The students of Bowden House School experience an educational programme similar to that offered in mainstream schools. That means the full National Curriculum with the addition of other subject areas under a range of awarding bodies to fully extend the student’s skills and abilities. There are six class groups with a maximum of six students in each class. Each class will have a specialist teacher and a dedicated Teaching Assistant.

The school is divided into Lower School, affectionately named The Bungalow and Upper School and each lesson in the timetable is 45 minutes. Class groups are defined by ‘Stage and Age’ and subject material is differentiated to allow all students to achieve their potential.

Monday to Thursday consists of six lessons and two mentor periods and on Fridays there are three lessons and two mentor periods. Progress meetings called ‘Privilege Meetings’ take place every alternate Wednesday morning. This is where students, education and care staff review a student’s performance against agreed targets.

Examinations are taken in nearly every subject that the students’ study. These are at GCSE, Entry Level, DIDA or Btech and are dependent upon the student’s ability. Students also complete AQA Unit Awards. All students complete a ‘Baseline Assessment’ on entry to the school in order to determine a fresh starting point and help identify any extra help that may be needed. Students will also be tested to assess the need for any specialist speech and language input or dyslexic support.

The school employs specialists in both of these fields to help students directly as well as advising staff of relevant techniques or strategies that might help or support student progress. Student attainment and progress is tracked in every subject, initially through historical data and baseline tests and then through teacher assessment. This progress is then plotted half termly and targets are set for individual improvement.

On top of the specialised support mentioned earlier, the school also provides Therapeutic Counselling sessions which operate through a referral system which can be generated by either an adult or the student. Our Counselling Service is provided by dialogue from YMCA Sussex Central. Our counsellor offers students an opportunity to talk about any issues that are important to them.

Any extra support that may be needed in class is initially taken on by the dedicated Teaching Assistants. There may be further support needed for individuals and this will come from the Care Team on duty and/or the Senior Leadership Team. This support may be in the form of individual 1:1 sessions, withdrawal from stressful situations or help managing anger or frustration. All students at Bowden House School will have academic tutors and keyworkers allocated to them who also offer support and guidance.

Students receive advice and guidance on work experience and careers advice to prepare them for successfully leaving school and moving on. The school works closely with parents/carers and the student’s local Connexions Service to support this.

Good behaviour in school is recognised through the school’s ‘Privilege Meetings’. A point system operates in the school and care environment with each point going towards a predetermined total. Acquiring more points means students can progress from Copper, to Bronze, to Silver and to Gold, earning more ‘Privileges’ on the way. Rewards are tailored to the students’ needs and abilities, wherever possible. Education and Care staff work very closely together to support the school day and make all learning experiences as successful as they can possibly be.

Gerry Crook Head Teacher, April 2015