Denefield School (Academy)

Last updated: 04/06/2020

Denefield is an 11-18 academy in West Berkshire which sits on the outskirts of Reading. The school provides education for the children and young people of both Reading and West Berkshire Local Authorities. At Denefield, every member of our staff is fully committed to serving the needs of the local young people and the wider community.

We are proud that the school now benefits from a new science and technology block, a multi-use indoor atrium, new Sixth Form teaching, leisure and study spaces, and refurbished facilities for other departments right across the school.  Importantly, the new buildings also provide an additional resource to be used by the whole community, especially our partner primary schools.

We pride ourselves on knowing our students well and on providing a supportive environment in which each individual can achieve his or her full potential academically, socially and personally.

Young people, first and foremost, need to achieve and, as such, learning and teaching remain at the forefront of everything we do. We aim to provide a stimulating environment where young people enjoy their learning and are effectively supported both academically and pastorally by our guidance team.  Our approach enables each student to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes required to become responsible, considerate and well-rounded individuals, ready to contribute to a society which demands a highly skilled and adaptable work force. With the support of our dedicated staff, students are able to make the most of their abilities and interests to prepare them for the world of work and to play a full part in society.

Who to contact

0118 941 3458
Denefield School (Academy)

Where to go

Long Lane
RG31 6XY

Time / Date Details

When is it on
Term Time
Time of day

Other Details


Age Ranges

Local Offer

Local Offer Age Bands
12 to 14
15 to 16
16 to 18


1. Identification of SEND
1.1: How does the school identify children/young people with special educational needs and disabilities?

On entry in Year 7, students are assessed through the following means in order to identify any needs and put appropriate intervention in place: Lucid (literacy assessment tool), KS2 results, CAT testing, information shared by primary schools, teacher assessments and external standardised GL assessments.

All students at Denefield School have their needs initially assessed when they join in year 7.  Academic progress and engagement for learning are tracked termly, and any special educational needs that arise, where a student is identified as not making expected progress, are assessed and planned for.  A student’s special educational needs can also be identified through a number of means, for example: TA/teacher referral or concerns raised by the pastoral team.  This includes communication with parents, and the use of the ‘plan, do, review’ cycle.  For some students, this short term intervention is successful.  However for those students who still are not making expected progress, additional assessments, interventions and ‘plan, do, review’ cycles are repeated.  Where appropriate, external bodies are contacted for support and intervention, in order to best meet the needs of a student.

If a parent/carer or member of staff is concerned that a student has a barrier to learning the SENCO will investigate this further, firstly, through a discussion with parents/carers.

1.2: What should I do if I think my child has SEND?

If you think your child has SEN, please contact the SENCO to discuss this further.

2. Support for children with special educational needs
2.1: If my child is identified as having SEND, who will oversee and plan their education programme?

The SENCO will oversee and plan their educational programme, in liaison with the SEND team. All students' teachers have a responsibility to plan in their specific curriculum areas and oversee progress.

2.2: How will I be informed / consulted about the ways in which my child is being supported?

Your child will have a student passport with SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) targets that will be reviewed every year and you will be given the opportunity to feedback on this.

In line with the SEND code of practice 2015 and the ‘plan, do, review’ cycle, parents/carers are invited to attend review meetings.  Regular contact with parents/carers is also made by appropriate staff, depending on the progress of the students, so they are aware of successes and concerns, facilitating greater success through a positive partnership.

Parents/carers are also invited to attend EHCP annual reviews, and every effort is made to accommodate their attendance. In all cases, students with particular identified educational needs have a student passport.  This is a one page document that outlines a student’s learning needs, outcomes, barriers to learning, strengths, support in place and strategies to use to support quality first teaching.  These are always child centred, and form the basis of the ‘plan, do, review’ cycle.  The student passports are shared confidentially with teaching staff and other relevant members of staff who support them.  The student and parents are also invited to contribute to the planning and reviewing of the passport at least annually, to ensure a positive and successful partnership.

