The Castle School

The Castle School is located in Donnington village in Newbury and takes pupils from West Berkshire as well as Wiltshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire. We are a very welcoming and open school with caring and highly skilled staff who are committed to supporting the education of all our young people. We pride ourselves on our warm, caring and supportive atmosphere; a place where young people can flourish, learn, enjoy and be happy. We value and encourage support of parents, professionals and friends.

We cater for young people with a variety of complex learning difficulties from the ages of 3 to 19 years of age. We are based on two sites; The main primary and secondary school at Love Lane and The Post-16 Centre based at Newbury College Campus.

At The Castle School we believe that all young people deserve all the opportunities afforded to everyone. We believe that all young people should be given the right skills to enable them to participate in their local community and beyond. We believe that all young people should be able to have a successful and fulfilling life in paid employment.

At The Castle School we are able to offer all the support that a young person will need in order to achieve the above goals. At The Castle School we: 

  • Have small classes with high staffing ratios
  • Focus on personalised and individual needs of our young people
  • Have a highly experienced and qualified staff team
  • Provide high quality learning experiences
  • Provide opportunities for all young people to experience the community safely and successfully
  • Make use of the outdoors to deliver much of our curriculum – not just in classroom settings
  • Raise pupil self-esteem and confidence
  • Work in a multi-professional way to ensure that speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists and other professionals are involved in the personalised education of each individual
  • Use our expertise to help get all our young people “ready for life” to enable them to be successful in the outside world.
  • Have wonderful facilities including a hydrotherapy pool, sensory rooms, sensory gardens, music gardens, wheelchair swing, basket swings, climbing frames, trim trail, beautiful grounds all in a secure and safe environment.

 

More information can be found at our website www.thecastleschoolnewbury.org.uk

Who to contact

Contact Name
Jon Hewitt
Contact Position
Headteacher
Telephone
01635 42976
E-mail
headteacher@castle.w-berks.sch.uk
Website
The Castle School

Where to go

Name
The Castle School
Address
Love Lane
Donnington
Newbury
Berkshire
Postcode
RG14 2JG

Other Details

Availability

Age Ranges
1-4
4-11
11-16
16-18

Age Range Notes

Age from 3-19

Inclusion Information

Dietary Needs

Has Provision
Yes
Experience with
Yes
Details
We can cater for all dietary needs as required.

Childcare Information

Vacancies

Immediate vacancies
Date updated
06/09/2021
Vacancy range(s)
Vacancy range(s)
PlacesStart AgeEnd Age
0 4 19

Funded Places

3 & 4 year old funding
2 year old funding

30 Hours Extended Entitlements

Are you registered to provide 30 Hours?
No

Waiting List

Do you have a waiting list?
No

Opening Times & Facilities

Opening Times
Opening Times
DayOpening TimeClosing Time
Monday 8.50am 3.00pm
Tuesday 8.50am 3.00pm
Wednesday 8.50am 3.00pm
Thursday 8.50am 3.00pm
Friday 8.50am 3.00pm

School Pickups

Offers pickups

Local Offer

Contact Name
Jon Hewitt
Contact Email
office@castle.w-berks.sch.uk
Links
Castle School SEN Report
SEN Provision Type
Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties, Medical, Specific Literacy Difficulties, Speech & Language Difficulties, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Physical Disability, Hearing Impairment, Moderate Learning Difficulties, Severe Learning Difficulties, Visual Impairment
Local Offer Age Bands
5 to 7
7 to 11
12 to 14
15 to 16
16 to 18
Needs Level
High
Medium

Special Schools

1. Support for children with special educational needs
1.1: Who will oversee and plan my child's education programme?

There are many staff who will oversee the education of your child whilst at The Castle School. The Headteacher has overview of all the education of young people in the school and has high expectations from staff that appropriate and effective programmes of education are delivered. Key Stage teams will meet regularly to discuss work with pupils and classes. Class teams, led by the class teacher will meet regularly to discuss planning and personalised programmes for pupils.  In turn, the class trams will work closely with the Integrated Therapy Team (Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy) to ensure that pupil’s needs are met in these areas. The teams will also meet with other external professionals as needed for input into the programme. Of course, most importantly parents will be involved in discussions to help develop the most effective programme for any pupil.

