iCollege Alternative Education
iCollege is Pupil Referral Unit Service (PRUS) providing education for learners who have difficulty accessing mainstream. We offer:
- Full-time placements to support learners in achieving personal and academic success (Years 9 – 13)
- Off-site reactive provision to improve mainstream engagement (KS1 – 4)
- Bespoke packages, including core subjects, to meet individual learner needs (KS1 – 5)
- Short term pro-active programmes to sustain mainstream engagement (KS3 - 4)
Based over five sites, we have in the region of 72 learners all of whom have varying SEND needs and who are referred to us due to previous difficulties accessing mainstream education. We offer a range of qualifications and opportunities to gain valuable skills – both academic and social - which will take them forward to the next step in their learning, education or place of work. Our approach is holistic, learner focussed and outcome based.
The 5 areas of our service are:
- Inspiration (KS1 – 2) Foxglove Way, Thatcham RG14 4DH.
- Pod (KS2) 88 Newtown Road RG14 7BT
- Integration (KS3 – 4) 22 Highview, Calcot Reading RG31 4XD
- Intervention (Year 9 – 10) 88 Newtown Road, Newbury RG14 7BT
- Independence (Year 11 & Post 16) Richmond House, Bath Road, Newbury RG14 1QY
Who to contact
- Contact Name
- Jacquie Davies
- Contact Position
- Head Teacher
- 01635 48872
Where to go
- iCollege Independence
- RG14 1QY
Please note that iCollege Alternative Curriculum delivers education across multiple sites and for Key Stages 1-5. Richmond House is the contact address for the service, but information in this Local Offer entry applies across the service and all sites.
- Contact Name
- Emma Dodridge
- Contact Telephone
- 01635 48872
- Contact Email
- SEN Provision Type
- Medical, Specific Literacy Difficulties, Speech & Language Difficulties, Behavioural, Emotional & Social Difficulties, Autistic Spectrum Disorder
- Local Offer Age Bands
5 to 7
7 to 11
15 to 16
16 to 18
- Needs Level
- 1.1: Who will oversee and plan my child's education programme?
The Lead Teacher of the unit a learner attends, along with any necessary input from the Inclusion Manager and Assistant Head; Raising Standards, will oversee the programme of study for each learner.
- 1.2: How will I be informed / consulted about the ways in which my child is being helped?
Each learner, with parents/carers, whether they have an EHC Plan or receive SEND support or not, are offered 3 review days a year. This involves a report and meeting where progress is discussed both academic and pastoral and this is attended by the Lead Teacher and / or a key member of staff. It is at this point that targets for the following term are discussed and agreed to ensure learner outcomes are kept at the fore. Informal contact about positive feedback, changing situations or escalating issues is done on a daily basis as needed.
- 1.3: How will the school balance my child's need for support with developing their independence?
The iCollege has a strong emphasis on independence counter-balanced with the learner’s level of need or circumstances. The emphasis is on the learner to take responsibility for their learning and their behaviour; a therapeutic approach underpins our policy of behaviour and engagement. . If considered appropriate, a TA may be allocated to a learner or group of learners to provide guidance in this area, along with advice from other agencies (Emotional Health Academy, Educational Psychologist, Adviza, Therapeutic Intervention Service, Counsellor etc) and the opportunity to work independently. Opportunities are provided and encouragement is given for learners to ask questions and discuss worries with staff regarding any part of their school day and the Pastoral Support plays a key role in this area.
- 1.4: How will the school personalise the curriculum to meet my child's needs?
The curriculum offered contains the core subjects and a concentrated level of social integration to ensure a learner has the skills and knowledge necessary for their next steps either the next key stage, return to
mainstream or further education or employment. Around this there are many other things offered to build up a learner’s portfolio of skill: e.g. enrichment activities, work experience, vocational qualifications and study, team working, outdoor education and college placement to name just a few. Interventions to support the acquisition of numeracy and literacy may be part of that provision and are based on individual need and assessment.
- 1.5: What teaching strategies and approaches does the school use for children with learning difficulties, including autistic spectrum disorder, hearing impairment, visual impairment, speech and language difficulties and physical disabilities?
