Chiltern Gate School is committed to ensuring every pupil achieves his or her potential. We work with parents and therapists to develop individualised education programs delivered through Multi-Agency Provision Plans (MAPPs) that define the steps needed to ensure the children we teach gain the best outcomes possible. We are a reflective, open school that welcomes new pupils and parents.
Our building and class names are based around our ‘stars’ emblem, and so are related to space. Solar building houses the main reception and five Key Stage Two classes. Lunar building is home to the Reception and Key Stage One classes, as well as the soft play room and eventually our sensory room (Friends of Chiltern Gate School are currently raising funds to make this a reality). Finally, the building which used to be the Verney Avenue Day Centre is now used by two classes and has been named ‘Cosmos’. We also have space for Occupational Therapy work here, and dedicated Art and music areas. Our 14 classes all go by planet or star constellation names.
The approach taken by each class does depend on the nature of pupils within that class. All classes make use of visual cues through a timetable, but some pupils will have individual timetables, and the complexity of these varies depending on the child – some children may have a very specific timetable for the day, others may be working on ‘now’ and ‘next’. We aim to provide a specialist environment for all our pupils, but for those children who have come to us from a mainstream environment we seek to offer as mainstream an environment as possible. For our more complex pupils a far more specialised curriculum is delivered, with workstation tasks and specific strategies to support children’s learning.
Within our Communication and Literacy work, we have adopted an approach called Read Write Inc. All pupils across the school are put into ability groups and taught letter sounds and techniques for reading in these groups. There are pupils for whom phonics is a bridge too far in their development, and those children make use of a See and Learn approach, developing their ability to recognise whole words.
We have a Speech and Language team on site, made up of a speech therapist and two speech therapy assistants. This team supports all pupils across the school, working in classes alongside staff teams. Joint aims are shared and worked upon, and reported to parents through parents’ evenings and annual reviews. The team also support children’s eating and drinking skills, and programmes are in place for many of the pupils at snack and lunchtimes.
We also benefit from two Occupational Therapists who work with us one day a week. Similarly they devise joint aims with staff teams, and then work alongside class teams within their classrooms to integrate the approaches required. Occupational Therapy relates to the children’s ‘occupation’ – school. Therefore it supports anything they need to be able to access their occupation; this can range from being able to hold a pencil, sitting and focusing in lessons, removing distractions and using cutlery.
We also access a range of other professional services from the Local Authority, including the specialist teaching service (supporting those with physical disabilities and visual/hearing impairments), physiotherapy, educational psychology service and community nursing. We regularly run parents workshops and coffee mornings to ensure parents are kept fully aware of the services on offer and enable them to support one another through networking.
Our boarding department takes pupils with severe and complex learning difficulties, including those with autism spectrum disorder. There is a rigorous admissions process which includes a Local Authority panel, alongside support from social services and educational psychology. Pupils are admitted to boarding with the joint aim of supporting educational and social care outcomes. Please see our boarding section for further information.