At Woodlands we educate, motivate and celebrate the achievements of our students and prepare them for a life beyond school. We provide a vibrant, fun and inclusive educational community within which all members, both students and adults, are continuously learning together. We work closely and in collaboration with parents and carers, the Local Authority and other agencies to ensure the best outcomes for our children and young people.
At Woodlands we promote British Values through:
Any child who comes to Woodlands School must have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan or a Statement of Special Educational Need. Most commonly the children will have learning needs associated with Profound and Multiple Learning disabilities, Severe Learning disabilities and complex Moderate Learning disabilities.
Within this range, we are resourced to meet the learning styles of students with a wide range of needs including autistic spectrum and communication disorders, hearing impairments, visual impairments and physical disabilities. Students admitted to Woodlands are likely to achieve within the range P1 to Year 1/2 of the National Curriculum.
Placement at the school is agreed by the local authority Special Needs Assessment Group (SPAG) following a detailed assessment of pupil needs and full consultation with all partners in the process. The aim is to ensure that parents are well informed as parental choice is paramount.
Formal negotiations about placements are the responsibility of the local authority but we are always pleased to show parents around and to talk about the provision we have to offer. Choosing the right school for a child is one of the most important decisions a parent makes in securing the best possible learning in preparation for life as an adult.
When serious interest is shown in Woodlands, and the LA has identified us as a suitable school, parents will be encouraged to bring their child for a visit. The receiving teacher and/or the Key Stage Leader will visit the child in their present school and, if it is considered to be beneficial, arrange a home visit.
Most students attending Woodlands already have a Statement of a Special Educational Need or an Education Health Care Plan. Occasionally students will arrive new to the school without these documents and the preceding assessments having taken place. When students are placed here on an assessment basis we liaise with the relevant external professionals to complete assessments. Professionals involved may include Educational Psychologists, Local authority Autism specialists, Speech and Language Therapists, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists, as well as other medical professionals. Alongside ongoing assessments in school, documentation is collated to support the compilation of EHC Plans by the Local Authority and to create targets for learning.
For students already in school, weekly Pupil Information Meetings are held where concerns or queries may be raised about particular students and plans of action put in place to seek and implement further assessments or advice.
Parents are invited to visit the school prior to making the decision to request Woodlands as their preferred school. Some parents may request more than one visit and time is allocated in order to for them to ask questions about what we can provide for their child in order to meet their identified Special Educational Needs.
Once a child has been granted a placement at the school, the regular communication channel is via the Home Schoolbook. If parents wish to speak to a member of staff regarding their child, they may also request a telephone call or a face to face meeting may be arranged.
There are two parent consultation evenings where parents are invited to visit the school in order to discuss their child’s progress with the class teacher and the class team; one is held in the autumn term and one is held in the summer term.
During these evenings the school counsellors, Special needs nursing team, the family workers and the Speech and Language Therapists are also available for parents to speak to.
Each student will also have formal Annual Review meeting where parents and other professionals are invited to the school to review their Education, Health and Care Plan. At this meeting, their progress and the arrangements in school are reviewed and targets set for the following year. The targets set are reviewed three times during the year; these target tracker documents are sent home to parents termly and parents are offered the opportunity to make an appointment to discuss them further, if required.
Student voice is valued at Woodlands school. Formally, students are encouraged to share their views about their education when completing the Student Contribution for their Annual Review meeting. They are asked their thoughts and views on the following matters:
A variety of communication styles and strategies are used with the students to support them to understand these phrases and to express their views, e.g. use of signing, symbols, pictures, etc.
For those young people who are unable to express their views, the team of staff compile suggested responses but make it clear it is their view, on behalf of the student rather than the student’s voice.
Student targets are shared with them and incorporated in lessons. Staff provide feedback to the students about how they are progressing towards their targets. Progress and Achievements are celebrated in fortnightly Achievement assemblies.
Transferring from one school to another can be a worrying time for children and their parents. To ease this process, Woodlands operates a transitions procedure for new admissions. This is organised in negotiation with parents and professionals working with the child. The Deputy Head is the main point of contact for this.
When admissions to our school happen during the year we usually arrange for a child to have short-term, part-time attendance, initially, in order to support their transition into their new learning environment. There are always exceptions to this as some children manage to change better without prior visits.
