The way we work
Every teacher comes to school every day to change the lives of the children in our care. We accomplish this through expert therapies, inspired teaching, and unswerving commitment to the intellectual and emotional development of the child.
Our aim is to meet each student’s unique developmental, behavioural, and emotional needs as well as help develop his or her cognitive abilities through the development of a firm foundation of skills.
We have a broad, balanced, and coherent curricula informed by our therapists.
The teachers and therapists work as an integrated team. Therapists work within the classrooms and conduct small group sessions of therapy for all the children, everyday.
There are 3 speech and language therapists, 3 occupational therapists, 1.5 play therapists assessing and team-planning for every student. In our planning and teaching, we take a developmental approach, going beyond basic academic skills and looking at the fundamental abilities on which are built thinking skills and problem solving.
Once each week, all staff and therapists who make up the Pastoral Teams, meet to discuss every student. These discussions are documented in 6 key focus areas; behavioural challenges, mental health, physical health, home life, academic progress, and communication skills.
Each of these areas is rag rated through input by all staff and any needed actions are determined. All documents are stored securely online which enables teaching staff to refer to information on individual children from the beginning of their enrolment.
These documents include, Pupil Profiles, Risk Assessments, Behaviour Profiles, IEPs, Annual Reports, Therapy Assessment Reports, Weekly Highlights, and EHCPs.
Our building and the furnishings are unexpected for a specialist school. We intentionally make the interior as home-like as possible to reassure those children who have failed in other academic settings, which is the case with most of our students.
Failure is experienced even in nursery school and the association with the classroom is not positive for those children who feel diminished by their academic, developmental and/or social challenges in the typical school environment. We feel the strategies for coping with sensory aversions, poor attention, poor interactions with peers, etc., should be developed in a non-clinical environment to enable the child to generalise these skills.
The students are divided into eight class groups, with classes based on seven children, and according to their needs not ages.
Behaviour, attention span, learning style, communication modality and needs, sensory profile, social interaction, academic, social emotional wellbeing and other SaLT and OT needs are considered when creating all class groups. These groups are taught based on an individual and child-centred approach, building a teaching plan based on the broad profile of the student. This best serves the complex child who cannot be taught using one age level curriculum.
In all unstructured periods of the school day, each child’s Therapy IEP highlights the key areas of need and the targets set by staff for that child during those periods. This is especially true for park time where all therapists and teachers and TAs accompany the students to the park to support play skills, communication skills, and motor skills.
Students are supported during lunch by the teaching and therapy team and challenges such as oral motor difficulties, fine motor skill difficulties with cutlery and self feeding, sensory issues, and behavioural needs are addressed.
Over the past two decades, Chelsea Hall School has served lunches and snacks, which are gluten, dairy and sugar free. All food is prepared in our own kitchen by a professional chef and assistant. We take food and nutrition very seriously and make certain children receive a varied, healthy diet every school day.
Thorough and accessible planning
The teachers and therapists work together to create an individual education plan (IEP) for each child which is reflected in all planning and tracking documentation, including mid-term planning, EHCPs, weekly rag rating, provision maps and progress tracking.
Wide ranging resources
Teachers are given a generous budget with which to replenish and update resources and these resources are used effectively in the subject sessions and shared with other teaching staff to ensure cross-curricular teaching.
Expertise in managing behaviour
Challenging behaviours are often the remnants of the trauma of a child’s failure in a mainstream setting. Many children have learned that disruptive behaviour will trigger removal from the classroom and this becomes their goal. Therefore we keep a child in the classroom, supported by staff who follow that student’s Positive Behaviour Plan as long as the other children’s learning is not impaired.
This requires a balance between inclusion and exclusion for the benefit of all. Our staff are highly trained and experienced in managing challenging behaviours. We create an atmosphere in which a student can experience success. This enables a child to develop a crucial attribute; self esteem.
Children are taught strategies to recognise and control their feelings and behaviour. The Pastoral Team writes a unique behavioural plan for each child ensuring consistency in responses to challenging behaviour.
The Use of Technology
Here at Chelsea Hall School we aim to use technology to enhance and enrich the experience of our children, encouraging them to interact with their learning.
Teachers, Therapists and Classes all have their own laptops to enable the creation of a wide range of teaching tools. Delivering learning through presentations, interactive games and individualised and differentiated work pieces.
From speakers to space lights we aim to enhance all aspects of our time at Chelsea Hall. Whether it be relaxing music with projected lights on the ceiling for a relaxation session or an energised, movement dance session, technology is there to ensure each student can access the school day to its fullest potential.
In the future we aim to have Interactive Whiteboards and students having their own devices and log-ins to enable and encourage independent learning, while integrating technology seamlessly with traditional methods of teaching and learning.
The nurturing atmosphere which enables children to have access to learning with less fear and to develop strategies to cope with their own learning difficulties and sensory challenges, is not merely a by-product of a group of carefully selected nice people. The culture has evolved over twenty five years of dedicated work by highly trained individuals guided by the best practices available.
The CHS Team
The culture at CHS is unique, developed over 25 years by extraordinary people. Teachers, therapists, classroom assistants, chefs, cleaners and office staff work together to provide the best environment in which the students can thrive. These individuals are selected through a rigorous hiring practise and given continual training. Expectations are high and can only be met by individuals who possess kindness, commitment, and respect for children.
Kindness can be learned, and it is a lesson taught best through modelling. At Chelsea Group we think of this curriculum of basic and necessary emotional skills as the foundation. It is fundamental to all other learning, particularly for the young child. Teachers enable the students to learn in a happy and secure environment through their kind and compassionate treatment. They help the students develop the ability to imagine what another person is experiencing. Kindness and compassion require, first awareness, then action, and is, indisputably, one of the most important qualities of any teacher and essential in special needs.
A teacher’s commitment to his or her students is the cornerstone of good practice. The stakes are high; the future happiness and success of a child. At Chelsea Group we hire individuals for whom teaching is a calling, not merely a job. If asked to imagine another profession, our staff would find it difficult to find meaning in any other endeavour.
The connection between student and teacher is one of the most meaningful and to be effective must be nurtured in an atmosphere of trust and respect. Being respectful is the most effective way to teach respectful behaviour. In the classroom, for teacher and student, respect can be, first, a performance, then, hopefully, an attitude. We perform in listening to another, being polite in exchanges and responses, and exercising control over any negative attitudes resulting from differences of opinions. Where Kindness or Compassion may falter, respect can mitigate hostilities and enable civilised relationships.