News & Events

Adventures in Learning

sen.se had their annual joint INSET day in March, hosted by Wellsprings Leisure Centre in Taunton. The theme of the day which saw attendance from around 400 staff from across 10 special schools and specialist provision, was 'Adventures in Learning'.

sen.se were delighted to welcome keynote speaker Hywel Roberts to set the scene for the day. Hywel is a teacher, author and educationalist working across the UK and beyond. From basic but great classroom pedagogy to developing a 'blended brave curriculum' to teacher coaching, leadership development and mentoring; to wonderfully innovative and life-changing strategies such as 'Mantle of the Expert', Hywel covers and practices a whole variety of approaches that make learning real for young people.

Following on from Hywel's inspiring morning session, staff made their way back to their own settings to discuss and put Hywel's teachings into practice. Staff feedback was really positive and included:

"Some brilliant ideas on how to engage pupils more & how pretty much anything can be turned into a lesson"

"The presentation was pacey, engaging and fun. The most important aspect that I took away was the importance of making learning relevant, real and fun! Thank you!"

"I liked that it was directed and beneficial to everyone from the senior leadership team to teaching assistants"

Following the success of this years' event, planning is already underway for next year.

Fiveways good news story july17 (fiveways-good-news-story-july-2017.pdf)

Every year the Move organisation invites schools to celebrate their childrens’ achievements by holding a ‘Move Day’. However we generally find that a day is not enough, so spread our activities and celebrations over a week!

During our Move Week in July 2017 we aimed to offer all the pupils on the programme the opportunity to extend and develop the activities that they generally enjoy within their own classroom. This enabled them to work along side other children and staff, sharing tasks and experiences and celebrating their achievements within a wider group.

We also encourage our ‘Super Movers’ to take part, those who are more physically able but still benefit from developing their physical skills and challenging themselves to complete different tasks.

Activities throughout the week included:

 Super Movers sessions: We normally run a group where our pupils can practice balancing, jumping, stepping stones, hurdles and steps, as well a crawling and rolling activities. This group was extended so that more children could come along and join in.

 The younger pupils enjoyed a Halliwick swimming group, which was also an opportunity for staff unfamiliar with the swimming programme, to learn more about it.

 Our physios offered support to staff during swimming sessions, allowing an exchange of ideas with staff working with PMLD pupils.

 We had extra bike and trike sessions on the playground.

 A hike through the Woodland walk to our specially created Move week spa (located in the woodland log cabin).

 Extra opportunities for pupils to use our wheel chair swing and slide.

 A ‘sitting group’ when wheelchair users were able to leave their chairs and practice sitting skills on benches and seats, at the same time enjoying a range of communication games and activities.

 We held an interclass bowling competition.

 A balance challenge, different activities set out in the school hall, daring pupils to challenge their balance and co-ordination and walk the plank…

 A wheelchair dancing session – noisy and slightly chaotic, but great fun!

All these opportunities to ‘Move’ were in addition to pupils’ individual Move goals, regular opportunities to ride Thunder (our riding simulator), PE, Rebound, RDA riding sessions and swimming groups.

Move had suggested a theme for Move day could be ‘Holidays’ so we ran with this idea, introducing fairground music during some sessions, an underwater theme in our sensory swimming pool and opportunities to relax and enjoy water, foam, jelly balls and other sensory materials during relaxation. Each pupil was given a seaside creature as a symbol which they fixed to an underwater interactive screen as they achieved their Move goals. We celebrated during assemblies, enjoying icecreams served by the 6th formers from their icecream cart, and resting feet in paddling pools of water and sand.

By Thursday we were ready to congratulate ourselves for all our hard work and to recognise and celebrate these great achievements. Certificates were handed out across and throughout the school, and we were pleased to welcome to this assembly, one of our Governors, Adrian Partridge, who has a special interest in Move, and gave out many of the certificates .

Selworthy Good news story (selworthy-school-good-news-story-1.pdf)

A work experience review within the Selworthy School sixth form curriculum was held and through in-depth discussions with the staff and learners, interests and abilities were established.  From these discussions, it became evident that we needed to establish more community links to broaden work experience opportunities.  One of our learners was predominantly motivated by vehicles and their maintenance.  Therefore, one of these links was established with the Toyota Garage in Taunton.

http://scc.toyota.co.uk/

We believe that high quality, meaningful and purposeful work experience is an essential component of the sixth form curriculum.  We also promote community cohesion.  Our learner (LR) attends the Garage on a weekly basis in term-time.  He is accompanied by a Teaching Assistant, who offers minimum support.

