The aim of the Learning Support Department is to reduce the barriers to learning and to narrow the gap between identified students and their peers.
Many students, at some time in their school career require short-term or long-term support in order to make progress in line with their academic ability or to overcome barriers to learning.
The skills and expertise that exist within the department means that a wide range and variety of support and interventions can be employed in order to address these needs and difficulties.
School SENCO: Jenny Trueman
Outside Agency Support
External agencies may be requested to provide additional support for our students.
- Speech and Language Therapy
- The Educational Psychology Service
- Social Services
- Early Help & Preventative Services
For some students it may be necessary for the school to apply to the Joint Council for Qualifications in order to gain Access Arrangements (special arrangements) for external and controlled assessments using the strict criteria set down by the board. Access Arrangements exist to ensure that a student is not disadvantaged by their difficulties.
The Windmill is a Local Education Authority (Kent) Specialist Resource Provision. It is designed to meet the needs of secondary age students with autism. The Windmill opened within Meopham School in September 2001. The Local Education Authority has direct responsibility for this provision and chose Meopham School for its location because of its proven record of inclusive education.
Head of The Windmill and school LAC co-ordinator : Charlene Creaser
Students considered for The Windmill will have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and may also have one or more of the following:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Semantic Pragmatic Language Disorder
- Dyslexia (literacy)
- Dyscalculia (numeracy).
Admission to The Windmill is based on assessment of each individual student’s needs. In addition to a diagnosis of ASD, each student referred to The Windmill will be assessed by the Head of The Windmill to ensure that the student’s need can be met without detriment to the efficient education of other students attending The Windmill or Meopham School.
All students placed at The Windmill will have an Education, Health and Social Care Plan (previously known as a Statement of Special Educational Needs).
Referrals for placement at Meopham School with the support of their Specialist Resource Provision, The Windmill will arise from:
- Year 5 Annual Reviews, where a student’s need is deemed to match the criteria above
- Parental preference of placement
- Kent SEN Assessment & Placement Team, together with referrals from other Local Education Authorities.
When admission is confirmed by Kent SEN Assessment & Placement Team, the Head of The Windmill will liaise further with the primary or previous school prior to entry.
Prior to admission, students will be encouraged to visit The Windmill and school with parents and will be offered the opportunity of attending a transition programme.
The Windmill Provision
The Windmill primarily supports highly inclusive education in to a mainstream school setting.
The Windmill opens at 8:15am, twenty-five minutes before the school and students are encouraged to arrive and organise themselves for the day. A breakfast club is provided during this time, which offers students a hot, or cold drink and toast. The Windmill closes at 4.15pm, allowing time at the end of the day for completion of homework as required.
Lessons start in the school at 8.40am.
Inclusion into mainstream lessons is encouraged for all students. Most students access teaching via mainstream lessons. Support is provided in lessons by The Windmill staff where appropriate. Support may be gradually withdrawn from a student to help encourage independence whenever possible.
Some students may have a differentiated timetable reflecting his or her needs. If necessary, they will spend time in The Windmill following individualised programmes of study.
Where identified additional Literacy and Numeracy sessions may be provided within The Windmill.
A social skills programme is also offered.
A reward scheme operates where students are able to take part in additional activities/trips both in and out of school.
At KS3 students have the opportunity to take part in an ‘Outdoor Classroom’.
During KS4 students are given additional support and guidance to explore their opportunities Post-16.
There is usually a member of staff in The Windmill to respond to difficulties if they arise. School staff within the mainstream know how to access The Windmill staff.
At break and lunchtime, The Windmill is open. However, students can join their peers if they wish. Lunch will be taken in the main school with The Windmill staff supporting.
ICT facilities are available in The Windmill.
Contact with parents/carers
Parents/carers have a vital part to play in a student’s development, progress and well-being.
Parents/carers will be encouraged to work in partnership with The Windmill to ensure students make maximum use of all the resources available.
Contact with parents/carers will be made daily via a Pupil Contact Book. Each student is allocated a ‘Lead TA’ who is responsible for the majority of their daily support and provides the initial point of contact with home.
Parents/carers are able to telephone The Windmill at any time during the day to discuss their child’s progress.