Opportunities for parent/carer consultation is offered on review day for Year 7 and 11, and parents evenings for all year groups, where 5 minute appointments are scheduled with the student’s subject teachers.  Where appropriate, we provide assistance to both parents/carers and students with a disability to ensure these opportunities are accessible.  On these occasions, parents/carers are encouraged to discuss the education of their child with the teacher, in regards to their progress and which strategies can be mirrored at home to support them further.  Subject teachers will also contact parents/carers via phone and email to discuss a student’s progress where they feel additional support and strategies can be put in place to aid their progress.

If staff are concerned about your child, they will contact you via telephone or email. If you have any concerns about your child’s SEN, please contact the SENCO.

2.3: How will the school balance my child's need for support with developing their independence?

Denefield strives to promote independence and leadership skills for all students. All students are given frequent opportunities to take on responsibilities, such as being an ambassador for a Curriculum Area or representing their house in competitions.

As illustrated in the SEND provision map, students are also offered the opportunity to improve their BESD (Behaviour, Emotional and Social Development) as we believe the development of an individual’s CHARACTER values will lead to better success academically, preparing them better for life beyond Denefield.  The strategies outlined in a student passport can be further supplemented by additional personalised intervention for some students to meet their needs, and in certain cases their curriculum may be adapted to achieve this.

Following the recommendations of the DISS report, Teaching Assistants are attached to Curriculum Areas, rather than students, as this encourages students not to become over-dependent on them.

2.4: How will the school match / differentiate the curriculum for my child's needs?

All teachers are trained in differentiating effectively so they are able to meet the wide spectrum of student needs.  Through observation, assessment and data analysis, teachers identify student needs and differentiate accordingly. Every lesson has a seating plan to maximise students’ learning. TAs are also highly skilled at differentiating tasks for SEN students.

2.5: What teaching strategies does the school use for children with learning difficulties, including autistic spectrum disorder, hearing impairment, visual impairment, speech and language difficulties?

All staff follow good practice for creating inclusive learning environments and have an extensive list of strategies for supporting students with SEN.  These are personalised and outlined in a student's passport which is confidentially shared with appropriate staff.  This enables specific, personalised strategies to be implemented consistently across all subjects.  Please see an example below;

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

  • Seating plan – near front or wherever works best for student.
  • Away from distractions/stimuli, quiet environment.
  •  Very clear, literal instructions & communication, preferably written down.
  • Say by name to get attention.
  • Check student knows what is requested.
  • Help distinguish the main points/important parts of the lesson.
  • Monitor interaction with others-they often misinterpret things & may perceive things are happening which are not.
  •  Prepare student for any changes of routine i.e. next lesson we will be…
  •  Be factual and concise with language, not vague.
  •  Use written step by step instructions if needed.
  • Allow time out to calm down if angry or anxious.
  • Immediate consequences and praise for actions.

Staff have regular SEN training to ensure they are confident at supporting students. In addition to this, when a student has worked with a professional and a report is generated, the SENCO will email necessary staff with the professional’s recommendations to support the student, updating and sharing their passport as appropriate.

2.6: What additional staffing does the school provide from its own budget for children with SEND?

The school has a team of 5 TAs, most of whom are paid for from within the school’s own budget, as well as a specialised SEND Intervention  SEND support leader, ELSA, Literacy Specialist teacher, Literacy/Numeracy coordinator, EAL coordinator and Alternative Learning Programme Coordinator.

2.7: What specific intervention programmes does the school offer to children with SEND and are these delivered on a one to one basis or in small groups?
Type / TitleIntervention Type
Catch up reading Lexia, Reading Catch up, ELSA, 1:1 Literacy Specialist Teaching, Accelerread/Accelerwrite, anger management, drawing therapy, ASD Advisory service, EAL support, Educational Psychologist. One to one
Literacy Intervention, Numeracy Intervention, Numbershark, Social Skills, Handwriting Club, Spelling Club, dyslexia club, homework club. Small group
School Counsellor One to one
Read, Write, Gold computer programme to support with exams. One to one
2.8: What resources and equipment does the school provide for children with SEND?

Please see the outline above.

Denefield has an area called The Edison Centre where SEN support is based. This is staffed before school and at break/lunch times for vulnerable students. There is also a homework club after school Tuesday - Friday to support students with extended learning.  This provides a place for vulnerable students to use when needed, and it is available throughout the day, as our SEND support leader is based here.  All our interventions are delivered here as well.

