2016 Winners.

Most Innovative Special Needs Intervention

Most Inclusive Practice Across a School

Best Use of External Special Needs Professional

Most Innovative Special Needs Intervention

The Limes College







The Limes College Art department creates innovating and exciting projects to engage students in Art and Design. During Halloween 2015 we created an exhibition inspired by Mexican Day of the Dead at The Lyric Theatre. Students and families were invited for a private view of the work before the exhibition was open to the general public for a week. The artists and their families were also given free tickets to the show which gave them the opportunity to attend a West End Show for the first time. We are currently working on a Surrealist project using inspiration from www.touretteshero.com this project will culminate in an exhibition for the Tourettes hero organisation’s 6th birthday at Battersea Art Centre. Our project challenges student’s preconceptions about the Tourette’s condition and disability in general. Previous projects have included a residential photography trip to Appleby Horse Fair to experience and document the Gypsy and Traveller Horse Trading Fair and an inclusive event at The Tate Britain were Limes College Art students volunteered supporting children and young people with Tourette’s and associated conditions and accessed workshops led by professional artists. As a result of our projects we have a high ratio of A-C grades at GCSE and the majority of students make or exceed their expected levels of progress in this subject. Within the PE department we believe in enriching young people’s lives through outdoor education. We run a daily programme that covers a wide variety of different activities. This year we have taken part in various water sports, climbing, skiing and boxing to mention a few. Students regularly learn outdoors and a wide range of trips are facilitated throughout the year some have included a ski residential, theatre trips, places of worship, historical venues, local businesses, London Olympics and sporting events, to name a few. Limes do not employ midday supervisors and all staff take it in turn to do lunch duty.  The school does not have a canteen instead students cook lunch from scratch.  They choose the meals that they would like to cook and eat. This is important for the students as it might be the only meal that they eat during the day.  It is a social part of the day as we all sit together and eat and it’s a time for students and staff to chat about everyday things. The students receive a postcard home if they have an outstanding lesson and then get to make a treat and take the turn at being head chef.  The school also has a breakfast club and this has helped improve attendance and punctuality of the young people and children. At KS4 most students take either core science or combined science, however, we also offer entry level for those who are less able and last year we had our first student take Human Biology which she studied after school and achieved a C. We hope that in the future we can expand (we currently only have one full time science teacher.)   We are currently trialling an online revision programme called Tassomai with both years 10 and 11 which has really helped build the confidence of those students who have missed many science lessons and who have many gaps in their knowledge as they can learn independently and in their own time. In year 11 each student has a fortnightly tutorial after school where they have 1 to 1 sessions with a science teacher and can go over any problems that they may have in the subject. This has helped to improve both confidence and attainment.

