We always look forward to welcoming a new pupil to the school. If your child is preparing to start at Cumberland School we will do our very best to learn as much about you and your child as possible. We will speak to you and your child before they start and can arrange to meet with you at the school or come to your home. We work hard to make sure that we understand what works for you and your child and what you want them to achieve whilst at school. We particularly want to get to know what your child’s interest are and what they enjoy doing, so we can not only help them succeed but also enable them to enjoy their time at school.
When your child starts with us they will be assessed by our Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist, and Occupational Therapist. Although all of our pupils arrive with an individual Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, and have been assessed as having Special Educational Needs prior to coming to Cumberland, we are able to identify any additional needs through our assessment and observation of pupils.
As part of the assessment process the Teachers, Teaching Assistants, pastoral care staff, Senior Leadership Team, and SEN Co-ordinator all ensure that pupil needs are identified and the targets in their Individual Education Plans (IEP) are set and reviewed regularly. The level of support each pupil receives will depend on their level of need. Our rigorous assessment system ensures that pupil progress is tracked and the necessary interventions are put in place to accelerate learning.
Your child will have an individual care and education programme (ICEP) which is renewed on a termly basis to ensure we support them to access their learning fully. You will always be involved with your child’s ICEP and any decisions that need to be made.
The high staff to pupil ratio ensures that your child will be well supported, with at least a Teacher and Teaching Assistant in each class. The class sizes at our school are no bigger than eight pupils and this allows us to deliver focused but well supported lessons, which your child will be able to enjoy.
All classes have the same progress expectations of mainstream schools with an extra challenge target to help them ‘catch-up’ if they have fallen behind their age expectations. All pupils at Cumberland School have access to the National Curriculum and they will be working towards GCSEs, and other relevant and nationally recognised qualifications. Every pupil has an ‘Internal Team around the Child’ (iTAC) that ensure your child will feel safe and happy in school and that they are making good progress, both academically and socially. This team will be a central in all communication between home and school with parents and carer’s being a significant part of the ‘team around the child’. Your child’s curriculum will be tailored to them, to ensure that we support them and give them the best opportunity to realise their full potential, in a stimulating and enjoyable environment.
If your child is finding it hard to make progress in the classroom then small group intervention programmes can be set up in order to give them individual support to help then move forward. We can even arrange for regular home visits from our liaison worker to provide additional support when required, as well as one to one learning support and home study support if needed.
We have subject specific teachers who have a wealth of experience working with young people who have a range of different learning needs. All staff receive regular training and support to make sure we continue to meet the needs of all pupils in the school. This training includes understanding autism and behaviour development and support. We have an extensive induction and training programme for all of our staff. This ensures that they have a strong background in SEN practice, which translates into a culture of support, partnership and high expectations in the school.
Cumberland School also uses a range of other provisions, where pupils can learn and gain qualifications in Motor Vehicle Studies and Construction. We also have pupils in Key Stage 4 who access Hair and Beauty courses, Media studies and Small Animal Care. We link with a number of local colleges, along with work experience providers to help our pupils gain the qualifications and experience in any area they wish to study in order to prepare them for life after school, be that in employment or in further education. The off-site centres are all formally monitored, both by external agencies like Ofsted and by ourselves, to ensure that all pupils are safe and receive the best support and education possible.
We make accessing important information about what we do easy. You can find information about the school and news of recent events on the website and in the school newsletter. Information for pupils such as school rules, timetables, menus and rewards are displayed on walls around the school and in all classrooms. Policies and procedures can be obtained through the school web site and on request from the school office. Information from the school can be provided in a range of formats upon request.
Your child will be given a handbook when they join the school to help them learn about the routine of the school including timings for the day, lesson information and reward systems. We can adapt this to the needs of your child and will always make whatever arrangements necessary to cater for the individual needs of each of our young people.
At Cumberland School we have a dedicated student support team who work closely with parents and carers to ensure everyone knows how well our pupils are doing and are able to offer support and guidance when required.
We have a comprehensive range of resources that reflect the needs of the pupil population and we use differentiated communication and symbols, where appropriate, to ensure communication and language is accessible to all pupils. We consider the sensory needs of our children throughout the school; ensuring wall displays are not distracting to pupils when they are learning in class and that the classes are clutter free and private study areas are available, if needed. We will make use of the latest innovations in assistive teaching technology to support your child’s learning and to cater for their individual sensory and communications needs.
If English is not the first language of your child we endeavour to provide a support assistant who speaks their language to assist them in the classroom until your child can understand without support.
