School Organisation

Our School Motto:

‘ We can do anything!’  It is our simple truth. Our pupils prove it every day!

Our class names

Every year we have 3 topics, one per term, that are the driving force, for the skill-based learning that happens in each class. As each academic years draws to a close, we look at the following year’s topics and choose one that will be the inspiration for the following years class names. We choose a topic that allows classes to be named after something that has a clear sign, symbol and object of reference to support and promote our ‘Total Communication’ ethos in school.

School topics

The whole school follows a 4-year rolling cycle of topics. One per term. Although the topics are the same throughout the school, the learning that takes place in each class is skills based and unique to the individual and the class. Our personalized learning plans (PLP’s) ensure that every child is following a learning journey that consolidates and builds on their personal skill-based learning as highlighted in the EHCP’s.

All topics have a whole school ‘stunning start’ to motivate the children about the topic they are about to embark on, a ‘marvellous middle’ that celebrates what we have achieved and will continue to learn and a ‘fabulous finish’ to acknowledge all that has been learnt that term. As with everything in Herons Dale access is key. All our inputs, assemblies etc are differentiated to ensure optimum access for every pupil.

Class staffing

This varies every year depending on the needs identified in each class.

Curriculum choices

We follow 4 curriculum’s and adapted an Early years foundation stage, ImPacts, Equals semi-formal curriculum and an adapted National Curriculum. Robust and ongoing assessment allows staff to identify which curriculum/s best meet an individual’s needs. More information on our curriculums can be found in our teaching and learning policy.

Our class construction:

Each year we work hard to make bespoke class groups. We are driven by the social, sensory, learning needs and optimum curriculum/s of each pupil. We construct groups according to these. Our classes may integrate multiple year groups as we believe a child’s age is not the primary factor to an optimum learning environment. Each class may pursue more than one curriculum. This is important as we understand a child’s learning profile may not be a consistent line. They may have varying degrees of skill across the primary learning areas identified in our PLP’s. Through robust termly assessment, we can identify which curriculum/s for each area of learning best meets the pupil’s needs. Our curriculum’s dove tail into each other to allow this.

Every year our skilled staff adapt their learning environments to best meet the needs of that year’s pupils so each class looks unique. We understand that every year the needs of our classes are unique and adapt our environments and practice to best meet their needs.

Robust assessment

We have a process of formal and informal dynamic assessment of the ‘whole child’s needs’. We assess both hard (academic) and soft (personal, social and emotional) data. This allows us to maintain a clear and accurate picture of each pupils learning journey from a holistic perspective. If we identify a change in the provision that we feel betters meets a pupil’s needs we will work with the pupil, family and staff team to ensure this happens and best provision is always pursued.

Building a community

We believe that every individual has the right to thrive in school, not ‘cope’ any more than necessary. As such, every individual will access the opportunities in school to the extent that is best for them. For some, their primary focus will be based around their core needs and the adults and pupils in their class. For others, a wider community access is optimum. Robust assessment ensures that we are reflective in our practice for each pupil and adapt to their every evolving needs.

British and School Values

The values which can be found on the British Values Page are widely celebrated and pursued in our school alongside out Total Communication ethos. These ensure as a school community and as part of our wider community we promote a respectful, caring and positive environment for all.