Our provision for children and young people with SEND
Yewstock School is an all age special school for pupils with a range of learning difficulties from 3-19. Pupils may have a moderate learning difficulty (MLD), severe learning difficulty (SLD) or profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD). We also provide for pupils with autistic spectrum conditions (ASC), physical disabilities and medical needs who have a learning difficulty.
Identifying special education needs
All of our pupils have Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) which inform our provision. The plans describe the child’s needs across four areas (cognition and learning, communication and interaction, social emotional & mental health, and physical & sensory), and a fifth strand (preparation for independence) which runs through each. The plan also sets outcomes designed to guide progress in the different areas and outlines what support the young person needs to achieve them.
EHCPs are reviewed at annual meetings attended by the pupil, their parents/carers, school staff and, where appropriate, other professionals. These meetings take a holistic person-centred approach which allows pupils to be involved in a meaningful way. Prior to the review, staff help pupils to think about what they like, what’s important to them, how they like to be supported, and their hopes and aspirations for the future and, during the meeting, they are encouraged to share their views and take part in discussions as much as possible. The reviews are also an opportunity to celebrate the pupil’s qualities, strengths and achievements, as well as their progress towards the different outcomes and to show pupils that school is just one part of their life-long learning journey, which has to be taken a step at a time.
The EHCP outcomes, which are set for the end of each key stage, are broken down into smaller, short-term targets (Personal Learning Goals- PLGs) which are worked on in lessons throughout the curriculum, as well as in dedicated small-group or one-to-one activities and, if appropriate, specific interventions. As outcomes are met and the pupil’s needs change, they will be amended at the next annual review and new actions agreed to support them.
School policies and meeting the needs of pupils
All pupils at Yewstock School have an identified special educational need. Our SEN Policy explains what we do to support pupils, and our Accessibility Plan details how we make the environment and curriculum accessible to everyone. We also have a policy on supporting pupils who have medical conditions, and for those who require intimate care. All of these policies are available upon request and are reviewed by the Governing Body to ensure they are accurate and current.
How we teach our pupils with SEND
As an all-age school catering for pupils with a wide range of needs, we have different models of curriculum delivery appropriate to individual pupils. However, across the curriculum, and whatever the pupils’ age, understanding or abilities, learning is carefully planned and sequenced to support pupils to know more, do more, and remember more.
Some pupils follow a semi-formal learning route and are with one teacher for the majority of lessons. Their teachers deliver a range of subjects, with guidance from subject leads. Pupils also engage in learning through topic work. Learners’ sensory and communication needs are taken into account and visual cues, concrete resources and practical activities and experiences are used to support pupils. Other pupils follow a more formal learning route and have a range of subject specialist teachers in addition to a form tutor. Post 16 pupils work with teachers and TAs on a personalised curriculum with a focus on preparation for adulthood. Some lessons are taught by subject specialists across the school.
At Yewstock, we understand that pupils have to be supported to become effective learners and to grow as people. We therefore take every opportunity to support pupils to understand how to learn effectively, and to embed positive learning attitudes and behaviours, including developing their independence and resilience. We also place great importance on nurturing pupils’ emotional and mental health by helping them to recognise their own progress and achievements and by encouraging their interests and aspirations.
We ensure that throughout each year and across all subjects, pupils make sustained and substantial progress so that they have a strong foundation on which to build their future.
How we assess our pupils with SEND
As we have a range of pupils of differing abilities and learning needs, we take a flexible approach to the curriculum, and therefore to assessment. On entry to school, we ensure that all pupils have a core subject baseline assessment in Reading, Writing and Maths.
For a small number of pupils, we assess through close observation based upon the five areas of the Engagement Model: exploration, realisation, anticipation, persistence and initiation. This enables us to identify and celebrate a pupil’s progress, the consolidation and maintenance of knowledge, skills and conceptual understanding and the prevention or slowing of a decline in performance.
The majority of our pupils will not take national tests such as the baseline in Early Years, the phonic check and SATs. However, the teaching team continually assess our pupils and an informed decision is made on a case-by-case basis.
All pupils’ Personal Learning Goals (PLGs) are linked to their EHCP outcomes and are monitored regularly and tracked on Evidence for Learning (EfL), our assessment tracking system.
Our use of formative and some in-school summative assessments allows us to provide specific statements of skills and knowledge gained, supported by records of evidence using books, as well as photographs and videos on EfL. We believe that this gives much more meaningful and useful information than a numerical level for teachers, pupils and parents/carers alike.
Universal, Targeted and Specialist Support
At Yewstock, we believe that every interaction is an intervention. We provide a graduated approach to supporting our pupils. Universal strategies involve input, guidance or training from relevant professionals which empower staff to facilitate a range of support techniques within the classroom on a daily basis.
