West Lea is a school of independence and opportunity, with an ethos of empowering each child to be as independent as possible. Independence is a ‘broad’ term used in many ways and in differing contexts. The West Lea School ethos of ‘Learning for Life’ is based on the following principles:
Creating activities and experiences – Having interests and being able to participate in activities is fundamental to the development of our children. All too often, the ‘reality’ of our children’s lives is that they are restricted to home and school. In response to this, the school works to provide a greater variety of opportunities, enabling children to participate in mainstream activities within the local community and beyond. For some pupils, independence means having the confidence to travel to and from school on their own. While for others, it is achieved through the stimulating range of opportunities that we provide.
Education and Learning – Is delivered at the school in diverse ways, tailored specifically to each child’s needs. The school works to ensure that each child reaches his/her full potential, acquiring ‘self-care’ and ‘life skills’ within a stimulating learning environment. Academic achievement is also prioritised and personalised in a child centred way. Our educational goals are appropriate, focused and responsive in order to achieve the desired outcomes of emotional well-being, communication, safety, independence and academic achievement.
Self-care and life skills – For many children independence is seen as being able to do something without help, however, for some of the children at West Lea this is not achievable in certain areas of their lives. The school works to educate, foster and develop the children to manage as independently as possible, with or without support. Independence is therefore seen as enabling each child to reach their full potential in carrying out life skills with or without support, leaving the school with a ‘suitcase of skills’.
Feeling valued and respected – Underpinning all the activities, learning experiences and actions is the fundamental approach that ensures each child feels valued and respected. We treat each child as an individual, involving them in making decisions, respecting their feelings and fostering their overall well-being.
Identity and self-esteem – Developing a feeling of ‘inclusion’ is important and is lived out in the acceptance of the individual in their respective ‘peer’ groups. This acceptance, feeling at home and comfortable is fundamental to each child’s well-being and how they feel about themselves. The school works to tailor its approach, offering to be sensitive to the child’s identity and social integration, whilst ensuring that every child experiences ‘success’ and has his/her achievements recognised.