When your child starts at Cumberland School we meet after six weeks to review how well they have settled into school and to plan with you and your child what you want to achieve in the coming year. A regular annual review, including all the people who work with your child, will allow us to discuss progress and ensure that everyone is working in partnership to ensure the best possible outcomes for your child.
Regular contact with parents and carers (both formally and informally) by our iTAC teams ensure that you are kept up to date with how well your child is making progress and developing. The iTAC team are always on hand to speak to you; we know that pupils progress well when everyone works closely together. We want to make sure that you are aware of the targets that have been set for your child, how they are progressing to these and how we are encouraging and rewarding their hard work and progress. It is important that we are all able to celebrate your child’s achievements and ensure that we adapt their targets so that they continue to be challenged and develop.
Regular meetings take place in order to ensure that we report to you about how well your child is doing in school. This gives us a formal opportunity to review progress and work together to plan for the future. Termly assessment and reporting of pupil progress ensures that we know how well your child is progressing and what support they need in order to reach their potential. We monitor pupil’s academic and social and emotional progress using a range of assessment and diagnostic tools. These inform reporting and planning your child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). Our assessment process means we track individual pupil progress and interventions can be put in place when required to ensure accelerated learning. Teachers conduct full subject audits three times a year to identify individual progress and adjust their teaching and resources to reflect your child’s needs.
We arrange annual review meetings for our pupils where their Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC) are reviewed. If it is felt that an EHC Plan requires reviewing in the interim period then an additional review is arranged to suggest the necessary amendments, in conjunction with parents, the local authority and the pupil.
The school is monitored regularly by external agencies and Witherslack Group’s Quality Assurance team. We spend time making sure that the school is working effectively for you and your child and that the resources we have in place meet the needs of all the pupils.
We understand that some of the key successes and outcomes for your child will be measured by what they do once they leave our school. This is why we provide a broad range of resource across school life in the areas of life skills, vocational studies and careers. We will support your child to develop a strong skill set that will allow them to become more independent as they grow. We will also support them in making their first steps into their chosen career by giving them practical, hands-on experience and arranging relevant work experience placements with suitable organisations and businesses.
When your child starts at Cumberland School a pre-admission document is collated. This gathers together as much information as possible to give an accurate view of your child. All pupils work with their tutor team to develop a “My Support Plan”. This individualised document identifies and communicates what support your child might need and in what circumstances. This helps to make sure that our pupils feel less anxious and are supported effectively with their decision making.
When your child joins the school a personalised risk assessment will be produced based on all the information we have received. For each area of assessment the risk level will be high until an opportunity to assess has occurred. For example, we cannot assess road safety until we have taken your child off-site, so the risk assessment will remain high up to that point.
Risk assessments are produced for all areas and activities on and off-site. Risk assessments are obtained for external activities and a further risk assessment is completed from a school perspective, taking into account safety, communication and sensory needs. Risk assessments will be carried out by your child’s keyworker; but input will be taken from all staff who have worked with them. The risk assessment is reviewed annually but can be updated at any time.
Pupils come into school before 9.00am and are dropped off in the school yard where they are met by members of staff and go into breakfast club. There is opportunity at this time for a handover of information and to start the day with a brief assembly. Break and lunch times are well staffed so that pupils are supported and safe throughout the whole day. At lunch your child will sit at the dining table with at least one member of staff and after lunch pupils can take part in a range of activities.
All off-site activities are risk assessed and appropriately staffed with specialist qualified instructors delivering outdoor education. All staff receive training and support to ensure that when pupils are away from the school site they are well prepared and safe. All staff are qualified First Aiders and staff who drive minibuses have completed their MIDAS minibus test. Staff are also trained in the management of medication. Risk assessments are site specific and regularly reviewed to ensure that appropriate measures are taken for specific individuals and groups of pupils on educational visits.
Cumberland School works hard to ensure that pupils feel safe and secure in school; we know that is when pupils are most able to succeed. We have a strong culture of anti-bullying and monitor and address any issues of bullying. Citizenship and PHSE lessons address bullying as part of the on-going work, which includes anti-bullying week and outside speakers coming into school. Our anti-bullying policy is available on the school website or on request from the school office.
We take our responsibility for your child’s health and wellbeing very seriously. Our staff receive training on the safe keeping and administration of medicine and all medicine is stored in a double locked cupboard. Detailed records are kept of all medicines received in school and when they are administered to any pupils.
