A PARENT’S GUIDE TO OUR SCHOOL
Our School at a glance…
- Day School 5-18 Years
- Egerton Road, Charing Heath, Ashford, Kent TN27 0AX
- 01233 712030
How does the school know when a young person needs extra help?
Heath Farm School provides education for pupils of primary and secondary school age with a Post 16 provision that are identified as having a range of special educational needs. A high number of pupils attend the school because of their behaviour, emotional and social difficulties. All pupils who attend Heath Farm School have a Education, Health and Care Plan that sets out each child’s individual needs. These plans outline the support we must make in order to meet each child’s needs.
In addition to this the school undertakes a broad range of formal and informal assessments to enable us to constantly review the needs of our pupils and respond accordingly. We have excellent systems in place to discuss and share progress with parents and carers and this allows any issues to be discussed promptly and, where necessary, change support or plans within the school.
How will the school staff support my young person?
Class sizes are small in comparison to mainstream schools with a maximum of eight pupils who are supported by a tutor team of a teacher and a learning support assistant, also in lessons each class is allocated a teacher, a teaching assistant and a varying number of learning support assistants. This allows for a high level of support for learning within the classroom. The tutor team is responsible for each child’s individual learning plan; personal learning and behaviour targets are set and reviewed regularly throughout the year. A member of the tutor team will contact parents and carers on a daily basis.
Staff formally assess pupil progress ongoing throughout the term and Individual Education Plans are updated termly, three times a year. If required, and in consultation with the school’s senior leadership team, arrangements are made for additional support or other methods to help pupils overcome their barriers to learning. The school’s proprietor, Acorn Care & Education, is actively involved in the life of the school and receives reports on all aspects of pupil progress and whole school performance through the governance cycle.
How will the curriculum be matched to my young person’s needs?
Teachers plan their lessons to enable all learners to make good progress and to be challenged. This includes planning different tasks for pupils of differing abilities, allocating increasing amounts of support or setting open ended tasks and allowing pupils to respond according to their level of understanding. In the primary phase there is an emphasis on nurture and preparing children for learning, at all phases Literacy and Numeracy are threads that are evident within a broad range of activities.
While much of the curriculum is compulsory for all pupils, there is an element of increasing choice as pupils move through the school. College, work experience and other vocational pathways ensure that the curriculum o er is, as far as possible, matched to pupil’s needs and interests. Pupils can access a range of vocational courses which are facilitated through partnerships in the community.
How will both you and I know how my young person’s doing and how will you help me to support my young person’s needs?
Support from home is vital in securing the best possible outcomes for children in education. At Heath Farm School we aim to ensure this is achieved through a variety of ways. Parents and carers receive a daily communication from a member of the tutor team and this provides the opportunity to celebrate successes and for matters that may cause concern to be discussed, this allows for any issues to be dealt with promptly.
We make judgements about your child’s progress based on a range of indicators, including national expectations of progress for children of the same age, your child’s prior learning and progress as well as progress made in specific areas requiring additional help and support; this can be in relation to learning or behaviour needs.
Teachers will report on your child’s progress both formally and informally. As well as the regular informal communication to parents and carers there are events and more formal subject reports that will record your child’s progress against national indicators.
These are some ideas to help you support your child’s learning at home:
- Discuss your child’s day with them and encourage them to talk about their learning and what is happening at school.
- Praise your child if they are working hard and have achieved something either in school or at home.
- Talk to your child about their strengths and interests.
- Encourage any reading and look for opportunities to develop literacy and numeracy skills, especially when out in the community
- Encourage them to complete tasks on their own and then for them to explain things to you afterwards.
- In addition you can contact the school at any time to make an appointment to see your child’s tutor, class subject teacher of member of SLT.
What support will there be for my young person’s overall well-being?
Heath Farm School has a very strong ethos, based on our core values of respect, honesty, responsibility and achievement. We have strong pastoral systems in place and we promote self-belief and encourage aspirational personal achievements. Most pupils attending Heath Farm School have experienced difficulties in their previous mainstream education, resulting in fixed and sometimes permanent exclusions. Here at Heath Farm School pupils can access a very high level of support to improve behaviour.
