Who the school is for
Students at this school have complex and inter-related special educational needs to the extent that their ability to learn, thrive and develop in a secondary mainstream setting is significantly affected. The vast majority of students arrive on secondary transfer from mainstream primary schools.
The majority of students will have significant needs in one or more of the following areas
- Moderate learning difficulties with additional significant speech & language difficulties and/or social/emotional difficulties
- Speech, language and communication needs along with significant emotional or social communication difficulties
- A diagnosis of high functioning autism, atypical autism or Asperger’s Syndrome with underlying difficulties in social communication and flexible thinking
- Specific learning difficulties, often compounded by significant emotional issues
- Significant emotional vulnerability and/or mental health needs
- Severe and persistent attendance issues in association with significant emotional well-being and/or school phobia factors
Although students’ social communication, emotional and social development needs may impact on their behaviour at times, the school is not appropriate for conduct disorder or other emotional and behavioural difficulties that present an ongoing significant risk to others.
What levels are the pupils working at when they arrive?
At the time of referral for secondary transfer, there will be a clear expectation that students will be working in Year 6 within National Curriculum expectations rather than at p-levels. By this we mean that their unsupported reading, writing and maths will be above those described in the revised p-levels document
In terms of the new National Curriculum, most students will still be working at the Year 1 or 2 descriptors for English (Reading and Writing) and Maths in Year 5/6, with a minority above this (usually with Asperger Syndrome).
placement is not suitable if a student
has very severe learning difficulties e.g. has been formally assessed to be in the ‘extremely low’ range (0.1st Centile)
requires additional adult support to read, write or calculate above p-levels,
should be able to achieve 5 A*-C GCSE grades including English and Maths at age 16
Students generally have a ‘spiky’ attainment profile; having the greatest difficulties with their literacy and numeracy, with some other identified areas being stronger
Do students follow the National Curriculum?
Yes, we offer a broad, balanced and rich curriculum that includes the National Curriculum, differentiated to match the students’ starting points, which are usually much lower than average. Our curriculum also includes residential school journeys for all students in Years 7, 8, 9 & 10, a wide range of sporting activities (including competitive events against other schools/ boroughs), work experience and opportunities to develop talents through expressive arts and other creativity programmes.
Do the students do exams?
Yes, we focus a significant part of the curriculum in addressing difficulties in English and Maths, but ensure that every student is also following accredited courses in Science, Art & Design, Design Technology, Sports & Active Leisure, Computing/ICT, Personal & Social Development and Food Technology. The accreditation ranges across GCSE, Entry Level Certificates, Functional Skills, BTEC and other vocational qualifications. More information is on our website at the bottom of the curriculum statement.
How well do students progress?
The proportion of our students reaching the Level 1 Threshold at age 16 (equivalent to 5+ D-G GCSEs) depends on their individual starting points. Some individual students achieve Level 2 passes (A*-C or equivalent) in some subjects; others are mainly working at Entry Level 2 or 3.
‘Students at Stormont House make excellent progress from their starting points, so that by the time they leave they are achieving well above students with similar levels of need… By the end of Year 11, students are extremely well prepared for the next phase of their lives because the school provides experiences for them to be independent, confident, and able to make choices.’ (Ofsted 2014)
What’s the class size?
All students within the school are generally taught in classes of 10 by a teacher and a teaching assistant. This may be augmented for particular lessons by a specialist teacher, speech & language therapist, creative partner, sports coach or similar. Some students have additional adult support due to medical or particular transitional needs.
What about wider Multi-Disciplinary Provision?
The School Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) presently provides speech & language therapy; counselling; art therapy (all based within the school). There is additional provision from occupational therapy; physiotherapy; Local Authority Specialist Teachers; Young Hackney and the School Nursing Service. The MDT also works closely with, and makes referrals to, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services.
At what age do students leave?
The age range of the school is 11-17 (Years 7-12). In September 2014 we opened a Sixth Form with a difference: This is a one-year programme up to age 17 that includes 2 days per week at a college or other provider following an accredited vocational course and school-based English; Maths: Computing: Personal & Social Development: Employability: an Enterprise Project, and extended work experience. If a student is ready to join an appropriate full-time course elsewhere at age 16, we also celebrate that.
How do students get a place?
Referrals come from the relevant Local Authority, often in accordance with parental preference. The more heads and SENCos have a clear idea of our role, the fairer this process will be, as they can encourage parents to visit in advance of decisions being made. If your school or service has concerns about vulnerability on secondary transfer, it is important that the SEN team at the authority have received this in writing, preferably as part of the Education, Health & Care Plan Review in Year 5