What is the school’s approach to teaching and learning?

Before your child starts at Hall Cliffe Primary School we think it is really important that we get to know them. It is also vital that your child gets to know us.  You and your child are able to visit the school to discover more about our inspirational environment, and find out what it is like and what they can expect at Hall Cliffe Primary School.  We want both you and your child to be looking forward to the first day and we will do everything we can to make this possible.  We will spend time finding out what your child enjoys, what they are interested in and what you feel are their areas of strength and areas they need more help with. We will create a ‘Pen Portrait’ which gives our staff an overview of your child and their needs so that we can prepare a personalised learning experience for your child.

We can arrange as many visits, taster days, home visits and meetings as you need so that your child can get used to their new school, new teachers and their new friends.

During your child’s first 6 to 8 weeks at Hall Cliffe Primary School, a range of baseline assessments take place to gain information about their educational, emotional, social and behavioural, physical, sensory, and communication development.  This information is used to set individual goals for them, to make sure they are in the most suitable class for literacy and numeracy, and to indicate which, if any, interventions are necessary.   Your child’s progress will be monitored and we will report back to you regularly.

Your child will join an appropriate class, which will be small in terms of pupil number (maximum size 8), with high levels of staff support (minimum 1 Class Teacher and 1 Teaching Assistant).  However, if it was felt that your child needed additional support, this can be provided.

All of our pupils, upon admission, are assessed by our Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist, and Occupational Therapist.  Although all of our pupils arrive at Hall Cliffe Primary School with an individual Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, we are able to identify any additional needs through our assessment and observation of pupils.

A ‘My Support Plan’ (MSP) will be developed with your child; this identifies the level of Pastoral Support they might require and in what circumstances.  Any pupil who exhibits social, emotional or behavioural difficulties is provided with support, where necessary, from the teaching and support staff and from our Pastoral Care Team, who are based outside of the classroom and are dedicated to ensuring that our pupils feel safe, settled, calm and ready to learn.

All staff at Hall Cliffe Primary School receive training to meet the needs of the pupils at any given time. The Witherslack Group, of whom Hall Cliffe Primary School is a part, provide a comprehensive induction programme for all new staff, which includes specific training which is tailored to support their role. All teaching and support staff receive induction and refresher training in a range of areas including Autistic Spectrum Disorders, behaviour management and de-escalation techniques. Additional training is provided to staff as and when necessary, in areas including curriculum development, child development and special educational needs (such as PDA, dyslexia, dyscalculia, ASD, ADHD and Attachment Disorder).

Being a special school for pupils with complex social, emotional and mental health difficulties, our staff have a wealth of experience and knowledge in working with children with a range of diagnoses including Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, and Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties.  We have a Speech and Language Therapist who delivers individual and/or group therapy to pupils who are assessed as needing such intervention.  We have an Occupational Therapist who provides advice and support to teaching staff regarding any resources required to support pupils with their gross or fine motor skill development, and any sensory issues they may have.  Our Educational Psychologist carries out a range of assessments on admittance, as and when necessary, and provides support and advice to teaching staff regarding pupils’ needs.

We make referrals, with consent, to external agencies where necessary, such as CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service).  We are able to access, through the Witherslack Group, bereavement counsellors and play therapists, should the need arise.

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.

We will tailor the curriculum to match your child’s needs, with work being differentiated according to need.  Your child will receive very high levels of support, including individual teaching sessions at times.  Pupils are entered for Key Stage SATs, with requests made for additional support where necessary.

Hall Cliffe Primary School follows the National Curriculum, supported by detailed schemes of work and policies for every subject.  The curriculum will give your child opportunities to excel in literacy, numeracy, science, computing, design technology, art, music, physical education, history, geography, modern foreign languages, music, religious education and PSHCE. Every half term there is a curriculum driver which lessons are focused on. There is significant emphasis placed on helping pupils to close gaps in their previous learning.  Your child will also participate in the CAP (Curriculum Around the Pupil), where they are given opportunities to develop their strengths, interests and talents on a daily basis.  Children will also take part in trips off site linked with the half term topic, or as a reward for the progress they have made academically or for their behaviour.

We regularly arrange for class visits to a range of places including various museums, theatres, places of worship and outdoor pursuit centres, in support of different curriculum areas.  Our comprehensive risk assessments identify any additional support needs pupils may have and all school trips are highly staffed with a ratio of at least 1 adult to 3 pupils.

