“The staff, Friends of Downs View, volunteers and governors provide such a welcoming, inclusive and fun place for our children to thrive”.
Downs View provides specialist education to children with severe learning difficulties, profound / multiple learning difficulties, and autism in association with severe learning difficulties. The pupils are aged from 4 to 16 years old at our Downs View Woodingdean site and from 16 to 19 years old at the Downs View Link College. Following a merge with the Cedar Centre in September 2018, this site became Downs View Hollingdean. This site will close over the Autumn term and all pupils will be moved to the school site at Woodingdean. Downs View Life Skills college based in Patcham provides college education for SLD students aged 19 – 25. We provide SEN outreach services to colleagues in mainstream education.
We recognise that our very special children have individual educational needs and that success in education is strongly affected, not only by our activities but by their lives with their parents and carers. We help and support parents and carers in their busy lives outside the “school gates” through support groups and parent/carer information sessions. We ensure we communicate openly, effectively and regularly with parents and carers as well as those who work with us from other agencies. We try to help parents/carers, always recognising that home life provides a unique insight into a child or young person’s behaviour which needs to be at the heart of a child or young person’s individual educational programme. Additionally, we may use these insights in supporting and improving the approaches we adopt in teaching. We work holistically with all the children and young people offering a consistently highly regarded quality of teaching and curriculum.
We have been judged “outstanding” by Ofsted in February 2020 and constantly challenge ourselves to continue to improve our performance. It was for this reason that we applied for and were successful in attaining Specialist Schools Status for our work on communication and interaction, key abilities for any young person to be able to grow and learn in their community. Our children’s parents and carers, the teaching and support staff, volunteers and governors are always striving to improve the outcomes for our pupils. We always look for ways to celebrate a child or young person’s achievements recognising that acknowledging good work and behaviour leads to growth. We can only do this if a child experiences fun and enjoyment in the context of a safe, supportive and stimulating environment. We expect high standards of behaviour. All staff promote an agreed and consistent approach to behaviour support based upon an understanding of the child or young person’s unique needs and the needs of fellow students. We encourage all children and staff to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others and show respect for all cultures and beliefs.
We hope in reading this you will understand that we believe that, for these unique children and young people, a holistic approach is needed to ensure best outcomes for the children and young people. We have a wide variety of professionals and therapists associated with the organisation who work in the classrooms and with key staff, so that individual requirements are incorporated into the educational programme and key targets. A broad range of therapists are supporting our work on site (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and music therapists) and other professionals (CAMHS, school nurses, paediatricians).
We work closely with the disability team and adult Social Care to ensure that all aspects of a child’s situation are reviewed as part of their Education Health Care Plan reviews. Brighton and Hove City is fortunate to have several organisations focused on disability and work closely with AMAZE and the Parent Carer Council for example.