Expectations are high and pupils have targets set that relate to their behaviour and learning. These are graded each lesson and during breaks and then monitored by the tutor teams. Pupils are taught to take responsibility for their behaviour and there are clear consequences if behaviour is detrimental to their own learning or that of other pupils. If this happens pupils must complete work missed in their own time, privileges may be withdrawn or pupils may be asked to work away from peers. We o er a rewards system that is tailored, whenever possible, to individual interests.
Pupils are encouraged to re ect on their behaviour and consider alternative strategies to better manage themselves. We aim to support pupils to return to learning with their peers as quickly as possible and, other than in exceptional circumstances, pupils start afresh each day.
All non-attendance is followed up on a daily basis and we work very closely with our pupils, parents and carers to ensure high attendance is maintained and celebrated and that any attendance issues are dealt with promptly.
The pupil voice is represented through the active school council which meets on a regular basis. They annually conduct whole school pupil surveys, the results of which are published on the school website.
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?
Heath Farm School works in partnership with a broad range of services and agencies in order to meet the needs of our pupils. You will always be consulted if we consider that your child will bene t from additional specialist support, we will provide evidence in relation to this judgment. Specialist services that can be accessed by pupils include speech and language, occupational health, art therapy and counselling services, we will when an agreement is reached refer to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and Social Care teams.
What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or are having?
Heath Farm School is part of the Acorn Care and Education group which, has 15 special schools nationally. Staff across the group share best practice and there are opportunities for all staff to develop their expertise in response to pupils’ learning and behaviour needs.
All staff access regular professional development through our ‘in-house’ programme which gives staff the opportunity to keep their practice fresh and up-to- date. The professional development is in two categories – core training which has mandatory and non mandatory components plus individual development that allows for staff to develop additional skills that have been identified as appropriate to them and which will assist in improving outcomes for pupils.
We also commission specialists to provide additional training in specific areas, such as speech, language, communication, literacy and specific behaviour needs. All staff have regular access to training in behaviour management, child protection and first aid.
How will my young person be included in the activities outside the classroom including school trips?
Heath Farm School offers pupils in all age groups ample opportunity to learn outside the classroom. This can include access to local facilities such as sports centres and libraries, or going further a field to visit other places of interest such as museums, theatre trips and historical buildings.
These off site activities are planned well in advance and this gives parents and carers opportunity to consult with us on any issues that arise. Our expectation is for all learners at Heath Farm School to access opportunities to
learn outside the classroom.
Due to the needs of our pupils, some may require higher levels of support than their peers to access these opportunities. This will be based on previous risk assessments and the individual pupils’ ability to cope with o -site learning opportunities. These arrangements are reviewed and updated frequently.
How accessible is the school environment?
Heath Farm provides education for both primary and secondary aged pupils and each class group has a dedicated base, in addition the school has a number of specialist rooms which include Science, Art and Design Technology. The classrooms are well resourced and ICT is used effectively to support pupils to access the curriculum. The buildings are very well maintained and pupils have a high level of respect for their learning environment.
The school site has some areas that can be accessed by wheel chair users. If this is an issue affecting your child, we would welcome discussion with you about how we can best meet their mobility needs.
Where parents or carers do not have English as their first language we would employ interpretation services when required and would commission these from local authority approved providers.
How will the school prepare and support my young person to join the school, transfer to college or the next stage of education and life?
We work closely with Local Authorities to ensure that each child is offered a provision that can meet their needs. All young people offered a place at Heath Farm School attend three taster days prior to admission and we work closely with parents and carers, children and their current provision throughout the transition stage to ensure a smooth entry into the school.
We support pupils making the transition from the primary to secondary phase within Heath Farm School. We run a programme of taster days, giving pupils the opportunity to become familiar with the secondary phase. Their new tutor team and other teaching staff will be familiar to them due to the inclusive school community created at Heath Farm School. Throughout this time primary staff work closely with their secondary colleagues to ensure all appropriate information is shared to enable a successful transition.