A wide range of teaching strategies are used across the iCollege to support learners with a variety of SEND – such as visual prompts, kinaesthetic activities, over-learning and focussed TA support. Advice is taken from other professionals e.g. Educational Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist, Special Needs Support Team, Autism Advisor, Sensory Consortium etc regarding the most effective strategies to employ for individual learners.
- 1.7: What equipment does the school provide?
Learners have the use of laptops and/or iPads as necessary. Any further requirements identified can be discussed with the SENCo and/or Lead Teacher (LT).
- 1.8: What special arrangements can be made for my child when taking examinations?
Access arrangements are applied for based on normal way of working as evidenced by the teacher or a history of need. Further assessments may be needed to complete this evidence profile.
1. Support for children with special educational needs
- 2.1: How will the school monitor my child's progress and how will I be involved in this?
A learner’s progress is monitored and recorded 5 times a year with a starting point being established on entry through our comprehensive on-entry assessments. Review days are held three times a year where learners and parents or carers have an opportunity to see what the learner has been doing and to discuss progress with the Leading Teacher and Pastoral Manager. Additional monitoring is provided by the Inclusion Manager for those identified with additional needs or who have an EHC Plan in place.
For learners on short term placements progress is monitored using social and emotional assessments along with tracking via agreed targets from school based on the reason for referral.
- 2.2: When my child's progress is being reviewed, how will new targets be set and how will I be involved?
All learners have a ‘Support and Achievement Plan’ drawn up which allows for key information to be gathered, made available to key staff and then outcomes set. These outcomes are then discussed at Review Day with the Lead Teacher and/or key member of staff and the parent/carer and learner. New outcomes may then be agreed as necessary. In addition to this, all teaching staff discuss ‘next steps’ within each subject. It is a collaborative process with key staff and has a child centred approach. . For learners with an EHC Plan this will also involve a statutory Annual Review meeting where the objectives of the EHCP are discussed and any amendments agreed.
- 2.3: ln addition to the school's normal reporting arrangements, what opportunities will there be for me to discuss my child's progress with school staff?
We are happy to meet with parents and carers at any time to discuss progress, or other. Please get in touch with the Lead Teacher of the unit. iCollege welcomes contact with parents and carers and will also provide feedback if there are any concerns or reasons to celebrate success.
- 2.4: What arrangements does the school have for regular home to school contact?
Leading Teachers and/or Pastoral Support will often contact parents and carers regarding the school day for reasons of progress or other. Parents and carers are welcome at any time to contact the Lead Teacher, Pastoral Support or Inclusion Manager to discuss any concerns or share information that they feel is relevant to a learner’s day.
- 2.5: How can I help support my child's learning?
Contact with school is important. It creates an effective pathway through which information is shared - both successes and difficulties – and enables us to respond promptly to situations as they arise. Learners of all ages enjoy different forms of praise and attending Review Days are productive way in which we can share information with you. Other ways are encouraging good organisation, especially around being ready for school in the morning or during exam time for example and including supporting home learning were appropriate.
- 2.6: Does the school offer any help for parents / carers to enable them to support their child's learning, eg. training or learning events?
Please speak with the Inclusion Manager or Lead Teacher to discuss your individual situation.
- 2.7: How will my child's views be sought about the help they are getting and the progress they are making?
Your child will play a full and active role in identifying next steps and playing a part in discussing their desired outcomes with teachers wherever possible. Our role will be to help learners to reflect on these and to ensure the outcomes are challenging but achievable in the time we have them.
- 2.8: What accredited and non accredited courses do you offer?
Accredited course offered are:
Duke of Edinburgh – Bronze/Silver/Gold
British Canoe Union and other off site accreditations such as AQA awards
We also offer GCSE English, Maths, Biology, Art, Photography and Marketing and Enterprise,, Functional Skills English and Maths and IT, , Entry Level English, Maths and Science.
Other GCSEs may be available to support a bespoke package for learners as required.
- 2.9: How does the school assess the overall effectiveness of its provision and how can parents / carers and young people take part in this evaluation?
