A PARENT’S GUIDE TO OUR SCHOOL
Our School at a glance…
- Day School
- 8-16 Years
- Truro Business Park, Threemilestone, Truro, Cornwall TR4 9NH
- 01872 264 221
How does the school know when a young person needs extra help?
Oak Tree School is a special school positioned near the city of Truro in Cornwall. The school opened in the summer of 2014 and provides full-time specialist co- education for children and young people aged 8 to 16 who experience social, emotional, communication difficulties and associated challenging behaviours. These children and young people often cannot cope, function or achieve within a mainstream environment. Oak Tree School provides a structured, nurturing approach, with pupils accessing a broad, balanced and engaging curriculum to meet their significant needs. Pupils attending Oak Tree School may have learning difficulties and/or low attainment that are associated with their emotional and behavioural difficulties. They may have experienced historical low levels of engagement or underlying anxiety within learning situations.
On entry to the school our experienced admissions panel, which includes our Headteacher and Educational Psychologist will undertake a thorough baseline assessment. This assessment will identify where children are in terms of their learning (literacy skills, numeracy skills
and science) and will also assess emotional development. This initial assessment will inform individual education plans and the results will be fed back to parents/carers within six weeks of joining the school.
Ongoing assessment is used to inform how students are progressing against this baseline assessment. Oak Tree School’s senior staff will meet on a half termly basis to identify students who are not progressing as expected so that action plans can be developed to help implement and evaluate intervention strategies.
Parents and carers will receive daily feedback on the progress of their child and detailed termly reports highlighting student’s progress across the broader curriculum.
Children and young people who attend Oak Tree School with a Education, Health and Care Plan will have their primary and additional needs reviewed on an annual basis. All stakeholders input into the review including children, parents/ carers and relevant professionals.
How will the school staff support my young person?
From the moment young people join our school we look to identify how we can best support them. Our initial six week assessment helps us form a clear strategy to best support and encourage our young people and their families.
All young people at Oak Tree School will have a student passport. These documents will identify specific targets related to improving their learning and their social and emotional development. Tutors will monitor and update these documents on a half termly basis alongside the child or young person identifying progress and barriers. Parents and carers will be kept informed of any updates. The student passport will inform any decisions made at the annual review meeting if the child or young person has an Education, Health and Care Plan.
At Oak Tree School we use continual teacher assessment to identify how well students are making progress academically and in terms of identified needs. We use this information to tailor learning to work on any areas that need to be developed. All progress towards the challenging targets we set students is fed back to parents and carers in detailed termly reports.
Children and young people who attend Oak Tree School will have access to therapeutic support through our therapy team. This includes a drama therapist, educational psychologist and a counsellor. The team work directly with the young person and their parents/carers to identify areas of strength, areas for development and individual goals, so that personalised plans can be created and regularly reviewed.
Students have daily contact with their form tutor. The form tutor is the first point of contact for parents through the home/school record books, phone conversations, emails and meetings.
How will the curriculum be matched to my young person’s needs?
All students at Oak Tree School have access to a broad and balanced curriculum. When students join us the initial baseline assessment identifies the strengths and gaps in student’s curriculum knowledge. We then tailor our lessons to ensure that we close any gaps in learning and develop areas of strength. Students up to Year 8 will follow a ‘developmental curriculum’ which broadly follows the new KS2 national curriculum and covers most programmes of study.
Our transitional curriculum for students up to Year 9 broadly covers the KS3 national curriculum and most relevant programmes of study. This transitional curriculum also provides many opportunities for children and young people to become accredited in a range of subjects including all the core subjects. We prepare students for their ‘transition’ to KS4 thus helping to ensure best outcomes for our children and young people.
Learning at Oak Tree School is facilitated by one teacher and at least one teaching assistant per class depending upon the children’s needs. Class sizes are no bigger than eight children or young people.
At Oak Tree School we run interventions to enable students to make progress with their literacy and numeracy skills. All students have bespoke subject targets linked to National Curriculum levels or GCSE grades which are reviewed termly. We emphasise life skills throughout our curriculum.
