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Bedford Free School

 

“We believe, that given the right circumstances, all children are capable of extraordinary things”

 

We work in partnership with local families to serve the communities of Bedford and Kempston providing an academic, focussed well-rounded education to pupils aged 11-16.

 

Bedford Free School is different.

 

We begin each day with a morning address, where we reflect on our shared values of respect, honesty, and high-expectations while reminding our whole community that we strive to go the extra mile. Our school values hard work, routines and structure.

 

This leads to impeccable behaviour and an environment that enables students to focus on their learning. Pupils arrive to lessons carrying their subject equipment so that there is no wasted time while they get ready. We supplement our very academic curriculum with 30 minutes of group reading of a classic work of literature daily, and we supervise prep, so that pupils can start homework or further study.

 

Working with the community, we therefore strive to maximise the prospects of young people through an expanded academic

 

curriculum, the entitlement to great experiences, very high expectations of conduct and behaviour, and the very best teaching. We expect our pupils to attend university and we equip them with the knowledge and dispositions to be able to do so, while making a difference in their communities.

 

Our pupils are entitled to access, in Matthew Arnold’s words the best that has been thought and said. We structure everything we do around the belief that our pupils deserve the very best, and we deliver the best possible curriculum. Our staff believe that “if it is not good enough for our own children, it is not good enough”. Hence we use the best PE facilities in Bedford to supplement our rooftop extension, deliver extra-curricular activities during the school day so that everyone can participate, and equip our classrooms with all that is needed to ensure our pupils become world-beaters!

 

To fit everything in, we run an extended school day from 8.25am-4pm, and have supportive catch-up sessions and extra teaching that goes on beyond that. The school is open for supervised for quiet work from 8am-6pm (5pm on Fridays).

 

Nothing, however, can match a visit to the school. Please contact us to arrange a tour, where you can see everything. We believe you will be blown away by what you see!

 

Who to contact

Contact Name
Jane Herron
Contact Position
Vice Principal
Telephone
E-mail
jherron@bedfordfreeschool.co.uk

Where to go

Name
Bedford Free School
Address
Cauldwell House
Cauldwell Street
Bedford
Postcode
MK42 9AD
Get directions

Other Details

Availability

Referral required
No
Age Bands
11-14 years old
Parents and carers
15-17 years old

Schools Extended Local Offer Response

How does the setting/school/college know if children/young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?
  • Bedford Free School operates a hierarchy of graduated responses to pupil needs which aims to ensure early intervention and implementation of strategies necessary to meet individual pupil needs.
  • Interventions will be triggered through concern that, despite receiving Wave One support through Quality First Teaching within class, a pupil:
  • Makes little or no progress
  • Shows (ongoing) difficulty developing literacy or numeracy skills
  • Presents with persistent emotional and behavioural difficulties
  • Has sensory or physical problems, which continue despite the use of specialist equipment (or may require additional specialist equipment or advice)
  • Has communication and/or interaction problems which continue despite curriculum differentiation (or may prevent the development of social relationships, or hinder learning)
  •  
  • Concerns may be raised in the first instance with a student’s Tutor, Pastoral Leader, Keyworker or SENCO who will liaise with the appropriate member of staff
How will early years setting/school/college staff support my child/young person?
  • The SENCO, Subject Teachers and team of Learning Mentors (Keyworkers) will plan and oversee any more individualised education programme which may deviate slightly from the normal curriculum.
  • For the most part, the subject teachers will be teaching any child according to a mainstream timetable. Some students may occasionally be taken out of timetabled lessons for an ‘intervention’ class which endeavours to accelerate progress in areas where a student may have gaps in his or her knowledge. This will be discussed with a parent usually by the student’s keyworker or SENCO
  • Students are formally assessed half termly by all their teachers. Any child who has additional SEND and as a result has a keyworker or is taking part in an intervention, will have their progress carefully monitored by the member of staff leading the support. If progress is not being made despite the additional intervention lessons, then the intervention will be reviewed and altered accordingly
How will the curriculum be matched to my child's/young person's needs?

All staff are regularly briefed on the different learning needs of the students. The SENCO, Assistant SENCO, Subject Teachers and team of Learning Mentors (Keyworkers) will consider appropriate strategies if needed. However, through Quality First Teaching (Wave 1 support) we aim to enable true inclusion; we are not doing something ‘special’ for those who need it – we are just doing something special.  

