Vranch House is a centre for the treatment of over 2,000 outpatients with physical difficulties, a provider of various therapies throughout Devon and an independent Day School in Exeter for children with significant physical difficulties.

Find out more...

Last updated: 12/06/2024

Head of Education's Report 2016


Vranch House School Profile 2016


1.       What have been the significant changes this year?

School Management

Class changes

Timetable changes

A Vranch House VIEW Curriculum

Extension to the Core Offer


1a. School Management

My sincere thanks go to Kate Moss, Head of Therapies, for doing such an excellent job as acting Head of Education in-between the departure of Pearl Barnes and my joining Vranch House.  Her knowledge, experience and support have been invaluable to me in getting to know all the pupils, parents and staff of Vranch House.

For those of you I have yet to meet, I thought it would be appropriate to give you a synopsis of my experience in education to date.  I started my teaching career as a Year 1 teacher at St Michael's Primary School in Reading, before moving onto Brookfields Special School (also in Reading), where I trained to become a Qualified Teacher of the Impaired (QTVI). Since then I have worked for Plymouth City Council as an Advisory Teacher for the Visually Impaired and have spent the last 5 years at the WESC Foundation in Exeter. During this time, I held various management roles including most recently that of Deputy Director of Education.

Since joining the management team at Vranch House I have been working hard to maintain all the excellent practice I have observed so far and in the rest of this report I will give details of just some of the areas of work I have embarked upon with my new colleagues since September 2016.


1b. Class Changes

As is periodically required, there have been changes to teachers and support staff in each of our three classes.  As of Jan 2017, we have also opened a bespoke Nursery class here at Vranch House.  Each class team is led by designated teacher (or Nursery Nurse in the case of our Nursery) and comprises a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA), a Therapy & Learning Assistant (TLA) and a Teaching Assistant (TA), as well as part-time support from our Meal Time Assistants (MTA).   Where a pupil has particularly acute medical needs, these teams may also have a Health Care Assistant (HCA). HLTAs are able to deputise for the class teacher and will hold at least a Level 3 qualifications.  The TLAs work closely with the Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy staff allocated to Vranch House to ensure delivery of best practice in classes regarding postural management, positioning, exercise programs and use of specialist equipment to promote physical development.

The current staff allocation for each class is as follows:


Class 1

Class 2

Class 3

Nursery Nurse:

Jackie Beckford

(Plus 2 x Multi-Sensory Impairment Workers (Virgin Care) as 1:1 support with 2 pupils in this class)

Teacher: Chloe Bond

HLTA: Chelsea Armstrong

TLA: Debbie Prout

TA: Sandra Selley

MTAs: Michala Smith, Adrian Jackson, Karen Finn and Nicola Roy

Teacher: Zoe Letten (Maternity Cover for Michelle Tomlinson)

HLTA:  Ronnie Lye

TLA: Helen House

MCA: Tammy Brown

MTAs: Lorraine Chapman, Teresa Sprague, Kay Dennis

Teacher: Dee Bradshaw

HLTA: Sam Woodcock

TLA: Julie Lobb

TA: Juliet Skillern

MTAs: Charlotte Davey, Laura Madden, Kerstie Davies, Mel Lynch, Nicola Roy

Number of pupils: 4

Number of pupils: 6

Number of pupils: 8

Number of pupils: 6

NB: All staff allocations and pupil numbers were correct at time of printing and may be subject to change.


1c. Timetable changes

Through discussion with the teachers and support staff, it was decided that 5 formal teaching inputs per day was no longer appropriate.  Our pupils require ample time to transition between lessons, assist in personal hygiene and eating routines and process new information; the 5-session day did not allow sufficient time for many of these essential functions to be performed and still provide effective learning in every session.  The number of formal inputs per day has been reduced on class timetables to 3, which allows the time required for postural management and all other mentioned routines to take place at the pace dictated by the needs and abilities of each individual pupil.


1d. A Vranch House VIEW Curriculum

In order to achieve the wide spectrum of aims and aspirations for our pupils at Vranch House, as set out in our ‘Curriculum Policy', we have begun to develop the ‘Vranch Individual Education and Wellbeing (VIEW)' Curriculum.  It is important to note that the staff at Vranch House are working hard to depart from a divided model of Education versus Therapy and subject-driven methods of teaching. We have reviewed at length the needs profile of our pupil cohorts and curriculum models used by other leading schools, we have defined three key ‘domains' and seven areas of development that replace traditional ‘subjects'.  A broad outline of this curriculum can be seen below:


Vranch Individual Education and Wellbeing (VIEW) Curriculum


Communication & Cognition


Physical Development


Experience and Expression

Areas of development

Language & Social communication

-   Non-verbal skills

-   Language for different purposes

-   Cause & effect

-   Split attention

-   Turn taking, eye contact

-   Initiating ‘conversation' with peers

-   Maintaining a dialogue

Understanding and using language

  • Receptive (understanding)

-        Phonology

-        Morphology

-        Syntax

-        Semantics

-        Pragmatics

  • Expressive (using)

-        As receptive, with ‘usage' imperative



-   Impulse control

-   Emotional control

-   Flexible thinking

-   Working memory

-   Self-monitoring/


-   Planning and prioritising

-   Task initiation

-   Organisation

-   Communication aids / VOCA

Physical wellbeing

-   Body schema/map

-   Weight bearing

-   Changing position

-   Physiotherapy and OT plans

-   Core strength

-   Recognising and expressing pain/discomfort

-   Endurance and dexterity

-   Personal hygiene routines

Working towards independence

-   Orientation and mobility

-   Developing modes of movement

-   Engaging with safe and unfamiliar places

-   Concept of money

-   Overcoming obstacles

Integrating the senses

-   Proprioception

-   Cause & effect

-   Residual Vision

-   Residual hearing

-   MSI

-   Tactile and Haptic

-   Smell & Taste

-   Sensory Integration

-   De-sensitising

Exploration and creativity

-   Cooking

-   Movement to music

-   Making music

-   Exploring art media and methods

-   Craftwork

-   Horticulture


For further details on the VIEW Curriculum and how this relates to the Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) and National Curriculum, please see our Curriculum Policy at http://www.vranchhouse.org/about-vranch-house/downloads/curriculum-policies/ or contact me directly for a hard copy of this policy.


