The Beech Lodge approach
Beech Lodge is committed to providing quality care and education, creating a nurturing environment to foster resilience, develop a growth mindset and provide opportunities for achievement, enabling every child over time to maximise their potential. Attachment Theory underpins our entire school approach with a focus on the importance of relationships embedded throughout the whole school community.
We are committed to the following areas;
- Emotional and social development
- Educational development
- Development of communication skills
- Physical and sensory development
- Independence and life skills
Emotional and social development
All of our pupils have emotional and social needs which could not be fully met within mainstream settings. These difficulties have a significant impact on their ability to access learning and relationships. We use our very own Fagus resource to understand the emotional and social development of all pupils and identify developmental barriers to learning. Using this understanding, we adapt our approach and implement strategies to move them forward. This, in turn, facilitates engagement with learning.
Consistent and effective relationships are of key importance within our school community. Pupils and teachers come to know each other well and every child is assigned a key worker. Respect for every member of the school community is fostered, each child is valued, encouraged to value others and supported throughout the day to make positive choices (see our Behaviour Policy).
The caring and supportive environment at Beech Lodge ensures that all staff are able to teach and children able to learn and we adhere throughout to the six key principles of nurture groups*:
- Children’s learning is understood developmentally
- The classroom offers a safe base
- Nurture is important for the development of self-esteem
- Language is understood as a vital means of communication
- All behaviour is communication
- Transitions are significant in the lives of children
We offer a bespoke, engaging and flexible curriculum tailored to meet pupil needs, interests and academic ability. Our pupils access a range of subjects, qualifications and extra-curricular activities which enable them to fulfil their potential and prepare for the next stage of their lives. Pupils are taught in small classes with a high adult ratio and specialist teaching to support pupils with dyslexia and dyscalculia.
We work to ensure that pupils feel safe and develop effective relationships to enable access to learning.
Development of Communication skills
Children at Beech Lodge School are supported in all aspects of communication, verbal and non-verbal, throughout the school day. This is done via explicit teaching, incidental learning and input from our Speech and Language Therapist. Our Speech and Language Therapist runs direct individual and group interventions as well as providing guidance to all staff, which is integrated throughout our approach. Some pupils receive Play Therapy sessions from our Play Therapist, specifically focused on improving social communication skills.
Through this input we support pupils to express their wants and needs, communicate their desires and fears, including putting big feelings into words.
Physical and sensory development
We recognise the therapeutic benefits of engaging with nature and staying active. Many of our pupils struggle with the emotional and social demands of formal PE teaching. Therefore pupils are given opportunities to access:
- Outdoor learning
- Weekly yoga
- Expressive music
- Regular walks
- Canoeing and kayaking
- Residential trips
Many of our pupils have sensory needs. The school buildings and environment are designed to be calm and reduce sensory overload. As far as possible we meet children’s sensory needs by adapting the classroom environment, seeking advice from our Occupational Therapist. Where needed, pupils also receive direct Occupational Therapy input (individual and/or group).
Independence and Life skills
It is vital that all of our pupils leave Beech Lodge with the skills, experience and qualifications that they need to successfully transition to the next stage of their lives, whether that be transitioning to further education, into the workplace or back into mainstream education. We foster the development of independence and life skills through:
- Discrete life skills lessons as part of PSHE
- Incidental learning
- Dialogue between staff members and pupils
- Direct input from our Occupational Therapist or Pastoral Lead
- Vocational courses (e.g. Level 1 Animal Management, BTEC Level 1 Construction)
- Residential trips
- Careers advice (including individual MAP meetings with our Educational Psychologist when pupils reach Year 9)
- Work experience
*Ref: Lucas,S., Insley,K. and Buckland,G. (2006) Nurture Group Principles and Curriculum Guidelines Helping Children to Achieve, The Nurture Group Network.