Headteacher's welcome to FURZE DOWN SCHOOL: A CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
On behalf of the staff, pupils and governors, I am delighted to introduce our school.
I was appointed to the school as a Teacher in 1995 and as Headteacher in 2015. Over the years I have seen the school develop into the outstanding provision that it is today, providing a supportive and aspirational environment for children with complex Special Educational Needs. This was recognised by Ofsted in 2006, 2009, 2014 and 2018. Our values of personal responsibility and respect have been instrumental in developing an ethos where views, beliefs and differences are appreciated and given a voice. Ofsted recognised our strong emphasis on spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, judging behaviour to be outstanding and support for families exceptional. Our Specialist SEN Status was awarded in July 2009 in recognition of our leading practice in supporting children with Communication and Interaction difficulties, and this became the starting
point for us to develop as a Centre of Excellence for SEN.
In June 2011 the Local Authority secured approval to proceed with a rebuild of the school, this was completed in April 2015. The investment has enabled us to create a beautiful building that provides children and young people with a seamless learning journey, building on experiences, skills, knowledge and understanding as they progress through the school. It has also allowed us to take forward our ambitious plans for the future in an exciting and aspirational learning environment; supporting and empowering our children and young people to develop the resilience and determination to succeed amidst the challenges and opportunities of 21st Century life.
The Special Educational Needs of children and young people at Furze Down School are complex and all pupils have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Pupil’s needs fall predominantly within the broad label of Communication and Interaction. Furze Down’s Curriculum provides relevant learning for all pupils and enables teachers to; recognise pupil’s strengths, set suitable learning challenges, respond to pupils diverse learning needs and overcomes potential barriers to learning for individuals and groups of. Learners follow the EYFS curriculum throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1 and if appropriate, also at Key Stage 2. This is a developmental curriculum, which plays a diagnostic role in establishing which of the two ‘’Furze Down Routes the child will follow; Foundation Route or Entry and Developing Route. We have written our own curriculums, which prepare children and
young people for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. We have carefully considered what are the most important key concepts, knowledge, skills and attributes important to being able to flourish in life, learning, work and leisure. This work is continually being adapted and refined to ensure it best reflects the needs of our children and young people
The learning environment throughout the school is calm and purposeful. We ensure that children experience success so that they are motivated. Kindness and gratitude are the default interactions through a low arousal and trauma informed, attachment aware approach. We aim to provide the right support at the right time for families and our practices prioritise good mental health and social development. All adults have equal authority and consistently support pupils to regulate so that learning can take place efficiently. Central to teaching is how the 'assess – plan – do – review'; cycle informs curriculum choices. It is essential that we know our learners' starting points, through our assessments, and have a clear idea of the endpoint to our journey. Teachers seek to know each learner, to find out how they learn best, and then create classroom strategies that maximise their learning. Good teaching requires adopting an individual, holistic view of each learner. Teachers avoid labelling learners with their diagnosis or behaviour trait, or by assumptions of what they cannot do, because such labels reinforce stereotypes and lower expectations of what pupils can achieve.
Furze Down School is a learning centred community. Outstanding teaching and learning occurs throughout our school as staff and pupils thrive in a supportive and aspirational environment. We are proud of our culture of shared and creative problem solving; interrogating classroom practice and learning from our collective experience to improve outcomes for children and young people. Teachers and Therapists continuously work to identify and understand their pupil’s specific barriers to learning; not simply at the global SEND level but with respect to particular tasks and concepts. Interventions to address these barriers and scaffold learning are both planned in advance and created in response to pupil’s progress within lessons. Our practice is research informed and developed through effective professional learning. Our teachers, therapists and LSAs are adaptive and flexible; ready to reinterpret or reframe learning as they monitor the learning experience of children and young people. We believe investment in professional learning is the key to enhancing morale and wellbeing of colleagues as well as sustaining outstanding provision for pupils demonstrating increasingly complex communication and interaction needs.
Visits to the school are welcomed and guided tours take place each half term. These can be booked by contacting Sandra Firth email@example.com
In the meantime, you can find out more about the school by browsing the website. Our newsletters provide an oversight of some of the many varied opportunities our exceptional community experiences
For further information please choose from the menu on the right hand side of this page