Manchester University Partnership
At Heaton School we strive to share our practice with other partners. We are proud of our partnership with the University of Manchester (UoM) and take several secondary trainee teachers on their alternative placements every year. Both trainees and university tutors invariably comment on the high quality of support that trainees receive whilst at Heaton school.
Here is some feedback from students who have been on placement at the school in 2022/2023:
How has the AP placement added to your knowledge of educational issues and processes?
"My time at Heaton School has allowed me to consider the flexible definition of the concept ‘reading’. reading (was taught) through texture, sound and smell"
"Not only am I more aware of SLD, profound and multiple learning difficulties, autism and complex medical needs, but also how flexible and inclusive education can be in order to meet the needs of every individual"
"I have.. had the opportunity to see how multi agency working (with speech therapists for example) works effectively within a special school setting"
"It's taught me a great deal ... the school uses personal targets for students, which is a fantastic system and something that should be applied to all students"
How has the AP placement changed your attitudes?
"Before I attended my AP placement, I believed that any child would be able to access an education in a mainstream setting. I can now see that special schools are environments designed to ensure the best possible outcomes for their students, where some students' situations are so unique and complex that they need the support that an alternative environment offers"
"I have observed individualised learning experiences and education that is inclusive to pupils’ needs"
"All teaching staff have high expectations of all pupils regardless of ability"
In what way(s) has the AP placement changed the way you think about your own practice?
"Throughout the placement, I observed high expectations for all students, strong professional relationships and rapport between staff and students, consistent routines and so on. This will influence my own practice, as well as working with support staff to further meet the needs of individual pupils in my classes in the future"
"This placement gave me the opportunity to explore how I can be more inclusive in my practice with regards to SEN pupils in a mainstream school"
"Before this placement, I have sometimes viewed some disruptive students with milder learning difficulties as difficult. I want to start thinking about them, as well as my other students, as individuals, with specific targets that we can work towards and needs that need to be taken into account. A more personal approach towards some of these students could make a massive difference"
General comments about the school:
"The placement was really well organised, with a lovely welcome from the school's SLT and the wider staff. I felt very at home and supported, with no pressure to get any more involved than I felt comfortable doing. Staff answered any questions I had and I was really impressed with the school and what it did for its students, who were wonderful and I loved meeting and working with. Thank you very much for the opportunity!"
"A really valuable experience that has informed my practice!"
"Everyone at Heaton school could not have been more welcoming, I really felt truly welcome in this wonderful school. I really appreciated the thought that Andy had put into the timetable he created. He ensured that i had the opportunity to meet pupils of all ages and needs"