Over the last year in the maths department we have developed our extended learning opportunities by offering twilight sessions, holding a residential with outdoor activities and maths revision, and we took some of the students to a gardening project for a day where we alternated maths revision with gardening activities. All students have at least one cooking session every half term where the emphasis is on ‘maths in the kitchen’ and the students have to calculate weights, ratios, times etc. They enjoy these sessions very much. In the maths department last year we had 80% of year 11 make or exceed expected levels of progress. Two took an additional GCSE (Statistics) which boosted their GCSE numbers helping with college and school sixth form applications. All teaching staff complete a data drop on each pupil every half term.  This data is analysed by a member of SLT and RAGGED (Red Amber Green) to show pupils making no progress (for whatever reason), steady progress, or rapid progress. This data analysis is used by all stakeholders working with the pupils, including SEN, tutor, family outreach worker, etc. We also send a copy of the data home on an in-house proforma and the SLT member that oversees the data, has a board inside and outside his office with laminated bookmarks on that are laid out in groups of 5a*-C including English and Maths, 5A*-C with either Maths or English and those that will get 5A*-G GCSEs. The pupils also get an updated bookmark so that they can monitor and track their own progress, from half term to half term.  In English we now look beyond a skills based curriculum which teaches to the test. Whilst supporting students in gaining their GCSE remains vitally important in securing their next destination, we hold it to be true that young people must also have a deeper understanding of the world and themselves if they are to be valuable members of their community. Since English Language has no content of itself, we use lessons as opportunities for students to explore the many issues and spheres of knowledge that are relevant today whilst refining their linguistic skills.  We endeavour to connect with students on a humanistic level and lead them back to an enjoyment of learning that is often lost during their schooling. To this end, we also work with other departments in devising ambitious thematic units and educational projects that promote holistic development and allow students to learn in tactile as well as intellectual ways. Every year the students raise money for local charities and charities overseas. We raise approx. £1,000 ever year and students get a say in the charities that they would like to support which have included mental health, domestic violence, breast cancer, buying toilets in poverty stricken countries for communities. The school has a dog that is slowly being integrated into the school and this brings responsibility and a therapeutic dimension to the ethos of the school. Some of our students are educated off site as they cannot cope with the school setting. They may be educated in college, have work experience or attend a vocational course such as plastering gardening or have individual tuition. This is monitored closely by the college and if the student’s timetable is all off site they can still have an outreach worker. Last year we had a young person that did not turn up for an exam. The school found out he was in a police cell as he had been arrested. The Headteacher phoned up the Duty Sargent and arranged for the Deputy to go and invigilate the exam in the police cell.   One of which is studying maths at Cambridge and one at York studying Environment and Ecology. In November 2015 a student was entered for English Ices whom has an offsite timetable.  She arrived late for the exam, was very anxious and aware that she had to sit in a hall full of other candidates she did not know. Despite this, she sat the whole exam and coped quite well with the pressure given her anxieties.  Unfortunately, her late arrival to the exam had to be reported to the board and this was followed up by a letter from them confirming they would not be giving her a mark as a security breach of the paper could have occurred.  As a staff team, we got together to draw up an appeal letter and although she was late, we felt there had been no malicious intent. We were then delighted to hear back that the board had decided to accept the script and mark it; and even more delighted that the student secured a C grade!  This has given the student the confidence and motivation for her to come back in the summer to resit English, as she wants to try and secure a B grade. We have two ex-students applying for university this year to study law and forensic science. We also have two ex-students who are currently in university. One of which who is studying maths at Cambridge and one studying Environment and Ecology.

The Limes College is unique as we have a whole team dedicated to safeguarding and pastoral support which is not found in other PRUs across the country.  We work multi agency with a range of services to enable students to remain safe and decrease the risk factors they have when they arrive with us.  We have worked with AVA (Against Violence and Abuse) to create a digital on line toolkit for professionals and this has received national media coverage and now forms the basis of campaigns to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG) in schools and local authorities up and down the country. The toolkit has already won a European MEDIA Awards and a silver award at the Learning Awards for both External Learning Solution and Social & Collaborative Learning Solution of the Year.  We also deliver domestic violence training and other training to other schools, PRUS, inmates in women’s and men prisons and other agencies.  We do not publicise our training but word of mouth does.     We offer specialist support, advice and guidance to other local primary and secondary schools on domestic violence and have our own Limes policy on Violence against Women’s and Girls. Our team recognise that Domestic violence and abuse is an increasingly recognised factor in child safeguarding referrals and subsequent proceedings.

We made a documentary that our students were involved in with the BBC looking at why pornography is harmful that was aired on BBC 3.  From this we have had specialist services such as Barnado’s who contacted the school to come and visit.  They wanted to see the work that we deliver to parents and students as many schools will not deliver this subject due to the complexity, specialism and backlash it can receive from parents/carers.  The College is part of the condom distribution scheme and chlamydia and gonorrhea screening which is unheard of in other schools and all parents are aware.  Students are regularly taken to family planning clinics and GUM clinics when appropriate.  Disclosures of sexual assault and rape are very high over a third of young women have disclosed sexual assault and rape since coming to Limes.   The pastoral team work holistically with the students and their families to evoke change, improve attendance and behaviour and develop life skills so they can achieve, move on and be part of the community.  Every term all young people are assessed using the outcome teen star which measures a range of risk factors and see if they have increased or decreased and then interventions are tailored to the student’s needs.

