Grange Park School in Wrotham, Kent has achieved the Inclusive School Award with Centre of Excellence status.
An Inclusive Specialist School
Grange Park is a very inclusive specialist school that is highly respected by parents and pupils. One year 9 member of the school council said,
“They understand Autism here.”
Parents of children who have had negative experiences in previous settings are delighted with the school, as one parent said at the Parent Group meeting,
“My boy is a different child now he is at this school. I have got my child back.”
Meeting the Needs of All Children
The overarching vision of the school is that each pupil is an individual and the school works as hard as possible to make sure that the curriculum, resources, strategies etc are all tailor made to suit each individual so that they make exceptional progress. This happens due to a highly skilled and experienced staff base, including a range of professionals: teachers, learning mentors, speech therapists, occupational therapists, counsellor, art therapist who work collaboratively to devise relevant plans and programmes for progress. Parents are very supportive of the school and are seen as equal partners in the education process. They spoke about their involvement in the annual review of EHCPs and how much they appreciate that their child attends the meetings and is fully involved. They also were grateful for the very personalised school reports that they receive with their focus on positive achievements.
Staff were praised in the last school Ofsted report 2016 as follows:
“Staff are calm and resilient in their approach to helping pupils to manage their behaviour and emotions more effectively. As a result, pupils know what is expected of them and respond to guidance from staff. Underneath this is a foundation of positive relationships and staff who know the needs of each child exceptionally well.”
Highly Trained and Experienced Staff
Professional development is a key priority for the school and staff are highly trained and experienced in working with pupils with Autism. Staff attend Grange Park Outreach sessions, where there are outside speakers with expertise in different areas of Autism, psychology, behaviour and therapy lead sessions. The introduction of SCERTS means that all progress is now measurable and emotional regulation is rightly seen as a precursor to being able to learn and develop new skills. The Therapy team is a very valuable group within the school, who run the induction programme for new members of staff and work with parents of new pupils so that they understand SCERTS and how school and home can work together. This means that transition into the school is excellent with everyone already knowing the profile of a new entrant before they start at the school.
Governors are Very Active
Governors are very active members of the school community with a strong presence in the school. They are supportive and also offer challenge to the Headteacher. They have a strong understanding of the needs of children with Autism and work hard to secure the best opportunities for the school population. The school is purpose-built for young people with Autism, classrooms are spacious and are all set out in the same manner to give consistency and reduce anxiety. There are many examples around the school that highlight how staff aim for consistency. All staff have a keyring on them that has the transactional supports for all the children in the school on it so that each adult can support each child. All staff are provided with a sheet called, “Whole school communication strategies to support learning: strategies to be used by all staff with all pupils.” This is a powerful tool for inclusion as it means all pupils are having their communication needs met.
A Well-Equipped School
The school is well-equipped with specialist teaching rooms, quiet rooms and form rooms. There is an ICT suite, cookery room and art/design and technology room.
The Outdoor Learning Environment
In the school grounds, the pupils have access to a wild garden with budgies, chickens, an outdoor gym area with large punch bag, a large playground for sports and a Forest school area. The wide variety of spaces as well as the range of lunchtime clubs means that there is something for everyone whatever their interests. The parkour club, life skills club led by the Occupational Therapist are all popular and the calm club for people who just want a break from noise and activity is also successful.
An Updated School Curriculum
The school curriculum has been updated and is now more inclusive of individuals’ strengths and needs. Intervention groups take place where needed and all the pupils value their enrichment afternoon where they partake in activities such as swimming, ice-skating and bowling off-site. Staff uses these less-structured settings to work on SCERTS targets. Key Stage 5 has a strong focus on Preparing for Adulthood with work experience links, employability courses and life skills. More academic courses are followed when appropriate.
The school council were very mature and were keen to say how much they liked the school and to describe some of the things they do and what they have learnt. They were a pleasure to meet.
Find out more about the IQM Inclusive School Award
If your school is interested in obtaining the IQM Inclusive School Award or you wish to talk to a member of the IQM team please telephone:
028 7127 7857 (9.00 am to 5.00 pm)
or email: email@example.com for further details.
Want more information on the IQM Award? Click here to request your free IQM information pack.