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Catcote School (Secondary)
Catcote Road, TS25 4EZ, UK Hartlepool
Tel. 01429 264036, Fax 01429 234452



Catcote School is a Hartlepool Borough Council Special School , with places for approximately 90 students with learning difficulties in the age range 11-19 years. We cater for children and young people with a very wide range of special needs. Visitors will meet students with profound and multiple disabilities, severe learning difficulties and some with moderate learning difficulties. Whatever their special needs, all our students need more help and support than they would normally receive in their local mainstream schools.


Catcote School has an excellent range of facilities designed to support a broad curriculum appropriate to the full range of learning difficulties. These facilities include spacious, up to date and well-designed classrooms which were re-furbished in the early months of 2004 including the installation of seven interactive whiteboards. Specialist teaching areas exist for subjects such as Food Technology (re-furbished Feb. 2004), Science (re-furbished Feb 2004), Hair and Beauty (established Jan 2004), Art , Information and Communication Technology (on-going investment), a library, a Coffee Shop and a physiotherapy area. A spa pool and a sensory workroom extend our provision for profoundly and multiple disabled young people. The school has extensive grounds, allowing a range of outdoor sporting and play activities. The Sensory Base has been extended and re-furbished ready for September 2004 with a total investment approaching £100,000.


Our policy for pastoral care aims to maintain a friendly, calm and purposeful atmosphere. Students and their families are asked to accept the school's "code of conduct". The policy is based on trust and understanding, but is backed by a formal system of rewards and sanctions.


Catcote School has a well-established programme of work-related learning, which allows students to plan, carry out and review a range of real life experiences. Up to date Information and Communication Technology is used, both for for curriculum delivery and administrative tasks. Students have opportunities for high quality residential visits.


Catcote is closely involved with the local FE College, and there are a number of link courses for our older students (*). Local organisations and voluntary agencies use the school as a resource; for example, pre-school children enjoy use of the play facilities and there are Employment Link placements in the school. The school is a real part of the local community, and is strongly supported in terms of both fundraising and voluntary help.



We want students to experience Catcote School as a friendly and secure place, where they can enjoy a stimulating and rewarding environment for learning and personal development. We provide for the pastoral care needs of individual students and we offer a range of enriching experiences. We ensure equal opportunity, whilst respecting individual needs and recognising the differing capabilities of our students.

The principles underpinning our curriculum are that our students should:
  • develop self esteem and a sense of achievement, through experience of success;
  • become able to work co-operatively with others, following social conventions and appreciating the consequences of their actions;
  • be able to communicate effectively, have good numeracy skills and be able to make effective use of ICT;
  • make progress in a range of academic subjects (through access to relevant elements of the National Curriculum, and through developmental approaches where appropriate);
  • develop leisure activities and personal interests;
  • have an awareness of employment and training opportunities together with a capacity to consider life choices and make appropriate plans;
  • be aware of their rights and duties as a citizen and be prepared for an adult role in family life;
  • learn to care for the environment;
  • develop physically and become capable of ensuring their own well-being;
  • develop a sense of enquiry and a capacity for choice, problem solving and rational decision making;
  • acquire personal and social skills alongside ethical, moral and spiritual awareness, with a knowledge of their own identity and others' needs;
  • develop their individual talents and their independence.

Our policies and planning for individual subject areas reflect these principles. These principles also inform our decisions on pastoral policies, lunchtime activities, classroom organisation and everything else which affects the students' experience of school.


We are always happy to discuss what Catcote School can offer any individual student, and we welcome all visitors who have a genuine interest in our school. However, the Local Education Authority ( Hartlepool ) is responsible for admissions, and we cannot offer places without their agreement. If we are approached directly by families who wish their children to come to Catcote, we liaise closely with the LEA to ensure that the best possible decisions about school placement are made. All these decisions must reflect the provisions of the “Code of Practice” for Special Educational Needs. The possibility of an appropriate mainstream school placement will usually be looked at before any decision on special school admission is made. We have excellent professional relationships with Hartlepool's Comprehensive Schools and Colleges, and can tailor placements to maximise opportunities for inclusion in mainstream education. These placements can lead to full time transfer back into mainstream schools, with ongoing specialist support, where necessary.


Children who take up places at Catcote School will already have "statements" describing their special educational needs. This means that their previous schools and their families have worked together with Educational Psychologists and other agencies to assess their difficulties and decide on the most appropriate school. In very exceptional cases, the LEA may ask us to admit students before the statement is complete, as part of the assessment process; but any admissions which are made on this basis are kept under very careful review. For further information on admissions, Miss Wilson can be contacted at school.


We offer a curriculum and a pattern of organisation which is suitable for children and young people who have significant learning difficulties. These difficulties may be moderate, severe or profound. We know that learning difficulties may be accompanied by physical or sensory impairments, or by emotional and behavioural problems, and we have the facilities and expertise to deal with these additional factors. However, where the special educational needs do not relate principally to learning difficulties, there are other schools in the area which may offer more appropriate placements. Most of our students live in Hartlepool , although some travel from other areas, with the agreement of their own LEAs.


Once a student starts at Catcote School , we continuously monitor their progress on an individual basis and a full review is carried out every year, meeting the requirements of the “Code of Practice”. Parents and students have a full opportunity to contribute to the review, which also involves any other agencies with an interest in the student (e.g. Speech and Language Therapist, Medical Consultant, Physiotherapist). The review can result in changes to the statement, and may even recommend a change of school if necessary. A particularly detailed and thorough review, which always involves medical reports and input from the Educational Psychologist, is carried out when each student is about fourteen years old. This “Transition Planning” review provides an opportunity to meet a specialist Careers Adviser, to start looking towards preparation for training or employment, and to consider what help the young person might need as an adult, for example from Health or Social Services.


We have a Parents Evening every autumn but we are always happy to discuss any issues concerning individual students at any time. It is not necessary to wait for annual reviews to ask questions about progress or to raise any concerns. Parents/Carers are welcome at any time, although it is advisable to make an appointment if possible, so you can be sure of seeing the appropriate person when you come to school.


It is important that students attend as regularly as possible, so that they can benefit from the educational activities which we plan for them. All schools are required by law to report on the attendance records of their students.


The level of attendance has improved in recent years. We have a clear policy on attendance and punctuality, with awards for individual students and classes with excellent attendance. All parents receive a copy of our policy. Please read it carefully and play your part in ensuring your son or daughter attends regularly. Good attendance really does make a difference to academic progress.


We use a computerised system to keep track of attendance information, and whenever possible we follow up unexplained absences on the first day.  If your child is not fit for school, please try to send a message, or telephone the school, immediately. This will avoid the need for school staff or LEA staff to make contact. Please let us know the reason for your child being away from school. If we do not know the reason, then we have to mark it as an "unauthorised absence".


Parents also need to tell us in advance if an appointment, for example at the hospital, has to be in school time. We will then provide a pass to authorise the absence. This pass can then be shown if you and your child are stopped by one of Hartlepool 's regular truancy patrols.

primary schools in Hartlepool, secondary schools in Hartlepool, schools in Hartlepool

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