All Pupil Care Plans are developed in partnership with parents and the iTAC team in order to ensure that all staff are aware of each pupil’s need. Regular tutor team meetings and staff meetings ensure that the relevant staff have access to this important information.
All staff in school have a recognised First Aid qualification and a number of staff also hold ‘The First Aid at Work’ qualification. Where there to be a medical emergency staff follow protocols which include appropriate first response and alerting the appropriate emergency service if necessary. We would always ensure that you would be immediately informed by school staff if your child was unwell while at school.
At the point of referral to Cumberland School we ensure that we have the appropriately qualified and experienced staff to meet your child’s needs, with all training regularly updated and accredited where appropriate. We also have a school nurse and we have therapy and counselling services on site as part of our staff team, which includes Educational Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapy, Person Centred Counselling, therapeutic support, and Occupational Therapy. Our therapists work across all iTAC teams and with each individual child.
Communication is something that is central to the way our school operates. We place a great deal of importance on communicating effectively with all parents and have dedicated staff to help ensure excellent standards of communication with parents.
When you child starts at Cumberland, or at the start of a new school year, you will be given a point of contact in the iTAC team. Regular phone calls and meetings will then be arranged to discuss your child’s progress, discuss any concerns and most importantly celebrate their successes and achievements. Parental visits to the school are always welcome and give you the opportunity to get to know the school and the staff, and get a feel for our culture and the positive atmosphere.
A full school report will be sent to you prior to your child’s annual review and termly reports on progress and targets will be sent to you at the end of each term. A parents evening will take place once a year and this will be an opportunity for you to meet your child’s teachers and discuss their progress and successes. We operate an open door policy for parents, so you can make an appointment at any time if you want to discuss anything, arrange for us to call you or come and visit you at home. We always want you to feel like you can talk to us and ask any questions.
We invite all parents and carers into school regularly for celebration assemblies and are always happy to have you in school. You are an important member of the school community and we want you to feel welcome and comfortable in talking and meeting with us. You will be invited to school for open days and a range of parent events and workshops which will help you support your child’s needs. They will focus on specific areas and offer practical advice and support, as well as providing advice and support resources that you can take home with you. These events act as a great way to ensure we are all working together and they also provide informal opportunities to talk with you and answer any questions you may have.
We are always keen to get feedback from parents and carers; we conduct a survey annually as well as feedback during reviews. At Cumberland School we understand the importance of working in partnership with parents and carers and welcome feedback, even if it is about something you think we could have done better or improve on. When your child joins the school we will make you aware of our complaints procedure and let you know how we will respond to any complaints you may have. You can also give verbal feedback to the school at any time.
We understand the importance of confidentiality and operate to the highest standards possible to ensure that we communicate with you in an appropriate, considerate and confidential manner around all aspects of your child’s education and care.
Cumberland School has a track record of meeting the needs of its pupils and helping each young person to thrive and develop. Much of this is due to our ethos of working as a team. This includes our staff and extends to our pupils, parents and their wider families. We have a number of initiatives that help us to work together effectively across the school for the combined benefit of our young people.
Our school has a School Council which comprises of pupil representatives from across the school who are elected by their fellow pupils. A representative of the School Council meets on a termly basis with the Head Teacher to discuss all aspects of the school. We find that this is a great way to empower pupils to have a real say in the school’s future and be part of helping Cumberland to continue to improve.
Our peer mentoring programme offers training and support to pupils who have the capacity to help other pupils. This fosters a close community spirit which gives responsibility to pupils and reinforces the school ethos of developing both independence and resilience. We are very proud when we see our pupils helping and supporting each other.
We like to share regular updates and news on our web site and our social media page. This gives everyone the opportunity to see what is happening at the school and also celebrate in the good news and positive activities that take place in the school on a daily basis. We also feature the projects and initiatives that our pupils and staff take part in with charities and the local community as a whole. This is something that we are very proud of.
Cumberland School work in partnership with Education, Health and Social Care agencies, alongside other providers of support including the Princes Trust and CAMHS. Student support staff and pupil liaison staff ensure that all interested parties are part of the planning, monitoring and evaluation process.
Our Home and School Contract sets out what you can expect from Cumberland School and what you can do to help ensure that your child makes the best possible progress. It states how we will work in partnership with you to meet the aspirations of you and your child.
We are able to offer a range of support and practical help to you and your family. This can include our Family Liaison Officer helping you to complete all the necessary paperwork when you first meet with us, prior to your child starting at Cumberland. These initial meetings can be at your home or at the school. If you would like assistance at any time with any documentation or paperwork, just let us know.
