Belong School Devon SEN
Belong School Devon is an independent special school for students with an Education Health and Care Plan for Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs. At Belong School Devon we believe that everyone has the right to learn and succeed. Our learning communities aim to support those who face challenges that make traditional education settings difficult. We provide support that is specifically tailored to meet each individual student’s needs, enabling them to flourish, succeed and reach their full potential.
“Our young people have the opportunity to take a wide range of recognised qualifications in order for them to progress successfully to their next steps of post 16 provisions of further education, training or employment. Each young person is treated with dignity and respect, and these values are taught and encouraged with the goal of their contributing role in society”
Rebecca Edwards, SENCO
Whole-school relational approaches
Our model of relational practice emphasises the value of strong, positive relationships as the foundation for growth and development
We reinforce the importance of belonging and community through our whole-school commitment to restoring relationships when challenging behaviour results in harm
Our trauma-informed approaches and structures are designed to both recognise and minimise the impact of adverse experiences and maximise learning and progress
We focus upon ways to overcome difficulties through focussing upon solutions to challenges, not the problems themselves
Person-centred provision design
We use a person-centered approach to support our young people, enabling them to be consulted, informed and make their own choices by having a voice. By doing this, we aim to support our young people to discover their own solutions to the problems that they face, supporting them on their journey.
Placing the student at the centre of the decisions about their learning doesn’t mean that ours is a school without boundaries or structures; it means that we are focussed upon the learning and development we want to achieve by working with our students. Our students frequently begin their time at our school after a number of episodes of challenge and difficulty at previous educational placements, often causing feelings of rejection and resentment. Our first mission is to build positive perceptions and attitudes through the hard work of our highly-dedicated and skilled staff team.
Our commitment to belonging is not limited to our work with students; a close, trusting and honest relationship with parents, carers and family serves to hold and maintain a student’s provision. We are in very regular contact using a range of forms of communication so that we can best ensure that all can be involved in the student developments we are working towards as a community.
Specialist teaching for all
High quality teaching is our first step in responding to a student’s Special Educational Needs. This is differentiated for individual pupils by initial assessment, with subject specific teachers responsible and accountable for the progress and development of all the pupils in their subject area.
Mentors work 1:1 with their young person, creating a trusting relationship from which they can build upon academic learning at the pace that suits the young person as well as delivering the ‘Wellbeing Curriculum’, enhancing their levels of social and emotional interactions.
In addition to our broad academic curriculum and Learning Outside the Curriculum, we offer a range of foundation support programmes, including both targeted therapeutic responses to specific needs and preventative interventions to support ongoing wellbeing.
“Removing barriers to learning is a key aspect of our work with young people. Prior bad experiences and stressful situations can have a significant impact upon the ability of a young person to engage with learning. As Belong School Devon’s Trauma Informed champion, it’s my role to make sure that we can challenge our learners to step outside their comfort zones with their learning, but still make sure our school is a welcoming place for all, where our students are safe and supported at every turn.”
John Green, Trauma Informed Champion
As a school catering for students with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs, our Qualified Mental Health First Aider plays a key role in developing and targeting our therapeutic interventions. Therapeutic support sessions include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Horse Therapy, Art Therapy, Music Therapy and Play Therapy. As a school we work closely with outside agencies who offer support and advice on Special Educational Needs. We may access support from Educational Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, the School Nursing Team and Speech and Language Therapists.
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At Belong School Gloucestershire, we provide a broad, balanced and relevant education for all children that is planned and sequenced around each student’s individual educational plan needs.
We ensure that our curriculum offer is flexible enough to meet the needs of the diverse population within the school and is carefully matched to the individual needs of each child.
We are committed to a highly flexible manner of working which supports students for whom English is an Additional Language. In line with our wrap-around approach to personalised teaching and learning, we will develop, monitor and review our approaches to supporting EAL students within the classroom and as part of the school and wider community. Where appropriate, this may include (but is not limited to) provision of additional language sessions to support the development of everyday fluency, the use of specific resources in a student’s native language and specialist training for key staff.