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Our school offer
Our aim is to provide pupils with a range of opportunities so that they can reach their full potential.
Key stages & education
Pupils in Key Stages 1 & 2 attend Westmorland School.
We provide a broad and balanced curriculum with opportunities for enrichment activities through educational visits and field trips. We take account of the National Curriculum and put an emphasis on pupils developing basic skills in Literacy and Numeracy with cross-curricular links across subjects.
We believe in encouraging pupils' self-esteem, which is often low when they start with us, by ensuring that the curriculum and tasks set are challenging yet achievable, thus enabling them to further succeed and develop.
Our aim is to foster an excitement and a real love of learning in all of our pupils. We do this by helping them to engage effectively within their provision cluster, which offers them their most appropriate learning environment.
Our classes are divided into the following areas:
BEARS (Becoming, Emotionally Aware, Resilient and Sociable)
BIG CATS (Becoming Independent, Gaining Confidence, Achievement, Therapy, Success)
We follow the national curriculum and have a 3 year rolling programme for each class and follow a topic-based curriculum underpinned by the SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) programme which helps our children to:
- Develop their skills by allowing them to build and maintain positive relationships with others
- Understand and manage themselves and their thoughts, emotions and behaviours
- Understand and respond to the emotions and behaviours of others.
Find out what makes our school unique
We provide unique learning opportunities for our pupils to help them engage with learning so that they can develop skills and grow in confidence to become proud members of our school community.
Since 2015 we have implemented an iPad per child policy. Aligning our values of ensuring that pupils receive the highest quality of education and care, the technology breaks down barriers to learning and encourages them to work independently and collaboratively. This combined ensures that they become confident learners and develop critical thinking.
The practice of using iPads has allowed pupils to take personal responsibility of the device; charging, updating, organising and maintaining it. It has also allowed learning to take place outside the classroom so that they can have the opportunity to develop real world engagement to progress and improve their social skills, whilst evolving their IT skills simultaneously. In class, the device provides an alternative method to record learning and through teaching applications, pupils can develop and strengthen skills such as reading and writing.
The use of iPads has enabled pupils to improve their fine motor skills, which involve the small muscles of the body that permit occupations such as writing, grasping small objects, and fastening clothing. The iPads allow teachers to personalise learning within the classroom enabling pupils to take responsibility and show creativity in the way they learn.
This concerted team effort has resulted in our school being recognised by Apple and accepted as an Apple Distinguished School; in 2021 we achieved a reaccreditation, further reiterating its longevity. This highlights the school’s offer in providing an innovative and compelling learning environment that engages pupils and provides tangible evidence of academic accomplishment.
Moonbears Class is a specialist learning environment where pupils aged five to six start their journey and prepare for future learning. The class is led by a teacher with the support of specialist teaching assistants, who are guided by the school’s in-house Clinical Services Team, including a speech and language therapist, occupational therapist and therapist daily.
The children that access the provision are identified as having high needs in five areas, including:
- Communication and interaction
- Cognition and Learning
- Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH)
- Sensory and physical
Development starts through play, where skills are established, and the introduction to literacy, numeracy and science begins. For example, in science, pupils make potions and identify items of clothing they would wear in different climates. In literacy, they build their vocabulary by watching videos on a topic, such as fireworks, and then describe what they witness by identifying colours, noises, etc. In numeracy, they play the role of a shopkeeper and customer, handling ‘money.’
To build skills, pupils participate in turn-taking activities, play games that involve teamworking, and play with different textures such as water and sand. Makaton is used to build communication. The speech based programme is designed to support the development of spoken language using signs together with speech and symbols, to enable pupils to communicate. It supports the development of essential communication skills such as attention and listening, comprehension, memory, recall and organisation of language and expression.
The class benefit from:
- Personalised curriculum based on early years
- Continuous assessment to track progress and introduce achievable goals to develop skills and knowledge further
- Their own playground area that they exclusively access
- Weekly Forest School sessions, encouraging them to explore, play and discover. The experience helps shape the resilience, confidence and self-esteem of pupils through hands-on learning experiences.
- Positive role modelling from all the teaching and support staff they interact with.
Success in Moonbears is assessed through the achievement of all five areas , and once pupils are ready to move on, they follow a pathway that sees them transition into Sunbears Class and then onto other classes within the school, depending on their needs.
Pupils who are identified as having high levels of additional need by our Clinical Services Team may attend Star Bears Class, our high need intervention class. This class will have a specific focus theme, which may vary dependent on pupil’s need, i.e. communication.
Classroom staff work in conjunction with the Clinical Services Team to ensure intensive, targeted support is provided in order to facilitate high levels of progress for each individual pupil. Pupil to staff ratios remain low to allow for this intensive
support, resulting in pupils making rapid progress and working towards achieving their true potential.
Whether our children or young people want to be an astronaut or an artist or anything in between, we are completely committed to helping them realise futures that are out of this world.
Developed in complete collaboration with schools, employers and young people, Futures is all about delivering unlimited aspiration and endless opportunity for every child.
Trust us when we say, your child’s future truly matters to us too.
Our therapeutic support
We provide young people with unrivalled levels of therapeutic support, both in terms of the expertise and experience of our in-school staff and the wide range of therapies offered.
Our therapeutic approach includes:
- As required, young people have the support of our Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists.
- Our commitment to delivering outstanding therapeutic support to all young people is based on attachment principles. We believe that unless a young person is able to feel emotionally secure they are less likely to fulfil their personal, social and educational potential.
- Our unique approach to supporting young people allows us to achieve uniquely outstanding outcomes, which in turn enable our young people to go on to realise a future filled with aspiration and achievement.
Our commitment to therapeutic support
We have an extensive Clinical Team, who are able to offer our young people within our school a truly personalised and comprehensive package of therapeutic support.
- We will ensure that every young person develops resilience and releases their potential by providing the appropriate clinical support for their social, emotional and mental health needs.
- We will support a young person to develop their competencies and abilities to help them become a capable young adult.
- We will completely integrate the delivery of therapeutic support.
- We will operate a direct delivery model of therapy offering universal services targeted to the needs of individual children and young people.
Staffing and pastoral care
Our staff have a wealth of experience and qualifications in teaching and caring for pupils with Special Educational Needs. They have also received training from Witherslack Group’s Clinical Team, which includes clinical psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and therapists.
Teachers and teaching assistants are extremely well equipped in providing appropriate support to meet the needs of our pupils and establish a positive and engaging learning environment. The education staff consists of a stable and experienced team and the professional development of teachers and teaching assistants is supported through regular internal and external training. This ensures extremely effective teaching practices are in place and lesson activities are well-planned to support learning.
The Pastoral Care Team develop excellent links with parents, carers and families, as well as professionals involved with a pupil. They also provide additional support, when required, to help pupils engage in classes.
We are dedicated to the development of each young person, focusing on areas such as independence, self-esteem, resilience, making safe choices and communication.
All this support allows each child, whatever their needs, the opportunity to engage and enjoy their education.
The Pastoral Care Team ensure that all pupils’ well-being is constantly reviewed and developed, and that strong links are made between school and home.