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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 most 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 a Disability Policy which can be found here

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

SEND Information Report
Our Mission and how we hope to achieve it

Our school mission is to strive to provide all pupils with equal opportunities for outcomes:

  • to be independent
  • to achieve to participate
  • to be healthy

We hope to achieve this through a broad and balanced curriculum with clear vision and values which engages pupils through fun learning centred on their own interests and fascinations.

Teaching and learning is tailored to the individual needs of each pupil, in an environment that supports learning and well being. We have developed a holistic approach through working in partnership with therapists, other agencies and professionals, parents and families. There is a calm, caring yet purposeful atmosphere within the school and there is a balance of focus between welfare and achievement for all.

This year we are hoping to gain our Autism Accreditation Award from the National Autistic Society.

The type of school we are
CoPASS is a purpose built special school for children and young people aged 4-18 years with high functioning autism. We are a free school and one of 32 schools belonging to the Greenwood Dale Academies Trust.  We work collaboratively with other Peterborough Special Schools and academies in the Trust.  Our school opened in September 2012.

Yearly intake of pupils with high functioning autism is through reception at the start of the academic year, although pupils can join at any age and time in the year.  Our school consists of

Lower school – EYFS to year 4, School leader: Mrs Ives
Middle school – Years 5 to 8, School leader: Mr Wales
Upper school – Years 9 to 11, School leader: Mr Hill

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

Our Ofsted Rating
Our first Ofsted said this is a good school.

  • ‘Senior staff, the trust and the advisory council have high aspirations for pupils academic and personal development, and insist on high levels of performance from staff’
  • ‘Pupils participation in lessons is good because teachers and support staff make sure that some pupils’ more difficult behaviour does not get in the way of learning.’
  • ‘Support staff make a significant contribution to good teaching’
  • ‘Pupils of all ages make good progress from their individual stating points’
  • ‘Pupils understand how to keep themselves safe and calm’
  • ‘Pupils and parents are very positive about how the staff help them to improve their learning and behaviour’

Pupil voice and Parent Voice
At the school 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 students. Pupils are encouraged to develop their own voice in many ways, including self-assessment during lessons, participation in assemblies, pupil questionnaires and involvement in the annual review, behaviour support plan and Achievement for All (AfA) processes.

Students 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 students are in Year 9, they are supported to give their opinions and views in the Transition Review, in order to plan for their post-16 provision. Parents are central to the support we offer to our children and young people. Parents are encouraged to attend parent support groups, parent training sessions, teaching and learning sessions, termly parents’ evenings, coffee mornings, pupil concert performances, celebration assemblies and a range of school events throughout the year. The parent questionnaire and parent voice are just some of the ways that parents can share their views with us to impact on future developments. Annual reports written by teachers are shared with parents at the end of each academic year. Parents are central to the annual review process along with their child, and have the opportunity to share their views about and hopes for their child’s future.

How we know if a child/young person has SEN
All students are referred to the school when an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) has already been written, detailing their additional needs.  Where new pupils are joining from another setting, a transition meeting is held and information and advice is gathered from that setting, other professionals, parents and pupil.  An admissions meeting will be held for the pupil in the first half term to review how they have settled into school and focus on individual targets from the EHCP.

What we do to help children/young people with autism and needs

Universal Level (Quality First Teaching)

All pupils have access to:

  • Small group teaching
  • Well-trained and experienced teachers, learning mentors and teaching assistants delivering highly differentiated teaching and learning activities
  • Each school phase; lower, middle and upper, is led by a senior leader
  • Staff are trained in positive holistic behaviour support strategies (Team Teach training)
  • Specialist support staff for horticulture and a behaviour mentor
  • A communication  centered curriculum in lower school
  • One page pupil profiles available in each class
  • A personalised incredible 5 point scale, incorporating Leuven scales of involvement for well-being, self-regulation and self-assessment at the end of every session.
  • Soft play room
  • Gardening provision
  • Daily liaison with parents/carers through home-school diaries
  • Calm room
  • Two sensory rooms
  • Simplified language, supported visually
  • An outdoor gym and sunken trampolines
  • Physically and visually  structured teaching spaces
  • A distraction limited environment
  • A holistic approach to learning with daily exercise, movement breaks and individual sensory diets at the core of well-being
  • Augmented communication, visual timetable, social stories, task chains
  • A newly developed outdoor environment for play, physical development, interaction and outdoor learning
  • social skills and individualised PSHE programmes
  • A range of daily lunch time clubs and weekly after school club
  • Trips and visits linked to curriculum imaginative learning projects and life skills
  • Weekly use by groups of pupils to the hydrotherapy pool (lower and middle school)
  • Yearly residential visits (middle and upper schools)
  • Weekly visits by groups of pupils to New Ark City Farm in the locality
  • Extensive use of ICT in the curriculum, including use of iPads, laptops and  interactive whiteboards in every teaching space
  • A range of support staff members who work at the school, including midday supervisors and office staff

