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Welcome to Birkett House ——

The decision you’re embarking on is a tough one. Your child needs specialist teaching skills, expert care and dedicated facilities to ensure they realise their true potential – to help him or her take the right steps forward. Not just now or at key educational stages but every step of the way as they prepare for adult life. At Birkett House our welcoming but focused learning environment has continually helped to make this decision easier for parents like you. Our motivation isn’t simply to care for your child. It’s to help him or her to enjoy each day of continual progress with communication skills, general education and personal development. But always to move forward at their own pace. You as a concerned parent remain the most important part of your child’s progression. That’s why you’re always welcome at any time of day and always embraced as a partner in our shared objective. We hope we can help you and your child with making many small steps and giant leaps forward.


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Challenge. Achieve. Celebrate. I am pleased, as Chair of Governors, to introduce our school. We have a dedicated and hardworking staff who provide a highly specialised curriculum that is designed to meet the special needs of each student. We provide full access to the subjects of the National Curriculum, as in any other school, teachers also concentrate on developing students’ communication, independence and social skills. All the school governors live locally and work closely with the staff to ensure that the school budget is used to provide the best possible education. Our younger students are based at the Wigston site and we also have links with several local schools, which give regular opportunities for inclusion in a mainstream setting. Most of our older students have their special educational needs met at Countesthorpe Community College where we have our own classrooms. Our students are included in many of the activities within the mainstream school. At the Wigston site, as well as a therapeutic swimming pool, a sensory room and a soft play room, there is residential provision where the educational day is extended for the continued development of independence and social skills under the guidance of a skilled residential team. Birkett House offers a caring and stimulating environment where each child can meet every new challenge… can achieve many new successes… and can celebrate every new step forward.

Rosemary Lowe, Chair of Governors

“The staff are genuinely committed to educating the individual, they get to know and understand the children so well that they respond almost instinctively towards them.”


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Really connecting

Communication is at the heart

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Time. It’s the most precious commodity to the development of every student. That’s why we work hard to give each individual in our care as much personal attention as possible. Always working to provide the right balance between time to connect with the people around you and room for growth – to assert their own individuality and talents.

The ability to communicate clearly is central to learning and life. It’s something we are passionate about. As a consequence, we strive to find ways for every student to be clearly understood. Just as vital, we ensure they understand the people around them. Whether it’s their friends, their teachers or you - their parents.

High staff ratios and smaller classes are key to gaining trust and building on it. As is our commitment to welcoming parents as much as possible to be a core part of the team. It’s all about making real connections – by getting closer.

We always embrace the most appropriate mix of communication systems and strategies depending on each individual’s needs. Makaton, Alternative and Augmented Communication (AAC) and Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) are just some of the tools used.


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Assessment for learning —— Josie has unique needs. So does Armin, Elliot and Paul. But as each develops, it will be at a pace that suits them. As this can be a challenge to predict, continual monitoring is essential. Every child is assessed and re-assessed. It happens on a daily basis in lessons and formally every eight weeks within a structured Individual Education Plan (IEP). Always working from the foundation provided by their Statement of Special Educational Needs, this continual process ensures specific learning objectives (from medium to longterm) are identified and worked towards.

Beyond Individual Education Plans —— We follow the National Curriculum. More tellingly, we follow the individual. We allow the student’s needs to shape their development path. Once their unique situation has been considered and understood – even as it continues to evolve - we can set clearly defined goals and work steadily towards them. Birkett House is an environment where the focus is on ensuring that everyone – without exception – develops to the best of their abilities. Ours is a real plan for focused learning.

“The staff are all wonderful. They are dedicated, caring and always work towards the best interests of our children.”


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Step-by-step inclusion

Parents always welcome —— Our door is always open to you. This means you can pop in whenever it suits you to help with your child’s development (so long as it also suits the needs of your child). It’s all part of our aim to work in partnership with you – to involve you as much as possible in our joint aim.

—— Day by day, we prepare students for a life after school. So, we look to help with their integration into the world outside. To this end, we have strong links with neighbouring mainstream schools and the wider community.

Appointments are only required if you seek a longer discussion with staff. Rest assured, there are plenty of formal assessments, daily dairies, open evenings and meetings so that you can see that the right progress is being made and be sure that your child is genuinely happy. What better way to assess their development than to be part of it.

Our children are regularly taught alongside students from Thythorn Fields Primary School, Thomas Estley Community College and Countesthorpe Community College (where our senior’s department is based). Regular visits to local shops and into the community build confidence and help with developing the kind of functional and practical skills that are the foundation for any kind of independent adult life.

Helping you to learn Actually, we go further. We invite you to join in workshops, training sessions and seminars that have one aim in mind - to equip you with skills to help your child. You’ll also find there are many out-of-school activities that contribute towards making this a very happy place to learn – and work. What’s more, as part of our community feel, we encourage you to join in with our thriving Parents Support Group and Friends of Birkett House. Due to welcoming children from a wide catchment area we place great value in bringing you and other parents together – to be part of the Birkett House family.

“I never have to go to parent’s evening as I have such close contact on a daily basis.”

“Taking the children out of the Our daily diary is a great way of helping you keep in touch with what’s happened throughout the day. It’s a simple way of keeping you in touch. And in control.

classroom really helps them learn and gives them such a buzz.”


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Our students believe in themselves —— Self belief is an essential building block. Without it, no-one will ever gain the kind of independence we hope all students can achieve as they grow into confident adults.

A smile says it all —— Smiles make our day. Naturally, the happier the individual, the more they respond to our teaching. It’s why our teams continually look to pick up any sign (however small) that a student is not as relaxed, content or stimulated as we feel they should be. Happiness and progress – two central pillars that we build upon to help your child develop.

