Starting a new school can be intimidating at the best of times. When a student arrives at Avonbourne we have clear procedures to ensure that the transition is as painless as possible.
All students in Year 7 are allocated a Year 10 /11 buddy who works with them during the intake day. The buddy will then meet the student in September and continue to build a relationship in which the younger student feels supported during the start of the secondary education and in many cases continues until the older student leaves the college.
If a student joins mid-year they will be met by their Pastoral Head and the SENCO, where appropriate. When they start they are given a buddy in the tutor group who is assigned to help them settle into the form group and to familiarise them with the college environment.
Experience has shown us that restorative approaches provide a useful and effective way of responding to incidents and friendship issues that may occur within the college. Regular use of these approaches helps to develop pupils’ understanding of the consequences of problematic behaviour and to reduce its frequency and severity.
Restorative Approaches add a new dimension to student thinking and practice in relation to achieving resolutions, restoring good relationships when there has been conflict and developing a college ethos, policies and procedures that reduce the possibilities of such conflict and distress.
Avonbourne deplores bullying and views it as anti-social behaviour, which is unacceptable in a college which promotes an ethos of equality for all. Parents are made aware of the approach to bullying through literature and information evenings. This policy is relevant to all students including those attending the Sixth Form.
Students are encouraged to understand that if they are being bullied or know of someone who is being bullied that they should tell a member of staff who will be supportive. Parents should be made aware that Avonbourne cares and will be active in discouraging, detecting and challenging bullying. Parents should report suspected bullying to their daughter’s Pastoral Head.
Students from Years 8 -11 are trained to become Peer Mediators by their Pastoral Heads. This is on a volunteer basis, where the student has expressed an interest in being involved with peer mediation.
They will learn to:
• Listen to both sides of an argument
• Not to take sides
• Patiently help both sides to explore their differences
• Try to help them find a solution
Once the training has been completed the Peer Mediators will work in pairs on a rota basis at break and lunchtimes helping to resolve conflicts. Staff will always be available to help if required.
Peer Mediation is something which is proving to be successful in many schools, with Peer Mediators having the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and gaining confidence in the ability to help others.
Students can be referred to the counsellor by the Pastoral Head due to emotional or social issues which are affecting her education. All meetings with the counsellor take place on the college campus and are confidential unless there is a safety concern.
What are Nurture Groups?
As defined by the Nurture Group Network, Nurture groups are classes of between 6 and 12 children or young people in early years, primary or secondary settings, supported by the whole staff group and parents. Each group is run by two members of staff. Children attend nurture groups, but remain an active part of their main class group. Children typically attend Nurture for between two and four terms.
Aims of Nurture Groups
Nurture groups seek to provide a safe, comfortable, home-like environment with clear routines and adults modelling positive relationships. Children are referred to attend nurture group for a variety of reasons, including help with behaviour, social skills and emotional well being, Through teaching and support, children learn to manage their own behaviour, to build positive relationships with adults and with other pupils and develop strategies to help them cope with their emotions.
There is great emphasis on language development and communication. The children are encouraged to learn to discuss their emotions and to share with the group any of their concerns. The two staff members, who lead the group, will use questioning to explore problem solving ideas and encourage members to learn to think about situations from the point of view of others.
An integral part of Nurture is the sharing of food. This provides opportunities for social learning, helping children to attend to the needs of others and take part in preparation and clearing up duties on a rota basis. This will give some children the opportunity to sit around a table to eat, where this may not happen at home. This in turn, provides opportunities to develop good table manners.
By helping children to learn socially, nurture groups help children to develop confidence, become responsive to others, learn self-respect, raise self-esteem and take pride in behaving well and achieving.
How are members of the Nurture Groups chosen at Avonbourne?
It is primarily the Pastoral Heads who recommend students for attending nurture at Avonbourne. Looking after pastoral care, they are well placed to identify students who would benefit from attending this setting. Other members of staff may also suggest students from time to time.
Eden Nurture Groups at Avonbourne
At Avonbourne, the Nurture facility is known as Eden and sessions take place in a specially designated, home-like room known as the Eden Room. There are two nurture groups and each group meets twice a week during period 1&2. Each of the two groups has its own members and different members of staff lead the two different groups. Both groups follow the same format and the daily routine will be as follows:-
- Circle Time: the students discuss how they are feeling and have an opportunity to share news, good and bad. This is an opportunity for them to talk about any concerns. Students are able to discuss concerns more privately with the group leaders at the end of the session, if they prefer.
- Warm up Activity: this activity may be more fun based and is designed to ‘wake the students up’ to make sure they are fully engaged.
- Main lesson objective: this takes place sat around the table and usually involves discussion followed by an activity, sometimes individually or in small groups. The main lesson objectives will be based around the topic/area currently being studied in nurture. Topics that are explored include, friendship/relationships, self-esteem, anger management, behaviour management and listening skills, with each topic lasting approximately half a term. Topics are selected and tailored to suit the individual needs of members of the group.
- Breakfast: the students share a breakfast of toast, jam and squash. They take it in turns to lay the table, prepare the toast and drinks and clear up at the end. A rota system is operated.
- Relaxation: this takes place in the informal seating area and can be in the form of listening to relaxing music or having a story read. It is a wind down time and aims to release the students back into mainstream schooling in a calm and relaxed frame of mind.
Avonbourne College is committed to providing the best educational experience for all of its students, and to give them equal opportunities in order to achieve success. A key objective is the provision for those students who are identified as having Special Educational Needs as defined by the Code of Practice 2014. Avonbourne will nurture all individual differences to ensure all students enjoy their educational experience and achieve their full potential. Avonbourne believes in the development of the whole child, and that every individual student should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Personalised learning has been recognised as an important factor in stimulating children’s enjoyment and achievement and therefore it is the right of all students to be offered the appropriate education. All students with SEN are educated to the highest possible standards by providing them with a variety of opportunities and appropriate challenges to stimulate their desire for learning and nurture their ability.
Definition of Special Educational Needs (SEN).
The college recognises SEN in line with the Code of Practice 2014 as follows:
“Children have special educational needs if they have a learning difficulty which calls for special education provision to be made for them.
Children have a learning difficulty if they:
- Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age; or
- b) Have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age in mainstream colleges or mainstream post 16 provision.
Children must not be regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they are being taught.
Identification and review of pupils’ needs.
The four areas of special educational need are:
- Communication and interaction
- Cognition and learning
- Social, mental and emotional health
- Sensory and/or physical
Behavioural difficulties do not necessarily mean that a child or young person has a special educational need.
Once a potential SEN student is identified the following action will take place:
Assess, Draw up a plan, follow plan and review.
The single EHC Plan contains the following:
- Part One: personal details
- Part Two- a personalised profile of the child and the child’s current needs
- Part Three: the support the child needs to succeed and achieve, the child’s support plan, education placement and who’s involved.
- Part Four: agreeing the plan
Young Carer is a child under 18 who regularly helps to look after a family member who has a physical or mental disability.
At Avonbourne we support our young carers, we hold a monthly lunch club, where students have the opportunity to talk, share concerns with other young carers and receive advice for additional support should they require it. If you require further information please contact the Young Carers School Operational Lead Mrs Tanner - House Head 01202 398451, email:- firstname.lastname@example.org
Children who are young carers can have the following responsibilities:-
- Practical tasks (cooking, housework and shopping)
- Physical care (lifting or helping someone use the stairs)
- Personal care (dressing, washing, helping with toilet needs)
- Managing the family budget (collecting benefits and prescriptions)
- Managing medication
- Looking after younger siblings
- Helping someone communicate
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