A DARLINGTON school has reaped the reward for a lot of hard work in pulling together evidence to show that it is an exceptional centre for helping children with special education needs.

Hurworth School has been awarded the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Inclusion Award (SENDIA) after 18 months of compiling information about how they work with the pupils to get them ready for life after secondary school.

The award celebrates what the school provides for the pupils on a day-to-day basis as it prepares them for their futures, whether it is on to higher education, into work, or on to other courses of study.

It is also recognition of the commitment of the staff to improve the life and social skills of individuals on a one-to-one basis.

Resourced Provision Manager, Helen Whitten, said: “We had to provide a lot of evidence that we were meeting the eight key objectives. It highlighted where there were gaps, but we were pleased to realise that we were already delivering in lots of areas. By applying for this award, it confirmed for us that we already had lots going on for SEN pupils.”

About 9 per cent of the school role is made up of SEN students, who benefit from bespoke programmes to get them ready for life. They get careers advice from Year 7 onwards, with emphasis on the transition into secondary schooling as well as beyond it, to help each one to move forward.

The award is a rubber stamp for the work the school already does with the SEN Code of Practice, focusing on outcomes and demonstrating the positive impact on pupils in lots of different areas, not just academic.

“We have a strong team of teaching assistants who offer support across all areas of need,” said Helen, “and we work very closely with the families as well as the students. There is a lot of adjustment made to meet individuals’ needs, as well as working towards academic qualifications. The evidence shows that we are making positive changes.”