|The New School At West Heath|
|Ashgrove Road, TN13 1SR, UK Sevenoaks|
+44 (0)1732 460553
Welcome to the New School
The New School at West Heath is a registered charity known as West Heath 2000 which is governed by a board of trustees.
Students have experienced a wide range of difficulties, but whatever they are, the school works towards helping each one to develop his or her full potential.
The school had a very successful OFSTED inspection in its former life as the Beth Marie Centre. It has also received a highly complimentary Local Authority Inspection and has been granted the Investors in People award. The final registration inspection visit by M. Eade H.M.I is unpublished but the DfES informed us that it was very complimentary about the standard of education in the school. The following is a selection of comments from their reports.
"... it provides a very good ethos in which pupils achieve well and make good progress in their learning, behaviour and attitudes. Staff are committed to the pupils well being and success."
"The curriculum is broad, balanced and relevant"
"Some outstanding teaching was seen in English"
"Relationships between staff and pupils and between pupils are very good. Pupils have confidence in the staff"
"The head provides strong leadership and has developed a clear ethos that reflects the aims to improve pupils' self esteem and self confidence through achievement. She gives very good support to staff and leads by example"
"The Inspection Officers were impressed with the way in which the care staff are organised and supported by the line management together with comprehensive systems and well structured documentation."
"The Inspection Officers also found many positive indicators to suggest the Principal has, together with an obviously committed staff group that clearly enjoy their work, forged the basis of a happy school through effective planning and a clear concept of how to provide the service to young people."
Congratulations on this magnificent achievement. You are clearly using the standard to assist the culture of the organisation and are able to demonstrate some excellent areas of good practice.
that education is a great therapy
Our strap line is 'Rebuilding Lives through Education'. There is nothing quite like educational success for building self esteem and confidence to face life's future challenges.
that happy people make good learners
By placing an emphasis on the value of the student, and by looking for achievement whereve it can be found, the effects of long-term despair and loss of confidence can be reversed. We want our students to experience success at their appropriate level.
that qualifications are a good armour for life
We believe strongly that pupils who have experienced difficulty with their schooling and/or home life need publicly recognised qualifications. To this end, we ensure that no-one leaves without GCSEs, Certificates of Achievement, sports awards and accreditation in every area possible, including the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
that everyone is valued and special
All students and staff bring a unique contribution to school life which we value highly. A past student said he didn’t like the label "special needs". However, it would be a very rare person who lives the life of three score years and ten without experiencing distress, loss of "normal" functioning, and the need for extra help and support. When these difficulties present themselves at a young age, often mainstream schooling breaks down and youngsters find themselves on a rollercoaster of failure and despair. It is this sort of special need which The New School at West Heath is designed to support. A sometimes short, always intensive burst of support can reverse negative cycles and open up new opportunities for success.
in looking forwards not backwards
Although we strive to understand the emotional circumstances that cause difficulties to perpetuate, we believe in focusing on a much more positive future. Labels may point us in the right direction, but don't determine how far we fly.
in working with parents and carers
In our experience, more success is achieved more quickly when we work in harmony with families and all pull in the same direction. We value our partnership with our families and seek to work with them to ensure their children's success.
All the staff will give as much encouragement and help as is possible. We all want our pupils to be happy and successful people and life long learners. Every student will have a group tutor and boarding students have a key worker. These people will take a special interest in their welfare, development and educational attainment.
The opportunity to regain self-esteem and self-confidence through achievement.
a supportive, consistent and secure environment
We set clear boundaries which, we hope, will result in a happy workplace where great and small things can be achieved.
the chance to become an active learner
This means each student must take responsibility for their own learning but it also means they are taken seriously when they voice their ideas.
This includes the challenge to improve academically and socially.
unconditional support and affection
Inevitably there will be times when we disapprove of what a youngster does we will feel disappointed by their behaviour. But we still believe in them and retain our optimism.
a broad and balanced curriculum
As far as possible on individual strengths and interests.
clubs and outings
There are lots of clubs and opportunities for outings both as part of the curriculum and for social development.
All students have opportunities to achieve good results in national exams and accreditation in areas that interest the student. We expect all students to leave armed with a cluster of qualifications. Our policy is that all students will be entered for any examinations in which they either show interest or have the potential to succeed. The very fact that they are considered worthy of being entered demonstrates our commitment to them. Experience has shown that it can also be a powerful motivator. We would never withhold the opportunity because of the risk of an ungraded result.
to support each other
We teach them to be especially sensitive to newcomers and help them to become part of the school. We want them to tell the truth even when it takes courage to be honest. We help them to become mature youngsters who will be brave enough to stand up for what they believe and strong enough to reject ideas which conflict with their personal ideals of right and justice.
help us to help them
By pulling together in the same direction with the staff and families our students achieve success and happiness.