1.2: How will I be informed / consulted about the ways in which my child is being helped?

Parents are kept informed in many ways. Each year we will hold an annual review to discuss objectives for each child. We will involve parents in evening meetings 3 times per year to discuss progress and set and review SAP (Success and Achievement Plan) targets. We also encourage parents to phone to chat or make appointments with teachers and class teams when needed to make sure that we are doing everything we can to support your child. Each child has a home contact book which is another form of communication between home and school. Parents will also receive an end-of-year report for their child.

In addition our Pastoral Team arrange regular coffee mornings and other events where they can discuss any concerns and seek support.

We have a termly newsletter that goes out at the end of each short term that contains information about what has been happening in the school and specifically what the class your child is in has been doing. We also have a comprehensive website at www.thecastleschoolnewbury.org.uk which has lots of useful information about the school, who you can contact and also general information about other services that are offered in the local community. The website contains a blog which is updated regularly to inform parents of all the wonderful events that take place.

1.3: How will the school balance my child's need for support with developing their independence?

At The Castle School we are passionate about enabling all our young people to be as independent as possible. We know that sometimes this is a long journey and will need to carried out slowly. The key is that we will work in a very personalised way with every young person. Our curriculum is focussed on developing independence in all areas. Our staffing levels mean that we are able to support every pupil to the level that they are need whilst our skilled staff are able to recognise where opportunities for independence can be developed. We will always work with parents in planning independence so that everyone feels involved and that everything is done at the appropriate pace.

As young people move through our school and into secondary we will look more to other way of developing independence including work placements/experience and travel training. Of course, this will be different for each pupil depending on their needs and skills. Our aim is that every young person will leave our school as a well-rounded adult with as much independence as possible.

1.4: How will the school personalise the curriculum to meet my child's needs?

We base our curriculum around the National Curriculum, however, we adapt it greatly to meet the needs of our pupils. We feel very strongly that we need to work on the correct areas with each student in order to move learning on. There is no "one-size-fits-all” in education and we need to adapt as professionals to enable all pupils to have full access to the learning and to progress in all areas whether it be English, Maths or social skills. All our pupils will have specific and individualised targets and personalised programmes to help then to achieve these targets. We will work closely with other professionals such as the Integrated Therapy Team to ensure that all the young person’s needs are being met. When all the needs are being met then better learning and progress can take place. All our teaching staff have termly Pupil Progress Meetings where data is analysed to see how each pupil is progressing. If there are concerns then the team will look at interventions to aid progress. These will be reviewed regularly to check their effectiveness. Pupils will have progress targets set each year and staff will work hard to ensure that these are met and put in place interventions should progress not be as rapid. Obviously, consultation with young people and parents is critical so that we all know how we can ensure that progress is rapid and that the young person is developing appropriately.

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?

Our teaching is very much based around the needs of the individual. Staff will utilise whatever strategies will be most effective with the individual child. We will constantly assess our pupils’ progress and put in place interventions, such as Catch-Up reading programmes to ensure that progress and learning are rapid. For specific needs we will seek training for appropriate staff. For many aspects of learning difficulties we will use whole school training to enable all our staff to learn and develop their professional practice. We run a very rigorous training programme which runs for 2 nights each week. The training will look at many aspects of learning and interventions and examples will include the following:

  • Differentiation
  • Assessment for Learning
  • Makaton
  • Metacognition
  • PROACT SCiPr behaviour support
  • Phonics and reading development
  • Guided Reading
  • Maths intervention
  • Therapy training
  • Autistic Spectrum Conditions
  • Speech and Language Support
  • HI/VI sensory impairment support

Different needs of pupils require different modes of delivery and therefore certain class teams will have training very specific to their needs. Specific training may include:

  • TEACCH (a programme for supporting young people with autism.
  • MOVE programme for pupils in our classes for pupils with more profound and multiple needs.
  • PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)
  • Shallow Water Training (For staff who need to supervise our Hydrotherapy sessions)

REAL PE (a PE programme to enable all young people to be actively involved in sport)

1.7: What equipment does the school provide?