Targeted Support

  • Twice daily ‘Attention time’ programme in the lower school
  • Sensory stories
  • Circle time
  • Sensory diets
  • Staff trained to deliver rebound therapy
  • Lego therapy
  • Paston Pack OT interventions
  • Intensive interaction (lower school)
  • Access to a workstation and TEACCH approach to learning as required.
  • Staff trained in the use of Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
  • Specialist teachers for science, P.E., English, computing, maths and DT, including food technology.
  • Weekly horse riding for identified groups of pupils
  • Individual behaviour support plan through behaviour surgeries
  • Individual positive handling plan

Targeted Specialist support and Interventions

  • Therapists: Consultant  and NHS SaLT and OT work  with pupils who receive additional funding identified for these services on their EHCP.
  • A multi-agency approach with Health, Education and Social Services working in partnership to support children and young people
  • Collaboration with outside agencies such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
  • Specialist support from a range of professional services such as Autism outreach with regard to pupil transition from mainstream settings, sensory support and Educational Psychology. Consultation, intervention advice and training.
  • School nurse

Links to provision documents:
Language and Communication
Lego Therapy
Reading Recovery™
Rebound Therapy™
Sensory Circuits
Sensory Processing
Team Teach™

How we adapt our teaching for children/young people with special educational needs
The curriculum at all levels is designed to engage pupils in exciting and innovative learning opportunities with an emphasis on personal and social development, communication and Interaction. There is a high degree of personalisation to ensure it meets the needs of every pupil.  The teaching approach is underpinned by autism strategies, including visual supports and structured teaching.  All pupils have access to a broad and balanced curriculum. Lower and upper school deliver the curriculum through Cornerstones a series of imaginative learning projects designed to engage, enrich, develop and express.

Pupils in upper school (Yrs 9, 10, 11) begin working in year 9 towards preparation for a core accreditation offer (with examination throughout Yr10&11) appropriate to their individual needs and abilities.  Additional vocational and extended accreditation opportunities are offered as part of a pupil’s individual package of learning with the aim of maintaining and building pupils motivation and enthusiasm for continued academic progression and success and also continued social and emotional development.

Core Accreditation offer: The upper school core offer consists of study towards;

  • Maths (Entry Level, Functional Skills Level 1 or Functional Skills Level 2)
  • English (Entry Level, Functional Skills Level 1 or Functional Skills Level 2)
  • GCSE Science
  • ICT & Computing Awards (Entry Level, Level 1 or Level 2)
  • Home Cooking Skills BTEC Level 1

Vocational & Extended Accreditation offer: Some pupils will have access to a vocational accreditation offer based on their individual interests and ability to access learning opportunities away from CoPASS at Peterborough Regional College.  We currently have pupils accessing the following courses (all courses are subject to availability and Peterborough Regional College’s own suitability to study/entry requirements);

  • Certificate in Land Based Studies (Animal Care) Level 1
  • Certificate in Service and Maintenance Engineering (Motor Vehicle) Level 1
  • Certificate in Food Preparation and Cooking (Catering) Level 1
  • Diploma In Hair & Beauty Salon Services Level 1

Some pupils will have access to an extended accreditation offer at the school based on their individual interests and abilities.  We currently have pupils accessing the following courses (all courses are subject to pupils individual suitability to study and course availability).

  • Maths GCSE
  • English GCSE
  • Physical Education GCSE (Short Course)
  • Art & Design Entry Level Certificate

How we decide what resources we can give to a child/young person with special educational needs
Resources are used to recruit, employ and train a large number of support staff, so that each class have a team around them.    Within classes and groups, staffing support is allocated as needed based on the individual needs of each child, and this support is used flexibly.

The pupil premium is used to fund additional support staff, a summer school, whole school reward scheme and lunchtime supervision.  Break and lunch time are viewed as key teaching and learning opportunities for the development of personal skills and interaction.
Pupils have access to sensory rooms, a newly landscaped outdoor learning environment, outdoor gym and sunken trampolines, nature area, garden, and soft play room.  The play areas have been designed to encourage physical development, self-regulation, play and interaction.

Curriculum opportunities are devised in a flexible way to meet the needs of each individual student drawing on a broad range of resources and facilities in the school. The impact of these is continually evaluated throughout the year, and formally assessed at the end of each term. Data is used to inform decisions about individual support e.g. If a pupil is not making expected progress in English, a programme of intervention and further support will be put in place.