The learning opportunities, activities and resources vary considerably from class to class to ensure that your child’s learning styles are being met and that they are being stretched academically with the most appropriate curriculum.  Our classes are divided into the following areas:

BIG CATS (Becoming Independent, Gaining Confidence, Achievement, Therapy, Success)

Our Tigers class uses the social communication curriculum, where lessons are short with limited verbal input and the curriculum tailored to pupils needs and interests with more opportunities for learning through play. Independence, visual and auditory stimulus will gradually be introduced in a ‘nurture style’ environment.

If your child has low needs in the areas of social communication, resilience and have fewer sensory issues, but still has some behaviour, emotional or social needs and are lower Key Stage Two they will be in Leopards and Upper Key Stage Two pupils will be a Panther or Lion.

We have the same progress expectations as mainstream schools with an extra challenge target to help pupils catch-up if they have fallen behind their age expectations. We also feel that it is important to develop pupils’ life skills and work closely with parent’s to help pupils be able to make independent choices regarding safety and behaviour and develop the skills they need for their future and outside of school. We prepare children for a successful transition to secondary education and are ideally located to support transition to Hall Cliffe School in Horbury.

We set homework for all our children which where possible is internet based. This allows pupils to access a wealth of interactive learning resources and reading materials. Holiday homework is given as a learning challenge and those who complete it receive a raffle ticket and there is a prize draw as they return to school. We have our own reading reward scheme for children who have been reading the most at home and half-termly reward trips for pupils who achieve the highest reward points. Pupils who do not complete work will catch up and complete this in break times or during the end of day ‘Curriculum Around the Pupil’ (CAP) sessions, so that they don’t fall behind in their learning.

We teach the behaviours we want our pupils to use in school, at home, in the community and later in life. We reward these positive behaviours with our points system, which results in rewards called ‘Vivos’. These points that can be ‘banked’ and saved up for something special,  or can be spent  as they wish. Depending on how many ‘Vivos’ pupils earn, they are placed in Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze group for that week. Pupils in the Platinum group have certain privileges for the week and are eligible for reward trips.

How accessible is the school?

Every possible effort is made to support pupils, parents and carers with disabilities to access the school and information from the school would be provided in a range of formats upon request.  Some school policies are accessible on the school website, others are available on request.

Your child will be given a handbook when they start to help them learn about the routine of the school including timings for the day, lesson information and reward systems.  The handbook will be adapted and personalised for your child.

We use a wide range of visual prompts, signs and pictures to support pupils’ learning and access to the curriculum, where appropriate.  All of our pupils are assessed by our Occupational Therapist on admission and, if required, a range of materials are used to aid learning e.g. balance boards for feet, pencil grips, sloped desk surfaces and acetate overlays.

Noise reduction has been addressed wherever reasonably possible e.g. no bells, carpet throughout the school.  If your child needs information provided in larger font sizes, we can easily do this or provide them with suitable visual aids.  We even offer a range of different furniture and sizes so that we can accommodate the individual needs of each pupil.  We also 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.

We ensure our school is ‘dyslexic friendly’ as we understand that our pupils may have difficulties in areas such as processing, remember and using their learning and organisation skills.

If English is not the first language of your child we endeavour to provide a support assistant who speaks their language to support them in the classroom until your child can understand without support. Our pastoral staff are there to support you with issues such as form completion or letter writing and our commitment to our pupils and parents is that we will help you in any way we can.

How does the school review and evaluate outcomes?

When your child starts at Hall Cliffe Primary School you will be involved in initial discussions about your child’s education and then these will continue on a regular basis, for example, through daily home-school diaries, Post Admission Review, Annual Reviews, Parents Evenings, and in the writing of Individual Education Plans. If you have any questions or concerns at any point about your child’s education, you can speak with one of the Senior Leadership Team, your child’s class teacher, or request a meeting to take place.

Your child will have targets set in each subject.  These will be realistic and achievable, but they will also challenge your child so that they can work towards reaching their full potential in each subject.  You will receive a report at the end of each term showing the progress made by your child and the targets set for the following term.

The Teachers, Teaching Assistants, Pastoral Care Staff, Senior Leadership Team, and SEND Co-ordinator will all ensure that your child’s needs are reviewed regularly and are being met.  The targets in their Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be also regularly reviewed so that the level of support your child receives will be appropriate to their specific level of need. Our rigorous assessment system ensures that pupils’ progress is tracked and the necessary interventions are put in place to accelerate learning.