Securing transition to post 16 college, training or work opportunity is extremely important and we plan carefully for this with each pupil according to their needs and their destination route. If a child has an Education, Health and Care Plan they can continue their education and training within our 6th form provision, this is also possible for all other children if agreement is reached with the LA. We will describe in detail the opportunities that exist at Heath
Farm 6th Form Centre but we will also encourage pupils, parents and carers to visit open events at local colleges and other providers to explore what is on offer. We can help with this process and give advice about the range of courses, apprenticeships and training and the level of support you can expect for your child if they move away from Heath Farm School. Our KS4 curriculum provides pupils with the opportunity to access short courses at local colleges and experience a broad range of taster courses prior to making decisions about their post 16 choices. When appropriate we also provide pupils with independent travel training to help them familiarise themselves with local public transport services and to develop confidence in planning routes to different destinations.
We believe that a key performance indicator for us, as a school, is the transfer of a pupil into a mainstream setting when this is felt appropriate. This is planned with great care and always in collaboration with pupils, parents and carers, the LA and the receiving school. If approval is received from the local authority, Heath Farm School staff will support the pupil during their transition period. We share relevant information with the receiving school to ensure pupils experience a smooth and successful transition to their new mainstream school.
How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to young people’s special educational needs?
Heath Farm School is funded by the local authority, paying a fee that delivers a programme of education mindful of the objectives for each individual as described in their Education, Health and Care Plan. Through the assessment period and/or the review process additional funding may be requested of a local authority, and allocated to an individual, examples of this include – securing additional support for therapeutic input.
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
We use a comprehensive range of assessment information to ensure all aspects of your child’s progress are carefully monitored on a regular basis throughout the year. Decisions about the type and amount of support your child needs will be based on their progress and how we can best meet their needs within our school environment. Pupils who make good progress or those who exceed expectations will access the curriculum with lower levels of support than pupils who make less than expected progress or whose presenting needs require additional support.
Support may be delivered by school staff within the class on an individual basis or in small group settings, or may be delivered by specialist staff who visit the school. We will consult with you about how we support your child if we need to access expertise that is not already in the school. If your child needs additional support from a specialist we invite to the school, we will agree specific targets to measure the success of the support. Following this, regular reviews are held to ensure that progress is being made and to judge whether the extra support should continue.
How are parents involved in the school? How can I be involved?
As a parent or carer you have a tremendous influence on your child’s education. We value this and welcome your involvement to help secure the best possible educational outcomes for your child. While many pupils at Heath Farm School live outside the immediate location of the school this does not limit the opportunities we offer for you to be included and informed about school life.
We have a number of formal meetings with parents and carers to keep you informed about your child’s progress and achievements, this includes AER of Education, Health and Care Plan, LAC reviews, PEP meetings, Academic review days. In addition we have daily communications with parents and carers to discuss positive aspects and issues causing concern.
We host several annual events, including sports day where parents and carers are warmly invited and at the end of each term we have an awards assembly for both primary and secondary phases. Pupils take great pride in sharing their work and thoroughly enjoy showing their parents and carers around their school. We will give you as much notice of events as possible so you can plan ahead. If there are any transport related issues that may hinder your attendance to any school event, we will do our best to help you resolve these.
Who can I contact for further information?
As a parent or carer, the first point of contact for you is with a member of staff from your child’s tutor team. Even if your enquiry is about a specific subject area we advise you to talk through any issues or concerns with the tutor team first. This will keep them up-to-date with all the information about your child and their education.
If there are issues you would rather discuss in person you can make an appointment to see a member of staff in school. Please speak to us if there is anything you are unclear about or if you have any worries about your child’s education. All enquiries should come through the reception on the school’s main number.
While many staff will be teaching we do aim to return calls on the same day. All personal information about pupils is treated carefully; if you have urgent information to pass on about your child, this can be shared in the strictest of confidence with a member of our reception/administration team.
If you are a parent or carer of a child with a Plan, who is not yet at the school but may be considering it as an option, you can call to arrange a visit to the school to see what we offer.
Heath Farm School, Egerton Road, Charing Heath, Ashford, Kent TN27 0AX
T: 01233 712030