We have a great array of equipment to enable our pupils to access the curriculum successfully. This can range from hoists and changing beds for those pupils who require specialist support; switches and devices to aid communication to iPads and other devices to increase access to learning. Examples of equipment we have recently purchased is below:

  • EyeGaze tracking system
  • Smile Smart Platform Wheelchair Tracking System
  • Soundbeam
  • iPads
  • iTouch
  • ICT Equipment
  • Hoists and slings
  • Communication aids including switches
  • Sensory resources e.g. cutlery

We will always work with professionals and parents to try and purchase equipment that will aid the learning and experience for any of our young people.

We will work closely with the Integrated Therapy Team and take their advice on appropriate equipment to purchase for both individuals and groups.

1.8: What special arrangements can be made for my child when taking examinations?

We will ensure that when exams are being taken all special arrangements that are needed will be applied for and utilised. This may include some or any of the following: 

  • Extra time
  • A reader
  • A scribe
  • Alternative fonts and layouts
  • Use of laptops
2. My child's progress
2.1: How will the school monitor my child's progress and how will I be involved in this?

The Castle School has a robust and clear monitoring programme to assess how each of our pupils are doing. Class teams will meet each term with a member of The Leadership Team to analyse progress for each pupil in the class. If there are any concerns then the team will be expected to look at interventions. These will then be monitored and assessed for effectiveness so that we can ensure that each young person is given the best opportunity to progress and progress rapidly.

Parents will be involved at various stages. We have 3 parents evening meetings per year to look at progress and to review and set SAP (Success and Achievement Plan) targets. This enables parents to be part of the ongoing conversation with regards to progress. We would also encourage parents to contact the class team with any concerns. Class teams will also contact parents when there is a concern in order to help move things on and get the pupil progress back on track. Our person centred annual reviews are also another opportunity to examine progress against targets to ensure that everything is on track.

Staff will use formative assessment (using BSquared) in their planning to ensure that the pupil is being supported appropriately in their learning. We will moderate our judgements on progress with other schools – both mainstream and special – to ensure accuracy.

The Leadership Team will review progress across the whole school using benchmarking tools to check that progress is good enough.

2.2: When my child's progress is being reviewed, how will new targets be set and how will I be involved?

At our parents meetings you will be invited to get involved in reviewing the previous targets and in setting the new targets. It is very much a conversation and we want parents involved at the heart of it. This is the only way to ensure that we can be truly successful in moving our young people forward in their learning. Parents are also encouraged to be involved in reviewing of the EHCP and progress at each annual review. Obviously we are also keen to hear from parents if they have any concerns so that they don’t have to wait until a parents evening to resolve an issue

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?

Each year we will hold an annual review where we will invite parents and any other relevant professionals. This is an opportunity to reflect on the previous year and look at the EHCP and progress towards the objectives. We will involve parents in evening meetings 3 times per year to discuss progress and set and review SAP (Success and Achievement Plan) targets. We also encourage parents to phone to chat or make appointments with teachers and class teams whenever needed to make sure that we are doing everything we can to support your child. Each child has a home contact book which is another form of communication between home and school. Parents will also receive an end-of-year report for their child.

2.4: What arrangements does the school have for regular home to school contact?

Each pupil will have a home-school diary which is the main mode of contact between school and parents. We find this is usually a positive and effective method. However, some parents may wish from time to time to have a bit more contact and we are open to doing things differently to help ensure that everyone is well informed and aware of what is going on. This could involve phone calls or additional meetings when needed. We believe that communication is essential and would welcome parents contacting the school in order to ensure that this happens appropriately.

2.5: How can I help support my child's learning?

We strongly believe that we need to work in partnership with parents to ensure that the young person has the utmost opportunity for success. As we have very individualised programmes the teacher can advise the parents how they might help to progress their learning at home whether it be reading, maths or independence skills. Equally, it is extremely useful when parents give us advice from the home to help implement progress improvements in school. As I have said, it is all about partnership and working together for the benefit of the young person.

We also have sessions run for parents on certain aspects of learning and they are advertised throughout the year on the school website and in reception.

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?

We have a very pro-active and highly skilled Pastoral Support Team. The team can work with families to help support various aspects of development including behaviour, anxiety, bereavement and learning. We also have a specialist School Autism Support Worker who can offer advice on a variety of issues including eating, bedtime routines, sleeping issues, haircuts, visual symbol support and general advice. In addition we have many coffee mornings run by the team for parents throughout the year to enable parents to discuss concerns and get support in a non-threatening and safe environment. In addition we run training programmes on many areas including ADHD, as well as events for parents and families to attend with support.

