We are an area special school catering for pupils aged 3-19 with a range of different needs including ASD, SLD and PMLD. All of our pupils have a learning disability and must have an EHCP in order to attend. How pupils are grouped varies as the children progress through the school. Granta is co-located with Linton Village College and although we do have some links with the college, attendance at Granta does not guarantee links with LVC.
Early Years and Key Stage 1 (3-7 years)
Our youngest pupils are predominantly grouped by their age. At this young age all pupils require a play based approach to their learning so their needs can be well met in the same class as their age related peers. This means the pupil needs vary within the class. It also provides an opportunity for us to really get to know the pupils and assess their learning needs once they are settled in the school environment. Pupils in these classes follow the Early Years curriculum, following a topic based approach to their learning through play, sensory activities and some structured learning tasks. They have regular access to a dedicated outdoor area.
Key stage 2 (7-11 years)
When pupils move to Key Stage 2 we start to group pupils in our access groups, based on individual communication needs and the way the pupils access their learning. KS2 pupils follow the same areas of the curriculum as would be seen in a mainstream school but the content is tailored to pupil needs. Pupils are predominantly taught by their main class teacher in their class room. Key stage 2 access a larger play space than their younger peers.
Key Stage 3 (11-14 years)
Our secondary pupils continue to attend the same school building as they did when in primary but in a different area of the school. To mark their transition to secondary the uniform changes from light blue to navy blue. Pupils have a bit more movement around the department so while most of their lessons will be with their tutor in their class base they may also access some sessions a week in a different room with a different teacher for some specialist subjects. KS3 pupils access the same outdoor play areas as they did in KS2 but at a different time to their younger peers.
Key Stage 4 (14-16 years)
When pupils enter KS4 the emphasis moves more towards actively preparing pupils for adulthood. While focus on the core subjects and skills remains when pupils join KS4 they also start to do more activities which prepare them for life outside Granta such as work experience. The same outdoor areas continue to be accessed. A small number of pupils may transition to other colleges at the end of KS4.
6th Form (16-19 years)
Many of our pupils opt to remain at Granta for their 6th form education. Our 6th form students have a separate area of the school site which is dedicated to their use to give them a sense of responsibility and maturity. In line with this pupils no longer wear a uniform. They have a common room where they can socialise and practice life skills as well as their own outdoor area which includes features such as benches and a wigwam the pupils have made themselves and garden areas where they grow produce. The focus in 6th form is all about preparing for life outside Granta so alongside the core subjects pupils will take part in work experience, enterprise and group projects which help them develop life skills.
From the year 2020-2021 some 6th Form pupils will be starting to access the Granta Hive additional site in Abington on a part time basis. This will supplement the work already being done on site and offer wider opportunities for pupils to develop life skills for example through outdoor learning and larger scale enterprise work.
From Key stage 2 upwards our pupils are placed in access groups and not year groups. While personality is of course taken into account the groups are largely built on pupils’ communication needs and how they access the curriculum. The structure of these groups is the same across each key stage.
One access group supports pupils who access their learning through sensory activities and repeated tasks. Their curriculum would include activities like sensory stories, messy play and lots of practical tasks. Pupils in this class benefit from a scripted approach to learning and lots of repetition. Pupils in this group are working on an early communication level.
Another group access their learning through a very structured and predictable learning environment and require lots of structure to help them access their learning. Lots of visual supports would be in place to support their learning and pupils in this group are usually emergent communicators using either speech, symbols or communication aides.
A third group of pupils follow a similar access their learning through a mixture of practical activities, independent working and may be introduced to some group working. Pupils in this group have an established communication system and work is based around making this more sophisticated and using their communication skills to negotiate social situations.
Our fourth group of pupils follow a similar curriculum structure to a mainstream school and would take part in practical activities, independent working and small group working. Pupils in this group are supported to develop and enhance their social interaction skills.
