Alternative Education Programme
The Alternative Education Programme at Heath Farm School was established in 2008 to meet the needs of three groups of students;
- Those joining the school who, because of period of disrupted attendance, or a significant history of school rejection, or a personal history of disruption and insecurity, could not immediately access full time attendance even at a small school such as ours.
- Those undergoing therapeutic or personal crisis who were jeopardising their school and sometimes care placement by their presenting behaviours, and who needed a ‘time out’ from the social and emotional pressures of school life.
- Those reaching the end of their school placements who rejected formal schooling and were in danger of missing out on education during transition, or failing to gain appropriate accreditation.
All students on A.E.P. are given 25 hours access to 1:1 education, supported by designated teachers and mentors, outside the family home. Strong and positive relationships with staff who they can come to know and trust underpin the success of the programme, and each student has a personalised curriculum, ranging from formal academic studies to activities related to their social, emotional and academic needs, and designed to engage them in the process of learning. Core subjects are always part of the programme; for some students active practical learning, a range of sporting activities, a college course, work with the Connexions service and Work Experiences may be included. Where appropriate external accreditation is offered, and for all Year 11 pupils college places or apprenticeships are identified.
For the majority of students integration or reintegration into either Heath Farm School or another appropriate school provision is the focus of work. On A.E.P. clear assessment informs planning, which is supported by regular reporting to, and communication with, parents/carers and other involved professionals. Students may join Heath Farm School, other special provision or return to mainstream schools.
A.E.P. work closely with statement holding authorities to ensure that clear information and support is available to inform planning.
For those joining Heath Farm school, the A.E.P. plans and supports personalised integration packages, which may involve part time attendance, part or full time attendance supported by A.E.P. teachers and mentors, initial attendance at social events etc. Each student therefore re-enters school life at the pace and in the way that best supports success.
The majority of pupils on A.E.P. make significant progress; they attend regularly, complete work and improve their academic standards; as a result their self esteem is improved and they become more capable and independent learners. The A.E.P. co-ordinator is able to work with students throughout their stay at Heath Farm, and this continuity of care confirms for them the progress they have made.
A.E.P. students join the rest of the school for assemblies where their achievement is celebrated by the whole school community.