We are able to offer a wide range of support, guidance and practical advice from our Therapy Team. This may include the opportunity for you and your family to have access to our Educational Psychologist, School Nurse, Speech and Language Therapists, Counsellors and Career Advisors.
We are committed to supporting you as a parent and your family as whole. If we don’t have the answer we usually know where to get it. You can contact our Family Liaison Officer or your child’s form tutor and they will be able to direct you to the most appropriate member of staff.
Our Pastoral Care Manager can work with you to access further help and support. We will communicate with you regularly so we are aware of the help you need and can help you to obtain it. This may include help to improve your child’s health, independence, college options or activities outside school.
You will have access to a wide range of practical advice and support resources and you will be invited to attend our regular parent events and advice workshops. These focus on giving practical and helpful advice and tips on a variety of relevant issues, including behaviour, travelling, sleep problems and limited diets.
When you are planning for your child’s future (including college options) our Careers Officer and iTAC Team can provide guidance and support, arranging and facilitating college visits, if needed.
Our school works with Local Authorities to provide transport to and from school and to ensure that your child is well supported on their journey at the start and end of the day. Your child will have regular drivers and escorts who work for the school and provide consistent contact and a familiar routine for you and your child. We understand the importance of the start and finish of the day and know that this sets the climate for learning and returning home. Skilled, trained and experienced staff make sure that this is done in a safe and positive manner. For a number of pupils working towards independent travel is part of the development of independence; staff at Cumberland School can develop, support and monitor pupils to achieve this target.
We understand how daunting starting and leaving a school can be. The transition into and out of school can be a challenging time, not just for the pupil but for the whole family. To support our young people and their families we develop individually tailored transition plans for all pupils starting school or moving on to college.
We make transition plans for pupils coming to school and for those moving on to their next school or college. These include regular supported visits and appropriate handover of information, to ensure that transition is as smooth as possible. We know that starting a new school is an anxious time and we ensure that your child is supported during this challenging time with care and empathy.
When your child is preparing to start at our school, our staff will support them in developing the skills and experience in the build up to their start date. This may include home visits, visits into school and taster days, where your child can spend time with their new teacher and other pupils in school. We can provide a school jumper so that your child feels part of the school when they visit and even arrange transport for you and your child. If your child is nervous about starting we can arrange for some sessions to be delivered at home or for them to attend part-time at the school whilst they build their confidence.
Our Speech and Language team help your child to prepare for adulthood through social communication lessons. They work on a focus in class and help them to deal with social situations such as starting conversations or going for an interview. As your child gets older and more confident in school they will start a programme aimed at developing their life skills which means they can transfer skills learnt in school into everyday life, for example complaining appropriately, managing money, ordering food and travelling independently.
When your child is preparing to leave and move on to college or employment our Transition Officer will arrange college visits and will accompany them, if needed. We can arrange careers advice for your child through career lessons or careers advisers. We have a Careers’ Open Day to advise and guide you and your child with transition to college.
We have extremely close links with local colleges and work experience providers. We can arrange work experience placements so that your child can try different working environments and see if a job that they are interested in is actually something they enjoy and like. We can also support transition into further education by arranging college taster days or accompanying your child when they visit college. We will develop detailed plans for your child’s next steps as they move into Key Stage 4 and will make sure we help them along each part of the process.
The individualised timetables that we develop for your child is based on their chosen vocational pathway and will include work experience, college placements and vocational studies, in order to support the transition into life outside school. We are proud that Cumberland has a strong record of pupils remaining in education or employment when leaving school.
All pupils in school have the opportunity to access residential outdoor education trips and off-site education visits. These trips are a fundamental part of Cumberland School’s holistic education and are therefore funded by the school. Pupil’s access to these trips is based on individual risk assessments and appropriate adjustments are made to ensure that all pupils access these opportunities in a safe and positive way.
At lunchtime we offer the choice of a wide range of activities and clubs including arts and crafts, console games, film club, sports, outdoor activities, indoor games and also quiet time. All pupils attend lunch activities and it is a good opportunity to make friends outside of their class.
Our peer mentors work as buddies to ensure that your child is supported during break times and lunchtimes. With the support given by the iTAC team, opportunities are made to develop friends in the school quickly. Lots of work is done on developing the skills to be able to make friends and how to keep friendship through our citizenship and PHSE programs, and also our mentoring program.
If you have further questions or you would like to arrange to visit the school, please contact our Head Teacher on 01204 324446.