How does the school 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?
All pupils admitted to Sandside Lodge School have an Education Health Care Plan or a Statement of Special Educational Needs. Through the annual review process Sandside Lodge School works with the child and their family to provide a set of learning experiences which match pupil ability, their needs, their own and their parents’ aspirations. This determines the balance over time between the types of curriculum offered linked directly to their developmental stage.
We have 80 places funded at our school and also make provision on behalf of the Local authority for a small number of additional secondary aged pupils with complex Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC) – Strategic Resource provision (SRP). This is led by an experienced and qualified teacher and an HLTA with specific expertise and qualifications in meeting the needs of these pupils. This SRP is matched by an in-school bespoke provision for pupils within our 80 places who have complex ASC and learning difficulties.
If you have a concern about your child’s development please raise this with the class teacher in the first instance if your child is already enrolled, or discuss this with a member of the school’s leadership team during your first visit to the school. At this time processes for admission / assessment will also be explained.
How will school staff support my child/young person?
Class teachers are responsible for the education and care of all the pupils in their class. All classes have a well-planned pupil to staff ratio, with all pupils having access to a class techare, HLTAs, STAs and TAs who support the teaching and learning in the class. Pupils with more complex needs may need two staff to support personal care, therapy and positioning, moving and handling, or to support them manage their own anxiety and behaviours.
The school has a nominated governor for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities: Jen Morton (parent).
How will the curriculum be matched to my child's / young person's needs?
At the heart of our curriculum is each individual child and how they need to develop to enable them to acquire skills for life-long learning, communication and independence, using relevant, engaging and age appropriate themes (See school website www.sandsidelodge.cumbria.sch.uk). Each pupil has a detailed Individual Education Plan (IEP) which focuses on meeting individual priorities at both home and school and which is shared with other relevant professionals including respite care providers.
The curriculum is planned around the abilities, needs and interests of the pupils and uses a thematic curriculum at age related levels to provide a range of relevant and exciting learning opportunities. All pupils have access to the statutory requirements of a school curriculum, and the guidance derived from best practice across the country. They are taught at a level appropriate to their current and future needs, and when relevant pupils have access to a curriculum supported by completion of external awards. A range of accreditation pathways are available.
How will I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child's/young person's learning?
We pride ourselves on how effectively we share information with our parents via detailed termly reports, IEPs and regular events, including consultation days, parents evenings and training sessions. Parents receive a daily communication book and a weekly diary which includes photographs of their child’s work.
All pupils have an annual review which they are encouraged to attend. Pupils under the age of five have a six monthly review. All pupils contribute to their review in an appropriate format. We actively encourage our pupils to take part in deciding what they want to learn at school and reflect on how well they have done. At the review meeting all people involved with the child are invited to offer a report and / or attend, and during the review we encourage discussion about next steps as well as reviewing the current provision. Where a pupil’s needs change significantly we liaise directly with the LA and other professionals to hold an early review meeting.
If concerns are raised hat a pupil is not making the progress expected or other factors occur which lead to concern targeted interventions are put in place by the appropriate key person.
In some cases, pupils may require a Behaviour Support Plan (BSP), which will be discussed with parents, shared with other relevant professionals and reviewed regularly.
We value our home-school partnership which ensures we work together to achieve the best outcomes for every child. Parents have the opportunity to have their say about their child’s education at the annual review meeting and at IEP consultation days or by contacting the school. We also ask parents to complete our annual parent survey.
We have four parents on our Governing Body, and they pride themselves on taking an active role in helping our school achieve the best outcomes for all our pupils.
Where appropriate we signpost parents to relevant agencies within the community who can offer further support to your child and you.
What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall well being?
A wide range of small group and individual interventions are used to support the well-being of children and young people in our school and to promote positive behaviour. For example, we use circle time, ready to learn activities, regulation activities, 1-1 support, external agency support and have a Total Communication environment throughout our school.
The school follows statutory guidance on the provision of first aid, administration of medication and provision of personal care. Medication is not administered without GP verification, and a written protocol including checking of pharmacy label / dosage / time to be administered / etc.
Prior to starting school a health care needs assessment is completed where needed in conjunction with health professionals, parents and carers, and following this an individual health care plan is drawn up. This is shared with relevant staff and professionals and is updated regularly.
