Meet the SEND Team

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Mrs Smith
SENCO

I’ve worked at Penistone Grammar School for… 20 years

I support students in… all subject areas.

How my experience helps support students with Special Educational Needs… I have worked at Penistone for 20 years and have always worked within the Inclusion team. My role has changed over the years and I have been fortunate to be able to work with our students on very different levels. I have supported students to help remove barriers to learning from both a learning and pastoral perspective in many different ways.

I have training around counselling, safeguarding, identifying needs, working with children and young people who have Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Speech and Language difficulties and many more conditions that effect learning.

I qualified as a teacher in 2009 and since then have worked with students who have required an alternative pathway to be able to demonstrate their strengths and to be able to secure positive placements for Post 16. Before coming to Penistone, I worked with young people aged 16 – 25 who had found learning in school a challenging experience and I have always tried to make the learning experience for all our students the best it possibly can be. In 2015 I secured the role of Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). While the role was new, the ethos of the department and every one in it, was the same as my own. I really felt that I had arrived in the place I belonged.

 

Over the last 6 years the department has developed and strengthened, not only in the support we give our students but also in our knowledge of the different conditions that create the learning barriers for our students. We are learning every day and every day presents us with a new challenge, however, we have the right ethos and ethics within the department to support our students and to learn new things.

Around school, I also specialise in… working with all our departments in school and our Post 16 centre. I support all our SEND interventions, mostly from a leadership viewpoint, but I love to go and speak to the students and find out what they are doing and most importantly how the intervention is helping them.

What I love most about working at Penistone Grammar School with our wonderful students… is that the SEND team is so supportive of our students and each other, and some days can be challenging for both students and staff. The good behaviour of our students stands out, it is often the first comment of visitors in school. The lengths that all our school staff go to in order to make coming to Penistone a positive experience. I have never worked with such a committed team.

You might not know that… I love going on holiday, especially to coastal regions. I would love to live near the sea as I find the sound of the sea so calming and relaxing. I also love Disney! I’ve been to Paris, Florida and Los Angeles. I can’t wait for my grandchildren to be old enough to go to Florida. My favourite ride has got to be Rocking Roller-coaster.

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Mrs Hoyle
Lead LSA

I’ve worked at Penistone Grammar School for… 21 years

I support students in… all department areas across the curriculum (particularly languages) and I also teach an alternative curriculum to KS4 students.

How my experience helps support students with Special Educational Needs… I have twenty-one years’ experience of working with special needs students across all year groups and curriculum areas. I have delivered various alternative courses to KS4 students over the years, for example ASDAN courses. I support and teach students with various special educational needs and have a lot of experience of ASD, ADHD, dyslexia and students with moderate learning difficulties. I line-manage the Learning Support Assistants and deploy them to support students in lessons. I work closely with the hearing and visual impairment team from the local authority and support students with these specific needs.  I deliver functional-skills maths to KS4 students who are unable to access GCSE maths. Over the years I have attended many courses and completed various qualifications, including: HLTA specialising in SEND and Food Technology; Understanding Autism, Asperger’s and ADHD (University of Derby); Level Five award in Leadership; and the A1 NVQ Assessor Award. I am qualified to deliver the Catch Up Reading programme and to co-ordinate Catch Up. I have ASDAN moderator training and I am a Let’s Get Cooking demonstrator. I have also undertaken the Prepare to Teach NCFE level1/2 in Food and Cookery training and the Introduction to Child Protection course.

Around school, I also specialise in… supporting the Home Learning Club and Catch Up reading. I undertake Maths, English and life skill interventions in mentor time, whilst also helping students with hearing and visual impairments, and supporting parents.

What I love most about working at Penistone Grammar School with our wonderful students… is that the staff and students are always friendly, and that staff support each other whatever challenges they face, whether it be academic or pastorally. Everyone at Penistone Grammar School works hard and wants students to do well.

You might not know that… I enjoy cooking and come from a catering background and love sharing these skills with students.

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Mrs Williams
Administrator

I’ve worked at Penistone Grammar School for… 7 years

I support students by… supporting Mrs Smith and the team across all areas, helping with all their admin tasks.

How my experience helps support students with Special Educational Needs… After working within the Reception admin team for the past six years, I have supported a wide range of our students and parents / carers with a whole spectrum of queries whilst also helping Mrs Smith and her team. This fast-paced environment could see us dealing with a first aid emergency one minute, followed by calming down an upset student, all whilst welcoming visitors into school, spending time listening and helping parents on the phone, while trying to prepare essential information needed to be sent promptly to parents / carers! No two days were ever quiet or the same, which I think has fully equipped me to support our SEN students and their families.

What I love most about working at Penistone Grammar School with our wonderful students… is seeing our students grow and develop as they move through school. The difference from their nervous start in Year 7 to the confident Year 11 leaver. The school community – I have made some lovely friendships since working at PGS and it feels like one huge team effort where everyone works together! And of course, the unexpected ‘Thanks Miss’ from a student you have helped.

You might not know that… I love to read my Kindle and could happily spend all my time reading!

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Mrs Aitken
LSA

I’ve worked at Penistone Grammar School for… 16 months

I support students in… SEND (English Department)

How my experience helps support students with Special Educational Needs… I have worked for nearly five years supporting students with Special Educational Needs in a variety of school settings. This includes special schools, nurture groups and mainstream schools. During this time, I have acquired a vast array of experience with students who have many different and complex needs, covering all key stages. Over the years I have taken part in numerous training courses regarding supporting SEN students. These include: Therapeutic Approaches to Working with Children (skills and creative interventions); Autism Awareness (behaviour intervention); Supporting Mental Health (ASD); Supporting Children with Social and Emotional Development; and Deeper Questioning (understanding Autism).

