Our aim is to work beyond standard ‘developmental’ and ‘teaching’ models; with a broad/widened definition of these key concepts that takes full account of our children’s needs, capabilities and aspirations for the future. A reality is that full independence and making an economic contribution is not something that some of our children can achieve. However, our vision, aims and ethos looks to celebrate the achievements of each child, within the context of his/her abilities and potential.
We acknowledge the interdependence between outcomes, which means that our focus is on paying attention to ‘fundamental’ outcomes, such as maximising communication abilities, which opens doors to opportunities to socialise and be active. An understanding of these ‘interrelationships’ allows the school to take a ‘holistic’ approach to the development and education of each child, as a result the aims are described as;
Developing ‘communication’ – In order to meet the desired outcomes for our children, we acknowledge the importance of developing communication skills for each child, and fostering the ability in our staff to have the knowledge and skills to be able to ‘listen’ and understand. We will work to ensure that each child has a ‘voice’ and the ability to communicate, which will open the doors to further opportunities, such as socialising, being active and more independent, which will in turn promote the child’s feeling of security and self-esteem. Furthermore, the school aims to be an ‘advocate’ for the children and parents, helping to amplify the child’s voice, within the school, local community and beyond.
Socialising and having friends – Is an area, which has ‘interrelated’ benefits and outcomes for the children at West Lea School. Each child has a desire to interact, socialise and build friendships, both in and out of the school environment. We aim to foster and promote access to ‘peer’ and ‘friendship’ groups for each child and remove barriers, which can form a source of considerable frustration for our children. Providing this platform establishes a clear route for progression and a pathway to achievement, enhanced well-being and the promotion of self-esteem and feeling valued.
Being involved and having the opportunity to exercise choices – Being involved in making decisions that affect the lives of our children and their families is seen as an important issue. As a result, the school aims to operate a ‘consultative’ approach to the operations of the school, taking on board the thoughts and wishes of every child and their parents, which enhances an inclusive feeling and an ethos of empowerment and the intrinsic value of the individual.
Keeping children safe – In the broadest sense, keeping our children safe from exploitation, abusive relationships or physical and emotional danger is a key factor. The school understands that this is an ‘interrelated’ area, and as such aims to promote and facilitate a safe and secure environment in many ways. For example, providing a stable platform for communication (and listening) will enable children to stay safe, with support from their parents, the school community and their own friendship groups. Helping children to understand social interactions and safety in its broadest sense, is at the heart of all educational endeavours, with outcomes focused on enabling independence in a safe and secure way.
Working towards ‘economic well-being’ – Having a job and the ability to earn money in adulthood is important to our children. The school aims to ‘shine a light’ on the opportunities for our children to enter the world of work, supporting and providing access where possible. Our aim is that each child has the opportunity to be ‘meaningfully occupied’ post school and able to make an economic contribution to society. We also acknowledge that this outcome may not be achieved for all our children, however that does not necessarily represent a poor outcome for those children, instead all achievements are seen and celebrated within the context of each child’s abilities and potential.