Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions page for the Phoenix Centre. This page contains all of the most regular questions we receive from parents and carers, but we monitor requests regularly and add-in any questions that we feel need sharing here to support you. If you cannot find answers here please contact us here.

The page is quite long, so we have listed all the questions at the top of the page. Simply click on the relevant question to go directly to the answer here on the FAQ page.

Q: How does the team at Magna know if my child needs extra help?

If your child is transferring to Magna and already has Special Education Needs (SEN), your primary school will inform the Assistant Principal (Inclusion) at the academy. This information will be shared with staff prior to your child starting at the academy in September. In addition, GL assessments are completed in the first term to assess current skills and levels of attainment. This includes reading and spelling scores, reading interventions, at different levels are then planned for students whose single work reading and/or reading comprehension are in the below average range.

Some students find the transition to secondary education difficult. Magna has a pastoral team that works closely with the SEND department to keep a close eye on students who may have potential difficulties. Additional transition activities are planned for these students and are all part of the wider Phoenix team. Students can also be referred to the Phoenix team following concerns raised by teachers or tutor. For example, on issues of confidence/self-esteem affecting performance. Teacher or tutors will complete a Phoenix Centre referral form, outlining the student’s strengths and weaknesses. 

The Magna staff also listen to parent/carers. Sometimes, the first signs of difficulty are picked up through conversations at home so parent/carers are always welcome to contact the academy to talk about concerns with their child’s Head of House or our Assistant Principal (Inclusion).

You son/daughter may have a health diagnosis or have an assessment with a paediatrician throughout their time at Magna. If so, the community Paediatrician will write to the academy following any appointments in order to provide details of any diagnosis or recommendations of support.

Q: What do I do if I think my child has SEN?

If you are worried about your son/daughter’s progress, the academy team will listen to your concerns, discuss them with you and agree on a plan that might require assessments by specialist staff or external agencies. You can contact the academy here via your child’s Head of House.

Q: What is an EHCP?

An Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is a legal document that describes, in as much detail as possible, a child or young person’s special educational needs and associated health and care needs. It will also set out specific provision that will be put in place to support those needs.

Q: How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs? How are the academy’s resources allocated to those needs?

All staff are trained through continued professional development in adapting lesson planning to support students who need extra help. Teachers also have access to the students’ individual learning profiles, which highlight specific recommended teaching strategies. Teaching staff can also collaborate with the Phoenix team to build confidence in meeting need through quality-first teaching.

Some lessons benefit from having a teaching assistant in the class who can spot difficulties and give instant support. We also have a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) who delivers group programmes designed to meet different students’ needs, for example reading interventions.

Students have opportunities to discuss exam choices in Year 9 with the aim of selecting subjects based on their strengths and interests.

We ensure that all students’ needs are met to the best of the academy’s ability with the funds made available.

Q: How can I be sure the SEND provision at Magna is of high quality and what specialist services and expertise are available at the Magna Academy?

The Assistant Principal (Inclusion) is a qualified and experienced Maths teacher and has completed the National Accredited SENCO Award. The Assistant Principal (Inclusion) also holds the Certificate in Competence in Educational Testing which allows Magna Academy to assess and apply for access arrangements. The Deputy SENCO is also a qualified teacher and has completed the National Accredited SENCO award.

Magna Academy has two Teaching Assistants (TAs), who receive regular continued professional development for supporting students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

We recognise at Magna that students learn better and are happier if their emotional needs can be addressed. Magna has a trained Counsellor who offers both 1:1 Counselling and group counselling with the Balance Programme. The Balance Programme is designed to give students an understanding of the impact of stress and anxiety, offering some strategies to help manage these experiences. In addition to this, one of our TAs is ELSA (Emotional Literacy support) trained.

Magna Academy also brings in additional expertise, including:

  • Educational Psychologists
  • Hearing impaired teachers
  • Speech and Language
  • School Nurse
  • Paediatricians
  • Social care: including Family Support Workers and Social Workers


Q: How will you help me in supporting my child’s learning at home?

The academy provides parent/carers with advice on how to support your child’s homework. Parent/carers are always welcome to contact the academy via the Head of Year contact form which can be found on the academy website for specific advice at any time. Parents/carers are also encouraged to attend other specific events during the year, for example, Consultation evenings.

Q: What support will there be for my child’s well-being?

It is vital that all students in our academy feel valued, cared for, confident and supported.  We are an inclusive academy and we welcome and celebrate diversity. All staff believe that high self-esteem is crucial to well-being. All students complete a personal development curriculum in tutor groups. Magna Academy recognises that for students to thrive in an increasingly complex and diverse world, they require the knowledge and skills to make effective decisions about their lives independently. An effective curriculum shaped with student personal development at the heart will allow our students to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to stay healthy, safe and prepare them for life and work as citizens in modern day Britain.

Magna has a trained counsellor who offers both 1:1 Counselling and group counselling with the Balance Programme. The Balance Programme is designed to give students an understanding of the impact of stress and anxiety and offer some strategies to help manage these experiences. In addition to this one of our TA is ELSA (Emotional Literacy support) trained.

The Phoenix team also offer Communication groups using the Talk About programme. The Talk about programme is a series of communication programmes aimed at improving social communications skills such as Listening, Conversation skills, Body Language, Awareness and Assertiveness.

Q: How will Magna Academy help prepare my child for transfer to post-16 education?

We encourage all students to explore post-16 options which match their strengths and interests. Open evenings at Magna Academy and other colleges are advertised for all students to attend with their parents/carers. We liaise closely with staff from different colleges to ensure all relevant paperwork is passed on and all needs are discussed and understood.

Q: How is IT used to support students?

The Phoenix Centre has a number of laptops which can be used by students with specific difficulties. These arrangements are made via communication with the class teacher to ensure that they are of benefit to the student. In addition we also have reading pens to support students becoming more independent with their reading.

Q: My child struggles in exams, what help is there for them?

Up to Year 10, some special arrangements can be made for some students that have been identified as needing extra support in exams such as having a reader or extra time.  These provisions are called Access Arrangements. In year 10, a formal assessment is made by the Assistant Principal (Inclusion) as to what provision can be made for student when they sit their GCSEs in Year 11 and an application is made to the exam boards. You can read additional information on this by opening our Access Arrangements Policy at the bottom of this page.

Q: What should I do if I am concerned about my child’s mental health?

We are always happy to speak to parents and students about supporting their wellbeing in the academy. We have resources available on our website as well as group and individual support available. However, staff at Magna Academy cannot assess or diagnose a student with mental health concerns so it is important that you also contact your GP to get specialist advice. If appropriate the academy can make a referral to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).


Additional Reading

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Magna Academy is a comprehensive academy with a community of about 900 students, presently oversubscribed. We have an excellent reputation both locally and nationally. We…


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