In addition, we currently have 17 tablets that are allocated to students to support their written communication.

In the Edison Centre we also have a suite of computers and headphones for students to use and access the literacy and numeracy intervention programmes.

2.9: What special arrangements can be made for my child when taking examinations?

Teachers are asked to provide evidence if they feel a student needs exams concessions, to prove that this is their usual way of working. A case will be put forward and concessions will be applied for, such as extra time, a scriber, a laptop, a prompt, rest breaks or a bilingual dictionary in accordance with the criteria set out by the exam boards.  The Literacy Specialist Teacher is able to assess students for possible exam concessions internally, overseen by the SENCO, enabling concessions to be put in place from year 9.  This ensures that a student implements these concessions as their usual way of working, so they are better prepared for the external examinations.

3. My child's progress
3.1: How will the school monitor my child's progress and how will I be involved in this?

In additional to the school’s usual monitoring, your child will have a student passport with SMART targets that will be reviewed every year and you will be given the opportunity to feedback on this.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care plan they will have an Annual Review meeting, in which their progress for the year will be reviewed.Every meeting that is held regarding a student at Denefield School is child centred.  The student is encouraged to attend the meeting, and their views and engagement are paramount to the success of any intervention.  However, if the student does not want to attend, their views are sought prior to the meeting, so they can be shared and used in planning the next steps of any intervention.

You will receive an annual school report with comments from all of your child’s teachers. In addition to this, you will also receive two monitoring reports with your child’s current progress data and engagement for learning.

3.2: When my child's progress is being reviewed, how will new targets be set and how will I be involved?

Targets are set in discussion with class teachers and TAs, overseen by the SENCO. If you would like to suggest alternative targets please contact the SENCO.

3.3: ln addition to the school's normal reporting arrangements, what opportunities will there be for me to discuss my child's progress with school staff?

If you would like to have additional meetings about your child’s progress you can arrange a meeting with the SENCO who will invite any other appropriate members of staff depending on the focus of the meeting.

3.4: What arrangements does the school have for regular home to school contact?

All staff contact details are on the school website. Staff will contact parents/carers when necessary. Letters home are sent out to communicate details about any special activities and these appear on the school website.  Parents/carers are encouraged to contact their child's tutor in the first instance about any concerns they may have.

3.5: How can I help support my child's learning?

On your child’s report there will be suggested targets for the future which you should discuss with your child. You should also discuss their SAP with them and there may be targets that can be worked on at home. Supporting you child with their extended learning is also beneficial. Providing a quiet working enviroment for them to complete their extended learning is beneficial as is ensuring they have met their deadlines.

3.6: Does the school offer any help for parents / carers to enable them to support their child's learning, eg. training or learning events?

The school accesses support for parents from local special schools, which include parenting courses for students with ASD.

3.7: How will my child's views be sought about the help they are getting and the progress they are making?

Your child will meet with a member of staff to review how they have well they have worked towards their targets, which will be recorded and sent home. Academic support plans may be used if students are consistently underachieving.

Every meeting that is held regarding a student at Denefield School is child centred.  The student is encouraged to attend the meeting, and their views and engagement are paramount to the success of any intervention.  However, if the student does not want to attend, their views are sought prior to the meeting, so they can be shared and used in planning the next steps of any intervention.

3.8: What accredited and non accredited courses do you offer for young people with SEND?

We offer a range of GCSE and BTEC courses at KS4/KS5, as well as developing Alternative Learning Programme's for individuals on a personalised basis, dependent on need

3.9: How does the school assess the overall effectiveness of its SEN provision and how can parents / carers and young people take part in this evaluation?

The school governors monitor the effectiveness of the SEN provision at Denefield through inspection and reports from the SENCO. If your child has an Education, Health and Care plan you will be written to in advance of their Annual Review meeting and asked for your views on their provision. We welcome all parent/carer feedback and there is a list of staff contact details on the school website.  There are also a number of online questionnaires for parents/carers which can be completed via the school website.  The school also uses Raise Online to look for trends and patterns to monitor the overall effectiveness of the SEN provision. Any student who has had intervention will be asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire and parents/carers will also be sent one.