2.7: How will my child's views be sought about the help they are getting and the progress they are making?

Even from a very young age we will seek the views of our young people. We believe it is essential that they are all involved in their own education. This will be done in a variety of ways depending on their preferred mode of communication. We will ensure that we get views of all our young people for annual reviews and older pupils will also be encouraged to attend and even present their own feelings and ideas.

Each day pupils will be involved in the planning of lessons and the planning of their own learning, particularly in regard to their SAP targets so that they are fully aware of what they need to do to move on to the next level of learning

2.8: What accredited and non accredited courses do you offer?

We are very keen on ensuring that our young people leave our school with a good array of qualifications. A list of courses that our young people can follow are as follows:

  • Entry Level
  • AQA Awards
  • Arts Award
  • ASDAN
  • LAMDA
  • Duke of Edinburgh
  • Sports Leaders

We also will run bespoke timetables for certain qualifications that suit the needs and skills of particular students

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?

We will assess the effectiveness of provision through the analysis of our pupils’ progress.

Class Team: The class team, led by the teacher, will use formative assessment on a daily basis to assess where each child is in terms of their learning and their progress towards the next level. The teacher will record progress onto the school system so that it can be analysed. Staff will use pupil-centred approaches to ensure that they are involved in their learning and progress as is appropriate. Parents will be involved at our 3 times per year parents meetings.

Pupil Progress Meetings: These meetings take place 6 times per year and are led by a member of the Leadership Team. At the meetings the class team explore with the Leadership Member the progress that each pupil is making in the class. If there are any concerns or issues then the class team will look at appropriate interventions that can be used. Once an intervention is implemented it will be monitored closely and evaluated at subsequent Pupil Progress Meetings.

School Progress Analysis: The Leadership Team will analyse progress of all pupils throughout the year and report to governors at the Curriculum and Pupil Committee 3 times per year. Governors will ensure that there is rigour and will challenge anything that they have a concern about. Leadership will also carry out a final year analysis and report this to governors. Targets will be set up each autumn for class teams to work towards.

3. Support for my child's overall well being
3.1: What support is available to promote the emotional, behavioural and social development of children?

We place great emphasis on the emotional, behavioural and social wellbeing of our young people at The Castle School.

All our staff are trained in PROACT SCiPr behaviour support which helps all of our staff to help pupils who need support in this area. It means that staff use positive behaviour approaches to enable all young people to be positive about themselves and their behaviours. It also ensures that the school is a calm and safe place.

We have a very pro-active Pastoral Support Team (which includes our Family Support Worker and Emotional Support Team) that can offer individual support to pupils who are experiencing difficulties. We can also support families who may need some extra support at home with any emotional, behaviour or social issues.

We have been awarded the Rights Respecting Schools Award which is about putting the United Nations Convention on The Rights of The Child at the heart of everything we do at The Castle School.

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?

We have a very personalised approach to behaviour in exactly the same way that we approach all our learning. All our staff are trained in PROACT SCiPr which is a positive behaviour management system used by many special school in this country. It enables us to ensure that any behaviour difficulties are sorted at the earliest opportunity in a positive way. This may include writing a behaviour plan to ensure that every member of staff working with a young person knows what will work and what not to do with regards to the behaviour. This helps greatly in reducing occurrences of the behaviours. Due to this very personalised approach we have a very calm school where pupils feel safe and can learn effectively. We focus very much on personal, social and emotional educational to enable our young people to learn how to interact appropriately. We very much believe that a pro-active approach like this works best when allied with a positive intervention programme.

We do not believe exclusion is a positive form of behaviour management and will only use it when it is absolutely necessary for the safety of the pupils and staff. We will exhaust all other options before considering this. Our staff are highly skilled and are able to deal with issues around behaviour effectively and safely enabling the young person to move forward with dignity.

3.3: What medical support is available in the school?

We have a school nurse who is available to support with all medical matters whether they be related to medication or training. She is also able to liaise with medical professionals about any issues.

We also have regular clinics in school with the paediatrician.

