SEN Information Report
Wyre Forest School
(This forms part of the Worcestershire LA Local Offer which you can access here: http://worcestershirelocaloffer.org.uk/)
Wyre Forest School is a purpose built generic Local Authority maintained special school located in north Worcestershire. The school is an all age (3-19) school. We also have Russell House, which is a purpose built residential facility for 16 pupils, Monday to Friday term time only. We pride ourselves in being a communication specialist and hold the ICan communication award at specialist status.
We Foster Success by providing a safe, happy environment in which all pupils can develop and achieve.
What kinds of Special Educational Needs does the school make provision for?
We are a generic special school which accommodates all needs such as:
- Communication difficulties (SLCN)
- Profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD)
- Learning disability
- Visual impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Social, emotional and mental health needs
All children will have an Education Health and Care Plan unless being assessed within the Nursery Assessment Class. A very small percentage of children who attend Wyre Forest School have ‘assessment’ places. Children may join the school at any age between 3 and 19 years and at any point during the academic year.
In addition to following the statutory curriculum, Wyre Forest also offers specialist support to pupils in the following ways:
- Nursing and medical needs met by on site school nurses and trained staff
- Physiotherapy (Primary Care Trust) including on site Hydrotherapy
- Speech and Language Therapy (Primary Care Trust)
- Occupational Therapy (Primary Care Trust)
- Development of communication skills using programmes and equipment such as Signalong, PECS, Eye Gaze, and specialist IT
- Independent Living Skills (learning the skills needed to live independently), including LIFT training to support independent travel
- Music Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Riding for the Disabled
- Sensory programmes – soft play, sensory room (light and dark)
Classrooms are equipped with a range of specialist and adapted equipment to meet pupils’ needs, for example hoists and bathroom management areas.
How does the school evaluate the effectiveness of its provision?
The Governors and Senior Leadership Team use a number of different approaches to ensure that the education and care provided for Wyre Forest pupils is effective. The school carries out rigorous evaluation of teaching and learning, whole school pupil progress, personal development and welfare, and leadership and management annually. This is reported on in the School’s Self-Evaluation Framework document. The evaluation is carried out in consultation with the Governing Body and takes into account the views of parents, Ofsted and any external consultant views.
What are the school’s arrangements for assessing and reviewing the progress of pupils?
Pupil progress is tracked and recorded using SOLAR assessment tools. Pupils’ academic work is marked regularly with work scrutiny carried out by Phase Leaders and SLT on a regular basis in order to ensure that all pupils are making appropriate progress. Termly pupil progress meetings are held to discuss every pupil in the school. Pupils have individual provision plans to focus on communication, physical, social and/or emotional targets.
Various strategies are used to assess the progress of those pupils with Severe or Profound Multiple Learning Difficulties including lateral progression documents and Routes for Learning .
Medical needs and interventions are monitored by on-site School Nurses. Other professionals such as Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists are either based at the school or in close proximity and develop appropriate individual programmes alongside class teams.
Parents meetings are held two times a year. There is also an annual review of the EHC Plan and an annual report to parents is sent home. Staff teams have ongoing communication with parents informally throughout the year.
What is the school’s approach to teaching pupils with special educational needs?
The school has teachers and teaching assistants who are experienced in working with children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. Many have additional qualifications in areas of practice such as Visual Impairment, Multi-Sensory Impairment, Autism, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties and Severe Learning Difficulties. The school believes that all pupils should be given opportunities to succeed, develop self-confidence and become as independent as possible in preparation for life after school. We Foster Success.
Staff are experienced in developing appropriate adaptations in order to enable all pupils to access the curriculum, and, for older pupils, exam board qualifications. For those pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties, progress is monitored rigorously through the use of experiential learning based on tiny steps of progress or progress through breadth of experiences at the same level (lateral progress).
A wide range of extra-curricular activities and visits take place every week in order to engage pupils and encourage success at all levels of learning.
How does the school adapt the curriculum and learning environment for pupils with Special Educational Needs?
Where possible, all pupils access the curriculum in small groups with a high staff to pupil ratio. Some pupils may be working on materials from an earlier key stage than their actual year group and move on when learning is consolidated to ensure success. The new school has been purpose built to meet the needs of a wide range of learners.
What additional support for learning is available to pupils with Special Educational Needs?
As well as small group learning, supported by a high staff to pupil ratio, individual interventions are used where necessary. This may be to develop English or Maths skills or to support a pupil in working towards a particular qualification. Some pupils may use iPads, laptops, communication aids or other specialist ICT devices to support their learning.
Quality First Teaching
Small class sizes
Enhanced & specialised staffing
Individual Provision Plans
Outdoor learning opportunities
Communication friendly environments
Information technology including iPads
Read Write Inc phonics and letter formation programme in Early Years & Lower School classes
Swimming in Early Years, Lower & some Middle School classes
Bishops Wood outdoor learning and/or accreditation opportunities
College placements; Kidderminster
THRIVE – social and emotional skill development
Communication Team Support
SEND On-going (required)
Sensory Occupational Therapy
Eye Gaze (IT tool)
Speech & Language Therapy
Abberley Care Farm
How does the school enable its pupils to engage in the activities of the school?
The school environment is wheelchair friendly and accessible to all pupils. It is a purposefully calm environment with minimum distraction. The School Council is asked to contribute to decisions about extra equipment or activities to ensure a high level of pupil interest. Home-School Communication Books are used to inform parents about school activities and vice-versa. Specialist equipment, such as hoists, are available to ensure, for example, that pupils can access the hydrotherapy pool. A high level of staff support is always available to support pupils in a range of activities. The pastoral team supports pupils in order to engage with learning.
