Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND)


Cedars Trust aims to be a vital resource for Special Educational Needs provision in Gateshead, a centre of excellence and, primarily, a provider of learning, training and employment pathways for people with disabilities or learning difficulties

Our Mission

Ours is a community of learning, where secure partnerships create opportunities for students, staff, governors, parents and carers alike to participate and grow to become intellectually, emotionally and socially fit for life

We Believe

Community engagement changes schools for the better; schools can help to change communities for the better; schools and communities working together can radically transform the futures of young people

Our Purpose

We provide a wide range of high quality, specialist and personalised education, training, care and support to young people and their families

Key Questions our Parents ask us

What are the kinds of special educational needs for which provision is made at Cedars Academy?

Cedars Academy is a specialist day school, with a separate Post 16 college, for young people aged 3 to 19 years with physical, sensory and medical needs, speech, language and communication disorders, autism, and a wide range of other complex needs often associated with emotional vulnerability.

The majority of pupils have a moderate learning difficulty combined with specific communication difficulties, and many of our pupils have associated difficulties such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia, or other specific Learning Difficulties.

What does the current school population look like?

Out of the 207 pupils currently on roll (March 2021) we have 84 in KS1&2, 95 in KS3&4, and 28 in KS5.

We have:

  • eight classes in KS1&2, average class sizes of 11 children

  • nine classes in KS3&4, within a range of rooms/groups of varying size

  • four groups in KS4/5, in groups of 8 or 9 based at Walker Terrace

Distribution of pupils:

  • X8 class bubbles in KS1&2, average class sizes of 11 children

  • X9 class bubbles in KS3&4, average class sizes for x5 bubbles of 11 children, x4 smaller bubbles of average size 6/7 pupils

  • X4 group bubbles in KS4/5 (based at Walker Terrace) average size 8/9 students

How is the population of Cedars changing?

       Date              Academy Population

       Mar-21                   207

       Oct-20                   205                  

       Oct-19                   194

       Oct-18                   180

       Oct-17                   167

       Oct-16                   145

       Oct-15                   138

       Oct-14                    91

What are the levels of need of Cedars children and young people?

Cedars Academy takes children from each of the three banding categories used by Gateshead LA to define level of need. Each category is then broken down into four levels of need, from 1 (highest level of need) to 4 (lowest level of need).


Cognition and Learning Needs 

Children may demonstrate features of moderate, severe or profound learning difficulties or specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia. Some may have associated behavioural difficulties that compound their needs. Children who have these needs require specific strategies to help their learning and understanding.

Included within this group are children with sensory and/or physical needs. Sensory needs range from profound and permanent deafness or visual impairment through to lesser levels of loss, which may only be temporary. For some children these needs may be accompanied by more complex learning and social needs. Children with these needs require access to all areas of the curriculum and may use specialist aids, equipment or furniture. Many will need specialist support (for example mobility training, occupational therapy or physiotherapy). Children with sensory impairments may need particular acoustic or lighting conditions. Some may need extra space and additional ‘clues’ to help them negotiate their environment independently. Health and personal care needs will also need to be met for these children. They may need facilities where their medical or personal care needs can be met in privacy.


ASC/Communication and Interaction Needs

Most children with special educational needs have strengths and difficulties in one, some or all of the areas of speech, language and communication. The range of difficulties will encompass children with a speech and language impairment or delay, children with learning difficulties, those with a hearing impairment and those who demonstrate features within the autistic spectrum. Children with these needs require support in acquiring, comprehending and using language, and may need specialist support, speech and language therapy or language programmes, augmentative and alternative means of communication and a quiet place for specialist work. Children with autistic spectrum disorder have difficulty interpreting their surroundings and communicating and interacting with others. They need an easily understood environment with a low level of distraction and sensory stimulus to reduce anxiety or distress. They may need a safe place to calm down.


Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs SEMH 

Children who have emotional, social and mental health needs may be withdrawn or isolated, disruptive and disturbing and they may be hyperactive. They may lack concentration and have immature social skills. Challenging behaviour may arise from other complex special needs. Children who have these needs may require a structured learning environment, with clear boundaries for each activity. They may need extra space to move around and to ensure a comfortable distance between themselves and others. They may take extreme risks or have outbursts and need a safe place to calm down. Behaviour support or counselling may take place in a quiet supportive environment.



What is the distribution of need across the Academy?

Primary Need in November 2020:

    44% ASD

    (2% AS1: 12.6% AS2; 23%AS3; 6%A4)

    44% Cognition & Learning

    (2%D1; 6%D2; 28%D3; 9%D4)


    12% Social, Emotional and Mental Health

    (0.5% B1: 5%B2; 6%B3; 0.5%B4)

What is the entitlement for SEND Pupils?

