March 2021

Dear Parents/Carers,

Thank you for expressing your interest in our school.

We are sure you have lots of questions regarding your decision to request Sandside Lodge as your child’s preferred placement. We know this can be an extremely difficult decision to make and have tried to answer some frequently asked questions below.

Please be aware that we are now full for September 2021 intake and cannot accept any further placement requests this academic year.


1.  I would like my child to attend Sandside Lodge school, how do I go about this?


Students must have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) and a diagnosis of a Severe or Profound Learning Disability to attend Sandside Lodge.

Once you have explored our provision and feel it as an appropriate setting for your child, you will need to inform the Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (SENCO) in your child’s current school. They will need to inform the schools Local Authority EHCP key worker of your request, who should call a review or family meeting to discuss.

The decision on who receives a place at our school is decided by the Local Authority (LA) placement panel, who allocate places based on areas of availability in school and the level of need of each individual child. We have very limited places and these numbers vary year to year depending on how many student leavers we have. It is therefore important to bear in mind that although you make a placement request this does not necessarily mean it will be granted.  You will receive a letter from the LA informing you of their decision.

As we are now full for this academic year you will need to consider the next placement intake which will be September 2022.

For your child to be considered for our September 2022 intake please inform their current school and EHCP co-ordinator as early as possible in the Autumn term, September 2021, for consideration at the LA placement panel (date for panel meeting to be confirmed).


2.  How do you decide which class my child would go into?

Classes are determined based on a number of factors including; key stage, needs, curriculum ability, student dynamics and space.


3.  How many students and staff would be in my child’s class?

Classes are highly staffed and are dependent on all student’s individual needs. This varies each school year, depending on the needs of the students within the class. Our class sizes tend to be no larger than 12 students. As an example; depending on student’s needs, some classes may have 1 Teacher and 3 Teaching Assistants or some may require 1 Teacher and 6 Teaching Assistants.


4.  Would my child be entitled to school transport?

Most students travel to school on County Council arranged taxis or mini bus. This transport is organised through the LA within the EHCP process when the provision changes and a place is confirmed at Sandside Lodge. If you need more information regarding this, please contact the SEN Team as transport is not determined by the school. Please be aware that if you live in Barrow your catchment school for transport is George Hastwell School.




5.  My child has a full time Teaching Assistant in their current mainstream school, would they have this in your school?

Funding is different in a special needs school. We do not have allocated hours for staff assigned to specific students. Your child would be in a small class size, with a high number of staff. If your child attends our school and it becomes evident they need additional support due to behaviour or medical needs, this will be managed within the structure of the class. Additional funding can be applied for through the LA to reflect this support need.


6.  How would we communicate with the class teacher on a day to day basis?

We have a school website which allows for teachers and parents to communicate key information about the school day. We are also available via telephone if you have any queries regarding your child.

We hold annual review meetings and have various opportunities for parents to visit to talk to staff throughout the year, including parents’ evenings and film night. Such events may be adapted due to COVID-19 regulations.


7.  What after school clubs or wrap around care do school offer?

We do not offer wrap around care, however we do have some fun after school clubs. Attendance to these clubs depends on numbers and staffing.

·         Singing and Signing Club

·         Trampoline Club

·         Dance Club

·         Bike Club (Seasonal)

These may be adapted due to COVID-19 regulations.

8.  What are your schools Lunch time arrangements?

Due to COVID-19 regulations, we are currently working within bubbles. Bubble 1, our 2 youngest classes, currently eat in their classrooms. Our other 3 bubbles eat in the school hall to encourage social and independent skills. Groups enter the hall on a rota maintaining within their bubbles.  This may change in the future to allow for more socialised dining, however, we are prioritising the safety of our students and staff, given the current situation. At lunch time, we have mid-day supervisors who support TA staff to oversee student’s individual needs.  We have a rolling 3 week menu which is sent home with students at the start of the year to consider, they choose what they would like on a daily basis. Alternatively, students can bring a packed lunch from home if preferred.


9.  Would my child be able to access aquatic and rebound therapy?

If your child received a place at Sandside Lodge, they would be assessed by trained school staff alongside the health team, who would decide whether this therapy is suitable for them. The benefits from these therapies are very specific and therefore are not appropriate for all.


10.            What therapy do you have on site?  

Some school staff are trained in the following therapies/programmes:

·         Aquatic Therapy

·         Rebound Therapy

·         Lego Therapy

·         MOVE

·         Thrive

Additionally, if students are assigned to particular therapies through health, we work closely with the professionals to carry out individual programmes during the school day. These include:

·      Physiotherapy

·      Speech and Language Therapy

·      Occupational Therapy

·      Sensory Team – Visual and Hearing.



11.            What level of support do you have for non-verbal students?

We use Widgit symbols to accompany all print as needed and some staff and students use Makaton sign language at varying levels.

Most teachers are trained in the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). This is a programme which teaches non-verbal students to use pictures/symbols to communicate their needs and wants. This develops through stages as the students’ make progress and also encourages speech development.

Various students within school have Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices. One of our teachers works closely with Communication and Learning Enterprises (CandLE), this helps to support and develop communication and AAC users throughout the school.

If students require their own AAC devise, there is a funding process which we follow with the advice of the Speech and Language Team.



  1. What accreditation would my child be able to achieve at your school?

We follow a highly personalised holistic curriculum which aims to meet the individual needs of all students with a range of abilities. Students are not entered for SATs or GCSEs however, depending on ability, many do achieve some fantastic accreditations including ASDAN and AQA.   


We hope this has answered some of your queries about our school. Please refer to our website for more information regarding our provision as we are currently not offering school visits due to our COVID-19 Risk Assessment. On our website you will find lots of information about our provision offer and curriculum, as well as a virtual tour and admission information. We also have a school Facebook page and Youtube channel which both give a good picture of what our school offers, please search ‘Sandside Lodge School’ to find these.


If you have any further questions please send us an email, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.


Yours sincerely


Grace Pickering (Lower School SENCO) & Rebecca Noble (Upper School SENCO)