Thank you to colleagues Katy Brentnall, Head of Creative Arts at Alderwasley Hall School and Sixth Form and Dr Steve Grant, Clinical Psychologist and Head of Therapies at Bladon House School for sharing their expertise in the Autumn edition of Autism Eye Magazine. The article explores how the arts are not only fun, but done therapeutically they have a host of benefits including improving self esteem, well-being and even job prospects.
“Leaders and staff know every pupil inside and out” is the opening line of the inspection report for Rowden House School. The school was graded as overall Good with two Outstanding judgements, following an Ofsted Inspection at the end of June.
The report emphasises the success of the school in re-engaging pupils with a love of learning and the multi-disciplinary team approach and the attention of staff to thoroughly understand pupils starting points when they join the school, often after long periods out of education.
Inspector’s also praised the high level of care and nurture given to pupils and the exceptional skill levels of staff in supporting pupils to self-manage their behaviours.
In addition, the school received very high praise for its focus on pupils’ personal development including the development of communication and language skills, their involvement in the local community and having a choice of work experience settings, all of which helps pupils prepare for adulthood and life after school.
Ruth Nolan, Head of Learning said ‘We are delighted that the report reflects the hard work and dedication of staff to provide students at Rowden with a personalised and meaningful education which prepares them for their future.
To have outstanding grades for ‘Behaviour and Attitudes’ and ‘Personal development’ celebrates the way in which each individual is supported throughout their time at Rowden focusing on developing self-regulation, communication and life skills, which are the key areas of our curriculum.’
“Pupils thrive at this school” is the opening line of the inspection report for Alderwasley Hall School. The school was recently graded as outstanding in all areas following an inspection by Ofsted in mid-July.
Inspector’s praised the curriculum for its ambition, the staff for their seamless team work, the schools’ wide range of expert therapeutic support and the extensive range of enrichment experiences it offers, all of which they identified as reasons why children and young people placed at the school thrive in the way that they do.
The report not only emphasises the success of the school in re-engaging students who may have previously struggled in other settings back into learning, but also the skill of the teachers in closing the gaps in their learning, thus ensuring they fulfil their academic potential. In addition, the school received very high praise for its focus on the development of social and life skills in order to students prepare for adulthood.
Sara Forsyth, Headteacher said ‘I was absolutely thrilled to receive the judgement at the end of the inspection process. This is the first time that our school has been graded as outstanding in it’s 30-year history and I couldn’t be more proud to lead it. The findings of the inspectors are testament to the incredible work that our staff do in our school every day of the week. It’s hugely gratifying to receive recognition and acknowledgement of the passion, expertise and commitment of our staff who ensure that outcomes for our students are consistently outstanding. I have known for some considerable time what an exceptional school Alderwasley Hall School is and this report confirms that.’
After 15 years tireless work across the SENAD Group Mark Flynn, Chief Operations Officer has retired and he left the SENAD Group on the 31st August 2022. We wish Mark a long, happy and healthy retirement and send huge thanks to him for all the fantastic work he did for the Group.
We’re pleased to welcome 2 new Directors who joined the team on Monday 5th September.
Suzanne Pennington -Director of Education
After being Head Teacher of a large Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ special school in Buckinghamshire, Suzanne relocated to Derbyshire in 2012, joining the SENAD Group as Head Teacher of Pegasus School. She then successfully commissioned and set up both Ecclesbourne Lodge and OneNineFive transitional homes on behalf of the Group as she struggled to find suitable adult provision for Pegasus School leavers. Suzanne then joined St Andrew’s School in Derby as Head Teacher; a ‘Good’ school with a residential department that was judged to be ‘Outstanding’ at the first inspection under her tenure.
Suzanne is passionate about coaching and mentoring staff to achieve the best outcomes – for themselves and for the young people with whom they work. Suzanne was a Director of the Derby Teaching School’s Alliance, working across the City to provide high quality training for staff in all school settings. The focus was ensuring equality of opportunity and inclusion for learners with additional needs.
Suzanne has worked for over 30 years in specialist settings advocating for adults and young people with SEND. She has been successful at leading schools, colleges and adult settings to become highly effective organisations, also contributing to the development of specialist educational services locally through focus groups and working parties, countrywide through DfE action groups; and internationally in Moscow and Japan.
Mark Ryder – Director of Children’s Social Care.
Mark started his career as a qualified Social Worker and was then a Care Inspector for 11 years, 7 of which with Ofsted. In 2014 he joined the SENAD Group as Head of Care at Alderwasley Hall School and was part of the team in getting the care provisions to ‘Outstanding’ at both the Lower and Upper School sites for three successive years.
Mark has since worked with a large SEN provider as their Senior Regional Operations Manager where he was the Responsible Individual for 5 children’s homes and led on compliance for a further 27 homes. He was also the National Lead Safeguarding Manager for this group and more lately, he leads the care division with a group specialising in SEN and EBD children’s homes in the Midlands area.
Mark has successfully registered a number of specialist homes and received good and outstanding Ofsted grades for newly created and developing services. He is committed to excellent outcomes for young people and is a strong advocate for them, Mark brings a wealth of experience to the role and is looking forward to meeting with and supporting both previous and new colleagues.
Students from Alderwasley Hall School visited Bearded Theory festival at Catton Hall for work experience. They help to set up the kids’ village by putting up bunting and making sure everything was set for the grand opening on Thursday.
Bearded Theory is a multi-award winning creative and performing arts festival set in the beautiful grounds of Catton Hall in the heart of the National Forest.
In 2016 they won “UK`s Best Family Festival” at the UK Festival Awards, 2014 they won “Promoter of the Year” award at the UK Festival Awards and Festival Kidz “Silver Award”. In 2013, after being shortlisted for many years, they finally won “Best Small Festival” at the UK Festival Awards and a Festival Kidz “Gold Award”. In 2011, they won the “UKs Best Independent Festival” at the AIM Music Awards.
After 2 years of virtual open days, we’re pleased to let you know that this year you’re all welcome to join us on Saturday 2nd of July at the lower school site for fun, music, and food.
We can’t wait to see you.
Over the past couple of years, interest in our horticulture curriculum has grown immensely. We have a core group of students who’ve produced plants for sale across the school. This has been exceptionally beneficial for the mental well-being of some of our students. Just a few of the benefits we’ve seen are:
– being in the outdoors;
– increased mindfulness (living in the moment);
– increased physical activity;
– improved levels of concentration/attention;
– increased self-esteem (through seeing tangible results of your work);
– increased social opportunities.
We’re also trying to set up a similar project on our Lower Site too with some KS4 gardeners!
KS3 enjoyed a 3-day and 2-night stay at Gradbach Scout Camp. Taking part in activities including rock climbing, abseiling, and raft building organised by Acclimbatize, finished off with a BBQ and campfire.
Our Primary students also joined in for a one-night stay and enjoyed walking in ‘The Roaches’ to see Lud’s Church, a deep, moss-covered chasm. In the evening, they enjoyed a BBQ and roasting marshmallows by the campfire.
The team at Alderwasley Hall School & Sixth Form team will be exhibiting at this year’s Manchester and Birmingham Autism Shows. You’ll find us on stand E3 in Manchester and A21 in Birmingham. We look forward to meeting you.
Thank you to Kerry Jefferson, Headteacher at Pegasus School & Emma Illingworth, Head of Therapies and Natalie Mills, Assessment Team Manager at Alderwasley Hall School and Sixth Form for sharing their expertise in articles about Solutions for Sensory Issues and the Importance of a Diagnosis in the Spring issue of Autism Eye Magazine https://www.autismeye.com/