classroom, with high quality resources which challenges learners and have an outcome
  • Stimulating, interactive areas of continuous provision in the primary phase for phonics, reading, maths and fine motor skills, e.g. hand gym in the primary phase
  • Rules
  • Visuals to support emotions
  • A visual schedule/timetable, which highlights any changes to the day
  • ‘Get set’ and ‘mind’ set for learning wallets/folders
  • A clear physical structure and zones which define the learning to take place in that area, e.g: reading corner, role play area
  • Work systems which follow the TEACCH methodology in the primary phase include workstations, work trays, visually structured work tasks, a teaching table for teaching new skills and guided work.  Independent work takes place at the pupil’s work station
  • A defined group teaching area, with appropriate seating, for lesson starters and plenaries and circle time activities
  • Resources which are stored neatly and labelled clearly and are accessible without disruption to the learning
  • Well structured, calm and orderly transitions to and from the teaching space.  In lower primary ‘wait chairs’ are provided.  Pupils transition in walking, quiet lines with an adult at the front and behind the line, modelling transition behaviour
  • Tables and chairs that are their correct height and position for the size of each pupil.

So that we always have the highest possible expectations of individual learners and so they can demonstrate what they can do, understand and achieve, teachers will differentiate the curriculum according to individual needs by:

  • pace;
  • content;
  • task;
  • relevance;
  • resources;
  • extension;
  • autonomy;
  • outcome;
  • teacher/adult support.

Differentiated tasks will be detailed in weekly planning.

Key Skills

We recognise the importance of key skills. Opportunities will be made available across the curriculum to develop:

  • application of number;
  • reading and writing;
  • communication;
  • physical development and motor planning;
  • personal, social and emotional development;
  • computing skills;
  • problem solving;
  • working with others;
  • working independently;
  • improving own learning and performance.
Learning Processes and Learning Styles

Children enter school at different stages of development. Children learn in different ways and at different rates of progress. In the course of learning, children develop their skills through a variety of processes and learning styles. These include:

  • investigation;
  • experimentation;
  • listening;
  • observation;
  • talking and discussion;
  • asking questions;
  • child-initiated play;
  • practical exploration and role play;
  • retrieving information;
  • imagining;
  • repetition;
  • problem-solving;
  • making choices and decision-making.

We shall ensure that learning is accessed by as many means as possible, e.g. is multisensory.  Thinking skills will also be developed across the curriculum.

This will include:

  • creative thinking;
  • enquiry;
  • information processing;
  • reasoning;
  • evaluation.
Session Structure in the Primary Phase

In primary phase we are teaching pupils to learn how to learn.  There is a highly structured approach to the organisation of the physical environment, routines of the day, learning tasks and communication.

Therefore every session will adhere to the structure of:



Independent walking to class.

Arrival routine timetable (hang up coat, home-school diary in box, reading book in box, workstation for morning tasks)


Tray tasks

(10 – 15 mins)

Workstation: 3 quiet tray tasks which develop concentration and fine motor skills.  This may be a handwriting programme task for more able learners.

Alert for learning

(5- 10 mins)

Action songs/rhymes/ 5 a day/ wake n’ shake/ sensory circuit/ outdoor gym according to age/stage of group


Circle Time

(10 – 15 mins)

This will incorporate:

  1. The register and greetings ‘How do you feel today?’
  2. Daily schedule/ timetable
  3. Lesson starter: visually supported group teaching session with a focus on language and communication, eg: the attention bucket in lower primary and teacher modelling of writing/maths/curriculum activity for more able

Workstation or Teaching Table

(10 – 20 mins)

Orderly transition. 

Workstation: supported by the learning assistant

  1. pupils perform structured work for the learning objective of  the lesson
  2. 3 independent tray tasks within a work system following TEACCH methodology

Teaching Table: teacher

  1. direct teaching/ guided work with individuals, pairs or small group. The skill taught will then be incorporated into independent workstation tasks completed throughout the week.

The teacher will directly teach all pupils for every core subject throughout the week, including pupils working in satellite class spaces.


Reward/ choice

(including movement break)

(10 – 15 mins)

Structured continuous provision (indoors and out): supported by the learning assistant

  1. pupils choose 2 activities from the visual choice board which are structured, practical and have an outcome (eg: build a lego model, making at the creative area)

Circle time

(5 -10 mins)
  1. Short teaching and learning intervention to consolidate and assess learning within the session. 
Peer and self-review of how learners performed is undertaken at the end of each session through ‘Get set for learning’.
Assessment recording and reporting 

Regular assessments are made of pupils’ work in order to establish the level of attainment and to inform future planning. Formative assessment is used to guide the progress of individual pupils. It involves identifying each pupil’s progress in each area of the curriculum, determining what they have learned and what therefore should be the next stage in their learning.

Challenging targets are set in all subject areas and are based on the termly data capture and analysis.  We use ‘B Squared’  to assess progress in our school.  Classroom monitor is used when a pupil is performing beyond stage 5.

In primary phase, we carry out recorded daily snap shots and narrative observations within an equal balance of self-initiated tasks, from quality continuous provision including the outdoor area, and adult directed tasks.  Skills and knowledge captured within photographic and written evidence form part of the pupil’s learning journey folder.  Y1 are assessed within the Development Matters Bands framework, Early Learning Goals and EYFS characteristics of effective learning.

Formal summative assessment is carried out at the end of each National Curriculum Key Stage (i.e. in Years 2 and 6) through the use of SATs and teacher assessment. Phonics are tested in Year 1 and re-tested where necessary in Year 2.  Baseline assessment is used in Reception/Early Years within six weeks of starting school and learning journals are maintained.  In secondary phase, formal assessment is through functional skills accreditation and GCSE outcomes.

Teachers set individual targets each term for every child in English and Mathematics. This is in addition to the formative assessment targets the teachers communicate to the children on a weekly or daily basis where appropriate. These are shared with the child and parents through one page profiles to encourage partnerships in learning.  Homework is considered to be a valuable element of the learning process.

Reporting to parents is done twice a year through consultations and once through a written report.  There is a home-school communication book sent home each day to record the experiences and activities the pupil has undertaken that day and for parents to record home activities.