Highgate Hill House School is located on the border of Devon and Cornwall and caters for children with special educational needs. It was founded by Sir Peter Birkett in response to a recognised need for an educational establishment in the area specialising in SEN. More information about the school can be found in the PDF attachment to this post.

Alongside the curriculum-based lessons taught within the classroom and a range of therapeutic interventions designed to help each child achieve their full potential, Highgate Hill House School offers a comprehensive programme of extracurricular activities.

A definition of extracurricular activity can be found in the embedded video.

Outdoor Learning Opportunities

There are multiple outdoor learning opportunities accessible to the children attending Highgate Hill House School, which help pupils to learn new skills and develop their confidence in a natural environment. The infographic attachment outlines some of the key benefits of outdoor learning.

The school has many nearby natural resources, allowing pupils to adventure off school grounds with a focus on relationship and team building, problem solving, resilience, independence, confidence and creativity.

Just a few miles from the school students can explore Widemouth Bay, which is teeming with marine life and great for rock pooling and surfing. The Tamar Lakes are just a little further away, offering opportunities for a variety of watersports including fishing, canoeing, windsurfing and fishing, as well as boasting a nature reserve, play area, and space for informal outdoor games.

There are also organised trips to Dartmoor, where activities such as orienteering, mountain biking, geocaching and bouldering take place.

Horticulture and Animals

Learning to care for living things helps develop empathy and a variety of social skills. Students at Highgate Hill House School are encouraged to look after and work with a variety of animals, including regular visits from Rosie Muffet the Shetland pony.

Caring for animals is not only a fun activity, but has also been shown to help with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and stress. Children who spend time with animals will naturally get more physical exercise and improve their fitness levels.

The school also has its own kitchen garden in progress, where pupils will be able to participate in growing vegetables and fruit which they will later be able to eat, as part of the school’s ‘field to plate’ project. This will facilitate a range of learning in areas such as science and nutrition, help students to develop communication skills through group work, and enable them to explore new skills in areas such as design.

Full-Time Programmes

The full-time learning programmes at Highgate Hill House School follow the National Curriculum, but in a way that can be tailored for each pupil to meet their individual learning needs. The full-time programme is based on classroom learning and runs from 9am to 3pm daily throughout the week.

Each day includes a literacy session, which is designed to be dyslexia-friendly and help all children to improve their reading, writing and communication skills. There is also a daily lesson in numeracy to improve mathematics skills, with full support provided to those that need additional help.

The holistic approach of Highgate Hill House School helps students to develop their emotional and social aspects of learning alongside traditional curriculum-based learning.

There are also two further programmes that offer similar learning experiences for pupils who only attend the school part-time.