Springfield House is a day/residential special school situated in a rural position near Knowle, Solihull. The main house is a former country residence, and the listed buildings provide a pleasant environment in which the children can feel valued and begin the long process of raising their self-esteem.
It is a City of Birmingham school and most of our children come from Birmingham. We have a few children from adjacent authorities.
We currently have places for eighty-seven children, between the ages of four and eleven, with a range of special educational needs. All the children have significant social, emotional or mental health difficulties which affect their behaviour; some of which are associated with other learning difficulties including a growing number with additional diagnoses such as Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC), Attachment Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). A high proportion of our children have experienced a number of school moves and periods of time out of full time education.
Children broadly follow core areas of the National Curriculum, adapted as necessary to meet their needs. A number of pupils are able to achieve results in line with national expectations for their age group. Helping children to learn to manage their social, emotional and mental health difficulties is seen as equally important as academic success.
Our aim is to empower pupils to make a positive contribution to society. We will achieve this through effective partnerships with pupils, families and other stakeholders.
To develop and improve:
- Self-esteem, resilience and confidence
- Communication and social interaction skills
- Independent thinking and working skills
- The ability and courage to make positive choices
Statement of Purpose
The purpose of our school is to provide a nurturing environment, with firm boundaries within which pupils can develop strategies to appropriately manage their social, emotional and mental health disabilities. We seek to celebrate successes and achievements to build self-esteem, whilst providing space and opportunity to build resilience and reflect on actions that impact on outcomes. Children are expected to play a full part in the wider community and participate in the opportunities offered. Through promoting and encouraging their social and academic development it is our aim that they will be able to be able to make a positive contribution to society.
The school philosophy is based on a belief that every pupil has the right to an educational experience designed to meet their individual needs. We will work closely with children, families and other stakeholders to address the impact of previous unsuccessful school placements, damaging early life experiences and/or medical conditions and use our specialist resources to deliver targeted programmes of support and intervention. We aim to provide pupils with the skills to manage their disabilities, to enable them to interact more successfully with others and to attain their full potential. Above all we want their time at school to be positive and successful.
Referrals are received from Birmingham Education Authority and parents are invited to visit Springfield House to help them decide if the school is suitable for their child. Children are not involved at this stage but will be visited in their current placement as part of the admission process. Subject to a suitable place being available and acceptable to the parents a pre-admission visit for parents and child is arranged and an admission date agreed.
A wide range of criteria are used to ensure the placement is appropriate. These include reports from previous schools, psychological, social, medical reports, speech and language reports and information from parents and carers. A visit by a member of staff to the child’s current placement is usually made to fully assess the suitability of Springfield House and the school’s ability to cater for their needs.
The National Curriculum is available for all children. However, whilst a number work towards the full N.C., it needs to be modified and personalised in individual circumstances according to the pupil’s needs and ability. Our curriculum has a strong focus on developing core academic skills, using a range of interventions to improve reading, writing and maths. A wide range of enrichment opportunities are also available to help develop self-management skills, build self-esteem and promote aspirations.
The school strives to develop services to meet the needs of the children it caters for. To this end a number of additional support pathways have been developed over recent years. These include the following:
- Counselling/Behaviour support for children and parents provided by the Malachi Community Trust.
- Music Therapy provided by an experienced therapist from Music Space West Midlands.
- Speech, Language and Communication therapy provided by an independent therapist employed by the school two days per week.
- Play therapy
- Lego therapy
- Opportunity to be involved in the Gardening Project to develop social skills and an understanding of where food comes from.
- Participation in the 'Special Schools’ football league'
- Work on development of creativity, self-expression, social skills and communication through music with The Notables Foundation.
We are constantly evaluating the way that children are supported in their development and we are keen to continue to identify and provide opportunities which we feel are of value to our pupils.
Teaching Organisation – Size of Classes
There are ten classes providing for a wide range of abilities and difficulties. We strive to organise children into groups which enable us to best meet their needs. Class sizes are usually 8 or 9 children with a class teacher and two additional staff. Lower school consists of 12 children, a teacher, a lead G4 and four additional staff. Some of our children require a high level of support at all times.
Sex Education Programme
The school has a sex education programme, ratified by the Governors, which parents may see on request.
The school undertakes sex education lessons as part of the Health Education Programme. The lessons are in accordance with the National Curriculum Science Syllabus which requires that all pupils are taught about physical and emotional changes of growing up and human reproduction.
Children may be exempted by parental choice but it is the school's and governors' considered view that children with learning difficulties require particular assistance in this area.
Collective worship according to the 1944 and 1993 Education Acts is currently provided. This daily act of worship is carried out with all children and staff.
In accordance with the legislation parents may opt their child out of both the R.E. and the 'Collective Act of Worship'.
Educational visits are arranged to assist the children's learning. The school has a mini-bus which are used for outings and educational visits. All visits are subject to careful planning and risk assessment, in line with Local Authority and National Guidelines. There are two designated Educational Visits Co-ordinators (EVCs)
Annual Reviews of Education Heath Care Plans
Each child’s provision is reviewed at least annually, with parents/carers, and any changes in provision will be identified and agreed then. When a child is considered to be capable of understanding and benefiting from the whole review she/he will be involved in the review.
In addition to the Annual Review of their Education, Health and Care Plan, parent’s meetings are held twice each year, in the autumn and spring terms.
Governors Curriculum Statement
The Governing Body believes that education through the curriculum is a preparation for life in a plural society with many different faiths and cultures.
The Governors make the following points about the curriculum: -
- It prepares children for life, particularly at the primary stage, and therefore every child must have an ENTITLEMENT to the widest possible access.
- Access, not the content, must be tailored through personalisation and progression to the individual needs of the children.
- It must be appropriately challenging to the abilities of the children.
- It must be multicultural in character to promote understanding and tolerance of all cultures and religions.
- It must be wide and have links between subjects.
- It must promote independence within the community and take advantages of the opportunities of society.
- Each child is of equal worth and must have equality of opportunity.
- The curriculum provides a means of assessment and evaluation so that parent, child, and teacher can recognise progress and plan for the future.
- Parents must be kept informed by annual reviews, parents’ meetings, home/schoolbooks and any possible informal contact.
- The Governors expect the highest possible standards of behaviour and attainment and fully support the staff in promoting positive achievements.
- Children learn to develop independence.
- Children are learning how to learn and how to work with others.