Information Booklet 2010
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Aspen, Whitfield & Aspen School
Aspen is specialist provision, within Whitfield & Aspen School, for children assessed as having severe
and/or profound multiple special educational needs. The age range is 4 - 11 years, with a pre-school
provision , Aspen Roots age range 2 ½ - 5, attending part-time. The children attend daily and return to
their own homes generally within Dover, Deal and surrounding areas. They are placed at Aspen
according to their needs and the wishes of their parents.
Following a bid submitted to DfES for re-development of the whole site, coupled with Kent Special
School Review, Aspen has become an inclusive part of Whitfield and Aspen school. This has
enhanced the provision for the school enabling specialist rooms to be developed – Physio, Speech &
Language, Occupational Therapy, Sensory and soft play, music therapy creative and domestic
science rooms. In addition the specialist nursery was included in the development and opened in April
2008. The whole project was completed in May 2008 with the additional development of the Aspen
SMILE centre – to support multi- professional development across the district.
Statement of Equality
This school recognises the equality in rights and status of all pupils within. It
recognises that all children have a variety of needs and will support them in meeting
their needs and potential, promoting the philosophy of inclusive learning.
The aims for Whitfield and Aspen School and are as follows:
To maintain a caring school community that is concerned for the quality of experience provided for
each and every pupil.
To maximise pupil’s potential through stimulating their motivation to learn, meeting individual
needs and extending expectations and aspirations.
To encourage pupil’s positive attitudes to learning, a pride in themselves and their work through a
shared Code of Behaviour.
To help pupils to achieve and demonstrate confidence in their abilities and skills.
To inspire awareness and understanding towards individual differences and disability, and to strive
for equality of opportunity for all.
To keep what we do under review so that we can change where necessary, but continue to
maintain continuity and quality.
To achieve these aims through professionalism and experience of our staff, through open and
trusting relationships with parents, through the supportive role of governors enhancing the working
relationships between the school, parents and wider community.
Inclusive education for all children at Aspen is a priority. Children are taught in age groups not relating
to any disability “type”. Therefore for children attending Aspen, a fundamental principle within the school
aims is the inclusion of a child within the main school whenever possible (as stated in the 1981 Education
Act). Inclusion is defined in terms of a child’s right to access appropriate education and is based upon
equal opportunities for all. The need for specialist provision and support remains whilst enabling a child to
fully participate within their school community. The process is flexible and levels of inclusion to
mainstream classes are dependent upon the needs of and appropriateness for the child. The purpose of
the programme is to enable each child to relate to, be stimulated by and develop alongside other
children. Inclusive education does not solely benefit the children on roll at Aspen. Through their
programmes it is hoped that children within the main school also develop an understanding of the
difficulties and the needs of all children. Children from the main school classes join in some activities
within Aspen and encourage the children to overcome their difficulties.
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Aspen Roots Nursery
Opened in April 2008, Aspen Roots nursery is specialist nursery for children with Profound, severe and
complex learning needs. The nursery has been established to provide for the needs of these children
and provide a setting for observation and assessment. Referral to the nursery is through the pre-
school specialist teaching service and children can attend up to 5 sessions weekly. A separate booklet
Age Range - rising 5’s – 11.
A learning need is the primary reason for a student’s entry to the provision and therefore he/she
will be identified as having developmental delay associated with severe and/or profound multiple
learning difficulties. The student may additionally have pronounced impairments in the area of
communication, those associated with the autistic spectrum, emotional/ behaviour and/or physical
The student will eventually be statemented following a period of observation and assessment.
The student may require the use of aids or equipment necessitated by physical or sensory
difficulties including adapted toileting/personal hygiene areas.
The student may require additional therapy input from outside agencies.
The student will require access to the National Curriculum with appropriate differentiation to meet
their educational needs.
The student will access the school in terms of community involvement and integrate within
classrooms where appropriate.
The provision would be deemed inappropriate for students where:
The need is identified as solely physical and/or sensory.