Class staff and senior leaders receive training to manage health / medical and care needs for the pupils within their care. This includes particular procedures, such as tube feeding, rescue medication, suction, administration of oxygen and all training is refreshed regularly. It is competency based and related directly to individual pupils for some procedures.
All classes have staff with basic first aid training and a number of staff have qualified First Aid at Work and Paediatric First Aid qualifications. In the event that a pupil needs to be taken to hospital they will be accompanied by a familiar member of staff who will wait with them until their parents arrive.
The school operates a first day response for absences and attendance is monitored closely. Following longer absences, e.g. surgery, a phased return / re-integration programme may be considered.
At Sandside Lodge School all our pupils have a voice. We firmly believe that just because all our pupils cannot speak it does not mean they have nothing to say, pupils contribute to their learning in a number of ways, including annual reviews, IEPs and assessment for learning in each lesson. Technology is used to support communication, e.g. The Grid (on tablet or iPad) and eye-gaze.
We have an active School Council who represent all pupils. They make real decisions about ways to improve their school, contribute to the appointment of all teaching staff, lead the schools UNICEF Rights Respecting School, helped all pupils vote for a termly theme as part of our curriculum, and lead annual events such as the Carol Concert.
We take our pupils emotional well-being and mental health very seriously, ensuring all learn the skills which enable them to be ‘ready to learn’ and providing specific interventions in small groups or individually (e.g. 1-1 counselling; protective behaviours workshops, e-safety).
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?
The speech and Language therapist provides safer eating and drinking training and supports communication systems training (see below). She is currently in school one day each week with a specialist S< assistant.
The physiotherapists and occupational therapists provide support and training for staff to manage pupils’ physical development, maintain physical skills, postural management and provide access to specialist equipment assessments to enable pupils to be in the best possible position to learn.
The school deploys staff to lead hydrotherapy provision at Furness General Hospital for relevant pupils one morning each week, with training from the physiotherapist, and lead a monthly orthotics clinic with technical support in school. There are plans to increase in-school clinics when the school moves to its new building as there will be a significant increase in facilities available for these.
Referrals can be made to other agencies including school and specialist nursing teams, Child and Adolescent Mental Health service, educational psychologists, children’s and adult social care, community learning disability nurses, and specialist advisory teachers.
A small number of pupils who have visual or hearing impairments receive support from specialist advisory teachers.
The school buys in the professional services of a music therapist and a yoga practitioner.
Our moving and handling key trainers are supported by LPS Consultancy.
What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND have had or are having?
There is a wealth of experience and expertise in the school staff, including those trained in such as Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC), Elklan speech and language, letters and sound phonics, communication systems, and curriculum subjects.
All staff are trained in Team Teach and we have 4 Team Teach instructors in the school. All staff are trained in moving and handling and the school has 7 key trainers. Medical needs and first aid training is covered in the relevant question above, and the school has a majority of staff assessed to drive the school minibuses.
All staff have access to and have undertaken relevant Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in meeting the needs of pupils with SEND including awareness of specific needs or conditions, communication skills and thinking skills. School staff are fully trained in PECS, Makaton, symbol use and Intensive Interaction, with several also trained in the use of eye-gaze, The Grid with tablet or iPad, single switch Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCA) and High tech VOCA. Some are trained to use other forms of technology including plasma screens, the Multi-sensory Interactive Learning Environment (MILE) and the Soundbeam.
All teaching staff are qualified to work in special schools, either through Initial Teacher Training (ITT) or through in-service training. There are teaching staff employed with subject specialist ITT in English, science, art, music, RE, humanities and PE. All teaching assistant staff hold relevant qualifications appropriate to their level of post held at the school. Senior leaders in the school have general leadership training and training /qualifications in meeting the needs of pupils with SEND, and several teaching staff have undertaken middle leadership training.
How will my child/young person be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?
Sandside Lodge School operates inclusive learning activities and selects venues for visits which are appropriate to the needs of the pupil group in the classroom.
We routinely offer Forest Schools activities as part of the school curriculum, and have a range of one-off events such as Harvest Festival which take place in the local Ulverston community.
For residential visits wherever possible all pupils for whom it is felt will benefit from a particular activity are offered the opportunity to take part, but necessarily this may be limited by the nature of the activity or the facilities available at the venue. During their time in school all pupils will be offered at least one residential visit to a specialist centre or other appropriate venue.
