Students at Arc School Old Arley each have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and referrals to the school come from a wide range of local authorities. We offer renewed opportunities for children with a wide range of needs including Autism Spectrum (AS), Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attachment Difficulties (AD).
In order to secure positive adult attachments all students have an allocated Keyworker who oversees their welfare and development. Trust is built on that which exists between staff and students, enabling all staff to have a detailed awareness and understanding of every day needs. This are then shared with other relevant staff. This allows students to be effectively supported at meetings and reviews and provides a direct and familiar line of information and contact for families. Keyworkers liaise with home on at least a weekly basis but can be contacted with any concerns or queries as necessary.
Staff work closely with parents and carers to develop very detailed knowledge of our students and families. Through continuous assessment, they are able to notice any changes in pupil learning, health or wellbeing and amend the provision accordingly. They are supported in this by the on-site multi-disciplinary team, consisting of Speech and language Therapists (SALTs), Educational Psychologists (Eps), Occupational Therapists (OTs), Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCO) and the allocated Keyworkers. Any issues or concerns raised by parents and carers or school staff are investigated thoroughly and additional support provided or signposted.
High levels of adult supervision and small learning groups create an emotionally containing atmosphere for anxious children. We draw from the expertise of our therapists and other professionals to constantly review and improve our practice, triangulate our judgements and ensure our provision caters fully for the needs of all pupils. All staff have comprehensive training focussed on the specialist knowledge necessary to support the complex needs of our students.
The multi-disciplinary team work alongside teachers, and in conjunction with parents, to develop a Personal Learning Pathway for their students. These plans include the students' and parents'/carers' aspirations. Staff teams work closely with the multi-disciplinary teams to select and develop strategies to meet individual needs.
Arc School Old Arley follows the National Curriculum and maintains a rich, broad and balanced curriculum which promotes intellectual, personal, social, development, alongside spiritual and physical development within an organised caring environment.
All main subjects of the curriculum are taught and qualifications are available in different formats, offering a wide choice of achievable goals for students including GCSEs, BTECs, Entry Levels in Maths, English, Science, Humanities, Food Technology, plus other subjects. We offer a broad creative curriculum for students. It is designed to meet their individual needs and to give best possible educational outcomes, laying the foundations to future educational success.
We provide a themed curriculum for Key Stages 2 and 3 which still follows the National Curriculum. For Key Stage 4 the provision of GCSE’s and options are of importance for our learners’ next step in their learning journey. The themes work in cooperation with our skills walls of progress following six strands: communication, citizenship, flexibility, emotional wellbeing, independence and discovery.
A range and breadth of opportunities are available for the students at the school and there is a particular focus on extending the curriculum by providing outdoor education and working in partnership with other organisations such as colleges or businesses to enrich opportunities for all.
We give all students an awareness of the work place environment, how to interact appropriately in it and to develop a positive vision for their future. Students engage in enterprise projects across all key stages and engage in work placements at KS4. This is supported by Prospect to help guide students towards successful transition to FE Colleges and employment.
Creative Approach to Learning
Our creative approach to learning is founded on the fact that failure is an essential and highly desirable aspect of learning. We accept that learning can happen in many ways but that the most effective kind stems from when we make mistakes. We encourage thinking, making connections, varying options, elaborating on ideas, collaborating and questioning critically. We encourage staff to seize unexpected learning opportunities by freeing them from restrictive practices. Above all we emphasize that avoiding mistakes compromises our ability to learn effectively.
As a result of engaging creatively with the learning process we seek to develop learners who draw from a wide range of experiences to question concepts. We encourage them to explore more deeply, thinking about their solutions. We promote discussion and reflection on their ideas to create high quality learning that they value and enjoy.
Learning outside the Classroom
At Arc School Old Arley there is a particular focus on extending the curriculum, taking learning outside the classroom into the grounds and community beyond and working in partnership with other organisations to enrich opportunities for students.
We embrace outdoor education by teaching Forest Schools, Horticulture and a wide range of sporting activities. We believe that Students need to develop a deeper understanding of their place in the natural world and the need to conserve scarce resources as populations grow. We encourage healthy balanced lifestyles by encouraging students to grow their own food, think globally while acting locally.
The school is also involved extensively in the local community including working with local churches and businesses to provide learning opportunities for students.
Students are offered many structured, challenging activities including swimming and outdoor pursuits and both during and after the school day, in our 'eXtra' provision. Many other trips are arranged including shopping trips, visits to museums, theatres, garden centres, fishing pools and farm visits.
There are a range of residential visits each year, off-site trips include time spent at Drapers Field, Snowdon and the Calvert Trust, Keswick outside Education Centres, for year 8, 9 and 10 students. Here, they take part in canoeing, archery, zip wires, and much more. Year 11 students participate in Duke of Edinburgh Camping Expeditions.
Communication with Home
We believe that communication needs to be a two way process, between parents, carers and staff, if it is to be effective to support students in their development. Telephone calls and emails are used regularly for parents to communicate with teachers and keyworkers, as well as letters, text messages, newsletters and the school website to relay important information and news to parents and carers from school.
There are a series of meetings with parents and carers to discuss all aspects of the child. These include:
- Home Visit New pupils meetings after 6 weeks,
- Overview of Annual Reviews of the SSEN / EHCP
- Open Afternoon Awards Evening
Reports to parents and carers on attainment and behaviour are sent every term. Enquires from parents and carers about their child's progress and welfare are welcome at any time, as are visits to the school, emails and phone calls.
Professional Development of Staff
All staff receive a comprehensive induction programme, including sessions on safeguarding, roles & responsibilities, behaviour management, identifying and meeting needs. This ensures that the correct skills and knowledge are gained and the statutory requirements are fulfilled.
Each academic year the school undertakes five in-house training days. The first training day of each academic year allows for planning and preparation for the year ahead. Training programmes are delivered by either external specialists or by appropriately trained staff and can be based on the changing needs of the students, School Improvement Plans, managing performance and appraisal reviews. There is also an annual programme of training, including updates as required to meet statutory health and safety obligations.
Student views are voiced through meetings, School Council. The School Council collate and disseminate key information to support school improvement. Students are included in the annual review process through a questionnaire.
Arc School Old Arley is committed to communicating with students, parents and carers who have English as an additional language. Appropriate training and assistance will be sought for such cases as the need arises. The environment is wheelchair accessible, including toilet facilities. We are able to offer our full curriculum on the ground floor level. The school also has a disability access plan to further improve the site over the next five years.
We encourage students to recognise that previous environments may not have been right for them at that time. We teach children to accept that learning will cause anxiety that they need to embrace challenges and accept that failure can be the first step on the road to success in order to achieve as learners. Many of our students conclude that they are not good at anything because they have not been good at what is measured and valued in mainstream schools. They have become paralysed through a fear of failure and often give up when faced with new situations rather than risk the inevitable failure that they perceive accompanies their school experience. We reject this idea and strive to create enabling, communication-friendly environments built around trust, respect and mutual understanding.
Admission to Arc School Old Arley is arranged via a referral from Local Authority services. An initial visit by appointment is followed by a formal interview, home visit and assessment period. However, in some circumstances a bespoke induction package may be preferable to help an individual young person make the transition in the most positive way possible.
Placements are offered to students whose needs can be met within the existing framework of the school and its learner group, and a home-school agreement outlines the responsibilities of school, student and parents.