The need is identified as solely emotional and/or behavioural.
The need is identified as solely social communication.
The need is identified as solely speech and language.
Parents have the ultimate decision as to whether their child attends Aspen.
If a child is considered to be able to have their needs met in mainstream schools (with or without
support), they should not be placed at Aspen without a full case discussion.
Children are placed at Aspen either full or part-time. Aspen staff are a source of support for teaching
in mainstream schools.
All pre-school children meeting the above criteria should be accepted into Aspen with the proviso that
they may well attend a mainstream school at the age of 5.
All children should initially attend on a temporary one-term basis for assessment and programme
development. Children from mainstream schools are accepted with the understanding that re-
integration to that school will happen, if thought appropriate by parents and staff.
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Staffing – June 2010
Aspen staff consists of:
Head of Aspen & AEN Nick Andrews (Site Deputy Headteacher)
Deputy Mary Coffey
Teachers Class KS2 Sarah Murray, Natalie Fairley(3 days), Jim Sutton(2 days)
Class KS1 Sarah Ashton Steve Harding
Class EY Debbie Chatfield Clare Foster
Roots Nursery Celia German
Learning Support (f/t on site) Jill Marsh, Marie Miles, Nicola Rendle, Donna Roberts
Assistants Denise Batts, Nicola Bousted, Jo Edmonds,
Annmarie Formoy, Sarah Glanville, Sharon Green,
Candice Hackney, Jodie Harrison, Claire Jenner,
Karen Jordan, Kerry Shaw, Danielle Clark, Sona
(p/t on site) Lucy Bateman, Dawn Hart, Paula Lucas,
` Alison Mullings, Karen Beer, Jennie Bingley, Caroline
Cassidy, Jacqui Chapman, Jackie Cooper, Jane
Dawson, Gemma Lucas Angela Northcott, Cheryl
Richards, Lizzie Roberts, Jane Uyl, Theresa Wood,
Marie Wallace, Amanda Wynn, Nicola Clark
Office Manager/Bursar Sharon Love
Reception/Clerical Assistant Christine McCoye
Supply Teachers Rosemary Dyson, Nick Jackaman, Lita Smith
Additional support is provided by the visiting speech therapist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist,
services for sensory impairment and school psychological service.
The present peripatetic staff are:
Shideh Hafezian (Speech and Language Therapist)
Charlene Bentley, Claire Lecarpenter (Physiotherapists)
Chloe Court, Julie Harris, Emma Hart (Occupational Therapists)
Nadia Tewfik (Music Therapist)
Rebecca Rice (Educational Psychologist)
Jan Wood (Visiting Teacher for Hearing Impaired)
Stephen Handley (Visiting Teacher for Visual Impairment)
All therapists have to target specific children, as the demands on their time are very high. However they
do monitor, provide support and advice to staff for those children not currently being seen at a specific
time. This is a major role for the speech therapist.
At various times throughout the year Aspen provides placements for students studying a wide variety
of disciplines. This includes Teacher Training, NVQ for teaching assistants, Child Care diplomas,
Nursing Students and school students on work experience. We also receive visitors who seek to learn
from our practice and approaches. Each student or visitor receives an introductory talk from the head
regarding the pupils, their needs, approaches towards meeting those needs and issues of equality and
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All staff have been cleared to work with children through the CRB process directed by government
An Integrated Cross Curriculum
Aspen is currently divided into four sections Roots Nursery, Class 15 -Early Years, Class 16 - Key Stage
1 and Class 17 - Key Stage 2.
To achieve Aspen aims, each child has an individually structured work programme based upon a
behavioural/objective approach to teaching. There is a profile record system where each child is
assessed annually and long-term objectives and programmes of study are set. From these objectives
individual activities can be planned. These are referred to as "Directed Activities" and are specific to each
child. The group teacher can therefore include these activities as part of the overall programme and
planning for the class. Each child has periods of group and individual time according to their need. Some
children will have periods of additional 1 to 1 sessions to participate in activities such as sensory, music
therapy, physio, water therapy etc.
