Information for parents
Information for parents
White Trees Independent School opened in February 2014 and is a day special school providing for boys and girls who experience behavioral, emotional and social difficulties. The school is registered to take up to 16 students aged 11 -16 and currently has 12 on roll all of whom have a Statement of Educational needs or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
The school makes use of additional offsite locations to provide library services, physical education, sports, music and vocational courses. The school aim to provide a unique and distinctive educational environment that can support a systemic approach by ensuring that its students emotional, physical and educational wellbeing is developed in a nurturing environment and provides individualised teaching programmes to all its students.
We feel that as a provider of Education White Trees is very different to many other schools. Our students are very individual and for most main steam education and ideas have not worked for them and rigid structured learning has failed.
At white trees we understand that formal learning and structured time tables with multiple subjects often make our students anxious and just the thought of this can lead to negative behaviours and lack of attendance.
A lot of our students have already attended specialist EDB schools and Pupil Referral Units that could not manage their emotional needs or behaviour, and they may have been previously excluded from multiple types of educational settings.
We had to find another way and the foundation to our school is that begin with relationships. Without those relationships we cannot engage our students in their learning therefore strong relationships and trust are the corner stone to our provision.
We start our pathway building the basics, just being able to get a young person threw the door and in to the school building can be a massive achievement, that will be celebrated by everyone.
We build on core subjects to start with and we focus on areas of learning where students show strengths or they have an interest. This is so we can help our students to build confidence and feelings of self-worth and achievement.
Formal time tables with multiple subjects confuse and can trouble our Students which further hinders their engagement. Their learning needs to be bespoke to them and consider their current emotional resilience. A one size fits all approach would not work at white trees as our young people can struggle to engage on any level. We do not push students to take classes they don’t want to outside of the mandatory subject areas until their confidence has grown enough for them to accept that they can achieve in education.
White Trees does however promote our students to take up extra subjects they are interested in, for example if a student shows interest in music this may factor a lot in the weekly plan and draw in other learning areas such as Maths or English. As White Trees is a small provision we do not have a music department meaning that we would access an external provision for music tuition in a specialist music centre.
White trees facilitate this approach with lots of its subjects and it means that the young people get the best possible outcomes from these bespoke one to one lessons.
Instead of timetabling 11 different subjects per week and the potential of individuals failing to achieve in all of them the health and well-being of our students is at the forefront of or thinking with all of the planning. This is where flexible consideration must be given to what is happening for our students outside of their learning environment. Strong communication with parents and carers is imperative to be able to understand any personal and emotional barriers to individual students’ ability to engagement on any given day. It is paramount that our educators are as a fully aware as possible of any significant incident or influences that may impact on students learning. This may be an event that seems simple to some however for some of our students not able to live with their families, missing a significant family event such as a birthday can emotionally impact to a point where education to them is not important at that moment. This is where those key relationships come into play, as Students are able to share these feelings with our staff and process them to a point where they may be in a place, with creative adaptation to their plan for the day, to remain in school and achieve their academic day.
We encourage our students to work through these barriers with staff with a view to growing their coping mechanisms and feelings that the school is a safe and nurturing place where the staff understand their needs as a whole.
White Trees staff receive specialised training from our Educational Psychologist to understand and be able to educate students for whom life trauma manifests and presents in behaviours which don’t allow for engagement and appropriate social interactions in an educational setting. The school is able to facilitate GCSE level learning for those students that are academically able but still require the nurturing environment that White Trees provides.
Last year this Ethos of nurtured learning evidenced in students who were previously out of education for significant periods of time leaving the school with successes in the following:
OCR Functional Skills qualification in Maths OCR Functional Skills qualification in English, Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening and communication.
Our Students, with the support of the White Trees team had already been offered College placements in their chosen vocational areas. Their hard work and examination results secured these placements for them and enabled them to embark into further Education.
We strongly feel that if those students experience of education of Education had been ridged timetabling of multiple lessons that did not take into account their individual emotional requirements, their achievements may not have been so successful. At White Trees we are proud of our Ethos of Learning and our belief in our Students which in turn encourages them to believe in their own ability to achieve, learn and develop and grow in confidence and self-esteem.