The SEN Information Report will be updated annually to reflect changes and plans within the school. The report outlines the current provision within Villa Real School. This report follows the proforma set out in Durham County Councils SEN Toolkit.

What are the kinds of special educational needs for which provision is made at Villa Real?


Villa Real School is a maintained day special school for children aged 2-19 years. Admission to Villa Real is via the Local Authority and you can contact SEN placement and provision at Durham County Council on 03000 260000.

Pupils at Villa Real Special School have been identified as having needs which are significant and often complex. They have Severe Learning Difficulties or Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties as described in the SEN Code of Practice. The pupils may also have associated needs in the areas of communication and interaction such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, sensory or physical difficulties and complex medical needs.

All our pupils are offered a post-16 place in accordance with county guidelines.


How the school identifies children and young people with SEN and how they assess their needs


The SENCo at Villa Real School is Louise Burns. She can be contacted via the school reception or at

All pupils at Villa Real have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) prior to admission. The school has an SEN policy which can be found on the website in the policies section. Any additional or developing needs are identified by school staff and referred to the school SENCo or relevant external professional if they cannot be addressed within existing provision.

At Villa Real School, we measure holistic progress for all pupils. Regular progress meetings ensure students make good progress and where progress is restricted, intervention plans are introduced or external multi agency support sought. We have a rigorous system of reviewing IEPs as an on-going tool, which look at specific individual targets for the pupil. If targets are not met, we would put an intervention plan in place which would look at the need of referrals to outside professionals. The SENCo is always available to parents and carers to address any on-going concerns they have and act accordingly. We are also a pupil centred school and will look to actively involve all our students in assessing need.

The arrangements for consulting parents and involving them in the education of their child

At Villa Real School parents are always included in their child’s education. We achieve this in the following ways:

  • We welcome all parents and carers for an Initial visit to school to discuss individual need and provision

  • We also have a clear and individualised transition programme which involves parents and pupils

  • In all classes, staff use a daily home/school book, for information exchanges and to deliver key messages for pupils with communication difficulties

  • We have a text service to parents for reminders and information sharing

  • Regular newsletters

  • Termly parent/teacher meetings

  • Meetings with other professional –team around the family, care team meetings, PEP meetings

  • An annual report linked to the annual review of statement/EHC Plan including a review of an Individual Health Care Plans as appropriate

  • Parent workshops and training

  • Coffee mornings to promote sharing of experiences and strategies

  • Parental Representation on Governing Body

  • Parent Questionnaire

  • Parent involvement in changes in school through informal and formal consultations


Arrangements for assessing and reviewing progress


Our pupils are assessed both formatively (ongoing) and summative (at the end terms and full year).

Formative assessment takes place daily through all learning activities:

  • Quick quizzes​

  • Observations​

  • Questioning​

  • Phonic/BLAST monitoring​

  • Marking​

  • On-going EHCP objectives ​

  • Displays​

  • Pupil Voice​

  • OT/SALT/physio /CAMHS work


All children are made clear of the learning outcomes for each session and given clear feedback at the end of the session about the progress they have made. Children are encouraged to recognise what they can do well and what they need to improve. Staff help the children to understand what they need to do next. Staff annotate the children’s’ work, clearly highlighting progress and next steps. Staff share feedback with each other and will often annotate the class planning. Staff use Earwig Academic timelines to provide evidence of children’s work over the course of a term.

Summative assessment is carried out twice a year using an assessment tool called BSquared, to evaluate pupil progress in academic subjects. This is entered and analysed  to ensure progression and identify areas to be developed. We are then able to produce data showing how well our pupils are progressing towards meeting their targets. It also shows us how well pupils are progressing towards meeting ‘expected outcomes’ for similar children.

During Annual Review meetings and Parents Evening, staff discuss the child’s progress with his or her parents/carers. Parental views, opinions and advice will always be sought where there is an issue around progress and as a school we continuously work closely with parents.

At Villa Real we use pupil’s EHCP to set IEPs for our students. These targets will be based on our REAL curriculum.

We use Subject co-ordinators also look at progress within their areas and we are in the progress of working with Advisors from the Authority to establish regular and effective Learning Walks/Visits and book scrutinies to assess and review individual progress.

The school’s arrangements for supporting children and young people as they move between phases of education and in their preparation for adulthood.

All transitions are planned and supported whether this is pupils moving to us from an Early Years setting, moving class group, progressing to Villa Real sixth form or moving on to further education, health or social care provision.

Parents/carers will have the opportunity to meet new staff, take part in organised visits and get further information via our annual ‘Moving On’ fayre.

We work with parent support advisors, specialist teachers and school SENCos so that we get to know the needs of our new pupils. Staff from other schools are encouraged to accompany pupils on transition visits along with parents and carers.

Once a pupil has been accepted in to school, regardless of age, the SENCo will contact parents and ask for them to come in a meet the Head teacher and SENCo and discuss the child’s needs in detail. This means that the school as a personal description of the pupil before they meet. A transition booklet with photographs of the building and the staff is sent home, so children can familiarise the school first.

We then will visit the children in their current setting, nursery, school, or home and then arrange many staggered visits. This is led by the child’s individual needs. Transition programmes are set up for pupils depending on their needs. Staff from Villa Real liaise with those from feeder schools.

The SENCo will also attend the AR meetings in the year leading up to entry to ensure targets and descriptions are accurate.

The school’s approach to teaching children and young people with SEN


Our School is a place where everyone is treated with dignity, with respect, and is of equal worth.

Every child matters


All staff have a shared vision for Villa Real, which has been achieved through collaboration and is owned by all members of our learning community. Our vision is that Villa Real School will be pupil centred with a strong focus on wellbeing and progress. We will all work in partnership with “stakeholders” to sustain a proactive approach to change and a positive outlook. Our school is a mutually supportive environment in which all are valued.