The objective and programme of study sheets are regularly updated as the child progresses. Each child
has a personal folder containing his/her profile and current objectives sheet; from this sheet a child's
personal "directed activities" are devised. These are activities that a child may be engaged in when not
being directly taught i.e. in a free activity session.
Access to the National Curriculum is part of inclusive education and this is achieved through the use of a
differentiated and modified curriculum. Assessment, recording and target setting using QCA P-scales
enables a consistent approach whilst meeting a child’s individual needs. In addition the QCA schemes of
work are used as basis for meeting the curriculum requirements for all children.
The design of Aspen curriculum is intended to enable the individual child to:
Work on programmes of study currently relevant to their needs;
"Work towards" attainment targets they have a reasonable prospect of reaching;
Be offered non-National Curriculum programme of study and attainment targets when appropriate.
(ref: B J Special Education No.3 p90).
Through the profile and directed system the child is able to continue with his/her programme in a
consistent and systematic way whilst working with a variety of staff. Children integrated into mainstream
classes are involved in that curriculum, differentiated to meet their academic needs.
During the more formal working sessions during the day there is a Room Management approach to the
team teaching system. This means that staff have a variety of roles during the session. This ranges from
individual/group teaching to the supervising of children who are working on their own. A great emphasis
is placed upon language and communication and social and behavioural developments of each child as
these areas have a considerable influence upon a child's development. The Derbyshire Language
Scheme is operating within Aspen and implemented with the advice and aid of the speech therapist.
Makaton, a sign system to assist in the development of speech and language skills, is used in Aspen.
The present main reading programmes are GINN 360 and Oxford Reading Tree. The use of symbols
and PECS (Picture Exchange Communication) to assist in language development and to enable all
children to access a reading curriculum has been developed and continues to be updated.
In line with the National Literacy strategies, an analysis has been carried out and a literacy strategy policy
has been developed which takes account of the need to promote the children’s literacy skills whilst
considering their ability levels and levels of need. A similar approach has been used to develop a unified
approach to numeracy in line with Government requirements.
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A sensory sound and lighting room has been developed. This is used for all the children to relax,
stimulate and develop their awareness. This system has recently been developed from a passive system
to one that will allow children to direct the apparatus themselves in an interactive way. In addition
aromatherapy sessions are held to relax and develop the children. These sessions are carried out with
parental permission. Music therapy sessions have been introduced to assist with the emotional
development and enable alternative methods of communication for some children. An important purpose
of these sessions is to facilitate self-expression and communication within a therapeutic relationship.
May 2002 saw the completion of a water therapy pool. This resource is multi purpose in that it is
designed to meet children’s physical, language, sensory and emotional needs. The pool is a sound
and light experience with Jacuzzi corner. It has been a tremendous resource and a benefit for the
children in a variety of ways.
Placement at Aspen
If a parent is considering a placement for their child at Aspen, it is expected that they will visit and gain
an insight to the day to day working within the school. During that visit the philosophy, processing and
practice of Aspen and the whole school will be explained. A tour will enable the parents to make an
educated decision for their child’s placement. The parental preference will be recorded and included in
the child’s statement of educational need which will then name Aspen as the school. At any time
during a child’s placement, their decision can be reviewed and amended in consultation with the Local
Authority. Often children have attended Roots nursery and been assessed for placement prior to
statutory school age.
Following the initial decision for a placement the appropriate teacher and an assistant will offer to visit
the parents and child to discuss the day to day needs and education. This will enable staff to have a
clearer picture of the issues that will be considered when the child begins school.
