In England, it is estimated that 14.6% of all pupils have a Special Educational Need (SEN). Many of these children and young people, particularly those with complex SEN needs too often end up outside mainstream education, despite parents/carers and the children themselves having a strong preference for effective inclusion.
We are committed to ensuring children and young people do not become marginalised or segmented by society. At Paradigm, every child matters, and the importance of having the right provision at the right time in a child’s school journey cannot be overstated. We work together with families on a holistic approach to overcoming challenges on an individual and profoundly human level, so all pupils have every opportunity to meet their potential, from Nursery through to Year 11.
Most crucially however, we believe that our pragmatic, integrated and inclusive approach to SEN provision is the best way to offer value to the communities we serve. By encouraging adults and children with a wide range of needs to work and play together, we can promote tolerance and understanding.
To this end we have specialist SEN provision accessible to children at all our schools. In London for instance, we have significantly accelerated the learning progress of children who have hearing difficulties through our Deaf Support base at Culloden Primary. Recognised by Ofsted as Outstanding, the staff can support any pupil with moderate to full hearing loss, and the school takes a total communication policy using Sign Supported English.
This autumn we opened two specialist units in our Ipswich primary schools in conjunction with Suffolk County Council. The unit at Piper’s Vale Primary Academy focuses on Reception and Key Stage 1 for pupils requiring support for autism and challenges with sensory processing, while the specialist unit at Murrayfield Primary Academy is for Key Stage 2 children who need additional support with communication and interaction to make expected progress. Both units offer pupils the benefit of learning in smaller groups while supporting pupils moving fluidly between specialist and mainstream school environments, acknowledging all the social benefits that brings.
Also in Ipswich, we plan to open a new SEN school for 90 children in Key Stages 2-4 in 2022. Working closely with Phoenix School, a London-based specialist which shares our values, the new school will be our first for children with communication and interaction needs in one of our communities.
We believe our substantial, long-term commitment to developing this significant level of new special education needs provision will bring widespread benefits to the Trust, ensuring we continuously look to improve our practices, and place inclusivity at the heart of our ethos.