Pupils Q & A
How does the school know if I need extra help?
All pupils and students at St Dominic’s have a statement of SEN or an EHCP in which their needs are identified and objectives set; however, all new pupils and students are thoroughly assessed to ensure that each individual has a personalised ‘blended’ educational programme.
What should I do if I think I need extra help?
All adults at St Dominic’s are here to ensure the safety and wellbeing of every pupil and student. You would have a form tutor, subject teachers, therapist and a Behaviour and inclusion support link worker who you can talk to. All education and care staff have an open door policy and will be happy to address any concern you may have. Mrs Drayton, the Principal, is always available to meet with you if you are very concerned.
How will my course work be organised to meet my individual needs?
Every pupil and student at St Dominic’s is unique; we celebrate difference and accept you as you are. We work with you to ensure that your work is tailored to meet your needs and ensure you make the best possible progress.
How will I be involved in planning for my needs and who will explain it and help me?
St Dominic’s recognises it is essential to consult with pupils and students and there are a number of ways in which you can contribute to planning, target setting, monitoring and evaluation, including: annual reviews, PLP targets, and sessions with your tutor, therapist, or behaviour and inclusion link worker. You can also contribute to Student Voice and, if you are a boarder, you can contribute to Residential Area Meetings.
Who will tell me what I can do to help myself and be more independent?
At St Dominic’s we recognise the importance of independence and we have a needs and skills led curriculum to promote independence across the waking day. You will also have a personalised programme that will focus on improving your independence; this will be discussed with you, your tutor, therapist and your parents.
What should I do if I am worried about something?
If you are worried you can speak to any adult; we are all here to help and support you. All members of staff are trained in safeguarding and will listen to you if you are worried. We have a team of 6 Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL) who are here to keep you safe. If you wanted to speak to an adult outside of St Dominic’s we have an independent visitor who you can contact.
How will I know if I am doing as well as I should?
The school assesses progress on an ongoing basis and tracks progress half-termly. Your expected rate of progress and learning journey will be discussed and planned with you and your family.
How can I get help if I am worried about things other than my course?
At St Dominic’s the well-being of our pupils, students and staff is paramount. We have a Head of Transition and Wellbeing who works closely with all staff across the waking day. We have a school nurse and many staff members are medication and first aid trained. The Behaviour and Inclusion Support Leads are available to all pupils and students and attendance and behavioural difficulties are addressed through the Head of Inclusions, Safeguarding and Wellbeing.
Are there staff in college who have had special training to help young people who need extra help?
The majority of staff at St Dominic’s are experienced, knowledgeable and well qualified. New members of staff are given a full and thorough induction programme and on-going Continuing Professional Development to ensure that all your needs are met and you are able to live a fulfilling, independent life and take your rightful place in Society.
If I have difficulty in taking part in activities what different arrangements can be made?
At St Dominic’s there are a range of activities across the waking day for pupils and students to join in. Your tutor, therapist or behaviour and inclusion leader will ensure that you have access to an activity/ies of your choice. We are always prepared to listen to ideas for new activities; so we would welcome your ideas.
What help is there to help me get ready to start college?
Following your assessment, the admission process to the school will start in conjunction with your local Authority. The school will collate information about your needs, interests, levels and aspirations and be in close contact with you and your family to ensure you have all the information you need to feel comfortable on your first day. Information is tailored to each individual pupil/student as everyone is different.
We have a Careers Education and Guidance Practitioner and a needs-led curriculum which focuses on this transition. Young People are encouraged and supported to take part in college taster days and to focus on the range of Sixth Form provision.
What help is there to help me prepare to move on to college or work?
St Dominic’s works in conjunction with you, your family and next placement to ensure a smooth, calm transition. You will have access to a professional Careers and Educational Guidance practitioner who will work with you and your family to find you an appropriate pathway.
As the Principal, Mrs Drayton ensures that she is visible and available in school on a daily basis to answer any questions that the young people may want to ask when they are feeling anxious or need reassurance. The following questions are actual questions asked by our young people:
I can’t go into classes because I don’t understand, I can’t do the work and then I get told off. What would you do if I was too anxious to go in?
St Dominic’s is a school for pupils and students with special needs and we treat everyone as an individual. We would start by assessing your needs and difficulties and putting together a personalised programme to settle you in until you felt more confident.
Why did you allow someone like me to come to your school?
Because we knew that we could help you to fulfill your potential and prepare for life beyond St Dominic’s.
Sometimes I get very frustrated and lose control and swear; would you exclude me if I did this?
No, we understand that behaviour is a form of communication and we would work with you to help you understand your frustration and anxieties and give you strategies to help you reduce inappropriate behaviours.
Would you exclude me if I didn’t understand the homework?
No, we would take the time to explain the work, identify exactly what you are finding difficult and give you the support to undertake the task.
I don’t like doing homework because the work should be done in school and then I get angry with my mum because she tries to make me do it. Would you make me do homework?
Some pupils find it very difficult to do their school work at home. This work is an important part of learning and is set to check understanding and prepare pupils for the next topic. We have a ‘Homework Club’ straight after school which is supported by staff. Some pupils choose to go to ‘Homework Club’ rather than doing the work at home as they find the school environment easier to work in.
I sometimes get really wound up and need to go outside to calm down; would I get a detention if I ran out of a lesson? And would I be followed because I don’t like it?
No, we have a number of pupils who need to have time out to settle themselves down. They are worked with on an individual basis and given time out cards and other strategies to support them. If you left the classroom you would be followed at a distance, we have to be able to see you to keep you safe.
What if I don’t understand or disagree with the school rules?
You can talk to any member of staff about the rules and ask them to explain them to you. If you are not satisfied you can take your concerns to the student voice or follow the complaints procedure.
What do I do if I am bullied or hurt by someone?
All members of staff are trained to safeguard you and we have a team of six Designated Safeguarding Leads who are here to listen to you and keep you safe. If you wanted to speak to a person outside the school you could contact our Independent visitor.
I don’t like teachers and lessons, they are pointless; what would you do if I didn’t want to learn?
We have had many pupils and students who have had terrible experiences in school and are frightened of failure. We would work with you to identify your interests and difficulties to help you back on track.
I don’t want to be on this planet or in this school; why do I have to come?
We are all on this planet and whether we like it or not we have to learn to operate in a socially acceptable way. We pride ourselves on preparing children and young people for the world of work and life beyond St Dominic’s by giving you coping strategies and a holistic education that will prepare you for life and enable you to ‘live life to the full’.
I don’t want to have special needs and be different; can you teach me to be like normal people?
At St Dominic’s we celebrate difference and accept you for who you are. We do not try to make you ‘normal’ because ‘normal’ does not exist. We work with you and your needs to enable you to find out and accept who you are and assist you in constructing who you want to be.
If I get things wrong and behave badly will everyone hate me?
No, we all get things wrong and behave badly at times, we accept people for who they are and treat them with the kindness and respect we all deserve.