Ensuring the best provision for pupils with additional learning needs

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Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf’s vision of academic and social inclusion for all is achieved by fully understanding and responding flexibly to the needs of all learners.

Number of learners: 1,132
Age range: 11-18
Date of inspection: May 2017

Information about the school

Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf is a designated Welsh-medium school for pupils between 11 and 18 years old.  The school is maintained by Cardiff local education authority and serves the centre of the city of Cardiff, from north to south.  There are 1,132 pupils on roll.  The school admits pupils from the full range of ability.  Twenty per cent (20%) of pupils are on the additional learning needs register, and a little over 1% of pupils have a statement of special educational needs.  A resource centre for pupils with profound learning needs from all parts of the local education authority is situated at the school, and it has 13 pupils.

Context and background to sector-leading practice

The basis of the school’s vision is academic and social inclusion for all, and ensuring that everyone has access to all of the school community’s activities.  In order to succeed in this, every possible effort is made to adapt provision and, critically, to respond flexibly to the needs of all learners.  One key factor that enables this is ensuring a full understanding of the needs of all learners, and then ensuring that this understanding is communicated effectively among all of the school’s staff.  There is a clear focus on promoting the wellbeing of all learners at the school, and understanding that this enables us to meet learners’ academic needs effectively.

Provision for teaching, supporting and caring for pupils with profound learning difficulties at the resource centre is excellent. An exceptional feature of this is the way in which staff ensure that these pupils integrate very successfully into mainstream school life, and have full access to the broad cross-curricular opportunities that are available. This enriches the learning experiences of all of the school’s pupils (Estyn, 2017).

Description of the nature of the strategy or activity

  1. Academic and social inclusion - A wide range of interventions is provided for learners with ALN in order to promote their literacy, numeracy, speech and language and social skills, and their emotional development, and to ensure that all learners have the best provision possible.  Usually, interventions are held over a short period of time, and learners are provided with specific targets during the period of the intervention.  As a result of this intensive focus, learners make very good progress.  The effectiveness and effect of all interventions are evaluated very carefully.  For learners with the most profound needs, an individual curriculum is provided in order to ensure that all learners fulfil their potential.  There is a strong focus on developing life skills, particularly for those learners with the most profound needs.  An exceptional feature of inclusion is the way in which learners with profound and complex needs are included in the school community.  Support is provided for these learners in order to ensure access to the school’s social activities, and a number of learners with less profound needs also take advantage of this, which promotes inclusion for all and enriches the learning experiences of all pupils at the school.
  2. Full understanding of needs - There is a strong focus on gathering information about learners before they transfer to the school and ensuring that the information that is held by primary partners, parents and learners, and external agencies where applicable, is accessible to staff.  This is done by producing an Individual Profile for each learner with ALN.  The learner’s strengths and interests are the starting point of the profile, and a description of the learner’s needs and learning strategies that have been devised specifically by leaders and specialists from the Inclusion Department are added to this.  Further specialist internal assessments are conducted if there is not a full understanding of a learner’s needs.  The Individual Profile stays with the learner throughout his/her time at the school, and the document is adapted to ensure that it is up-to-date and that it responds to the pupil’s voice over time.
  3. Respond flexibly - By ensuring a full and holistic understanding of learners, their needs can be responded to flexibly, and this is the premise of the school’s inclusive vision.  By working closely with learners and those who know them well, the school can respond flexibly and ensure that small changes that make a big difference are adopted.  This is the duty of all of the school’s staff.  There is a strong focus on close co-operation between the school’s inclusion staff and pastoral staff, and this means that all learners with ALN receive the best support and provision at the time.  ‘The Hafan’ is used to enable significant flexibility for some learners.

What effect has this work had on provision and learners’ standards?

As a result of these principles, the school succeeds in promoting the academic and social development of learners with ALN, and also in creating an inclusive and supportive ethos across the school.  Evaluations of individual interventions show that they are effective and efficient, and that pupils’ progress during the period of intervention is very good.  In general, pupils with additional learning needs make strong progress from one stage to the next (Estyn, 2017). 

Links: www.glantaf.cardiff.sch.uk