Austin Friars School Logo Austin Friars School

Austin Friars is a coeducational Independent, 3 – 18 day school. The Senior School provides non-selective secondary education for approximately 290 boys and girls aged 11 – 18 from across Cumbria and South-West Scotland. There are approximately 150 children aged 4 – 11 in the Junior School and the Pre-school (Nursery) has places for children aged 3 and 4.

As an independent school we are free to innovate and are inspired to care. We focus on the individual young person; to nurture and develop his or her unique potential. We equip our pupils not just with knowledge, but with skills for life, and take pride in preparing them for life after Friars.

We do this by ensuring our young men and women are: effective in working collaboratively in teams and equally adept at working independently; creative problem-solvers who are able to adapt and improvise; effective communicators who are engaged listeners prepared to express themselves assertively, and, inextricably linked to these skills, confident, modest and articulate members of society who embody the Augustinian Values of Unity, Truth and Love, enshrined in our provision.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Matt Harris
Contact Position
01228 550760 01228 550760 01228 810327 (Fax) 01228 810327 (Fax)
Austin Friars School
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Where to go

Austin Friars School
Etterby Scaur


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Local Offer


The aim of our school is to provide a broad and well-balanced curriculum for all the children in our care. Using the National Curriculum as our starting point we plan to meet the specific needs of each child, setting appropriate learning challenges, and responding to the diverse needs of the children.

We are currently updating our SEND information.  In the meantime please call us for more information.

Contact Name
Sharon Duncan (SENCo)
Contact Telephone
01228 528042
Contact Email
Learning Support Information
Local Offer Age Bands

Schools Extended Local Offer Response

How does the setting/school/college know if children/young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?

Working closely with children in their first educational setting allows us to identify children with additional needs. Where children have attended a different pre-school, parents and carers are encouraged to share openly any pre-existing Special Educational Needs, or concerns linked to learning and development, during the admissions process. 

We identify when some pupils may need additional help through: 

  • concerns being raised by parents/carers, teachers or the child
  • limited progress being made compared to expectations
  • a change being observed in the pupil’s behaviour or progress

Our Parent Partnership aims to build a successful relationship between parents and teachers. If you have concerns about your child’s progress ask for a meeting to discuss this. 

Mr Dodds is the Assistant SENCO Junior School, and the named SENCO for the EYFS at Austin Friars. He is available to talk to at any time, and a meeting can easily be arranged through the Junior School office. 

Mrs Duncan is the Head of Learning Support and whole school SENCO, and has overall responsibility for provision for pupils with SEND throughout their career at Austin Friars. She can best be contacted via email: 

How will early years setting/school/college staff support my child/young person?

Your child’s Learning Journey is matched to suit their individual needs. This may include: 

  • targeted support in class from your child’s class teacher or teaching assistant
  • work in a small group, or on a 1:1 basis, for short periods of time
  • provision of different equipment or teaching approaches
  • advice or support from an external professional, such as an Early Years Specialist Advisory Teacher, the Speech and Language Team or a paediatrician

Parental involvement is always sought before additional support is put in place or a referral made. 

After assessment, external professionals will often provide a programme of advice and support to school and parents/carers. Every effort will be made to put the recommendations in place, in cooperation with families. 

How will the curriculum be matched to my child's/young person's needs?

All children, including those with SEND, should be challenged with high expectations to encourage them to make most progress:

  • tasks and activities are varied (differentiated) to meet individual children’s needs
  • children’s strengths are identified and championed to help support areas of weakness and build a positive self-image
  • specific needs can be targeted with Teaching Assistants (TAs) allocated to work with small groups or 1:1

If your child is recognised as having a disability or special need they will be given an EYFS SEN Support Plan, and may have an EHCP:

  • targets will be set according to their area(s) of need and parents/carers will receive a copy
  • progress will be monitored
  • children’s views will be sought about their progress and provision in all areas
  • reviews involving parents/carers, class teachers, school SENCO and external specialists will be held at pre-agreed intervals
  • your child may be given special equipment to use – eg triangular grip pencils, easy to use scissors, a writing slope
How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child's/young person's learning?

Our Parent Partnership approach encourages parents and teachers to informally discuss children’s achievements and difficulties informally as they arise. 

Appointments can be made to speak in more detail to the class teacher, SENCO or Headteacher can be made by visiting the school office. Please be prepared to say what you wish to discuss, so that staff can have relevant information available. 

Parent's Evenings are held at regular intervals, where you can discuss your child’s progress. 

Written reports are provided by your child’s teacher. 