In addition we have a variety of medical support professional who visit the school to offer support to parents and families and professionals including wheelchair clinic,

We also run immunisation programmes with the NHS for parents who wish to have their child immunised rather than going to a GP.

Medical practitioners are also used to train our staff for particular conditions such as diabetes care and epilepsy intervention.

3.4: How does the school manage the administration of medicines?

At The Castle School we take security and administration of medication extremely seriously. All medication that is to be administered in school is subject to specific medical plan and is subject to our school policy. All staff in school are trained in administering medication by our school nurse or an appropriate medical professional when appropriate.

3.5: How does the school provide help with personal care where this is needed, eg. help with toileting, eating etc ?

We are here to support young people with whatever their needs are. This may well involve personal care, which staff who are involved are trained and will ensure that any intimate care is carried out safely and with the utmost dignity and respect for the young person.

We offer support I any aspect of care that the young person requires. If appropriate we will support toileting programmes and will work closely with families to ensure success. We will always seek professional advice form the Therapy Team and from the Continence Nurse when planning any aspect of toileting to ensure that it is the right thing to do.

We are very keen on developing independent eating for all children. We realise that not all young people are ready for this so we will, again, work with families and children to develop appropriate programmes to help develop skills. Lunches are always spent with members of the class team and this enables us to ensure consistency of delivery in eating programmes. We will also work with dieticians and members of the therapy team to ensure that the programme is most effective.

4. Specialist services available / accessed by the school
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?

The Castle School utilise the support of a multitude of agencies to ensure that we can support all our young people in the best way possible. The professionals that we regularly use are as follows:

  • CAMHS (Child and Adult Mental Health Services)
  • Specialist Medical Consultants
  • Social Services
  • Disabled Children's Team
  • Adult Social Care
  • Educational Psychology
  • Sensory Consortium (support for hearing impairment, visual impairment, multi-sensory impairment)
  • Music Therapists
  • Parent Partnership
  • Family Support Service
  • Pastoral Support Team
  • Autism Support Worker
  • SISS (Specialist Inclusion Support Service)
  • PROACT SCiPr behaviour training

If there is anything in particular that you require please contact us direct.

4.2: What specialist support services are available from within the school?

We have many support services within our school as follows:

  • Pastoral Support Team
  • Family Support Worker
  • Autism Support
  • SISS (Specialist Inclusion Support Service for mainstream support) 
  • PROACT SCiPr behaviour training
  • Behaviour Support Team
  • Riding for the Disabled
  • Parent Support and Training 

If there is anything in particular that you require please contact us directly.

4.3: What should I do if I think my child needs support from one of these services?

The best way to enquire about any of the support is to contact your child’s class team. The class teacher or a member of the team will be happy to advise you. Alternatively you can contact our Pastoral Support Manager who will also be happy to advise you on available support and services and how to be referred.

4.4: How are speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy services provided?

Speech and Language Therapy, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy are delivered in school by school staff under guidance and training from the Integrated Therapy Team. Some young people will also receive regular support directly from therapists. The Integrated Therapy Team will assess individual children when required and parents can request an assessment by contacting the team at our school:

Steph Jenkins (Specialist Speech and Language Therapist)

Emma Marsh and Rebecca Parker (Specialist Paediatric Physiotherapists)

Leah Mauk (Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist)

Alternatively you can arrange it through the class team or at a meeting.

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?

The best way to enquire about any therapy service is to contact the class team who will be happy to help you. Alternatively you can contact the Integrated Therapy Team at The Castle School:

Steph Jenkins (Specialist Speech and Language Therapist)

Emma Marsh and Rebecca Parker (Specialist Paediatric Physiotherapists)

Leah Mauk (Specialist Paediatric Occupational Therapist)

The Integrated Therapy Team includes all the services for Physiotherapy, Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy.

If you are not happy with the response then please contact a member of the Leadership Team at the school so that we can help resolve any concerns with regards to therapy

4.6: What arrangements does the school have for liaison with Children's Social Care services?

At The Castle School we have all staff trained in Safeguarding procedures. All staff know that if any concerns are raised then they must pass them onto the Designated Safeguarding Lead who is Caroline Whitlock.

In cases where a concern is raised we will contact the child’s social worker or the duty social team in an emergency.