Our PSHE, Citizenship and Relationships Education gives pupils the knowledge skills and understanding that they need to stay healthy and safe, develop worthwhile relationships, respect differences, develop independence and responsibility and make the most of their own abilities and those of others. Our curriculum will encompass the Cornwall Learning Skills for Life programme which has de ned a set of highly transferable social, emotional, cognitive and communication skills which, as a whole, will enable students to develop ever increasing levels of self- awareness, self-management, self-esteem, motivation, resilience, empathy and tolerance; in short independence for learning and life.
How will both you and I know how my young person is doing and how will you help me to support my young person’s learning?
All students at Oak Tree School will have an Education, Health and Care Plan or will be under assessment towards a plan. These documents outline the needs of your child and recommend the provision, resources, approaches and multi-agency involvement required to meet those needs. The overall objectives of the Education, Health and Care Plan are broken down into smaller targets on the young person’s student passport. These passports are reviewed every half term by your child’s form tutor. Targets are set and the progress made is reviewed. All subject staff who teach your child are working on enabling your child to meet their passport targets.
We also set and review subject targets each term that outline specific subject based targets for your child to work on. These targets are linked to National Curriculum levels or GCSE grades. Staff at Oak Tree School will inform your child exactly what they need to do next to improve and make progress. This will be done with regular, accurate and targeted feedback either verbally or written. Staff will write termly reports for parents and carers and will contact parents on a daily basis if requested. Annual Review meetings and Parent Consultation evenings are held once a year providing more feedback on the child’s progress towards the targets set.
What support will there be for my young person’s overall well-being?
We are committed to multi agency working to ensure that the needs of every child and young person are met. Our work with other agencies is frequent, sustained and responsive to student and family needs.
Professionals from other agencies such as Speech and Language Therapy; Occupational Therapy, CAMHS, Social Care and Health support the work of the school on a regular basis. These agencies work with us to support students, to devise strategies and offer training and advice whenever necessary.
The staff at Oak Tree School meet on a twice daily basis to discuss pastoral issues across the school.
Oak Tree School have a therapy team consisting of an educational psychologist, a drama therapist and a counsellor. This team works with staff advising of strategies and approaches, and also works 1:1 with identified students.
We offer access to a number of therapeutic interventions including counselling, drama therapy, draw and talk therapy, video interactive guidance, loss and change groups, cognitive behaviour therapy, motivational interviewing, narrative therapy and psycho-social educational approaches.
We encourage students to use their student voice to raise any concerns or issues that they have. The School Council meets weekly and brings any issues to the fore. Students are also involved in forming their targets through passports and Annual Reviews.
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?
All of our staff have undertaken specialist training and development and are skilled in behaviour management and de-escalation techniques.
In school we have dedicated time from the following professionals:
- Educational Psychologist
- Drama therapist
We also work closely with other agencies to meet students’ needs, including:
- CAMHS Nurse
- Occupational Therapists
- School Nurse
- School GP
- Social Workers
- Wider CAMHS professionals
What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or are having?
All staff at Oak Tree School have received Team-Teach training which informs them of a broad spectrum of risk reduction strategies.
The Therapy Team provides support and supervision for staff through whole school INSET sessions and the use of solution circles to explore arising issues. Staff at Oak Tree School are committed to reactive practice and are supported by the therapy team in using video to develop this.
Relevant staff receive regular and high quality training regarding safeguarding, and all school staff receive safeguarding refresher training every two years. Staff also have daily brie ng meetings where they discuss best approaches and strategies for meeting the needs of the students.
As part of Oak Tree Schools on-going continued professional development program staff will work with professionals on a wide range of issues including behaviour management, attachment disorders, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, relationships and sex education, drugs awareness and behaviour conditions such as ADHD, ODD and OCD.
How will my young person be included in the activities outside the classroom including school trips?
