SENCO – Mrs Abby Austin

I have been the SENCO at De Lacy Academy since 2015. Prior to that, I have taught English since 2004 at three schools within Wakefield. I hold a BA Hons degree from Manchester University. In 2017 I achieved the Post Graduate Certificate National Award in SEN Coordination and in 2018 I attained the AAC and CCET awards which enable me to conduct educational testing to put Exam Access Arrangements in place for those who need them.

In school, I report to Mr Langley, Vice Principal. I lead a team of nine fantastic Teaching Assistants and work closely with teaching staff to ensure all our students’ needs are met, keeping them updated on any new diagnoses and recommended strategies. Within the team, Miss Bennett works alongside me as Assistant SENCO and Mrs Cartmell is the SEND Administrator.

I work closely with a range of outside agencies across the Local Authority, such as Educational Psychologists, Learning Support Services, Hearing Impairment and Visual Impairment specialists and physiotherapists, as well as key colleagues in school to get the best outcomes for our students and to ensure that they are well-supported.

Before students come to De Lacy, I liaise closely with the Primary SENCOs and Year 6 teachers so that we are well-prepared for the new intake. In cases where students have an EHCP, I attend their annual review during their final year at Primary school and I organise additional transition visits for students who we feel may benefit from a more in-depth transition programme.

When I’m not doing my SENCO work, I teach a range of subjects across different year groups. I also plan out a programme of interventions to ensure that students have a secure foundation of knowledge to build upon. I liaise with Heads of English and Maths to identify gaps in students’ knowledge so that interventions are targeted to those who need them. We currently offer a range of interventions to boost students’ literacy, numeracy and social skills as well as sessions revolving around managing emotions and improving memory.

One of my other key roles in schools is organising Exam Access Arrangements for students who may require additional support or reasonable adjustments to help them access their GCSEs. This is done in conjunction with recommendations from teachers and pastoral staff. Students can qualify for support such as a reader, a scribe, additional time or low-ratio rooms depending on their needs. More information can be found on the link below. Please also see additional policies regarding Exam Access Arrangements and use of Word Processors.

If you are the parent of a child with SEND and would like to find out about how we can support your child, please get in touch. I am happy to organise a tour and answer any questions that you and your child might have. I will also be available at our Open Evening.

Also, if you have any concerns about your child’s progress and feel that they may have an undiagnosed SEND, please ask us for feedback and advice. We are happy to support parents with referrals to specialists where students display additional needs in school. Please note, for a referral to be accepted, traits need to be present across more than one setting (i.e. home and school). Due to the volume of requests, there is a waiting list for referrals – both in school and also within the NHS.

Contact details are as follows:

To view SEND statutory information, use this link: Statutory Governance and Policy – De Lacy Academy

Link for WESAIL for families with SEN children that need more information: Wakefield WESAIL SENDIAS – Family Action (