Heaton School is a special school for children and young people aged 11-19 years maintained by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council. It caters for pupils who have severe or profound learning difficulties. Many pupils have additional complex needs including autism, physical and medical needs.
Admissions to Heaton School for pupils with Special Educational Needs are made through Stockport Local Authority. Pupils would all usually have an Education, Health and Care Plan or Statement of SEN.
There are three departments, Key stages 3 4 and 5. Within each department children may be vertically grouped depending on their needs, abilities and social preferences. Each department works in tutor groups, classes and whole department depending on the needs of children and the curriculum. Heaton School follows an inclusive philosophy where all children are based in a class regardless of their special needs. They will receive an individualised timetable or additional support as required
Heaton School usually has class sizes of 8/9 children.
- There is a very high level of staffing.
- On average the staff team in each class comprises of one teacher and a minimum of 2 teaching assistants.
- The staff are highly skilled and knowledgeable, developing expertise closely linked to the nature of the needs of the children in their classes.
- In the last three Ofsted inspections (2009, 2012 and 2016) we were rated Outstanding.
- We aim to prepare children for adult life and therefore focus heavily on independence, communication and social skills as well as providing an exciting and broad curriculum.
- We try our utmost to support families and provide after school clubs and holiday club to help children enjoy their leisure time.
The school has many special facilities.
- It is all on one level and fully accessible to wheelchair users.
- There is overhead tracking in most classes and other key areas of school.
- There are specialist rooms such as an immersive learning environment, warm water pool, sensory room and food technology room.
- The school grounds are extensive and there are lovely garden and play areas, including a multi use games area, trampoline and large swing.
- We also have an excellent forest school area.
- The school has two minibuses with tail lifts to allow for educational visits.
- There are two sensory areas that can also provide a safe space for children to calm if they need it.
- The school is a very safe environment with a fob system on external and internal doors.
There is an extensive multi-disciplinary team working on site. This includes:
- Occupational Therapists
- Speech and Language Therapists.
Some children may visit mainstream schools on a regular basis for an inclusive experience. Young people may visit from secondary schools and colleges for work experience and placements. We develop links with colleges as part of transition to post 19 services.
Teachers inform parents of children’s progress in a number of ways throughout the year. Each child has an Individual Educational Plan (IEP). This is written at the beginning of the school year and the targets in the plans are evaluated each term to show progress. Each child has an Annual Review meeting between school staff and parents and a report is written by the class teacher. The multi-disciplinary team are also invited to this review. Annual review targets from the previous year are evaluated and new targets are agreed. Parents can look at their child’s work in the portfolio. At the end of each school year the previous portfolio is sent home for families to keep. A Parents meeting is held during the autumn term.
Children’s progress is continually monitored and this information is shared with parents as above. The home school diary is a further way in which class teachers will let parents know about specific steps of progress and achievement along with the on-going information about your child’s day in school. Each pupil’s progress is carefully checked using the schools assessment processes. Pupils are given a baseline assessment on arrival at school and their progress is monitored and tracked until they leave school. The assessments we use in school to measure children’s progress is a new system that we have written specifically for our students (H-Levels) and Accredited courses in Key Stage 5.
Each child at Heaton has an Individual Education Plan. These are a series of targets that focus on priorities and may be in the areas of:
- Communication and Language development
- Personal, Social and Emotional skills
- Literacy and Mathematical development and Physical skills.
The school uses a total communication approach which includes:
- Makaton signing
- Intensive Interaction
- Objects of Reference
- and AAC.
- Sensory integration
- and multisensory teaching.
Parents are invited to visit the school when their child is in year 5 ( or year 11 if seeking a post 16 placement) The parents of children who are given a place at Heaton are invited to a new parents meeting in September. Children attend pre-admission visits in the summer term during which they have a look round school and meet and spend time with other children and Heaton staff. Once class teams are finalised you will be sent a staff list including photos to share with you child over the holiday. Transitions between classes are supported by; meetings between class teachers, the planned movement of familiar teaching assistants who move between classes each year and visits to their new classrooms. Transitions to other schools are supported by close liaison with the new school team, including the compilation of a comprehensive transition information file. Visit from the new school team are encouraged and staff and children would also visit the new school.
