Teaching, Learning and The Curriculum

Durham Federation prides itself in being extremely inclusive and we will endeavour to support every student regardless of their level of need. All students follow the National Curriculum at a level and a pace that is appropriate to their abilities. At times when it is appropriate modifications to the curriculum may be implemented.

To ensure pupil ability is matched to the curriculum there are some actions that we may take to achieve this.

  • Make sure that effective differentiation ensures that all students have access to the school curriculum and all activities.
  • Help all pupils to achieve to the best of their abilities despite any difficulty or disability they may have.
  • Ensure that teaching staff are aware of, and sensitive to the needs of all pupils, teaching pupils in a way that is more appropriate to their needs.
  • Enable students to achieve to the best of their abilities, despite any difficulty or disability they may have.
  • Ensure that teaching staff are aware of, and sensitive to the needs of all students, in a way that is appropriate to their needs.
  • Students to take part in activities to develop in confidence and improve their self esteem.
  • To work in partnership with parents/ carers, pupils and relevant external agencies in order to provide for students special educational needs and disabilities.
  • To identify at the earliest opportunity all students that need special consideration to support their needs (whether these are educational, physical or emotional.)
  • To make suitable provision for students with SEND to fully develop their abilities, interests and aptitudes and gain maximum access to the curriculum.
  • Ensure that all students with SEND are fully included in all activities of the school in order to promote the highest levels of achievement.
  • To promote self worth and enthusiasm by encouraging independence at all age and ability levels.
  • To give every student the entitlement to a sense of achievement.
  • To regularly review the policy and practice in order to achieve best practice.


Types of SEND

At  Durham Federation, we have experience of supporting children and young people with a wide range of need including:

  • Communication and Interaction
  • This area of need includes children with Autism Spectrum Condition and those with Speech, Language and Communication Needs
  • Cognition and Learning
  • This includes children with Specific Learning Difficulties, Moderate Learning Difficulties, Severe Learning Difficulties and Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties
  • This includes any pupils who have an emotional, social or mental health need that is impacting on their ability to learn.
  • Sensory and/or Physical Difficulties
  • This area includes children with hearing impairment, visual impairment, multi-sensory impairment and physical difficulties.



Number of SEND students:

Durham Community Business College

7 8 9 10 11
Emotional, Social and mental health 4 2 4 8 8
Cognitive and learning 8 8 11 12 11
Communication and interaction 1 4 6 4 4
Sensory and Physical 0 3 2 1 2
Total 13 17 23 25 25


Fyndoune Community College

7 8 9 10 11
Emotional, Social and mental health 5 7 3 4 4
Cognitive and learning 3 9 16 10 7
Communication and interaction 0 4 2 3 0
Sensory and Physical 0 0 2 1 4
Total 8 20 23 17 15


Teaching, Learning and the Curriculum

At Durham Federation, we believe that inclusive education means providing all students with appropriate education and support alongside their peers. The Curriculum is all the planned activities that the school organises in order to promote learning, personal growth and development.

It includes not only the formal requirements of the National Curriculum, but also the range of additional opportunities that the school organises in order to enrich the experiences of our children. Our curriculum also includes the social aspects that are essential for life-long learning.

For further information you can view the teaching and learning policy here


How do we identify and assess students with special educational needs?

Most students will have their special educational needs met in mainstream schools through good classroom practice. This is called Quality First Teaching. At The Durham Federation we follow a graduated approach which is called ‘ Assess, Plan, Do, Review’

This means that we will:

  • Assess a student’s special educational needs
  • Plan the provision to meet your child’s aspirations and agreed outcomes
  • Do put the provision in place to meet those outcomes
  • Review the support and progress

As part of this approach, we will produce a SEN Support Plan that describes the provision that we will make to meet a child’s special educational needs and agreed outcomes.  Parents and carers will be fully involved in this process.

A small percentage of children and young people with significant learning difficulties might need an assessment that could lead to an Education, Health and Care Plan. Full details can be found on the Local Offer website.

You can find details of how we adapt the curriculum and make it more accessible for pupils with SEN below


Ensuring access to an appropriate curriculum

All pupils follow the National Curriculum at a level and pace suitable for their ability.  Our SEN philosophy places SEN children at the heart of personalised learning and we endeavour to make our curriculum appropriate for all needs.

At times modifications to the curriculum may be implemented.  To successfully match pupil ability to the Curriculum, The Durham Federation utilise  a range of strategies that include:

  • Matching teaching and learning methods to individuals to maximise student learning.
  • Differentiated materials (both for reinforcement and extension).
  • Access to digital learning resources where this will enhance learning.
  • Additional in class support.
  • Additional out of class support.
  • Flexible groupings (including small group work).
  • The appropriate use of rewards and consequence sanctions.
  • Mentoring as appropriate to individual need.
  • Assessment procedures that emphasise pupils’ strengths and achievements.
  • Applications to examination boards to obtain access arrangements as appropriate.