As with any secondary school provision we always have an annual intake of young people transferring from Year 6 to Year 7. Planning for these future admissions starts early in the autumn term of each academic year. During each summer term, most students who will be transferring make a number of visits to Woodlands to develop their confidence in their new school and give us the opportunity to know every child well before they start in September. The speech and language therapist and the class teachers will also visit the primary school on several occasions to learn more about the students before they arrive.
At the autumn term consultation, we host a Transitions Fair where the Local Authority Transitions Team support the Deputy Head to bring together a range of post-school providers so parents and students can meet them and begin to explore opportunities for students when they leave school.
The providers who attend offer a range of provision including both educational and social care opportunities. Class teachers encourage parents to attend the Fair and speak to both the Transitions Team and the providers.
In Key Stage 4 and in FE a cohort of students participates in Link course opportunities with the two local colleges to help them gain an understanding of what a college is and the types of learning they could engage in there. The FE department also aims to provide internal and external work experience opportunities for some of our older students. The local authority Community Choices co-ordinator (adult social care) visits the school regularly to get to know the students and understand their needs and their required provision.
From Year 9, conversations about transitioning out of school are included in the Annual Review meetings.
Most students stay on to Year 13 at Woodlands, however, for some individuals, it may be more appropriate to move to a different provision at the end of Year 11. Usually, in the preceding year to leaving school, parents and carers are requested to visit relevant providers and to engage in conversations with the Transitions team.
Parents and carers are requested to come to their child’s final Annual Review meeting with information about their preferred options regarding post-school provision.
After this meeting, the relevant members of the Transitions team can initiate provider assessments and work towards securing post-school placements.
Communication underpins all areas of the curriculum. At Woodlands we ensure that all pupils are fully included in learning activities by utilising a wide range of styles of communication. Spoken communication is supported through the use of signing, visual cues such as photographs and symbols, as well as high or low tech communication aids, as required by students.
Learning at all levels is designed to be fun, purposeful and relevant to individual needs. Pupils learn from each other as well as from the adults and we place great emphasis on students recognising, respecting and valuing themselves first and then their peers.
To ensure the inclusive presence, participation and progress of all pupils the school responds to individual learning styles by providing flexible classroom structures and routines and by using a range of recognised specialist teaching strategies aimed at promoting communication and interaction skills.
The school has invested in providing and updating the physical environment and facilities for the students.
Downstairs in the new school extension, classrooms are designed to facilitate the needs of learners with profound physical disabilities; all of the downstairs classrooms include overhead tracking hoists to support with moving and handling during the course of the day. Purpose built changing facilities have been created to support these students with personal care. A Rebound room adds to the provision by including a sunken trampoline which is accessible to students with physical disabilities as well as their able-bodied peers. A medical room is used by special needs nursing staff to meet the needs of our students with the most complex medical needs.
One of the rooms in this downstairs area has been allocated as a Multi-Sensory environment which staff prepare for the half termly themes and provide a variety of multi-sensory experiences, in line with the Bamboozle approach.
FE classrooms upstairs have a purpose built allocated kitchen areas adjoining classrooms in order to promote the students’ cooking and life skills. This area also hosts a designated gym space for students to develop the skills to engage in physical exercise.
A new ICT suite has been created upstairs in the old building and enhances students learning opportunities. Students in the Oaks use the Flat facility in the old building to work on their life skills.
A new staffroom and PPA room add to the upstairs facilities to support staff to make the most of their planning, preparation and assessment time. The PPA room is also used to facilitate internal and external ICT training.
The main building hosts a Hydrotherapy pool for use by students with physical disabilities and for those who find it difficult to access community swimming pools. The resource has been upgraded and now incorporates blackout blinds, a switch operated lighting system and sound system to allow students to proactively engage and control their environment.
A purpose built soft playroom is used by students and staff to promote exploration and communication skills. Located nearby to this is a small interactive ICT sensory room for use by learners working on switch skills.
The dedicated Speech and Language therapy room has been installed with specialist equipment to support students with Sensory Integration programmes, under the direction of our Speech and Language Therapist.
The main school Hall is a multi-purpose space used for PE lessons and assemblies as well as being the main dining space for students in Key Stage 3 and 4. Next door to the Hall is the dance and drama studio. Both these spaces are used each morning to provide Sensory circuits for learners with Autism. We employ a specialist PE tutor.
Key Stage 3 uses the cookery room for their life skills lessons and the space is also used after school by Transitions UK after school clubs.
Key Stage 4 make use of the school house to run their ‘Hot Pots’ business – preparing lunches for school staff and visitors. They have also have created and run a thriving Tuck shop and Shop business which opens twice a week in the main building.