What I love most about working at Penistone Grammar School with our wonderful students… The school has a very positive and encouraging learning environment and I feel extremely supported by my colleagues. I love my daily interactions with the students, whether this is via a wonderful ‘Eureka’ moment in their learning, or simply checking in with a student and asking how they are.

         

You might not know that… I am a budding guitarist (bass and electric).

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Mr Astwood
LSA

I’ve worked at Penistone Grammar School since… September 2020

I support students in… SEND (Mathematics Department)

How my experience helps support students with Special Educational Needs… Although new to PGS, I have spent time working with a wide range of students in three other secondary schools. I have experience of whole class teaching, mentoring on a one-to-one basis and providing support to small groups with various Special Educational Needs. As part of my ongoing training and professional development, I am currently studying a course entitled Understanding Autism, Asperger’s and ADHD.

What I love most about working at Penistone Grammar School with our wonderful students… I enjoy seeing pupils become more confident in their maths and feel proud that the support we provide as a SEN team has such a positive impact on the learning experience of many of our pupils. The role can be quite challenging at times for various reasons but often this makes it more rewarding when you help make a positive impact on the progress of a pupil’s attainment in school. I also feel very fortunate to work in such a brilliant department full of caring and dedicated staff.

You might not know that… before having children I sailed around the Whitsundays, snorkelled off the Great Barrier Reef and bungee jumped in New Zealand. Since having children my hobbies now include switching lights off, flushing toilets and picking up Lego. I very much hope to return to my former hobbies in the near future!

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Miss Gledhill
LSA

I’ve worked at Penistone Grammar School for… 2 years

I support students in… SEND (Science Department)

How my experience helps support students with Special Educational Needs… I have worked in education for almost seven years. Five years in a local primary school as a teaching assistant and HLTA, and almost two years here at PGS as LSA. Specific qualifications I have are: HLTA qualified; Understanding Autism, Asperger’s and ADHD (University of Derby); Autism awareness course (in-house training); Phonology (NHS South & West Yorks Partnership); ELSA pilot course (through BMBC); and Read, Write Inc.

Around school, I also specialise in… One-to-one / small group interventions specialised to each student, which can be practising science skills, catch up (filling in the gaps) or basic reading, comprehension and spellings. I have previous experience and am competent at delivering individually tailored speech and language interventions alongside SALT therapists. I also have experience working with children, Ed. Psych. and families to provide one-to-one emotional coaching / academic skills through interventions. I also help with the provision of the Home Learning Club.

What I love most about working at Penistone Grammar School with our wonderful students… I love the diversity of our students and what each one of them brings in to school every day. The staff are like one big family, who look out for each other and genuinely care. I love feeling that I’m part of a big family, no matter where you are in school or who you are with. I feel honoured and proud to work as part of the PGS community.

You might not know that… I play Roblox! My family are my whole world and the most important thing to me, however playing Roblox and listening to my children laugh at me because I cannot control my avatar is a close second.

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Mrs Halliday
LSA

I’ve worked at Penistone Grammar School for… 22 years

I support students in… Y10 and Y11 accessing the specialised pathway. I also support students of all year groups across the curriculum.

How my experience helps support students with Special Educational Needs… I worked in the primary setting for two years, before moving onto secondary at Penistone Grammar School. In both settings I have worked with students who have a variety of needs. I am HLTA qualified. I have completed courses on Autism, Asperger’s and ADHD. Over time at PGS I have attended in-house training on managing behaviour, safeguarding, Autism, Asperger’s and ADHD.

Around school, I also specialise in… helping with the Home Learning Club. During mentor time I work with pupils on maths and literacy intervention.

What I love most about working at Penistone Grammar School with our wonderful students… I enjoy working at Penistone Grammar School as it has friendly and caring students and staff. I like the fact that staff want all students, irrespective of any specific needs, to reach their full potential, and they support students in any way necessary for them to achieve this. I also like the fact that students are encouraged to actively get involved in helping and supporting people in the wider community.

You might not know that… I have been involved in the girl guide movement for over 40 years.

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Mrs Ogden
LSA

I’ve worked at Penistone Grammar School for… 15 years

I support students in… SEND

How my experience helps support students with Special Educational Needs… During my time in SEND support I have gained qualifications and training in: Mental Health First Aid; Neglect Awareness; Safeguarding Children, Understanding Thresholds; and Understanding Autism, Asperger’s and ADHD. I also have five years’ experience working with the Inclusion team.

What I love most about working at Penistone Grammar School with our wonderful students… I love being part of a team of staff which is fully committed to the students. Working with young people is always different. Each young person is unique, they bring their own life experience, needs and expectations. There is no better reward than seeing students overcome barriers and achieve to the best of their ability.

You might not know that… I enjoy spending time outdoors with horses.

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Mrs Neal
LSA

I’ve worked at Penistone Grammar School for… 19 years

I support students in… most subjects, this year specifically maths, English, history, languages, science and RE/Citizenship.

How my experience helps support students with Special Educational Needs… I have attended many training courses in my years at Penistone Grammar School. These include safeguarding, ASD, ADHD, maths, literacy, phonics, and mental health.

Around school, I also specialise in… Home Learning Club and literacy / numeracy interventions.

What I love most about working at Penistone Grammar School with our wonderful students… I love supporting students in lessons and enabling them to access learning opportunities. I like getting to know students and the interaction I have with them. I particularly enjoy seeing students’ progress both academically and personally over the years they spend with us.

You might not know that… I volunteer with Stocksbridge Pentaqua swimming club; I have been involved for twenty years and support in a variety of ways. I am competition secretary and a qualified timekeeper and judge officiating at events up to a national level.