Rossendale School helps prepare each and every one of our young people for adulthood from their very first day with us. We do not look at where the individual is now; instead we focus on their future, what they are capable of achieving and where they are capable to getting to.
As soon as a young person receives a place at Rossendale School, we start working together to find ways to support them to reach their full potential. Whilst academic achievements play an important role in this process, we do not overlook the need for young people to develop the social skills required to manage within society.
A solution-focussed approach
Rossendale School strongly believes in working with a young person’s autism and other conditions. We take a solution-focussed approach and encourage our students to do the same. There will always be problems in life, but what Rossendale School strives to do is to tackle ‘learned helplessness’ by replacing disabilities with abilities.
Throughout a pupil’s time with us, we will work alongside them to help develop the capacity to recognise when they are feeling overwhelmed and then to teach them coping strategies to manage this before it causes a major behavioural issue. For example, if a young person is distressed by a flickering light, we will work with them to recognise this as the source of their distress and to identify their options of turning off the light or leaving the room. We feel this is the way in which we can best equip our students with the skills to go on to become successful adults who are able to integrate and function as part of society.
A focus on reintegration
Whilst Rossendale School takes a personalised approach to each young person’s learning journey, there is one aim that all pupils share: To reintegrate with the community, which may include moving back home and/or re-joining a mainstream education provision.
We feel that strong community links play a vital role in the development of our young people. Rossendale School ensures it not only works with students in a separate school environment, but that we also link with each pupil’s home community and family home base.
Using community facilities
As part of our commitment to helping young people develop into successful adults, Rossendale School places a strong focus on teaching students how and when to use facilities within their local community. We work alongside our pupils to develop:
- Good communication skills
- Good social skills
- Emotional resilience
- Understanding of when and how to use facilities (e.g. bank, library, GP surgery)
- Safety in the community skills
- Independent travel skills
so that they can cope with the demands of everyday life and operate as successful members of the community in which they live. As part of this, Rossendale School provides supported access to a wide range of leisure activities in young people’s home communities and actively encourages all pupils to develop interests in a variety of community-based initiatives, such as:
- Emergency first aid course
- Horse riding at a local stables
- Sailing and canoeing at Hollingsworth Lake
- Swimming at local swimming baths
- Use of outdoor ski slope
- Voluntary work placements as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award
Making informed decisions about plans for the future
Careers education and guidance is an essential part of every pupil’s curriculum at Rossendale School. We aim to help our young people develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to make well informed educational and vocational choices. As a school, we actively encourage pupils to play a major part in planning their futures through:
- Embedding careers education throughout the curriculum from Year 4 onwards
- Timetabled citizenship lessons (incorporating careers education) from Year 9 onwards
- Strong links with external careers service providers
- Regular visits from specialist external careers advisors
- Discussing an individual’s career options during Annual Reviews in Years 9, 10 and 11
- Involving pupils in the statutory review process
- Inviting all Key Stage 4 pupils to attend the annual Rossendale area careers convention
- An active work experience programme
- An active college link programme
Sixth form campus
Our sixth form campus is purposely based away from the main school site, located in a central town location. This gives students there the chance to get familiar with being a part of the community whilst still benefiting from the support and structure of the school environment.
Rossendale School’s sixth form allows pupils to experience a more ‘adult’ college-style approach to education. Students studying here have the opportunity to develop their independence skills on a daily basis, for example using local shops to buy their own lunch.
“The sixth form curriculum is very effective in developing students’ personal, social and employability skills and preparing them to work and live in modern Britain.
The curriculum ensures that students are able to develop core skills further and provides courses, such as media studies and horticulture, to prepare students for college or employment. The sixth form provision is highly effective at meeting the needs and interests of students.”
Ofsted, October 2014