We are known as Niels Chapman School and our students have a very wide range of abilities, all have communication and interaction needs. They may be on the autistic spectrum, have speech and language difficulties or have hearing loss. They may have associated behaviour difficulties.
Our staff are highly trained and experienced. All teachers are expected to study for a Post-Graduate Qualification in autism. We also have specialists in speech and language difficulties, mental health and learning difficulties. All staff are provided with BILD accredited training in the support of pupils with behaviour difficulties. As a team our priorities are to:
• Develop pupils’ communication and interpersonal skills
• Maximise pupils’ opportunity to function independently within society
• Enable pupils to reach their potential in areas of interest and achievement
• Develop pupils’ self-esteem and well-being
• Maximise pupils’ opportunities for inclusion into a variety of community settings
• Enhance our pupils’ capacity for enjoyment and fulfilment
We have small classes with high staff ratios. Our students are mainly taught by their class teacher in Key Stage class groups. Key Stage 3 is for students in school years 7 -9 and who are aged 11-14. Key Stage 4 is for students who are in school years 10 and 11 and are aged 14 – 16. Key Stage 5 or Post -16 is for students aged 16 -19.
Within each Key Stage, we group students by the type of curriculum and teaching approaches that they need. These are known as the ‘Stepping On’ or ‘Climbing Up’ pathways at Key Stages 3 and 4 and the ‘Taking Off’ pathway at Post 16. We have considerable organisational flexibility to ensure that pupils receive the approach or mix of approaches that they need.
Students who follow the ‘Stepping On’ pathway learn through a topic-based multi-sensory approach through meaningful practical and fun activities. Students who follow the ‘Climbing Up’ pathway access the range of National Curriculum subjects for their Key Stage. We augment teaching approaches with British Sign Language vocabulary, objects, photos, pictures, symbols and Picture Exchange communication system as appropriate.
Students benefit from a diverse range of activities in the community such as horticulture at our local allotment, swimming at a local pool, sports activities at a recognised Leisure Centre provider, inter-school sports competitions, educational visits and short-term residential visits.
Some students on the ‘Climbing Up’ pathway study specific subjects at Highams Park School for a maximum of two subjects a week. Students achieve a range of accreditations and qualifications from a life-skills based programme including ASDAN, Entry Level and Functional Skills, BTech and GCSE qualifications depending on each student’s own individual pathway.
The ‘Taking Off’ pathway meets students’ needs in differentiated class groups. These groups are based on the Whitefield site with one group based in a classroom at Waltham Forest College. Students based on the Whitefield site benefit from attending a course at Waltham Forest College or Capel Manor College (horticulture). The group based full-time at the College site have their timetable split between being taught in the classroom by a teacher from Niels Chapman school and attending specified courses taught by a college member of staff. All courses enable the students to obtain accreditation. This situation gives students the opportunity to become familiar with a college experience in a supported and meaningful environment.
Students experience work-based and life-skills both in the classroom and through activities out in the community using the schools’ own minibuses or public transport. Some students are able to undertake independent travel training skills. Students attend work experience placements ranging from developing work-based skills within Whitefield, to those beyond the School such as at Lea Valley Conservation Area, Brooks Farm, Lloyds Park or through establishments such as Action for Kids amongst others. Work placements are individually tailored to meet individual student’s needs.
Students are encouraged and supported to make decisions on their future on leaving Post 16 through collaboration with parents and other professionals at their Person Centred Reviews where future pathways are individually discussed. It is important that these meetings provide information for families about future options for their son or daughter to ensure each young person has an identified placement when they leave Niels Chapman School. This may be at an appropriately identified provision or a named college in order to continue on their 19 - 25 year old educational pathway. We then support students and their families to prepare for their next placement once such a decision has been made.
Students may also have the opportunity to go onto Project SEARCH. This is a one year long employment based route into work that has stemmed from a Whitefield Academy collaboration with Barts Health NHS Trust. This route equips the student with supported specific work-based skills through a rotation of three internships for a year in the real working environment of hospital with trained job coaches. The provision is led by a teacher from Niels Chapman School and is based on the work environment site. e.g. Whipps Cross Hospital. If at any time during of at the end of the year a vacancy occurs in line with the intern’s specific work- based skills gained from their placements the interns are then guaranteed an interview.
Project SEARCH began in September 2013 and has so far successfully placed the majority of our interns into employment and is continuing to expand into other employment avenues with great success and enormous achievement for the interns and their families!
All our students enjoy coming to Niels Chapman School which can be seen by our high attendance rates and the students’ fantastic achievements celebrated each year at our Annual Awards Ceremony. We are always open to new ideas and ventures to enable our students to achieve the best they can in line with the Whitefield Academy Trust mission statement:
‘Enjoyment, Achievement and Wellbeing for All!’