LR works with a mechanic, assisting in every opportunity for vehicle maintenance and other jobs within a working garage.  He has demonstrated a range of skills during this extended work experience, and his self-esteem and confidence in his own ability and self-worth have soared. 

LR stated that he likes the “hands on” work and  “Matt the mechanic is great.  Wendy [TA] doesn’t help any more.  I can do it.  I can change tyres and check pressures.  I can change oil and help with MOTs”.

We spoke to Matthew Ulrico (Mechanic at Somerset County Cars Ltd) and he provided us with the following statement. “(LR) came to us as a shy, quiet, withdrawn young man.  Over the last two years...he has grown in confidence and has learnt a great deal about working in the automotive environment.  He was designated a role amongst a team of 6 technicians in a busy workshop.  With support and encouragement he has learnt many ‘tricks of the trade’ and has grown into a confident and reliable member of the workshop team.  His knowledge and enthusiasm of working on cars has helped him learn more and more about the job role. He has built up a very good working relationship with all of his colleagues. It has been a pleasure to have taught and worked alongside LR and see the progress he has made over the last two years”

The TA who accompanies LR said, “It has been wonderful to watch (LR) gain in confidence and ability with the incredible support, patience and understanding he has been given within a fully inclusive enrironment”.

Additional info:

We strongly believe that the vast majority of our learners are capable of completing successful work experience with the right guidance and support.  We are hoping that the more opportunities we can create within the community, the profile of our school and our learners will be raised and the work experience offer is enriched.  We are also looking at working in collaboration with Somerset County Council to develop supported internship opportunities in the local area for the majority of learners that are capable of meaningful employment and promote inclusion within our society.

This has also resulted in a potential additional source of funding through the ‘Toyota Fund for a Better Tomorrow’.

https://www.toyota.co.uk/world-of-toyota/environment/community.json

Sensory Garden for Learners
Sensory Garden for Learners

The Sensory Garden Project

Selworthy School opened their doors to parents, staff and the local community to help create a sensory garden for their learners. A number of volunteers and their families turned up to work alongside the community payback scheme to help clear an area of the school. The volunteers worked tirelessly to remove flower beds and fences and cut back overgrown brambles. The next phase of the project will see volunteers work with Kings’ College and the community payback scheme to continue to clear the area ready for paths, artificial grass and sensory items to be installed.

 Fundraising coordinator Cameron Merry said; “This is a really exciting project for us. By attempting to complete the work ourselves we are saving over £30,000. We are extremely grateful for all the volunteers who are giving up their weekends to help and to the community payback scheme and King College for their help and support over the coming months. At the end of this we will have a sensory garden and outdoor classroom area that will benefit all of our learners.”

Selworthy Climb to the Top
Selworthy Climb to the Top

Selworthy climb to the top!

‘Silver Class have embarked upon a superb series of indoor, instructor lead climbing sessions at Bridgwater YMCA. After only 2 sessions Josh cruised an overhang, Lily made the top and Alex was able to problem solve  some series moves to gain the top of every section he attempted. It is fantastic to see the learners so focused and everyone is able to access the activity to their own level. We are all very much looking forward to the next three sessions.’

Disability football sessions - Taunton

The football sessions run from 6.00pm – 7.00pm on Mondays at Queens College, Taunton. The first session is free to attend to allow people to get a taster. Further details can be found on the poster attached. The sessions are open to all people with disabilities aged 16 or over, and will cater for different disabilities and needs, including mental health, physical, sensory, learning, and long term health conditions. The coach has significant experience of working with individuals with various disabilities therefore is able to empathise with individuals and cater for different needs.

