Additional Learning

Additional Learning Overview

At Penkford School, we recognise that while our students each have a statement of educational needs for social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, they may also have additional specific learning difficulties which prevent them from making the progress needed for academic success.

A high proportion of our students display dyslexic difficulties.

The Rose Review (2009) recognised that dyslexia as a specific learning difficulty exists and that professional expertise should be used to identify those students who have dyslexia and develop effective ways to help learners overcome its effects. The review constructed the following working definition of dyslexia and its characteristics:

 Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading andspelling.

Characteristic Features of Dyslexia 

Difficulties in:

  • Phonological awareness.
  • Verbal memory.
  • Verbal processing speed.

Facts About Dyslexia

  • Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities.
  • It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points.
  • Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia.

What We Do

At Penkford School, we closely monitor and assess our students to identify those who we think may have dyslexic difficulties so that the most appropriate interventions can be put into place. 1:1 interventions are available to those students most in need. These take place on a weekly basis and follow The Hickey Multi-Sensory Language Course. Intervention and pupils' progress are recorded as:


A good indication of the severity and persistence of dyslexic difficulties can be gained by examining how the individual responds or has responded to well founded intervention.     (Rose 2009)

As a school we take a holistic approach to dyslexia, not only as a specific learning difficulty but also as a learning difference as those students affected respond well to a range of learning styles, namely multi-sensory, kinaesthetic, ‘hands on learning’. As a result, all our students enjoy a curriculum which is modified and mind friendly, making it appropriate to their individual needs. Our staff work hard to deliver work creatively and to allow students to record their work using methods such as mind maps, writing frames, power point presentations and other forms of technology.


THE LOCAL OFFER - Parent/Carer information for children who have additional needs.

Frequently asked questions:

What is the local offer?

Our local offer is information for parents/carers of children who have Special Educational Needs (SEN) or a disability, and all of those who support children with additional needs. The information outlines the support and provision they can expect to receive whilst attending Penkford School.

How are Special Educational Needs defined?

Some children have needs or disabilities that affect their ability to learn; for example:

Behavioural /social (e.g. difficulty making friends)

Reading and writing (e.g. dyslexia)

Understanding things

Concentrating (e.g. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Physical needs or impairments (GOV.UK, 2014)

How will Penkford School know if my child needs extra help?

All children and young people at Penkford School have been identified with special educational needs (SEN). The types of special educational needs catered for are behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD) and are identified on their Statement of Special Educational Needs.

Who is the best person to talk to about my child’s difficulties with learning / SEN?

The child's form tutor can be contacted to discuss difficulties with learning.

Subject teachers can be contacted to discuss specific areas of the curriculum that the child is having difficulties with.

A higher level teaching assistant (HLTA) manages referrals into and out of our Learning Support Base.

A member of the Middle Leadership Team (MLT) has responsibility for the coordination of support for additional needs. Every pupil has an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) which is reviewed and updated regularly.

The Deputy Head teacher oversees annual reviews.

How will I know how Penkford School will support my child?

Parents/carers will be invited to make an appointment to meet with subject teachers and their form tutor to discuss the child's progress.

Targets are set at the beginning of the academic year and included in the half termly reports to inform parents/carers of the progress the child should be making.

Penkford School collects data every half term on the progress the child is making in all subjects; this is reported to parents/carers.

Parents/carers will be contacted regularly by telephone or letter about things that have happened in school and arrangements can be made for a home/school diary if appropriate.

The planned learning will be explained via the school website with suggestions for how learning can be supported outside of school.

An individual learning plan (ILP) outlines the child's strengths and areas for development with achievable targets; progress made in respect of the targets will be discussed at the annual review when new targets will be generated as appropriate.

As a small special school, we know our parents/carers extremely well. We are in constant contact in order to work together to support our pupils.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?

A range of teaching and learning styles are used that reflect the child's preferred learning style.

Appropriate learning objectives are set for all children to reflect their needs and abilities.

An imaginative curriculum which matches the needs of our pupils is being launched in September 2014. We have matched the curriculum to the needs of a relatively large Key Stage 4 cohort for 2014 -16. Pupils who require a different level of support are placed on a personalised programme.

What support will be available for my child’s overall well-being?

All children belong to a tutor group consisting of a teacher and at least one teaching assistant. Pastoral issues are initially dealt with by tutor group staff. Additional pastoral support is available from a higher level teaching assistant whose role is to oversee the emotional and physical wellbeing of our pupils. Support for medical needs is provided by the school nurse. Risk assessments are in place for specific issues such as known allergies or medical conditions and all staff are trained in the appropriate prevention and response should situations arise.

A tracking sheet accompanies each tutor group as they access their lessons; teachers award points for the child's personal target, work and general behaviour. All children are encouraged to make the right choices and work towards the school's reward system of collecting points which can be exchanged for a variety of items.