We deliver individual work such as mentoring, counselling techniques, substance misuse groups, baby project; young people are given a real life baby to care for and take home,  solution focused approaches and therapeutic group work such as domestic violence recovery and support groups, self-esteem, and parenting groups.  All are well attended and from this parents/carers and students then go on to access support in the community. A weekly family group operates with young people and their parents attending.  This helps to improve relationships and work facilitated is internet safety, food hygiene, bereavement, multi systemic approaches etc.  We have four outreach workers, a reintegration worker who supports young people back into mainstream education, two safeguarding officers, social worker, an intensive support co-ordinator and three clinical psychologists on site.   Our work is embedded across the school curriculum.  We invite guest speakers regularly into the school such as ex-offenders, parents who have lost a child through gangs, motivational speakers and there are prison visits.  Our young people can connect with these people and this compliments the work that we deliver.  We hold restorative meetings for students and staff as a way of resolving conflict and teaching young people to move forward.  The team also support students in attending evening provision such as youth centres and sports clubs.  We run joint projects with a range of services including Police, Rape Crisis, Youth Service and the local refuge etc. We offer outreach work to schools to prevent children and young people from being excluded at coming to the College.  Workers support parents/carers and children at Social Service meetings, health appointments and college interviews.  The team home visit every new student to see if additional support is required.  The Intensive Support Coordinator seeks additional funding for the school via funding bids and this supports the school in its pastoral work and extra-curricular studies for e.g. drama and arts projects and outdoor learning.  When students use discriminatory language or bullying, sanctions are put in place and they have to attend a workshop after school on the subject.  For example a student continued to use racist language and attended two workshops afterschool on racism another student on inappropriate sexual language.  This was to dispel the myths they had and educate them.

Our team support students accessing teaching and learning as many of the issues that the pupils have cause them to have challenging behaviour.  This behaviour then becomes a barrier to learning.  With the teams interventions young people can recover from the trauma that they have experienced and learn strategies to manage their behaviour.  This then improves behaviour, and attendance which improves academic results and pupils receiving other qualifications.  The team this year received a silver award at the Pearson’s teaching award for most outstanding Team.

The SEN team, in addition to catering for the SLCNs of the students, also facilitates a specialist Girls Group. The group not only provides a range of educational and vocational programmes, but is designed to facilitate a nurturing environment. With safety, security, emotional stability and a sense of belonging as a  key focus, the group provides therapeutic interventions, such as Creative Art, Drama and Play Therapy combined with ELSA and Clinical Psychology to provide a more comprehensive and wholesome experience for the students.  The SEN team believes in being as transparent as possible and has a receptive open door policy. There is regular communication with parents/carers and leaflets of all the interventions and the roles of the SEN team are readily available. The parents are supported at every stage of the SA process, consulted and given guidance in the completion of the EHCP. The SEN team also provides support for the school by providing staff with updated SEN information for all students, provide training and is always available to give advice about strategies. Resources are constantly being added to FROG, there are newsletters, SEN staff handbooks and the team enjoys a good partnership with outside agencies such as the ASD service that provide information and training. The SEN team believes in making the transition into other provisions or back to school as comfortable as possible for students. With the help of the school, Pastoral Team and other support staff, a transition plan is in place to support the student during what can sometimes be a difficult change.  The team benefits from having a full time SALT HLTA and two ELSA specialists (one currently still in training). Curriculum support staff have also been trained to deliver SALT screeners.

The SEN team conducts Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Speech, Language and Communication Screeners. These are conducted to ascertain if students possess any processing, memory, vocabulary, communicative or physical difficulties that may impair their learning and/or affect their social relationships. If a need is identified through these screening processes, the student is then referred to the SLCNS who will conduct a more thorough assessment. The SEN team is then provided with the classroom strategies and SALT targets. These are further fine-tuned by the SEN team who deliver 1:1 interventions if necessary to target a specific area of need. If 1:1 intervention is not required, the strategies are disseminated with practical examples of how to work with the student to maximise their chances of reaching their full potential.

Most Inclusive Practice Across a School

St Phillip’s C of E Primary School, Southport







B, a bubbly and excitable 4 year old, suffers from the degenerative condition Ullrich’s Muscular Dystrophy.   I was approached by B’s parents in the February of 2014, before B was due to begin school.  His parents were committed to the idea that B should be able to attend the same school as his older brother and sister.  They had been advised by the Local Authority that B’s needs would be better catered for at another local primary school but were determined that he should be educated in the same school and in same way and  by the same team of teachers and teaching assistants as his siblings.

There were many reasons why it would have been very difficult for St Philips to meet the needs of such a special little boy, but just like his parents we were determined to ensure that our commitment to equality was upheld and decided that we would make whatever adaptations B needed, meeting the challenges of funding head on.