We encourage them to be self-disciplined and to complete their homework to the best of their ability. We do not wish homework to be a source of dispute between the school and its students, nor to be a source of anxiety. It is an opportunity to reinforce learning.
We encourage them to be open and share concerns and worries. This way we can help to address the problems that are causing difficulty.
We have straightforward school rules that were designed to ensure that the school is a safe, stimulating and rewarding environment for everyone.
Our students work towards taking responsibility for their own actions which is an essential part of growing into adulthood.
We expect them to respect other students' rights and property as outlined in the School Council agreement.
keep us informed
When it is necessary to have time off we ask parents or carers to notify taxis before 7am in the morning and let the school know by telephone. A letter should be sent when the student returns to school. All unexplained absences will be followed up by a telephone call from school to home.
We expect our students never to leave the classroom without the agreement of the teacher. Boarding students have a responsibility to inform staff of their whereabouts at all times.
Students should dress as if they were going to work and with a respect for the wider community. The school has a sweatshirt to be worn with students' own clothes. Students were actively involved in the selection of the original uniform which is currently being updated. We prefer students not to wear jewellry because it causes upset if a favourite item is lost. Any jewellery that could be a health and safety problem will have to be removed for certain periods in the timetable. Certain items of clothing are required for games and swimming.
A very important way in which we can help rebuild lives is to provide a range of learning opportunities which are attractive because they are interesting, helpful and lead to recognised qualifications. Once students begin to experience success they feel more positive about themselves; they grow in confidence and are able to face the future with renewed hope and higher expectations. We hope that by the time they leave us our students will have cultivated an appetite for learning that will remain with them for life. We want them to find it easier to sustain good relationships and be better equipped to face the challenges of the future.
Students are taught in year groups and classes which are arranged according to academic and social considerations. The maximum class size is normally 9. Some students have additional individual support. Teachers employ a range of teaching styles and work is differentiated to meet individual needs. A policy document on differentiation is available for anyone who would like to know more.
Key Stage 3
Students in Key Stage 3 follow programmes of study based on the National Curriculum.
Information Technology is used in all subjects as a means to research, present and analyse information and for communication. All classrooms have at least one computer connected to a school-wide network and some have more. The IT room has its own separate network. The School has its own web-site to which the students and staff contribute. The school has the capability to send and receive homework assignments electronically.
All students in Key Stage 3 study:
- Careers & Citizenship
- Design & Technology (DT)
- Design Technology
- Modern Foreign Languages (French & Spanish)
- Food & Nutrition
- Humanities (History, Geography and RE)
- Information Technology
- Physical Education (including swimming & Dance)
- Self Science
Key Stage 4
Students in Key Stage 4 follow a core curriculum with options. All lead to GCSE qualifications or occasionally Certificates if this is more appropriate. We expect all our students to leave the school armed with a good cluster of qualifications.
All students in Key Stage 4 study:
- English GCSE
- Maths GCSE
- Science Single GCSE
- Careers & Citizenship
- Physical Education (Entry Level Certificate)
- Self Science
Self Science is a subject which seeks to develop emotional intelligence. It covers such issues as self awareness, managing feelings, stress, personal responsibility, empathy and communication, resolving conflicts and respect. All students benefit from twice weekly lessons. In developing this subject we believe that we are on the cutting edge.
We provide as many and varied choices of options as possible and we try very hard to accommodate students' preferences. In order to do this we divide options into groups that contain a selection of academic, practical and creative subjects. Each student chooses four.
Options available at Key Stage 4 are:
- Art GCSE
- ASDAN Youth Award
- Business Communication Studies GCSE
- Catering GCSE
- Child Development GCSE
- Construction Projects
- Dance GCSE
- Design & Technology GCSE
- Drama GCSE
- Duke of Edinburgh Award
- English Literature GCSE
- History GCSE
- Media Studies GCSE
- Music GCSE
- Physical Education GCSE
- Science (GCSE double award)
- Textiles GCSE
Important points from key subject policies are set out below. Each subject or department has prepared a detailed policy statement and these are available on request from the School office
Learning is not restricted to lessons. There are a number of lunch-time clubs available. Clubs vary according to student and staff interests, and currently include:
- Board Games
- Computer Games
- Information Technology
- Table Tennis
We aim to provide as broad a curriculum as possible and to pack as much as we can into our 35 lesson week. There is so much to do! We would rather put on four options of three periods per week than three options of four periods a week.
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