Monday, 3 March 2014

Mudskippers - a school update



Co educational 100 place (FTE) ASD Primary Free Special School
(3 -11 years)

Attainment on Entry P6 – NC L4/5.

Early intervention provision with a reintegration to mainstream target of up to 80% on or before transition to Year 7.

Multi disciplinary approaches including Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy and Family Support Services.

Financially secured by Hearts and Minds Challenge
Bringing positive change into the lives of those affected by autism’.

Mudskippers! What’s in a name?

In 2006 William Stillman, an award winning author and adult with Asperger syndrome wrote ‘being autistic…‘It is like being a fish out of water.’

A Mudskipper is a completely amphibious fish that can use their pectoral fins to walk on land. Mudskippers are quite active when out of water, feeding and interacting with one another but when compared with their fully aquatic peers, these fish present a range of peculiar behavioural and physiological adaptations to an amphibious lifestyle.
Einstein once said

everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid’

So a Mudskipper is a fish, which can live out of the water, and indeed climb trees. Many people appreciate the beauty of fish and are happy to enjoy them swimming in the water but in a world, which was made for mammals, breathing air and reproducing smaller versions then a fish has got to adapt and so we have a Mudskipper, a fish which is happiest swimming with others like him with somehow the understanding that he must if he is to succeed be able to walk on the land.

Our school will be based on the philosophy that we acknowledge and celebrate the difference of our pupils, we do not see them as being disabled in any way but rather, differently able. However, we know that to be successful they need to at least understand how to conform and socially interact and achieve in what is perceived to be a ‘normal’ world If they are too to survive and achieve all that they can.

A multi-discipinary approach will be taken, with the inclusion of therapies such as Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) as appropriate.

Access and Achieve

A synopsis of Provision:

Philosophically the Service will aim to: -

Develop services in consultation with the people we support, and their


Maintain an empowering culture and not one of dependency.

Continually improve what we do, by utilising feedback to inform


Recruit, train and retain the well-qualified and experienced staff.

Ensure service excellence and value for money.

Recognise, respect and promote the rights of the colleagues and pupils

we support.

We have an ambitious and deliverable Curriculum plan that is consistent with

the vision and pupil attainment on entry.

The school is in full agreement with and supports the values of the 2014

National Curriculum. Our curriculum will be designed and delivered in

such a way so as to support the ethos of a creative approach which will be

skilled based in order to promote learning and thinking skills, personal and

emotional skills, social skills as well as the transferable literacy, numeracy and

computing skills that are important as traditional subject knowledge.

An Outreach Team will support pupils and their families and have four main

areas of focus: -

Assessment provision within the school to support admission

procedures and multi disciplinary, targeted intervention.

Supporting transition procedures back into mainstream schools

working with identified provision.

Outreach services to support our mainstream feeder schools and host

secondary provision.

The inclusion of the Family Support Team that is currently in place

across Greater Manchester through Hearts and Minds Challenge.

The school will measure pupil performance accurately; set challenging targets

and clearly identify the achievement and progress of pupils.

Through the effective and evaluative use of assessment the school will

improve the standards and quality of pupils’ learning in all contexts demonstrating

what they know, understand and can do.

It will involve consideration of the whole pupil and include social attitudes and

behaviours. Young people will be involved throughout the process and where

possible be responsible for their own self-assessment.

Our practices and procedures will ensure that we: -

Form an accurate and rounded baseline of the strengths and barriers

to learning.

Identify individual learning styles with appropriate teaching approaches

to motivate and engage young people.

Select appropriate targets for an individual education programme.

Through on going teacher assessment monitor and track progress

over time.

Identify individual pathways of accreditation to reflect the young

persons aptitude, interests and strengths that will lead towards their

final destination.

Our monitoring and evaluation will occur regularly by: -

Regular reviews of progress using B squared and CASPA. Small

steps recognised assessment system. In order to evidence pupils are

making expected or better than expected progress n relation to pupils

with similar needs nationally.

Regular reviews of IEPs/BMPs/IBPs.

Reviewing a young person’s work and updating portfolios.

Initial Review and subsequent PEP, Interim (bi-annual) and Annual

Review meetings (including transition).

The sharing of IEPs and reports and opportunities to liaise with

parents/carers and significant others.

Accreditation and achievement throughout all stages and phases.

Moderation of progress at all levels and by all professionals involved

with the young person.

The particular needs of the pupils will be carefully considered and will be met


The Academy Trust shall have admission arrangements agreed with the

Department in accordance with Annex B of the funding agreement.

Placements at Mudskippers will be considered in the following ways:

Admission applications made by maintained schools, special schools

and Academies for short stay/part time access. In these instances, the

pupil may be dual registered with their referring school being the home

school. The length of these placements will depend on the pupil’s

needs and will be subject to review

Admission applications made by the Local Authority. Once again, the

student may be dual registered with an identified home school. The

length of these placements will depend on the pupil’s needs and will be

subject to review.

There may be instances where the pupil will need to be registered at

Mudskippers. This placement will normally be for pupils who require a

full time placement identified by the Statement of need and/or that do

not have a school place currently.

With all the above, parental agreement/preference will be addressed.

Mudskippers recognises parental right to express an alternative preference at

another school or Academy.

Getting the school open

If you live in the Manchester area and think that you would like to send your child to Mudskippers, please complete this survey.  

And please share it with any other families who you think may be interested.

Thank you!


More about the charity here: Hearts & Minds Challenge 

Social media here:

Twitter: @handmchallenge

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Google+: Hearts and Minds

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