St Dominic's is registered with the Department for Education (936/7010) for Autism, Specific Learning Difficulties, and Speech & Language Disorders. The School achieved Autism Accreditation in 2012. In addition to ensuring that the environment is suitable for individuals on the autistic spectrum, the rigours of this accreditation benefits all pupils, despite their primary learning needs, by enhancing their teaching and learning environment.
All applicants will have a Statement of Educational Need or an Education Health and Care Plan and many may have more than one area of difficulty. Students on roll have a range of ability levels and complex special needs which include the following:
- speech and language difficulties
- social communication difficulties
- Autistic Spectrum Disorder
- Asperger’s Syndrome
- specific learning difficulties
- fine and gross motor difficulties
- motor planning and co-ordination problems
- sensory processing difficulties
- perceptual difficulties
- ADD / ADHD
- emotional vulnerability
- some health problems
Initial contact may be made to the school by families or the relevant authority. Families should send in a copy of the child’s statement of educational needs (EHCP) and up to date reports and they will then be invited to make an informal visit to the school. Initial enquiries from the Local Authorities (LAs) should be made by telephone or by submitting papers to the admissions office.
A mutually convenient assessment date is agreed between the school and the family. The initial assessment takes place over four days, usually Tuesday to Friday. Staff also visit the current or previous school and home. A longer assessment period may follow and a time frame agreed in each case. The assessment includes formal testing as well as informal observation of the child’s general conduct. Their impact on the wellbeing of the existing pupils and students and the dynamics of the groups is also taken into account in reaching a decision.
A decision is made as to whether the school can meet the educational, therapy, social and (where appropriate) medical needs of the child on assessment, and consequently whether a place will be offered. The LA is informed of the outcome and sent the reports covering the assessment areas. If the outcome of the assessments is positive and a place is offered to the LA, this can begin on a date mutually agreed between the school, Local Authority and Family.
St Dominic’s has a banded fee structure depending on the phase of education being accessed and the level of need of the individual child. There are three banding structures which are determined by the level of provision required and the decision as to which banding structure the pupil needs is established over the course of the assessment.