How we ensure our curriculum is accessible

  • Quality First Teaching. At The Durham Federation we understand that all teachers are teachers of SEND and that it is important that we meet the needs of our students within our everyday lessons. Information sharing is vital to this process so that appropriate and supported differentiation can be put in place for the learner.
  • Specific group work: We offer a range of interventions in the form of small group work. The work that takes place is often linked to literacy and numeracy.
  • Specialist group support from outside agencies: There are a number of outside agencies that are available to our school. They can offer a range of support for students here at The Durham Federation Alongside this, there have been training programmes provided by external agencies that have and continue to take place to up skill our staff so that we can continue support once the agency work comes to an end.
  • Specific individual support for children whose learning needs are severe, complex and lifelong and what this means for your child; At The Durham Federation we rely upon the specialist support and guidance that outside agencies such as, Speech and Language Therapy, hearing Impairment service, visual impairment service, CAMHs etc. provide. The assessment procedures and recommendations that these services offer allow us to put in targeted intervention and support for individual pupils within our school.
  • A broad range of extracurricular activities, including homework club. Support is available at break and lunchtime to help with raising self-esteem and establishing friendships.
  • Specific support for literacy needs:
  • Timetabled literacy based work skills lessons.
  • Timetabled literacy intensive lessons.
  • Fundamental reading skill development – daily programme
  • 1:1 intervention to work on areas of difficulty in literacy
  • Handwriting Intervention
  • Fine motor/ Gross motor skill sessions
  • Individual student focussed co-ordinator meetings with primary partner schools.
  • Transition visits for SEND students.
  • Talk about sessions to develop social skills.


Support for children with significant learning difficulties

In the cases of students with significant learning difficulties, the individuals may have access to in class support across the curriculum in the majority of cases alongside the interventions outlined above.

Specialist training for staff is provided by a number of outside agencies: Cognition and learning team, educational psychologist, CAMHs, Speech and Language Therapists, Hearing impairment service, Visual Impairment service, Occupational Therapy etc.

Support for children with physical needs

Where possible we endeavour to meet the full needs of our students who have a physical disability. We can do these through physical amendments to the school building, changes to timetable, LSA support with getting around the school building, access to the lifts at all times, time out passes, mentor, specialist training from outside agencies.

Support for children with speech, language and communication needs

Support for students with speech and language difficulties are met through specialist input or through quality first teaching. Promoted strategies include: Careful use of cues, visual contact, repetition of key strategies when decoding tasks,sequencing and chunking information etc.

Support for children with a hearing, visual or multi-sensory impairment

We have been supported in a number of ways by the outside agencies that support these needs. Training is often delivered by these services in the first half term as a refresher or when it is needed an introduction to a different need that may need particular teaching styles to be introduced. Again, we will use a range of resources to support these needs: ranging from laptops to specialist equipment.

Support for children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties

At Durham Federation we provide support for students with social, emotional and mental health difficulties. This includes holding chill skills sessions to support positive mental health, sessions led by the EWEL team and many more.

Support for children with medical needs

It is crucial that we gather information at an early stage in relation to medical needs. Often discussions with families begin the term before they begin their studies here at The Durham Federation.  This allows us to make the necessary contact with outside agencies, organise specific training and create a medical care plan that can be shared with staff. In extreme cases we will organise regular multiagency meetings, so we can be kept up to date with what is currently going on for the young person and to discuss if interventions/ support need to be amended.

Support for children with English as an Additional Language

We have strong links with the EAL team at Durham County Council, who are always on hand to help us support our EAL learners.


Support for Looked after Children with SEND

For ‘looked after’ students that also have a special educational need extra support is provided through the SENCO and MET team who hold meet each half term. It is important that the needs of the individual are listened to and that they have the opportunity to progress at the same pace as their peers. During this time targets are set and reviewed to ensure that they are achieving in line with their targets, and interventions are effective.

Tracking and monitoring the progress of our students

All staff are responsible for assessing, monitoring and tracking the progress of our students. Each student is regularly assessed in class in all subjects and levels are recorded at least once per term. Heads of Faculties, Senior Leadership Team and the SENCO will check report data after each assessment period and if any of our students are not making the expected progress intervention is provided. A range of interventions are in place across all ability levels. The same assessment procedures take place for our SEND pupils; however a more rigorous marking procedure is in place, so that checks of work rate and progress are more frequent. There is also a check of reading and spelling age completed annually to check progress. Assessments of intervention programmes also allow us to track progress half termly, so that interventions and support can be amended if needed.

Staffing and any Specialist Qualifications/Expertise

SENCO: Mrs L Smith


  • BA Hons Theology
  • PGCE Religious Studies
  • Post Graduate Certificate National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordinators (In progress)

Assistant SENCO Miss C Hall

Our Learning Support Assistants:

  • Mrs R Hesselwood
  • Mr T Brighton
  • Mrs E Scott (HLTA)

Completed training:

  • Supporting pupils with autism
  • Supporting pupils with emotional, social and Mental Health Difficulties
  • Supporting Pupils with sensory and/or physical disabilities
  • Supporting pupils with communication and Interaction difficulties

If you would like to discuss your SEND requirements in detail please contact Sacriston or Ushaw Moor  to arrange an appointment with our SENCO Mrs  L. Smith