We invited B’s parents into school and in consultation with an advisor from the Local Authority assessed the whole school environment to identify challenges which would need to be addressed.

Challenges included

The reception outdoor area

The reception toilets

The playground surface

The layout of the reception classroom

The accessibility to continuous provision

The cloakroom area

The taps on the sink

The inaccessible computer suite

The doors into the main building

Challenging stereotypes

Practitioner understanding of the condition.

P.E lessons

Concerns around parking as we have no disabled space

The ratio of adults to children

The doors inside the main building

Arranging additional visits to school and spending time with B in his current setting.

Interviewing for 1 -1 support

Application for High Needs Funding

Building relationships between parents and staff

Where we began

We applied to the Liverpool Diocese for a Disability Grant and were delighted to be told that they had agreed to fund some of the work that needed to be completed.  The original school building dates back to 1894 and this presented many access challenges.

The Governing board and I decided that the approach that we would take would be to address each classroom, year on year, as B moved up through the school.  By altering and adapting our approach, in line with B’s needs at the time, we would address specific needs in the most appropriate way.  The focus initially was the reception classroom, outdoor area and ensuring a really positive start.

Alterations and adaptations that occurred to ensure B was able to fully integrate with his peers

Ramps and decking to the outdoor area.

Raised activities to enable easier access to the Early Years  Outdoor provision

Training for all staff but most specifically the class teacher, teaching assistant and newly appointed 1 -1 Learning Support Assistant and a new dinner time supervisor

Adaptations to the toilet area including specialised taps and soap dispensers.  Additional grab rails

Newly appointed fitted furniture to enable B to access continuous provision either seated in his wheelchair or standing.

Parking space for wheelchair in school

Named parking space created in the car park

Purchase of 20  I Pads to enable teaching of ICT in the classroom without the need to go to the ICT suite currently situated upstairs

Staff sent on specialist PE course to enable adaptations to teaching and learning in PE

Specialist advice sought from both Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapist to ensure both environment and Curriculum continue to meet B’s needs

Raising awareness for whole school population – Go Orange Day – Children and staff carried out activities, sold cakes, wore orange and listened to a speaker from the Muscular Dystrophy UK.

You tube clip https://t.co/7sq1zUzkY5

The situation currently

B is now past the half-way point on his reception learning journey.  He is settled, happy and completely included.  In a recent review meeting held with staff at school, B’s parents and specialist support team, it was noted that the support and excellent practice provided by the school was ensuring that B had fully inclusive access to the primary curriculum.

B enriches the lives of everyone that he comes into contact with and as a school we feel blessed to have him here.  B has taught us so much and enabled us to make many adaptations.  He has opened our eyes to the difficulties that disability brings.  As a school we are committed to continuing this journey with B and will carry on doing all that we can to make sure that he is completely and utterly immersed in an education that enables him to develop high self-esteem, meets his academic needs and is a totally inclusive, joyful experience.  The open and honest dialogue between home, school and Health professionals and B’s own opinions has been at the heart of everything that we have done.

Best use of external SEN professional

Nelson Mandela Primary School





In the Autumn of 2013 we sought help from an independent speech and language therapy (SLT) service.  We knew that despite our best efforts, the language levels of our pupils could be improved.  More pressing for us at that early stage however, was the number of children with obvious speech, language, communication and interaction difficulties (SLCN) who were not receiving any input from local services.  We wanted a therapist who would come into school and provide treatment!

Initially the therapist assessed our most needy children: plans and programmes were put into place.

As soon as it was agreed to commission an on-going service (using our Pupil Premium money*), in partnership with the therapist, a longer-term plan emerged.  We began to realise that we could (and should) use the therapist not only as a ‘clinic in a school’ but also as a source of expertise and advice to help us build sustainability, understand the nature and impact of SLCN and be confident to learn how to do things for ourselves.

Our Therapist was very clear with us that if we were to successfully achieve our overall aim – which was to skill up our own staff to be able to support children with SLCN so that, in the longer term, we would become more autonomous and less reliant on specialist services, we would need to take on the two-stranded approach of both prevention & intervention.  If we didn’t address the problems early on, we would never reduce the numbers of children needing help later.

