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The Spires College

Our aim is simple: to make certain that every young person achieves their true potential.  Our ethos centres upon a love of learning and upon developing every member of our College community as an independent learner, who knows how to learn and is helped to develop the resilience and determination to tackle all the challenges that they will meet – at College and beyond. In this way, our students become successful and fulfilled life-long learners.

Our students are involved in every aspect of College life beyond the classroom: extra-curricular clubs and trips are always available but our students also take an active role in shaping the future of the College through a wide range of student leadership activities.  Our students leave this College as rounded, confident, independent young adults, ready to take up their places in society and equipped with the means to seize their futures. 


Principal: Ms Alex Newton
DfEE No: 4117
Type of School: Foundation

Who to contact

Contact Name
Mrs Katherine Hurst
Contact Position
01803 400660

Where to go

Westlands Lane

Other Details


Age Ranges
From 11 years to 18 years

Inclusion Information

Wheelchair Access

Has Provision

Local Offer


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 SENDCo is Mrs Katherine Hurst.  She 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. 

Support for Special Educational Needs and Disability

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. 

Our SEN Team is based in a purpose built unit that allows the team 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 SEN Unit 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 SEN Unit 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

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 groups in Year 7 and Year 8 for students who are working significantly below age related expectations.  These groups are taught in a primary school style classroom with a specialist teacher, focusing on English/Literacy and Maths/Numeracy, supported by two dedicated and specially trained LSAs.  Students will spend 22 of their 50 lessons per fortnight in this provision and join their peers for Science, PE, Design Technology, Creative Arts and Humanities lessons where they are also supported by dedicated LSAs.  

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

Enhanced Provisions

The Spires College is proud to be the designated secondary school in Torbay for students with hearing impairment and a designated secondary school for student with Autistic Spectrum Condition.  Places in both provisions are allocated by the local authority SEN Team.  

Enhanced Provision for Hearing Impairment

The College has 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

Our enhanced ASC Provision is for students who have high level ASC needs: an EHCP and full ASC diagnosis.  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. 

For further details about either of our enhanced provisions, please contact the SEN Team at Torbay Local Authority or our SENDCo, Mrs Hurst. 

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, Katherine Hurst, 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.

Local Offer Age Bands
Secondary (11-16 years)
Sixth form / other post 16 provider (16 - 19 years)
SEN Provision Type

SEN Information

A printable version of this form is available in the downloads section.

How do we assess and review progress towards agreed outcomes, and how are parents, children and young people involved in this process?

  • All students undergo half-termly assessments in all subjects.
  • Half termly reports to all parents to share progress.
  • End of Year Annual Report.
  • Personal target setting with personal tutor.
  • Parents’ Evenings
  • Tutor Evenings
  • Information Evenings to targeted groups.
  • Annual Reviews

Enhanced Hearing Impaired Provision

We draw up provision maps with students and parents which address the needs of individual hearing impaired students and outline what provision will be put in place for individual students. These provision maps are reviewed on a termly basis or more frequently if required due to changes in need.

Termly meetings with students are held to discuss progress and support levels.

We provide mentoring sessions for all hearing impaired students at least 3 times a week. We liaise with audiologists to ensure appropriate amplification is being provided for students.

An annual report is written by the teacher for hearing impaired students outlining work covered and its outcomes.

How do we assess the effectiveness of our special needs provision and how are parents, children and young people involved in this assessment?

  • Case Studies on groups of students.
  • Parent Questionnaires
  • Analysis of sub-group performance each half term
  • Progress, Attitude and Effort grades
  • Annual Reviews
  • Departmental Reviews
  • IEP Reviews
  • Self- Assessment Tools
  • SEN Learning Walks
  • Student Voice
  • Peer Mentoring

Enhanced Hearing Impaired Provision

Annual questionnaires are sent to students and parents.

The teacher for hearing impaired students attends relevant training courses provided nationally wherever possible to keep skills up to date

How do we ensure that teaching staff and other staff have the expertise needed to support children and young people with special educational needs?

Westlands has a programme of staff training that ensures all staff receive relevant and up to date information on all Learning Needs.  Appropriate information regarding students with additional needs is shared and updated regularly with teaching staff. Our SENCO attends regular meetings with colleagues across Torbay and further afield and is a member of the National Association of Special Educational Needs.

All our Learning Support Assistants have an hour of designated training each week. We regularly have training from specialist teachers and professionals from a variety of specialisms.

Our SENCO oversees initial training of new staff as part of our Induction Programme and also quality assures the provision offered to pupils in lessons, including extraction groups. Our SENCO also advises the Senior Leadership Team on all matters relating to Special Educational Needs and advises all staff regarding the care and support of these learners.

Westlands School is proactive in approaching colleagues from other organisations to ensure that we are completely up to date with the latest research and support for the Learning Needs that we work with – for example Occupational Health regarding a number of specific students.

Enhanced Hearing Impaired Provision

We provide training to staff on

  • use, maintenance  and management of audiological equipment,
  • classroom strategies,
  • signing skills (where appropriate),
  • communication and language development
  • deaf awareness

We attend appropriate training sessions offered nationally.

We work with an audiological technician from the Ewing Foundation for 3 days each term to keep our audiological skills up to date, ensure that children and young people’s audiological equipment is functioning correctly and meeting their needs and keep abreast of new equipment coming on to the market.

The lead teacher for hearing impaired students is a member of both the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (BATOD) and the National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NATSIP) to help keep up to date with research and developments in the education of hearing impaired students.

How do we keep parents informed where children and young people have special educational provision but do not have an Education Health and Care Plan?

  • Reports are generated on a termly basis and parents will receive these in the same time line as all other students
  • Parents/carers are invited in to review any SEN provision and meetings will produce a set number of targets with desired outcomes, this will in turn set further meetings according to the students need.
  • Dedicated parent events are held to inform parents of interventions used within our nurture groups such as our reading and phonics programmes.

Enhanced Hearing Impaired Provision

Most students within the provision  have EHCPs .

If a student does not have an EHCP parents are invited to attend an annual review of provision and progress in addition to all the information provided as standard for all students within Westlands

How can parents, children and young people make a complaint about our provision?

Westlands School values its relationship with parents, carers and the local community. Individuals who wish to raise a concern will be treated seriously and fairly and in the first instance should contact Mr Leonard, who will liaise with all relevant parties accordingly. Details of how to raise a formal complaint can be found on the school policies section of our website.

Students are encouraged to talk to their specific pastoral tutor or associated key worker within Learning support in order to resolve any matters of direct concern to both themselves and others.

Enhanced Hearing Impaired Provision

We would hope that parents felt that they could telephone or e-mail the teacher for hearing impaired students at Westlands or Mr Neil Leonard school SENCO in the first instance to try and resolve any problems. If this is not possible parents can follow the schools formal complaints procedure.

How can parents, children and young people get more information about the setting?

Further information about all provisions can be found in the following ways

  • On our website
  • Enhanced Hearing Impaired provision contact Mrs Hazel Sutherland
  • Telephone numbers 400660 main reception or 408831Learning support
  • Contact SENCO Neil Leonard via email
  • Arrangements to visit the school can be made through learning support and requests can be made via email directly to  

Enhanced Hearing Impaired Provision

Telephone or e-mail the school to arrange a visit or meeting with the teacher for hearing impaired students 01803 400660

Visit our school website.