Dovecote School is a mixed gender, age 5-18yrs, SEN day school, where every pupil is valued, treated as an individual and with respect.
Recognising every child
At Dovecote School, we recognise that every child is different. Our pupils have access to a team of skilled teachers, therapists, and professionals who work together to ensure each child has a learning programme tailored to their specific needs. We focus on enabling pupils to flourish by encouraging and building upon their individual strengths and interests. Our staff team work closely with them to develop and deploy strategies to overcome and manage their unique challenges and barriers to learning. Students will be within a small class of no more than 7 students. All students will have a personalised development plan specific to their needs as outlined in their EHCP, the staff will have fully read and understood student’s needs to implement the individualised learning programme. The work will be presented at a level that each student can achieve positive outcomes.
Our pupils access a broad curriculum to maximise their opportunities to achieve nationally accredited qualifications.(including GCSE and associated qualifications) We provide an exciting, interactive, and engaging technology-led curriculum, where all aspects of the curriculum are underpinned by high quality and readily available resources and technology.
Exploration and discovery are vital to school-age children’s cognitive development. Our curriculum will provide our pupils with plenty of opportunities to engage in activities that promote exploration and learning in multiple areas: Literacy, Numeracy, Science, Culture, Humanities, The Arts, Technology and Ecology, Horticulture, and Outdoor Education.
Students will be encouraged to join in preferred activities in an environment where they feel safe, building resilience. A graded approach will be taken to each educational task. All tasks will be broken down into achievable ‘chunks’ and presented in a visual format to support each child to process what is required of them. Our therapy team will be working across the learning environment to suggest adaptations to the layout of the room and to advise on teaching strategies, providing each student the support to be ready for learning and maximise learning opportunities.
Our elevated expectations for each pupil are incorporated into their individual Personal Development Plan. We promote a love for learning thorough the use of a range of teaching styles that include the personalised needs of each pupil. Cognition and learning develop through our themed and topic-based curriculum supported by child-centred plans to adapt ways of learning to build knowledge, skills and understanding. This at times requires flexibility to accommodate the many and varied complex needs and the associated mental health vulnerabilities that need to be supported throughout the school day.
Our Extended Day means that we have a flexible timetable to accommodate our pupils’ needs with breakfast clubs, after school activities and a robust outdoor learning programme to build positive social skills, friendships, hobbies and for older children accelerate vocational interests.
The structured social activities scheduled throughout the day will allow the opportunity to develop and practice the vital social skills that will be taught to pupils during the day in emotional literacy and social skills lessons.
Our comprehensive programme of outdoor learning focuses on positive engagement in social groups and opportunities to build resilience and emotional well-being. This programme extends into our community, and includes a wide range of sporting activities, voluntary work, and for the older pupils, apprenticeships, and work experience. We encourage children to take part in Duke of Edinburgh Awards and outdoor personal challenges, many of which carry a recognised national accreditation. The purpose here is to develop problem-solving skills, interest in new experiences and creative thinking: the hallmarks of increased personal resilience.
In addition to academic achievement, we aim to build emotional wellbeing and resilience and develop the children’s social and independence skills. This is carefully structured through a personal development programme of therapy, enrichment activities, and bespoke learning, designed to strengthen confidence and self-esteem, through the experience of success. Partnership working is central to our ethos, and we are committed to working closely with our families to support the progress and wellbeing of their child. Families are offered the support and advice they need to feel confident and informed about their child’s needs and prospects.
Social thinking strategies will help students to learn ways to communicate her feeling and needs/wants. Liaison with our therapy team will help to identify proactive strategies for them. Regular social skills groups planned by our SaLT using a social communication skills and friendship skills framework will be delivered.
Communication targets are incorporated into personalised plans and these targets are reviewed each term. Focusing on small steps towards the overall EHCP outcomes. Language targets linked to accessing education and enabling self-help and independent living skills as well as the ongoing promotion of social skills are embedded throughout the day with staff modelling appropriate communication and social behaviour.
We are ambitious about our students and are deeply committed to ensuring that they have a rich and successful experience at Dovecote School; well-prepared to enjoy a fulfilling and successful future.
Our Enhanced curriculum embeds therapeutic interventions and strategies into the educational programme to transform our students’ perceptions of their own abilities and promote mental wellbeing and social-emotional development.
Dovecote School Therapy Team comprises SaLT, OT, SENCO, Head of Education, and Head of Family Liaison.
Our students arrive with many barriers to learning which are identified on their EHCPs. These barriers may be learning difficulties, social, emotional, or mental health difficulties or difficulties arising out of a disability such as autism. Many barriers can be addressed by all staff with support and guidance from qualified, experienced, and skilled Therapists.
Together with our teachers, who are all experienced at working with children with SEN, our therapists work in an integrated way in classrooms and around the site. They can identify barriers to learning and suggest strategies to support our pupils to manage these. Because strategies are shared with all staff, pupils get the best possible support and become able to progress and succeed. Over time, pupils become able to absorb and utilise these strategies themselves in their journey towards adulthood.
Our model enables us to offer universal support at a basic level, targeted support to identified small groups and specialist support to students identified on their EHCPs.
Therapists also share their advice and expertise with parents so that we can help families address the needs of our pupils whilst at home.
Speech and Language Therapy
Speech and Language Therapists will work closely with children and young people and their families/carers to provide tailored support to improve children’s communication skills. They advise staff on changes that can be made to the learning environment and wider setting which can optimise children’s communication development.
Occupational Therapists provide support through interventions and education support to enable the pupils to participate and engage in school activities and achieve independence within the school setting.
The Educational Psychologist will focus on the student’s learning and development using their specialist skills in psychological and educational assessment techniques. The Educational Psychologist will consult with teachers and parents to develop and apply effective interventions to promote psychological well-being and to raise educational standards.
The Dovecote programme of study offers a curriculum that blends therapeutic interventions with learning, inside and outside of the classroom.
A curriculum that engenders pride, resilience, and aspiration for every pupil, preparing them to lead safe, independent lives and to be active members of their community.
The Dovecote Therapy Team supports pupils to acknowledge, understand and find successful ways to manage their difficulties as they develop. The Therapy Team also supports classroom staff to incorporate therapeutic ways of enhancing learning opportunities in the classroom and outside, during all activities on their journey towards independence. There will be the opportunity for students to access structured anxiety reduction and relaxation sessions.
There is a wonderful sense of hope in helping young people to understand how their brain works, to learn to self-regulate, to develop an improved self-awareness, and in turn build their self-confidence.
All staff are trained in Positive Behavioural Support that together with guided therapeutic interventions, help pupils to understand the context and meaning of behaviour. This combined approach helps pupils to build better coping strategies and positive emotional control.
Our support for families is unique at Dovecote School. We have a dedicated family liaison team that offer support to families throughout the year. Our school recognises that the empowerment of parents through parental voice and engagement can have a significant impact on helping the child learn and grow. We are focused on a common goal: to support the family and improve family relationships. This service will play an important role in their successful engagement at Dovecote School, in particular supporting with transitions between home and school and with strategies to use at home to reduce heightened anxiety.