How we check that a child/young person is making progress and how we keep parents informed
The key areas of SCERTS (social communication, emotional regulation and transactional supports) are assessed and appropriate support strategies implemented.  Pupil progress is monitored in a variety of ways including:

  • Termly pupil progress meetings (three per year as part of the EHCP process)
  • Annual reports
  • Annual review process
  • PEPs (Personal Education Plans) which includes annual and termly targets for individual pupils. These are shared with parents during parents evenings and annual reviews
  • Behaviour support plan meetings
  • Parents meetings once a term allows for frequent dialogue between parents and school regarding progress
  • Ongoing dialogue during daily team liaison meetings
  • Ongoing use of Classroom Monitor (computer programme to record and track progress in all areas)
  • Weekly behaviour surgeries for all staff

Pupils are given a voice through:

  • Pupil council
  • Pupil questionnaire
  • Pupil self-assessment at the end of lessons to involve pupils in evaluating their own learning
  • Attendance at review meetings

As a pupil gets older, staff are mindful of promoting self advocacy skills in preparation for adult life.

Support we offer for children’s/young people’s health and general well-being
The overall health and wellbeing of our pupils is very important to us.

We are working towards Autism Accreditation by the NAS.

We provide ongoing pastoral and social communication support for all of our pupils. Where necessary, personal care is provided in a respectful manner, with a view to promoting independence in these areas in the long term.

In the case of pupils with any medical needs, there is a care plan in place which is drawn up according to advice given by a doctor or nurse, in partnership with parents. Medication is stored safely and administered according to this care plan.

There are visits by the school nurse on-site and parents can request appointments for drop-in sessions at school reception.

Social, moral, spiritual and cultural (SMSC) education is at the heart of everything we do.

We celebrate national autism awareness week and national anti-bullying week.

The training our staff have received
Training needs are identified through our school improvement plan.  Staff are trained to a high standard on a range of topics including:

  • AET Level 2
  • 2 qualified SENCo’s
  • SpLD: dyslexia
  • TEACCH approach –in house TEACCH trainer
  • Team Teach – positive handling – including in house advanced team teach trainers.
  • Positive behaviour management
  • Anger management
  • Safeguarding and Prevent Duty
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Sensory modulation
  • Reading recovery
  • Social stories
  • Paston pack OT programme
  • Re-bound therapy
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme
  • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
  • Positive holistic behaviour support strategies (Team Teach training)
  • Use of Intensive Interaction techniques
  • Strategies to support Communication and Interaction
  • SCERTS (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, Transaction Supports)
  • Self harm
  • Yoga
  • Circletime
  • Attachment disorder
  • PDA
  • Staff also attend training offered by the Trust through the Learning Alliance and at other venues depending on their role and training needs

How we include children/young people in activities and school trips
Throughout the school, children and young people have the opportunity to join activities outside the classroom and school trips. Among others, these include:

  • Weekly enrichment sessions involving a programme of activities and trips across the school
  • Swimming at St George’s hydrotherapy pool
  • Walks in the local area
  • Shopping at the local supermarket
  • Trips linked to curriculum activities
  • After School Club – on Thursdays
  • Annual Whole School Day Out e.g. to the seaside, Legoland or Chessington
  •  Residential trips from Key Stage 2 upwards: e.g. Rock UK

How we prepare for children/young people joining our school and leaving our school

When children and young people join the school there is a clear structure to support this process. Each child/young person will have an opportunity to visit the school prior to joining the school.  Following this, there is a planning meeting to allow for sharing of information between parents and current staff, and to plan support needed for the transition e.g. a transition social story.

When there is more than one student joining a class, e.g. in EYFS there may be a staggered intake to make this process as smooth as possible.   An admissions meeting is held for all new pupils within the first half term to set targets.

Who to contact for more information or to discuss a concern
The named SENCO for our school is Mrs Laura Ives (Deputy Principal).  As we are a special school, the first point of contact for all parents and carers regarding their child’s SEN is the class teacher.

If parents want to raise further concerns or have further discussion, they should contact the appropriate member of SLT for their child’s school phase.  Parents are welcome to contact the Principal or Deputy Principal/SENCO if they have any concerns or worries, or wish to discuss any issues.

The offer of a placement at CoPASS is via the SEN panel in Peterborough.  The local authority consult directly with the Principal. If a parent is considering whether their child/young person should join the school, they are welcome to phone the school receptionist to organise a visit.  Visits are held on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons by the Principal/Deputy Principal.

External support services for information/advice
The Greenwood Academies Trust
Tel. 0115 748 3310

Peterborough SEND Information Advice Support Service
Tel: 01733 863979

Marion Deeley – Parent Partnership Officer
Tel: 01733 863979

Educational Psychology Open Access Consultation Service
Tel: 01733 863689

Rachel Squelch, SEN Officer
Tel:  01733 863672

Additional Learning Needs Team (Connexions) Tel. 01733 864500
Peterborough Neurodevelopmental Service (ADHD, ASD)
Tel: 01733 777939

City Council Website:

Peterborough Safeguarding Children Team
Tel: 01733 77793

Our offer to children with special educational needs and disabilities was prepared in October 2016 It will be reviewed in October 2017.