To meet with the requirements of the 1981 Education Act and The Code of Practice, each child has an
annual review. The annual review meeting, held at Aspen, is usually on Wednesday mornings at a
convenient time for parents. Staff from Aspen, the Educational Psychologist, Assessment Officer from
the area office and any other person/agency involved with the child are all invited to attend or send a
report for the meeting. The procedure of the meeting follows the special needs review form with the
minutes and recommendations of the meeting submitted to the area office. This meeting decides on
the future needs of the child and appropriateness of his/her present placement(s). Parents are
encouraged to bring a friend if they feel they need extra support during this meeting.
Assessment and Monitoring of Progress
Children have a wide variety of special educational needs and are subject to the formal review
procedures as set out in current legislation. However, there is a wider process in the monitoring of
children’s individual standards. This is part of the overall responsibility of the Head of Aspen to ensure
that all children have the opportunity to reach their individual potential and are not under-achieving.
In preparation for the annual review the class teachers consult with all staff to compile a progress
report for each child and submit to Head of Aspen.
At the time of the annual review the Key Stage Team Leaders review children’s achievements
through recorded evidence of progress in workbooks, day books etc.
From this evidence the Head of Aspen updates the child’s individual progress record.
Sets targets and programmes of study that can be incorporated by teachers within the general
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Teachers set individual directed activities based upon the year’s targets.
Termly review of each child through whole staff discussion. This discussion reviews progress and
identifies specific areas to be targeted for the coming term.
Sets specific terms targets.
Gives broad aims for each child when working in large group, small group and individual
A curriculum cycle (two/three-year) for each group is developed and reviewed regularly during late
summer term by all teaching staff.
Teacher’s medium term plans are developed termly to form team plans for each group. Within
these plans individual aims for broad groupings are given. These are based upon individual aims
Small groups are set within each class based upon medium term planning.
Teaching staff have team meetings to develop weekly planning and identify group activities, staff
members and adjust groups accordingly.
Daily planning using whiteboard, to adjust the timetable according to individual children’s daily
needs (emotional, physical and health) and utilising available staff.
Progress and needs are highlighted by staff members in various forms that in turn direct future
Formal recorded workbooks i.e. writing books etc. – giving explanations as to the level of
support given, any difficulties, specific successes.
Individual record books (early years, children with pmld, children not yet achieving a formal
Inclusion Record books
Based on the individual targets the Head of Aspen will collate and set annual targets for Aspen in
terms of National Curriculum levels in Literacy, Numeracy, PSHE and Inclusion.
The above processes aim to enable teaching to be directed by success and individual need whilst
planning for a broad and balanced academic, social and emotional curriculum. This is furthered by the
Head of Aspen with an on going programme targeting specific areas of the curriculum and analysing
pupil’s success in these areas related to the overall needs of the children.
The purpose of Aspen is to encourage and develop the principles of inclusion for children with special
needs. Inclusion is defined as in terms of “treating everybody equally, but not necessarily the same”. (
Klaus Wedell (2008)) Behind this is the principle is that inclusive education is the appropriate education
designed to meet all children’s needs whilst enabling them to participate within the local community or
school of their choice. The eventual aim is that children will continue their education in an integrated
setting (full or part time) according to their needs. There is an inclusive approach to all teaching, all
children having equal access to the whole curriculum differentiated to their individual needs.
The first stage of the inclusion process is social, with the children of the main on-site primary school
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within non- academic settings, e.g.: playtimes, etc. From this, children participate within specific
classrooms according to their needs and the appropriateness of such a placement. Part of this work has
included a collaborative teaching approach within Reception, year 1 and 2 classes. Groups of children
attend the mainschool classes for one or more sessions each week with a teacher and LSA from Aspen
working in conjunction with mainschool staff. The third approach is the full-time placement within a
mainstream class, usually Whitfield & Aspen School. Children may sometimes leave Aspen to return full-
time to mainstream schooling. Present staffing has enabled support for children integrated within their
local school and this has continued even after the child has left Aspen. Staff are based at Aspen but visit
and/or work in support of classroom teachers within these schools..