What support is available for improving the emotional wellbeing and social development of pupils with special educational needs?
Wyre Forest values the importance of our pupils being emotionally ready in order to enhance their academic readiness. PSHE is fundamental to the school curriculum and the development of independence, communication and emotional wealth is supported throughout the school day. All staff are committed to ensuring that they are SPACE (sensitive, positive, accepting, curious and empathetic) to our pupils needs. The school has a culture of THRIVE and this places emotional wellbeing as being integral to the learning process. The school also offers music and play therapy as well as individual and small group THRIVE SESSIONS and has good partnership links with outside agencies that support wellbeing, e.g. CAMHS, Educational Psychology Service. A social worker is also based at the school. We also value and are proud of our outdoor learning curriculum which enables pupils to take part in a wide range of activities and settings – beyond the school gate. This not only supports their academic learning but their emotional wellbeing and social development.
What specialist expertise and training do the staff have in relation to the needs of the pupils?
Many of the staff have additional qualifications in relevant areas such as PMLD, mulit-sensory, autism and visual impairment. Staff are trained in a wide range of health and safety techniques such as Manual Handling so that they are able to lift and assist children to move safely. The Communication Team run a wide range of training; including Signalong and also support staff in developing the use of PECS, communication books and other strategies to ensure we are a communication friendly school. Staff are all trained in the use of positive handling techniques (Team Teach). Specialist teachers deliver subjects up to GCSE level and the school has a qualified swimming teacher. Where an individual need is identified staff receive the relevant training, e.g. Eye Gaze.
What specialist equipment and facilities are available at Wyre Forest to support the learning and development of its pupils?
There is a wide range of technological support to enable pupils to learn effectively such as Eye Gaze, Switches, and a wide range of programmes and apps for various subjects. Equipment specifically to help those pupils with physical disabilities includes hoists, minibuses with tail lifts. The school has its own Hydrotherapy Pool and hosts facilities for NHS School Nurses and Physiotherapists who work on-site. The school has sensory rooms and soft play rooms. There are serval adaptions in rooms to support learning, e.g. cookers and sinks that lift up and down. There is also a THRIVE intervention room for pupils that require significant emotional support programmes.
What arrangements are there for consulting parents/carers about their child and how are parents/carers involved in the education of their child?
Teachers and Senior Leadership Team members will often make a telephone call home if they wish to consult quickly with a parent or the text messaging system. For more routine matters, there are Parents’ Evenings, Annual Reviews, Education, Health and Care Plan meetings and for older children, a ‘Moving On’ event where parents, carers and pupils can access information about possible destinations after Wyre Forest. Where necessary, Team Around the Child or Child in Need meetings are also facilitated to support multidisciplinary team working and promote the health, wellbeing and education of individual pupils. Parents are also consulted through questionnaires.
Informal activities include coffee mornings, concerts and productions, visits home to families of children who attend our nursery and end of term activities. A family training programme and calendar of events for families are also available.
How are pupils involved in choices and decisions relating to their education?
Pupils are asked to contribute their views, where possible, to their Annual Review. Pupils are regularly asked to self-assess their learning to decide if they should move on or keep practising a particular skill. The School Council is regularly consulted on a range of relevant matters and is involved in the appointment of new staff. Older pupils are involved in co-constructing their curriculum where needs allow.
If parents/carers wished to make a complaint about the provision at Wyre Forest, what would they need to do?
Initially, if parents/carers are unhappy with any aspect of provision at Wyre Forest they should raise the matter. There is an escalating procedure for this. If they are still unhappy then they should follow the school’s complaints procedure, available on the school website, or consult the Chair of Governors.
How does the Governing Body involve other bodies, including health and social services, local authority support services and voluntary organisations, in meeting the needs of its pupils and in supporting the families of such pupils?
The Governing Body are supportive of the involvement of all other agencies who contribute to meeting the needs of its pupils. They are keen to continue to offer facilities for professionals to work on-site and it is policy and practice to invite all relevant agencies to contribute to pupils’ EHC Plans. Where necessary, appropriate budgets are put in place to buy-in relevant support from other organisations and support services. Governor training is provided by Babcock Prime.
What are the school’s arrangements for supporting pupils with special educational needs in a transfer between phases of education or in preparation for adulthood and independent living?
Pupils often join Wyre Forest during an academic year and plans are made for phased induction visits, where possible. It is usual that all professionals involved with a child would be consulted about the child’s needs with regards to specialist equipment, etc. When transferring between phases at Wyre Forest, pupils would have regular visits to their new class base and class teacher before the full-time transfer; there is very close liaison between class staff.
If staff felt that the needs of a particular individual pupil could be better met elsewhere, they would do everything possible to support parents/carers in accessing more appropriate provision. Equally, if a parent wished to move their child to a different organisation, Wyre Forest staff would do all they could to facilitate a move.
The curriculum at Post-16 is devised to enable all young people in Key Stage 5 to experience life in the community and, where appropriate, to access mainstream college in a supported way – our Wyre Forest School 6th Form admissions procedure and brochure can be found here. Independent Living Skills such as cooking, learning how to do laundry and going shopping are developed as appropriate alongside skills such as travel training and functional Maths and English. The school has a Careers Advisor who works closely with families and develops a transition plan over a pupils' final years within school.
Where can I find the Local Authority’s Local Offer?
The Local Offer lists and describes all provision offered by Worcestershire County Council for children and young people (up to the age of 25) in the county and can be found here.