Message from John S, Headteacher: 4th February 2022

Afternoon everyone,

Hope you are all ok. Well, we seem to have reached the halfway point of the school year, even although we haven’t got to half term yet. I’m sure it’s around there anyway. It’s good to reflect on what we have done in that time and how much progress so many of our young people have made. When I see what plans the older students have already made for college, for example or how much progress along the route of passing exams and getting awards in the summer that the secondary students have done’ or massive work in Outdoor Learning, Literacy. Communication and topic- and skills-work that has taken place in only half a year, I’m really inspired. Add that to the work that has taken place in developing pupils’ Voice & Influence, and Reading, and I’m actually really looking forward to what all these are going to look like in the next half of the year

It’s all about partnership of course, and all of it only works if everyone is pulling in the same direction, so thanks to all of you who support us through thick (all of that above) and thin (Covid!). By the way, we put something out about Covid on the website earlier this week

Here’s looking forward to a great second half of the school year

Creating some lovely art through movement

Assessment & Progress: 3.Curriculum Pathway Assessments

After 1.Therapy and 2.EHC Outcomes, the type of assessment I’m going to talk about this week is the Curriculum Pathway Assessments that each Pathway does for the pupils and students in their department. Bit of a bigger one this week from me in this section, so I’m sorry if it isn’t your thing!

There are four Pathways in the school: Engagement, ELTBA, Accredited Awards, and Preparation for Assessment. The children can and do move between different Pathways in their time here. The Pathways are what you may think of as similar to departments, faculties or Key Stages

Some things span across all the Pathways – vocabulary assessments for example, as language, reading and communication are crucial for all our students

Children that follow the Engagement Pathway are assessed through detailed observation, and from this detailed observation their staff are able to assess the progress they’ve made towards their personal targets and goals. It’s a real team effort to do this, and how to do it well is something that the whole country has been wrestling with for a while. It’s a great team here. Some pupils go from Engagement to ELTBA

In ELTBA, assessments are made in key areas of the curriculum such as language, experiential learning like Outdoor Education, and then in all the subjects as part of topic-based learning. These are predominantly Key Stage 1, 2 and 3 classes, and they learn mainly through studying topics. You should be getting notice of these topics in the letters you get each term about the Key Drivers, and we are asking your opinion on them. Pupils might go on to the Pathway called Accredited Awards from ELTBA

In Awards the students learn skills to go along with knowledge and experiences, and these help them with independence, often leading to them gaining Appropriate Accredited Awards through exams and coursework. I think that this is already a strength of the school. It’s important only to put the students through exams and such-like if it suits them, but gaining awards can be great for employment, self-esteem, confidence, knowledge and all sorts of other good things

Preparation for Adulthood is the most important Pathway, and runs through all the others, because it does what it says and focuses on all the important things that our young people will need for later in life. Topics such as employment, independent living, health, friends, relationships and community are looked at as to how they can help our students as they grow older and leave us. There’s quite a nice website here, which sets some of it out, and which you might find interesting

So each Pathway has a leader and a Steering Group, and they monitor the progress of each pupil on a regular basis, checking how well they are doing, and doing something about it if they think they need extra help. What we are basically saying with this one is that what happens in the classroom is the most important thing, and we want to measure all the great things that happen every day by the whole team in our classrooms as much as we sensibly can. That’s the skinny on Curriculum Pathway Assessments

Thanks for sending back the Key Drivers forms, it’s great to have your view. Please do send them back if you haven’t done already – we’re collating them all now, and we want to hear your voices through them

To recap: 1.Therapy, 2.EHC Outcomes, 3.Curriculum Pathways. Next will be something very dear to us, which is 4.Wellbeing


You said, we listened

This is our “You said, we listened” part of the blog, where we are trying to improve our school community by listening and making changes where we sensibly can

Two weeks ago this was about extending the office opening hours so that parents & carers have more chance of speaking to someone, and last week it was about arranging safeguarding training for parents, the first session of which is on Monday 7th February from 10-11am. Here’s the link for it

The best news on this kind of topic this week is our Parent Governor, because with two great parent governors like we now have we can really push forward with some of the things about Voice and Listening – so please see below!

Also, we are currently collating the info and opinions you have sent back as part of the Key Drivers part of our assessment. We really want you to have input into our curriculum in this way, so if you haven’t yet, please do let us know your thoughts on the sheet. Thanks


Parent Governor Result


I’m sure Ros will love me for this – it was Carla’s idea, Ros, honest! And who is that with you? ????







Thanks so much to all the parents that expressed an interest in this, and especially to those that stood. It takes a lot of guts to stand in elections of any kind! I’m absolutely delighted that Ros is going to be a Parent Governor, and I can’t wait for her to team up with Kate and work with us on various things. Congratulations, Ros, and thanks to all who helped make it happen

Ros is also on the PTA, by the way…….


