The school welcomes all children who can make the most of the opportunities offered and can flourish in its caring environment. The Proprietor and staff are firmly committed to inclusivity and to giving every child the best possible start in life. Treating every child as an individual is important, and pupils with physical disabilities are welcome. Pupils, whose Special Educational Needs (SEN) and learning difficulties are suited to the curriculum, are also welcome provided the school can provide them with the help and support that they require.
The school’s selection policy is described in its admissions policy. Applications from all who have the ability and aptitude to access an academic curriculum are welcome. However, parents of children with physical disabilities, SEN or learning difficulties are advised to discuss their child’s requirements with the school before they visit the school so that adequate provision can be made for them on the day. Parents are asked to provide a copy of a medical report or educational psychologist’s report to support their request.
Each pupil with a disability and/or SEN requires special consideration and treatment. If appropriate adjustments need to be put in place, they will be discussed thoroughly with parents and their medical advisers, including adjustments that can reasonably be made to the curricular and extra-curricular activities before their child becomes a pupil at the school.
The school recognises that social, emotional and behavioural barriers to learning can be associated with some disabilities. Mental illness or learning difficulties can cause behavioural issues. The school aims to work together with families to overcome or minimise these as far as is possible.
Parents and prospective parents of disabled children may wish to obtain copies of the school’s accessibility plan from the Bursar’s office. This shows the ways in which the Senior Management Team plan to make the buildings progressively more accessible to disabled pupils, disabled parents and visitors. The school has an active monitoring policy and will do its best to make adjustments to take account of an individual pupil’s needs, within the constraints imposed by its historic buildings and scattered site. Facilities for wheel-chair users are being introduced progressively as the buildings are upgraded.
Other adjustments are also possible. Depending upon need, children can use laptop computers in class, and can be given large print or documents printed on coloured paper if required.
Menus are also devised to cater for special dietary requirements.
The Equality Act 2010 has made significant changes to the law on discrimination as it affects disabled pupils and in particular the extension of duties on schools to include the provision of auxiliary aids and services from 1 September 2012. The school is aware of this duty, which it complies with.
Pupils with education, health and care plans (EHCPs) from their local authorities who are suited to the school’s educational offer are welcome. If a pupil with an EHCP requires their dedicated carer in school, for example, to assist with personal care, writing, etc this can be accommodated provided that the carer has an enhanced DBS check arranged by the school and complies with the child protection and safeguarding regime in force at the time. The school would require a carer (like a new member of staff) to sign a written agreement undertaking to comply with the school’s child protection and safeguarding policies and to attend the child protection and safeguarding induction briefing that is given to all new members of staff before working unsupervised on site.
If a pupil’s dedicated carer is not a school employee, the pupil’s parents may be asked to provide the school with a written undertaking indemnifying it from any legal responsibility or cost connected with the provision of their services to their child.
Woodcote celebrates the diversity of its pupils, and welcomes boys from many different countries, provided that the numbers of such boys in each class do not compromise the general progress of the class as a whole. Over recent years Woodcote has educated boys from Spain, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Venezuela, Turkey, Nigeria, Russia, China, Thailand, Hong Kong and South Korea. Many of these (particularly the significant number from Spain) come for a year only, or sometimes for a single term, often in Year 6 or 7, when the school’s brief is to provide the whole ‘English Prep School experience’ rather than formal academic progress.
In order to cope with the high academic and social demands of Woodcote pupils must be fluent English speakers. The school may recommend that some children, whose first language at home is not English, receive tuition in English as an additional language.
Boys with EAL follow their class curriculum, and mainstream staff ensure that they are integrated with their contemporaries in all aspects of school life, and, if necessary, provide individual explanations and suitable work during lesson time and outside. However we have a dedicated EAL teacher who will remove boys, individually or in small groups, from suitable periods – often Spanish or Latin classes – and will often use these sessions to support what is being taught in mainstream lessons. Depending on their level of language, boys may receive as few as one or as many as five of such lessons per week. Parents are charged back for these sessions.
Woodcote boys are very accustomed to helping boys with EAL to integrate, and their relationship is seen as very positive by all concerned.
All pastoral, teaching and sports staff take a close interest in their welfare and progress, liaising by email with the boy’s parents on a regular basis, and being able to help in the majority of native languages if necessary. Boys with EAL are able to take part in all aspects of Woodcote life.
Arrangements can be made for boys with EAL to worship separately if required, though in practice Woodcote’s ecumenical service is favoured by the vast majority of parents and their boys.
Working closely with the pastoral staff, she plays a key role in determining the strategic development of the SEN policy and provision in the school in order to cater for the individual needs of pupils with SEN. She will liaise closely with the pupil’s teaching staff, family and where appropriate, with the school’s medical staff and with external agencies. She attends regular external training in order to remain current with latest her duties as SENCO. The SENCO will prepare an individual education plan for each child, setting achievable targets. The child, together with their parents and teachers, review the plan regularly and the child is encouraged to take ownership of it and to set their own targets. These plans are monitored and discussed regularly at staff meetings. Please also see separate SEN Policy.
All staff are given regularly updated by the SENCO at staff meetings on working with boys with SEN. This training focuses on helping each child to reach their maximum potential, the appropriate adjustments (such as large print or using coloured paper) that can give full access to the curriculum and facilities of the school to the greatest extent possible.
The school trains its teachers to differentiate within the curriculum and to take into account pupils’ learning difficulties (as well as the needs of gifted and talented pupils). The SENCO liaises with the teaching staff about the most appropriate means of meeting the needs of pupils with SEN and learning difficulties. The SENCO has an important role in ensuring consistency of approach by all teachers in providing, for example, access to learning materials that are easier to read and understand, or extra time in exams.
The school takes pride in its well-developed system of pastoral care for social interaction amongst pupils. All pupils, are taught that discrimination, victimisation and bullying is prohibited and will not be tolerated. The school’s objective is to ensure that a disabled pupil, or a pupil with SEN or other protected characteristic, does not suffer less favourable treatment as a result of discrimination. Pupils are taught through the curriculum and other activities the importance of respecting each other and behaving towards each other with courtesy and consideration. The school’s behaviour policies/school rules make clear the seriousness of bullying, victimisation and harassment in all its pernicious forms, including racial, religious, cultural, sexual, sexist, gender-related, sexual orientated homophobic, disabled and cyber, in causing serious psychological damage and even suicide. Considerable teacher time is expended in preventing bullying, victimisation and harassment and in dealing with it when it occurs. All pupils understand that the school has a zero tolerance policy on bullying and that bullies can expect strong sanctions to be applied to them.
The school’s hope is that all parents will feel able to share any concerns about their child with the pastoral staff in order that a healthy partnership for the care of their child can be developed. The SENCO, other pastoral staff and tutors who are involved with their child are always happy to discuss any parental concerns. A member of staff will always ask to see a parent if they felt that an adjustment to the curriculum or individual education plan followed by their child might be in their best interests, or if there was a specific concern.
The school naturally hopes that a parent will not feel that they have cause to complain but its complaints policy is published on the website and available from the Bursar’s office for any parent who wishes to use it. Additionally, all parents of children with SEN or disabilities have the legal right to seek redress from the First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) if they believe that their son or daughter has been discriminated against.
Whether or not it is appropriate to levy any further fees for additional support for individual pupil will be considered on a case-by-case basis, on the basis of what is reasonable.