Ravenswood School is an all-age school for children with complex special needs and severe learning difficulties. Over 40% of the school’s population has autistic spectrum disorders. Meeting the diverse needs of these amazing pupils is our challenge and joy!
Through the very high standards that adults model around the school, we expect all pupils to:
• Value each individual’s voice
• Build self-esteem and confidence
• Understand good and bad
• Show respect and understanding for others
• Value the community and world in which we live
• Be proud members of the school community
The School aims to:
• provide pupils a safe environment and the best possible education and support to promote their pathway to independence in learning and life skills;
• provide pupils with positive guidance to manage their behaviour through clear expectations, rewards and sanctions;
• achieve high standards of teaching for all pupils throughout the school day; providing an exciting curriculum in a positive and attractive environment;
• provide a pathway at the end of KS4 and the end of post-16 for every young person; preparing them for further learning and life as an adult;
• keep staff informed about school matters; consulting with them about significant changes in school organisation, curriculum and policies;
• keep parents and carers informed of their child’s progress and well-being at school;
• use robust evidence and work closely with governors and staff, evaluating the school’s performance and planning our strategic direction
1. How does the school assess the progress of pupils and what would they do if my child was falling behind?
Pupil progress is regularly assessed by teachers through observing and talking with children in lessons, as well as marking their work. They note any misconceptions children have and adapt their teaching to ensure all children understand what they are learning and how to improve their work. Teachers use all this information to assess children’s progress at the end of the Autumn, Spring and Summer terms. They meet with Mark Senior, the Deputy Headteacher, to talk through the progress of every child. These conversations are used to check if any child is at risk of not making the progress the school expects and to plan strategies for that child to catch up.
2. How accessible is the school environment?
All of the school and grounds is accessible for someone with a disability. In a few areas the ground is rough (e.g. conservation area) and few admin corridors are narrow. Ramps and wide doorways have been installed to provide access to all areas. The car park has a space designated for disabled badge holders and the school minibus has a tail-lift.
We have a range of teaching resources to ensure that every child can fully access the curriculum. Parents and carers are welcome to visit the school to see these.
3. What is the school’s approach to teaching pupils with differing special education needs?
We have high expectations of all our pupils, believing that with high quality teaching we can maximise their progress. We use a wide range of well-researched teaching strategies including:
• Ensuring pupils know what they are learning and what they need to do to improve
• Questions to check pupils’ understanding, their responses shape and reshape teaching
• Synthetic phonics (sounds for word building)
• Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
• Visual timetables and schedules
• Effective behaviour management
• Social Stories
• Task analysis and forward and backward chaining
Pupils learning to communicate and work independently will also experience:
• Makaton signs
• Picture Exchange Communication systems
• TEACCH approach
Further information on teaching strategies we use for pupils with different types of SEN can be found here.
4. Who is responsible for ensuring all children have their SEN identified and met?
Katie Barnes (Assistant Headteacher) is the SENCO within the school and Nicola Venn is our Assistant SENCO. Together they ensure that guidance from other professionals supporting a child is incorporated into daily/weekly teaching and class routines. You can contact them at the school and arrange to meet/talk through the programmes for your child.
Mark Senior (Deputy Headteacher) has the lead responsibility for ensuring that all pupils make the progress expected of them. He monitors the quality of teaching and provide guidance on how to secure consistently good and outstanding teaching.
Philippa Clark (Headteacher) is responsible for ensuring all children’s statements of SEN or Education Health Care Plans are up-to-date, and does this by working closely with pupils and their parents and carers.
5. What additional activities are available for pupils in addition to the curriculum?
We organise a range of lunchtime clubs for pupils, these are free of charge and pupils sign up each week. Each term we offer a minimum of 2 after school clubs per week which are organised and supported by Ravenswood staff. The clubs vary over time and are planned around the interests of pupils. Details of the clubs are in our weekly newsletter and Julie Davis (Family Support Advisor) can provide you with any further information. We are grateful to the Parents and Friends Association for supporting the costs of these clubs.