There have been various forms of inclusion in the past and the structure of each plan is developed
through staff discussion and liaison. Each child's needs are assessed, the format of the school
examined and children integrated with appropriate support.
There are three levels of intervention into these schools:
1) Aspen Head acts to liaise, co-ordinate and monitor integration programmes.
2) Teachers support - to aid classroom teacher in teaching strategies, curriculum, design and
general liaison over child's development.
3) Learning Support Assistant - to aid teacher within classroom, both with child and with class in
general to give more time and support for that teacher. In addition, this role is to aid co-
ordination of the child's programme.
Equal opportunities are essential to the school and it is our aim for the whole academic and social
curriculum to be non-racist, non-sexist, non homophobic and non-disablist in line with the whole school
Equal Opportunities and Anti-bullying Policies. We expect this policy to be fully supported by staff, pupils,
parents and friends of the school.
In addition to providing support to the children within Aspen, it is important that this support should be
extended to the children's families. Close contact between home and school is necessary to promote
each child's development.
There is an open door policy to parents with regular meetings, informal and formal, held whenever
required, both at home and at school, to discuss any matter relating to the child. We support
organisations such as Partnership with Parents. The need for such a policy arises from the distance that
the children travel, the catchment area of Aspen and the difficulties encountered by families and children
with learning difficulties.
Through the development of Aspen Smile (Supporting Multi-Inclusive Learning and Education), Aspen
is a resource to local schools in terms of support, advice and training for children within the schools
with specific needs. Once again this support is flexible and tailored to meet individual school and child
needs. In addition the Smile Centre is being developed as a resource base for the district parents,
students and mainstream teachers in providing information and advice on Special Needs within
Education through availability of materials, courses and conferences. It is hoped that an educational
pack will be available for local schools to use in raising awareness of disability issues. Staff have also
been involved in training programmes for classroom assistants and teachers. Information sheets, books
and magazines are available for short-term loan. One of Aspen's resource roles is the frequent use by
local colleges and schools for work experience placements. It is hoped that this can be extended to
include pre-school playgroup workers.
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Approach to working with children with medical conditions and medical emergencies
The school’s approach is to accept children with medical conditions, including epilepsy, which may
require medication/treatment to be administered on-site. Many schools will not accept such children
unless they have medically qualified staff available on-site and some teaching unions advise against
non-medical staff being involved in the administration of any treatment or medication. This is because
staff are particularly vulnerable in these situations, with regard to complaints or even legal action by
parents/carers. Accepting such children at Aspen therefore requires a high degree of trust and co-
operation between Aspen staff and parents. If this relationship breaks down for any reason, the
vulnerability of Aspen staff is increased.
Some special schools are considering separate PMLD classes to cope with vulnerable children. This
is not a route we are proposing to take. We aim to be part of an inclusive school and accept that for
some children, this may represent an additional but acceptable element of risk for the majority of
parents who choose to send their child to Whitfield and Aspen school.
Certain members of Aspen staff are trained to administer such medications as rectal valium in the
case of epileptic seizures, but have to follow a set procedure if a child fails to respond within a
specified period of time. Our policy, which we would expect to be supported by parents, is to call the
main carer/s in the case of any situation where hospitalisation of the child was required/likely to be
required. This is particularly important when the child’s condition could be potentially life-threatening. If
the child goes on to make a good recovery after the parent has been called, this does not indicate that
staff have acted incorrectly, but have followed laid- down procedures. If staff feel their actions will be
subject to critical scrutiny, they are more likely to err on the side of caution.
We do understand that when some parents are called from work, this can cause difficulties for them,
particularly if they do not have a sympathetic employer. Many staff are parents of school-age children
themselves and are in a similar situation with regards to collecting children in emergencies or bad
weather conditions. We do not call parents without good reason and do all we can to avoid an
unnecessary request to collect a child.