The Assistant Head Inclusion.SENCO collates termly reports from the specialised SEND Intervention Team 6 times per year to track and assess the effectiveness of all SEND intervention.  Sucesses are celbrated through ceremonies with the Assistant Head Inlcusion and Headteacher.

4. Support for my childs overall well being
4.1: What support is available to promote the emotional and social development of children with SEND?

The school has a wide range of pastoral interventions overseen by the Assistant Head Inclusion/SENCO. All students belong to a vertical tutor group and a house. Each house has a student manager, which is a non-teaching role, to support students with any pastoral issues. In addition to this, the school has an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA), School Counsellor, Social Skills Coordinator, Anger Management Specialist, Educational Psychologist and works with the Behaviour Support Team when necessary.

4.2: What support does the school put in place for children who find it difficult to conform to normal behavioural expectations and how do you support children to avoid exclusion?

Denefield believes in early intervention to identify any difficulties and put the appropriate measures in place to support students. Students with behavioural difficulties may be put on report to monitor their behaviour and given a behaviour support plan with targets to work towards. Denefield has a small team of inclusion teachers and TAs who work on supporting students with behavioural difficulties by teaching them strategies to help themselves. If necessary, we work with the Educational Psychologist to make recommendations about specific students. A personalised alternative learning programme may also be explored.

4.3: What medical support is available in the school for children with SEND?

Denefield has six qualified first aiders to support students with medical issues and a school nurse for specialist advice. Students’ medical information is logged on SIMS so staff are aware of this. Staff are regularly trained in using epi pens.  Medical Plans are put in place for those students with specific medical conditions in liaison with parents/carers.  Medical is based at student reception, and easily accessible to all students.

4.4: How does the school manage the administration of medicines?

The medical team is responsible for ensuring that first aid and the treatment of employees and students is carried out in accordance with the school and other relevant medical guidelines. This includes the keeping of records and the administering of medication. The medical team is responsible for reviewing and updating guidelines in accordance with current legislation.

4.5: How does the school provide help with personal care where this is needed, eg. help with toileting, eating etc?

The school will evaluate the individual needs of students who require support with personal care and may refer them to the school nurse or CYPIT if appropriate.

5. Specialist services available / accessed by the school
5.1: What SEN support services does the school use, eg. specialist support teachers, educational psychologists, teachers for hearing impairment and visual impairment, ASD advisory teachers, behaviour support teachers etc?

Denefield has an Educational Psychologist attached to the school. We have access to the Cognition and Learning Team for assessment and recommendations if we are concerned that a student has literacy or numeracy difficulties, and also work closely with SISS (Specialist Intervention Support Service) to identify and implement specific intervneitons to accelerate their progress. Students with hearing impairments are visited termly by one of the Teachers of the Hearing Impaired from Berkshire Sensory Consortium Service to ensure they are able to fully access all areas of the curriculum. Denefield also has an ASD Advisory Teacher attached to the school who works with our ASD students when necessary. The school is part of an outreach programme where ASD students are supported through observation, meetings and assessments where necessary. In addition to this, the school employs a counselling service and students are referred when appropriate.

5.2: What should I do if I think my child needs support from one of these services?

If you think your child needs support from one of these services, please contact the SENCO who will arrange a meeting.  Each service has specific criteria for referral.

5.3: How are speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy services provided?

All children in the West of Berkshire who have an Education, Health and Care Plan can be referred to the BHFT Occupational Therapy service via the SPE.  They do not need a GP referral.  They will also usually see students who are going through the statutory process or are very likely to have OT recommendations as part of their statutory plan. We will ask the GP and Paediatrician for information before they are offered an appointment.

Children who do not have an Education, Health and Care Plan should be referred to the Occupational Therapy service that is part of the Royal Berkshire Hospital service and based at The Dingley Child Development Centre in Reading. They currently require a GP/medical referral.  This is not a BHFT service.


