What is the process to get a place at the school?

Parents are welcome to contact the school directly to arrange a visit, however referrals are made to the school by the local authority (LA). The school will then read the paperwork and if they have capacity and can meet need, they will contact the LA to discuss the young person further and whether they can invite them in for a visit.  Once the school has met the young person, if they are happy to offer a place they will let the LA know formally in writing and this will usually then need to go to panel.

If the place is accepted, someone from the school will come and do a home visit prior to the young person starting, to get any further paperwork signed, give them their school uniform and help to support that transition.  New pupils can start any time throughout the school academic year as long as there is capacity within the school.  Most young people travel to school via taxi.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Young people have an Education, Health, Care Plan (EHCP) from the local authority, usually with a primary need of either:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH)
  • Speech, Language and Communication Needs.

Our young people have a range of diagnoses including but not exhaustive of:

  • ADHD
  • ASD/AS
  • Pathological Demand Avoidance
  • Oppositional Defiance Disorder
  • Attachment Disorders
  • Specific LD – Dyslexia/Dyspraxia/Dyscalculia
  • Anxiety/Depression

What therapeutic support is there?

We have our own in-house therapy team which consists of Mental Health Practitioners, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists and Psychologists. All of these work between 1 and 5 days a week and are able to offer a variety of support depending on the needs of the young person. These can include undertaking assessments, specific training for staff, attending Internal Team Around the Child Meetings (ITACs), small group work with young people, providing therapeutic packages to be delivered throughout the day by teaching assistants and also direct 1 to 1 with the therapists. This enables a much better, all round approach to supporting the young person throughout their school day.

What are the class structures?

We pride ourselves on having high staff ratios and small classes to enable us to best meet the needs of each young person and be able to differentiate the work accordingly. Therefore, we have no more than 8 young people in a class with a teacher and up to 2 teaching assistants.

How does the school monitor the needs of young people to ensure they are getting the support they require?

When a referral is received the initial needs are gathered through reading the EHCP and accompanying paperwork, liaising with other professionals as required, as well as meeting with the young person and their family, both on a school visit and subsequent home visit.

During the young person’s initial 12 weeks at the school there will be baseline assessments carried out, which could include numeracy, literacy and wider curriculum needs, so that the school can gather fresh data on what level the young person is working at and staff will be informed to make sure work is tailored accordingly. They will also have therapeutic assessments were needed, following which sensory diets and other therapeutic supports are put in place. There is a 12-week Post Admission Review which the parents and SEN Officer are invited to, to discuss how their child is getting on at the school and their educational plan going forwards.

Every half term there is an Internal Team Around the Child (ITAC) meeting where all of the key professionals involved with that young person meet to discuss any progress, concerns and strategies which would best support that young person.

If a young person is receiving any therapeutic support, needs would also be shared with relevant staff to ensure appropriate training is given, or strategies are provided to make sure the young person is best supported throughout the school day.

Every year there is an Annual Review held, which both the parents/carers and SEN Officer are invited to and any other key professionals. At this Annual Review the progress of the young person is discussed as well as anything further that may need to be put in place. There is also an EHCP Review meeting that takes place in this Annual Review meeting at every key-stage transition period.

On top of this there are learning walks done throughout the term to monitor our teachers and teaching practices to ensure that we are providing the pupils with the best education we can. Witherslack Group also has a Quality Assurance and Monitoring Team who provide further advice, support and guidance around our teaching practices and pupil progress.

The Pastoral Care Team provide pastoral support to the pupils and families and attend any additional meetings, where needed.  They will also be the first point of call to address any safeguarding concerns, attendance and support young people with anxieties and mental health needs.

What is the general school staff structure and what specialist training do they receive?

  • Senior Leadership Team – Head Teacher, Deputy Head Teacher, Head of Pastoral Care – oversee the running of the school, staff management, school curriculum and all safeguarding.
  • Pastoral Care Team – Provide all behaviour support, support around medication, safeguarding concerns, attendance and general support for parents. They are also supported by the Safeguarding, Behaviour and Inclusion Team within Witherslack Group.
  • Therapy Team – Mental Health Practitioners, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists and Psychologists (Educational or Forensic). They are also supervised and supported by the Clinical Services Team within Witherslack Group.
  • Teachers
  • Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs)
  • Teaching Assistants (TAs)
  • Admin, Maintenance and Catering Staff

All staff who work with young people receive training in Autism, ADHD, Attachment Disorders, PDA and further staff are also trained in other more specialised areas, such as Dyslexia, Social Skills, Anxiety etc. All staff also receive training in Positive Behaviour Support, Safeguarding, Team Teach, First Aid and GDPR, to name a few.

How does the school communicate with parents and keep them involved in their child’s schooling?

We place a great deal of importance on communicating effectively with all parents and carers as we appreciate that the majority of our young people arrive and leave school by taxi. Therefore, we have dedicated staff to help ensure excellent standards of communication with parents. All parents will receive regular phone calls or emails home or will use a home/school diary, depending on which format best suits the needs of the parents. We ensure that communication includes lots of positives and isn’t just done if there has been a difficult day.

Parents are also invited to attend a Post Admission Review in the first 12 weeks of their child starting at the school and subsequent Annual Reviews. There are also termly reports sent home on progress and targets.   A parents’ evening will take place at least once a year and this will be an opportunity to meet teachers and discuss pupils’ progress and successes. Parents may also be invited to school for special assemblies, celebrations or events.  Parents are always welcome to ring in to speak to the Pastoral Care Team or to arrange a meeting to come into the school.

How do we support long taxi journeys?

Most of our young people come to school via taxi. Many of them will bring electronic devices to use on the journey which they can hand in to school on arrival. We also provide driver and escort training for a number of our LAs to help the drivers and escorts understand the needs of our young people and how best to support them on their journeys. All pupils can have breakfast when they arrive and during this time some may have a movement break built in or others may have time with a particular member of staff to talk about any anxieties before the day begins. This can be done again at the end of the day for those who need it. We work closely with our pupils and parents to best support these transitions.

What subjects are available to pupils?

Pupils are grouped by academic ability rather than age and a creative curriculum, which meets the needs and learning styles of the pupils, is offered to all.  The highly individualised curriculum includes specialist intervention programmes to ensure pupils make sustained and rapid progress across all subjects.

At Hall Cliffe Primary School we aim to establish and develop solid foundations for lifelong learning. Through high quality teaching and support with our integrated therapeutic approach, we offer personalised learning experiences to help our pupils reach their full potential. When it is time for pupils to move on, we aim to have made a positive difference so that they:

  • Have the skills to form and maintain positive relationships
  • Are in good mental health and able to manage their feelings and emotions
  • Have a lifelong love of learning
  • Are able to make a meaningful contribution in a multicultural modern United Kingdom
  • Understand risks and how to protect themselves in an ever changing world
  • Are independent
  • Have high levels of basic skills
  • Are resilient and able to overcome the challenges of life

Can they automatically transfer from Primary to Secondary or Secondary to Post 16 or do the LA still have to approve it?

If a young person is placed at Hall Cliffe Primary School, then they will still need to be referred to the secondary school by the local authority and it is up to the LA as to whether they will transfer them, however the LA will take the parents’ preference into consideration and most of our young people do move up to our secondary school.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01924 614490 or email, hall-cliffe-primary@witherslackgroup.co.uk



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