We expect the following to apply to all children at Whitfield & Aspen School:
The main carer will always be contacted if their child sustains an injury, other than a minor
If the main carer cannot attend or be contacted, any other emergency contact person is willing
to accept full responsibility for the child after collecting them from school. If the child has a
medical condition, they have been made aware of this by the parent and they are prepared to
accept responsibility for the child, in the absence of the parent.
Private arrangements for transport cannot be the responsibility of the school. Any necessary
facilities- safety seats, harnesses etc to transport the child safely will be a matter for the
parent and the contact person to arrange.
Transition to Secondary Education
In September 2001, a secondary provision for our pupils was open at Archers Court School., currently
known as Aspen2 and became an inclusive part of the school in October 2003. The provision enables
children at Aspen to move with their mainstream peers to their local secondary school. This enables
the philosophy of inclusion to continues and children remain part of their local community whilst their
needs continue to be met and appropriate education is provided. The philosophy of this provision is in
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line with that held at Aspen and there are strong links between primary and secondary provisions to
enable a smooth transition for pupils at aged 11. The current Head of Aspen2 is Mike Phillipson
All the children have their playtimes with the mainschool each morning. Teaching staff are on duty in the
playground in addition to the member of staff from the main school duty rota. The children attend various
social events within the school including a weekly assembly and daily lunchtimes are spent with the
mainschool. Each week a small group of children are taken horse riding to the local Riding for the
Disabled group. This benefits the children's language and physical development. Children are selected in
a block rota system that prioritises according to individual need.
Aspen has also developed links with the community. Several year 12 students from Dover Girls’
Grammar School support classes in a variety of ways. We also welcome volunteers to help with the
development of the children. Each year there are various trips and visits arranged for all children within
Aspen. These are educational and social and often these are supported by local students to enable good
adult pupil ratio and give the children maximum benefit. Our hydro pool is used by Aspen 2 and several
care homes and individuals with specific needs use the pool regularly.
Inclusive education is a priority for children at Aspen. Children from the specialist provision are part of the
whole school socially and in many cases more functionally within their year group classes. Several
children attend their mainschool classes full-time with support with most other children spending upwards
of 1 session a week. Inclusion programmes are developed to meet the educational needs of the
individual child and of those in the class in which they are attending. Support for these sessions comes
from Aspen staff. Currently Aspen is using over 220 sessions a week.
The staff from Aspen also have an input to classes within mainstream schools specifically to educate
children in disability awareness. Main school children work with the children at play and work times,
ensuring a community approach towards Aspen from the mainschool.
During the years the children have enjoyed various educational trips and visits, including trips to France.
There has been an annual residential trip to Windsor Legoland for the oldest children although LA rules
have made this difficult and we are looking at ways to resume this trip in the future.
We are always looking for ways to stimulate the children and aid their development. Any extra projects
are funded from Aspen funds raised through donations and other events. We now produce sweatshirts
and t-shirts for both children and adults. The new logo has incorporated the School shield and have the
Aspen logo, which was taken from an original drawing by John Woodbridge, a child who attended Aspen.
We have our own mini-buses that enable an increased number of educational trips and experiences to
This school has formed WASPFA (Whitfield and Aspen Staff, Parents and Friends Association). The
group has the aim to develop fund raising to support the school aims. A separate information booklet for
the Aspen Smile Centre is available.
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Visits to the Aspen are welcomed and further information can be also obtained from:
Telephone 01304 826416
Fax 01304 827300
Mobile Telephone 07545915125
Or in writing to Aspen
Whitfield & Aspen School
Nick Andrews, Head of Aspen & AEN May 2010
Other useful Phone numbers:
Whitfield & Aspen (mainschool) 01304 821526
SMILE Centre 01304 829846
East Kent Area Office – Additional Educational Need 01622 696705
Partnership with Parents 01622 755515
Link Family Scheme 01795 886413
Social Services (Disability Team) 01227 771686
Pegasus (Summer Play Scheme) 01304 824894
Britannia – Transport 01304 228111
Aspen2 @ Archers Court School 01304 825351
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