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SEND Report

What does your school offer children with Special Educational Needs and/or a learning disability?

Willoughby School is an all age special school for pupils with severe and profound learning difficulties. It has a strong reputation in the County and the school prides itself on the support it provides for parents and their children. We are always available to talk, meet, review and change how we work, as each pupil is exceptionally individual to us. Our school enjoys wide ranging involvement in the local are; contributing much to local life in the way our pupils and our school are seen as part of a vibrant community. Our ethos is simple – for each child to achieve. 

What specialist expertise / facilities does your school have?

Our school has been designed around meeting the needs of children with severe and profound learning difficulties.  It is painted and decorated to ensure that young people with visual difficulties and those with sensory issues have the best opportunity to learn and concentrate in a safe environment. Specialised space for interventions exist in the form of 2 sensory rooms, a sensory integration suite, a hot spa and a fully equipped ICT suite. The school also provides a 4D Immersive Space, withdrawal rooms and flexible spaces in classrooms as well as  extensive outdoor areas including sensory garden and polytunnel for pupils to earn horticultural accreditation.

In terms of expertise our excellent staff are able to meet a wide range of pupil needs. Many have additional qualifications and training in Autism, behaviour support and management, moving and handling, TEACCH, PECs, medical interventions and first aid to name just a few. As a parent it is important that you feel confident in the knowledge that Willoughby staff can meet your child’s needs and that is why we encourage parents and carers to come to talk to us whenever is convenient to them, to meet the staff and tour the facilities.

How will the school allocate the specialist expertise and personalised support for my child?

Each child is treated as an individual at Willoughby School and their schooling and education is built around their needs, wishes and aspirations. Regular assessment of those needs, wishes and aspirations takes place. Our open door policy allows for regular formal and informal contact with the school, the teachers and senior team. Personalised support is arrived at through getting to know the child very well, and gaining their respect in the first instance; from that point  specific approaches, targets and curriculum pathways are determined that are regularly discussed and reviewed. At the heart of any child and person centred planning is ensuring the needs, wishes and aspirations of every young person are heard and, more importantly, acted upon. In close partnership with parents and carers, the young person and whatever other service may be involved we will match personalised support to the young person.

What additional training and experience do your staff have to meet my child's needs?

Our staff at school are our strength, with a wealth of expertise and knowledge. Staff have regular Makaton training and updates provided by our in house Makaton tutor as well as regular updates and training to meet any medical needs that a child or young person may have – including having staff trained formally in both ‘4 day’ and paediatric first aid (supported by specialist  external nurse training teams). Staff undertake regular training in areas such as Autism awareness and practice, working with pupils with profound learning needs and behavioural needs including positive handling. Training in the use of specialised facilities including rebound therapy, systematic instruction, Information and Communications Technology, sensory integration, sensory rooms and our newly equipped immersive space are regularly implemented. Exploring alternative curricula to continually refine our pupils learning experience is also undertaken throughout each academic year.

What support will there be to ensure my child’s emotional health and wellbeing?

Willoughby School, due to its small size, allows for each young person to have all their pastoral and emotional health needs met.  Pupils are able to talk to staff in their class groups, where every child is respected as an individual, and across the wider school as appropriate for them. Wider opportunities come through regular Personal and Social sessions as well as in our School Council meetings – where every pupil in the school is a member and can voice their thoughts.

Pupils have defined ‘person centred planning time’ in our Upper School and the planning document created underpins plans for their future. A blank planning document will be given to all parents and carers for information and will be uploaded to our website. Wider professionals involved may be drawn from Social Care or Health colleagues – for example the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service should all parties decide such input is required. Medical needs are catered for across the school, and supported by clear administration protocols and wider professional support in the form of the Specialists Nursing Team. Behavioural support takes the place of clear family agreed protocols. Plans and guidance for supporting children and young people with behavioural need or challenge are in place and reviewed at least once a year. For more challenging behaviour it may be the case that once again wider professionals support our ‘team approach’.

Attendance is regularly reviewed and parents and carers receive a termly ‘break down’ of their child’s attendance. Where there may be signs that attendance is becoming challenging a meeting at school with the Headteacher James Husbands will take place and look at supporting the family through the challenge.

Bullying is not tolerated in any form at our school and should concerns be raised the issues are dealt with sensitively and as part of a ‘team’ approach.

Who provides the provision and support for your child in school?

There are a number of levels of support available in school for the child or young person. Class teachers are the main contact for day to day issues and challenges, supported by the Deputy Headteacher Nina Prowting and the Headteacher James Husbands.

The class teacher will plan, oversee and review all work for your child to ensure that they achieve at least GOOD if not OUTSTANDING progress. Should you have concerns about your child’s progress then Nina Prowting and James Husbands offer an open door policy to meet with parents and carers and discuss progress.

Your child’s class teacher will meet you at least twice a year to discuss and review your child’s progress, this may take the form of an annual review of any statutory plan, a regular termly Early Years review or also include parent consultation and class curriculum review meetings.

