The difference is all around you at Courtlands. The children all have different needs, from ADHD, Attachment Difficulties and speech and language delay, to moderate learning difficulties, sensory processing needs and ASC. The adults all provide different expertise and support to the children and each other, and the curriculum is different by design.
The main difference is within the children themselves though. Having often struggled to fit in and feel included in their mainstream schools, at Courtlands they feel excited, welcomed and loved which allows them to engage in their lessons and make leaps in their learning. These changes are brought about by the focus we have on personal wellbeing and growth.
To do this the children are in small classes of 8-10 children, and are grouped by their developmental needs rather than just their age group like at mainstream school. Each class has a class teacher and at least two teaching assistants enabling a truly personalised approach to learning. The class staff plan for the children to have individual intervention programmes daily, along with Maths, English and Phonics. The rest of the curriculum is based on the philosophy that a child with good mental health and wellbeing is better able to learn the English and Maths skills they will need to succeed in life. Our children are taught to be resilient, have a healthy mind and body; to solve problems for themselves and to manage their emotions and relationships in a healthy way.
Another unique aspect of the curriculum is Learning Outside the Classroom, information on which can be found elsewhere on this site.
We offer our staff a supportive professional environment with a level of freedom from the constraints of mainstream schooling rarely encountered. Our ethos is to use the latest evidence based practice to meet the wider needs of our pupils, and to develop them in all areas of their development. Academic progress will always rightly be a major focus of our work, but it must not be the sole focus.
We believe in supporting our staff to personally develop and learn new skills, and have a great CPD programme for anyone new to SEND, from apprenticeships right through to newly qualified teachers and supporting staff to undertake their Masters programme.
Working in teams allows for close collaboration between classes and practice sharing across the school. We are always looking for new skills to add to our repertoire, and welcome applicants from both the mainstream and special school sectors.
Being part of a multi academy trust also gives wider opportunities for staff to grow and develop their careers in a wide range of areas, from teaching and learning, to pastoral management, parental support and leadership development.