There is no commitment required from anyone who wishes to attend, individuals can turn up and play one week and there is no requirement to attend every single week if they do not wish to. The sessions provide the opportunity to get active, meet and socialise with other people in a fun and friendly environment. The exercise itself can be tailored to the needs of each individual. Taking part in the sessions will also provide a great opportunity to learn new skills and develop existing skills such as balance, co-ordination, teamwork and communication.*

sen.se present at National SEND Conference

sen.se were invited to present under the title of "Celebration, Innovation, Aspiration, Collaboration" which was the groups collective response to improving outcomes in Somerset. This was a national platform to share the work we do . Diana Denman represented the group at the event at the NEC.

Selworthy getting arty with local Cricket Star

Somerset wicket-keeper Ryan Davies spent the day at Selworthy School recently to help create some special artwork.

The 19 year old worked with students and staff on their current art project which is based around socks. He even had a paper mache cast of his foot made which will be amongst the work displayed in the Creative Innovation Centre in Taunton next month.

During the day Ryan said: "It’s been great spending some time with the students.  It's always good to get involved in the local community and we’ve met some great characters.  It was really interesting to learn about how the school operates and to see everyone getting so involved with the project was great. The staff and students have all made us feel really welcome and hopefully we will be coming back here again soon."

Selworthy School Head Teacher Mark Ruffett said: “We wanted to create an art project about something that everyone knows about and everyone knows about socks!  Today we had six different versions of creative art with a sock theme.  As well as having his foot paper mached, Ryan spent the day learning about the school, the learners who come here and about their needs.  We have an on-going relationship with Somerset County Cricket Club and this partnership adds that extra little bit of excitement to the day.  We’re very grateful for any support that we receive and to have an organisation like Somerset County Cricket Club working with us is really important for the school.”

Selworthy Sixth Form - Duke of Edinburgh practice

'The practice D of E took place on the Quantocks in what can only be described as less than perfect weather conditions. We came, we didn't always see, but we certainly conquered. The students coped amazingly well. Walking down from Crowcombe Park Gate to Holford, following a little stream to the campsite where tents were put up and  the stoves lit.  Pasta was cooked and eaten covered with tomato sauce and cheese. A comfortable night, despite a couple of downpours, was spent by all. 

The following morning breakfast came in the form of bacon butties, after which camp was broken (strange phrase) and we all walked to Kilve, via a glorious wild garlic carpeted woodland and an increasingly visible sun. Lunch on the beach at Kilve was a chilled affair and we all piled into the minbus and headed back to the stores at Hestercombe to hand over dripping wet tents and clean cooking stoves.'

Well done everyone, looking forward to the final expedition in June

Constructive Students at Fairmead

Fairmead Year 11's continue to impress on the fantastic construction course at Rylands Farm near Sherborne.

Just before Christmas the same group of Key Stage 4 students made foot stools on the carpentry unit of their construction course. This term they have been learning the basics of plumbing, and it has been great to see first hand just how independent and confident these students have become.

The students were each given an upright plasterboard which they then had to attach a wash basin to and correctly connect up all the pipes and fixtures.  Their instructor Phil was on hand to supervise and give general advice, but all the practical work was completed by the students. As soon as they arrived in the workshop, they got their steel-toe boots on and got straight to work without even being asked. They proceeded to totally concentrate on their work for the next three hours, only stopping to make cups of tea for themselves when they were thirsty and needed warming up.

Circus skills at Selworthy

During the Circus theme day, Learners experienced, practiced and perfected a range of circus skills. They watched with intent as plates spun from the sticks they held so carefully (or laughed with anticipation as the sticks where dropped) and were fascinated by the diablo which appeared to have a mind of its own as it wandered up and down the string, launch into the air and travel around the leg of the performer.

In their classes, Learners had a taste of the sounds, sights and feel of a day at the circus and many took the opportunity to dress to impress!

Underwater Adventure for Selworthy Students

A recent visit to Bristol Aquarium proved to be a huge success. Students enjoyed viewing the various sea life creatures ranging from the very small newborn seahorses to the humongous lobsters!

Every habitat was fascinating but the highlight had to be the 'bubble' a crawl space that led to a 360 degree dome, it felt like you were actually in the sea!

The staff were very friendly and knowledgeable about the animals, and shared lots of interesting and funny facts - did you know that jellyfish were around BEFORE the dinosaurs? We didn't! A group of jellyfish is called a bloom!

Official Launch of sen.se

A film showcasing the launch of sen.se, providing more information about the collaboration and celebrating with some of the students across the schools.

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