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In this section you will find out about education and children and young people with special education needs and disabilities on the Isles of Scilly. On the Isles of Scilly we have one Academy School which educates both primary and secondary students from age 3-16 years. All schools are required to put in place effective provision for pupils with SEN to ensure that barriers to learning are removed. Most children with SEN including those with and without an EHC Plan have their needs met in mainstream schools and settings. There is a statutory requirement for schools to produce a SEN Information Report which describes what they offer children. You can view the Five Islands Academy report by visiting their SEND information on website

To access further education young people travel to the mainland. Five Islands Academy and the Isles of Scilly Council work together to offer both financial and transitional support. You can find out more under further/higher education section.

Going to university and accessing higher education can significantly improve disabled young people’s chances of getting a successful career. You can find out more about support available under our Further/Higher Education section.

Graduated Response

The Local Authority is required by law to set out what it expects educational settings to offer children and young people with SEN in terms of SEN support. When a child or young person is identified as having Special Educational Needs educational settings must put effective provision in place and ensure that all barriers to learning are removed, this is known as the graduated response. This includes early year’s settings, schools and colleges.


The Graduated Response ensures that early year’s settings, schools and colleges: 

  • Take immediate action when a pupil is identified as having Special Educational Needs (SEN). 

  • Informs the pupil's family as soon as the pupil's SEN is identified. 

  • Works in partnership with the pupil, their parents and carers, including them in decision making.

  • Removes all barriers to learning by putting effective support for the pupil in place.

  • Reviews the support put in place for children and young people with SEN at least termly. 

  • Involves the child or young person, their parents and carers in reviews.

  • Gains advice from specialist professionals if necessary.

  • Uses Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycles to inform changes to a child or young person's SEN support.

Graduated Response in Early Years settings:

There are a number of early years educational settings on the Isles of Scilly and you can find out more about their graduated response by visiting the Council of the Isles of Scilly website with information on Pre-school & Primary aged children:

Graduated Response in mainstream school:

You can find out about Five Islands Academy graduated response on their website: and SEND information:

Graduated Response in Further Education:

To access further education on the Isles of Scilly you have to go to the mainland and so young people access further education far and wide. If you are looking at other further education establishments then please contact them about information on the graduated response. 


Further Information

If you would like to find out more about SEND and the graduated response you can contact Children & Family Services, Carn Gwaval Wellbeing Centre, St Marys Telephone: 0300 1234 105 Option 5Email: .

The National Association for Special Educational Needs, Nasen has a range of resources and guides available on their website.  There is a requirement for membership and currently there is no charge.  Find out more on the National Association for Special Educational Needs website, Nasen:

Introduction to Education
Choosing an Education Setting

The  variety of settings for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) range from local-authority funded settings – eg  mainstream schools, special schools and  ‘resourced provision’ in mainstream, to independent special schools.   
Most children with SEND can have their needs successfully met in mainstream schools. 

Further information
SEND Education Advice and Guidance

Further information about education and training in Cornwall for children and young people with SEND from the Cornwall Family Information & Support website:
IPSEA also has some useful information on choosing a school or college:

School Options



Most children on the islands are educated at the Five Islands Academy and there are various interventions to support children's learning.  Information is available on the Five Islands Academy website:

How much funding does the school or college have to support my child?

Funding nationally has been split into three elements as follows:

  • Element 1 – in mainstream schools and colleges, all students bring a basic funding entitlement.  In schools this is called the Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU) and applies whether or not a pupil has high needs to pay for.  For example, an element of a teacher, an element of premises etc. In colleges this is the mainstream per-student funding calculated by the national 16-19 funding system. 

  • Element 2 – all mainstream schools and colleges are delegated funding to make further provision of up to £6,000 per pupil with special educational needs (SEN).  This is in addition to Element 1.

  • Element 3 – SEN costs above this £6,000 are met from top-up funding from the Local Authority.  The top up funding is to meet the assessed need of the pupil and is in addition to Elements 1 and 2.