The provision for our learners is not only assessed at Review Days but also against national expected outcomes. Input is gained from the outset from learners, parents or carers Annual Reviews also form part of this process as does tracking of a learner’s progress. However, monitoring of attendance and any issues arising day to day are also an important part. All of these things along with day to day conversations with parents and carers aid evaluation of the provision and form the basis for whether modifications to the timetable or provision are needed.
2. My child's progress
- 3.1: What support is available to promote the emotional, behavioural and social development of children?
TAs are always with learners during social and learning times. We encourage learners to work together and get to know each other but also offer opportunities for quiet space if this is needed. Learners are encouraged to attend days out and enrichment activities.
SEMH (Social Emotional and Mental Health) needs are incorporated in the planning of lessons and the consideration of how a young person learns. If a learner needs additional support to be provided, we have a Counsellor, FSW (Family Support Worker) and access to EHA (Emotional Health Academy) plus an internal mentoring system. A referral can also be made to an Educational Psychologist for further support and advice.
- 3.2: What support does the school put in place for children who find it difficult to conform to normal behavioural expectations and how do you support children to avoid exclusion?
Our Behaviour Policy identifies many therapeutic strategies which are adopted by teachers and TAs. They are very experienced at dealing with learners who have SEMH difficulties. The aim is always to minimise any disruption to a learner’s learning but to ensure dysregulation of emotions is addressed as a priority. If a young person is dysregulated we recognise that a more therapeutic approach is needed in order to ensure any future learning can take place. We have TAs in lessons who can assist with over-learning or provide opportunities for catch up as required, occasionally 1:1 timetables are needed if learners are not able to work as a ‘safe learner’ with in a group or otherwise. Modifications to timetables and provision will be discussed with parents and careers accordingly. We encourage our young people to ask for help in times of difficulty or crisis and there is always someone for your child to talk to in school time.
- 3.3: What medical support is available in the school?
We have trained first aiders in all our units. If your child has additional needs, please speak with the Pastoral Manager and/or Lead Teacher (LT)
- 3.4: How does the school manage the administration of medicines?
Management of the administration of medication is done via the Lead Teacher and Pastoral Manager and follows West Berkshire Health & Safety guidance. Any individual needs may be discussed with them.
- 3.5: How does the school provide help with personal care where this is needed, eg. help with toileting, eating etc ?
Our support staff are not trained in supporting a student with personal care needs. However, if this is a need for your child – temporarily or otherwise – then please discuss the requirements with the LT (Lead Teacher), Inclusion Manager or Pastoral Support.
3. Support for my child's overall well being
- 4.1: What external SEN support services does the school use, e.g. educational psychologists, teachers for hearing impairment, visual impairment and multi sensory impairment etc?
We have good links with the Educational Psychologist associated to our service. Referrals for SLCN, ASD or other special support services are done via the normal routes for referrals and will be completed as needs are identified. If a learner comes with additional needs already identified any support or programmes already in place will be incorporated into their provision as necessary.
- 4.2: What specialist support services are available from within the school?
As well as a wealth of experience across staff members in working with learners with SEMH, ASD, ADHD, ADD and other SEND, we also have staff trained in Emotion Coaching and Therapeutic Thinking, a Counsellor, access to the Emotional Health Academy (EHA) and a Family Support Worker (FSW). Any concerns please speak with the Lead Teacher, Pastoral Support or Inclusion Manager
- 4.3: What should I do if I think my child needs support from one of these services?
Parents and carers should contact the Inclusion Manager, Lead Teacher or Pastoral Manager to discuss further.
- 4.4: How are speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy services provided?
Although staff have received training in OT and SLCN any specific needs of a learner will be advised on an individual basis by the appropriate service. Any recommended plans will then be put in to place as part of that learner’s provision, as appropriate.
- 4.5: What should I do if I think my child needs to be seen by a speech and language therapist, occupational therapist or physiotherapist?
Please speak with the Inclusion Manager to discuss any concerns.
- 4.6: What arrangements does the school have for liaison with Children's Social Care services?
iCollege has a robust process in place for reporting safe guarding concerns. We have a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and deputy DSLs in each unit. Referrals to the Contact Advice and Assessment Service (CAAS) are made should concerns be identified. The Assistant Head Teacher Wellbeing and Community will liaise regularly with named social workers where a Child Protection or Child in Need plan is in place and ensure that a key member of staff is available to attend all meetings. For Looked After Children (LAC), we liaise regularly with social workers and participate in regular PEP (Personal Education Plan) and LAC reviews.
