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Admission

Background:

Woodlands Meed is a Generic Special School, which means we can make provision for a wide range of learning needs and disabilities, however all pupils attending Woodlands Meed must have an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP), maintained by their local authority.

West Sussex County Council’s Special Educational Needs Assessment Team (SENAT) makes final decisions on placing pupils at Woodlands Meed, in consultation with school and families.

The Process:

Parents and carers wishing their child to attend Woodlands Meed should make their preferences known to the WSCC SENAT Team, and in most cases to their existing school’s SENCo, if their child is already attending another setting.

SENAT then consult with us, and other possible settings, sharing paperwork, Annual Reviews, EHCPs and other information to help establish if we can meet a child’s needs. In some circumstances, we sometimes visit prospective pupils in their settings as well, though not in every case.

Woodlands Meed then responds to each consultation along 3 broad lines:

  1. Can we meet needs, as described in the EHCP, and offer suitable provision?
  2. Can we offer a meaningful peer group, of pupils of a similar age, and with similar developmental, verbal, social and academic levels?
  3. Can we physically accommodate the child in the school, with an available space in an appropriate class?

Class Sizes and structure:

Our class sizes vary depending on the needs of the pupils therein; some pupils needing higher levels of support and smaller groupings, some benefiting from opportunities to work in larger groups, with more independence. We always aim to keep our class sizes small and our staffing ratio high, to ensure best practice SEN provision. For this reason, despite the high demand for places at Woodlands Meed, we cannot always accommodate every child whose family wishes them to come to us. We are always mindful and careful to ensure that class sizes remain at acceptable levels and we will always aim to protect our pupils from the risk of class sizes growing beyond a reasonable capacity for them to thrive.

Generally, all our pupils have a learning disability, and associated developmental delay. A large proportion of our pupil population has ASCs (Autism Spectrum Conditions), and we can support a wide range of learning disabilities (moderate, severe, profound and multiple), as well as speech and language, social communication and sensory processing disorders. With the assistance of our Special School nursing team we also support some complex medical and physical needs, though pupils with these needs will also have a learning disability or delay as well.

The majority of our pupils are working significantly below their mainstream counterparts, and below age-expectation in a range of developmental areas. We recognise that there is a need for provision in the local area for pupils who are functioning cognitively at age-expectation, but who have social and emotional difficulties, anxiety, social skills deficits or behavioural difficulties. We are not generally able to accommodate these pupils, as there is a high likelihood that they could be isolated in our setting, without a meaningful peer-group operating at their social, verbal, developmental and academic level. Equally, whilst we can accommodate and support pupils who present with challenging behaviours associated with their learning disability, we are not a specialist provision for social, emotional and behavioural conditions, and cannot accommodate pupils if this is their main category of need.

The majority of our new pupils join us at the start of the year, in the Autumn Term, and this normally fills the majority of our available places. There are occasions when spaces open up throughout the year, and it is possible for pupils to be allocated these mid-way through the year, in accordance with agreement from the WSCC SENAT Team.

Pupils in Year 6 pass automatically into our secondary provision at Year 7, and those in Year 9 generally have automatic placement in Year 10 at the college site – although our current facilities may limit this progression for some pupils with high needs. No application needs to be made to seek placement when transferring from Primary to Secondary; transfer from School Site to College Site will be discussed at Year 9 Annual Reviews or before.

Our admissions process runs through the year, and we offer prospective families the chance to visit Woodlands Meed, see our provision and ask questions, with parent tours running twice a week at school site, and by appointment at college site. If you would like to attend one of these tours, please contact the school office to book a space. We look forward to meeting you and to showing you our school.

Admission to Key Stage 5

External Process – as above

Internal process:

Post 16 progression will be discussed at the Year 11 Annual Review.

It will be expected that parents have explored post 16 options at local FE colleges which may be better suited to meet the academic or vocational needs of their child.

Parents will be asked to complete an application form for a Key Stage 5 place.

Decisions will be made and communicated to parents by the end of the Spring Term.

Attendance up to Year 11 does not guarantee a placement into Key stage 5 – eligibility criteria will be assessed along the following guidelines

  1. Can we offer a meaningful peer group, of pupils of a similar age, and with similar developmental, verbal, social and academic levels?
  2. Can we physically accommodate the child in the school, with an available space in an appropriate class?
  3. Does the college deem progression to Key Stage 5 as the optimum progression route or would another post 16 option be more suitable.

Progression to Years 13 and 14 will be discussed at subsequent Annual Review Meetings.

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