Alderwasley Hall School provides specialist education for children and young people with speech and communication difficulties.
Situated in the picturesque Derbyshire countryside near Belper, Alderwasley Hall School is currently the largest specialist school in the UK for children and young people whose special educational needs arise from their difficulties in speech, language, and communication.
Places are offered to students aged 5 to 19 years old, either on a day or residential basis and are supported by over 50 Local Education Authorities.
The school includes Primary, Secondary and Post 16 departments on two sites plus a residential house for the oldest students in Matlock.
The school works together to create a happy and caring environment, enabling our students to learn and communicate with confidence, and grow as valued members of society.
A whole school strategy has been developed to ensure that all pupils have an inclusion entitlement.
At Alderwasley Hall School, the pupil population needs to be understood as dynamic and diverse. There is no naturally agreed intake of pupils on an annual basis. Referrals are made throughout the year for day and residential pupils for all ages. Admissions are made at mutually agreed times and may be dependent on individual circumstances. For some pupils, early identification of their difficulties may mean that re-integration is a desirable and realistic target within their school carer. Others may have more complex needs and/or negative experience of mainstream education. For these pupils the likelihood of future re-integration is reduced, which means that the school must look at more subtle and creative ways of fulfilling its Mission Statement promise.
For some of our pupils, inclusion may simply mean attending our school and learning to participate in classroom activities, or joining in school-based activities. Over a period of time they will be given opportunities to generalise their knowledge and skills in a wider range of contexts, which at some point may be community based. It is important to acknowledge that the time spent preparing pupils to be successful outside school is a critical part of our work and should be recognised within their inclusion targets. A great deal of consideration is given to referral and assessment data on order to ensure that the timing of inclusive activities is commensurate with each pupil's ability to succeed.
Alderwasley Hall School broadens the learning opportunities for our pupils and we share our knowledge and experience with other professionals. This is achieved by:
- Developing links with local schools and colleges across the whole age range
- Ensuring that all pupils have an Inclusion target set at their annual review
- Conducting research into effective partnerships for mainstreaming
- Developing outreach SLT services within the local community and schools
- Providing flexible placement options for pupils on roll in mainstream schools
- Providing community access to AHS resources
- Conducting assessments within local schools and community resources
- AHS pupils participating in community activities and events
- Giving presentations on aspects of Inclusive practice
- Developing the curriculum to provide enhanced opportunities for progression onto the next phase of an education/training
- All departments enter/join external projects
- Staff nurture curriculum links with mainstream schools/colleges
- School offers work experience placements to local schools
- School enters local football/athletics competitions
- Staff contribute to teacher training courses
- Local employers who offer work experience and training places
- FE colleges offer mainstream and SEN link courses
- Community groups and organisations
The school provides for children and young people in Key Stages 1 to 4 as well as Post 16, on two sites. There being an additional residential house for older students in Matlock. All students are placed in small class groups. Appropriately qualified and experienced teachers, therapists and support staff work together to provide a broad and balanced curriculum. Each class group has a speech and language therapist who plans and implements an individual programme for each student, and works collaboratively with teachers and care staff to maximise all learning opportunities.
A day in the life
Students live in attractive and well-equipped ‘houses’ with each one being staffed by a qualified, caring and supportive team. Each student has their own Key Care Worker who has specific pastoral responsibility in addition to planning and implementing an Individual Care Plan.
Students up to 14 years of age live on the Alderwasley Hall site in 5 houses. Older students have 2 houses at Callow Park and there is an additional house in Matlock for the oldest students offering opportunities for independence under a supportive staff team.
A wide range of extra-curricular and leisure activities take advantage of the school’s natural surroundings, local facilities and our own excellent sporting and recreational facilities. These activities are supported by a large group of residential staff, many of whom have expertise or qualifications in relevant areas.
Referral & Assessment Process
If you are a parent and you wish to make a referral to Alderwasley Hall School, you should contact the Education Department of your Local Education Authority (LEA) in the first instance. In the event of the LEA not supporting your request it may be possible for a private assessment to be arranged. Private assessments are undertaken only following written agreement that the referring party will be financially responsible for the assessment fees.
If you would like to make a referral please put this in writing to the Headteacher along with a copy of the pupil’s Statement of Special Educational Needs and reports from:
In certain cases there may be additional reports, which would be helpful for the school to have, e.g:
- Speech and Language Therapy
- Education (including IEP’s)
What happens next?
- Occupational Therapy
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- Social Services
An inter-disciplinary team reviews referral information and a decision is made as to whether an assessment will be offered at Alderwasley Hall School, or Callow Park, at the Post 16 department.
If an assessment is appropriate, a formal offer is made in writing. There are three types of assessment:
1. Comprehensive Inter-disciplinary Assessments
2. Consultations and Outreach Assessments
3. Private Assessments
In the Primary and Secondary departments of the school, students are placed in small (maximum 11) class groups. Well-qualified and experienced teachers, therapists and support staff together provide a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum, which is based upon the programmes of study and assessment arrangements of the National Curriculum. Our large team of speech and language therapists enables each class to have a therapist who plans and implements an individual programme for each student and works collaboratively with teachers to maximise all learning opportunities. Therapists work with whole classes, small groups and individuals and contribute to curriculum planning and development.
Key Stages 1 and 2 provide integrated education and therapy for pupils aged from 5 to 11 years.
Each class has a staff team of teacher,, speech and language therapist and classroom assistant. The majority of lessons are taken in a pastoral room. Additional specialist teaching is provided in Art, Music and P.E. in specially resourced teaching rooms.
Children’s learning is enriched by a curriculum which is planned and taught collaboratively by teachers and speech and language therapists. The curriculum is designed to give particular emphasis to the development of language and communication. Children are taught through a broad range of enjoyable activities and multi-sensory experiences.
Key Stages 3 students follow a curriculum which is based on the National Curriculum. Subjects are taught by specialist teachers, supported by curriculum support assistants, in well-resourced rooms. Personal and social development is co-ordinated and taught by speech and language therapy staff.
In order to provide an effective change from a primary to a secondary style of education, Year 7 students are placed in a transition class. This provides a classroom where approximately 50% of lessons are taught by the pastoral teacher.
The purpose of Post 16 education is to prepare students for life beyond school. Students are helped to review their own progress and to set realistic personal objectives. They follow individual timetables which continue to emphasise the development of language, communication and social skills.