At Villa Real, we provide an inclusive, relevant and appropriate curriculum for all which offers accreditation at all levels, where possible. We provide pupils with a broad, balanced, and relevant curriculum, through which they experience a wide a range of appropriate educational opportunities, through statutory curriculum requirements. We hold teaching and learning to be central to our provision and have a robust CPD and School Improvement Plan to ever increase teaching standards. Our flexibility and differentiation is a true strength of the school, and sharing good practice is improving standards even more.

Villa Real is a safe, caring and supportive environment, where we challenge and encourage pupils to achieve their potential in terms of academic achievement, aesthetic appreciation and spiritual, moral and cultural awareness. We encourage tolerance, understanding and respect for the cultures, rights, beliefs, feelings and property of others, and develop in pupils a responsible and independent attitude towards work and towards their future roles in society. Teaching helps to foster emotional and physical health and wellbeing by creating a climate in which pupils’ self-esteem and self-confidence can grow and develop.

How the school adapts the curriculum and the learning environment of children and young people with SEN


The curriculum at Villa Real is bespoke to meet the needs of the children. It is reviewed yearly to meet individual needs in line with the School Development Plan. Progression has been developed from EYFS to Key Stage 5 throughout the subject areas so that we can monitor and evaluate individual’s learning journey. We use the national curriculum as a benchmark, then extend in an age appropriate and personalised manner. Individual teachers act on advice from therapists and medical professionals to incorporate their reports into their teaching.

Villa Real School is a purpose-built building and is fully accessible for wheelchair users being on one level. In other communal areas, such as soft play room and hydrotherapy pool, there are built in hoists, mobile hoists are also available.

A wide range of equipment and facilities are provided for the children in response to their different needs to support them physically and enable them to access their learning and the curriculum.

The expertise and training of staff to support children and young people with SEN, including how specialist expertise is secured

Staffing levels are enhanced so that pupils can be taught in classes appropriate to their individual needs and abilities. Teachers, Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs), Special Support Assistants (SSAs) and Supervisory Assistants (SAs) are deployed in a variety of ways to ensure very pupil can access education. The school receives advice and support from a range of health professionals, working in partnership with them, to meet the needs of our pupils. Referrals are made through the SENCo, who follows up advice and appointments. All staff have clear job descriptions which detail the required qualifications for each post in school. All staff have a core training programme related to their work as a teacher or member of the support team. Individual development needs are assessed and reviewed through appraisal systems and individual training needs identified.

Continuous Professional Development in SEN is supported by targeted in-service training and attendance on courses. We recognise and value the vast amount of knowledge and skills held by our own staff and strive to promote the use of peer collaboration as a means of staff development. The long-term well-being of the pupils is of paramount concern and training in Medical Needs, Safeguarding, First Aid, Behaviour Management, team Teach, Moving and Handling, and Midas is kept up to date. We have an induction program for new staff to ensure they are aware of policy, procedures and guidelines.

We also work with the Educational Psychologist who has devised a bespoke training schedule for staff in relation to change and problem solving. We have also trained member of staff to be school champions in such areas as behaviour, SALT, VI so that we have a bank of expertise within the staff to utilise.

How the school handles complaints from parents of children or young people with SEN about the provision made at the school


All staff have a responsibility to meet the needs of all the pupils at Villa Real School. The school contact details are available on the website where you will be able to contact a member of the leadership team or your child’s class teacher.

Parents/carers can contact the Special Educational Needs and Disability Information and Advice Service which is run by Barnardo’s in Gateshead (tel 0191 4784667). This is a free, confidential service for young people who have SEND and their parent/carers. The service is available whether or not the young person has a Single Plan.

How the school evaluates the effectiveness of the provision made for children and young people with SEN


The school has a rigorous and robust improvement plan in all areas which are evaluated regularly and shared among all staff. We have developed a strong link with School Improvement Advisors within the authority who visit school regular and offer support where needed.

How children and young people with SEN are included so that they are able to engage in all school activities


There is personalisation of the curriculum for each pupil in order that they can access and experience success throughout their school life.

The Student Council involves students in contributing to all aspects of school life, suggesting new ideas and innovations and making decisions about Villa Real as part of the wider community.

The assessment and annual review process of statements of SEN and EHC Plans includes the choices and views of pupils/student, where possible. Pupil questionnaires are completed annually.

The support for improving emotional and social development


We take great care to ensure all our pupils are confident, feel valued and respect others. As well as providing academic support, school also provides emotional and social support for children. Staff adopt consistent approaches in supporting children. We believe in a positive approach to supporting children with behaviour and rewards such as stickers, praise assemblies and awards are used alongside positive language and clear expectations. The school House system also rewards pupils in all areas of school life.

If a child has additional needs, Positive Handling Plans are used to ensure that all staff working with the child manages the children’s behaviour in a consistent way.

Children have Personal, Social and Health Education lessons and have opportunities to enjoy cultural and social experiences on a regular basis within the curriculum.

We have clear and enforced bullying policy and work closely with the NSPCC on many campaigns to promote safety and well-being.

How the school involves other bodies and agencies, in meeting children and young people’s SEN and supporting their families


A strong ethos of multi-disciplinary working exists within the school. Staff work closely with therapists including Speech Therapists (SALT) Occupational Therapists (OT), Physiotherapists, Children and Young Peoples Service (CYPS), LD CAHMS, Nursing teams and Educational Psychologists to further identify barriers of learning and ensure an integrated approach to curriculum delivery. We also have a school bases sensory support worker.