Attendance issues are addressed by the attendance officer, the Education Welfare Service (EWS) and a higher level teaching assistant; regular home visits offer parents/carers support with issues relating to attendance.

What specialist services and expertise are available at Penkford School?

All staff are experienced in the particular needs of pupils with social, emotional and behavioural needs. Staff are trained in de-escalation techniques and positive behavioural strategies designed to reduce anxiety and the risk of restraint.

A specialist dyslexia teacher supports children with specific learning difficulties via sequential, multisensory phonics programmes, and phonics based strategies are promoted across the curriculum.

All children have access to weekly 'Changing Lives' counselling sessions and are also offered a range of holistic therapies. Pupils are offered an interactive programme called ‘Heartmath’ which incorporates a system of techniques that encourages them to transform stress, build resilience and boost performance.

Key stage 2 pupils are taught by specialist staff in recently refurbished accommodation. The curriculum is delivered via Nurture Group principles.

What happens if my child has a high level of need?

Children who are finding it difficult to access the curriculum in a classroom setting are referred into our learning support base: this is a calm environment where purposeful learning can be delivered on a one to one basis.

Pastoral support is available from the learning support base and the higher level teaching assistant who oversees the emotional and physical health and wellbeing of our pupils.

Counselling services are available via ‘Changing Lives’ and multi-agency involvement is utilised as appropriate to the needs of the child.

Are the staff who support children with SEND in Penkford School provided with appropriate training?

All staff are trained in ‘Team teach’ de-escalation and positive handling techniques with regular refresher sessions. Some staff have advanced ‘Team teach’ status.

All staff receive regular training sessions in ‘Safeguarding’ protocol and procedures.

How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom, including school trips?

A programme of outdoor education encompassing orienteering skills; kayaking; climbing and cycling is offered to each class throughout the year.

Opportunities for residential programmes to encourage the development of social skills and team building exercises are provided.

Our off-site provision (Building Futures) offers a range of skills including painting and decorating; plastering; bricklaying and motor mechanics for Year 10 and Year 11 pupils who are more suited to vocational pathways.

How accessible is the school environment?

Single storey building

All entrance doors have recently been replaced and comply with DDA regulations to ensure wide enough for wheelchair users.

Front office reception area re- configured during refurbishment programme and again complies with DDA regulations in split height of visitor reception desk.

Improved secure access to school site funded by local authority.

Controlled access by use of key fobs to designated users and side gates are manual controlled at start and end of day by staff.

All access to school is at ground level and ramps have been installed where appropriate, at main entrance from car park to office reception and from top playground to mobile unit.

How will Penkford School prepare and support my child when they are starting, leaving this school or moving to another year?

Allocation of places at Penkford School occurs three times annually via the placement panel meetings.

Once awarded a place, the child along with parents/carers are invited into school to meet key staff and have a look around. A higher level teaching assistant plans the admission programme.

Transition from Key stage 2 to 3 is supported by Key stage 2 staff. Connexions advisor plays a supportive role for transition from Key stage 3 to 4 and the Education Enhancement Team (EET) support students leaving Key stage 4.

What if my child needs transport to and from school?

School transport is provided via local authority and vehicles are directed into gated compound where staff supervise students on and off buses.

Year 4 to Year 9 pupils are transported to school on school bus or taxi

All school transport staff (drivers and escorts) hold a current CRB clearance.

Year 10 and Year 11 pupils are provided with a free bus pass from School Transport Section for independent travel for each academic year.  Any replacement bus pass caused by loss or damage to be funded by the parent/carer.

How is the decision made about how much support my child will receive?

All pupils at Penkford School have a statement of special educational needs which specifies the nature of support required. On arrival baseline assessments are conducted to indicate the level of support required both academically and behaviourally.  Personalised programmes are developed which may include in class support, 1:1 tutorials or off-site re-engagement provision.

How will I be involved in discussions about and planning for my child’s education?

As a small special school, staff know parents/carers well and communicate with them frequently to work in partnership with them to support the child’s needs. Penkford School supports parents/carers via coffee mornings, pamper sessions, Christmas bingo afternoon and also offers the counselling services of ‘Changing Lives’ every Wednesday afternoon.

Who can I contact for further information?

The first point of contact if something needs to be discussed about the child is the form tutor. Appointments can be made with the Senior Leadership Team or the Additional Needs Coordinator through the school office.

Parents/carers get to know the staff well and feel confident contacting school to keep us updated or to ask for help and support.

Useful Web Links

British Dyslexia Association (BDA) -


Dyslexia Action -

Penkford School. Wharf Road, Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside WA12 9XZ

Tel: 01744 678745 | Fax: 01744 678748 | Email: