Head Teacher: Keith Youngson
Chair of Governors: Jane Maguire
“Fox Hollies is an excellent school. The school has continued to make improvement in its performance since the previous inspection, where it was judged outstanding in every respect. Leaders have a very good understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for development and the school’s sustained success shows that it has an excellent capacity for continued improvement. Pupils benefit from excellent teaching. Lessons are very well planned for individual pupils and are characterised by the high quality of support pupils receive from their teachers and the skilful teaching assistants. As a result, the pupils enjoy their lessons and respond by trying their best. Teachers assess and record every small step in pupils’ learning extremely effectively. This enables them to set clear, accurate and challenging targets. This aspect of the school’s work has improved since the previous inspection. Where practical, the targets are discussed with pupils and this helps them to understand how well they are making progress and how to improve their work further. This has a positive impact on their performance. The tracking of pupils’ progress is very effective. This enables the school’s leaders to identify strengths in teaching and intervene quickly when they detect any slight slowdown in the pupils’ performance.”
Achieve your personal best
PUPILS WE WILL
* Motivate and Challenge you through a curriculum that is geared to your individual
needs and is enriched through the performing arts, sport and work–related learning.
* Empower you to express your views, make choices and develop interests. Listen to what you want to learn and support you in making decisions about your future.
* Equip you to take your place in society through helping you learn life skills, work with your peers in Queensbridge and other schools and apply skills in real life and community settings.
* Celebrate your achievements in a climate in which you feel secure, have fun, enjoy friendships and are supported in learning to relate to others.
PARENTS AND CARERS WE WILL
* Value your unique knowledge of your youngster, Listen to you about their needs at home and your ideas for learning targets and Involve you closely in planning for their future.
STAFF WE WILL
* Value you, whatever your role, as being our most valuable asset and resource and
through whom all of the above aims can be achieved.
* Support you to achieve the standards of education and care that our pupils deserve
WE ARE ALSO COMMITTED TO
* Building effective multi-agency partnerships with all professionals who can help
* Involving and listening to our critical friends including our governors, partner schools
It is a great pleasure to present our prospectus to you. If you wish to know more please telephone me and I will be pleased to talk to you personally, show you around the school and introduce you to all the staff.
Keith Youngson (Head Teacher)
Fox Hollies is a local authority maintained special school for pupils aged 11-19 years. Our pupils experience great difficulty in learning basic skills, and we work with them and their parents or carers to understand these and address them. Most skills are taught in very small steps to ensure success.
Our classes typically have eleven pupils based with a teacher and three teaching assistants. This helps staff to get to know each pupil really well and give them support for their individual needs. Each class contains pupils who are usually of the same age. Pupils move up through the school in this class group of young people who have a wide range of needs.
We offer a personalised curriculum to each of our pupils. We focus closely on individual education plans that are informed by the pupils themselves and their parents or carers whom we invite to meet with staff each term. We teach our pupils the skills that parents have told us are most important : communication, relating to others, and every day independence.
In Key Stage 3 (Lower School aged 11-14) we build on learning in pupils’ previous schools and use a “little and often” approach to help pupils achieve their individual targets that include English, Mathematics, relating to others and life skills. Most teaching is in class groups.
In Middle School We provide individualised 1 to 1 education for up to ten pupils with complex needs.
In Key Stage 4 (Upper School aged 14-16) we continue this by linking it to real life settings such as cooking, horticulture and shopping. Other pupils learn to explore the world through their senses. Pupils are taught for part of the timetable as classes and at other times in small groups based on their needs. They begin to work towards qualifications that are linked to their individual needs and ability.
In Key Stages 5 (Further Education 16-19) the curriculum focuses on developing the skills required by pupils in preparation for their personal destination beyond school and for adult life.
Extra curricula activities such as community visits, out of hours clubs, residential experiences and the strong ethos and family atmosphere of our school play a major part in our pupils becoming confident and outgoing young adults by the time they leave our school.
For many years our school has been recognised as a centre of excellence in the Performing Arts. We were one of the first special schools in the country to achieve specialist college status for the arts which we held from 1999 until the government stopped specialist status in 2010. Despite this we remain committed to arts education. We also have on repeated occasions achieved the prestigious Arts Mark Gold Award.
Over many years we have seen significant benefits from engagement in quality arts education and enrichment activities.
Arts education is of significant benefit to pupils of all abilities, providing exciting experiences and a stimulating medium for learning through dance, drama, music and art. We have seen this lead to huge gains in pupils’ confidence, communication and social skills.
Our success extends and enhances resources and opportunities for all of our pupils. It gives them access to a range of artists who work in school and provides a rich diet of community based and out of hours learning.
Performing Arts have enriched our whole curriculum and informed our teaching of other subjects with many techniques such as interactive storytelling, role-play and scene setting in widespread use across our school.
The arts have helped us to develop our links with other schools, providing a range of activities that extend beyond school day and term-time. These broaden our pupils’ experience helping them to develop life-long interests.
THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN HOME AND SCHOOL
Please do remember at all times that we want to work collaboratively with you. We recognise that having a child with learning difficulties can often cause stress and heartache, but that there are also positive attributes and successes to celebrate.
Parents tell us that they worry about their child moving to a secondary special school. From our first meeting with new parents we listen carefully to what you tell us about your child. We record their likes and dislikes, their medical and care needs and anything else that you think is important in writing and this information is reviewed before your child changes class or when you let us know that their needs have changed.
We know that parents play a huge part in their child’s learning and we are keen to work with you. We do this through Family Circle a group run by parents for parents that meets at least every half-term with speakers chosen by parents and visits by staff. Around a third of our parents attend regularly and they value the chance to talk to other parents in a relaxed atmosphere.
We also run Family Learning Sessions where we invite parents whose child is learning a particular skill such as reading, signing or using Picture Exchange System (PECS) to communicate. We have had lots of feedback telling us about the difference some of these sessions have made e.g. in terms of improving children’s communication at home.
OUR SCHOOL GOVERNORS
Our governors have responsibility for how well the school runs. Governors are accountable in partnership with the head teacher, for the school aims, the quality of teaching and learning, support to pupils, the curriculum, management of the school budget, school development, staff appointments, the premises and many other related aspects that ensure that the school is successful and well-managed.
To carry out their responsibilities our governors regularly visit school to look at areas that we are working to improve. They then report back to the governing body to make sure that they have an accurate picture of how well the school is working.
If you wish to know more about the work of the governing body, our Chair of Governors is always pleased to be contacted. You can do this through the school office. Alternatively talk to one of our three parent governors who regularly attend Family Circle or Friends of Fox Hollies events.
SCHOOL RULES AND DISCIPLINE
Our pupils through their Student Council have formulated information about what they consider to be good and bad things to do. We also have a School Dignity Policy that lays down how we expect everyone in our school community to show respect towards each other.
Pupils are expected to behave in a sociably acceptable manner and to show respect to both staff and other pupils. We recognise that the variety of our pupils' special needs will include pupils with challenging behaviours. We consider behaviour in the context of the needs of the individual. We work closely with pupils and their parents and carers to help them in this vital area of learning. We train all staff who work in the classroom in “Team-Teach” a nationally recognised approach to safely supporting pupils in managing their behaviour. On occasions, in the interests of pupils we may need to use approved holds, but we will inform you if we do this. This is always done for as short a time as necessary and with the minimum of force. If we find that this may be necessary as a part of a pupil’s behaviour plan we will seek your written consent.
We will report unacceptable behaviour to parents and will apply sanctions as appropriate to the safety of the pupil and others. It may, from time to time, be necessary for pupils to be excluded from school for a short period. This is a last resort and would only follow after a series of communications with home.
Our aim is always to recognise and celebrate appropriate and desirable behaviour and every achievement that is special to the individual.
Apart from the teachers and teaching assistants, the school benefits from the services of a number of visiting professionals.
We have Speech and Language Therapist support. Our therapist advises and works with us to promote speech and language throughout the school. She assesses pupils and designs programmes for remediation and development. The therapist works closely with our school based Speech and Language Therapy Assistant who promotes communication programmes and activities on a daily basis both by supporting class based work and group sessions. All of our staff are trained by our speech therapy team in developing pupils’ social language skills and every child has at least one lesson each week on communication.
A physiotherapist and physiotherapy aide visit the school regularly to offer therapy to individual pupils, plus advice and support to staff and families. They plan individual programmes that are carried out by class-based staff in our weekly motor group and at other times.
HEARING AND VISUAL IMPAIRMENT
Advice and support is available from visiting members of the Specialist Support Service teachers for both hearing and visually impaired pupils, who work closely with teachers. Named teaching assistants co-ordinate support for pupils who have hearing or visual impairments.