4. Specialist services available / accessed by the school
- 5.1: What SEND training is provided for teachers in your school?
Training is organised by the Inclusion Manager for all staff regarding SEND not just on INSET days but also at other convenient times in the school calendar. We access this via the Local Authority, associated support services or external agencies. Staff are also briefed internally regarding any updates to changes in SEND provision and practice. These sessions or updates can take the format of practical strategies for supporting a particular student or as an informative session to provide advice on how learning may be affected in general. Staff training includes Mental Health Awareness, OT, SLCN, dyslexia, ASD and ADD/ADHD and AATI practice (Attachment Aware and Trauma Informed), FASD, Emotion Coaching and Therapeutic Thinking.
- 5.2: What SEND training is provided for teaching assistants and other staff in your school?
As for the teacher’s, TAs receive similar training and internal briefings. Specific to SEND support this has also included ASD, dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, working memory deficit, precision teaching techniques, structured reading, Mental Health First Aid, Emotion Coaching and Therapeutic Thinking.
- 5.3: Do teachers have any specific qualifications in SEND?
Both Inclusion Managers have completed the post-graduate National Award for SEN co-ordination and specialist literacy training to Level 5 and Level 7 in Specific Learning Difficulties.
3 members of staff have completed training in AATI (Attachment Aware and Trauma Informed) practice and more staff continue to access this training. All staff have engaged in West Berkshire’s Therapeutic Thinking strategy.
- 5.4: Do teaching assistants have any specific qualifications in SEND?
We have TA’s trained in Level 2 Mental Health Awareness Qualification and also Attachment Aware and Trauma Informed practice. All staff have access to regular updates and training in key areas to ensure their skills and knowledge are up to date.
5. Training of school staff
- 6.1: How do you ensure that all children can be included in out of school activities and trips?
All learners are invited to attend school activities and trips. Trips are chosen to include and be accessible to all. Any barriers to attending will be addressed on an individual basis and will be discussed in conjunction with the Lead Teacher, learner and parent or carer.
- 6.2: How do you involve parents / carers in planning the support required for their child to access activities and trips?
Parents or carers will be informed of any trips and potential issues to attending discussed and assessed by the Lead Teacher.
6. Activities outside the classroom including school trips
- 7.1: How accessible is the building for children with mobility difficulties / wheelchair users?
All units have wheelchair access to the ground floor. Two units (Inspiration and Intervention) have a lift which provides access to the first-floor classrooms.
- 7.2: Have adaptations/improvements been made to the auditory and visual environment?
Whiteboards are available in classrooms which can be utilised to aid the visually impaired. Doorways are also colour contrasted to ensure visually impaired students can navigate the building. However, currently no specific auditory adaptations are provided. Please discuss any need with the Lead Teacher and Inclusion Manager of the unit.
- 7.3: Are there disabled changing and toilet facilities?
There are ground floor single cubicle toilet facilities in all units accessible by wheelchair users.
- 7.4: How do you ensure that all the school's facilities can be accessed by all children irrespective of their SEND?
We would invite parents and support services to visit the school to meet the Inclusion Manager and Lead Teacher to discuss any mobility or other accessibility issues prior to a learner joining. This gives us time to make any reasonable adjustments.
- 7.5: How does the school communicate with parents / carers who have a disability?
Parents/carers who have a disability should inform the school of their support needs so that we can ensure that appropriate adjustments are made to ensure good communication.
- 7.6: How does the school communicate with parents / carers whose first language is not English?
We would seek to provide an interpreter for meetings where a parent/carer is unable to arrange this support themselves and arrange for written documentation to be translated as much as possible.
7. Accessibility of the school environment
- 8.1: What preparation will there be for both the school and my child before he or she joins the school?
