Maples is a residential provision based on site at St Bernard’s School providing an educational 24 hour curriculum as identified on the student’s Education, Health & Care Plan, Monday to Friday during term time. At weekends and in holidays, Maples provides short breaks to young people, who are also on the school roll, following the identification of an assessed need by social care.
The accommodation in Maples comprises of six bedrooms - five of the bedrooms have ‘ rise and fall’ beds for hoist access. Bedroom Two is also equipped with a ceiling track hoist. The lounge is equipped with comfy sofas, a television/DVD and a ‘Xbox Kinect’. There is also a kitchen where staff and the students are able to prepare drinks, meals and snacks and a dining room where meals can be taken together in a social context. The bathroom has a ‘rise and fall’ Jacuzzi bath, changing bench and a ceiling track hoist and there is also have a separate wet room with toilet and shower.
There is a phone that is able to receive incoming and outgoing calls which can be used hands free if needed and is accessible to young people.
Maples has a student representative on the school council. This young person’s role is to prepare for council meetings and discussions and express the viewpoints of the other Maples students, as well as participating in the school development process. At Maples student meetings are held each term (six a year), where students are able to express their choices for equipment/outings/décor / plan for social events and also to take requests to the school council.
Staff at Maples are very skilled in supporting effective communication at all levels which includes the use of augmentative forms of communication such symbols, signing and communication ipads.
An independent advocate visits the setting each half term to ascertain the wishes and feelings of the students and be a point of contact if they wish to discuss anything. In addition there is an appointed Academy Advocate who makes an un-announced visit every six weeks. Part of the remit for this visit is for young people to show him/her round and communicate any issues/ concerns that they may have.
Maples offers a curriculum that extends and generalizes the learning and achievements of the students at either end of the school day. Activities are focused on building skills to support independence, self-advocacy and communication in a range of contexts and environments. These are linked to the students ECHLPs (Education, Care, Health and Learning Plans). Staff from both school and Maples work very closely together to in order to effectively support achievement towards these outcomes.
Parents and carers are also involved in supporting learning and where appropriate, ‘homework’ may be offered in order to further develop skills being generalized in different environments.
Systematic Instruction is a teaching and learning approach that is used both in school and Maples. The ethos of this ‘places a positive expectation of people’s potential to achieve when we have taken notice of the tasks and environments that people are interested in’. (Systematic Instruction Handbook). Systematic Instruction supports the students to be as independent as possible by breaking tasks down into small steps and gradually removing the reliance on adult prompts and support. This then increases the young person’s opportunities to develop and implement learned skills in a range of contexts. Examples of how this may be used include making a sandwich or simple snack, placing dirty washing in the washing machine and switching on, vacuuming a given area.
Regular weekly activities may include visits within the community, life skills including cooking where the students prepare their own meals, craft activities, swimming and learning how to use free time positively and safely.
Maples has a team of 11 staff consisting of a Senior Residential Care Officer and ten Residential Care Officers.
Each day there are at least two Residential Care Officers working in the morning and evening. There are always two waking night staff.
Staff in both school and Maples have access to the same training in order to carry out their roles effectively, safely and with maximum positive impact. This training is planned and linked to the Federation and Maples Development Plans.
If you require further information regarding Maples, please contact Suzanne Hogg, Principal Education Care Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tonya Stokes, Head of School, St Bernard’s (email@example.com)