 ‘Quality of Education First’ is the core philosophy of our provision; teaching sessions, resources, groups and timetables are differentiated and organised as such to ensure that they are accessible for all.

We work closely with outside agencies and medical staff to support pupils’ individual needs. This can include speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, counsellors, careers/transition specialists, psychiatrists or other mental health professionals, social care teams, educational and clinical psychologists and specialist medics. We also draw on expertise from the local authority SEND team and our partner schools, thus ensuring that barriers to learning are identified and responded to. Referrals into specialist services can be made by teaching staff and we can also signpost families to services and organisations which may offer appropriate support or advice via the local offer.

All our staff have experience and training relevant to their specialist roles across the school. As part of our holistic approach, pupils at have SEND or pastoral targets as appropriate, these are planned, assessed and reviewed as part of a termly cycle and progress is monitored and reported. The views of pupils and parents are valued and they are involved in writing and reviewing Education, Health and Care plans (EHCPs).

Pupils are admitted at any time during the school year, referred via a range of routes.  We work closely with all involved professionals to ensure pupils are correctly placed and that they receive appropriate provision for their needs. 

What is the provision for SEND at Cedars and how is it evaluated?

Our Academy is a place where everyone is treated with dignity, with respect and is of equal worth. We believe that all staff have a responsibility to meet the needs of all the pupils/students. Underlying the vision are strong values which have been compiled by the staff with input from governors and also parents through the governing body and our parents support group, 'Cedars Parents'.

Our key purpose is the construction, delivery and constant improvement of quality learning experiences appropriate to the needs of all our pupils/students.

To achieve our vision we aim to:

  • create a happy and secure learning environment where all pupils’/students’ needs are met and where achievements and success are recognised and praised

  • ensure that all the National Curriculum/statutory curriculum guidance is delivered to all pupils/students

  • provide all staff with training and development opportunities to enable effective practice

  • promote the pupils/students spiritual, physical and emotional well-being so that they are secure, confident and well-motivated

  • help pupils/students acquire the knowledge, skills and confidence which enable them to lead as full, constructive and independent lives as possible

  • develop in pupils/students personal responsibility and encourage decision making and choice, communicating through whatever means appropriate

  • ensure that ICT is an essential vehicle to access and enhance the curriculum and communication for pupils

  • ensure that e-safeguarding is paramount in keeping all members of the school community safe

  • provide a wide range of age-appropriate learning experiences, which are both exciting and challenging

  • offer opportunities of working cooperatively alongside others, developing friendships and respect for others

  • provide pupils/students with experiences of their own and other religious and cultural backgrounds and values

  • foster relationships with parents and other professionals

We have a school improvement plan and evaluate this through-out the year. There are link governors for all aspects of the plan and this supports the evaluation of our progress towards any aims. We also have a school evaluation each year to highlight progress and achievements.

What are the schools staffing levels and what the links with other professionals?

Staffing levels are enhanced so that pupils are usually taught in classes of up to 11 or 12 children with a teacher and at least one Level 3 Teaching Assistant and an appropriate number of additional Level 3 or Level 2 Teaching Assistants to meet the needs of the class group.

School staff details are on the website. The school contact details are also on the website where you will be able to find details of your child's Teaching Team or other key staff, such as the Senior Leadership Group.

Links with professionals from outside Cedars Academy form an essential part of planning and implementing activities to identify and meet the needs of students.  The school receives advice from a range of health professionals in order to meet the needs of the students as assessed by the appropriate professionals. We also work closely with our health and social care colleagues to implement the SEN Code of Practice. We meet with the managers of the services to ensure that joint working practices are consistent.

How do you support SEND Pupils with Communication and Interaction specific needs?

We have many pupils with communication/interaction needs; this may include; Autistic Spectrum Conditions and Speech, Language and Communication Needs.

We offer for all:

Small nurturing educational environment; quality teaching and differentiation within teaching sessions; flexibility within sessions/lessons to meet changing needs; engaging resources; visual timetables; fully qualified specialist trained staff who can provide advice and guidance to colleagues; staff have completed and will continue to receive on-going training in relation to meeting pupils needs; support staff utilised to support pupil progress and promote independence; support is offered to families through multidisciplinary team.

For those pupils with more acute needs:

Individual timetables; symbols/objects of reference; access to expert services to support or provide strategies/programmes; support and advice sought from outside agencies; ICT/switch technology is used to reduce barriers to learning; access to support from family support worker; planning, assessment and review through SEND/ pastoral targets or review of Education, Health and Care Plan; Access to specialised speech and language, social skills and communication programmes; exam access arrangements as appropriate.

How does Cedars support SEND Pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties?

Many of our pupils experience Social and Emotional Mental Health issues, sometimes for prolonged time, others at critical points in their development.