Independent Special Schools

Alternative options for schooling are available for children with complex Special Educational Needs of Disabilities on the mainland that are approved by the Secretary of State under Section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014.  Visit the GOV.UK website for more details:


The National Association of Special Schools also maintains a list of schools that specialise in the education of children and young people with complex Special Educational Needs. NASS website:

Home Education

Is home education an option?

Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 states that parents have a duty to secure education of children of compulsory school age, either by regular attendance at school or alternative means. Some children and young people with SEND and their families decide to opt for home education and equally have a right to do so but they do need to fulfil certain conditions. 

There is also a flourishing internet community specifically for home educating parents with special needs children. A good starting place to find out more about the support available for home educating and to speak to others parents who are home educating.  The National Autistic Society also has information on their website about home education:


How will the Local Authority Help?

Home education as an alternative to more mainstream education might be the right option for you and your family. How the support from the LA will be provided will depend on differing things:


  • If your child has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan and it is agreed that home education is a suitable option then the Local Authority will provide the provision outlined in the plan.


  • If a school is named in an EHC Plan and a decision is made to home educate then the Local Authority is not under a duty to provide the special educational provision provided they are satisfied the parents are offering suitable arrangements.


  • If a child is in school then you must state in writing of your intentions to remove your child from the school and educate at home. However, if it is a special school, the Local Authority must give its consent for the child’s name to be removed. Once a parent / guardian informs the school in writing of their decision to home educate their child, the child should be removed from school roll and the Local Authority informed. 


  • Young people may also be educated at home in order to meet the requirement to participate in education and training until the age of 18. Local Authorities should involve parents, as appropriate, in the reviews of EHC Plans of home-educated young people who are over compulsory school age.


  • Parents can also home educate a child with SEN who don’t have EHC Plans. Local Authorities should work with families and consider whether to provide support at home but they do not need to.

You can find out more about how the Local Authority can support you with home education on the GOV.UK website:

Can I be challenged with my decision to Home Educate?

The Local Authority can only enter a family’s home if they are invited by the family or if there is safeguarding concerns. However if the Local Authority is concerned that a child’s educational needs are not being met then you’ll get a School Attendance Order. This is an order requiring your child to attend full time education in the named school on the order.

Mainstream Education

Five Islands Academy

Five Islands Academy serve the island communities of Bryher, St Agnes, St Martin's, St Mary's and Tresco, educating students from Reception (aged between 4 and 5) -16. They have small primary bases on St Agnes, St Martin's and Tresco and a large base known as Carn Gwaval, located on St Mary's, for both primary and secondary students.

To view more about the school go to Five Islands Academy website:

Mundesley House is part of Five Islands Academy and is a boarding house that provides boarding facilities for secondary-aged students who normally reside on the small islands of Bryher, St Agnes, St Martin's and Tresco. Students board from Monday to Thursday night, returning home on Friday afternoon. This enables students to access a full secondary education on St Mary's and attend extra-curricular activities. Find out more about boarding at Mundesley:


Support for Education

SEN Support in School

Five Islands Academy has a duty in relation to identifying and supporting children with SEN, with or without an EHC Plan. Find out more about Five Islands Academy SEN policies and information by visiting the Five Islands Academy website: Key information for parents, SEND.

Here you can find information on the Five Islands Academy Local Offer.  This sets out the support they offer children with SEN in school, including information on transition, how they listen and respond to children, self-help skills and independence, and health and wellbeing.  Also available is the Five Islands Academy SEN information report.

Visit for information on SEN support in school

Identifying and Assessing SEN  at Five Islands Academy:

At Five Island Academy the first step in identifying children who have additional needs is through quality first teaching, using the approach of assess, plan, do and review. Five Islands  Academy aims to identify children who have any difficulties as soon as possible so that appropriate support can be given from an early age.