Who will be involved in delivering, monitoring and reviewing our Educational, Health and Care Plan?

Headteacher James Husbands, Deputy Headteacher Nina Prowting and your child’s teacher will be responsible for delivering, monitoring and reviewing your Educational Health and Care plan. It will be built around the needs of the child, either from observing and supporting them in their day to day school environment, from person centred planning sessions or even individual pastoral opportunities to talk to senior staff alongside the formal review process of the Education Health and Care plan. It will link very closely with the protocols noted above that relate to the ongoing monitoring, planning and discussion regarding the provision made for your child.

How will my child be involved in the process and be able to contribute their views?

Pupils are at the centre of this process. Person centred planning sessions (individually with an adult), reviews of school satisfaction through questionnaires (annual) and more general reviews of school as part of the School Council allow for the pupils’ views to be heard and acted upon. Children with profound learning needs may have their ‘voice’ listened to either through the interpretation of their views from a key worker who knows them well, or from close observation to reactions to questions or observation made of them in a range of experiences. Assistive Technology in the form of iPads and other communication devices including symbols are also used to gauge pupil voice.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child's needs?

Willoughby School offers differentiation, individualisation and personalisation for every child and young person. The curriculum that your child follows will be individualised to their needs and aspirations, and will then draw upon different strategies or resources in order to give them all of the tools for they require for success. This may be in the form of specialised environments, resources, seating and programmes (including speech, sensory integration, feeding, physical). Extensive use of signing (MAKATON) and assistive technology (iPads and computer equipment with communicative programmes) allow pupils to ‘voice’ their needs. All parents have opportunities to discuss the plans and targets that they and their child has at least twice a year. As noted above the ‘open door policy’ operated at the school allows for parents and carers to contact teachers, the Deputy Headteacher Nina Prowting and Headteacher James Husbands should they have any concerns.

What opportunities will there be for me to discuss my child's attainment and achievement?  How will I know how well my child is progressing?

Attainment and achievement for every pupil are at the heart of the schools vision.  Communication in the form of home school diaries, emails and telephone calls take place throughout the year between class staff and parents and carers. In addition review meetings take place regularly throughout the year, depending on where your child is in the school, and may take the form of curriculum review, individual target review, attendance reviews, and a formal review of the Education, Health and Care plan or at parent consultation events. These meetings will always be set up with the maximum of notice so as to allow you to attend and alternative dates and times can be discussed should it prove difficult for you as a parent or carer to attend.

How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?

Pupils are included in any trips or activities where it is felt that the activity or trip is beneficial and possible to be undertaken.  Class groups attend off site activities that support their learning, give new experiences, as a reward or as a social experience of being with their peers. Parents are informed of the activities with good notice and are encouraged to let us know of any specific needs that may be required for the activity and in some cases dependent on the activity, parents may be encouraged to attend.

How accessible is the school environment?  How accessible is the school curriculum?

Willoughby school is fully wheelchair accessible being on one level. Hygiene suites with hoists are in place across the school. Specialist equipment is used across school.  Touch screens, assistive communication aids, specialist facilities (for example sensory integration suite and hot spa), seating and decoration of the environment to reduce distraction all make the school accessible to all.

The curriculum is planned individually with you and your child. Parents whose first language is not English have reports translated and interpreters invited to all meetings and reviews.

How will the school prepare and support my child to join the school?

Pupils and their parents are invited to school to meet the Headteacher James Husbands or Deputy Headteacher Nina Prowting. They will be shown around the school and introduced to the entire school community. There will be an opportunity for the young person to ‘sit in’ with other children for a short period of time allowing parents to have some time talking with either James or Nina. Various transition opportunities will then be planned as appropriate with the young person’s parents and (if applicable) current placement.

How will the school prepare and support my child to transfer to a new setting/school/college?

For each step of the Willoughby placement, transition and change will be carefully managed allowing parents and pupils to build up information and skills that will allow them to pass into the next stage of whatever path the young person may be on. Annual discussion about ‘transitions’ occur and will be undertaken with the Headteacher James Husbands who oversees the admission process. Potentially other services and groups will be involved in certain transitions, for example colleagues from a college or residential placement, a respite care placement, work skills supporters etc.

How can I be involved in supporting my child?

Our parents are our main partners in the achievement of the pupils in our school. Anything that can be done to help us in our work is welcomed – paired reading, sharing stories, talking about experiences they have had – anything! For parents who may wish to have more detailed knowledge of some of the ‘best practice’ approaches to working with children and young people with disabilities you are encouraged to contact your child’s class teacher or Nina Prowting, our Deputy Head Teacher.

How can I access support for myself and my family?

Parents are encouraged to use the website address below to start to explore what may be available to them. We are also very happy to answer any questions you may have or be able to signpost some of the options you may have.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the above information.


Who can I contact for further information?

Headteacher: James Husbands
Deputy Headteacher: Nina Prowting
SENCo Vicki Billyard
Telephone:  01778 425203