Children in the West Berkshire LA area, with neurodevelopmental difficulties (for example cerebral palsy) can be referred to physiotherapy via the Single Point of Access. A GP referral is not required, but we will ask the GP and /or paediatrician  for any relevant medical information prior to  an appointment being offered. This ensures that any medical issues that may be having an effect on the child’s development can be investigated prior to Physiotherapy  involvement. They do not accept referrals for children with musculoskeletal issues/joint pain/fractures/following acute injury.

All referrals, to any of the services, require parental consent .

The CYPIT Toolkit information is open to everyone.

Changes to speech and language therapy from 1 September

Changes to our Speech and Language Therapy Service across Berkshire will be introduced from 1 September. Changes to Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Dietetics will follow sometime after this. Children who are of pre-school age (birth to end of nursery) will be able to access the Speech and Language Therapy Service by either calling the Berkshire Healthcare Health Hub on 0844 406 0979 or by attending a local drop in clinic.

School age children

Children who are of school age (reception class or above) will be able to access speech and language therapy within their school.  They will no longer need to attend appointments at community clinics.

Each school will have a named speech and language therapist, who will be able to provide a flexible, integrated and holistic service to the school.  The therapist will take in to account the learning environments of the children and provide targeted advice and strategies to teaching staff to support the development of speech, language and communication within the school.

The speech and language therapist will work alongside school staff to use a range of approaches within the school, which may involve discussion with school and family, assessment, training and demonstration, advice, direct therapy and/or joint target setting.

All of these changes support the SEND Reforms in that they enable the wider workforce to support children with special educational needs at every level; resulting in an equitable, accessible and empowering service which allows every child to achieve their full potential.

5.4: What should I do if I think my child needs to be seen by a speech and language therapist, occupational therapist or physiotherapist?

If you think your child may need to be seen by a speech and language therapist, occupational therapist or physiotherapist, please contact the SENCO.

5.5: What arrangements does the school have for liaison with Children's Social Care services?

Denefield School liaises with both West Berkshire (CAAS) and Reading (CSPA) single point of entry to seek advice when necessary.

6. Training of school staff in SEND
6.1: What SEND training is provided for teachers in your school?

Whole staff training is delivered by both internal staff and external specialists, such as the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (CWMT) and the Educational Psychologist, on both how to access SEND information and specific strategies to meet the needs of students with special educational needs.  It is an expectation that all classroom practitioners use these strategies in their everyday practice to best meet their students’ needs.

Over time we have invested in specialist training for particular members of staff, to ensure that the specific needs of our students are met.  We seek to recruit in order to fill any gaps that may arise through the consideration of both the current and future special educational needs of our individual students and the needs of the wider school.

6.2: What SEND training is provided for teaching assistants and other staff in your school?

The teaching assistants have extensive training in SEN from the SENCO and external professionals in order to support students with a wide variety of SEN.

6.3: Do teachers have any specific qualifications in SEND?

The SENCO holds the postgraduate qualification for the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination.

6.4: Do teaching assistants have any specific qualifications in SEND?

Several of the TAs on the SEND team hold HLTA status. We have a qualified Catch Up Reading specialist TA, a trained ELSA and a TA with training in Speech, Language and Communication through Elklan.

7. Activities outside the classroom including school trips
7.1: How do you ensure children with SEND can be included in out of school activities and trips?

Trip/activity organisers liaise with the SENCO to determine whether students need additional support for trips and out of school activities.  We endeavour to put the additional support needed in place, where possible, to enable all students to participate in out of school activities and trips. Information will be gathered through discussion with parents and students too.

7.2: How do you involve parents / carers in planning the support required for their child to access activities and trips?

Parents/carers will be contacted if we feel there are further arrangements that need to be made for specific activities/trips.

8. Accessibility of the school environment
8.1: How accessible is the building for children with mobility difficulties / wheelchair users?

We are looking to improve our access for students with mobility difficulties and wheelchair users as not all building with two floors have appropriate access.

8.2: Have adaptations / improvements been made to the auditory and visual environment?

Below are examples of reasonable adjustments that we have already made to improve the safety not only for those students with special educational needs, but for all students and staff. These include:

  • Handrails erected on the small steps outside maths entrance.

  • Handrails erected for the steps to the outdoor supervised area.

  • Yellow paint on some of the external steps.