Please do join the PTA! It honestly doesn’t mean that you will be lumbered with loads of jobs or forced to go to loads of meetings all the time. Juts get in touch with Donna or any of the others. They’re a great bunch and they have the interests of the children and the school 100% at heart. Also, do pop over and have a read of Eileen’s blog too, as it always has helpful and interesting information on it for parents & carers, and is different in content to this one

Kayden Korner

Good to have lunch with Kayden and his class this week. We have a riddle from this fine fellow. Are you ready?

You’re at your home and your parents arrive at the door. You have bread, cheese, packets of crackers and wine. So, what do you open first?

 Answer at the bottom of the page

Subject Focus Revisited – STEM Week video

Have a look at the video that the guys put together following the STEM Week. It’s really good and celebrates the work beautifully. Thanks Philip and the team!

Subject Focus – MOVE

A great piece of news, now. After it only being in place since September, the MOVE Team have already won the Bronze Award. This has been done in amazing time and is a real testament to the team of physios, OTs and other staff that we have here. I’m sure they’ve achieved that faster than anyone else. The children have really responded to the input they receive and the work that goes into the MOVE program. I wonder how long it will take them to get to silver?

Art through MOVE!

In fact, look out for the next big deal with this – Love to MOVE in the week before half term

Lovely stuff in the pool

Having fun in the MOVE session!


Painting with Brandon!                                                               Hands!

 Daniel’s Hedgehog House ‘The Hog Pod’

I got an email from Daniel this week, and this is what it said

“Today me and Andy built a hedgehog house using some old wood that had been thrown out. We want to attract a hedgehog to the Outdoor Learning area because we learnt that they are endangered.  If you see one crossing the road, please don’t run it over!”

Daniel, this is great, thank you so much for doing this and for sending me the picture as well. It’s great that you’re doing this work and enjoying life in school. It’s good to have you around. Nice one

This week the ELTBA Team would like to give their Star of the Week to Jess The Super Singing Starlings.  Jess has completed excellent work in poetry this week looking at rhyming couplets and alliteration and is becoming much more confident at speaking in class in front of others and “having a go” even if she feels a bit worried by this! Wow, that’s really significant, Jess, very well done indeed. You are very obviously and clearly a complete STAR!!!

Dominic in Russell’s class is one of our magnificent STAR!!!s of the week this week. Dominic has done great work identifying letters, and incorporating his topic vocabulary into interesting verbal sentences, as well as signing into the computer without any help at all! Dominic, these are proper schooly and worky things! Well done, this is a really good one!

 Her team want to nominate Gracey this week as she has made great strides with her independence skills.  She collects drinks from the dining hall every morning, using her VOCA to communicate with the ladies in the kitchen, placing items on a trolley and pushing it back to class using both hands.  Gracey is very focussed on these tasks that she has been doing, which is a good target for any teenager I think! Tracy and the team are all very proud of her achievement

Gracey = STAR!!!

And there is another young man who has done some very good VOCA work this week as well, linking different cells to improve his communication – a key thing – and making everyone around him proud and hugely impressed. Ste forward…Nat…..who has done this. A complete STAR!!!

Now, do you remember this special one from last week? When Bradley was so responsible and mature when another student had a medical situation? When we were all so grateful to him, and all so impressed? Yes, it was Bradley we were talking about. Well other people have been thanking him in a really touching way, and he did something else this week where he gave us a message about something that was very helpful. Bradley is just being so great at the moment, and we love having him around. BIG STAR!!! 


Bird Watch

If you’re into your birds, you might enjoy this from the RSPB. It went home too last week, and that’s the date on it, but it could still be fun. Some of the children really like this sort of thing

This weekend is the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch!

You can take part too!

Just spend one hour between Friday 28 and Sunday 30 January counting the birds, and help monitor how birds are faring. It’s free, fun, and a great way to keep an eye on your local wildlife. Wherever you are, whatever you see, it counts!

You can send your results via the RSPB website:

Alternatively, why not bring your results into school and share with your class?


Beating the Odds Coping is having its next timetable collapse day on the 11th February. It coincides with Children’s Mental Health Week, and its about building resilience


These are the elements of the Coping strand of the resilience framework  – all good stuff

Understanding right from wrong

Being brave

Solving problems

Focussing in the good things in life

Finding time for your interests

Calming down and making yourself feel better

Remembering tomorrow is another day

Leaning on others when necessary

Having a laugh

Finally finally….

One more of these, especially with the Six Nations getting going again. Who is your money on?

John S

Riddle answer: The Door! ????????