At Dovers Green we are privileged to have a specialist centre for children with communication and interaction needs (CoIN) which we call Badgers. Whilst we are designated as a High CoIN, which means that we can meet the needs of children with significant and complex needs, there is the expectation that children will benefit from attending some mainstream classes and interaction with the children there but require additional specialist support. These opportunities to work alongside their peers in mainstream classes is arranged flexibly and according to individual needs.
Badgers is a sixteen place Centre which is located in a purpose designed building which is adjacent to the playground. The building comprises a main teaching room, two smaller group rooms, one of which is used for therapies such as speech and language and occupational therapy and a calming room. This means that we can withdraw children to work on personalised learning programmes in a low distraction environment. There is also a covered outside learning space for the children giving access all year round.
Entry into the Centre
Entry into any CoIN in Surrey is decided through a series of forums which are made up of representatives from schools, the Local Authority (LA) and other professionals such as Educational Psychologists, who meet annually every March. Children must have an Education, Health and Care Plan or be in the process of Formal Assessment. The SEND Case Officers will be able to offer further advice and support about the admission process.
The children in the CoIN follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and the National Curriculum at an appropriate level. All children have a ‘Personalised Learning Programme’ which enables us to target the next steps in the children’s learning and to meet their personal, social and emotional needs. Dovers Green is a Forest School and the Badgers children participate in two sessions each week in our on-site woodland area. Children are provided with the appropriate clothing so that we can go out in all weathers except high winds and thunderstorms! We have found that these sessions help to improve the children’s confidence and self-esteem, social and communication skills and develop their ability to try new experiences, use their own initiative and take risks in a safe and supported environment.
Badgers is staffed by an experienced, dedicated and caring team of teachers and assistants who are well qualified to teach children with a range of special needs. Their expertise is shared with teachers and other adults working in the mainstream school and all staff at Dovers Green receives training to ensure they are able to support children with a special need.
We offer a comprehensive induction process for children entering Dovers Green which will be planned with parents and discussed with a child’s current teachers and assistants at their nursery school or playgroup, and will be adapted to the child’s individual need. Children will be invited to spend some time in the school during the second half of the summer term, where they can meet staff and other children. A photo book will be given to each child showing the different people they will meet and illustrating routines and different areas of the school. This will give you an opportunity to talk about and help prepare your child for their move to the new school.
A speech therapist and speech therapy assistant works alongside children in the classroom for a total of three days, providing advice and individual and group therapy sessions for children with speech, language and communication difficulties.
Dovers Green is well supported by health professionals such as doctors, physiotherapists and occupational therapists who help us to plan and implement programmes to promote the children’s physical development. Other outside professionals such as advisory teachers for visual, hearing and physical disabilities as well as educational psychologists are frequent visitors to the school and their input is invaluable in enabling us to fully meet the children’s needs.
Any specialist or adapted equipment can be provided to make the environment and curriculum as accessible as possible for all children. Information Communication Technology (ICT) is playing an increasingly important part in all our lives and is an invaluable tool for children with special educational needs. There is a Special Educational Needs Information Technology Coordinator who will assess the children and then organise any technology that the children in Badgers may need such as adapted switches, control devices and any specific software needs. In addition to any personal computers provided for individual children, Badgers has laptops in the classroom and regular access to the computer room, which has six laptops and an interactive whiteboard. Children in Badgers also have access to our Sensory Room which provides a calm and relaxing environment which we have found increases their concentration, helps focus attention and improves social relationships and communication.
Assessment and Monitoring
Children in Badgers have an EHCP which identifies the specific need of each child. Each half-term the SENCo meets with the class teacher to review and set targets to meet the child’s learning, social, emotional, behavioural and physical needs which will incorporate advice from any other professionals working with the child. These targets then form the child’s Individual Support Plan which will inform planning for the child’s learning.
Each year, a formal review of a child’s progress is held. All professionals who work with a child are invited to attend the review and discuss with parents and the school the progress that a child has made. If necessary, the review can recommend any changes that need to be made to a child’s EHCP in terms of provision, equipment or support.
Badgers children are very fortunate to have the opportunity to go swimming every other week at the local centre in Horley. A qualified swimming instructor leads the sessions, supported by school staff who go in the water with the children. We feel that this activity is invaluable in raising the children’s self-esteem and confidence as well as providing opportunities to contribute to physiotherapy and occupational therapy programmes. A small charge is made for swimming which covers transport and instructor costs.
There are Before and After School Clubs at Dovers Green and if appropriate levels of staffing can be arranged, children from Badgers are able to attend. A charge is made for this facility and more details can be obtained by contacting the School Office
There are also after- school clubs run both by school staff and external providers. Again, providing staff are available to support the children, they are welcome to attend.
Communication with Parents
We believe that effective partnership between home and school is vital. We recognise that parents of children with special educational needs may require additional contact and information concerning their child’s progress and well-being. Contact between home and school can be more problematic for Badgers children because many of the children come to school by taxi. All children in the Centre therefore have a ‘Home School Contact Book’, which enables us to have daily contact with parents so that we can relay concerns, information and to celebrate achievement. Parents can also use the book to inform school of any information. All parents also have the opportunity to sign-up for ‘ParentMail’ which enables us to share newsletters and weekly information electronically.
A half-termly newsletter tells parents the areas of learning the children will be covering so that they can actively support their child at home and talk about the learning in school. It also gives information about the half term’s events. Parents are invited to coffee afternoons each half term which enables parents of children in Badgers to get together and chat informally.
The school has an open door policy and parents are welcome at any time. If parents require an opportunity to discuss issues in more detail, appointments can be arranged with one of the class teachers.
We would strongly recommend that you visit the school, either with or without your child as a prospectus such as this can only serve as an introduction to the school. We welcome visits to the school and appointments can be made by contacting the school office on 01737 245515.