 1. Tight structures and routines that lead to a very calm and secure school e.g.

  • Very high behaviour expectations
  • Being led by teachers to lessons at key moments of the day
  • Silent corridors
  • Prescription on how to enter/exit a class
  • Carrying equipment to class (encouraging focus)
  • Seating plans

2. Work booklets for each student in most subjects (avoids copying off board). The best ones will; be differentiated, chunked, provide dual coding, have writing scaffolds, sentence starters, vocab laid out, visual aids, written instructions and numbered lines.

3. 100% books – a summary of all knowledge from every subject given to each student to have to hand all the time

4. Teaching strategies based on Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov e.g.

  • ‘What to do’ (for students with poor memory or focus skills)
  • ‘Targeted questioning’ (differentiation and high expectations)
  • Stretch It
  • No opt out

5. Using showmyhomework – helps students who have difficulty writing down their homework

6. Science of Learning (http://www.learningscientists.org/downloadable-materials) - All techniques;

·         Spaced Practice

 

·         Elaboration

 

·         Concrete examples

 

·         Retrieval Practice

 

·         Interleaving

 

·         Dual coding

 

7. Extended school day: -

  • Targeted compulsory after school interventions for those students who are identified as needing extra support,
  • Daily Morning Meeting (self-quizzing, spellings, numeracy) ,
  • DEAR (Drop everything and read),
  • PREP (silent independent time to complete homework),
  • Electives – clubs on the timetable so that everyone attends them.

 

  • Provision of different materials or equipment
  • Differentiated learning strategies through staff development or training
  • Devising interventions and monitoring their effectiveness by providing extra adult time
  • Seeking Local Authority support for advice on strategies and equipment or staff training

In occasional and extreme cases a student’s curriculum may be personalised

 

 

How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child's/young person's learning?
  • Current attainment levels are collected from, and verbal information shared with, respective feeder schools
  • All students are assessed before and on entry to school; baseline tests are conducted including reading, English and maths.
  • Regular quizzing and assessments are conducted by subject teachers
  • Current attainment grades are communicated regularly to parents.
  • Any child who has, or is suspected to have, additional SEND will be assessed further to identify and henceforth cater for specific needs
  • Every child meets with form tutor daily in form groups
  • In addition, where a child receives extra support, a key worker is allocated and is happy to liaise with student and parents as and when needed
  • Learning Passports are put in place where there is a need for one, these provide information about need, advised support strategies and targets set for the student to achieve
  • Every child carries an ‘Achievement Card’ which records lesson by lesson success (or otherwise) and which must be checked and signed weekly by the parent – parents can check these daily to monitor how their child/young person’s day at school has been
  • There are two parent evenings a year where additional SEN meetings are encouraged for those students whose needs are surpassing Wave Two support
What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall well being?
  • Form tutor for all students
  • Dedicated team of pastoral, non-teaching, support staff
  • Key members of staff have safeguarding training and there is a wide skill set amongst the pastoral team which leaves us confident to deal with initial social support and to know where to signpost and/or refer to external agencies
  • We have a dedicated team of Learning Mentors who double staff in class, provide 1:1, or small group intervention as well as keyworker support if necessary
  • A Behavioural Learning Mentor for children who present with challenging behaviours.
  • There are a number of staff who have first aid at work training.
  • Dedicated medical room where basic medicines are stored and can be accessed with permission and under adult supervision. Whilst we are happy for students to take medicines at school, the student must have the levels of independence to be able to self-administer
  • We have a dedicated Attendance Officer who liaises with staff, parents, EWO and any further agencies where deemed necessary
  • Young people are our business, they will always be at the heart of everything we do and are therefore always encouraged to be a part of any processes or decision making which involve them
What specialist services and expertise are avaliable at or accessed by the setting/school/college?
  • The SENCO has a degree in Education and the National SENCO Award for Special Educational Needs. She has over twenty-five years teaching experience in mainstream schools throughout Bedfordshire. She is fully briefed in the SEND code of practice.
  • The Assistant SENCO is a fully qualified teacher.
  • The school has three Pastoral Leaders who are non-teaching members of staff. All have undertaken safeguarding training, and two have completed the National Programme for Leaders of Behaviour Specialist and Attendance. Various courses which they have undertaken are: recognising domestic abuse; drug and alcohol misuse (impact on both parents and young people); and parental mental health and its impact on the young person.   Between them they have completed: Learning Mentors Level 3 and 4; SEAL training; Level 2 counselling; Bedford Borough training on Looked After pupils / PEP paperwork; courses on supporting families through integrated working; awareness of child abuse and neglect of young people; and are on course to pass Level 3 Diploma in working with children and young people.
  • There is a dedicated team of Learning Mentors all of whom are qualified to degree level. Training amongst the team include: disability, equality and diversity; safeguarding; first aid; developing strategies to support the learning of students with Special Educational Needs; dedicated and ongoing EAL courses; Autism awareness (including Asperger’s Syndrome); Sounds-Write programme delivery; AQA Units Award co-ordination; secondary SEAL (social emotional aspects of learning)
  • We have a specialised and experienced Lead Behaviour Learning Mentor
  • There are good links with external agencies, Bedford Free School will always seek outside advice or support if strategies and support has been exhausted within our own setting.
What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had? Are any being trained currently?
  • The SENCO has a degree in Education and the National SENCO Award for Special Educational Needs. She has over twenty-five years teaching experience in mainstream schools throughout Bedfordshire. She is fully briefed in the SEND code of practice.
  • The Assistant SENCO is a fully qualified teacher.
  • All staff Pastoral Leads and Learning Mentors regularly access appropriate training to keep enhance and inform their practice.
How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?
    • We have an enrichment curriculum in which every child in school is expected to take part. This means that clubs and development days (alternative curriculum such as trips, sports days, team building, study skills, community exploration) take place in school hours and are timetabled. This puts us in the unique position of saying that 100% of our students take part in a very wide variety of extracurricular activities over the course of their schooling at Bedford Free School
    • If deemed desirable or necessary, parents are very welcome to join school trips, this is organised on a case to case basis
  • Homework club, open until 6pm, (5pm Friday) is also open to all students. Students would be expected to be able to work independently under staff supervision
How accessible is the setting/school/college enviroment?
  • There is a lift in the building (which has four floors) for wheelchair access
  • There is a disabled toilet on every floor
  • If communication is difficult for parents then the school will strive to overcome the barrier, for example by finding a translator or conducting home visits if necessary