Methods used by teachers to identify pupils with SEN are as follows:

  • Discussion with parent/carer to see if they have noticed anything/have any concerns

  • Ongoing teacher assessment and observation

  • Progress against the Early Learning Goals in the Foundation Stage

  • Progress against end of Key Stage 1 learning outcomes

  • Progress against end of Key Stage 2 learning outcomes

  • Progress against Literacy and Maths Objectives

  • DTS screening o Results from SATs (end of Years 2 and 6)

  • CATS from year 7

  • CATS from year 9

  • Thrive Assessments

If it seems that your child may have Special Educational Needs, your child’s class teacher or the Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) will assess:

  • What your child is good at and what they need help with

  • What your child would benefit from learning

  • How best to help your child learn


Once provision is identified, time is allocated to individuals or groups to best suit their learning style, ability and need. This is monitored and can be changed once the impact is assessed. Impact is monitored throughout the term through observations, learning walks, book scrutinises, then assessed and reviewed termly during support plan sessions.

Monitoring and Tracking of children with SEND is through the same methods as identification. Assessment is ongoing, although more formal once each term. Identified needs are evaluated and discussed in light of assessment results and through staff discussion.

Types of SEN that the Academy identify as needing additional educational support are:

  • General Learning Difficulties –children whose learning progresses at a slower pace

  • Speech and Language Difficulties

  • Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

  • Dyslexia (difficulties with reading, writing and spelling)

  • Dyspraxia (problems with motor skills, organisation)

  • Autism

  • ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder - ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

  • Sensory processing Difficulties

  • Cerebral Palsy

  • Other Physical or Medical Needs


The majority of SEND needs are provided in the school with no additional outside support being needed. Find out what interventions are offered at Five Islands Academy by visiting their website, Key information, SEND  

Sometimes expert advice and support from outside agencies may be sought. Parents are always consulted at this level.

Some of these services are directly commissioned by school, for instance, the Educational Psychologist and the Autism Advice Team. This means that the SENCO pays for the service from an allocated budget and organises who sees the professional and when. Other services are part of the National Health Service and, although school can make referrals, each agency has its own threshold levels; will decide who gets seen and when and organises their own visit dates and timetable.

The SENCO is usually informed of this information. However, should you need to change a time of an appointment with one of these agencies then please contact the number on the letter which you will have received.


Where necessary and through multi-agency meetings, the Local Authority may commission a specialist assessment to provide support to a student. Additionally, parents may also privately pay for support from a qualified professional. As with all other agencies, school are happy to work closely with this specialist and as far as possible within a school setting, will follow any advice given in a written report.

Below is an overview of outside agencies used at Five Islands Academy. To find out more in-depth information visit the Five Islands Academy website, Key information, SEND


Five Island Academy Educational Psychologist:

The School Educational Psychologist is asked to gather as much information as possible about a child when they are not reaching their educational targets despite the schools intervention. They work closely with the Academy and families.

Referral: The School SENCO will fill in a referral form to the Educational Psychologist, this is shared with parents/carers and they are asked to sign the referral form. Further information is available on the Five Island Academy website:



Autistic Spectrum Team:

The Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment Team (ASDAT) is provided by Cornwall Partnerships Foundation Trust. There is a multidisciplinary team for children and young people up to their 16th birthday who have complex social and communication difficulties. We also commission the services of Andrew Mercer, an SEN Consultant, when required.


Referral: The School SENDCO fills in a referral form and this is shared with parents or carers. Parents/ carers are asked to sign the form to show they have given their consent.



Speech and Language Therapist:

You may see a speech and language therapist if concerns are raised about development of speech and language. Difficulties can include understanding of language, ability to express in words, understanding of social language as well as stammers and stutters. Sometimes stammers and stutters develop as a child gets older but can develop as early as two years old. Additionally, sometimes a student who is having difficulties in learning may have a speech and language difficulty.


Referral:  The SENCO at school, the School Nurse, the Doctor or the Health visitor make Speech and Language referrals. There is a form which is filled in, giving details of the difficulty. Some sections require observation and some sections with the parent or carer. This is then sent to Children’s Services who send the form on for screening. The decision is then made as to whether the child meets the criteria to be seen.

