In 2016 the school split onto a Lower and Upper School site and is now able to offer a unique small school setting to our youngest learners at Tower Road. The building offers classrooms with interactive whiteboards, full WiFi, a computer suite, therapy rooms, 1:1 teaching and therapy room, kitchen and dining area, hall, library, parent room and fully enclosed garden with play equipment. The building provides a welcoming environment for students whilst offering the latest technology and areas for specialist support.
The offer is based on three over-arching principles:
- Moving towards being an independent learner
- Providing the scaffolding for learning
- Finding the pleasure of a reciprocal friendship
Most students join the school from a mainstream or home-school setting and often lack the confidence and skills to learn in a large classroom, yet require the stimulus and challenge of a mainstream curriculum. Our Lower School works on a form-based teaching method in classes of an average of 8 pupils. The majority of lessons will be presented in the form base classroom; however we do introduce the use of specialist teaching areas in subjects using our facilities at our Upper School.
Core to the Lower School offer is the embedding of therapeutic input across the whole school day and through learning opportunities. With full-time Speech & Language and Occupational Therapy staff the school offers a multi-disciplinary approach to each individual student.
The Lower School provides a dynamic and safe space to learn giving each student the opportunity to develop their individual skills. They learn in form groups which have a blended cohort of learners allowing safe peer relations to develop and social skills to improve whilst learning. Some students may require transitional arrangements to settle within the small class setting but the ethos of the school is no 1:1 support within the classroom.
We provide high quality teaching and experienced teaching assistants whose aim it is to ensure that the scaffolding for lifelong learning is embraced. This is done through a ‘spiral’ curriculum to allow for over learning and underpinning of concepts and skills.
Alongside the teaching is the therapeutic input which is embedded throughout the school day. Each area within the school building offers opportunities for therapy interventions including the play and dining areas. This may be in the provision of a sensory diet of activities for play time to communications skills over lunch time. There is a multi-disciplinary meeting for each class group every half term which provides an opportunity to review and embed targets for each student.
At the Lower School the school day runs from 08.45 – 15.15. The school day starts and finishes with form time. Lessons are 50 minutes long with both short and long breaks throughout the day.
Each class is offered a broad Key Stage 2 curriculum, which is often themed to a specific topic:
The school uses a range of reading schemes including the Oxford Reading Tree, Wellington Square and Ginn. Students take part in ERIC (Everyone Reads in Class). Phonics teaching includes the Jolly Phonics scheme and the Alpha to Omega spelling scheme is used. Students have weekly spelling tests.