Good communication between home and school is crucial. We aim to respond to parent requests promptly. We want to ensure that you have the information you need about your child’s learning and well-being in school. The home-school diary is often the way in which the most frequent communication takes place between home and school when we do not see parents on a daily basis. Staff are usually available to respond to telephone calls at the beginning and end of the school day and face to face meetings can be arranged as needed. The school has an email link to parents/carers. The school has a supportive Governing Body made up of parent and staff representatives, Local Authority members, community and associate Governors. Together they have a wealth of experience and are committed to engaging parents in their children’s education. Parent/carer coffee mornings offer opportunities for parent to come together and to have access to speakers and training.
There are many safety features at Heaton. First and foremost the high level of staff is crucial to keeping children safe. All staff are trained in child protection, moving and handling and Team Teach training. All staff and regular visitors to school are DBS checked. Only staff employed by Heaton school are left in supervision of children. We have a number of staff who are first aid trained and strong links with the school nursing service. Team Teach is Stockport’s approved approach to supporting children with challenging behaviour. This includes, as a last resort, physical interventions to keep children safe. Our physical environment is secured with fobs to all external doors and there is a requirement for all visitors to the school to sign in at the office and wear a badge around school. All off-site visits, including our annual residential visit, are fully risk assessed. The school has a comprehensive Safeguarding policy. This is available on request.
We have a full-time school nurse on site. If a child has a medical need then a detailed Care Plan is compiled by the nurse and parents/carers. These are discussed with all staff involved with the pupil. Teachers and Teaching Assistants are trained by the nursing team to administer regular medication, including tube feeding. At any one time there may be a few children who have additional nurse carer support to facilitate them being in school.
Learning out of school is an important part of our curriculum. We offer swimming at Grand Central for appropriate Key Stage 3 pupils, who will attend for a term each year of Key Stage 3. We make use of community facilities to enrich our children’s experiences, e.g. live music events at the Bridgewater Hall, ten pin bowling, and cycling at Wythenshawe Wheelers. We are involved in the Greater Manchester special schools network of summer and winter games. Pupils aged 14 – 19 will access work experience within or out of school if appropriate. We use our grounds extensively for environmental education, leisure and horticulture.
Heaton school benefits from a highly experienced and supportive Governing Body whose members hold a great deal of expertise and knowledge about the school. Governors have a responsibility to make sure that the school’s decisions are in pupil’s best interests and to promote high standards of educational achievement. The Governing Body monitors and evaluates the work on school improvement issues. All Governors share a joint responsibility for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. The Governing Body agrees priorities for spending, including the use of Pupil Premium with the overall aim that children will receive the support they need in order to make progress. There is a named Governor responsible for Safeguarding and Looked After Children.
We have a school council with representatives voted in by peers on an annual basis. We have input from Stockport Advocacy at annual review and in school. We have input from Stockport Young Person’s Service. Staff are skilled at interpreting children’s responses and reading their behaviour. We use objects of reference and symbols to help children make choices and express themselves. You can support us in giving your child a voice by actively using the home-school book to let us know what your child has done at the weekend and in holidays. Children are helped to contribute to their Annual Review with a personal statement.
Complaints about minor matters within school should be discussed with the class teacher in the first instance. However whatever the issue and certainly with more serious concerns parents should contact the Headteacher. Please do not hesitate as it is better to sort out issues than dwell on them. We will always treat complaints seriously. If the complaint is about the Head Teacher you would contact the Chair of Governors. If it is about the Governing Body you should contact Stockport Local Authority. The school complies with Stockport’s agreed procedure for complaints.
We welcome visits to the school. These can be arranged through Anne Marie Fahy in the office. Please contact the school office on 0161 432 1931.