The school has the support of the Psychological Service. Our educational psychologist may be involved in pupils' assessment of need, to advise staff on classroom management issues, support staff training and advise on individual educational programmes.
The School Doctor visits on a regular basis throughout the year and every pupil has a regular medical examination. Parents’ permission is always sought and parents are asked to be present. A school nurse is allocated to us for 1 day a week to help out with medical matters, including staff training, and to promote good health practice for staff and pupils.
Dental and foot examinations are occasionally carried out and parents are advised of any treatment needed.
Any necessary drug therapy is administered under the control of named and trained members of staff following instructions from parents or carers.
You will be contacted if your child is unwell and, therefore, not fit to be in school, in order that he or she may return home. You will understand the need for this as a) we are not in a position to care for pupils who are ill, and b) rates of cross-infection with other pupils and staff is higher in a school of our nature than in many other settings.
In line with National Health Service advice, we will sometimes need to stipulate the time a child need to be away from school, for example if a transferable infection is present. A letter home will clarify any such instance.
The school is generally well resourced and has an above average availability of computer and other electronic equipment. Every class has a computer a printer and an electronic whiteboard and projector supported with a wide range of appropriate programs. We have a suite of computers that is used regularly for ICT and other lessons. Many pupils also use I-pads to enhance their learning. We have colour printers, video, digital and stills cameras that the students are encouraged to use, together with televisions, video and audio facilities. The expressive arts are supported with sound and lighting apparatus.
We have a state of the art sensory room that can help individual pupils who need to access the curriculum through their senses to learn vital skills. These can then be transferred into other settings using portable equipment. The sensory room can also be used to bring topics alive for individuals or groups through stunning visual, sound, smell or tactile effects. For example it became the Launch pad for a journey through space to meet an Alien.
We have a massage room with two massage beds and calming music and lighting that is used with parents permission by trained staff to help pupils relax and engage in learning through touch.
We have a sixteen-seater Variety Club Sunshine minibus that is also capable of carrying pupils who are in wheelchairs.
Some parents and friends come into school and work on a voluntary basis. This is encouraged and provides very valuable assistance.
ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF COMMUNICATION
Makaton signing and symbols are used in addition to speech as an aid to communication for many pupils. The quality of our work in this area has led to Fox Hollies being recognised as a Makaton School of Excellence
All staff and pupils learn the system to help those students who have limited or no speech.
Some staff are also trained in using other communication methods such as visual timetables, PECS(Picture Exchange System) or objects of reference.
Training is regularly made available to parents and those who have attended in the past have found this invaluable.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION AND ASSEMBLIES
Fox Hollies School is non-denominational. The content of our assemblies and religious education syllabus reflects the multi-faith character of the school community and stresses the need to live together in harmony and with respect for others' beliefs. Parents who do not wish their child to take part are welcome to discuss the matter with the Head Teacher.
A full Policy Statement is available from school on request.
We are required by the Local Authority and by law to report to Social Care and Health any concerns that we might have of any unexplained physical, emotional or behavioural difficulties that could possibly indicate child abuse.
In order to avoid any likelihood of misunderstanding and to maintain a trusting working relationship between home and school, it is of crucial importance that a continuing dialogue should be maintained. With this in mind we will keep you informed of significant incidents that occur in school and would ask that you keep us similarly aware of things that happen at home. This is especially important as few of our pupils are able to do this for themselves.
SEX and RELATIONSHIPS EDUCATION
The Governors of the school have decided that Sex and Relationships Education should form a natural part of our Personal Social and Health Education curriculum. It is always taught at a level in keeping with each pupil’s own needs and their understanding of relationships and emotions.
A full policy statement is available from school which details our philosophy and approach on this topic. We are happy to discuss any concerns you might have.
Physical education is an important part of the timetable and out of hour’s activities and the school has access to a wide range of facilities. Swimming takes place at Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre. There is a school football team and we take part in athletics events held for the West Midlands special schools. In the summer months, there is opportunity to take part in outdoor activities. Participation in sport is a valuable way of meeting other people socially as well as building pupils’ own skills.
Parents are asked to ensure that their child has the appropriate clothing.
Please provide white T-shirt, black shorts and trainers or pumps.
EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES AND EDUCATION VISITS
We aim to offer every pupil the chance to go on residential educational trips, at least once every three years. We consider these opportunities to be very valuable for all concerned when pupils spend time with their school friends away from their homes and families. We have visited many interesting places both in this country and abroad.
