Admissions

Elmwood & Penrose Federation is a partnership of 2 special schools in Bridgwater, and includes a separate Post 16 centre which is called The Jean Rees Centre. Students can enter the Federation at any age.

Students at the Federation all have either Statements of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or Education Health Care Plans (EHCP’s). These are assessment documents that guide the education system in how best to meet the needs of the individual child/young person. There is a booklet attached which explains in greater detail what an EHCP does and the process for attaining one if you have concerns about your child’s ability to be successful in a mainstream school.

Before an EHCP is considered, there are a number of steps which will have been put in place by your child’s school or nursery in consultation with you, or by health visitors contacting Get Set in Somerset to start to understand the child/young person’s needs.

There are a number of steps that schools and nurseries can put in place to support your child and it should be noted that remaining in mainstream is beneficial for the vast majority of children. However for a very small percentage of school aged children (approximately 2%) the experience of the school’s organisation, curriculum and the size of mainstream school classes does not support their learning and development, and they are unable to thrive in this environment.

The agreement to consider a special school placement should be part of this process, and involve, family, child where possible, health and education professionals.

For children and young people who are in the process of attaining an EHCP the county council allocate a Casework Officer. It is often the casework officer who makes the approach to the school by preparing documents and information on which the school can make their decision about offering a place.

The process for the school is outlined below:

What happens if we are over- subscribed:

  • Somerset County Council commission places within each of our schools. This figure can change each year, but remains within an agreed margin.
  • For 2016-17 Penrose has 38 agreed places, Elmwood and The Jean Rees Centre have 80 agreed places, giving us a school population of 128.
  • If we have already achieved the agreed place number and other children/young people are looking for places, we are able to agree places in negotiation with the county council – casework panel. The strongest reason to cap numbers within our schools would be the ability to keep every child safe, given the constraints of the buildings or the make-up of the group of students. Obviously the main benefit of being in a special school is specialist support and intervention, reduced class size and increased access to teachers and specialist teaching assistants. If this is compromised then we may defer accepting your child until a time when other children leave and we have capacity to agree the place. For example: we may be asked to consider your child for a place in May but have no places available until September. In this case we may agree to put support into the current school until a place is available within the Federation.
  • We assess every request based on:
  1. Whether your child would have a friendship group at school – are there other children who are learning in the same way?

  2. Whether your child will be safe within our schools,

  3. Whether your child is developing typically in terms of academic attainment

  4. Sometimes it may be that your child could remain in their local school with their friends but receive support from our Outreach Team

  • We are able to offer a full day within our school without an EHCP, which may support assessment, and may also help find a structure which might make it possible for your child to begin to thrive in their present school.

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