Statement of Purpose
Our vision is to lead in transforming the futures of intelligent children who experience Specific Learning Difficulties, Developmental Language Disorders and associated conditions, by empowering them.
The school's purpose is to enable boys who are intelligent to overcome the barriers to learning and success posed by specific learning and language difficulties, and associated difficulties. We believe that it is important that such boys are helped to discover and recognise their strengths so that they build their self-esteem and confidence.
We seek to instil self-belief and encourage every pupil to have high aspirations for himself. It is important that our pupils become comfortable with who they are, recognising that everyone has within their character areas of strength and areas of weaker skills. This confidence and aspiration leads our pupils to achieve astonishing academic results and social outcomes. Our pupils leave More House with the skills and understanding necessary to be independent, self-sufficient and active members of society. They have developed a broad understanding of, and promote, the differing views and experiences of our multicultural, international society.
The school promotes the moral teachings of the Christian faith within the traditions of the Catholic Church, but teaches tolerance and understanding of other faiths and cultural beliefs, and promotes freedom of expression and personal choice. The complementary attributes of respect and a keen curiosity are strongly encouraged in all pupils. The school welcomes and supports pupils, adults and their wider families who may be of any religious faith or none.
All teachers, therapists, members of the boarding house staff and the teaching-support staff, share a commitment to continued professional development such that the delivery of curriculum and therapy, and all aspects of pupils’ school experience – academic and social – is informed by an understanding of each pupil’s strengths and weaknesses, maximising their self-belief and progress.
- To support the individual needs of each pupil, as individuals, so that each thrives, adapting continuously teaching and support strategies to challenge appropriately to pupils’ diverse strengths and weaknesses.
- To provide all pupils with an environment in which they feel, and are, safe and confident in being themselves, and through which they develop effective skills to promote their mental health and wellbeing.
- To foster in all pupils a powerful desire to question and to learn, and to realise high aspirations for their future, in terms of continued education and learning, their professional career, and social relationships.
- To provide a transformative learning environment and opportunities for our pupils so that they achieve outstanding academic results, above the national age-related averages, both at level two and three, despite having Specific Learning Difficulties, Developmental Language Disorders and associated conditions.
- To develop our pupils to become confident and resilient young people, with the experience and skills that allow them to lead independent lives within a modern world, and with the desire to be involved in society.
- To foster amongst all pupils an understanding, care and tolerance of all others, within the school’s Catholic ethos and in accordance with the fundamental values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
- To collaborate with and promote research into the education and support of children and young people with language-related educational difficulties, and use research to improve educational outcomes for all pupils, and those in other educational settings.
The school provides education and pastoral care for boys between the ages of eight and nineteen, and provides boarding provision for boys between the ages of ten and nineteen. The academic curriculum, based on the National Curriculum but with wider scope, is deliberately broad, affording pupils experience of a wide range of learning opportunities.
The extra-curricular provision is similarly broad, comprising the clubs and activities programme, the boarding activities programme, day and residential off-site visits, arts and sports competitions, special events, interactions with pupils from other schools, the World Challenge and Duke of Edinburgh's Award programmes, and charitable fund-raising. With such a vast array of educational opportunities, each pupil explores his own character, finding areas he especially enjoys, discovering his strengths and developing new skills.
A comprehensive Personal, Social, Health and Economics Education (PSHEE) curriculum is delivered through taught PSHEE lessons and complemented by assemblies, visiting speakers, off-site visits, special school events, academic subject lessons and the school's normal pastoral provision. The PSHEE curriculum promotes strongly those identified as being the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. It also supports the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils.
Pupils are grouped into academic-year groups, from Year Four to the Upper Sixth. The academic curriculum is taught in classes of normally between ten and fourteen pupils, and every pupil will study and be assessed in a broad range of GCSE level courses, completed at the end of Year Eleven. Pupils in the Sixth Form will study A Level courses or other qualifications at a similar level, or may study a combination of A Level and GCSE level courses. For Year Nine, pupils select six options subjects to pursue in addition to the core subjects of English, Mathematics and the Sciences. At the end of Year Nine pupils confirm those options subjects which they will study in years Ten and Eleven in addition to the core subjects.
Using Bloom’s Taxonomy as a framework, our core-skills tracker is used to assess each pupil’s progress in each of his classes. In every academic-subject area a pupil’s skills development is monitored through the hierarchical progression of:
Knowledge - Comprehension - Application - Analysis - Synthesis - Evaluation
In so doing, pupils’ acquisition of knowledge is assessed, but far more powerful is the continual measurement of their ability to manipulate that knowledge in accordance with the hierarchy of skills.
These six skills relate directly to the wording of grade-descriptors in GCSE and A Level syllabi documents, in every accredited/examined course delivered within the More House School academic offer.
Pupils are helped to understand that these six core skills apply across all of their subjects and therapeutic work, but with differing weightings. Teachers can identify strengths and weaknesses in individual students and target development effectively. Pupils can be helped to recognise their own profile. Differing pupils’ profiles help to identify strengths, and can support decision-making over courses.
This model supports our teachers, therapists and tutors to be as effective as possible in supporting each individual learner in the school, and maximises pupils’ outcomes.
In addition to the Core-Skills Tracker, each pupil’s parent is able to access, at any time, their son’s record of overall progress, and engagement in his learning, by viewing the half-termly Progress Monitoring Grades sheet, published to the Parent Portal of our Management Information System (MIS), and updated with new information six times a year.