For all:

Clear guidance to offer pupils structure and routine; risk assessments are used and action is taken to increase safety and inclusion; liaising with pupils home local authorities; whole school system for gathering information on baseline and changes to social and emotional learning through Emotional Literacy; use of a range of strategies to reduce anxiety and promote well-being.

Staff are experienced in working with young people with SEMH needs, and will continue to receive on-going training. Staff work very closely with clinical and therapeutic professionals and access to information and support is available within school.

For those pupils with more acute needs:

Small group or 1:1 targeted programmes are delivered e.g. community teaching, counselling, educational psychology interventions; referrals to specialist outside agencies where appropriate; individualised therapy input to provide pupils with strategies for long term resilience; Individual timetables; specific support re transition if appropriate; alternative curriculum options, where appropriate to provide a different approach to the curriculum, and support pupils with social, emotional and behavioural needs; exam access arrangements as appropriate.

How does Cedars support SEND Pupils with Cognition and Learning specific needs?

We have many pupils with Cognition & Learning difficulties; these may include; Learning Difficulties Specific Learning difficulties (SpLD) e.g. Dyslexia Medical needs.

We offer for all:

Small class sizes; assess pupils for access arrangements for external examinations; planning, assessment, and review through SEND/ pastoral targets or review EHC plan; visual timetables; use of symbols and objects of reference; ICT/ switch technology where appropriate; qualified, specialist trained staff who can provide advice and guidance for colleagues; multi agency involvement; advice and support from outside agencies; support and advice sought from outside agencies to ensure any barriers to success are fully identified and responded to; a responsive to need curriculum; an emphasis on developing programmes of learning that support independence, preparation for adulthood and work/life skills development.


For those pupils with more acute needs:

Specific interventions to promote and develop literacy and numeracy; individual timetables; one to one learning opportunities and personal tutorials to help pupils to stay motivated to achieve; individualised psychology and therapy input to provide them strategies for long term resilience; opportunities for repetition of key learning; advice, support and assessments from outside agencies; specific support re transition if appropriate; alternative curriculum options, where appropriate to provide a different approach to the curriculum.


How does Cedars support SEND Pupils with Sensory and/or Physical needs?

For all pupils:

Engaging resources; all staff receive training to ensure they understand the impact of a sensory need upon teaching and learning; access to expert services to support or provide strategies/programmes to support pupils with additional sensory or physical needs; support offered to families, signposting to services; provisions made accessible as possible e.g. lifts, disabled toilet facilities; designated first aid trained staff are assigned to trips etc; advice in relation to meeting pupils needs; fully qualified and trained specialist staff who can provide advice and guidance to colleagues.

For those with more acute needs:

Access to medical interventions/specialist medical teams; adapt teaching spaces to meet sensory needs; access to Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy support; specific support re transition; adapted equipment; exam access arrangements as appropriate.

What were the main findings from Cedars last OFSTED Inspection?

Cedars Academy had a full, 2 day OFSTED inspection on 13th and 14th September 2017; cedars was judged to be a ‘Good’ school with some many outstanding features. Below is a summary of key findings from the inspection that we believe parents and carers will be most interested in:

The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is OUTSTANDING.

The behaviour of pupils is OUTSTANDING. Pupils typically manage themselves with assured good manners, showing consistently deep consideration for others, both pupils and staff. On the rare occasions when pupils’ individual needs make it very difficult for them to manage themselves properly, they use effectively the techniques staff have taught them.

Staff are highly skilled at knowing when to intervene with additional support at an early stage to help pupils, when needed, to re-establish their positive behaviours. As a consequence, instances of low-level disruption are rare.


Pupils are open, welcoming and accepting of others from backgrounds different from their own. They know how to lead healthy lives and keep themselves safe.

Pupils enjoy coming to school. They feel safe and secure at school, and all groups of pupils attend very well. This enables them to learn well. Pupils behave well in lessons and around the school.

The successful partnership between pupils and staff is underpinned by thoroughly relevant learning and detailed planning to develop all pupils’ potential, whatever their starting points. As a consequence, pupils grow in confidence, both as individuals and in their learning skills. They value their education, and are ambitious and enthusiastic about their future in training or education and as young adults in society.

The support and encouragement that staff provide spur pupils on to achieve very well. As a consequence, pupils are rightly proud of their many achievements, whether reading much more fluently, taking part in school drama productions performed in an entirely different setting, or representing their region or the country in sport.

The progress that pupils make in English and mathematics is particularly strong. The highly effective curriculum, coupled with effective teaching, ensure that pupils develop basic skills very well, often from very low starting points. The vast majority of pupils meet the school’s demanding targets, and a large proportion of pupils exceed them.

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