For a permanent place within iCollege pupils without an EHCP are referred to the iCollege via PPP (Pupil Placement Panel adhering to the In-Year Fair Access Protocol) for learners with an EHC Plan this is done following an Annual Review. Once this process has been completed learners are invited in for an interview which involves an informal chat with a Lead Teacher to discuss the transition to the iCollege and to complete any paperwork necessary. As well as visits to the school to build confidence we also hold transition events to allow new learners to get to know each other and to also familiarise themselves with key staff members.
For short term packages learners are referred to iCollege by their mainstream school with information regarding the need and associated outcomes required. They remain on dual-roll whilst with the unit and Lead Teachers liaise with the referring school to feedback on progress – social, emotional and/or academic.
- 8.2: How will my child be prepared to move on to the next stage within school, e.g. class or key stage?
For learners who are placed permanently with iCollege, including those who choose to move in to Post 16, taster days are arranged to allow learners to meet staff, other learners and also familiarise themselves with the premises. Learners are encouraged to visit the unit in question with a key worker, current teacher and/or parent in order to encourage confidence and a smooth transition. The visits can increase in length with the aim of encouraging independence, trust and security.
Where a learner is moving in to the next key stage and returning to mainstream, we will liaise with the receiving mainstream school to ensure transition is smooth and any anxieties can be addressed and monitored. For learners on short term packages, 3 outreach sessions are available for the school to utilise to ensure transition back to the home school is successful.
- 8.3: How will my young person be prepared to move on to his or her next placement, eg. FE college or Adult Services?
Likewise, if a learner is moving on to another provision or placement arrangements will be made for visits and opportunities for sharing key information to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible with the aim to eliminate any concerns identified by the learner, parent and staff. We have a dedicated Careers Lead who will explore options with a young person and help facilitate any visits or information gathering sessions so that iCollege students are aware of the options available to them. We also use Adviza to assist in this process. We begin the careers cross curricular support from KS2 upwards.
- 8.4: How will you support a new placement to prepare for my young person?
We play an active part in this process, sharing appropriate information, and attending any meetings as necessary. Adviza advisors also assist in this process. If the learner is on a short-term integration package then 3 outreach sessions are allocated to the learner and receiving school to ensure the learner and school are supported during this transition period. For key transition points, such as Year 6 or placement in to a special provision, we will engage with the receiving school or placement to put together a bespoke transition package.
- 8.5: What information will be provided to my young person's new placement?
Parental or Carer agreement for sharing information is sought via the completion of transition paperwork or through a review of an EHCP to ensure key areas of need are shared. At the age of 16 a young person has the right to decide what information is shared unless there are safe guarding concerns.
- 8.6: How will the school prepare my child for the transition to employment?
Work experience, tasters, vocational opportunities, college opportunities are a strong part of our ethos particularly in the years leading up to transition. We have a Careers Lead who invests time in providing opportunities for students to attend college open days, apprenticeship/career fayres, organises visits from key employers and arranges work experience. We also work closely with Adviza to engage learners in discussing next-step planning.
8. Preparing my child to join a new school / next stage of education
- 9.1: Who would be my first point of contact if I want to discuss something about my child or if I am worried?
Please speak with the Lead Teacher or Pastoral Manager of the unit your child is attending; they are willing to discuss any issues you may have regarding the education of your child.
- 9.2: Does the school offer any specific support for parents / carers and families (such as Family Support Workers?)
Please discuss with the Lead Teacher or Pastoral Manager any concerns you may have. We have a Family Support Worker who will be able to help in this area or if unable to, we may be able to suggest alternative options or make referrals as necessary.
- 9.3: What arrangements does the school have for signposting parents / carers to external agencies which can offer support, such as voluntary agencies?
Please discuss with the Lead Teacher or Pastoral Manager any concerns you may have. If we are unable to help, we may be able to suggest alternative options or make referrals as necessary.
- 9.4: What arrangements does the school have for feedback from parents, including compliments and complaints?
Parents are asked to fill out a questionnaire at each Review Day to enable them to air any compliments or concerns. We aim to develop strong relations with parents and carers through regular phone contact and would always advise to call and speak with the LT (Lead Teacher) in the first instance. We also have a formal complaints policy in place however if of a serious nature but parents/carers wish they may informally meet with the Head Teacher or Chair of Governors to discuss their concerns.
9. Who can I contact to discuss my child?
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