11th October 2017

Every child is unique – and so is our school

Every child is unique – and so is our school Cover Photo

Q&A with Sam Newton, Headteacher of The Children’s Trust School...

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am Sam Newton and I’m the Headteacher of The Children’s Trust School.

I have been teaching for nearly 20 years with over 17 years of experience in complex learning difficulties and special educational needs.

Tell us about The Children’s Trust School

The Children’s Trust School is a purpose built, non-maintained special school dedicated to education, therapy and care of children and young people between the ages of 3-19.

We support children and young people with a wide range of special educational needs including complex learning difficulties, neurodisability and complex medical needs through day and residential placements.

We are located at The Children’s Trust national specialist centre in Tadworth, Surrey admitting children from across the South East of England.

We strive to provide a safe, caring, organised and happy environment where every child’s individual needs can be met; we recognise that every child is unique and so provide a personalised approach. In partnership with parents, we aim to enrich each pupil’s quality of life by promoting their intellectual, physical, emotional and social development.

Our team consists of specialist teachers and therapists, including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, music therapists and health play specialists. We have nurses, on-site doctors and consultants available for those staying here residentially, along with our wonderful care staff; educational psychologists and specialist teaching assistants.

We take a holistic approach to the children and young people’s care, education and therapy which is fundamental to our success as a team.

Which curriculum do you follow at The Children’s Trust School?

We follow the ImPACTs curriculum which is a highly specialised and developmental based curriculum. We teach our curriculum in an integrated way with our experienced teachers, therapists, specialist teaching assistants and colleagues in care, working holistically together across and throughout the day to support children and young people to reach the next steps in their learning.

Why ImPACTs?

ImPACTs offers a specialised curriculum in five key skill areas:

– Communication, Language & Literacy

– Cognitive skills

– Environmental control technology

– Personal, social and emotional well being

– Physical skills (gross and fine motor)

The development of each key skill includes multi-disciplinary working and the school using the expertise of relevant professionals. Importantly the curriculum recognises and values ‘learning via on-going routines’ such as eating, drinking and through personal care.

There is a detailed approach to assessment and progress that pupils are making allowing the school to collate meaningful evidence.

The curriculum is non-published to support its ethos that up-to-date research, educational and clinical knowledge is applied on an ongoing basis as research informs.

Tell us about some of the activities you have available for the children and young people who stay residentially at the School

The Children’s Trust School is based on a 24-acre site in Tadworth Surrey and shares the site with The Children’s Trust charity.

We have great links with community groups and organisations as horse riding for the disabled, scouts, brownies and many more.

We offer state-of-the-art facilities:

– Aquatics therapy pool

– Playground equipment

– Nature trail

– Woodland walk

– Outdoor musical instruments

– Sensory gardens

– Sensory Maze

– Wheelchair-accessible treehouse

– Basketball area

– On-site transportation team

What do you have available for early years children with profound and multiple learning difficulties?

We have Taddies, a parent-child group that we run weekly for children from 0–5 years who have additional needs.

Taddies offers a warm, welcome to families and children, and provides support and planned opportunities to learn through play and fun. Our two hour multi-sensory sessions are organised by experienced staff from The Children’s Trust School, on an alternate day pattern (Thursday/Friday) for parents/carers to attend with their child. Learning is planned using Early Years Foundation Stage prime areas to develop and promote the following:

– Identity and belonging

– Communication

– Exploring and thinking

– Well-being

Staff engage with the children and parents through a variety of sensory activities including messy play, softplay, musical fun, cooking, water and sand play and regular learning through routines of free flow activities both indoors and outdoors. We record experiences of those who attend to capture the learning and progress that they make. In all of the planned sessions the golden thread of safeguarding is paramount to all experiences and activities.

Read more about The Children’s Trust School...