Highgate Hill House School is a Special Educational Needs (SEN) school situated on the border of Cornwall and Devon. The school provides education for children aged between five and 16 years who have learning difficulties or disabilities, or other types of special educational needs. More information about learning difficulties can be found in the PDF attachment to this post.

The school was established by Sir Peter Birkett in 2016, drawing on over 35 years of experience in the educational sector and working in partnership with the Head-teacher and Chair of Governors. The curriculum at Highgate Hill House School provides a 360-degree learning experience designed to meet the needs of children with learning difficulties or disabilities.

Adapting the National Curriculum

The curriculum of the school is an adapted version of the UK National Curriculum, altered to cater for special educational needs. An appropriate amount of classroom time is dedicated to teaching the core curriculum, with additional subjects tailored to meet the needs of the individual children.

Teachers are supported by teaching assistants and support staff to provide more one-to-one attention in the classroom setting. All students in the school are able to access intervention programmes for both numeracy and phonics if required, as well as individual teaching time, small group teaching time, and whole class lessons.

Individual Learning Plans

Each pupil at the school has a personalised individual learning plan, which identifies educational targets that have been set by a team which includes classroom teachers, parents, other professionals, and the pupil themselves. These highly personalised plans help to ensure that each child is being challenged in the right areas and rewarded for progress appropriately to their abilities.

The reward system recognises and praises development in emotional and social learning as well as academic achievement. By praising small steps along the way, children are encouraged to work towards their goals. Each individual learning plan includes a combination of academic and therapeutic interventions.

Therapeutic Interventions

Highgate Hill House School has in-house therapists who are on hand to offer a range of therapeutic interventions to help each child achieve his or her potential. A definition of therapeutic interventions in an educational setting can be found in the embedded short video.

The range of therapies includes play therapy, where children are helped in the alleviation of symptoms of a range of emotional and psychological conditions through specially designed play techniques and creative arts.

Occupational therapy includes programmes to help children work on issues such as developing independence, practicing fine motor skills, self-care, and dealing with overwhelming situations. A sensory-rich environment is provided for occupational therapy sessions to facilitate changes in reactions.

Speech and language therapists are also available for pupils who requires additional support with communication, helping children access their tailored curriculum and achieve their potential.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Extra-curricular activities help children develop new skills and create unique opportunities for social interactions. The forest schools approach of Highgate Hill House focuses on harnessing the therapeutic effects of spending time in the natural environment.

Regular activities include watersports on the nearby Tamar Lakes, trips to the coast at Widemouth Bay, orienteering, mountain biking and other outdoor pursuits on Dartmoor, and opportunities to interact with and care for plants and animals in a safe outdoor environment.

These include helping to build a kitchen garden and meeting Rosie Muffet, the Shetland pony who regularly visits the school.

The infographic attachment explores the five key values that underpin the work of Highgate Hill House School.