Be Safe. Be Respectful. Be Responsible. Be a Learner.
Verney Road School in partnership with parents, carers and the community provides the best opportunity for all children to have a meaningful and worthwhile education. We optimise communication, abilities, independence and enhance self-esteem and prepare each individual for a purposeful pathway into adulthood.
Verney Road School has a culture of four key expectations, these are what we value:
Be Safe ~ we are committed to the promotion of behaviours and creating environments that ensures the wellbeing of every member of the school community.
Be Respectful ~ we are committed to accepting each other as we are and valuing our strengths and differences.
Be Responsible ~ we are committed to supporting each other, for being accountable for our actions and encouraging all to achieve independence.
Be a Learner ~ we are committed to all members of our school community having a go at diverse learning opportunities and by reflecting on our mistakes and not giving up, we build success.
Verney Road School educates students from ages 2.8 – 18 years with a mild to severe intellectual disability. It is a ‘ Dual Mode Specialist School’ with a combination of students from a mild to very severe intellectual disability.
The school was purpose built in 1999 for 74 students. Enrolments have gradually trended upwards from 161 in 2014 to 187.4 in 2018. This excludes annual Early Education numbers of approximately 20. There are three distinct units of learning, Early Years, Middle Years and Senior Years. Each unit is led by a ‘non-teaching’ Leading Teacher.
The buildings are modern; however, six portable classrooms have been added to meet the growing population. The school is landlocked by a housing estate on the north and a primary school on the west. Space for the students is at a premium and play times are alternated to accommodate each Unit. The majority of students travel to school by contract buses, a small cohort travel independently on mainstream buses and approximately sixty students travel daily with parents /carers by car. Play, car and bus parking space is at a premium.
Many students have multiple diagnoses of disability. These may include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Down Syndrome. Students can also present with sensory and physical impairments and challenging behaviours. A cohort of students have experienced trauma. The daily explicit teaching is demanding and must always be rigorous. The complexity of the dual mode ‘Specialist School’ model creates a challenge in meeting the broad range of curriculum needs of learners across each classroom for planning and differentiated teaching. Learning for students with severe intellectual disability is very incremental and can evidence regression.
Verney Road School’s intent is that we have high expectations that every student can and does learn and that we would never give up on a child or a young person. We understand that some students require intensive supports to be able to learn at school and that all needs must be addressed first to ensure learning can take place. These supports may include basic needs and wants, home security, addressing family or student mental health issues, above and beyond communication, attending appointments side by side with families and so on. We understand that some students’ timetables must be highly adaptive and that student voice and choice is vital for a cohort of young people to remain engaged at school. Our intent is strong, that no student leaves Verney Road School without a planned pathway.
We believe that consistent teaching practices and common language across the school is vital for students with intellectual disability. Our intent is that students require and receive predictability, calmness, routine and multiple exposures to concepts for learning. Trusting relationships between staff and students is absolutely necessary for learning success and progress. Our intent is that strong explicit teaching cascades from consistent differentiated weekly planning. Whilst a broad curriculum is inherent in our school planning we understand that the basics of Literacy and Numeracy are ‘a must’ for every young person’s success in the future.
Our intent is that Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is available to every learner, to scaffold thinking and to ensure every student has a voice. We aim to be an AAC accessible school and AAC provision is non-negotiable for staff.
Finally, our ‘bottom line’ is that with all students we work towards them being independent and likeable.