Upstairs in the older part of the building they run a mini-enterprise sweet business.
Next door to the mini enterprise room there is a dedicated space for Art activities and we have started working on some simple woodwork activities.
The upstairs link corridor is used as an Art Gallery which has a termly rolling programme for exhibitions of work.
Our outside area is well used by students. The school garden won a Youth Award from CPRE (Council for Protection of Rural England) for its work in promoting gardening and environmental learning. The garden provides learning opportunities and work experience for students across the school and for some mainstream students.
The rear playground has a hard surface area and is resourced with outdoor equipment so staff can provide a range of play activities during the week. Fixed playground equipment is also in place which includes swings, a sunken trampoline and various pieces of equipment to promote the development of gross motor skills and coordination skills. A seating area is also available for those who prefer some quiet time.
Between the main building and the extension, there is a covered outside area which may be accessed by students with PMLD and can provide access to the outdoors for those who need it, particularly when the weather is inclement. The front playground is used by Local Authority transport to drop off and collect students at the beginning and end of the school day. During the day classes and individuals may access adapted bicycles which provide opportunities for students to develop their coordination and motor skills as well as a fun means of exercise.
The Greenhouse space at the rear of the school is used by the school counsellors who runs 1-
1 and group counselling sessions for students, parents and staff.
Next to the Greenhouse is the Training room which is a multi-purpose space regularly used by school staff and external agencies for training, parent coffee and information mornings, Annual Review meetings and Transition meetings.
The Family workers have a dedicated office space and meeting area to meet with families and professionals in their role supporting families and students.
The School is part of Luton Futures, a partnership of secondary schools in Luton, set up in
2010, who seek to achieve the best education for their pupils, and the best teaching and working environment for their teachers, by working collaboratively together – sharing their skills, experience and understanding for the greater good.
The school offer placements and support to mainstream schools. Each year a small number of students from mainstream schools are referred and may subsequently attend Woodlands one or two days a week in order to access Life Skills based activities.
We offer professional visits for staff from mainstream schools and as part of our Outreach service offer Team Teach training and training in the use of software to support learners with Special Needs.
Presently the Headteacher is overseeing a primary special school in the town. This has provided additional opportunities for all three special schools to work together on joint projects and priorities and to share expertise.
One of the Assistant Heads works regularly with a group of Special Schools in the Eastern region, SSMAG, to promote good practice in assessment and monitoring.
Special needs nurses from the community nursing team are available in school daily to help with the management of students with the most complex medical needs. They also host health clinics and offer vaccination services to students.
The school hosts various medical clinics during the year including dietician appointments, dental services and continence clinics.
Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists, based at the nearby Redgrave Gardens Children and Young People’s Centre, assess and review students and have appointments with parents in school each week. The NHS Speech and Language therapy service also assess and review students in school.
The family workers liaise closely with both Children and Adult Social workers to support students and families, in particular, our Looked After Children (LAC). PEP and LAC reviews may be hosted in school; when hosted elsewhere, school representatives attend meetings.
The school works with the Educational Psychology Service and CAMH services to assess the needs of learners with complex behaviours and or mental health issues to support them to better participate in learning.
Local Authority Assessment Officers attend school weekly as part of the EHC Conversion process, due to be completed in March 2018. For students in KS4 and Post 16, colleagues from the Transitions team, which includes representatives from Adult Social Care, Education and Health, attend Annual Review and Transitions meetings and visit students at home and in school, as part of their assessment processes.
The Transitions Team also support the Deputy Head to provide the Annual Transitions Fair which brings together a range of post-school providers so parents and students can meet them and begin to explore opportunities for students when they leave school.
Professional Development is a priority for all staff at the school.
Priorities are identified by school leaders through the School Improvement Plan and through
Appraisal meetings with Teachers and Support Staff.
Whole School Priorities this year include:
The school has awell-embeddedd Induction programme for all new staff. Safeguarding training is a priority for all staff and is included each year.
The school has its own Team Teach Trainers and trains staff in and outside school.
SENCo and Deputy Headteacher: Sandra Connolly Address: Northwell Drive, Luton, LU3 3SP Telephone: 01582 572880
Facebook Page: Official Woodlands Secondary Schoolwww.facebook.com/woodlandsluton/
The school has two full time Family Workers: Janet Kay and Adeline Hopkins
They are available to:
They can be contacted on: 01582 572880
The report will be reviewed annually by Governors and the Senior Leadership Team