The School Offer
Ethos – Pathway to a Fulfilling Life
At The Loddon School® we maintain that:
Every child, however disabled is entitled to develop in an environment which is conducive to learning. This environment should be one that is safe, caring and enjoyable and where children may grow in confidence, independence and towards personal fulfilment.
The environment should be one in which each child feels secure, enjoys learning and is always rewarded for effort. This can be realised only when all staff are relating to each child in a positive way and all aspects of the child’s needs are being met through the integration of school, home and leisure activities and community experience.
Staff will preserve and maintain the dignity, individuality and privacy of all pupils within a warm and caring atmosphere, and in so doing will be sensitive to the individual’s changing needs. Such needs may be medical / therapeutic (for physical and emotional well-being), cultural, psychological, spiritual, and social.
Staff will support individuals to discover their likes and dislikes and develop strategies for self-expression by concentrating on the key areas of decision-making and communication. In order to develop these skills, staff will support pupils to make choices which may involve a certain element of risk, to encourage an awareness of danger and the recognition of natural consequences.
How does a school know if children / young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?
How do you identify children/young people with special educational needs?
How will I be able to raise any concerns I may have? If the school is specialist which types of special educational need do you cater for?
- The Loddon School was established to meet the needs of a very specific group of young people; those who had often been excluded from or within their local day special school and who could no longer live at home because of the high risk behaviours that they engaged in (e.g. self-injury, aggression, running off, climbing, destruction)
- All Loddon students have a Statement of SEN (as identified in our criteria for admission) detailing their severe learning difficulties, often a diagnosis of autism and the range of restrictive behaviours they use to get their needs met.
- Needs identified in the Statement are constantly re-evaluated and responded to, including changing the environment (physical, interpersonal, communicative) to get it right for the individual and reduce anxiety.
- Only when the individual is calm and relaxed is he or she ready to learn.
How will Loddon School support my child / young person?
Who will oversee and plan the education programme and who will be working with my child/young person and how often?
What will be their roles?
Who will explain this to me?
How are the school trustees involved and what are their responsibilities?
How does the school know how effective its arrangements its provision for children and young people with special educational needs are?
- Loddon is organised into 7 living and learning groups based in 7 houses each for four young people.
- Every young person’s education programme is co-ordinated by their teacher working in liaison with parents and other professionals.
- Each teacher is responsible for a group of 4 young people which allows them to get to know the individual and their family very well, facilitating a close and supportive three-way relationship.
- Teachers lead a dedicated staff team (for each group) who ensure that teaching happens right across the waking day, seven days a week.
- Teachers work closely with Mentors whose role is to ensure that all pupils have access to their learning programmes across the whole waking day. Teachers and Mentors ensure that all team members work consistently, using agreed individualised approaches.
- The people within the house-based team will also have a focus on health, therapeutic and care needs and it is essential that they work holistically and seamlessly to fully meet the needs of the young people through the most beneficial approaches.
- The focus of education at Loddon is to teach practical and functional skills for life which can be related back to the National Curriculum through P-levels.
- Every pupil has an Individual Education and Care Plan (IECP), based on the need to replace restrictive behaviours with positive skills for interaction and communication. Priorities are identified through a methodical approach by a multidisciplinary team, overseen by the Headteacher
- Educational programmes are reviewed at least every 5 months to ensure that individual pupils are making progress.
- The Principal, Assistant Principals and Teachers monitor teaching and learning across the school.
- The Trustees of The Loddon Foundation monitor the operations of the school to ensure it continues to fulfil theFoundation’s objectives, is financially sound and that its reputation is upheld.
- Ofsted inspect care practices twice a year and education every three years.
- Every Looked After Child has a named social worker who makes regular statutory visits to Loddon to ensure ongoing quality of provision.
- We welcome and respond to parent and family feedback.
How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s / young person’s needs?
What are the school’s approaches to differentiation?
How will that help my child/young person?
- We understand each young person as an individual. We do not try to fit young people into what we “do”. We build a service around them.
- Before and upon joining Loddon, every pupil’s needs, skills and abilities are assessed.
- Based on assessment, a personalised curriculum will be designed for each individual which will be implemented throughout every aspect of the young person’s life.