Parents can self-refer to the service by phoning the Early Help Hub who will help them fill in the right form Tel: 01872 322277  You can also fill in referral forms via Cornwall Council website:



CAMHS (child and Adolescent Mental Health Service): 

A child / young person may be seen because there may be reasons that are impacting on their ability to cope with normal life.


Referral:  The SENCO at school, the School Nurse, the Doctor, the Health visitor or Children’s Social Care make referrals. There is a form which is filled in, giving details of the difficulty. This is filled in with the parent / carer when this happens at school. This is then sent to Children’s Services who send the form on for screening. The decision is then made as to whether the child/ young person meets the criteria to be seen.



Occupational Therapist:

You may see an Occupational Therapist if concerns have been raised about a child’s motor development and or sensory processing difficulties.

Referral:  The SENCO at school, the School Nurse, the Doctor or the Health visitor make Occupational Therapy referrals. There is a form which is filled in, giving details of the difficulty. Some sections require observation and some sections with the parent or carer. This is then sent to Children’s Services who send the form on for screening. The decision is then made as to whether the child meets the criteria to be seen.


Hearing/Visual Impairments:

If hearing or visual impairments are suspected by Five Island Academy the School Nurse is notified and they will make a referral for hearing/vision tests.



National Health Service – Paediatricians/Physiotherapists:

Paediatricians and Physiotherapists are sometimes involved with a child. This will happen via a doctor or the school nurse. Although visits may happen in school, the appointments are not organised through school but the SENCO is usually aware of who is being seen. Advice is not usually for school. Where physiotherapy is advised in school as well as at home, the physiotherapist is asked to give training to staff before they undertake this.


Free meals

Evidence supports that having healthy, well fed children aids learning and development and the Council of the Isles of Scilly is committed to encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle and to support learning.

Under the Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) Reception. Y1 and Y2 can claim free school meals. You may be able to claim free school meals for Y3 and above if you meet the eligibility criteria which you can find more: 

If you feel you meet the eligibility for free school meals then contact Five Islands Academy.



Funding is available to get to and from school. Information on transport that is is available and eligibility criteria can be found on the Council of the Isles of Scilly website: 

How to get to school clubs and recreational activities

Funding for transport for off Island children is available to attend after school clubs and activities. This is joint funded by Family Scilly Services and Move Scilly. You can find out more information by email: or telephone: 0300 1234 105 Option 5

How to make a complaint about your child's school

The Isles of Scilly has one school for both primary and secondary aged children. To make a complaint about Five Islands Academy visit the Five Islands Academy policies section of the website to view the complaints policy: 

All schools will have their own complaints policy and please contact them directly. 

Careers Guidance and Preparing for Adulthood at Five Islands Academy

Five Islands Academy offers careers guidance and support, you can also download a Post 16 route planner for learners with Education Health & Care Plans on the website.  Information can be found on the Five Islands Academy website careers section:

Free Meals
Further and Higher Education

There are a number of options available to young people other than attending an educational setting for further education. To find out more about apprenticeships, supported internships, employment, running your own business and more visit our education, training and employment page.

Further Education


Children from the Isles of Scilly access education at home and far and wide and in various further education establishments such as schools and colleges.  Further Educational establishments will have their own SEND support services. To discuss your SEN needs and how they can support you, contact them directly. If you need further support with this then contact Family Scilly at Carn Gwaval Wellbeing Centre, St Mary's.  Email:   Telephone:  0300 1234 105 Option 5

Below are the links to where you can find out about further education in the nearby county areas of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. 








Boarding Schools

Some children from the Isles of Scilly attend boarding schools to access further education. A boarding school is a school with live in accommodation attached to the school. You can find out about boarding schools by visiting the Boarding Schools Associations website:


The Association of National Specialist Colleges - Natspec

Natspec is the membership association for Specialist Colleges. Their colleges give young people with a learning difficulty or disability the chance to become more independent and to learn in an exciting environment with personal support. Natspec believes that a place at a specialist college should always be an option that is available to young people and their parents. 