With the therapist we have developed a proper pathway which, eventually, will become part of our Whole School Language & Communication Strategy. Based on the pyramid model, we have a two-pronged approach which encompasses both prevention & intervention.  To be able to sustain quality management of SLCN we know we must use our resources to greatest effect and be able to deliver universal services ourselves, support those children who need targeted input at tier 2, and be confident to use out therapist for the tier 3 children.

Prevalence of SLCN and Tiered interventions

Tier 1: Specialist. Therapist-lead but with increasing hands-on from TAs as they become more skilled. SLT supports communicate with parents.
Tier 3: Universal. We are trained to carry out our whole Nursery language screening & to deliver a range of whole class strategies to support all children’s speech and language. SLT supports nursery visits and parent groups. Tier 2: Targeted. Therapist-designed but primarily delivered by TAs. SLT supports communicate with parents.

The Pathway

Essential criteria were to have strategies at every level of the pyramid so that no child would be in danger of being missed.

Right from the beginning

Prevention: Nursery staff screen all children on entry (we use the Wellcomm Screening Toolkit).  Children either already falling behind their peers or at risk of doing so are identified and interventions are put into place to reduce the numbers significantly behind before Reception entry.  We know this works.

Table 1:  Reception Summary –before Wellcomm in Nursery (Autumn 2013)
Significant cause for concern (red) 4 13%
Age appropriate or just below 22 73%


Table 2:   Reception Autumn 2015 (these children had Wellcomm in Nursery)
Significant cause for concern (red) 0  
Age appropriate or just below 26 96.5%

Our therapist has shown us how to ‘play detective’ to try and identify the reasons for low scores.  We can then group children more effectively and also make sure that those (high priority children) for whom a universal approach is not enough are fast-tracked to the therapist.

We rescreen at the end of the Spring term.  This single data snapshot shows the impact of this approach.  This has been replicated both years either side of 2015.

Nursery 2014 → Reception 2015 Autumn 2014 Spring 2015 Autumn 2015
Significant cause for concern (red) 6 17% 4 11% 0 0%
Age appropriate or just below 23 57% 30 85% 26 96.5%

We have a clear picture of needs on entry into Reception.  All new children into Reception are screened and the Nursery approach is replicated.

Confidence to be able to identify children for whom EAL is the primary reason for low scores has increased significantly.  We have used our therapist to help us turn ‘gut feeling’ into something more concrete and measurable.  There is no need to target valuable resources towards a process which will naturally evolve given a generally rich language environment.  It is only this year (2015/16 window) that we have more formally monitored the EAL cohort.

 EAL ‘experimental’ group Autumn 2015 Spring 2016
number % number %
Significant cause for concern (red) 8 100% 1 12.5%
Age appropriate or just below 0 0 7 87.5%

 By year 1 Interventions are tiers 2 & 3-based.  TAs with additional training deliver 1-1 programmes and/or run small groups.

Years 2-6

Needs are clearer and we are far more confident in understanding where SLCN is part of a general developmental delay and using our resources appropriately.  We also now recognise the clear link between SLCN and behaviour problems and have a strong pastoral approach to supporting these children.

As in any setting, we have a small number of children with on-going quite complex needs.  Any child still requiring additional support has a personalised plan, developed jointly with SLT which may include 1-1 support and/or small group work which may have a nurture or social interaction component.

We have used our therapist to accelerate information-gathering in complex cases where there is a significant medical component; access occupational Therapy where it is needed and to contribute to KS3 transition as appropriate.

At the beginning of this journey we sometimes despaired whether we would ever reduce the numbers needing support.  The table below shows the gradual year-on-year reduction.  There will always be children requiring specialist help but our aim is to identify them at the earliest opportunity, put support in place and use our resources to maximum effect.

*Autumn term 2013 2014 2015
EYFS 54 31 20
Years 2-6 24 16 7

*our data stages follow the academic rather than calendar year.

*Validating the use of Pupil Premium (PP) to fund our SLT service

Evidence from 2 different cohorts shows a correlation between PP & low language scores on screening.

*PP = 37.5% of total cohort Autumn 2015 Spring 2016
  % of total % of PP    
Significant difficulty 33% 92% 8% 25%
Age approximate or just below 4% 8% 26% 75%

Our success is out there in the community and other schools come to us for support in setting up systems in their schools as we have taken a whole school strategy approach. Our staff are now experts and the model is self sustained.

Catch us at this years Mental Health Shows in Leeds, Find out more.