Bowden House School
Admissions Policy & Procedure
Bowden House School is a specialist, weekly, residential school maintained by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The school is committed to supporting students between the ages of 9 – 16+ who present with a range of complex, social, emotional and mental health difficulties and additional learning difficulties. We admit students from a wide geographical area and all students have Statements of Special Educational Needs or Education, Health and Care Plans (EHC Plans). There are occasions where admissions can be made on an assessment basis or where there is a risk of exclusion from a mainstream or alternative, educational setting.
As a special school, Bowden House is exempt from the Schools Admission Code (December 2014) which was issued under Section 84 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 following Consultation under Section 85(2).
Criteria for admission to the school includes:
- availability of space in the required year group
- a Statement of Special Educational Needs or EHC Plan
- support of the placing Local Authority and Social Services Department for Looked After Children
- active support and commitment from parents/carers
- the school’s belief that they can meet the student’s needs
- an ability to learn in a class group of up to six students
- compatibility both in the learning and residential environments
- understanding and acceptance of the expectations stated in the Student Handbook (see Student Handbook for details)
As Bowden House is exempt under the Schools Admission Code (December 2014, Section 12), the school does not have an oversubscription criteria and therefore considers referrals for admission under its Criteria for Admission detailed above.
How to make a referral – Local Authorities:
Initial enquiries about vacancies in Year groups/visits or information about the school, can be made directly to the school by telephone, letter or e-mail or to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, SEN Department.
Referrals should be addressed to either:
Bowden House School
Tel: number: 01323 893138
Fax Number: 01323 492057
The SEN Department
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
5 Clove Crescent
London, E14 2BG
Tel: number: 0207 364 4462
Fax number: 0207 364 4303
It is important that as much information as possible is provided by the referring authority to ensure that Bowden House School is able to fully meet the needs of the students referred for admission.
The school and the LBTH SEN Department (if applying via LBTH), will require the following:
- a Statement of Special Educational Needs or EHC Plan
- the most recent Annual Review
- the most recent school/PRU/alternative provision report including current levels of educational attainment (SATS, etc)
- the most recent report from an Educational Psychologist
- any relevant Social Services involvement
- current social/family composition and history including details such as Care Orders, a Child Protection Plan, Child in Need, etc and any other agency involvement such as CAMHS, YOT, etc.
- any relevant medical information or specific requirements, e.g. Speech & Language support
- details and description of any relevant behaviour patterns.
- all referrals from LBTH, the school’s maintaining authority, are sent directly to the school following consideration/agreement for a placement by the Special Educational Needs Panel
- all referrals from other Local Authorities should agree funding before they approach the school or the school’s maintaining authority (LBTH) to request a placement
- the school accepts referrals for students on an assessment basis prior to the completion of their EHC Plan
- reports are received at the school from the maintaining Local Authority and discussed by the school’s Senior Leadership Team who assess whether the referred student meets the criteria for admission
- after considering the request for a placement, the referring Local Authority is contacted and arrangements made to visit the school
- Local Authorities and parents/carers are encouraged to view the school’s website for details on what the school has to offer prior to the visit
- the school’s Student & Family Co-ordinator will arrange to meet with the prospective student and his parents/carers and/or Social Worker, if applicable, when they visit Bowden House School for an informal visit
- the Student & Family Co-ordinator will also arrange home visits at the request of the Local Authority or once agreement has been made to secure a placement
- a Student Handbook which offers information about life in the school in a ‘user friendly’ format together with a School Brochure will be provided during the visit which will also be the opportunity to clarify/share any queries/concerns from the school or the parents/carers/Social Worker
- following the meeting and/or visit, the Student & Family Co-ordinator will complete a ‘Student Profile’ for the staff which provides current information and a précis of the requested documents, e.g. family composition/dynamics; educational and social difficulties, etc.
- arrangements for an interview, on a more formal basis, are made with the referring Local Authority to further assess the suitability of the placement
- parents/carers and the student will meet with the Headteacher or nominated member of staff; will be accompanied around the school and have the opportunity to talk to staff and students in the classrooms and the residential areas
- parents/carers and the student are invited to lunch which is an integral part of life at Bowden House School and sharing a meal with staff and students can provide the opportunity for more informal discussion. Following lunch, the formal interview will take place with all parties and clarify any outstanding issues that may have arisen from the visit. Other areas for discussion will include:
- how students are kept safe and how they can contribute to their own safety (see Safeguarding and the Protection of Children Policy & the Student Handbook)
- the expectation of parents/carers acting as partners with the school
- how contact with home will be maintained during the week (see Student Handbook)
- transport arrangements to and from the school (see Student Handbook)
- the activities programme outside the school day
- the school’s Behaviour Code and Sanctions
- the school’s ‘Privilege System’
- the use of Positive Handling – restraint including reasonable force (see Positive Handling/Behaviour Management Policy)
- the actions following a student absconding (see Absconding Policy)
There is an expectation that a decision to attend Bowden House School should be carefully considered by all parties. The family/carers will be given the opportunity to discuss the offer of a place and then expected to contact the school via e-mail or telephone with their decision to accept the offer of a placement. When this request has been received, a final decision will be made by the Senior Leadership Team and the family/carers and any other parties informed.
Admission and beyond
- upon admission, every student will participate in a phased Induction Programme
- will be allocated an academic tutor and keyworker
- there will be on-going communication between the school and the student’s parents/carers to further strengthen the partnership
- an Initial Review is held at the school after six weeks following admission to assess and record progress/concerns and identify any additional support that might be required
- an initial assessment by the on-site Speech & Language Therapist and continued support, if required
- every two weeks a ‘Privilege Meeting’ is held to review academic and social progress and to reward the student for his efforts with Bronze, Silver or Gold status. Negative behaviour can result in the removal or demotion within the Privilege system
- an Annual Review is held at the school to review the student’s Statement of Special Educational Needs or EHC Plan to ensure that it accurately reflects the needs of the student and that the school is meeting its obligation to provide the necessary resources and support to contribute to a successful placement. It is also the opportunity to assess progress and/or discuss any concerns together with planning for the following year. Parents/carers are expected to attend this meeting
The school will provide:
- high quality education and care for students who have experienced instability within their family and educational life and who may have very low self-esteem with serious difficulties relating to adults and to other young people
- an initial assessment and on-going support from the school’s Speech & Language Therapist (in school 3 days each week)
- support from the on-site Clinical Psychologist for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) (in school 2 days each week) and/or regular support from the school’s visiting Therapeutic Counsellor (in school 3 days each week)
- individual/intensive support from the Literacy & Numeracy Consultant
- the services of the school’s Student & Family Co-ordinator who will provide on-going support to parents/carers and the students
- an academic and social programme able to meet the needs of each student as outlined in his Statement of Special Educational Needs or EHC Plan
Local Authorities outside the London Borough of Tower Hamlets will be required to enter into an Individual Placement Agreement and Contract with the school to comply with the SEN Reform Act.
Bowden House School recognises that a residential placement is a considerable commitment. Placing authorities/families and/or Social Workers are welcome to visit the school and discuss, on an informal basis, how this school meets the needs of students with social, emotional and mental health difficulties and how these needs are addressed within a stable, nurturing and stimulating environment.
Parents/carers who wish to request a placement at Bowden House School should contact their Local Authority who will advise them on the process for admission.
Parents/carers are welcome to visit the school prior to approaching their Local Authority for a placement.