 

Please note the school sits on a busy site in the middle of town and surrounded by roads which have heavy traffic; it is strongly advised that students should have mature road safety awareness

How will the setting/school/college prepare and support my child/young person to join the setting/school/college or the next stage of education and life?
  • There is an annual open evening and morning in September where any prospective students and their family are welcome to look around. All members of staff are available to answer questions
  • Private tours are offered during school open hours
  • The transfer process is initiated directly after successful application to the school
  • Every child (and their parent//carers) is invited to and will be expected to attend a 1:1 meeting with a key member of staff where an Individual Learning Passport is established – this provides an opportunity for parents to share information about their child.
  • For most students the Individual Learning Passports will only be developed further where there are Special Educational Needs
  • Members of staff from Bedford Free School liaise with staff at the child’s current school
  • Bedford Free School’s SEN and pastoral team will have additional conversations with feeder school SEN teams where deemed necessary (i.e. where a child has been highlighted as having additional needs either by the parent/carer or feeder school)
  • Every child is invited to a transition day in July
  • Extra and personal transition days are organised where deemed helpful to aid a settled and calm transition.
  • There is a dedicated four day induction period in September for all of year seven
  • Support is offered at key transition times during the school life such as;
  • Year nine options
  • Year ten work experience and exploring post 16 opportunities
  • Year eleven GCSE results and post 16 route
  • In depth information is passed on to any new setting / school / college a student moves on to
How are the setting's/school's/college's resources allocated and matched to children's/young people's special educational needs?
  • Resources are allocated according to school budget, the overall profile of the cohort of students in the school at any given time, and to cater for need to enable academic progression of all of our students
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?

Pupil needs assessed before enrolment and a decision is made with parent/carers as to whether the school can meet needs.  Decisions about any support needed will be made on an individual basis in discussion with parent/carers within the context and capability of the school to provide the support.

How are parents involved in the setting/school/college? How can I be involved?
  • A home school agreement is drawn up and signed by student, parent and school at the very first 1:1 meeting this states:-
  • We believe that through regular communication, a relationship of trust between school and home can be created.
  • We will make sure that students and parents will be able to contact their teacher by phone and email and will reply to all communications from parents as soon as possible, usually within 48 hours.
  • We promise to welcome parents into the school community.School asks that in return the parent: -
  • …will always make [myself] available to the school by providing an up-to-date phone number and contact details.
  • …will communicate with the school in a timely and polite manner, in line with the School’s values (of Respect, Honesty and High Expectations)Keyworkers are available to liaise as much or as little as school, student and parents require
  • We have parent governors