Ramillies Hall School is a small nurturing co-ed provision from Reception – Year 11. The school is a mainstream provision with a child centred approach to learning. In practice this means that each child has access to up to 13 GCSE subjects and also a range of entry level qualifications, to suit the needs of those children who are less able academically. It is not uncommon at Ramillies for children to have individual timetables, tailored around their needs. This flexible approach to curriculum delivery ensures that pupils access their curriculum and are able to realise their own potential.
At Ramillies we are specialists in supporting children with Special Educational Needs; such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, children on the Autistic spectrum and children who are gifted and talented. Class sizes at Ramillies are small. In the junior provision the staff to pupil ratio is currently 1-to-4, with trained SEN TAs in class, supporting the teacher. Whilst sizes are small, there are a number of activities within the curriculum which include a combination of classes bringing the size of class to around 15. School activities such as sports days, art programmes, music and performances often include combinations of classes right across the school.
As Ramillies offers educational provision from Reception to Year 11 within the same geographical site, it is often of benefit to those children who would struggle with transition into another school. Transition is also made easier through thorough transition planning but also by the fact that in the higher junior school pupils start to move out of their existing classroom for subjects such as science, cooking and art into classrooms and with teachers who they would be working with from Year 7 onwards. In our experience this familiarity helps to ensure that transition is seamless for children who may normally experience anxiety around this time.
Unlike other provisions we adopt a whole school approach to multi-sensory teaching and learning. This means that all subjects are taught in a kinaesthetic, visual and auditory style. We do not rely on external delivery but employ a significant number of specialist teachers throughout the school. This enables all children with a range of learning styles to access the curriculum. Alongside this we have an extensive range of resources and expertise that runs hand-in-hand with our mainstream classes, out of class support is used to underpin, reinforce and extend learning around literacy, numeracy and other subject areas. Staff employed at Ramillies are all experienced in working with children with a range of special educational needs. Staff training is on-going and covers both teaching staff, non- teaching staff and TAs. All TAs are trained in the use of Comic Strip conversations, Paired Reading skills, ADHD & Autism awareness and in-class numeracy & literacy strategies and emotional literacy enhancement. Furthermore, at non-structured times of the day TAs are responsible for leading play, reinforcement of good friendship skills learnt during social skills sessions etc.
Ramillies works with a range of multi-agency specialist such as speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, Autism teams and the ASD Project in Stockport. Not only does Ramillies facilitate the assessment and monitoring of support around these areas, but is actively involved in the roll out of such programmes on a daily/weekly basis. It is evident that specialist programmes that sit alone without little and often approach to their implementation are less effective. As a result of this each SALT or OT programme, for example, that is delivered in Ramillies is set into the child’s timetable with the delivery by an SEN TA in order that skills maybe generalised and progress made.
In addition to the academic support the children receive at Ramillies we have an extensive range of support strategies for children with social, emotional and communication difficulties. Social skill groups are timetabled into the curriculum, as are off-loading opportunities. In addition to this we have weekly schemes delivered by the ASD Project in Stockport targeted at those children who need to develop their social and emotional skills in particular. Our pastoral care runs throughout the school and each child has access to support in both none structured and structured times. It is possible for a child to access support either time tabled within the week or for a need to be responded to as it arises. This is facilitated by the extensive resources and trained personnel on site and also the small school size.
It is Ramillies’ belief that there are a number of programmes and activities, which if delivered on a regular basis can be advantageous for all children with or without SENs. As a result of this the junior timetable includes the Ready to Work programme, this is a short programme to help normalises or regulate a pupil’s sensory registration so that they can concentrate better at the start of the day, it only takes 10 minutes to complete and is a great warm-up. Brain Gym is also incorporated for 15 – 20 minutes each day, this is beneficial to all pupils but particularly those who need assistance with difficulties around lengthening and concentration and who may have poor hand-eye coordination. This series of activities includes mid-line movements. Motor Skills United is a recognised programme formulated to assist students with difficulties in fine and gross motor skills, this is undertaken twice weekly in the junior timetable. Non-verbal reasoning and Touch Typing is also available, the latter lesson is designed to run concurrently with handwriting schemes and assistive technology sessions. To provide a range of opportunities for recording for those children who struggle with traditional methods. Specialist software training in software such as Dragon Dictate, Inspiration and Text Help is also provided for pupils at Ramillies.
Pastoral care aimed at supporting the whole child is at the heart of the ethos of Ramillies. When required children have named staff to off-load to on a weekly or even bi-weekly basis, due to the high staff to pupil ratio issues are communicated quickly to ensure that the pastoral support is responsive and immediate. Due to the nurturing, family ethos at Ramillies, each child remains an individual and every member of staff is fully aware and involved in current IEP targets, areas of vulnerability and statement objectives if relevant. Daily meetings of all staff occur to ensure that any daily issues are communicated to the whole school for consideration. Furthermore, all learning support staff, TAs, multi-sensory tutors and the Head of the Service meet weekly to review roll out of pupil support. In addition to this all usual methods of monitoring and review occur. IEPs are completed for all children, not just statemented children, each term and an annual review for those children who are statemented. Furthermore, Ramillies has an open-door policy for parents to discuss issues that may arise.
There is a systematic monitoring of progress of children which goes over and above standard in class monitoring and evaluation. WRAT 4 testing is completed annually, at the start of the academic year, so that we are able to objectively produce standard scores which reflect progress, or lack of it. This is in addition to IEPs and reviews. We also undertake NFER testing each February.
Overall, supporting children with Special Educational Needs is at the very heart of Ramillies. Children still have access to the National Curriculum and are able to obtain qualifications in up to 13 subjects. We have a range of qualified staff and a cohort of trained TAs to ensure that the whole of Ramillies is able to meet the needs of each child. With our extensive resources and trained staff we are responsive and flexible to the changing needs of our pupils.