Understanding Sunnyside

School context

Sunnyside Academy is a larger than average sized school which draws its pupils from a wide area. It was built 39 years ago to educate pupils with special educational needs alongside mainstream pupils. Over one third of the pupils have learning difficulties and/or disabilities and one tenth have a statement of special educational need or disability (SEND). These proportions are much higher than in most schools. There are specialist staff and facilities to teach pupils who have hearing or visual impairments. In addition our base for pupils with learning difficulties was re-classified as a High Needs Base in January 2014.

Most pupils come from White British backgrounds, though a small number are from other ethnic backgrounds, are learning English as an additional language and are hearing impaired. These children learn British Sign Language.

Recently pupils are taking more responsibility for their own learning.  Staff ensure that all pupils receive clear and detailed guidance on how to improve their work.

The school roll has increased significantly rising by 70 pupils to a high of 390 in July 2015. This is due largely to parental choice.

2015 Y6 Cohort

Any cohort of children at Sunnyside consists of:

  • Mainstream children with no SEND.
  • Mainstream children with SEND.
  • Hearing impaired children.
  • Visually impaired children.
  • Children who attend our Higher Needs Base and join Sunnyside from Y3 onwards.

The HI/VI and HNB children can be drawn from any of the five Tees Valley LAs.


In 2015 the Y6 cohort consisted of 47 pupils broken down as follows.

  • 27 (57%) mainstream pupils with no SEND at SA or SA+ though many are monitored as part of our SEN process.
  • 7 (15%) mainstream pupils with SEND.
  • 1 (2%) HI child. Statemented for SEND.
  • 4 (9%) VI children. 2 Statemented/EHCP for SEND.
  • 8 (17%) High Needs Support Base children most of whom were cognitively unable to take SAT tests.


20 (43%) of the cohort were registered with SEND in some form.

Only 28 of the pupils that make up the whole cohort were at Sunnyside at the end of Key Stage 1 (Y2).  A significant majority of our more complex SEND cases join us during KS2 usually having 'failed' elsewhere in a mainstream setting. Our hearing impaired children who work in the communication base are integrated into mainstream when appropriate, usually with support. Visually impaired children work within mainstream setting with support and are withdrawn for Braille as necessary.  Comparison of raw SAT results from one year to another at Sunnyside can be misleading and unhelpful as each cohort across the school can have a very different make up. In 2015, 37 of the 47 children in Y6 were able to take SATs. The 37 were broken down as follows:

34 mainstream pupils of which 7 were mainstream pupils with SEND.

  • 1 HNB child.
  • 2 VI children.

This means that if every child of the 37 who took SATs achieved L4+ the school could achieve a maximum of 78% L4+ in Reading, writing or maths if the SAT test results for the whole cohort were taken into consideration. Direct comparison of Sunnyside Academy’s results with other schools is therefore unwise.

The following information gives a breakdown of achievement for all children in Y6 in an attempt to give a true picture of the attainment of pupils at Sunnyside.


Raw SATS Test results for the whole cohort

47 children to count.

Subject and Level % of cohort L4+ % of cohort L5
Reading 60% 26%
Writing 68% 11%
Maths 55% 11%
EPAG 58% 26%


SAT Test results for the children who took SATS

Subject and Level % of cohort L4+ % of cohort L5
Reading 76% 33%
Writing 88% 15%
Maths 74% 26%
EPAG 74% 35%


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