The school will attend TAC (Team Around the Child) meetings and Child Protection Conferences to support children and families.

Where appropriate we will invite representatives of Children’s Social Care to annual reviews and other relevant meetings to help support young people and their families.

5. Training of school staff
5.1: What SEND training is provided for teachers in your school?

At The Castle School run a very rigorous training programme for our staff which runs for 2 evenings each week. The training will look at many aspects of learning and interventions and is delivered by expert school staff and other professionals and examples will include the following:

  • Differentiation
  • Assessment for Learning
  • Makaton
  • PROACT SCiPr behaviour support
  • Phonics and reading development
  • Guided Reading
  • Maths intervention
  • Therapy training
  • Autistic Spectrum Conditions
  • Speech and Language Support~
    HI/VI sensory impairment support 
  • ELKLAN (Communication Training)
  • Metacognition

 

All staff new to the school undertake a comprehensive induction programme. Different needs of pupils require different modes of delivery and therefore certain class teams will have training very specific to their needs. Specific training may include:

 

  • TEACCH (a programme for supporting young people with autism.
  • MOVE programme for pupils in our classes for pupils with more profound and multiple needs.
  • PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)
  • Shallow Water Training (For staff who need to supervise our Hydrotherapy sessions)

REAL PE (a PE programme to enable all young people to be actively involved in sport

5.2: What SEND training is provided for teaching assistants and other staff in your school?

The staff at the Castle School have a wide range of skills and qualifications ranging from Masters to NVQ and QCF level certificates and diplomas. We are very keen on encouraging our staff to engage in continuous training for their own professional development and we have a very high uptake on voluntary courses.

Teacher Assistants must possess or be working towards near completion of a Level 3 qualification. We encourage all our Support Assistants to train towards QCF recognised qualifications and we support them to achieve this through local providers.

5.3: Do teachers have any specific qualifications in SEND?

All our teachers have experience and skills in various areas of special needs. Examples of qualifications that teachers hold include:

  • TEACCH
  • Masters in Education
  • Specific Learning Difficulties Identification and Assessment
  • AMBDA
  • Sensory Integration
  • Regional Makaton Training Tutor
  • PROACT SCiPr trainer
  • ADCE (Advanced Diploma in Care in Education)
  • Nursery Education

Life Long Learning

5.4: Do teaching assistants have any specific qualifications in SEND?

All Teacher Assistants at The Castle School must have or be working towards completion of a Level 3 qualification. We encourage all our Support Assistants to work towards recognised QCF qualifications through our own QCF Qualification Training Centre.

In addition many teacher and support assistants will take part in other qualifications relating to the classes and teams they work with to improve their professional practice.

6. Activities outside the classroom including school trips
6.1: How do you ensure that all children can be included in out of school activities and trips?

At The Castle School we believe that activities outside the classroom are essential in helping our young people develop both their academic and social, emotional and behavioural skills. To ensure that everyone can take part in activities safely the school uses the EVOLVE Risk Assessment system that has been adopted by West Berkshire Local Authority. Risk assessments are used to ensure that we can support every pupil in order to make sure that they get the most from each trip and remain safe at the same time.

All staff are aware of the Equalities Act and we are passionate that all young people will experience trips and visits regardless of their abilities. We will differentiate activities as we would with any learning activity to ensure that everyone can have access and be included. 

Where needed we will use transport that is adapted for our young people who cannot travel in vehicle seats. If we plan a big school trip then we will try and organise an accessible coach so that all our pupils can sit together rather than be separated because of their ability.

We believe that we can overcome any barrier in relation to ability and access and will always endeavour to do so for the benefit of our children.

6.2: How do you involve parents / carers in planning the support required for their child to access activities and trips?

When planning trips we will try an involve parents as much as possible to ensure that the young person gets the most out of the experience. This may involve some or all of the following:

  • Communication of information through letters and home-school diaries
  • Parent briefing evenings
  • Home visits
  • Family Support Worker
  • Subsidising families whose children qualify for Free School Meals or are Looked After
  • Giving notice in advance for parents so that costs can be spread over time

We would also seek advice from parents as they may be invaluable when planning a trip with their child in mind.

7. Accessibility of the school environment
7.1: How accessible is the building for children with mobility difficulties / wheelchair users?