“My child has been the happiest she has ever been at school and this has made her happier at home too.” retouch


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A special environment for everyone ——

“Staff support is always there even for those little things that may not mean much to us but mean so

Birkett House is indeed a place where special people flourish. Some are children. Some are the committed teachers and carers who bring the daily passion, patience and know-how that enables your child to progress. It’s a community where the students and those supporting them are given every opportunity to reach new heights.

much to our children.”

Thinking differently helps. Which is why we have textures for every day of the week. Monday is ‘sandpaper’ day.


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Four focused departments —— We’re organised into four departments that meet the needs of around 140 students. The Primary and Middle departments are located at Birkett House in Wigston with most of our senior students based at Countesthorpe Community College (about 4 miles south-west of Birkett House). Students usually move there when they are 14 years old. We also have a Residential Department where we can further help young people to build independence and develop the skills needed for a life after school. Giving our team the best resources At our main Wigston location, students benefit from many special facilities that help teachers to bring out true potential. So, in addition to many of the usual features you’d expect of a modern and progressive school - such as three playgrounds and a well equipped library - Birkett House has very specific resources on site.

• Individual teaching room for occasional quiet one-to-one attention • A specialist teaching room for students with autism • A 8m by 5m therapeutic swimming pool • A therapy room where nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists can deliver quality care • A multi-purpose hall for sports and activities • Our Residential Department includes bedrooms, common rooms and an independent living flat • A sensory room and a soft play room • A sensory garden • Our own buses with tail lifts At each of our mainstream inclusion sites, Thythorn Fields Primary, Thomas Estley Community College and Countesthorpe Community College, students have access to designated base rooms and purpose built toilet facilities and changing rooms. They also benefit from use of each school’s wider facilities too, such as science labs, resistant materials workshops and computer suites.

“My daughter loves residence. It is a chance for her to be with her friends and do activities she would find difficult to do at home.” to do at home.”


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General good health —— We never forget that many of our students have very specific medical needs. The right expertise and facilities are on-hand to ensure you have genuine peace of mind each and every day. Working closely with the teaching staff and also with parents, our extensive team contributes to a safe, happy and healthy learning environment. School Nurse – The School Nurse has a central role in any special school. The nurse is able to oversee and administer the broad spectrum of medication that your child may need to take during the school day. Importantly, having a nurse on site allows the administration of emergency medication, such as anti-convulsants, to be done as safely as possible. The nurse also provides a vital link between parents and the school and is available to train other staff on health issues. Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists – Employed by the Primary Care Trust, these professionals are regular visitors, supporting your child both at home and in the school setting. Their primary focus is adaptations and equipment as well as supporting the school with physiotherapy and motor skills programmes. Educational Psychologists - Working on a referral basis these specialists are on hand to support your child with particular behaviours and educational support packages.

Speech Therapist – The Speech Therapist is another employee of the Primary Care Trust but with a focus on the language and communication development of your child. The therapist is able to work either directly with the students or in consultation with the teacher on specific language programmes. They can also offer both help and advice on eating and drinking skills. Generic Therapy Assistant – The Therapy Assistant bridges the gap between school and the qualified therapist who may not be on site every day. The Therapy Assistant is able to carry out programmes under the direction of the Physiotherapist but importantly is able to quickly contact other professionals on your behalf. Specialist Teaching Service – Depending on your child’s needs and Statement of Special Education a range of other professionals may be in school to support you and your child. Specialist teachers from autism outreach, hearing impaired or visually impaired teams are established partners of the school.

The curriculum —— As far as possible (and if appropriate to your child) we work to the National Curriculum. Yet the programme of work is always carefully tailored to the individual according to his or her needs, aptitudes, interests and previous achievements. The education offered is always broad and balanced. All students follow a subject-based timetable. Many will have very individual programmes that take into account the need to work with therapists and other supporting professionals. As with any school, we work towards set objectives. For example, all students within our senior department aim to gain qualifications that have national relevance. Many externally accredited courses are also available throughout the school.


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Ready for the wider world —— This is a learning culture that goes beyond normal education. We aim to prepare students for as many aspects of life as possible. Always working to help them gain the highest achievable level of independence. This involves taking the curriculum into the community, by helping children to visit shops and participate in local groups and activities. At the same time we also work with each student to build foundation skills such as eating and looking after themselves. Then, from everyday issues and challenges we move on. For their life beyond school, every student gains some form of relevant accreditation. Plus, wherever possible, we prepare them for the world of work where they can make their own positive contribution to society. It’s never easy but step-by-step, we can achieve remarkable things.

“No-one knows your child like you do. That’s why it’s so important to work with you – a real partnership – so we can best prepare every child for the world outside school.” Headteacher

Making our own steps forward —— This is a school that’s committed to improvement. As such, we are always looking at ways to enhance the expertise, facilities and care we provide. We wholeheartedly believe that where the development of students with such specific needs is concerned, training is an absolute must. That’s why our teams regularly benefit from expert training and support to ensure their skills are up to the highest standards. What’s more, we are always looking at fresh ideas and better resources to improve Birkett House for everyone.


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See the smiles in person —— You will no doubt have many questions. Rest assured, we want to answer them all. We’d also love to show you our school and the students we’re proud to teach. So if you would like to join us for a chat or a visit, please contact us on 0116 288 5802. See for yourself how we help children make small steps and giant leaps forward each and every day.

Birkett House School Launceston Road, Wigston, Leicester LE18 2FZ —— Telephone: 0116 288 5802 Fax: 0116 257 1932 All the quotes in this prospectus were kindly provided by parents of our students, as part of a school consultation exercise.

—— Web: www.birketthouse.leics.sch.uk email: office@birketthouse.leics.sch.uk

Birkett House School Prospectus  

Our prospectus