Parents are asked to pay for the cost of accommodation and subsistence and may be asked for a voluntary contribution towards travel and activity costs. Travel costs are, in the main, covered by the Friends of Fox Hollies, activity costs are met through the school’s budget.
Educational visits and other social activities are frequently undertaken by classes and we consider these to be an important part of pupils’ education. Parents may be asked to make a voluntary contribution towards the cost as this allows us to be more ambitious in the experiences we are able to offer our pupils.
A two course hot meal is available at lunch time at the current charge, of which you will be informed. The meals are prepared on the premises cultural needs are followed and special diets are available if requested.
Dinner money should be sent into school each Monday in an envelope clearly marked with your child's name.
If there are any problems regarding payment of school meals or if you think you might qualify for free meals please contact the admin team.
Burgundy coloured sweat shirt for lower and upper school. Black coloured sweat top with logo for FE, these can be obtained directly from Tesco’s online. A white shirt or blouse and dark grey trousers or skirt.
PE kit is white T-shirt and black shorts.
For Dance, pupils need footless tights or leggings with a plain white T-shirt.
Regular donations of £1.00, weekly are greatly appreciated. However, these are voluntary contributions and will be used to support special events, outings, etc.
Pupils should only bring in to school the basic items that they need for the day. We advise you not to send pupils in to school with valuable items such as jewellery or other valuable items as we cannot accept responsibility for them if they are lost.
Pupils are transported to school in minibuses and are accompanied by one or two guides,Once your child moves into our FE department you will be asked to contribute towards the cost of this. Parents are asked to have their child ready for the transport at the appointed time and to be at home for their child's return.
Where a pupil is thought capable of travelling independently we will discuss this with their parents and work out a very carefully and safely structured programme of travel competency training.
In bad weather conditions arrangements including possible closure of school will be announced on Radio West Midlands, Heart FM and FREE RADIO and parents will also be notified by text.
HOLIDAYS TAKEN IN SCHOOL TIME
Families are not allowed to take their child out of school during term time for the purpose of family holidays. This is due to the effect that missing school has on a pupil’s education. Permission for such a holiday can only be granted should exceptional circumstances prevail. Failure to seek permission will result in the pupil's absence being recorded as "unauthorised" and this statistic has to be reported to the Department for Education, and may result in fines.
There is no formal requirement for pupils to work at home but parents are encouraged to liaise with class teachers if they feel able to continue their child's school work at home. We regularly give you information on your child’s progress against the individual targets that we agreed at Annual Review or EHCP and use home-school diaries or telephone contact to work together on them at home as well as in school.
On occasions work will be sent home as a continuation of class work – we hope you will feel able to work with your child on these items as they arrive.
We carefully assess pupils’ progress against their individual targets set at their Annual Review/EHCP and in subjects such as English, Mathematics and ICT. We regularly review this to ensure that each pupil is making good progress. We report on this to you at an individual level at your child’s Annual Review/EHCP. We will contact you when necessary, just as we would expect you to contact us if we feel we have any concerns about your youngster’s progress. All of our pupils typically leave school having achieved nationally recognised qualifications.
PARTNERSHIP WITH QUEENSBRIDGE SCHOOL
We share a co-located campus with Queensbridge School. On occasions we find mutually beneficial ways to work together. We share a dining room and offer some lessons to Queensbridge SEN pupils.
We promote a culture in which all students and staff are valued as unique individuals. We recognise and promote each person’s right to equality of opportunity in all aspects of school life. Our governors regularly review this to identify areas that can be improved and we work to address them.
THE FRIENDS OF FOX HOLLIES
This is an association of parents, friends and staff which organises social and fund raising events. These events are a vital way of bringing our community together and embody the spirit of our school.
Over the years their support has been fundamental to the work of the school. They have purchased and covered the running costs of minibuses and in 1995 completed a very ambitious project, the purchase a holiday home at Pwllheli. This is now used by school parties for residential educational visits and by families at greatly reduced rates.
Every parent and carer automatically becomes a Friend of the school when their child joins us.
A committee is elected at an Annual General Meeting and you are encouraged to become involved.
Fox Hollies School follows the admissions procedure operated by the local authority for pupils transferring to secondary school, as outlined in their information booklet.
