BREAKING NEWS: Ofsted Inspection

We were recently inspected by Her Majesty’s Inspector for Schools (Ofsted)
The outcomes and findings of the inspector can be found here

Horizons Academy offers on site education and support to pupils who are covered by the statutory guidance (December 2015) relating to the Supporting Pupils with Medical Needs in Schools. The department provides education for pupils who are unable to or struggling to attend their mainstream school for either physical or mental health reasons where absence is supported by either CAMHS or a medical consultant.  The department is NOT a specialist provision or an alternative curriculum offer, neither does it specialise in ASD or provides a long term placement for pupils with EHC Plans where behaviour is not the presenting difficulty. 

The aim and purpose of the service offered is to provide an educational service to support children and young people through challenging periods where attendance at mainstream school may not be possible for a short period of time due to health conditions.  From the outset, the plan is always to support the pupil back into their home school and improve their coping strategies as well as to work with schools on making appropriate adaptations to meet their pupils’ needs. 

New Horizons Federation provide a service to the Local Authority to provide support and short term education for pupils and their schools where the pupil has not attended school for 15 consecutive days due to illness or the school requires support in delivering full time education and enters a collaborative arrangement with the PRU.  All arrangements are subject to (a) a letter from a consultant (CAMHS / GP), (b) a professionals meeting to determine how the best needs of the child will be met to support them back into school and (c) discussion with the home school in relation to their own policy, “Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions” (December 2015).

The focus is always on supporting the pupil and ensuring that there are plans in place to address presenting issues as a multi-agency solution and work towards full time reintegration into mainstream school.  Where a medical professional indicates that the pupil is “unsuitable for mainstream education”, serious consideration must be given to statutory assessment in order that the pupil is able to access educational provision which most appropriately meets their needs.  Placement in the long term within the PRU is NOT a suitable alternative and will not be offered.  The key to meeting the pupil’s specific needs is collaborative working with the home school taking the lead as outlined in “Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions” (December 2015) and other involved agencies being part of the overall plan throughout.  It is therefore expected that healthcare professionals are active participants in this process and work with education in seeking appropriate solutions which meet government statutory guidance.  It will not be sufficient for any pupil to simply be left in the PRU or no plan to be in place to allow the pupil to make progress in the widest sense.

WHAT SERVICE IS OFFERED:

The Medical Needs Department offers off site support through virtual learning and mentoring in the home for pupils with physical illnesses which prevent them temporarily attending their home school.  This would be delivered through agreement with the home school and promote attendance in the home school on a part time basis where physically possible.  The delivery of the National Curriculum is through the on-line platform, EdLounge, which may also be coupled with the school’s own learning platform and 1:1 teaching for a maximum of one hour per day (shared delivery by home school and PRU).  Attendance will be monitored by Horizons and communicated to the home school on whose roll the pupil remains.  Attendance on site is for four days per week with Fridays being used as a “keeping in touch” day where pupils have engagement with their home school to prevent a breakdown in relationships or lack of confidence post-off site placement.

Where a pupil is a non-attender, all intervention work will be in situ with the support and engagement by the mainstream school of their EWO until the point where engagement and willingness to attend is secured.  This means that pupils with school phobia must be open to EWO prior to referral and all meetings will involve the home school and EWO in ensuring that there are clear messages in relation to attendance as the PRU, like any school, has an expectation of above 90% attendance.   Pupils will be expected to attend for 4 consecutive days before being dual roll with the mainstream school to demonstrate that there is a willingness to engage in on-site education through Horizons Academy.  If the pupil fails to attend for these days, during the continued engagement process the pupil will be supported through EdLounge and attendance monitored and communicated to the mainstream school for their records.

Where the home school and / or CAMHS advocate that the pupil requires an EHC application to be considered, this must be initiated by the mainstream school at the point of referral and follow up on this is the responsibility of the home school.  Horizons Academy will work with the home school in supporting this process.

Home schools must complete the referral form fully, liaise with parents / carers on their decision to refer and the outcomes of the Referral Meeting, attend any pre-admission meeting, work with parents / carers to ensure any pre-attendance assessments are completed, attend review meetings at weeks 5/6 and all subsequent meetings in the case on in situ or Stage 3 placements.  Where a pupil remains beyond Week 6, the home school must ensure that there is weekly communication related to the curriculum and work set to ensure the pupil does not fall behind and visits must be arranged to keep the pupil feeling safe and secure as part of their home school community.

Pupils remain main roll with the home school throughout any off site placement.  Pupils are only registered as Dual Roll following the completion of any baseline assessments once they have begun attending Horizons Academy.  Mainstream schools should complete registers which fully mirror those of the PRU and MUST NOT be recorded as “D” whilst educated for a period off site.  This allows any EWO processes to be followed appropriately.

There must be absolute clarity from all agencies around what outcomes are being sought through any further requested interventions or extensions to programmes.  It is essential that all agencies are clear that the purpose of placement / intervention is key and that the Medical Needs Department is not available as a “holding bay”.  Avoiding non-attendance processes or using the school as an alternative to undertaking EHC applications will not be considered.  A key to success is the full engagement of all professionals in this process and the avoidance of statutory duties will be a barrier to pupils accessing 25 hours of education and appropriate onward steps.

REFERRAL ROUTES:

Referrals must be made by the home school (all pupils must be on the roll of a mainstream school) direct to Horizons Academy for discussion at the next Referrals Meeting which takes place fortnightly on alternate Mondays.  This meeting is for consideration of all referrals whether for in school intervention, the Refocus Programme, primary or secondary, Medical Needs and potential long term Key Stage 4 places. 

Where a pupil has been off rolled by their home school, it is essential that the pupil is immediately put back on roll.  No pupil should be removed from a school roll for medical reasons.  If the pupil is new to the area, the same admissions arrangements remain and the pupil must be placed on a school roll as part of the reintegration process.

EXPECTATIONS FOR ATTENDANCE:

Horizons Academy is a school and closely mirrors the expectations of a mainstream school environment with a statutory duty to provide 25 hours of education / engagement for all pupils in conjunction with their mainstream school.  The expectations are there to support reintegration and to ensure that all parties are clear that we are a school and not an alternative informal educational setting. 

It is therefore expected that:

  • Pupils arrive on time every day and have attendance above 90%.
  • Pupils are only absent when unwell or for medical appointments which cannot be rearranged.
  • Pupils wear the full school uniform including shoes of their home school.
  • Mobile phones and other electronic gadgets are handed in on entry to the school.
  • Pupils may bring in a snack and drink for the morning break.
  • All absences must be reported by phone before the start of the school day.
  • Pupils must complete work on EdLounge every day if part of the plan and this will contribute to attendance marks.

CURRICULUM:

The curriculum offered in relation to on site / virtual education is focused on:

  • English
  • Maths
  • ICT
  • Science
  • PSHE
  • RE
  • Art
  • Home school provided work as appropriate.

Any other work required to be completed by the mainstream school can be supported by arrangement through EdLounge and bespoke support in conjunction with the home school.