What is ISP?
ISP was originally founded in 1987 by a small group of foster carers in Kent who were working with difficult-to-place young people. They recognised the need for an integrated programme of care and specialist services, including education, for young people.
As part of the wrap-around support package, the ISP school was opened to provide high-quality education for children and young people with special educational needs. We take a holistic view of each pupil, offering individual care and a complete range of support that’s constantly evolving with pupil’s needs.
What is the remit of ISP school and where do you draw your pupils from?
We are an Independent Specialist Provision, serving children in Kent or Medway who live with either their families, foster carers or in residential children’s homes. Whilst all our pupils are in receipt of an Education and Health Care Plans (EHCP), we are able to support a child and their family undergoing assessment of educational needs.
How is the school structured?
Our School, based in Teynham, is one Community teaching up to 42 pupils from age 7-16 years primarily, however we do offer limited education in KS 5 in some circumstances. We have small bespoke groupings of 7 pupils plus a class teacher/tutor and at least one Progress Engagement Guide (PEG) per group across our spacious rural site, with appropriate boundaries in place to safeguard all pupils.
What is the school’s ethos?
We offer a safe and nurturing environment which enables pupils to achieve their potential. Our empathetic staff work closely with pupils to build trusting relationships which form the basis of everything we do. We acknowledge the uniqueness of each person and we identify individual strengths and needs, then differentiate the curriculum accordingly
We help our pupils develop their emotional resilience to cope with successes and disappointments. We also encourage them to become independent learners.
What can the school offer?
We aim to support children to achieve positive outcomes in relation to their ability. We teach a broad curriculum leading to external accreditation at GCSE level, where applicable. We enhance our curriculum with vocational qualifications such as functional skills in English and Maths, Entry Level Science, and AQA awards in Land-based studies and Food Technology. In addition to these enterprise-driven qualifications, Entry Level Employability Skills and City and Guilds Food and Hygiene awards are offered.
We work in a supportive environment that enables pupils to express themselves appropriately through the acquisition of key social communication skills. We expect pupils to develop an awareness of and consideration of others. This is developed in peer cooperation, a nurture group ethos and respect for the views of their friends. Pupils are regularly elected to the School Council to help shape school planning and ideas.
Supporting your child
How will the school prepare and support my child to join the school?
We know that each child has individual qualities and skills gaps that may not have been recognised, our aim is to develop pupils’ skills and help them achieve positive outcomes. Before offering a place at the school we will hold an initial network meeting, this meeting is an opportunity to discuss strengths and skills gaps. We will also agree on an appropriate transition into the school. This transition will consider your preferences, how long a young person has been out of education, their SEN and any emotional barriers to learning that has contributed negatively to their educational attainment and experience to date.
All transitions into school are based on a therapeutic, child-led induction based on relationship building. Pupils are given an individual timetable which is reviewed weekly until they are fully engaged in school. The process of transitioning a new pupil into school usually takes a few weeks but can take longer depending on the needs and experiences of the young person. Additionally, we aim to match our pupils with peers with the same or similar interests and encourage peer mentoring where appropriate.
How will my child be supported?
A comprehensive assessment process is central to our work to ensure that appropriate targets and interventions are in place. We baseline academic, communication and emotional skills.
We will identify needs, set targets that will challenge and extend their knowledge and teach the necessary skills. We will also identify and implement appropriate strategies to help them achieve these targets.
Our highly experienced Pupil Engagement Guides (PEGs) offer support, guidance and assistance across the school day including in class and break times. They also encourage independent learning and empower young people.
We will spend time getting to know your young person. Pupils will be allocated a mentor who will get to know them, and support their learning. PEG mentoring sessions offer an opportunity to review targets that have been set and discuss any issues and their progress.
How can I be involved in my young person’s education?
We aim to foster positive relationships with our parents and carers. We recognise that this relationship and collaborative working is crucial for achieving the best outcomes for our pupils. Along with Statutory meetings for looked after children, such as Personal Education Planning, Child in Care Reviews and EHCP reviews, we also invite parents and carers in for informal meetings where honest and open dialogue ensures that the young person feels supported and encouraged by all the professionals and adults working around them.
We welcome parents and carers as active participants in their child’s education and meet half termly to share positives, concerns and discuss future plans. We provide regular feedback to parents and carers including end of term reports. We will let you know how your young person is progressing through positive phone calls home and if we do have any concerns, we will share these with you. You are very welcome to contact us at any time if you have any concerns, anything you feel we should know or positives to share.
We ask that you contact the school if you feel there is anything we need to know.
How will you keep my safe?
ISP School has a high staff to pupil ratio which is reviewed regularly depending on the needs of the children. We have a dedicated SEN team and several Designated Safeguarding Leads.
All our staff are fully DBS checked and are trained in Safeguarding policy and procedure.
We listen to the young people who attend our school and recognise that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.
How will you manage my young person’s challenging behaviour?
We aim to develop positive relationships with pupils to help them express their feelings and manage their emotions in appropriate ways. We will work hard to understand what skills gaps your young person has and teach them skills to behave well. PEGs as mentors can also help pupils as necessary throughout their day. We use Class Dojo, an online behaviour management system intended to foster positive pupil behaviours and classroom culture.
Teachers build a positive classroom culture by encouraging pupils and communicating with parents. Parents and carers can see issues and positive behaviour and achievement points on a daily basis and use these to link with the school. All staff are trained in Protecting Rights in a Caring Environment (PRICE) which gives us an insight into why difficult behaviour occurs and how to approach them.
How will I know that the school continues to be the most appropriate provision for my young person?
The Annual EHCP review will ensure that your young person continues to attend the most appropriate provision. Should your child’s needs change between reviews, the school, carer/ parent may request an early review to discuss whether the school remains the most appropriate provision. This may then inform a managed transfer to an alternative specialist provision or in some cases a return to mainstream education.
How qualified are your staff?
Our Qualified Teachers and Progress Engagement Guides make up the core of the team for the school, alongside this we have an inspirational Head Teacher with over 20 years in SEN, a Deputy Head who, as a foster carer himself, has years of experience working with challenging young people in a school setting and our strong leadership team includes Qualified Teachers, our soon to be qualified SENCo, the Director of Education and our Speech and Language Therapist.
The on-site Speech and Language Department consists of one consultant, who has an MPhil in communication and behavioural difficulties, has researched and published in this area and is a trained Video Interaction Guider and Supervisor. She is HCPC registered and a member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Working with her are two assistants who have considerable training in SLCN and SEMH.
The Director of Education for the Group, who has 30 years’ experience in education, 20 of those with vulnerable children with complex needs, takes an active role in overseeing the whole provision
Our Governing Body is both robust and active in keeping the school moving forward, there has been considerable investment in the last 12 months that has resulted in the school getting a ‘Good’ rating from Ofsted and having a very healthy referral demand.
Monitoring and Quality Control
- Health and Safety audits termly
- Single Central Record audits termly
- Governing body
- Senior leadership meetings
- Staff meetings
- Regular training and updates