Parents are also invited to at least one parent and teacher consultation evening (Parents’ Evening) per year, and are expected to attend an in-depth annual review meeting in order to share in examining progress, especially in relation to the pupil’s therapeutic skills targets. Close communication between parents and the school is encouraged throughout the academic year.
At the end of the year, parents receive a detailed, annual school report addressing the progress and engagement of their sons in all academic subjects, in their pastoral development, in respect of the residential provision where applicable, and in all therapeutic disciplines other than counselling.
Pupils' pastoral needs are met through a system of year-group staff teams comprising form-tutors, led by a Head of Year, who also monitor pupils' academic progress. Pupils meet with their form-tutor for morning registration at 8.30am each school morning, and again for afternoon registration and form-time at 4pm each afternoon. The Pastoral Provision Plus (P+) system manages pupils' needs that require support beyond that provided within the regular pastoral support arrangements, and it coordinates activities of the school medical surgery team, the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and DSL deputies, the therapeutic counsellors and any other members of the staff.
There can be no substitute for a loving, caring family home, and our school does not seek to be such a substitute. However, the sense of community and the facilities available to boarders enables the school to foster boarders' social confidence and to develop their skills and interests. We believe that we can make life for our boarders stimulating and happy, by providing an environment in which they are cared for and supported by a partnership between each pupil's parents and the school. We seek to enable each boarder to make use of the school's specialist provision and facilities when the distance between home and school would otherwise preclude it.
The following aims and guidelines shape our approach to fostering each boarder's wellbeing, safeguarding and development:
1. to provide an environment where boys staying away from home are cared for physically, emotionally and spiritually;
2. to help every child and young person to grow to his full maturity as a member of a thriving, caring and happy shared community;
3. to provide as great a wealth as possible of meaningful and enriching experiences, from which each boarder may choose to allow his individual tastes and predilections to grow into a balanced, fulfilled and distinctive personality.
Each boarder is supported by a named residential housemaster or housemistress, directly responsible for between eight and fifteen boarders within a larger residential staff team, led by the Deputy Head (Head of Boarding). There are two boarding houses, both in the centre of the school site, to which no pupil has access during school hours, and only boarders have access during boarding time.
Boarders are supported to develop their interests in a wide variety of activities and opportunities, and to develop their social skills and their independence. Boarders are encouraged and supported to be personally involved in planning with their housemaster or housemistress how they can best be cared for as a boarder at More House School.
The Pupil Voice forum is run entirely by pupils and comprises a representative from every form-group in the school, who meet regularly to discuss all aspects of the school's provision and organisation from the perspective of its pupils. There is also a Boarders' Council which meets weekly, and a Food Council representing day boys and boarders of all ages, which convenes termly to meet with the school's Catering Manager and Bursar.
Young Wellbeing Ambassadors, pupils with an interest in health and wellbeing, work with the Director of Wellbeing to help bring about change and influence the promotion of a happy and healthy school environment. This is open to pupils from Year 4 to Year 13.
Middle Years Representatives work with the Director of Pupil Progress, supporting fellow students to build their self-esteem and confidence, as well as involving themselves in ensuring that the school is a welcoming place for visitors.
Supporting Pupils’ Individual Needs
The school's admissions process is designed to establish a match between a prospective pupil's cognitive and learning profile, and the school's provision. Each pupil is assessed prior to entry for his learning difficulties, literacy needs, Speech and Language Therapy needs, Occupational Therapy needs and numeracy needs. This assessment informs an individual plan of appropriate targets which is then supported through the school's one-to-one mentoring programme for every pupil.
Every pupil is the subject of an Annual Review meeting in which he, his parents and a senior member of the teaching or therapeutic staff meet to assess progress made towards the targets, to evaluate the provision in place for him and to set new targets for the following twelve months. In the case of pupils whose placements are funded by their local authority, a representative of the local authority is also invited to attend, and the Education, Health and Care plan is reviewed to ensure it is fit for purpose.
A pupil's individual targets are addressed in small-group therapeutic lessons provided by the school's fully qualified and registered Speech and Language Therapists, Literacy Tutors, Occupational Therapists and Numeracy Tutors. These lessons take place in the Learning Development Centre (LDC). Such intervention is specific to each individual pupil according to his identified needs, and progress is monitored and reported on to parents in the same way that progress and attainment in academic subjects are reported.
This specialist provision forms part of the pupil's normal timetable so that no pupil misses any part of another lesson in order to receive support. Each pupil's weekly mentoring challenges are addressed in each of his academic subject lessons so that progress towards his identified targets is not just supported in the Learning Development Centre, but integrated throughout all aspects of his education.
The school's Cognitive Behaviour Therapist and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counsellor both provide short or longer-term one to one support for pupils identified through the Pastoral Provision Plus system. Both are fully qualified and registered, are subject to regular professional supervision, and are part of the therapeutic staff team.
A shared approach between the teaching, therapeutic and boarding staff teams is essential to the effective support and development of all pupils. These three teams meet together at least three times every year to share experience and approaches, to discuss future developments, and to complete shared training. Additionally, during term time, the teaching and therapy staffs meet twice-weekly before the start of the school day, joined by representatives from the boarding and medical surgery teams. The boarding staff team meets together at 4pm each school day, joined by one of the school nurses and often by representatives from the teaching and year-group staff team.