The Way We Work.

Statement of Purpose

Every teacher comes to school everyday to change the lives of the children in our care. We accomplish this through expert therapies, inspired teaching, and unswerving commitment to the intellectual and emotional development of the child.

Our aim is to meet each student’s unique developmental, behavioural, and emotional needs as well as help develop his or her cognitive abilities through the development of a firm foundation of skills.

We are a school for mild to moderate, sometimes complex needs for children between the ages of 4 and 11.

We have a broad, balanced, and coherent curricula informed by our therapists.

The teachers and therapists work as an integrated team. Therapists work within the classrooms and conduct small group sessions of therapy for all the children, everyday. There are 4 speech and language therapists and 4 occupational therapists assessing and team-planning for every student. Many of the students have weekly one to one therapy as well. In our planning and teaching, we take a developmental approach, going beyond basic academic skills and looking at the fundamental abilities on which are built thinking skills and problem solving.

Once each week all staff and therapists who make up the Pastoral Teams, meet to discuss every student, these discussions are documented in 5 key focus areas; specific difficulties, behavioural, health and home, academic, and communication. Each of these areas is rag rated through input by all staff and needed actions are determined. All documents for each child, currently enrolled in Chelsea Group, are stored securely online which enables teaching staff to refer to information on individual children from the beginning of their enrolment at CGC. These documents are only accessible from school computers. These documents include, Pupil Profiles, Risk Assessments, Progress Profiles, Behaviour Profiles, Sensory Profiles, IEPs, Provision Maps, Annual Reports, Therapy Assessment Reports, Weekly Homelink Highlights, the CGC Planning and Progress Tool.

The Environment

Our building and the furnishings are unexpected for a special needs school. We intentionally make the interior as home-like as possible to reassure those children who have failed in other academic settings, which is the case with most of our students. Failure is experienced even in nursery school and the association with the classroom is not positive for those children who feel diminished by their academic, developmental and/or social challenges in the typical school environment. We feel the strategies for coping with sensory aversions, poor attention, poor interactions with peers, etc., should be developed in a non-clinical environment to enable the child to generalise these skills.

Lesson Rotations (Excluding Purple Group and EYFS)

The lesson rotations are well planned, making the best and most effective use of the school day. Children move smoothly through rotations. This is one of the most important things we do to insure the children have the structure they crave while at the same time, develop the flexibility to transition from one activity to another; one environment to another. Transition times are opportunities for the real life skills of changing from one activity to another, independent skills of toileting, dressing and undressing in coats, shoes, boots, and physically experiencing movements within schedules and routines.

The classrooms are divided into designated curriculum environments.

Moving to a different room, when also moving to a different domain of thinking, helps the child to transition from one topic to another. Each teacher specialises in his or her domain and, as such, is able to more easily differentiate activities and resources for the various levels of abilities, which are represented in even small groups of students. There are 6 different rotation sessions in each school day.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:35 –9:20 Therapy Start Therapy Start Therapy Start Therapy Start Therapy Start
9:20 – 9:25 Transition Transition Transition Transition Transition
9:25 – 10:05 Art OT – Cooking OT – ADL SaLT – PHSE SaLT – Social Communication
10:05 – 10:10 Transition Transition Transition Transition Transition
10:10 – 10:50 Literacy Literacy Literacy LiteracyOT Handwriting LiteracySaLT
10:50 – 11:00 Independent Transition Independent Transition Independent Transition Independent Transition Independent Transition
11:00 – 11:40 Outdoor Play Outdoor Play Outdoor Play Outdoor Play Outdoor Play
11:40 – 11:50 Independent Transition Independent Transition Independent Transition Independent Transition Independent Transition
11:50– 12:30 Maths Maths Maths ICT/DT Maths
12:30 – 12:35 Transition Transition Transition Transition Transition
12:35 – 1:15 OT-Community Outing Geography/History Science Construction Makaton/Vygotsky
1:15 – 2:05 Therapeutic Lunch Therapeutic Lunch Therapeutic Lunch Therapeutic Lunch Therapeutic Lunch
2:05 – 2:45 OT – Movement Movement Movement Movement – Art Therapy Music
2:45 – 3:00 Home time Home time Home time Home time Home time

 

All Members of Staff arrive by 7:55 to assemble in the main hall for the morning meeting at 8:00 during which the following items are discussed.

