1. How does the school know if children need extra help and what should I do if I think my child may have special educational needs?
Dorin Park School is a local authority maintained special school and all places are allocated via Cheshire West and Chester.
All students attending Dorin Park have a Statement of SEN or Education, Health and Care Plan, detailing complex needs, physical difficulties and/or medical needs and a range of additional difficulties.
Students with an EHC Plan or Statement can be admitted to the school at any point from EYFS through to Year 14 providing their needs can be met. They are taught in groups smaller than those in a mainstream setting and usually vertically grouped, within a key stage.
Our students typically have a range of physical, medical and communication needs with associated learning difficulties or global developmental delay. Some of our students have hearing and visual impairments. Nearly all of our students have some additional communication need related to their learning difficulty. Many are verbal, some non-verbal and in the case of some of our youngest children, some are pre-verbal.
We have experience of a wide range of medical conditions including Down’s Syndrome and conditions arising from premature/traumatic birth as well as a number of rarer syndromes. Some students have a passport for urgent medical treatment. We are fortunate that we are sited a short distance away from the Countess of Chester hospital.
Due to the medical needs and physical difficulties of many of our students, Dorin Park does not accept students whose primary assessment of need is Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH).
Where the LA deems it necessary, we will admit students at 16 with complex learning difficulties if they have other needs that make mainstream provision inaccessible. We continue to build independence and prepare students for work or further college study where appropriate, with a suite of accredited qualifications tailored to student need.
2. How will the school staff support my child/young person?
We recognise that supporting the child to develop their emotional health/physical health and well-being can be vital to them achieving their educational potential.
We are privileged to have access to a range of skilled staff, such as an Emotional Health and Well-being Mentor and Speech and Language Therapy service. We have on-site medical clinics, including the school doctor, school health advisor, physiotherapists, Speech and Language Therapy and occupational therapy. We have an on-site hydrotherapy pool and our specially designed playgrounds have a range of outdoor gym equipment and other play equipment to promote physical development.
The school uses a Total Communication approach to learning. Makaton is used to support speech development and understanding. PECS and communications systems and communication devices are used by some students to access the curriculum.
3. How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s/young person’s needs? How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?
As all Dorin Park students have an EHC Plan/Statement, their access to the variety of timetable opportunities are decided on the basis of their EHC Plan/Statement and an individual assessment of education and personal need.
Our curriculum is designed to provide ambition and challenge for all students. Our students work within the Engagement Model, the Pre-Key Stage Standards, and up to Entry Level and Level 1 and Level 2 in Key Stage 4 and 5.
The school places a focus on developing functional literacy and numeracy skills as well as preparing students for adulthood through developing independent living skills and work readiness.
Teaching assistants in all areas remain with the students in their pastoral group, whether they move from lesson to lesson or remain in their pastoral rooms. There is a high level of staffing across all key stages, matched to student need. In addition, we modify and adapt the timetable to introduce flexibility matched to need.
All Key Stage 4 and post-16 students have access to a range of accredited courses to assist them in accessing their chosen journey beyond school. The Sixth Form continues the learning foundations built upon earlier in the school whilst retaining the focus on development of functional literacy and numeracy, and ICT skills. Students in the Sixth Form will access provision off our main site as part of their preparation for moving on and gaining more independence, and also to have access to specialist facilities. The majority of our post-16 students go on to Further Education/college provision.
Some students have access to additional offsite provision, such as PE provision, work experience, or college visits/link courses. Some access Emotional Health and Well-being support.
4 a) How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child’s/young person’s learning?
All students are assessed on entry to the school and their progress is tracked through their SEND Profile, linked to EHC Plan/Statement outcomes.
Every year we review each student’s progress with parents/carers and other professionals via the Annual Review. Parents will also receive a yearly report on progress, and regularly updated evidence of learning via Evidence for Learning (EfL).
We hold pastoral parents’ evenings in the autumn term and spring term, and an Annual Review meeting to review their EHC Plan/Statement.
Where children require additional support they may access planned intervention programmes to assist them in improving progress or intervention programmes to nurture a specific talent.
Pastoral staff are the first link with parents. All our students have daily access to their pastoral team. Each pastoral group sits within a key stage and has a Head of Key Stage for additional support. Parents/carers will develop links with the pastoral staff, and can also liaise with the Head of Key Stage should they require additional support. Our Senior Leadership Team and SENCo/s are available should families wish to speak to someone beyond their pastoral group of staff. We also have a Family Liaison Officer who is available for the additional beyond the classroom support that families may need from time to time.
Our Early Years students and those who are non-verbal/pre-verbal have agreed communication systems in place to ensure regular contact between home and school. Some students have home/school communication books and others have pre-filled communication sheets.
The pastoral staff are responsible for the implementation of the student’s individual plan. They oversee the progression towards outcomes and feedback to parents through parents’ evenings and via the Annual Review of the EHC Plan/Statement.
Outcomes are shared via the SEND Profile. The curriculum content is promoted on the school website, allowing families to support and promote learning outside of school.
We recognise that parents are often in need of support to enable them to effectively promote learning and development. With this in mind we offer parent support sessions in specific areas such as: Numicon, sleep clinics, behaviour support, health and fitness.
4 b) What support will there be for my child’s/young person’s overall well-being?
All students have a group of pastoral staff who are able to act as the students’ champions, ensuring they have the access they need to additional support, such as Emotional Health and Well-being support. We have a team of staff who have undertaken further CPD in behaviour/emotional support, and who are able to provide the additional emotional support that students may need from time to time. The school employs an Emotional Health and Well-being Mentor who offers bespoke courses/sessions for those students who need additional personal/emotional health and well-being support. In addition to this we also access support from CAMHS to support mental health and well-being.