There is on-going liaison with parents in the form of a daily home-school diary, and telephone support where necessary with our pastoral support staff, should you wish to discuss any concerns they may have about your child.  You can contact us at any time and we will always do our best to answer any questions or address any concerns.

We arrange annual review meetings for our pupils where their Education, Health and Care Plans 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.

We make transition plans for pupils moving into school and for those moving on to their next school, which 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 this challenging time is supported with care and empathy.

We carry out comprehensive assessment and evaluation of the effectiveness of our provision through internal and external school improvement partner visits, moderation meetings, quality assurance monitoring visits and completing self-evaluation tasks, such as lesson observation analysis, learning walks and pupil progress data analysis.

If you would like a daily update on your child, you will receive a brief summary of your child’s day by phone. Our Pastoral Manager will give you a weekly update on your child’s behavioural, emotional and social progress.

How does the school keep pupils safe?

When your child starts at Hall Cliffe Primary School we will conduct a risk assessment, so that we can ensure that their safety is never compromised.  This assessment also takes into consideration information received prior to your child starting and during their first few days in the school.  The risk assessment is completed by the Pastoral Manager. We use your understanding of your child as well as all the information we receive to create their ‘My Support Plan’ (MSP) and we add to this frequently as we learn more about your child’s worries and anxieties. Their MSP helps us to spot those early signs of behaviours that may need early reassurances and could escalate into more challenging behaviours if not addressed. When pupils are taken off site for educational activities such as swimming or trips, we obtain a risk assessment from the venue as well as completing a further risk assessment from a school perspective, which is ‘risk beneficial, not risk adverse’. This means that out pupils are able to experience a wide range of activities in a safe and controlled environment.

All of our pupils travel to and from school in a taxi with a driver and, if required, an escort.  When they arrive at school at the beginning of the school day, their driver brings them to the school doors and hands over to one of our school staff.  Likewise, at the end of the school day, school staff bring pupils from class to their driver ready to walk to their vehicle.  The vehicles have a designated area on which to park, pick up and drop off.

During break times staff provide supervision of pupils on the various play areas.  At lunch time all staff sit at the lunch tables and eat with the pupils, helping them develop social skills and good table manners, and where necessary assist with the cutting up of food, etc.

All school staff attend a briefing at the beginning of the day and a handover at the end of the day. Any information or messages regarding pupils are disseminated to staff at these handovers and so the school always operates with a high level of understanding about any issues or any changes to the individual needs of each child.

Your child’s welfare and safety is of paramount importance at Hall Cliffe Primary School.  The ratio of staff to pupils is extremely high, both in school and when off site for PE lessons, such as swimming, and on school trips.

Although all pupils have an individual risk assessment, and a ‘My Support Plan’, all staff are trained to be able to take further risk assessment should a situation warrant it, and measures are put in place to ensure that both pupils and staff’s safety is maintained. Any new risk that becomes apparent is then incorporated into the relevant pupil’s ‘My Support Plan’ and individual Young Person Risk Assessment.

We take bullying very seriously and have a zero-tolerance attitude.  We promote anti-bullying messages throughout the school and want all of our pupils to enjoy their time at Hall Cliffe Primary School.  We make sure pupils know how to reports any incidences of bullying, so we can deal with it quickly and effectively and promote anti-bullying initiatives in our day to day school activity.  We make sure that our Anti-Bullying Policy can be found on the school website and is available as a hard-copy upon request at our school office. Pupils put themselves forward to become ‘Anti Bullying Ambassadors’ and pupils are taught how to keep themselves safe, including online safety.

How does the school promote a healthy lifestyle?

As part of the process of your child starting at Hall Cliffe Primary you will receive a home visit by a member of our Pastoral Team. At this meeting we will discuss any medical issues your child has and what medication is prescribed.

All medicines are stored in a locked cabinet within a lockable room, with access restricted to appropriate staff only.   When a pupil requires medicine, this is given following a strict procedure to ensure that everything is done properly and that it is all appropriately recorded. If your child is ill in school, we will ring you to let you know and if you wish to collect them or take them to a doctor’s you can. If your child has a bump or fall, the Pastoral Team will give you a ring to let you know what has happened and keep you informed.

All plans (IEPs, My Support Plan) are drawn up in conjunction with the family and are all shared and approved.  This is done through phone calls, visits, parents evenings, review meeting, etc.  We make sure that information is available to all appropriate staff and placed on the pupil’s file.

The staff recruitment process checks all original qualifications prior to starting and all school staff undertake a comprehensive induction training programme including Safeguarding, First Aid and Health and Safety.  Further training is able to be requested or identified through the staff performance development review process.  Staff have a vast amount of experience and are able to coach and mentor each other to deal with needs that have been experienced before.