Targeted approaches are referred, time-limited interventions provided by staff specially trained in a particular area of need and are carried out 1:1 or in a small group. Learning is baselined at the start and assessed at the end of the intervention to evaluate progress.
Specialist support is for a small number of pupils whose needs cannot be met through Universal or Targeted approaches. At this level the specialist will provide direct and/or individualised sessions. This support requires a referral to the specialist, a thorough assessment of need and a bespoke programme of intervention. The ultimate aim is always for a Universal approach, even if Targeted or Specialist support was needed first.
Learning Resource Centre Interventions:
At Yewstock, our pupils join us at many different ages. We have a number of pupils who transfer to us from mainstream education who have been unable to access the curriculum. In addition, due to the variety of learning profiles, some of our existing pupils may need a boost in a specific area of difficulty or additional challenge in an area of particular ability.
For these pupils, our Learning Resource Centre (LRC) offers a range of one-to-one and small-group targeted interventions. We also offer access to a range of therapies for identified pupils and a Nurture Provision for some based on the principles of NurtureUK.
Who to contact if you have a question about your child
The best person to contact is always the class teacher in the first instance. As a special school we do not have a SENDCo, but we have Heads of Key Stages and Assistant Heads for both the school and the college who you may also contact.
Visits to the school are warmly encouraged. We also run an Open Morning during the year, where anyone is welcome to come along and see what we offer. These are advertised locally and on our website.
Our website is kept updated with news and information. You can also request a copy of the school brochure through the website or by contacting the school office.
Our staff team
Yewstock School has a strong staff team with a wide range of experience and expertise in special educational needs. All staff receive regular statutory training as well as training to develop their own practice. We also commission support from other professionals to improve knowledge and skills across the school.
Our teachers and teaching assistants are a highly dedicated and experienced team who work collaboratively to ensure the best possible outcomes for pupils.
How we provide equipment and facilities to our pupils with SEND
All our classes are equipped with the resources to teach a wide range of pupils with SEND. We have subject specific resources as well as communication and sensory equipment. Yewstock School and College are very well-resourced. Amongst many other facilities we are proud to offer:
- A multi-purpose hall
- Specialist science room
- Resistant materials workshops
- Specialist food technology facilities
- A wildlife area
- State-of-the-art sensory room
- Well-resourced ICT suite
- Site-wide internet access
- Two minibuses
We have access to the hydrotherapy pool at Stour Connect Day Centre, just a short walk from the school, and this is used weekly by many classes. We have outdoor gym equipment on each site and plenty of resources for play. We have access to NHS physio and occupational therapists, who work with identified pupils. We also have two Speech and Language Therapists who work one day each at Yewstock offering training, advice and guidance to staff and work 1.1 with a small number of identified pupils.
Consulting with parents/carers
We consult and report to parents and carers through surveys, Parents Evenings, Annual Reviews, and Annual Report at the end of the year, and through Home School communication and discussion.
The Annual Review process is run as a Person Centred Review, and focuses on the outcomes for your child at the end of their current key stage, so usually looking two or three years ahead.
We also consult with parents/carers to compile our annual School Development Plan.
Information on transferring between stages and into adulthood
During their time at Yewstock, pupils may move from Primary to Secondary and then to our college when they are in Year 10. From there, some remain at our sixth form and others go to local colleges. There is information for parents and pupils available at each of these transition points, and parents are invited to meet their child’s new class team each year.
We begin transition reviews in Year 9, so that pupils and parents/carers have ample time to consider options and prepare for transition.
Involving our pupils in the school
We have a Pupil Voice council which meets weekly and discusses ways in which we can improve the school for our pupils. This group also have the opportunity to work with students from other special schools in Dorset, and with local mainstream schools. They report back through assemblies. Members of the Pupil Voice are involved in the appointments of new staff through pupil interviews. They are also involved in school events throughout the year.
We consult with our pupils to compile our annual School Development Plan and other big whole-school decisions.
Arrangements for responding to complaints
Complaints to the school are addressed by the Governing Body. We have a Complaints Policy which details how we manage these and is available on our website.
Services to support parents and carers of young people with SEND
At Yewstock we offer the service of a Family Support Adviser, Claire Kellaway-Moore, who holds regular events for parents but can also be contacted directly.
We offer advice and support through the Annual Review meetings. Some parents/carers approach the school directly if they have difficulties, and we signpost to other agencies as necessary.
Within Dorset parents can be supported by the DPCC (Dorset Parent Carer Council) and by SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service).
Dorset Parent Carer Council website – www.dorsetparentcarercouncil.co.uk
SENDIASS information – https://www.dorsetsendiass.co.uk/
The Local Authority’s offer to pupils with SEND
Information on all matters relating to children and young people with SEND is published by the Local Authority through the Family Information Directory.
You may also wish to visit the Family Information Service homepage, which will provide you with links to other organisations.