New College Worcester (NCW) is a non-maintained residential special school and college for students aged 11 to 19 years who are blind or vision impaired. As well as vision impairment, some of our students have additional disabilities or difficulties, including hearing impairment, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, mild learning difficulties or a physical disability. We are not a Local Authority School so the large majority of placements are made by the Local authority in which the children and young people live. We also accept privately funded students from the UK and overseas.
All of our teaching staff, as well as being specialists in their subjects, are Qualified Teachers of the Vision Impaired (QTVI) and we also have a Qualified Teacher of the Hearing Impaired (QTHI). Residential Care staff have appropriate training and a qualified nurse oversees medical arrangements and support. Our staff group has many years of experience working with children and young people who are vision impaired.
We follow the National Curriculum and offer a wide range of subjects at GCSE level, and over 25 AS/A level subjects and some BTEC courses. We also offer other Entry Level courses which are more suitable for some of our students . Our students are taught in small groups, typically comprising 5 or 6 students. Alongside our academic provision, students are supported to develop their Independent Living Skills, Mobility, ICT skills and Braille skills via our Specialist VI Curriculum. We aim to provide our students with the skills to enable them to make an effective transition to Higher Education, Further Education or the workplace when they leave us.
Being residential, we have a ‘Waking Day Curriculum’ and are able to provide programmes for our students that go beyond the timetabled day. Students have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of activities after school and at weekends. As well as providing opportunities to enjoy and achieve, the extensive range of extra-curricular opportunities supports students to practise their skills for independence and is an excellent way to develop their self-confidence and self-esteem
Our Residential Care
Students in Years 7 to 11 live in residential houses, with students of both genders and different ages. Each House has a Senior Houseparent, together with their team, overseeing the well-being of the students.
In the Sixth Form, students mostly live in self-contained, single gender units of five students and a team of Residential Care Tutors to supervise and support them.
Within the residential accommodation, students learn and practise Independent Living Skills on a tailored programme, with the intention that, by the time they leave the Sixth Form at NCW, they are able to budget, shop, cook and undertake their laundry independently.
Answering Your Questions
How will the staff at NCW support my child?
Staff at NCW are very experienced and will ensure that the individual needs of each child are identified and that an appropriate support programme is in place to meet those needs. All members of staff are committed to ensuring children and young people get the support they need to meet their potential across all aspects of the work of NCW.
How will the curriculum be matched to my child’s needs?
As part of the individual programmes for each student, they have a number of assessments, across subjects and skills, and their curriculum is planned to ensure it best meets their identified needs. Being a small school, we are able to be flexible and adapt programmes as required
How will both you and I know how my child in doing and how will you help me to support my child’s learning?
Students have target grades and know what they need to do to achieve those targets. Each student has regular assessments and their progress is monitored carefully: if there are any concerns about how they are doing additional arrangements will be made to adjust their programme and/or support arrangements. A report is sent each term to parents to keep them informed of progress and achievement. Parents are also invited to Consultation Days and Annual Review meetings and are welcome to visit and speak to staff at other times. Form Tutors and Keyworkers email parents on a regular basis to keep them up-to-date with how things are going. We have an active Parents’ Forum and Parent’s Facebook page.
What support will there be for my child’s overall well-being?
All staff work to ensure the well-being of children and young people at NCW. As well as support in the College day from teaching staff and form tutors, care staff play an active role in the evenings and weekends ensuring students are well, happy and supported. There are many and varied activities during the evening and weekends for students to take part in, as well as many social events. We have a Nurse and a College Counsellor to support the medical needs and health and well-being of our students.
What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by NCW?
All of our staff are experienced in supporting children and young people who are blind or partially sighted. We also have a Qualified Teacher of the Hearing Impaired, a qualified College Counsellor and a Rehabilitation Officer. Our nurse is on duty throughout the day and a Sports Therapist also provides support for our students. We bring in Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Music Therapists and Educational Psychologists as required.
What training have the staff, supporting children with SEND, had or are having?
All teaching staff are either Qualified Teachers of the Visually Impaired (QTVI) or are currently undertaking the course, alongside their subject specialisms. All Care Staff have got a care qualification to at least Advanced Apprenticeship Level 3, or are completing the course. Some of our Learning Support Assistants have a Higher Level Teaching Assistant qualification and our nursing staff have medical qualifications. As well as formal qualifications, there is regular training for all staff in relation to all the many aspects of supporting children and young people fully and effectively
How will my child be included in activities outside the classroom, including trips?
We believe it is really important to extend education beyond the classroom and therefore encourage a wide variety of trips and other activities. We ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place, according to the individual needs of the students, to ensure all students are able to participate, whether these trips and activities are in the College day or during the evenings and weekends. In Key Stage 4 and the Sixth Form there are regular opportunities to participate in trips abroad, experiences which students greatly appreciate and enjoy as well as enabling valuable learning.
How accessible is the College environment?
As all of our students are vision impaired, the environment is adjusted to ensure it meets the needs of blind and partially sighted people. We also have equipment to assist people who are hearing impaired. We typically have students who are wheelchair users and they are able to access the rooms and facilities they need to.
How will NCW prepare and support my child to join the College, transfer to a new school or the next stage of education and life?
Children and young people who wish to come to NCW will normally come on a visit with their parents or carers and then this is followed by a residential assessment of two or three days. Students meet with a variety of staff during this period and information is gathered in an Assessment Report, identifying the needs of the individual student. If we feel we are able to meet the needs of the student, an offer letter is sent and, if the student and their family wishes to take up the offer of a place at NCW, the process of getting funding begins. Most of our students join us in September but some students come to us during the course of the academic year.
Each new student has a carefully planned Induction Programme to ensure that they are supported to settle in and get off to a good start.
A great deal of work and preparation is undertaken for transition, when a student is leaving us to go to another school, college or university. The development of Independent Living Skills forms a key element of transition work, alongside careers interviews, work experience and transition planning, including the Annual Review meetings
How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child will receive?
As well as the detail contained in the Education Health Care Plan, the pre- entry assessment begins the process of identifying support needs, together with further assessments when the student first arrives at NCW. Our pre-entry assessment helps us to identify their current support needs and their potential. On the basis of professional assessments, a support programme is identified but this is regularly monitored and adapted to ensure that the programme changes as the support needs of the child or young person changes.
How are parents involved in NCW? How can I be involved?
We recognise that most of our parents live some way away from NCW and see it as very important to develop a good relationship with parents and carers and to keep them informed about the progress, achievements and well-being of their child. There are regular emails from Form Tutors and Keyworkers, termly written reports and termly update letters from the Principal. As well as Parents’ Consultation events, parents often come into College at the start and/or end of terms, when they transport children to and from NCW. We have Bed and Breakfast accommodation at NCW for parents who wish to come and stay at weekends. We are always pleased to see or hear from parents and carers as we believe it is so important to work together with parents to ensure students are happy, healthy and achieving a wide range of successes.