6. What support is available for improving the emotional and social development of pupils?
Our ethos is to build the self-esteem and social skills of all pupils. We do this throughout the school day, from meeting and greeting pupils, in lessons, assemblies, guidance at break times and lunchtimes and at the end of the school day.
When appropriate pupils have specific teaching to improve their social skills and self-control; small group work is provided by the Children’s Services Team. Guidance in managing behaviour across settings is provided by Weston Area Health Trust CAMHS team.
7. How are parents and carers involved in decisions about the education of their child?
We have a good track record of listening to parents and carers and responding to their concerns and suggestions. Parents and carers are welcome to visit the school and meet teachers; formal opportunities for this are arranged at Parents’ Evenings in October and July, an Annual Review meeting to review your child’s statement of SEN or Education Health Care Plan. We also arrange many informal opportunities e.g. coffee mornings with classes each September, school shows, sports day, and end of term assemblies. Parents and carers are always welcome to contact Julie Davis (Family Support Advisor), the class teacher, the behaviour support team or senior leaders. We are here to listen and help.
8. How are pupils involved in decisions about themselves?
Pupil voice is very important to us. We seek their views in a number of ways:
• on what they want to learn at the start of each topic,
• pupils’ responses in lessons shape the teaching.
• They all contribute to their Annual Review and End of Year Report at a level appropriate for the individual
• Each class elects a pupil to represent them on the school council, who meet and talk about how to make the school safe, free from bullying and their learning. They make decisions about clubs, playtimes and request changes to the lunchtime menus.
9. How are parents and carers supported to share their views and concerns and work alongside the school?
We are always pleased to hear from parents and ready to listen to any concerns they may have. We do this in many ways:
• Through the home-school diary
• A conversation or meeting with Julie Davis (Family Support Advisor)
• Informal meetings/telephone calls with teachers at the start or end of the day
• Arranging a meeting to talk through any concerns with a member of the Senior Leadership team.
Governors want to ensure that all parents have a mechanism to raise their concerns with confidence they will be heard. Further information can be found in the Complaints Policy on the School Policies page.
10. Do other professionals work with the school to help children with SEN?
In seeking to maximise the progress for each child it is important we work closely with any other professionals who support the child. We will only work with other professionals with agreement from parents and carers, unless there is an urgency to liaise with other professionals around keeping a child safe.
Professionals who regularly visit the school include:
Advisory Teachers – for VI or HI
Speech and Language Therapist
Psychiatrists or specialist nurses
Virtual School for Children who
are Looked After
11. Who will give independent support to parents and carers in understanding school, local authority and government procedures?
Parents and carers are always welcome to contact other agencies for support, if they are feel school staff are not able to help. The following services may be helpful in these circumstances:
Anthony Webster, SEN Officer, Town Hall, Walliscote Road, Weston-super-Mare 01275 884428
Supportive Parents, 3rd Floor, Royal Oak House, Royal Oak Avenue, Bristol, BS1 4GB 0117 9897725
12. What support is available for pupils transferring into school and in preparing them for adult life.
We plan the move in to Ravenswood carefully, involving parents and carers and the current school. We want this move to be successful and to help pupils settle swiftly. Prior to admission the pupil and their parents visit school, we gain all the information we need to write a Care Plan. We plan what support each child will need, this may include a part-time placement initially, social stories, additional support in the class.
In the first few days we liaise closely with parents and carers to ensure they build confidence in the school. We check at the end of the first term that the child and their family are happy with the school and use this information to adapt our support if needed. Parents tell us that their children settle swiftly, feel safe and love coming to school.
Pupils can stay at Ravenswood until they are in Y11 and then they can choose whether to stay here for p-16 or to move onto college. At whatever age they decide to leave Ravenswood, we work closely with them and their families to plan their next steps. We use a Person Centred Planning approach, making sure we gain the student’s views about their hopes and dreams for the future, then working with them to plan what they need to do and move towards their ambitions.
13. Where can I find out about what other schools and organisations offer?
North Somerset Council publishes a local offer detailing what other establishments can provide for children with SEN.