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Aran Hall School provides flexible 30 to 52 week residential care with education to children and young people with a range of learning disabilities and autistic spectrum disorders, both with associated severe challenging behaviour.
We have also developed a programme for young people who present sexually harmful behaviour (SHB). The programme aims to reduce SHB via a reward programme for appropriate behaviour, sex education, counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy.
Our focus is to provide a safe, stable and nurturing environment where young people?s skills and aspirations can be encouraged to develop and they can prepare for adulthood. By providing care and education on the same site we ensure that children?s individual programmes are delivered consistently.
We develop education, care and behavioural management programmes for each student. These programmes are evidence based which enable us to demonstrate students achievements. We are leader in conducting and publishing clinical research that evaluates the effectiveness of t he innovative programmes we run.
How is a decision made about the type and level of support my child will receive?
This is determined through the requirements in your child?s Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education, Health and Care Plan and other information gained during the referral and the assessment process. After we have assessed your child we send our assessment report to the Local Authority. The Local Authority and other agencies then review the report and agree whether or not to fund your child?s placement at the school.
Each student has their own education, care and behavioural management programme developed for them based on the thorough and ongoing assessment of their individual needs. How will staff support my child?
All young people have appropriate risks assessments detailing how they should be supported and their behaviour managed. All of our approaches are underpinned by a respect for the young person and are as un-intrusive as possible.
We have a highly individualised approach providing education and care on the same site in small house and class groups.
This means we can ensure students are supported consistently throughout the day. Prior to a young person starting at the school key staff will go and visit them and take them a student guide in a format that fits with their communication choice. The guide include lots of information and photographs of the environment.
Our focus is provide a stable, safe and nurturing environment where a young person?s skills and aspirations can be encouraged and supported to develop. Through this and our evidence based behaviour management programmes we aim to reduce the frequency and intensity of any challenging behaviour. Our programmes are based upon the fact that each young person?s challenging behaviours are learnt and serve a function to them. We aim to teach more appropriate ways of serving that function.
All staff are trained in the needs of the young people. In addition to this each student has a Key Worker, a staff member who looks is specifically responsible for your child. They will ensure effective contact is maintained with you and any professional linked to your child.
How will the curriculum be matched to my child?s needs and how do you track my child?s progress?
The primary aim of education is to provide each young person with a broad and balanced curriculum that is relevant to their individual needs.
We use ASDAN as the main focus of curriculum delivery.
From their Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education, Health and Care plan each student receives an individualised education plan which is developed in consultation with parents, carers and professionals. This is reviewed once a term with a full education review once a year.
To enable students to access their education we have developed a strong behavioural management programme using the expertise of our Consultant Psychologist.
This allows staff to develop risk assessment and behaviour management plan in order to reduce the frequency and the severity of students challenging behaviour. These plans are frequently reviewed.
How will my child be included in activities outside of the classroom?
Teaching is divided into formal classroom settings and community based activities, including shopping for food and leisure activities.
The school is set within three and a half acres of grounds in Snowdonia National Park. Students benefit from large open spaces, both grassed and hard surface play areas.
With support and appropriate risk assessments students make use of local facilities in nearby Dolgellau and Bala which include a cinema, library and shops. Students also attend a local youth club, horse riding at the local Riding for the Disabled Centre, canoeing and hill walking and play in local football and rugby teams.
Older students who attend college are discreetly supported to socialise with their fellow students at social events and take part in college field trips.
What specialist services, training and expertise are available?
We have an interdisciplinary team consisting of highly skilled and experienced of Teachers, classroom support staff and care staff. We have high level of staffing both in the classroom and in the homes so students feel supported at all times of the day and night. All of our staff receive induction, ongoing training and regular supervision. To ensure that staff have the necessary qualification they are supported to achieve the Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care (Children and Young People) within three years of taking up their post. All care staff are registered with the Care Council Wales, as required by the Regulations in Wales.
We have a number of experts who support our students and staff: Consultant Clinical Psychologist Professor F.C. Mace who visits the school throughout the year and provides a 24 hour on call service. His main role is carry out the functional behaviour assessments and develops behaviour management plans for students as well as advising staff on how to support students through their plans.
Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist visits the school once a month and provides a 24 hour on call service. He ensures all the mental health needs of our students and that all prescriptions are reviewed regularly.
Consultant Chartered Educational Psychologist visits the school every half term.
Consultant Speech and Language Therapist visits the school to work with students or staff once a fortnight.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Counselling is delivered by our in house therapist. The weekly sessions focus on staying safe, understanding public and private behaviour, respecting personal space and relationships. The therapist uses a variety of interventions including painting, drawing and sharing stories.
Sex Education is delivered weekly for students who parents/carers/social workers permit their child to take part.
Lessons are taught by the JIWSI project who are a specialist provider of sex education for children with learning disabilities and are part of the family planning association.
What support will there be for my child?s overall wellbeing?
The level of support required for each young person will be established by our multi-disciplinary staff team prior to the young person joining the school.
Each student is registered with the local GP who has worked with the school for a number of years and has a good understanding of our students and their needs. They are also registered with the local Dentist, Community Paediatrician, Community Nurse, Health Visitor, Community Dietician, Speech and Language Therapist and Community Physiotherapist.
For residential students the pivotal person in the young person?s care is their Key Worker. Each young person is nominated a Key Worker prior to their arrival.
The Key Worker will be the main contact for parents or carers, as well as professionals. They will act as an advocate for the young person, as well as their families and will attend all reviews and key meetings about that young person.
Each young person has a room of their own, personalised for them with help from their Key Worker, from the start of their time at the school.
How will you prepare my child for the next stage of their life?
We understand that changes can be worrying for students and their families and therefore transitions are managed in a timely and sensitive way.
Throughout their time at the school we focus on giving students the skills they need to live as independent an adult life as possible. This includes the self-management of behaviours, self-control strategies, social skills, independent living skills including shopping, preparing a meal, personal hygiene and functional communication skills.
When young people are due to leave the school we work closely with the young person, their parents/carers and professionals to make sure the transition is as undisruptive to the young person as possible. Most of our young people are successful in moving into semi supported living.
How do you work with and involve me in my child?s placement?
We recognise the important role that you as their parents/family have already played in your child's early care and education and place an emphasis on maintaining and developing family relationships as much as possible.
Parents are integral to our work and we encourage all parents to become fully involved in school life. You will be involved in all key decisions regarding your child?s placement and will be invited to all review meetings. We also encourage parents to visit their child as often as possible and include transport with staff supervision for home visits as part of our student placements.
How accessible is the school environment?
To meet the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, we do have an Accessibility Plan which means that we frequently review how we can increase students participation in the school curriculum, improve the physical environment and expand the accessibility of the written information available.

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