  • Swapped light switches for lights on a key, to prevent students switching them on/off, for English and MFL corridors to support those with visual impairments.

  • Removed small broken bollards on concrete slabs where the buses stop.

  • Made paving slabs flatter around the rear of the School.

  • Repaired broken ramp to the front reception.

  • Replaced the broken rail fencing in the supervised area, increasing its height.

  • The doors and frames are in different colours in order for them to be seen more clearly.

  • Extending the handrail on the new netball court steps to reach the ground.

8.3: Are there accessible changing and toilet facilities?

We have disabled toilets and changing facilities.

8.4: How do you ensure that all the school's facilities can be accessed by children with SEND?

We do everything possible to ensure that students can access the facilities. For example, in Science there are height adjustable sinks and in Food Technology there are height adjustable cookers.

8.5: How does the school communicate with parents / carers who have a disability?

Staff will contact parents/carers regularly, taking into account any of their needs. The school will request a translator if necessary and contact EMTAS for support where needed. We have an EAL coordinator to support families where English is an additional language.

8.6: How does the school communicate with parents / carers whose first language is not English?

Denefield has an EAL coordinator who monitors the progress of EAL students and liaises with parents/carers.

9. Preparing my child to join a new school / next stage of education
9.1: What preparation will there be for both the school and my child before he or she joins the school?

From Year 6 to Year 7, our transition and engagement leader visits each year 6 primary school teacher and student, to get to know each student and identify any vulnerabilities or additional needs.  The Assistant Head Inclusion/SENCO then meets with each primary school SENCO, to discuss in detail the special educational needs of students transferring to Denefield.  Students who may need additional transitional support to Denefield are identified, and a number of strategies are used to support them, including additional visits and parent/carer meetings.  There are also a number of parental consultation evenings and meetings offered.

9.2: How will my child be prepared to move on to the next stage within school, e.g. class or key stage?

From KS3 to KS4, a number of parent/carer consultation evenings are offered to all parents/carers to inform them and the students of different options.  In liaison with the Deputy Head Curriculum, the Assistant Head Inclusion/SENCO ensures there is a suitable curriculum for all learners and guided pathways are offered.  Where appropriate, we will seek alternatives that better meet the needs of our students.  At EHCP reviews leading up to a transition phase, next steps are discussed and a plan put in place to support transition.

9.3: How will my child be prepared to move on to his or her next school?

From KS4 to KS5, a number of parent consultation evenings are offered to all parents to inform parents and the student of different options.  At EHCP reviews leading up to a transition phase, next steps are discussed and a plan put in place to support transition.  This may include specific support by ADVIZA with applications, careers guidance, additional visits to colleges, morrisby testing, induction days, taster sessions and interview preparation, in addition to what is already offered to all students.

9.4: How will you support a new school to prepare for my child?

If an SEN student moves to another school the SENCO will liaise with the school and send all their information.

9.5: What information will be provided to my child's new school?

All relevant information will be passed onto the new school, such as student passports, Annual Review reports and Education, Health and Care Plans and any reports from professionals.

9.6: How will the school prepare my child for the transition to further education or employment?

Students will have the opportunity to meet with an Adviza worker to help them think about suitable pathways after school.

10. Who can I contact to discuss my child?
10.1: Who would be my first point of contact if I want to discuss something about my child or if I am worried?

The first port of call is your child’s tutor. However, if it is an urgent issue and your child’s tutor is teaching, please ask to speak to their student manager. If it is a specific issue regarding SEN, please contact the SENCO. If the issue is regarding child protection/safeguarding, please contact one of the Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL).

10.2: Does the school offer any specific support for parents / carers and families (such as Family Support Workers?)

Through a West Berkshire or Reading single point referral we may request a family support worker if necessary.

10.3: What arrangements does the school have for signposting parents / carers to external agencies which can offer support, such as voluntary agencies?

Where necessary, the school will provide information to parents/carers from our large network of contacts depending on the area of support.  If you would like information on areas of support, please contact your child's student manager.

10.4: What arrangements does the school have for feedback from parents, including compliments and complaints?

The school keeps a complaints and compliments log. There is a formal complaints procedure available on the school website.

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