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Special Educational Needs and Disability

At The Spires College we are committed to offering an inclusive curriculum to ensure the best possible progress for all of our students, whatever their needs or abilities.  The Learning Support department has a philosophy to promote quality first teaching within all classrooms in order to enable all of our students to have access to an excellent education.

By endorsing that every teacher at the college is a teacher of SEND, we operate a "whole student, whole school approach" to the management and provision of support for students with all kinds of special educational needs.

Our SEND Co-ordinator is Mrs Caroline Kolek.  Mrs Kolek can be contacted by email to or by telephone to the main college number 01803 400660. 

An overview of the work and interventions that are in place is below.


The Learning Support Centre for Special Educational Needs and Disability

The team that is responsible for coordinating provision for students who have been identified as having special educational needs is based in our Learning Support Centre (LSC).  We are very confident in the effectiveness of the way we work with all students to enable them to achieve; learning difficulties can vary greatly and we have a range of strategies in place to meet these needs.

The LSC is purpose built and allows us to work with small groups of students as well as with individuals on a 1:1 basis.  As far as possible, we work to ensure that our students are able to access mainstream classes, but the LSC is a place where students are able to come to for reassurance and intensive educational support.

We have a large team of Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) who work with students in the LSC and in classrooms across the college.  The LSAs are well trained and have a wide, varied skills and knowledge base to ensure that we are supporting our students to achieve and to become independent in education and life.

Supported lunch and break times, which allow for quiet time with supervision and activities, are available for any student, should they wish or need it.


Foundation Learning – Nurture Base

In order to ensure that all students have the opportunity to access a full and balanced curriculum and to allow progression according to ability, we have foundation nurture groups.

In year 7 and year 8 our students who are working significantly below age related expectations are taught in a primary school style classroom with a specialist teacher.  The focus is on English/Literacy and Maths/Numeracy.  There are two dedicated and specially trained LSAs who support the teaching in this provision.  Students will spend 22 of their 50 lessons per fortnight in this provision.  Students join the rest of the year group for Science, PE, Design Technology, Creative Arts and Humanities lessons.  All of these lessons are supported by dedicated LSAs.  

In Year 9 and beyond, the students have a differentiated curriculum, with continued support, in order for them to achieve their full potential at GCSE. 


Enhanced Provision for Hearing Impairment

The Spires College is proud to be the designated secondary school in Torbay for students with hearing impairment.  As such, we have local authority funded places to ensure that Torbay has educational provision available for young people with a range of hearing loss.  As part of this provision, we have a Hearing Support Centre led by a specialist teacher of the deaf, Mr Lee Fullwood, and LSAs with training and experience that allows us to offer specialist support for students with hearing loss.

Where necessary, we tailor educational programmes for individuals that include regular lessons delivered by Mr Fullwood.  The Hearing Support Centre is purpose built especially for use with students with hearing impairments and the college operates a FM system linked to hearing aids to ensure that our students with hearing loss can access mainstream lessons.  


Enhanced Provision for Autistic Spectrum Condition

The Spires College is proud to be a designated secondary school in Torbay for students who have high level ASC needs.  As part of this provision we have specialist staff and LSAs with training and experience that allows us to offer specialist support for students on the Autistic Spectrum who would otherwise struggle in a mainstream school.  Places in our enhanced provision are allocated via the local authority SEND Team.  Students must have an EHCP and a full ASC diagnosis.  Please contact the SEND Team at Torbay Local Authority for further details or contact our SENDCo, Mrs Kolek.


Students with Illness or Physical Disability

The work of the Learning Support team also extends to ensuring that students with a long or short-term illness or disability can access the full curriculum.  This may be simply ensuring that wheelchair access is available to all classrooms, liaising with colleagues in various health teams to ensure we understand what the student’s medical needs are or supporting the student in a lesson or around the college.  We are flexible and innovative in our approach to ensure that all students can access lessons in college as much as possible, achieving their full potential.  A differentiated curriculum is provided where necessary in full consultation with medical and health professionals and parents/carers. 


Literacy Support Centre

The Spires College has a specialist unit that supports students with Specific and General Literacy Difficulties, Dyslexia and Dysgraphia. 

Whilst it is not possible to ‘cure’ Specific Literacy Difficulties such as Dyslexia, we can work with young people to instill strategies to help them achieve in the classroom.  Our literacy provision has been recognised by the Local Authority as a particular strength, and as an exemplar of good practice.  


English as Another Language (EAL)

Moving to a new country can be a big challenge in itself, but not being able to communicate easily can make education particularly difficult.  We have a specialist LSA working with students who are not English speakers or have limited levels of fluency.  This support can include in-class support, differentiated resources, one to one tuition and ICT support.


Children in Care

When a young person is in full time or temporary foster care, the impact that this can have on them and their family is huge.  Events that cause a student to be placed in care, and the displacement from his or her own family can often affect the student’s learning.  Students in this situation are supported to ensure that they benefit from a full and differentiated curriculum and achieve good educational outcomes.  Specialist pastoral care, additional tuition and respite time form part of our educational package for students who are in care.  This is all discussed and reviewed at termly PEP meetings at the school. Our designated teacher, Caroline Kolek, attends LAC reviews and, along with other key staff, is also Attachment Aware.

Please note that this information conforms to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 and the Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years Statutory guidance for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities January 2015.


Contact Information

If you have any queries regarding any of the above SEND provisions, please contact Mrs Caroline Kolek by sending an email to

For more information on our enhanced provision for Hearing Impairment, please contact Mr Fullwood by sending an email to: .


Local SEND Services


For information about the Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Service for Torbay, please use the following link:

Torbay Local Offer

For information about services in Torbay for children and young people with a Special Education Need (SEN) or Disability please use the following link:



To view the college policies regarding SEND, please view our Policies page.