All students have Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) outcomes. School Council representatives, elected by their pastoral group, ensure every pastoral group has a voice.
Our school council meets every few weeks and ensure the students’ voice is heard by the Senior Leadership Team and Governors and they use that voice to influence decision making and work towards making the school a better place to be for all students.
We have several reward systems in place for students, and celebration of success is very important to us. Students work as part of their house team to gain house points, and a celebration event at the end of the term. They work as individuals to gain rewards throughout the day and recognition as Achiever of the Week or the Term.
Many of our students have additional medical needs that require medicinal and/or medical support, sometimes to be administered during the school day. We have additional staff who implement this in liaison with parents and medical staff to enable our students to maintain their health and operate to their full capacity throughout the day.
Our team of continence support staff ensure that all personal care needs are supported at the appropriate times during the day, with minimal disruption to learning. Where appropriate, students are supported on a toilet training programme.
5. What specialism services, experience, training and support are available at or accessed by the school? What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or are having?
We have a range of skilled teaching staff, experienced in working with students who have a range of complex SEND needs. We also employ an Emotional Health and Well-being Mentor, and VI and MSI specialists, and have access to other expertise:
- School doctor
- School health advisor
- Speech and language therapists
- Occupational therapists
- Sensory impairment advisory teachers (VI/HI)
- Careers guidance from the Young People’s Service
- Educational psychologist
Training for staff is regular and ongoing and some of our school staff are working towards or have completed additional training in ASD, Makaton, intensive interaction, behaviour support or other therapeutic support. They provide additional support, as appropriate, for students, colleagues, other professionals and parents.
6. How will my child/young person be included in activities outside the classroom including school trips?
Dorin Park staff are expert in including all children in activities outside the classroom, including residential trips.
Our primary school students have access to a residential visit in year 5 or 6 of their primary journey, when they attend Barnstondale, the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust site, or similar, and the students in Key Sstage 3 and 4 have access to a residential in Bendrigg. Our leavers have access to a city break.
We have access to adapted minibuses to access the local community and our staff are trained in carrying out risk assessments to ensure the safety of students.
All students have offsite activities at different times through the course of the year.
Some access local colleges, some attend sports provision in the community, and some have regular/weekly slots as part of their independence skills timetable.
Our post-16 and Key Stage 4 students have access-to-work based learning programmes, some of which are supported by staff and some where students access them as independent workers.
All lesson activities are adapted to meet the many and varied needs of our students, and students are appropriately supported by the high staffing levels in lessons.
7. How accessible is the school environment?
As a specialist school for physical difficulties, Dorin Park is a fully accessible environment with a range of specialist equipment to support our students. It is also suitable for students with visual impairment, with guide rails throughout the building and no steps. Toilets and changing facilities are adapted to cater for a range of needs, and hoists are available to ensure students can access facilities.
Many of our students are mobile, and can walk for at least short distances, but we have some students who use a wheelchair or other equipment for some or all of the time.
For those of our students who have additional sensory requirements we support their learning by having access to additional learning spaces, such as sensory rooms and nurture huts, as appropriate to need.
Some of our students live with family members whose first language is not English. Where appropriate, additional support from interpreters is sourced and additional written support can be reproduced in the language appropriate for the family. Our Family Liaison Officer is available to support such families with any additional support they require to enable them to support their child’s education.
8. How will the school prepare and support my child/young person to join the school, transfer to a new setting/school/college or the next stage of education and life?
Students in year 9 start to work with school staff and the Young People’s Service (or Careers Wales) to plan for their journey beyond school.
Some students will leave at age 16 to go on to further education/training/employment or a care pathway; some will remain up until the age of 18 or 19, before accessing further education/training/employment or a care pathway.
Those who require additional support to move on are supported by a planned transition programme. For some this may mean visiting the new setting with school staff or having their new placement staff come to visit them in school.
For some of our students, transition to another school or from another school may be planned before the traditional end of key stage. Where this is deemed to be appropriate, they are supported through a transition programme by our staff.
9. How are parents involved in the school? How can I be involved?
We celebrate with our leavers every summer in a setting where family are encouraged to celebrate with us.
We have a parents’ page on our website where parents can see the upcoming events and where we promote our parent coffee mornings.
Our coffee mornings are very popular as a chance to have an informal chat and share hints and tips with each other or to make links with other professionals.
We ask our parents to share their thoughts/ideas with us via review meetings, parents’ evenings, questionnaires and home/school communications.
We regularly update evidence of learning via Evidence for Learning (EfL) and this evidence is made available for parents to view/comment on. Parents can also choose to supplement our evidence by uploading their own for us to see.
We have an active Parent Teacher Association which carries out a range of fund-raising events throughout the year and have their own page on the school website here.
10. Who can I contact for further information?
In the first instance parents are encouraged to speak to their child’s pastoral teacher or the Family Liaison Officer (Maxine Nevitt).
If they are not available or parents needs to discuss something beyond the classroom they can speak to their child’s pastoral lead.
- Early Years and Primary – Jane Rowlinson
- Key Stages 3 and 4 – Helen McGillivray
- Key Stage 5 – Sarah Adam
If it is not appropriate to talk to these, the Headteacher can be contacted.
Any safeguarding concerns can be discussed with any of the Safeguarding leads (Sarah Adam/Jane Rowlinson/Helen McGillivray).
For admissions-related queries, please see our Admissions page.
For additional information about support, advice, complaints, safeguarding procedures or any further information about the school, please browse our website.
|School Name and Address||DORIN PARK SCHOOL|
|Telephone Number||01244 470134|
|Age range within your school||2-19|
|Contact telephone number||01244 470134|