Pupils are placed with us by the Special Needs Assessment Service of the Local Authority (SENAR) firstly on the basis that they have severe or profound learning difficulties. Further criteria include whether they have a brother or sister in our school (this is unusual), and then if we have more applicants than places on the distance from your home to our school.
Our school procedure for dealing with complaints is set out below.
We expect all our pupils, staff and parents to listen carefully and respectfully to each other. Verbal or physical abuse will not be tolerated.
We value partnership with parents and would invite you to share with us any matters of concern regarding your child .Minor complaints should be directed to the class teacher. If you are not satisfied please contact the Head Teacher.
Any complaints that are not resolved should be made known to the Chair of the Governing Body.
Please do not hesitate to contact us. The Head Teacher will always meet concerned parents in order to resolve difficulties.
Students can stay on at school until the July of the academic year in which their 19th birthday falls. We will work closely with you, your son or daughter and the fullest possible range of professionals well in advance of their leaving school, to plan the next move.
We work hard to secure successful transitions beyond school. Pupils who leave us attend local authority and specialist FE Colleges or specialist day services.
Our teacher in charge of school leavers will liaise with parents about post school opportunities at the appropriate time or at your request. In their third year with us pupils and their families help to prepare an individual Transition Pathway that sets out their views and plans for the future. From the age of 16 your youngster will engage in careers education to help them in learning the skills, knowledge and confidence that they will need in their life after school.
THE LENGTH OF THE SCHOOL DAY
Pupils should arrive on their school transport from 9.00 a.m. ready to start lessons. The school day ends at 3.15 p.m. after the daily assembly. School transport generally leaves our site by 3.30 p.m.
Journeys on transport to and from school should generally not exceed an hour. If you are concerned about the length of your youngster’s journey please contact us.
TERM DATES AND TRAINING DAYS 2018-19
Training Days 5th & 6th Sept/ 2 5th Nov/ + 1 to be confirmed.
Monday 1st May is a public holiday.
Christmas Performance - Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th December
Carol Concert - Friday 21st December 2018
Confirmed Training Days for the Diary
Monday 3rd September 2018
Friday 30th November 2018
Friday 3rd May 2019
Monday 22nd July 2019
One more Training Day to be confirmed
Autumn Term 2018-2019
Tuesday 4th September 2018 to Friday 26th October 2018
Half Term - Monday 29th October to Friday 2nd November
Monday 5th November 2018 to Friday 21st December 2018
Winter Holiday - Monday 24th December 2018 to Friday 4th January 2019
Spring Term 2018-2019
Monday 7th January 2019 to Friday 15th February 2019
Half Term - Monday 18th February 2019 to Friday 22nd February 2019
Monday 25th February to Thursday Friday 12th April 2019
Easter Holiday - Monday 15th April 2019 to Friday 26th April 2019
Summer Term 2018-2019
Monday 29th April 2019 to Friday 24th 2019 May
Half Term - Monday 27th May to Friday 31st May
Monday 3rd June 2019 to Friday 19th July 2019
GOVERNING BODY STATEMENT OF POLICY ON CHARGING AND REMISSIONS
1.1 To make charges for all activities for which charging is allowed under the Education Reform Act 1988.
1.2 To recover as much of the expenditure as is permitted on the basis of the cost to each individual pupil participating in the activity.
1.3 To provide for the complete remission of charges for pupils whose parents are in receipt of Income Support or Family Credit in line with the L.E.A.'s current "statutory minimum" policy.
2. VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS
2.1 In the majority of instances where activities incur costs to the School such activities are outside the remit the above charging policy.
2.2 The School will seek to cover these costs by inviting voluntary contributions from parents or guardians (under section 118 of the Act).
2.3 In all instances where an activity can only be provided if funded from voluntary contributions the Governing Body through the Head teacher will make it clear to parents at the outset in an explanatory invitational letter.
In certain instances the School will reserve the right to inform parents that the activity will not take place if they are reluctant to support it.
2.4 No child shall ever be at a disadvantage because of a parent's unwillingness or inability to contribute voluntarily.
2.5 Budgeting for each activity will require detailed costing analysis and will include all costs for accompanying staff. Whilst this will be for purely internal accounting purposes costing will be made freely available to any parent wishing to examine them.
2.6 Any shortfall of income from voluntary income over total expenditure will be met from an identified budget in the School fund. Funds will be raised specifically to meet these costs.
2.7 This policy will be reviewed by the Governors at the beginning of the new financial year.