The New Rush Hall School “is an outstanding school’… where staff ‘offer excellent support to pupils who are struggling… Pupils are fully engaged in their learning and strongly motivated to push themselves to increase their rates of progress” (Ofsted December 2012).
We are a day special school for children and young people aged 5 to 16 years who are experiencing behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD). Pupils are in classes of 8 maximum, with a teacher and a Learning Support Assistant. The school has capacity for 64 pupils, 24 in Primary and 40 in the Secondary department. We also have an Early Years’ provision which works with 16 children, with no more than 12 on site at any one time. Children attend mornings only and return to their mainstream school after lunch. There is a separate link to this section.
The school is a High Performing Specialist School and successfully applied for a second specialism in Applied Learning, awarded in April 2009. It has a strong reputation locally and nationally and provides high-quality education and opportunities for children and young people to understand and manage their feelings, change their behaviour, experience success and enhance their life chances. Pupils attending the school have a Statement of Special Education Needs which outlines their behavioural, emotional and social needs as well as any learning difficulties. Pupils are referred to the school through Redbridge LA Special Educational Needs Panel, and all requests for placement should be made to them in the first instance.
We aim, wherever possible, to enable pupils to return to mainstream school and many make a phased return through a mainstream experience programme supported by staff from the school. Whilst some pupils may have difficulties with aspects of their learning, the over-riding issue is that they have had significant problems in their referring schools school, are unable to work, play and socialise in a safe and acceptably cooperative way. Pupils come to New Rush Hall School with a commitment to change.
We believe that every child has a right to achieve, and that every parent and carer has the right to expect that the school will do its very best for their child. To achieve this, we work in partnership with parents, carers and mainstream school as well as other agencies as appropriate. We also believe that children and young people must learn to take responsibility for their own behaviour and that self-discipline is a skill which has to be, and can be, learnt. Since this is difficult at times, we operate within a structure in which everybody is clear about the rules, regulations and expectations. We manage pupil behaviour through a policy and procedures which are clear, coherent and consistently applied.
The Primary Department has 24 Key Stage 2 places. As well as following the National Curriculum, the Primary Department offers a range of curricular activities including cooking, swimming and horseriding. Pupils do KS2 SATS at the end of Y6.
The Secondary Department caters for 40 Key Stage 3 and 4 pupils and is organised into 5 classes, ranging from Year 7 to Year 11. Again, pupils follow the National Curriculum and have additional curricular opportunities including mentoring, community work, vocational training, work placements and educational visits. At KS4 pupils can achieve GCSE, BTEC, Entry Level and ASDAN qualifications, as well as other vocational accreditation linked to college and work placements.
We offer support in a number of ways. Pupils have personalised learning programmes which take account of their special and individual needs. Our systems include in-class and 1:1 support from a specialist teacher and a team of Learning Support Assistants offering additional literacy (ALS) and numeracy support (ANS), mentoring, social skills and cooperative experiences. School systems foster an emotional curriculum which promotes learning and well-being. The most important intervention we make is through education and the most important strategy is the quality of the relationships that we develop with pupils and each other.
New Rush Hall School is an Apple 1-1 school, with all pupils and staff having their own laptop. This, together with skilled teaching and an innovative curriculum which promotes digital creativity, enables us to be at the cutting edge of ICT developments nationally.
We employ a range of specialist workers to enhance pupils’ experience. The school has two highly qualified child and adolescent psychotherapists and a trainee, all of whom offer individual sessions to children and families and support to staff. This team is part of a CAMHS service which we buy in through the Tavistock Clinic. In addition the school has a designated person to support the needs of Looked After Children.
The school is a National Support School and the lead school in The New Rush Hall Teaching Alliance, which has some other engage schools within the Alliance. The school is one of two BESD schools nationally to be selected by the SSAT to take part in a research project, which started in January 2010, into complex learning difficulties. We have since been awarded the SSAT Research Charter Mark at extending level, the only school nationally to do so.
The school has acquired the inclusion quality mark – IQM – and renewed its Healthy Schools status.