At Oak Tree School off site visits are regularly organised and enhance curricular and recreational opportunities for all of our children and young people. Off site visits are also designed to create opportunities for developing independence, communication and self-management skills, and to promote positive self-esteem. We have a rigorous in-house health and safety screening for all of our o site education and work placements. This will involve working with each placement to make them aware of individual student needs and targets for the duration of the placement and ensuring that those involved in teaching our students o site are also aware of specific SEN, through detailed pen portraits and observation of lessons. We also offer students the opportunity to take part in a range of residential activities throughout their time at Oak Tree School.
All visits and o site activities are risk assessed to ensure they are appropriate and can be managed to suit individual needs.
How accessible is the school environment?
All areas of the school are accessible to wheel chairs. The upper ground floor is accessible through the main doors, the lower ground floor is accessible through the rear doors.
We have disabled toilets on both levels and disabled parking is available.
How will the school prepare and support my young person to join the school, transfer to college or the next stage of education and life?
Oak Tree School works closely with the Local Authority to ensure that the child or young person is offered provision that can meet their needs. When the school has been identified as appropriate provision the Headteacher will organise a meeting on site. Parents/ carers, child or young person, social worker (if applicable) and our educational psychologist will be invited and admission procedures and documents will be explained and completed. At this meeting students will be given a ‘handbook’ which acts as a guide to help explain everything a young person may need to know about Oak Tree School.
After 6 weeks of joining the school an initial assessment of need will have been completed. This will have been overseen by our educational psychologist and will inform parents, carers and young people how the school can best support them.
We invite parents and carers to parents evening on a termly basis to discuss how their child is settling in and progressing at Oak Tree School.
Careers education is an important part of our curriculum and students are presented with a broad and balanced outlook of career opportunities. Oak Tree school also works closely with ‘Careers Southwest’ to ensure all Year 9 students receive excellent advice on their transition to KS4. Transition planning is an important part of the Annual Review process and parents, carers and students meet with their Careers Southwest advisor regularly to discuss ideas about college, training or employment. In addition to this, all of our topic based learning in the Developmental Curriculum is explicitly linked to the world of work, to ensure that from the earliest opportunity children and young people’s aspirations are fostered and encouraged.
How are the school’s resources allocated and matched to young people’s special educational needs?
The majority of the schools resources are used to provide small class sizes with appropriate levels of staffng. Pupil Premium funding is received for some students and these funds are spent on our intervention program that aims to raise the levels of literacy and numeracy for students in receipt of the Pupil Premium, or those students for whom literacy and numeracy are additional areas of need. Our interventions program is delivered by the Interventions Teaching Assistant, and the program is devised by the Literacy Co-ordinator and the HLTA with responsibility for Literacy.
All of our classes are provided with resources to ensure the delivery of a personalised curriculum.
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
Your child’s Education, Health and Care Plan identifies the level of support required to meet your child’s needs. This is agreed through discussion between the school and your Local Authority.
Oak Tree School plan provision to achieve the objectives outlined in the Education, Health and Care Plan for each individual pupil.
The initial 6 week assessment of need will inform everyone involved of any changes required for the plan and an interim Plan review may be arranged if appropriate.
How are parents involved in the school? How can I be involved?
At Oak Tree School we believe in working in partnership with parents and carers to achieve the very best outcomes for students. When parents attend the initial admission meeting the school asks parents how regularly and in what form they would like to be contacted.
All students will have a home/school book, which staff will complete on a daily basis, recording what lessons the student has had and give an overall rating (green/amber/ red) for the three main sessions of the day. These books will also be used to record any homework given out and
there is also a space for parents to complete each day. In addition to this, as a minimum parents will be contacted on a weekly basis either by email, phone call or text regarding the progress of their child. We also organise termly parent evenings, face to face meetings and annual reviews. We also communicate with parents and carers via termly reports and newsletters.
As a school we welcome contact from parents/carers and would encourage parents to contact us if there are any questions or concerns.
Who can I contact for further information?
Please contact Mike Deacy, Headteacher at:
Oak Tree School Truro Business Park Threemilestone Truro
T: 01872 264 221