Pupils with complex medical health needs
We recognise that our pupils with complex health and mobility needs access their learning in a different way and to this end from KS2 upwards we group these pupils in a department with specifically trained TA’s and in some cases intervenors. Pupils in this group follow a sensory curriculum based around their physical and medical needs and have a 1:1 staffing ratio. Pupils are supported to interact with their age related peers through (as appropriate) accessing sessions in with their KS peers, joining in activity weeks, joining the groups for lunch time etc
Our aim is for all pupils to leave Granta with an accreditation which values the progress they have made during their time with us. The accreditation route will differ from pupil to pupil but may include things such as ASDAN Life Challenges, AQA Life and Living Skills, Duke of Edinburgh Award, Functional Skills, Jamie Oliver cooking accreditation or GCSE in some subjects The route each child takes will reflect their unique skills and talents.
We are lucky to have a dedicated forest school site adjoining school which we are able to access. Pupils are able to take part in nature explorer sessions in their classes or Forest School sessions with our qualified teacher.
We have a number of different specialist rooms which pupils may access during their time at Granta. The adventure room is our soft play area which is used predominantly by our younger pupils or older pupils with mobility difficulties. Pupils are encouraged to be physically active and share a social space with their peers.
We have 2 lightrooms in the school which are switch accessible and help pupils develop their understanding of cause and effect. These rooms are also used for pupils with visual impairments to help develop and optimise their visual skills.
Secondary pupils may start to access the science lab for their science lessons. This is a fully kitted out lab as would be found in a mainstream secondary and enables pupils to safely access investigations.
We also have a TEACCH base in school which can support pupils using elements of the TEACCH structure. Where appropriate pupils can access the room for individual work station sessions or small group sessions such as lego group or social skills group. The aim of the TEACCH room is to build independence skills and works on the basis that everyone can achieve something for themselves with the right structure in place.
At Granta we also have a hydrotherapy pool which can be accessed by pupils to support their physical development and teach early swimming skills. The pool is predominantly accessed by primary pupils or those older pupils with mobility difficulties.
Please note that the adventure room, lightroom and swimming pool are all currently out of action due to COVID and we do not know at this time when they will be back online.
Pupils eat lunch in the dinner hall in either the primary or secondary setting. We aim to be a nut free environment so ask that no nut based items are sent into school. Our school meals are cooked on site and a range of dietary requirements can be catered for including gluten free, casein free, halal, pureed or mashed meals. The lunch menus can be provided if pupils have limited diets and would only like a school dinner when certain meals are available. The kitchen can also provide taster plates with a very small amount of food on to try and encourage some of our more reluctant eaters to try different foods.
In primary pupils eat with their class groups, in secondary pupils may choose to sit with friendship groups. Lunch times are opportunities for us to develop pupil’s independence, self-help and social skills.
We view community visits as an opportunity to develop pupil’s independence, social and safety awareness skills. Many classes take part in regular walks into Linton or bus trips to Haverhill, Cambridge or the surrounding area. Some of our older pupils have the opportunity to take part in residential trips.
Many of our pupils require support from occupational therapy, physio therapy or speech and language therapy. We have support from all of these specialisms on a visiting basis. Therapy support may be in the form of providing equipment, training staff or sometimes 1:1 sessions. It is common for pupils who have speech therapy needs to be discharged from the service when they join a special school or for the role to become advisory due to the different nature of staff training and experience and the environmental supports in place in a special school.
All transport is arranged via the local authority so as a school we do not have any direct involvement with the arrangements. Many of our pupils to come to school on education transport, predominantly on group mini buses but in some cases in individual taxis.
Home School Communication
Communication between home and school is crucial to help us all work together to support your child. Each child has a home school diary which is used to share information between the settings. We also maintain regular contact through the form of emails and / or phone calls. We have 2 parents evening a year and an open afternoon as well as an annual review meeting where we can discuss your child’s progress in more depth.
We hope that has given you an insight into the school. Please do have a look on the website for more information about the school including some pictures and videos which will give you an insight into the building itself.