The vast majority of rooms on both sites are now accessible for all. Parents, visitors and pupils with mobility difficulties have open access to the front of both sites as do pupils. Doors have been widened and ramps installed to ensure that access around the site is suitable for those in wheelchairs. We now have fire doors that can remain open meaning that there are less doors to open when moving about. In addition we have several automatic doors to aid movement.

If you would like more information please contact the school directly.

We have hoists and slings to support pupils in movement between equipment and positioning

7.2: Have adaptations/improvements been made to the auditory and visual environment?

We work closely with the Sensory Consortium who advise us on any specific requirements for students with sight or hearing difficulties.

All staff are trained in Makaton and this is used throughout the school to enable a total communication environment.

We use Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) where appropriate and use Communicate and Print symbols and signs throughout the school to help aid understanding of communication. Some pupils will have the use of other AAC (Alternative and Augmented Communication) equipment where advised to aid communication.

7.3: Are there disabled changing and toilet facilities?

There are disabled changing and toilet facilities on both sites.

7.4: How do you ensure that all the school's facilities can be accessed by all children irrespective of their SEND?

We are constantly monitoring access in all areas of the school. We are a school that caters for students with SEND and therefore ensure that all students have access to a full curriculum adapted to their needs. The school environment is adapted physically to ensure access for all students to the majority of areas.

7.5: How does the school communicate with parents / carers who have a disability?

We can use various methods to help communicate with parents/carers who have a disability. We work in a personalised basis and would be happy to discuss any requirements that you may have.

Our Pastoral Support Team would be able to help with this and help arrange for support and aid the school in using appropriate communication strategies to help you access the school and your child’s learning.

We are keen that there are no barriers to communication. As such we will work with parents to ensure that we find the best method of communication. This may involve using written communication, translators or other methods

Please contact the school directly if you feel this would affect you.

7.6: How does the school communicate with parents / carers whose first language is not English?

We are keen that there are no barriers to communication. As such we will work with parents to ensure that we find the best method of communication. This may involve using written communication, translators or other methods 

Please contact the school directly if you feel this would affect you.

8. Preparing my child to join a new school / next stage of education
8.1: What preparation will there be for both the school and my child before he or she joins the school?

We always want to ensure that every child has a positive transition into The Castle School. As we all that we do we like to personalise every transition because we know that each child’s experience and needs will vary. Our transition will usually include some or all of the following:

  • Visits by Castle School staff to the school and home.
  • Information to parents about all the important things such as transport and uniform and how transition will work.
  • Transition coffee mornings for parents – a nice event to get to know staff and other parents new to the school as well parents who have had children here for a while.
  • Care planning meetings to ensure that medical plans and care plans are in place for the young person.
  • Visual support such a books and pictures for the young person.
  • A person-centred plan for transition.
  • Equipment audit to ensure that we have all the right items in place to support the young person.
  • Parent visits.
  • Pupil visits to school and to class team.
  • Class Swap-over days where all our new pupils come in to school.
  • Multi-Agency meetings where appropriate.

Integrated Therapy Team meetings where appropriate

8.2: How will my child be prepared to move on to the next stage within school, e.g. class or key stage?

When it comes to transitions within school we work very carefully to ensure that this is as smooth as possible. We can plan at a very early stage for transition as this usually happens at set stages during the child’s time at school. During this time the class team will plan for visits to the site that the young person will be going to so that they can familiarise themselves with the environment and get used to the surroundings. This may be built into their weekly timetable so that it becomes normal and part of the routine.

In addition we will have further transition visits for those pupils who may find it particularly difficult. We will also be keen to involve parents/carers in the process as this will usually make things a lot easier. For those who require it we can make a very personalised transition programme that may involve social stories and visual support.

We have a great success in transitions and very rarely have difficulties and were we do we are able to sort them out very quickly. Our pupils are happy and successful in their transitions.

A major key is that when transition is happening we get class teams together so that they can share key information and ensure that behaviour plans and medical information is passed over. We will also involve the school nurse and other medical professionals to ensure that care plans pass on successfully and that the new class team are fully briefed and trained in all aspects of medical and personal care.

8.3: How will my young person be prepared to move on to his or her next placement, eg. FE college or Adult Services?

