Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

At Sunnyside Academy we realise the important role that we play in preparing your child for adult life. We aim to teach all children basic skills in English and Mathematics whilst helping them to develop emotionally, physically and socially. We aim to do this in a happy and interesting way. We understand that children learn successfully when well-motivated.​ Success, enjoyment and interest all motivate children. When they experience success children feel good about themselves and gain the confidence to apply themselves to new learning. We give our children the opportunity to succeed in many different aspects of school life. Success is acknowledged and celebrated in many ways.​

The Higher Needs Base (HNB) at Sunnyside Academy caters for pupils aged 4-11 (R-Y6) from across Middlesbrough, who have been identified as having a significant needs, beyond those usually supported within a mainstream environment. There are several different class groups in the Higher Needs Base and the characteristics are outlined below.

HNB1 – 6 places for pupils who are in Reception- up to Y2 and have identified delays in their Speech and Language, Social Communication and Interaction and/or Learning Needs. Many pupils experience related social, emotional difficulties and/or sensory needs.

HNB 2 & 3 – 20 places for pupils who are in Y3 – Y6 and have identified ‘Higher Needs’

which may include a diagnosis of Learning difficulties, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Pupils are likely to have reports from a professional: such as pediatrician or psychologist, which indicate that they have significant cognitive, memory or processing difficulties. Many pupils experience associated social, emotional or communication difficulties.

HNB4 – up to 8 places for pupils Y3-Y6 who have identified social, emotional and mental health needs as a result of either attachment and trauma, Autism or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The high ratio of staff:pupils in the Higher Needs Bases, enables pupils to be taught in small groups with opportunities for one-to-one support.

The pupils in these unit classes follow a modified and differentiated National Curriculum on one of four possible pathways:

Pre-Formal Working on the Engagement Model, pre-national curriculum, 0-3years. Sensory and Play based opportunities with a focus on establishing joint attention and early communication.
Semi-Formal Working on Pre-Key Stage – Early KS1 curriculum Sensory and play based learning with a focus on establishing positive learning behaviours, independence in routines, social communication and Early Reading, Writing and Maths skills.
Formal Curriculum Working on consolidation of KS1/Early KS2 National Curriculum Modified and adapted National Curriculum, with opportunities for repetition and overlearning with a focus on further developing positive learning behaviours, independence, core skills in Reading, Writing, Maths and Personal Development.
Nurture Curriculum Plus Working on consolidation of gaps in learning in the National Curriculum Y3-Y6 Adapted curriculum for pupils who have experienced disrupted learning due to poor social, emotional regulation and attendance. The focus is on ‘Readiness for Learning’ developing positive emotional regulation skills, tolerance and co-operation, social skills and the ability to cope with demands. The curriculum covers core skills in Reading, Writing, Maths, and the wider curriculum. In addition, pupils have opportunities to develop their social and emotional skills through a range of enrichment activities such as PE and Sports, Outdoor opportunities such as Forest Schools and gardening, visits to places of interest, cooking, and social enterprise.

We provide access to a Breakfast Club and have activities after school and work in partnership with external providers to help us offer wrap around care.

If you would like any information on our SEND provision please download the documents linked below.

Equality Information and Objectives (PSED)


Or you can contact our SEN Coordinator, Mrs R Rathmell on 01642 596422 or by contacting the academy.


Middlesbrough’s Local Offer supports children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities aged 0–25 and their families.

It’s for:

  • children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), aged from birth to 25 years
  • parents, carers and families
  • professionals

Visit the Local Offer website for information on education, health and social care services, leisure activities, money and benefits, and more.