Local Authority and Financial Support for Further Education support.

The Council of the Isles of Scilly offer financial support for young people to access further education. More information on the support available can be found on The Isles of Scilly Preparing for Adulthood Information sheet. More about the funding allowance is available here.



Making a complaint about a Further Education Provider


Further Education Providers will have their own complaints policies and procedures. Please contact them directly to find out more. If you need further help then contact us at or telephone: 0300 1234 105 Option 5 


Travel and Accommodation Grants

The Local Authority provides travel and accommodation grants for Post 16 Students living on the Isles of Scilly. For further information please visit the Council of the Isles of Scilly website for information on Post 16 Information Guidance and Post 16 Transport Policy 2019-20.  If you have any other questions regarding Post 16 Travel & Accommodation grants please contact Children's Services Administrator Tel: 01720 424 495 email:

Please note: If your child has been educated out of area (that is not on the Isles of Scilly) we will not have any information about your child becoming eligible for travel and accommodation grants and it will be your responsibility to contact the Local Authority. You can contact the Children's Services Administrator on 01720 424 495 or



Higher Education

Higher education is third level education after you leave school. It takes places at universities and further education colleges and normally includes undergraduate and postgraduate study. Higher education gives you the chance to study a subject you are interested in and can boost your career prospects and earning potential.


You can find more about higher education and support available for special education needs and disabilities at higher education establishments at

Making a complaint about a Higher Education Provider


Higher Education Providers will have their own complaints policies and procedures. Please contact them directly to find out more. 


Financial support for accessing Higher Education


Disabled Student Allowance:

If you go on to Higher Education, you may be able to Access a Disabled Student Allowance.

A Disabled Student Allowance is given to people with a disability or physical or mental health condition to help cover additional costs they may incur at higher education because of their additional needs.  You do not have to pay DSA back and can claim DSA in addition to other student finance. It can help pay for such things as specialist equipment, travel and for non-medical helpers. To find out more about the eligibility criteria for claiming DSA and to see what else it can be used for visit the GOV.UK website:

Once you apply the process should be:

  • You’ll get confirmation of whether your application is successful within 6 weeks.

  • It can take up to 14 weeks to get your DSAs support in place as this is done separately.

  • Find out more about other financial support available at the GOV.UK website:  

Education Related Support


AbilityNet supports people of any age, living with any disability or impairment to use technology to achieve their goals at home, at work and in education.  Provide specialist advice services, free information resources and by helping to build a more accessible digital world.
AbilityNet website:
Autism Education Trust (AET)
AET help ensure that autistic children and young people receive an education that enables them to fulfil their aspirations and engage in society as active citizens.
Autism Education Trust website:

The British Dyslexia Association (BDA)
The British Dyslexia Association offer information advice on dyslexia.
The British Dyslexia Association website:

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly SENDIASS
SENDIASS offer advice and support to families and young people with special education needs and disabilities. 
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly SENDIASS website:

Dyslexia Cornwall
Dyslexia Cornwall provide support and services for dyslexic children and adults of all ages, their parents/families, educators, employers and the wider community.
Dyslexia Cornwall website:

Elective Home Education - GOV.UK
Guidance about children educated at home.
GOV.UK website:
Five Island Academy
Information on the Five Islands Academy and their SEND support.
Five Islands Academy website:
Learn Scilly
You can contact learn Scilly 01720 424449 for information on further learning and training opportunities.
Learn Scilly, Council of the Isles of Scilly website:
National Association for Special Educational Needs - Nasen
Nasen (National Association for Special Educational Needs) is a membership charity organisation that supports all education practitioners.
Nasen website:
Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. We inspect services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. We also inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people.
Ofsted website:

Student Finance
Information about student finance and how to apply 
GOV.UK website:

UCAS – Students with disabilities
Information on applying to higher education with a disability and support available whilst at university.
UCAS website Students with disabilities:
Cornwall Local Offer
A directory is available that includes links to some Cornwall education providers, Post-16, private and online tutors.
Support in Cornwall website:


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