- We design teaching programmes within each pupil’s preferred activities so that they are motivated by their learning experiences and want to repeat them; targets can be challenging but achievable, linked to the skills which pupils will use in adult life
- Education is linked with behavioural support targets to reduce restrictive behaviours which will maximise each young person’s potential
- Our curriculum covers the waking day which means children have opportunities to learn throughout the day.
How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s / young person’s learning?
In addition to the normal reporting arrangements what opportunities will there be for me to discuss his or her progress with the staff? How does the school know how well my child/young person is doing?
How will I know what progress my child/young person should be making?
What opportunities will there be for regular contact about things that have happened at school e.g. a home / school book?
How will you explain to me how his or her learning is planned and how I can help support this outside of the school?
How and when will I be involved in planning my child’s/young person’s education?
Do you offer any parent training or learning events?
- Daily records are kept of each pupil’s access to learning, achievement, behaviour, health and wellbeing. Detailed, multi-disciplinary reports are prepared every 5 months and are presented at reviews via PowerPoint with lots of photographs to illustrate the young person’s progress and engagement.
- Parents and family members are invited to all review meetings along with other disciplines and key people (Teacher, PBS, Social Worker, IRO, Principal, Head of Care, Mentor).
- Targets are set at these review meetings.
- Parents receive a call at least once a week to update them on how their child is doing. Parents are welcome to arrange informal meetings about any aspect of their child’s health, education or care; there are many opportunities for this.
- There will always be an opportunity to chat to staff about your child whenever parents visit school.
- See also Section 13.
- Parents are welcome to access any of the training on offer at the school (see Section 7). We also arrange parent workshops from time to time.
What support will there be for my child’s/young person’s overall well being?
What is the pastoral, medical and social support available in the school for children with SEND?
How does the school manage the administration of medicines and providing personal care?
What support is there for behaviour, avoiding exclusions and increasing attendance?
How will my child / young person being able to contribute his or her views?
How will the school support my child?
- At Loddon there are 5 Children’s Services Managers who work throughout the week, day and night, whose focus is the wellbeing of every young person and who ensure that the highest standards of care and safeguarding are upheld
- We have a part-time School Nurse (RN) and full-time Health Care Assistant who focus on the health needs of every individual. They also train key staff in the administration of medication; only trained staff are permitted to administer medication from the dispensary in each house
- Staff are trained annually in understanding and supporting children with epilepsy and other health needs.
- Access to paediatrician
- 6 monthly GP / dental health checks, optician regularly, medication reviews, immunisations
- Attending appointments (psychiatrists, dietician, specialists)
- Aromatherapist, osteopath
- Social support
- Small houses due to communication difficulties and developmental needs of all children
- Staff advocating constantly on behalf of the children
- Opportunities for social support, social worker visits, independent advocates, integrating into community
- One big happy package as school and care work together across the whole day
- PBS department
- Staff live and breathe these
- Non-punitive ethos
- Individual programmes around individual preferences
- 52 week provision
- No exclusions in 25 years. A handful have “grown out” of the provision and moved on with our usual transition support available
- child / young person to do this?
- Generally non-verbal so continuous observation of behaviour
- Fortnightly team meetings act as observation sharing opportunities
- Improvement ideation
- Can participate in review if able and motivated to do so
- Use of pictures/symbols where able
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?
Are there specialist staff working at the school and what are their qualifications?
What other services does the school access including health, therapy and social care services?
- Regular (weekly) events- performing arts, drama, osteopath, aromatherapist, music therapist, music services for SEN, speech therapy, art)
- Visiting/ occasional services (theatre groups, musicals, dance performances)
- All staff fully trained in communication, autism, etc
What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or are having?
This should include recent and future planned training and disability awareness.
- In-house mandatory training delivered to ALL staff (regardless of role) annually: safeguarding, health and safety, fire awareness and manual handling,
- In-house school-specific training, delivered to all staff (regardless of role) to enable all staff to understand and support all pupils; autism, communication, sensory needs, PROACT-SCIPr-UK®, Positive Behaviour Support,
- Differentiated training depending on job role; PLLUSS, first aid, water safety, COSHH, maintenance, food hygiene.