  • Absent staff and students.
  • Visitors on the day.
  • Relevant and Necessary Information on staff members and/or students. (Birthdays etc.)
  • Aspects of the Safeguarding Policy (different each day)
  • Questions on Safeguarding
  • Sign Language, Sign of the Day

3:15 Meetings to discuss any urgent event or information, (which can not wait until the Friday meeting), leadership and management, staff notes, and Homelink.

Homelink: recorded highlights of each child’s week, emailed to parents on Friday and on Monday parents report back on weekend activities, which offers talking points (opportunities for engagement) between staff and students.

Teachers leave 4:30

Park

In all unstructured periods of the school day, each child’s Therapy Provision Map highlights the key areas of need and the targets set by staff for that child during those periods, this is especially true for park time where all therapists and teachers and TAs accompany the students to the park to support play skills, communication skills, and motor skills.

Lunch

Students are divided into 4 therapeutic eating groups in which challenges such as oral motor difficulties, fine motor skill difficulties with cutlery and self feeding, sensory issues, and behavioural needs are supported by the therapy and teaching team.

Over the past decade, The Chelsea Group of Children has served organic lunches and snacks, which are wheat and dairy free. All food is prepared in our own kitchen by a professional chef and assistant. We take food and nutrition very seriously and make certain children receive a varied, healthy diet every school day.

Planning for each child is thorough and accessible to all teaching staff.

Planning is appropriate for each child and for each small group of children. We have devised a Planning and Progress Tool for every student, which is available on our file sharing facility on school computers. This is a cloud-based storage but is accessible only on school computers. All teachers plan for all the students in rotations and this is a much more complex way of planning and teaching, and it differs from the way many primary schools operate, however we feel it is best practice for the needs of our students and it is a practice that has evolved over the past 18 years with only one objective; meeting the needs of the children.

There is a wide range of resources in each classroom.

Teachers are given a generous budget with which to replenish and update resources and these resources are used effectively in the subject classrooms and shared with other teaching staff to insure cross- curricular teaching.

The structure of the lessons is tiered to enable progress.

For example all the Vygotsky modules are built in developmental and academic progression. Each lesson builds on the one before and supports the next lesson. These lessons are not taken randomly off the shelf. Individual student teaching plans ensure any absence from a lesson or lessons through one-to-one therapy sessions/assessments or illness do not hamper the student’s progress through missing a key lesson in the progression of lessons.

Expertise in managing behaviour at Chelsea Group.

Challenging behaviours are often the remnants of the trauma of a child’s failure in a mainstream setting. Many children have learned disruptive behaviour will trigger removal from the classroom and this becomes their goal. Therefore we keep a child in the classroom, supported by staff who follow that student’s Positive Behaviour Plan and his Therapy Provision Map, as long as the other children’s learning is not impaired. This requires a balance between inclusion and exclusion for the benefit of all. Our staff is highly trained and experienced in managing challenging behaviours. We create an atmosphere in which a student can experience success. This enables a child to develop a crucial attribute; self esteem. Children are taught strategies to recognise and control their feelings and behaviour. The Pastoral Team write a unique behavioural plan for each child ensuring consistency in responses to challenging behaviour.

The Culture

The nurturing atmosphere which enables children to have access to learning with less fear and to develop strategies to cope with their own learning difficulties and sensory challenges, is not merely a by product of a group of carefully selected nice people. The culture has evolved over 18 years of dedicated work by highly trained individuals guided by the best practice available. As a team we represent training from around the world. We maintain the culture, designed and developed to answer the questions What is best for the child? What do we need to do to prepare him/her for the future? through a steadfast adherence to our core principles while at the same time adapting to the changing landscape of regulations and expectations.

University of Roehampton

The Chelsea Group provides School Experience Placement for students from University of Roehampton. The Head Teacher and the Head of Teaching and Learning have received training at Roehampton as School Based Mentors.

We also provide placement for a Drama Therapy student from Roehampton.