SEND Report 2019 – 2020
Admission to the School
Any child who comes to Woodlands School must have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. 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 formerly referred to as 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 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 round 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.
Assessment and Identification
All students attending Woodlands already have 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.
Consulting with parents
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 School book. 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 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 in to 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 document are sent home to parents termly and parents are offered the opportunity to discuss them further, if required.
Consulting with students
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.
The School Council is made up from students across the school. They meet regularly to discuss ideas and make suggestions about school and fundraising ideas. Representatives from the School Council meet with the Head to agree how these suggestions and ideas can be implemented.
Transition into and out of school
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 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.
In Key Stage 4 and in FE a cohort of students participate 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 aim to provide internal and external work experience opportunities for some of our older students. The local authority Community Choices coordinator (adult social care) visits school regularly to get to know the students and understand their needs and their required provision.
Working with families
Woodlands School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all our students; our governors and staff all share this commitment. The school has policies and procedures in place for safeguarding our pupils in line with Local Authority guidance. The Safeguarding Policy is available on our website. The school also adheres to Safer Recruitment guidelines.
We also work in close partnership with other agencies like the Health Authority and Social Services, who share our commitment to protecting children and young adults. The people in these agencies can include health visitors, the school doctor and nurse and social workers.
Our first concern is your child's welfare, and therefore there may be occasions when we have to consult other agencies even before we contact you. Should this be necessary, we want to reassure you that any concerns we have about your child will always be fully discussed with you, after we have talked with the other agency. All staff are trained in Safeguarding Vulnerable Children and Young People.
At Woodlands we believe that learning is a life-long journey and we aim to inspire and support our children and young people to achieve their full potential. Our curriculum offer is tailored to the individual needs of the young person.
Our broad and balanced curriculum focuses on functional learning and incorporates life-skills to support and promote independence. Woodlands School provides a vibrant, fun and inclusive educational and therapeutic community where all members, students, their families and staff, are continuously learning together.
We believe that children and young people learn best when they are happy and emotional well-being has a high priority. Woodlands prides itself on the therapeutic support it provides for young people struggling with adolescence. This includes Play, Art and Music Therapy, Forest School, School Counsellors and a therapeutic base where pupils have one to one and group support.
At Woodlands we keep the young person at the centre of everything we do, working closely with parents, professionals and other stakeholders to ensure that every opportunity is maximised. The school has an outreach service for students and colleagues in other Luton schools providing training and school based placements.
At Woodlands we aim to:
We promote British Values by:
Facilities and Resources
The school has invested heavily 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 these 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 students with personal care and a new 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 can provide a variety of multi-sensory experiences, in line with the Bamboozle approach.
FE classrooms upstairs have 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 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 black out blinds, a switch operated lighting system and sound system to allow students to proactively engage and control their environment.
A purpose built soft play room is used by students and staff to promote exploration and communication 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 school has converted the upstairs of the old building into a therapeutic provision called The Loft (Learning Opportunities for Teenagers). This space is used to provide one to one support for students who are struggling to work alongside their peers. It is intended to be a ‘revolving door’ provision so students can access support whenever they need it. The school has employed an Art therapist, Play Therapist and two additional Music Therapists to support students in the Loft and also across the school. The school also employs two school counsellors who are based in The Greenhouse. They work with students, staff and parents in a specially converted therapeutic space located outside the main school building.
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 used for music, drama and dance lessons. Both these spaces are used each morning to provide Sensory circuits for learners with Autism. We employ a specialist PE tutor.
The school has converted a part of the school into a café. This will be open to the public and run by the students to develop life skills and encourage work related learning. This will build on some of the learning opportunities presently provided by our in school Tuck shop.
The upstairs link corridor has been converted into an Art Gallery; there are three exhibitions a year involving all the Key Stages.
Our outside area is well used by students. The school garden has recently won a Youth Award from CPRE (Council for Protection of Rural England) for its work in promoting gardening and environmental learning. Our school gardener 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 co-ordination skills. A seating area is also available for those who prefer some quiet time.
The school has a range of bikes that are used on the front playground as part of the PE Curriculum. We are hoping to offer Cycling Proficiency for those who are able to ride on the roads.
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 course of the day classes and individuals may access adapted bicycles which again provide opportunities for students to develop their co-ordination and motor skills as well as a fun means of exercise.
The school has a separate 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, EHC 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.
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.
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 first themselves and then their peers.
In order 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.
Working with other agencies
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 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.
For students in KS4 and Post 16 colleagues for the LA 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.
Working with schools and colleges
The School is part of Luton Futures, a partnership of nine 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 offers 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.
The Assistant Head works regularly with a group of Special Schools in the Eastern region, SSMAG, to promote good practice in assessment and monitoring.
The majority of children attending Woodlands use transport provided by the Local Authority, otherwise parents arrange to drop off and collect their children at the beginning or end of the day. Not all students will be entitled to special needs transport and each case is assessed individually by the local authority.
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.
The report will be reviewed annually by Governors and the Senior Leadership Team.