Admissions Process and Practice
Breckenbrough School accept enquiries and consultations throughout the academic year. Following a successful consultation and assessment process and with all parties in agreement, students are placed on roll throughout the year. There is no pattern as to when prior placements have broken down and we are therefore flexible in when assessments take place and supportive of students joining Breckenbrough when we can meet their needs.
Criteria for a visit
Visits from parents whose children are struggling in their education are always welcome. We will try to help and offer advice as appropriate. Please contact the office for a mutually convenient time.
To place a child at Breckenbrough there needs to be support from the child’s Local Authority and/or Social Services. This would need an EHC Plan from the LA, which can be finalised or in draft form.
The potential student needs to fulfil the following criteria;
The student and supporting adults are invited to visit the school. Often these initial visits will just be parents and supporting adults, though we understand that a prospective student will often want or need to be part of this. At the visit, the adults and the student will meet with the Headteacher. The discussion will focus on the specific needs that the student requires support with and on the ethos and approach in school. The student will be encouraged to talk about his educational experiences and his aspirations. The aims of the conversations are to see if the student and the school are compatible.
The group will be taken on a comprehensive tour of the school by a current student, usually from within the same year group. They will enter classrooms and other areas of the school where they can talk with staff and students alike.
After the tour, there will be an opportunity to ask questions of the Headteacher. Discussions are often around what the next steps may be. If it is felt that the student could respond positively to the school ethos and model, then the next stage is planned. This will be very dependent on the level of support from the Local Authority. Discussions will include how to proceed with the Local Authority and the support available with the consultation process.
If at this stage it is felt that Breckenbrough is not appropriate, the school will suggest alternative schools or providers that might be more suitable in meeting need.
If it is decided that Breckenbrough could be an appropriate placement and the Local Authority and/or Social Services have consulted with the school and given a positive response, an initial home visit is undertaken by the Transitions Manager and plans are made for a series of in-house assessment visits. These visits are planned with parents to ensure that the student has a positive experience and every chance of success. Assessment visits including meeting with the SENCo and therapeutic team, as well as spending time in lessons. The planning considers the length and number of visits that should take place and the lessons and experiences that the student can have.
For boarders, overnight assessments are imperative, with parents expected to stay nearby to support and participate in the process if necessary.
We will contact the previous educational establishments to gather further information as appropriate.
Meeting the Assistant Headteacher (SENCo) and Therapeutic Team
During the assessment period, there will be an opportunity for the student to meet with the SENCo and complete a brief basic skills assessment. This allows us to gather some initial information on academic ability whilst also exploring whether a student can cooperate with the staff team in a learning environment. The prosepctive student will also meet with our Occupational Therapist, Speech and Language Therapist and Psychologist. This allows us to gather a range of information in the context of our school, which can then be supportive within the decision making process.
Formalising the placement
If there are concerns that Breckenbrough might not be able to support a student, then the school will be transparent with parents and the Local Authority. If there is a strong case for additional resources, this will be highlighted to the Authority with full reasons why.
If as the assessment process evolves, it becomes clear to all concerned, the school, parents, the Local Authority, Social Services and most importantly the student, that Breckenbrough is appropriate and it is felt that the student will be able to flourish at the school, the school will contact the Local Authority to confirm the provisional offer of a placement by letter and propose a start date. The school will also request any risk assessments and a full Child Protection disclosure from the relevant authorities and from the parents/guardians. The school will ask for a named person to be responsible for the Risk Assessment and Child Protection Information.
Confirming the placement
When the Risk Assessment and Child Protection information has been sent to school, it will be reviewed by the Designated Safeguarding Lead to assess if there are any serious concerns or issues that need addressing.
In some cases, after the risk assessment and analysis of other information the school judges that the student’s needs demand additional resources or that the offer of a place needs to be withdrawn, then the school will inform the parents and the Authority.
When it is decided that the student’s needs can be met, parents and the student are sent the Welcome Pack. Parents will be sent a copy of the letter of confirmation and the admission papers.
Reviewing the Placement
An interim review will be held within 8 weeks to celebrate a successful transition into the school, raise any underlying issues and ensure that the placement is working well and needs are being met. At this review, parents will be invited to contribute, as will the student, establishing a circle of communication between home and school. There will also be the opportunity to review the provision within the EHCP and discuss any amendments that apply in context to Breckenbrough.
If it is decided that Breckenbrough could be an appropriate placement but there is no availability within the students required year group, then we will respond to the Local Authority and/or Social Services offering a place on our waiting list. The waiting list is managed on a “first come, first served” basis per year group. Due to the nature of the school and the process of students coming onto our roll, it is challenging to offer any determined timescales regarding the waiting list.
If there is no support from the Local Authority and parents are convinced that Breckenbrough is the right place for their son, then a visit is arranged. This takes the same the same format as the above assessment visit. The visit is carefully planned with parents.
At its conclusion, the school will write a summary report including the rationale of the visit. If a place is available and we are offering a placement, then the Headteacher will be a witness for the tribunal and our reports will be our evidence to support the placement.
Our evidence pack will provide:
We are not able to include:
Breckenbrough School supports the use of NASS contracts for all student placements and we will issue one if we have not received one from the authority at the end of the placement review period.