If your child has an EHCP you will be invited to review meetings and TAF meetings. 

Ways that you can help your child at home may be suggested: 

  • by your child’s class teacher
  • through discussion between you, your child’s teacher and SENCO – this may be particularly useful for problems with behaviour or emotional development
  • by external specialists

Coordination of approach is important to encourage most effective progression. Feedback and perspective from parents on approaches suggested is always welcomed.

What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall well being?

We recognise that the first years in a child’s life are the most formative and we try to develop sound spiritual and social values by encouraging the children to co-operate with and care for each other. Pastoral support is integrated into provision for all pupils. 

If your child is having social or emotional difficulties, targeted pastoral support may be offered. 

If your child has a medical need an Individual Health Plan will be developed through discussion between you and the school Health and Well Being Co-ordinator – Mrs Davidson. Appointments can be made to discuss health issues with Mrs Davidson via the School Office, or by email:  

Advice from external health professionals – e.g. paediatricians or physiotherapists, will be incorporated into Individual Health Plans and followed as required by school staff. 

Medicines can be administered in school, provided a signed medical consent form is in place to ensure the safety of your child and school staff. 

Named staff working in EYFS have paediatric first aid training. 

As an Augustinian school our approach to positive behaviour management and pastoral care is guided by our Augustinian values.

What specialist services and expertise are avaliable at or accessed by the setting/school/college?

The Head of Learning Support holds current relevant qualifications and has over 10 years experience working in Learning Support.  

The Assistant SENCO Junior School holds the National Award for SEN Co-ordination (Post Graduate Certificate for Special and Inclusive Education) and has experience working with children with Autism.

If appropriate for your child’s needs, Austin Friars can access the full range of educational specialists via Cumbria County Council. These may include: 

  • the Speech and Language Team
  • Physiotherapy services
  • Early Years Specialist Teacher Advisory Service
  • an Educational Psychologist

Other professionals may be accessed as appropriate, and advice from professionals sought by parents will be considered when determining provision for children.

What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had? Are any being trained currently?

All staff have appropriate training for working with children in EYFS. 

Staff at Austin Friars participate in a regular schedule of staff meetings and INSET training which include supporting children with special educational needs. 

The Assistant SENCO Junior School holds the National Award for SEN Co-ordination (Post Graduate Certificate for Special and Inclusive Education).  and has experience of working with children with Autism. 

How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?

Risk assessments are carried out for all school trips. Activities and school trips are intended to be available to all pupils. 

Advice may be sought from external professionals who support your child – physiotherapists, occupational therapists etc. 

If your child receives support throughout the school day, this support will also be available for school trips. If additional support is required a parent or carer may be asked to accompany their child during the activity

How accessible is the setting/school/college enviroment?

A ramp is located at the pre-school entrance. 

A lift is available to access all floors in the Junior School. 

Designated disabled parking spaces are available at Junior School and Senior School car parks. 

Disabled toileting facilities are available. 

Children with mobility difficulties can have support from a TA when moving around school. 

If your child may have difficulties moving independently around the school, environment advice can be sought from appropriate external services (Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy).

How will the setting/school/college prepare and support my child/young person to join the setting/school/college or the next stage of education and life?

Many strategies are in place to support your child’s transition to the Junior School, or a new school.  

The SEN Support Plan will be completed and passed on to the Junior School, or a new school.

There is close liaison between EYFS teachers, Assistant SENCO Junior School and Junior School teachers.

Staff from a new setting will be invited to the final review meeting for your child in Austin Friars EYFS. 

Your child will attend transition sessions where they will spend time with their new class teachers. 

How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?

The amount of support your child will receive will be determined when provision is planned, in discussion with you, your child’s class teacher, the Assistant SENCO – Junior School and any other relevant school staff or professionals. 

If your child has an EHCP the level of support to be provided will be decided as the EHCP is drawn up, and reviewed at TAF and Review Meetings. 

As Austin Friars is an Independent School, we are able to put in place a higher level of provision than may be available elsewhere. A charge is made for additional staff costs incurred, which will be discussed with you before any support is agreed. 

The level of support may be changed, following tracking of your child’s needs and progress.

How are parents involved in the setting/school/college? How can I be involved?

All parents are actively encouraged to contribute to their child’s education. This may be through:

  • discussions with Pre School and Kindergarten class teachers or the Assistant SENCO – Junior School
  • during Parent's Evenings
  • during discussions with the Head of the Junior School

If your child has a recognised SEND, you will also be invited to:

  • TAF meetings, involving all professionals who work with your child
  • meetings to review your child’s SEN Support Plan 


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