Believing that to truly flourish children must feel valued, we focus on what each child can achieve and celebrate their successes. Recognising that every one of our pupils has quite specific requirements, we also place great importance on personalised learning. By bringing learning to life through trips, clubs, work experience and other extra-curricular activities, we encourage independence and develop the interests that help prepare each child to take their place in society.
Our vision is to seek an enriched understanding of the needs of our children, so that the response is targeted and effective, delivering the best possible outcomes. Through this deepened knowledge, and via the skills and expertise of the staff at the school, including the thoughts and wishes of our children and their parents, we seek to ensure that;
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;
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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