- Vocational qualifications targeted at different staff roles, defined in person spec’s
- Inclusive approach- all staff receive all key areas of training
- Numerous professional development opportunities
- 1:1 supervisions identifying needs (ICEP) and staff strengths to inform area planning and longevity of service
- Different types of training e.g mentor vox / ASD / Play, team based training re individual needs
- Induction / orientation/ mentoring, linking knowledge with practice
- Proact scip/ PLLUSS
- Competencies/ recruitment/ salary; range of professionals “on entry” – e.g. SaLT, psychology/ social work
- Training audit (organisational) carried out annually
- Staff structure enable training each Friday
- Quotes from staff /Ofsted
- On site train the trainers, e.g. manual handling
How will my child/young person be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?
Will he or she be able to access all of the activities of the school and how will you assist him or her to do so?
How do you involve parent carers in planning activities and trips?
- Every pupil is enabled to access all of the activities on site. The only thing that stops them is if they hate the activity! Available on-site are; Animal care, Swimming, Pony carting, Horse riding, Gardening, Individual music sessions, Cooking, Sensory room / garden, Art, Bouncy Castle
- We have 8 vehicles for use by our young people. Off-site activities are intended to further develop skills learnt at school and are based on each young person’s preferences. Activities available weekly are; Thames Valley Adventure Playground (Taplow), Camp Mohawk (Twyford), Oriols Music Studio, Mencap Youth Club, Swimming off site, Active Life Centre (gym), Horse riding, Eating out, Shopping, Walks in the countryside, Play parks, Occasional trips, Cinema, Theatre, Visits to other schools with specialist facilities (e.g. soft play), Concerts, Theme parks, Stratfield Saye House (home of our Patron, Lady Douro), Ice skating, Ten pin bowling
- Off site activities are well-planned in advance and all venues risk assessed. Each off-site visit is led by responsible member of staff. Pupils are supported 1:1 and often additional staff will also accompany them, especially if venue is new
- Some venues are more suitable for different age groups. Some children’s behaviour may preclude them from accessing some activities but we would always aim as a long term goal for all children to access all activities
How accessible is the school environment?
Is the building fully wheelchair accessible?
Have there been improvements in the auditory and visual environment?
Are there disabled changing and toilet facilities?
How does the school communicate with parent carers whose first language is not English?
How will equipment and facilities to support children and young people with special educational needs be secured?
- The school offers a safe environment with high staffing ratios for children who have no idea of their own personal safety
- It is not a secure site but is located in a semi-rural location, away from immediate traffic dangers. The perimeter is surrounded by fences, fields and a lane
- Some areas are fenced with locked gates to allow children freedom of movement within that environment. In all open areas children need close supervision by a member of staff
- In its criteria for admission the school sets out that the children should be able bodied and mobile, for very good reason. Given the nature of our children’s disabilities and their behaviour, less physically able children would be particularly vulnerable, and those with mild and moderate learning difficulties would not be suited to our specialised curriculum, nor would they have a peer group. Children who have additional sensory disabilities – partial sight or deafness -can and have be admitted to the school
How will the school prepare and support my child / young person to join the school, transfer to a new setting / school / college or the next stage of education and life?
What preparation will there be for both the school and my child / young person before he or she joins the school?
How will he or she be prepared to move onto the next stage?
What information will be provided to his or her new setting / school / college?
How will you support a new setting / school / college to prepare for my child / young person?
- We assess individual needs and the support a young person requires before offering a place. This involves
- A paper review of information provided on a given child followed by a face to face assessment, spending time with a young person in their educational or care setting or the family home to determine whether we can meet their needs
- An offer of a place is made and parents are encouraged to visit and spend time at the school to see if they think we are the right place for their child
- A transition plan (which may or may not include visits to Loddon) is put in place by school with the input and advice of parents and other connected professionals
- On entry to the school the child will be supported by a small team of staff to settle in, becoming familiar with the Loddon environment and the people within it. Initial experiences are intended to be low-demand and at the individual’s pace, focussing on activities which have been identified as their most-preferred. The aim is to enable each young person to feel calm and relaxed and well-supported
- Through our Transition Co-ordinator we offer support to parents throughout the transition stage, aiming to keep communication channels open and transparent
- Before a young person reaches 18 we aim to ensure that their case has been allocated to a social worker or care manager from the placing authority’s adult team; however this is not within our direct control
- We facilitate participation by all parties in all assessments for the young person:- Pathways, Continuing Health, Communication Passports, etc.