Your child will have access to a range of therapeutic support during their time at Hall Cliffe Primary.  Dependent on their specific needs, this can include Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and access to our Educational Psychologist.

How does the school communicate with parents?

Our school has positive and strong relationships with the parents and carers of our pupils.  Well before your child starts at Hall Cliffe Primary School, you will be informed about who you are able to contact if you need anything, or if you have any questions or concerns.  In the first instance, the Pastoral Team are available to speak to and should you wish to speak to your child’s class teacher or another member of teaching staff, this can be arranged at the end of a school day.

You will always able to contact key personnel via telephone, however, should you wish to speak with somebody in person, you can contact the school and we will happily arrange this for you.  We always attempt to arrange a meeting as quickly as possible and this is almost always on the same day, often immediately, however this is dependent on staff commitments.

Prior to admission, a family handbook will be provided for you to share with your child.  This includes photographs of all members of staff, so that your child can become familiar with them before they start.

We discuss and share educational progress and outcomes with parents via our home-school diary, through end of term pupil progress reports, at Annual Review meetings, and at parents evenings. We ensure that parents know that they are welcome into school should they wish to discuss anything and will always do our best to arrange this at a convenient time for you.

We provide parental comment sheets at annual reviews and also send out annual parent questionnaires to allow you to give your opinion on the school and help us to identify areas that we might be able to improve upon.

At Hall Cliffe Primary School we truly value the thoughts and opinions of our pupils and their parents and carers, even if it is about an issue that you feel that we have not dealt with well.  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.

How does the school promote working together?

Everyone at Hall Cliffe Primary School, whether that be staff, pupils or parents, are part of one team and we aim to work together to achieve the best for our young people.

We have a ‘School Forum’, which includes all pupils and staff. We meet weekly to discuss pupil views and ideas. We implement at least two pupil ideas each year, generated by the school council or the annual pupil questionnaire.  We often ask pupils their opinion on various initiatives during assemblies and involve them in the planning of their activities.

We also encourage you to write comments in the Home/School diary, so that we always have a strong understanding between home and school.  We distribute parental questionnaires on an termly basis and will ask for your comments at your child’s post admission and annual reviews.

You will be invited to parent evenings and any other parental events that we hold.  This will be another opportunity to talk with us about your child and also discuss any thoughts you have about the school as a whole.  Due to the distance than many of our pupils travel from in order to get to Hall Cliffe Primary School , it is quite difficult for many parents to come in to school frequently, however, we do invite parents in to school for Sports Day, Christmas performances, open mornings, and other special events that we hold throughout the year.

We encourage you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and our school web page.  These offer a fantastic way to keep up to date with what is happening at the school and read about the latest trips, activities and achievements of the pupils.

We work closely with other relevant and important external bodies.  Our Hall Cliffe Primary School Board, which serves as our governing body, involves any appropriate agencies in meeting the needs of our pupils and supporting their families, such as social care and CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).

The Pastoral Team is there to support you as well as your child and they are happy to assist with medical concerns or behavioural issues within the home environment. Just ring them to share your concerns and we will do our best to help. They will attend multi-disciplinary team meetings in your home area or we can host them at school if that helps.

We encourage you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and our school web page.  These offer a fantastic way to keep up to date with what is happening at the school and read about the latest trips, activities and achievements of the pupils.

We work closely with other relevant and important external bodies.  Our Hall Cliffe Primary School Board, which serves as our governing body, involves any appropriate agencies in meeting the needs of our pupils and supporting their families, such as social care and CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).

The pastoral team is there to support you as well as your child and they are happy to assist with medical concerns or behavioural issues within the home environment. Just ring them to share your concerns and we will do our best to help. They will attend multi-disciplinary team meetings in your home area or we can host them at school if that helps.

What help and support does the school offer to families?

At Hall Cliffe Primary School, we not only focus on supporting our pupils, but also their parents and wider family.  Help and support is available to you and your family, if and when needed, in completing forms and paperwork. This would usually be carried out by Pastoral Team and you will be made aware that this can be requested when they you visit Hall Cliffe Primary, should the need arise.

You are able to access a range of information, advice and guidance through the school. The person who provides this help would depend on what information, advice or guidance was being requested and who was the most appropriate person to deliver the help.  Information is also available through the on-going literature and resources that we will provide and also our school website.

