A message from the Headteacher....
At Ravenscliffe, in the 21 years I have been here, we have always put the needs of our students first and work hard to ensure they are met by our team of dedicated and enthusiastic staff. The majority of our students transfer from one of Calderdale's two primary special schools; Highbury at Rastrick, and Woodbank at Luddendenfoot. However, some move from mainstream schools or from establishments outside the authority to take advantage of the innovative curriculum and personalised learning programmes which Ravenscliffe offers.
The curriculum is delivered by a team of well qualified teachers and support staff, to groups in which favourable staff to student ratios are maintained. The organisation of the school reflects that of a mainstream secondary. Students are predominantly taught in chronological year groups with all national curriculum subjects being offered. The school also operates specialised needs based Core Groups, in which students focus on the development of a range of skills from non-verbal and verbal functional communication, to reading, writing, comprehension, and numeracy. These extend into needs based literacy, numeracy and computing sessions within key stage groupings. Over a fifth of the school day is used to focus on developing these essential core skills, with delivery tailored to each students abilities.
Great emphasis is placed on students becoming involved in the community, using and visiting local shops and places of interest and developing independence skills by using public transport with appropriate levels of support from staff. Inclusion opportunities are actively promoted and supported. Some students may spend time working collaboratively with mainstream peers, or attend sessions at other local schools or colleges. The school’s “Springboard” employability programme provides over 40 students with vocational experience opportunities and appropriate levels of staff support during extended work based placements. Independence in travel opens up the world of work as a possibility for some of our students. Each year, we usually support between 2 and 5 leavers, at the age of 19, into paid employment.
Consequently, we always seek to exploit natural opportunities for students to learn to travel. This includes using public transport to travel to Halifax Swimming Pool, and other local amenities. Using this model, over 100 students have moved to full independence in their travel over the last 10 years since the programme was introduced.
We work with over 40 local employers to offer relevant and meaningful work placements for our students. More than 50 of our young people access a work placement on a weekly basis, with travelling to work being a key component. Many of our students work completely independently in their work placement. We see this as a vital step on the ladder towards paid employment.
Of course not every student is able to progress to full independence in their travel or workplace. Equally high priority is given to students who need support to gain earlier skills in communication and independence. If a student requires 1:1 support, we will always endeavour to provide it.
Ultimately, we encourage all students, their families, and school staff to remember that a typical student joining us at 11 and leaving at 19 has just 10,000 hours of learning at Ravenscliffe. We aim to maximise those hours to the full, and to support our young people to be as independent as possible. Fundamentally, we aim to help all students to achieve within their own means, and to be the best they can.