The school has an extensive lunch-time, after school and holiday programme of activities, some of which are open to all pupils and some of which are tailored to specific groups of pupils. Staff offer these voluntarily and some are offered as a parent and child activity.
For all activities outside the classroom staff are deployed to ensure the safety, well-being and effective support for the pupils engaging in the activity.
How accessible is the school environment?
Delivery of the Curriculum.
The school has both strengths and areas to continue improving in the development of the curriculum, in providing good teaching resources, and in the quality of the provision we make. The school uses every possible space it can to enhance the provision and access for all pupils. In addition to general teaching spaces the school has accessible food technology provision, a multi-use hall, a very small low stimulation facility, a Multi-sensory Interactive Learning Environment (MLE), a small fitness room with cardio-vascular equipment, and a Learning Resource Centre with PC’s and Interactive Whiteboard, small group teaching space, library books and English resources. The science room is now a dedicated teaching space. Externally there are accessible play spaces for games and cycling skills, dedicated play spaces for early years and younger pupils, a quieter play area with shade, and a sensory garden. The school rents an allotment plot opposite the school entrance for the teaching of horticultural skills, and a garage for storage.
Our MILE is a state of the art sensory room to support individuals or small groups of pupils to enhance learning opportunities creatively – the room can be transformed into exciting environments such as a winter wonderland, outer space, the rainforest and much more.
We have developed a small in-school bespoke provision for pupils with complex ASC, which provides a highly individualised curriculum and access to a minimal distraction learning environment. This can also provide support for pupils accessing the LA Strategic Resource provision.
Access to the school, to rooms in the building and to external spaces is difficult as corridors are not sufficiently wide to accommodate either two pupils using wheelchairs to pass each other or for independent wheelchair users in the early stages of learning to control their wheelchair. Some doors are narrow, and toilet facilities are not well designed or large enough. Resolving such issues and the lack of specialist accommodation is beyond the funding capabilities of the delegated school budget and requires the significant capital expenditure which will come with the new building, which is due to be built for September 2018.
The site is fully enclosed by a secure perimeter fence, and a small amount of parking for parents, visitors and staff.
The staff are proactive in using local community facilities (e.g. sports and leisure centres), making links with local schools (e.g. UVHS, BSFC), and local health provision (e.g. Furness General Hospital hydrotherapy pool) to ensure we can meet the individual needs of all pupils and provide a high quality curriculum, provision and learning experience.
We have invested in alternative communication aids as part of our Total Communication environment.
How will the school prepare and support my child/young person to join the school or the next stage of education and life?
Before a child joins us at Sandside Lodge School we organise visits to their current school or nursery setting. This will be by a senior leader or class teacher. We liaise with the previous school and key professionals to ensure smooth transition and a transition process is designed for individual pupils to help them familiarise themselves with our school and for staff to begin to got to know the pupil – this may take the form of a one-off visit, several visits or a phase transition.
We have positive links with local schools and work in partnership with the other four Cumbria Special Schools.
Tim Brock (Assistant Head and SENCo) oversees all transitions to and from other schools and post-school placements.
School provides bespoke support to manage key transitions for all pupils as they move through the school and for transition to further education / pots-school placement. This includes liaison with transition and young people’s services and Inspira.
The Sixth Form (16 – 19) provision at Sandside Lodge School has worked hard to create a different ‘feel’ to the rest of the school. A greater emphasis is placed on independence, pupil choice, work experience and preparation for adult life.
All pupils are given opportunities of regular responsibilities within the classroom, some pupils are offered work experience around the school and where appropriate older pupils are given work experience placements in the local community. This enables pupils to prepare for leaving school and destination data demonstrates that our pupils have a range of options for their future.
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?
The decisions about the type of support your child needs will be based on discussions you and all other professionals have.
Class groupings and teaching and learning groups for English and mathematics enable the level of support to be targeted to meet the needs of all pupils.
Pupil progress and attainment are regularly monitored, and any pupil not meeting targets will receive an appropriate intervention programme.
How are parents involved in the school? How can I be involved?
Information above refers to our working partnerships with parents. We also invite parents and families to join our celebration events, social events and fund-raising events. We have four parent governors on our Governing Body. We love our pupils’ parents to be involved in our school community and its life, and operate a welcome to our school policy.
If you are interested in becoming involved with our school, please contact the Head teacher in the first instance.