Based in Rossendale, Lancashire, Rossendale School accepts pupils from across the North West and incorporates:
- The main school site
- A community-based sixth form
- Two associated residential homes
Who do we support?
Rossendale School provides education for up to 70 day and residential pupils aged between eight and 18 years old.
The majority of our pupils are on the autism spectrum with average cognitive ability. In general, the young people we support at Rossendale School are able to manage a mainstream curriculum but cannot manage a mainstream placement.
We have extensive experience of dealing effectively with pupils diagnosed as suffering from a variety of syndromes. Syndromes and conditions that the School successfully and regularly deals with include:
- Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Asperger syndrome
- Autistic spectrum disorders (ASD)
- Deficits in attention, motor control, and perception (DAMP)
- Pathological demand avoidance (PDA)
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Rossendale School’s core purpose is to meet the needs of individual pupils as set out in their Statement of Need or Education Health and Care plan. However, over and above this, we strive to play a major role in:
- Engaging the young person in learning
- Maximising individual potential
- Valuing the individual
- Promoting self-awareness and respect for others
- Providing a supportive caring environment
- Celebrating success in all its forms
- Creating an ethos of high expectation
- Creating a stimulating learning environment
- Preparing young people for social inclusion
The Rossendale School approach
Rossendale School’s overall aim is to develop a caring community in which concern and respect for others is fostered and the importance of goodwill, sensitivity and tolerance in interpersonal relationships is exemplified.
Pupils statemented with emotional and behavioural needs can be poorly served by the education provision available to them. Similarly, parents of children with autism often experience difficulties in securing the right provision for their child. Rossendale School was founded on a deep conviction that ALL pupils are entitled to a positive education that allows them to experience success.
This guiding belief is translated into daily practice and underpins all that we do at Rossendale School. We strive to create a positive, supportive and achieving culture so that pupils from negative, destructive or anti-achievement backgrounds can experience a completely different environment in which to re-discover (or maybe discover for the first time) success and self-belief in an educational setting.
Well-trained, supportive staff
Rossendale School owes much of its success in supporting young people to its staff. We recognise that our young people face a limited future without a top class education. In order for us to deliver that, requires a special type of person.
The staff team at Rossendale School has been very carefully selected via a very thorough and involved process. Our focus, first and foremost, is on attracting the very best quality teachers who have mainstream experience and we then provide them with a high level of special needs training.
Our staff are experienced and trained to recognise and deal with young people’s sensory needs. Through an exceptional level of staff support, our young people leave the school better prepared for everyday life.
“The passion and commitment of senior leaders drive the school forward. These qualities are shared by the education, care and support staff who work as a collaborative staff team. As a result, the school has created a caring culture that has a strong academic focus and encourages pupils to thrive.”
Ofsted, October 2014
Small classes with focussed attention
The majority of our young people will not be engaged with learning when they first join us. Therefore, Rossendale School purposely keeps class sizes small so that we can give students the specialised attention they require.
At secondary level, each year group typically has around eight students but pupils will usually be split into two groups for teaching. In practice, this means lessons are usually delivered in small groups of four, led by a subject-specialist qualified teacher and with a classroom support assistant.
At primary level, again, each year group has around eight students. There will be a primary qualified teacher leading the class with support from two additional classroom support assistants, generally HLTA trained. This ensures that if the group needs to be split or individual work to take place, then the HLTAs are capable of working at this level.
We are also able to provide 1:1 support if required, but our focus always remains on enabling young people to become independent learners for a more sustainable adulthood.
Consistency is key
We believe that consistency is key to successful learning for our young people. For this reason, classroom support assistants tend to stay with the teaching group; moving between different lessons with the same pupils. This provides stability and security for the group.
A focus on social and emotional learning
Rossendale School believes that a rounded education is not only about gaining knowledge and acquiring essential skills but also about personal development. We want to ensure that, during their time with us, our young people reach their academic capacity and also develop the social and emotional skills they need to reach their full potential and function successfully as young adults in the real world.
We always take a long-term view of each of the young people we support and look to how we can help them to move on and become employable in the future. Whilst academic achievement is hugely important, we recognise that social and emotional learning is equally important for our young people. After all, GCSEs are of little value if the young person does not feel confident to leave their bedroom to put them to use. By focussing on our students’ social and emotional development, we are able to make academic achievement a possibility. In our experience, one without the other just does not work.
Tutor time is built into the timetable so that young people can discuss any worries or concerns they may have with their personal form tutor. Our care team also act as keyworkers, liaising between home and school and the headteacher operates an ‘open door’ policy, meaning pupils can make an appointment to see him to discuss issues they may have.
Keeping parents/carers informed
Rossendale School believes that the relationship between parents and the school is an essential one. From the initial interview, we make clear the importance of joint working, with the same agenda if we are to ensure success for the young person. As a school, we put a great deal of effort into building close and positive links with students’ families as we feel this is the best way to bring about positive and lasting change in our young people’s lives. In order to do this, we:
- Ensure a minimum of weekly telephone calls between each student’s keyworker and parents/carers
- Give primary pupils a ‘take home book’ with a daily comment from teaching staff
- Organise regular parents’ evenings
- Welcome parents/carers to make an appointment to visit the school at any time
- Make an immediate phone call to parents/carers if we are concerned about any aspect of their child’s welfare, progress or behaviour
- Send an annual written report home to parents/carers
Supporting parents and carers
Rossendale School views parents as vital partners in our work of educating young people. We believe the best team consists of the child, the parent/guardian and school staff working together. However, we also recognise that it can be frustrating, demanding and difficult to live with a child with challenging behaviour and a lifetime condition.
The school seeks to support the families of our young people wherever possible as we feel they have an important supportive role to play in ensuring that their child’s behavioural standards meet the school’s high expectations. Our care team in particular get to know parents and families very closely and provide support. Likewise our therapy team provide training in coping strategies which can be used at home. We are also in the process of setting up a parent group, so that parents and carers can have an outlet, share their experiences and learn from one another.