Selly Oak Trust School

Selly Oak Trust School

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Parents FAQs

Why a special school?

When choosing any school, it needs to be right foryour child. Some children with special needs succeed in mainstream schools; many others need the protection and the support that only a special school environment can give. Wherever a child with special needs is placed, it is vital that he or she thrives, flourishes and succeeds personally and academically.

Why this special school?

If you have decided that a school for children with moderate learning difficulties (MLD) is the right provision for your child, you need to decide what you want from the school that you choose.

Selly Oak Trust School:

  • Offers a wide range of achievement opportunities up to and including GCSE grades A to C
  • Has a strong and effective pastoral system
  • Has a strong rewards and sanctions policy
  • Has a zero tolerance policy towards bullying
  • Has a zero tolerance policy towards lesson disruption
  • Has an expanding and flourishing Sixth Form, including students who have transferred from mainstream schools after Year 11
  • Has Specialist Science College status, which consolidates and takes forward excellent attainment particularly in Science and Maths
  • Selly Oak Trust School is the first special school to achieve Trust Status as a single Trust. With the support of its ethical, community based partner, Midlands Co-operative Society, the school intends to extend the support - curricular, social and post-school - for its students.

Is a Statement of Educational Need or EHCP important?

A Statement is absolutely vital for a child with special needs as it gives them the legal protection that other arrangements do not. This applies wherever they are educated. Without a Statement or EHCP, your child cannot have a place in a special school even if it is the best possible place to meet his or her needs.  A Statement tells everyone who needs to know:

  • what your child needs
  • what must be provided to meet those needs. 
  • who is responsible for ensuring your child’s needs are met
  • where those needs should be met

In addition, there is a legal requirement to review a Statement or EHCP every year and more often if necessary.  This gives everyone working for your child the opportunity and the responsibility to make sure your child's needs are being met and that they are happy and successful.

How do I get a place for my child in a special school?

Firstly, your child must have a Statement of Need or EHCP to take up a place in a special school.  If your child doesn't have a Statement or EHCP but you think a Statement is necessary, this is the first step.

Birmingham's Special Educational Needs Assessment and Rewiew (SENAR) coordinates the process of obtaining a Statement for your child.

How do I get a place for my child in Selly Oak Trust School?

The school caters for students with a wide range of complex, but not severe learning difficulties.

First, please visit the school to make sure it is right for your child and that it can meet your child’s needs.

If you were not advised to visit the school by the Birmingham Special Educational Needs Assessment and Rewiew (SENAR), you will need to contact them on 0121 303 3525 and tell them that you would like your child to attend Selly Oak Trust School.

If you have difficulty getting a place at Selly Oak Trust School, please contact:

Parent Partnership                                                                    0121 303 5004

Selly Oak Trust School (David Meredith, SENCo)                     0121 472 0876

Do students do GCSEs here?

Yes. A majority of students achieve GCSE grades A to G and some achieve grades A to C, or its equivalent.  Some students have achieved ‘A’ and an 'A*' grades at GCSE.

There are many other examinations available to students giving each the opportunity to demonstrate attainment at a level appropriate to them.

Are students allowed off the site at break and lunch times?

Not if they are in Years 7, 8, 9, 10 or 11.  Sixth Form students are allowed off site at lunch time if staff, parents and the student concerned agree that it is safe for the student to do this.

Are students supervised at break and lunch time?

Yes. Levels of supervision are high. Teachers and support staff are on duty and available inside and outside the building at both break and lunch time each day. At lunchtime, they are joined by lunchtime supervisors.  All designated duty staff wear high visibility jackets whilst on duty to ensure that students can locate them if necessary. Students are also supervised before and after school.

Does my child need a Statement or EHCP to come here?

Yes. Only students with Statements can take up a place at the school.

Is the school always this clean?

Yes. The school employs a firm to keep the school looking its best at all times. We were recently awarded with the 'Loo of the Year' award!

Is there someone my child can talk to if he has a problem?

Yes. Any member of staff will be happy to listen to your child and deal with any straightforward difficulties.  Anything of a more significant nature is passed to a member of the Pastoral Team who will address and resolve the issue, with the assistance of outside agencies, if necessary.  Parents will notified of anything significant, as appropriate.

Do you have detentions?

Yes. After school detentions provide a relatively immediate sanction for breaches of the school’s behaviour policy. Parents are informed and, if the student is not an independent traveller, we expect parents to collect

their child.

What happens if someone disrupts the lesson?

A member of the Pastoral Team, which includes the Senior Management Team, will be called to the lesson to work with the student who is causing the disruption.  Sometimes, the student can be successfully returned to the lesson after a quiet word.  Where this is not possible, the student will work with the Head of Department. Severe disruption of lessons is taken seriously and, if the student is unable to work within the class, then they will be taken to the Student Support Room.

How often do you review Statements or EHCP's?

Statements are reviewed annually.  Statements are reviewed more frequently if necessary. If the student is a Looked After Child (LAC) then the annual review of Statement will happen at the same time as the statutory LAC review.

My child’s Statement or EHCP is out of date, what can be done about it?

A Statement is a legal document.  It must always be a proper reflection of your child’s needs, what should be done to meet those needs and where your child should attend school.  If it is out of date, a Review of Statement should be arranged and everyone who is involved with your child’s education and care should be invited to contribute.  In this way, the Local Authority will have a clear view of the changes that need to be made to your child’s Statement to make it accurate.

Do you have a Sixth Form?

Yes. Students who have a Statement of Educational Need are entitled to education until they are 19 years old.

In the Sixth Form, students have lessons in English, Maths, ICT and Personal and Social Development and also have opportunities of college placements and off site work experience with training providers.

Social development is a large element of the work of the Sixth Form and includes annual events such as a summer ball, a Christmas dinner and residential experiences.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme also plays a large part in the extra-curricular life of the Sixth Form.

A number of students have transferred from mainstream schools to Selly Oak Trust School after Year 11.  Some have spent a full 3 years in the Sixth Form.

How many students are in a class?

It varies. Usually classes have between 10 and 16 students in them, according to need. Because students are set for English, Mathematics and Science from Years 7 to 11, there is some flexibility of numbers and, therefore, some sets may be bigger than others. Sometimes option groups, like Drama, have more than twenty because it is a popular option and large numbers of students wish to study Drama at examination level.

How many adults are in a class?

Usually two to every class.  Practical subjects often have a greater need for support, depending on the activity. Sometimes there are more adults, including school staff, students on placements and volunteers. The school has close links with many sporting organisations and coaches come to Selly Oak Trust School to share their expertise with the students.

Are classes streamed?

Yes. The more focussed teaching can be, the more effective it is. As students can have areas of educational need, so also they can have areas of strength.  In order to allow students to work at the level that suits them in differing subjects, classes are set for English, Mathematics and Science. Levels of student need vary widely and care is taken to match the pace and style of delivery to those needs.

What are the school times?

School starts at 8.40 am.

School ends at 3.10 pm.

Will my child have careers advice?

Yes.  Employability skills such as attendance, punctuality, reliability, and an awareness of health and safety are taught from Year 7.  Careers advice is given from Year 7 and dedicated careers lessons throughout Key Stages.  From the Annual Review in Year 9, with the direct support of the Connexions Service, Transition Plans are written which outline the kind of support that individual students will need beyond school.  These Plans are reviewed and extended annually.  Before students leave the school, appropriate destinations are identified.