- We are happy to help to identify suitable providers and participate in placement assessments with parents through the support of our multi-disciplinary team (Teacher, PBS, SLT, OT)
- We will contribute to a personal transition plan which meets the needs of the individual and facilitate relationship building between staff from the new provision and the young person prior to any move
- Support is given to the young person to make any transition visits to the new placement
How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to children’s/young people’s special educational needs?
How is the school’s special educational needs budget allocated?
- Fees are charged to the placing authority to cover the cost of each placement
- These costs are inclusive of education, care and in-house therapies
- They do not include clothing or pocket money; parents are expected to provide these
- The school does not currently actively fund-raise but donations to the school are used to improve facilities for the children (e.g. play equipment)
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?
Describe the decision making process.
Who will make the decision and on what basis?
Who else will be involved?
How will I be involved?
How does the school judge whether the support has had an impact?
- Fees charged to Local Authorities are based on an average level of staff support of 1:1. There will be quieter times when individual children will have a lower staffing ratio for short periods (this helps them to learn to share the attention of staff) and equally times when children have a higher ratio (e.g. because their behaviour requires it or because they are going off site)
- The school is very flexible in its approach to this
- We sometimes reach the stage when additional support for an individual becomes the norm in order to keep everyone safe; in these circumstances we may apply to the placing authority for additional funding
How are parents involved in the school? How can I be involved?
Describe the school’s approach to involving parents in decision making and day to day school life including for their own child or young person.
- Many parents and families live at a distance from Loddon and therefore we make every effort to keep families informed and included in the day to day lives of their child, in planning for their education and ongoing support, including working together to identify future placements when the young person reaches adulthood
- We do this through weekly letters (staff support each child to compose a picture letter home), regular phone calls, email, Skype and supported visits or outings
- We have a web-based parent’s forum, individual picture galleries for sharing photos, blogs and regular whole school newsletters
- We have an annual family picnic day in May to which extended families and family friends are welcomed and every December a whole school performance, as well as other fun days throughout the year
- Before a child joins us we consult with parents about their child’s preferences and the things that parents feel are most important in their child’s life so that we can provide the best possible environment and support plan right from the start. This includes choosing décor and furnishings for their child’s bedroom
- Reviews (held 5 monthly) are crucial in providing the opportunity to celebrate a child’s progress and achievement and to formally discuss and make decisions about any changes needed to the education, health and care plan
- Parents are welcome to visit their son or daughter at any time and we have many places and spaces (indoor and out) in which they can spend time together, including a small kitchen for cooking together
- We offer parents and families a range of training (communication, positive behaviour support, PROACT-SCIPr-UK®) by our in-house training team
- We are happy to make individualised communication resources for parents to use when they visit or for use in their own home
- We welcome parent’s involvement in running cultural activities to share specific family cultures with the whole school.
- We can offer supported home day visits, supported outings or shopping trips together
- Parents are always invited to their child’s medical appointments and we recognise the importance of the key information that they hold
- We place high value on parent’s views and suggestions
- We have a formal complaints procedure should that be required
Who can I contact for further information?
Who would be my first point of contact if I want to discuss something about my child/young person?
Who else has a role in my child’s/young person education?
Who can I talk to if I am worried?
Who should I contact if I am considering whether child/young person should join the school?
Who is the SEN Coordinator and how can I contact them?
What other support services are there who might help me and provide me with information and advice?
Where can I find the local authority’s Local Offer?
- The first point of contact at Loddon will be your child’s teacher or one of the two Mentors based in your child’s house
- However at any time you can ask to speak to a specific person; this could be the Principal, Head of Care, a Children’s Service Manager, any therapist, school nurse or anyone involved in the day to day support of your child. When a child joins Loddon School we send out a “Who’s Who” photo sheet, detailing the people involved in supporting your child and their role
- If you are thinking about Loddon as an option for your child contact the school office in the first instance and they will put you in touch with the best person