Introduction to The Haven School

The Haven School is an independent Special School for children and young people with an EHCP where the primary need is social, emotional and mental health. Our pupils can come to us at any stage in their school career from 11 to 19 years of age. The point at which they are admitted will vary according to past experiences in other educational settings and possibly also as a result of home circumstances. Our ethos is governed by our total commitment to supporting our young people to become successful citizens by helping them overcome previous negative experiences. We want our pupils to be happy in school because this is the first step to becoming successful. While this may not be considered a “smart target” we believe it is important. Previous negative experiences in school can stay with a child for a long time and some never recover. Our aim is to turn this around and we are successful at this. When we see pupils arriving at school who smile at staff, have a conversation and proceed happily to their lessons we know we are on the right track. Our outcomes speak for themselves and our last year’s leavers all achieved accredited exam results, including GCSEs, and went on to further education or training.

Just as our pupils have all had individual experiences so our approach has to be individualised. One size definitely does not fit all at The Haven. So each pupil has a different pathway and all pathways lead towards a common destination – that of a positive placement for the next stage of their life. We track our pupils after they leave us and can see how most of them continue successfully on their chosen pathway.

We are committed to all our pupils attending full-time as required by the DfE. Some can manage this from the outset but others who have suffered serious trauma and/or mental health difficulties will need gentle coaxing and support to achieve full-time attendance. Just as you need to train in order to climb a mountain so some young people need to take small steps to get into full-time education. We challenge them to be the best version of themselves and they do not disappoint. Our curriculum includes the core subjects of English, mathematics and science enriched with a mixture that suits individual needs. This may be additional academic subjects or it could be land-based activities and farming, creative subjects like art and crafts or technical subjects like IT. Physical education is always on offer and our pupils all find an activity that they enjoy and can feel comfortable doing. This could be a team sport like football, cricket or rounders or more individualised activities like boxing, climbing, trampolining and mountain biking. Or even walking! There is something for everyone at The Haven.

All pupils have a keyworker who is the link between school and home. Contact with home is frequent and all parents and carers are informed about positive progress regularly as well as when there are issues to resolve. We believe that all parents and carers trust us to do the best for their child and any decisions about changes to a programme or timetable are discussed in advance so that there are no surprises. We are firmly committed to support all pupils that we admit onto our roll. We do not give up even when the going gets tough. Our pupils learn to trust us and from this they move forward to achieve things they never thought possible. We have an in-house clinical psychologist who works closely with pupils and staff and who provides the theoretical framework for our practice.

Pupils and staff are very proud of our school and we commit ourselves to achieving even greater things in the future.

Jane Spensley