You will have access to a wide range of practical advice and support resources and 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 diet.

Transport for your child is arranged between you, the local authority and the school.  Any matters which involve the welfare of your child during their journey to and from school are discussed and developed in consultation with you.  When children have fallen ill while in attendance and the parent is unable to collect them from school we have been able to transport the pupil home, if there are sufficient members of staff available to do so.   We can even provide transport for when you are due to attend school for your child’s annual review or other relevant visits.

When you are planning for your child’s future including options for their next school, we can provide guidance and support, arranging visits if needed.  We want to do all we can to ensure that your child’s future is one of success and happiness.

How does the school support new pupils and school leavers?

Before you start at Hall Cliffe Primary School, you and your child will be invited to look around and meet the staff and other pupils.  We can arrange a number of visits if your child is particularly anxious about joining Hall Cliffe Primary School, and your child will be invited to visit and stay for a short session before starting school. Sometimes, pupils come for several short visits prior to starting full time, particularly if they have been out of school for an extended period of time prior to coming to Hall Cliffe Primary School.  We visit you and your child in your home setting, so that you can get to know us and discuss starting at Hall Cliffe Primary School in a familiar and relaxing environment.

We gather as much relevant information as possible about your child’s needs from you, the local authority and your child’s previous school setting, if applicable.  We hold staff meetings to inform all staff of any particular information that is pertinent to each child to help their move go as smoothly as possible.  We want your child to enjoy their time at our school, right from day one.

We arrange a Post-Admission Review to take place 6-8 weeks after starting to discuss your child’s progress and how well they have settled in to their new school.  At this meeting, advice from the Senior Leadership Team, Class Teacher, Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Educational Psychologist are discussed and we ensure that everyone is working in partnership to achieve the best outcomes for your child.

When your child starts at Hall Cliffe Primary School, it is possible that they may be feeling anxious or nervous about their new school, and that they may become frustrated or emotional at times during their first few days or weeks at Hall Cliffe Primary School.  There is excellent pastoral support offered to pupils who may be struggling to express their anxieties or emotions, in the form of our Pastoral Team, who are based outside of the classroom and are dedicated to ensuring that our pupils feel safe, settled, calm and ready to learn.  We will do all we can to help your child settle in as quickly and easily as possible.

We support pupils who are moving on to new school settings by providing transition opportunities in their new settings.  These can include open days, taster afternoons and graduated transition programmes over a period of weeks, building up length and frequency of visits.  The level of transition is always dependant on the pupil’s individual needs and how much support is required for their move to be successful.  The transition plan is drawn up in partnership with you and your child, the new school setting and the specialist staff working with your child, to ensure that they enjoy a smooth transition.

Once you have visited the new school, transition days take place, firstly with a member of staff from Hall Cliffe Primary School who the child knows well and feels comfortable with, until they are comfortable to spend time in their new school with the support of the new school staff rather than Hall Cliffe Primary School’s staff.  A child will have as many or as few transition days as they, their parents and the new school feel are needed for their move to be as smooth and successful as possible.

During their time at Hall Cliffe Primary School, your child will be supported through daily activities to develop increasing levels of independence and to become responsible for their actions and ultimately good citizens.  Wherever appropriate, they interact with the community and are encouraged to participate in worthwhile activities.

Your child will access the full National Curriculum, with whatever support is necessary, thereby preparing them for their adult life by providing them with the skills they will need to seek and gain employment and for independent living.  In addition, through our CAP (Curriculum Around the Pupil) activities, our pupils are encouraged to further develop skills which they already feel they possess, with a view to supporting them to gain employment in a desired field or to develop a leisure activity which they can carry through to adult life. It also develops skills of communication, team work and social skills.

What extra-curricular activities does the school offer?

We offer a range of extra-curricular activities at Hall Cliffe Primary School, which could include football, chess, golf, fishing, cookery, rugby, trampolining, construction, outdoor pursuits and tennis. These are all offered as part of a pupil’s placement at Hall Cliffe Primary School, and do not incur any additional fees for you to pay.

All of our pupils have access to all of our clubs, activities and residential trips.  Pupils are given the option to participate in these activities and are given a choice of activities which leads to them selecting a club or activity best suited to their interests and talents.

A great amount of work is carried out to support children in making friends.  All of our teaching support staff supervise and model social situations thereby encouraging the children to develop the ability to make friends, which in turn allows them to enjoy their time at school even more.

If you have further questions or you would like to arrange to visit the school, please contact  our Head Teacher on 01924 614 490