We work very hard to ensure that all transitions for pupils leaving our school are successful in their new school or college. Like transitions within school it is essential that we involve the advice and expertise of parents/carers.

Most of our pupils stay with us until they are 19 and many will go to a local college. As such, we will work closely with local colleges and ensure that pupils are given opportunities to attend link courses so that the college environment become a routine part of their week, which in turn will make transition easier. Our staff will work with colleagues at other colleges and schools to ensure that they have the right training and understanding in order to support the young person in their transition.

8.4: How will you support a new placement to prepare for my young person?

We work very hard to ensure that all transitions for pupils leaving our school are successful in their new school or college. Like transitions within school it is essential that we involve the advice and expertise of parents/carers.

Most of our pupils stay with us until they are 19 and many will go to a local college. As such, we will work closely with local colleges and ensure that pupils are given opportunities to attend link courses so that the college environment become a routine part of their week, which in turn will make transition easier. Our staff will work with colleagues at other colleges and schools to ensure that they have the right training and understanding in order to support the young person in their transition.

8.5: What information will be provided to my young person's new placement?

To ensure that a transition is successful we will make all appropriate and relevant information available to the new school in line with GDPR.

8.6: How will the school prepare my child for the transition to employment?

We work very hard to ensure that all transitions for pupils leaving our school are successful into further education. Like transitions within school it is essential that we involve the advice and expertise of parents/carers.

Most of our pupils stay with us until they are 19 and will usually go to a local college when leaving us. As such, we will work closely with local colleges and ensure that pupils are given opportunities to attend link courses so that the college environment become a routine part of their week, which in turn will make transition easier. We will also involve the support of other professional partners who have expertise in post-19 transitions.

Our staff will work with colleagues at other colleges and schools to ensure that they have the right training and understanding in order to support the young person in their transition

In addition we will use any or all of the following to help aid the transition to make it as successful as possible:

  • Transition meetings.
  • College visits.
  • Work Placements and experience.
  • Annual reviews
  • Information evenings
9. Who can I contact to discuss my child?
9.1: Who would be my first point of contact if I want to discuss something about my child or if I am worried?

If you are worried or concerned then the first person to contact would be the class teacher. If this is not suitable then you can contact t he appropriate Team Leader. You can find out who is who by clicking the link below

https://www.thecastleschoolnewbury.org.uk/page/?title=The+Extended+Leadership+Team&pid=39

or

A member of the Leadership Team

Pastoral Support Team

Deputy Headteacher

Headteacher

We are keen to resolve any issues and we urge you to contact us as soon as possible so that we can help sort things as soon as possible.

9.2: Does the school offer any specific support for parents / carers and families (such as Family Support Workers?)

At The Castle School we have a Pastoral Support Team which is set up to support parents/carers and families. The Pastoral Support Team includes our Family Support Workers who can provide advice, guidance and support with all elements of parenting and family difficulties. We also have a School Autism Support Worker who can help support children and families with various issues including behaviour, sleeping, bedtime routines and eating problems.

9.3: What arrangements does the school have for signposting parents / carers to external agencies which can offer support, such as voluntary agencies?

We can help signpost parents/carers to appropriate external agencies through a variety of routes including:

  • Pastoral Support Team
  • Family Support Worker
  • Autism Support Worker
  • Class Teacher
  • Class Team
  • Leadership Team
  • Key Stage Co-ordinator
  • School Nurse
  • Parents evenings
  • Annual reviews

We would encourage parents to contact the school as soon as possible to arrange support.

Our website has information on useful sites that could be of help to parents and families.

www.thecastleschoolnewbury.org.uk

9.4: What arrangements does the school have for feedback from parents, including compliments and complaints?

We have a clear complaints procedure. We would encourage parents to contact the school as soon as they have concerns as most issues are easily sorted through discussion. 

In the first instance we would suggest that you contact the class teacher. If you are not satisfied with the outcome then please contact a member of the Leadership Team or the Headteacher who will help to resolve the problem as swiftly as possible.

We operate an open school and encourage parents to contact at the earliest opportunity as we find that good communication is the best way to solve any issues.

West Berkshire Council do not promote or endorse any of the services listed in this Directory. For more information on this please read our disclaimer.

Back to top of page