1e. Extension to the Core Offer

With the 75% of pupils at Vranch House having a visual impairment, and at least half of these pupils having a Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI), it was agreed at Management Team level to appoint a 0.5FTE Visual Impairment Specialist Support Assistant (VISSA) to assess and meet these needs.  The VISSA, Jackie Beckford, is working directly under myself, as I am also a Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired (QTVI), and has been working closely with teachers and therapists.  This new capacity to meet visual impairment needs of our pupils represents a new area of enhanced provision in addition to the Core Offer of Vranch House School.

2.       Outcomes for pupils at Vranch House School

Progress and Achievement of our pupils

Discontinuation of the P Levels form of assessment

2a. Progress and Achievement of our pupils

As part of the process for drawing up the School Development Plan (see point 3 below), I undertook a scrutiny of the setting of targets for Annual Review and the achievement against these targets, in the academic year 2015-2016.  All such targets can be assessed as having been

  • Achieved' - all areas of the target have been met
  • Partially Achieved' - some but not all aspects of the target have been met
  • Not Achieved' - no aspects of the target have been met

Below are three graphical representations of the percentages of targets achieved, or otherwise, for each Key Stage cohort for the academic year 2015-2016:





What this represents on real terms is that for the last academic year, across all key stages, at least  one third of all targets set were ‘Achieved' by our pupils, between one third and a half of all targets set were ‘Partially Achieved' and, on average, less than 1 in 5 targets were ‘Not Achieved'.

Those targets ‘Partially Achieved' were in-part due to mild to moderate changes in individual pupil needs and a some disruption in one key therapy that academic year.  Another contributing factor to this seemingly high rate of ‘Partially Achieved' targets was also in-part due to targets being phrased in such a way that they could not be met within the time frames stated e.g. the target set addressed more than one-year of potential development and was not sufficiently broken down to state the ‘small step' in this development that was achievable in one academic year.  Of those targets ‘Not Achieved', some were due to recurrent or chronic pupil illness or the unforeseen need for some pupils to have medical intervention that rendered them unable to meet the specifics of the target.

It is my goal for the forthcoming academic year to increase the number of targets ‘Achieved' and reduce the number of ‘Partially Achieved' targets by working closely with the teachers to ensure all targets set are observable, focussed in term of progress anticipated and realistically achievable within an academic year (or with few exceptions, by the end of a Key Stage).  I will also be working with staff to reduce the number of ‘Not Achieved' targets by ensuring outcomes are not critically dependent on a pupil being in full health for the whole academic year.  I have phrased these goals as action points in the School Development Plan, see item 3. Below.


2b. Discontinuation of the P Levels form of assessment

In 2016, the Standards & Testing Agency recommended that schools discontinue their use of the P-Levels for assessing the progress of pupils who are working below the standard of the national curriculum tests (Rochford 2016).  The seven ‘Aspects of Cognition and Learning' for assessment for pupils with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties (SLD/PMLD) are met by the VIEW Curriculum as detailed in the matrix below:



VIEW Curriculum

Language & Social communication

Understanding and using language


Physical wellbeing

Working towards independence

Integrating the senses

Exploration and creativity

Aspects of Cognition & Learning



























































For further details on the VIEW Curriculum please see our Curriculum Policy at http://www.vranchhouse.org/about-vranch-house/downloads/curriculum-policies/ or contact me directly for a hard copy. 

For further details of the final report from the Rochford Review of P Levels see: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/561411/ Rochford_Review_Report_v5_PFDA.pdf


3.       School Development Plan

The School Development Plan (SDP) is written by the Head of Education each year after evaluating the successes, challenges and areas for improvement within the school and agreed with the Management Team. I have completed the plan for 2016/17 and this plan in divided into 5 key areas:

A.            Effectiveness of Leadership & Management

B.            Quality of Teaching, Learning & Assessment

C.            Personal Development, Behaviour & Welfare

D.            Effectiveness of EY Provision

E.            Outcomes for Pupils


The main points of focus for this academic year under these areas are as follows:


Area for development

Action for development

A.      Effectiveness of Leadership & Management

A1. Establish a new cycle of Observation of T&L and Performance Management

A2. Review Induction programme for new staff

A3. Issue Parent, Pupil and Staff satisfaction questionnaires

B.      Quality of Teaching, Learning & Assessment

B1. Sufficient challenge for pupils to be evident in planning and delivery

B2. Increase emphasis of pupil individual learning goals across a day

B3. Improve use of Augmented & Alternative Communication (AAC) across the school

C.    Personal Development, Behaviour & Welfare

C1. Improve Parental engagement with pupil education at Vranch House

C2. Reinstate a forum to gather Pupil Voice

D.   Effectiveness of Early Years Provision

D1. Simplify evidence capture and collation against the EYFS

E.       Outcomes for Pupils


E1 Sufficient challenge for pupils to be evident in planning and delivery

E2. EHCP Outcomes to state what the child will be able to achieve by next AR or end of KS

E3. Increased parental and, where appropriate, pupil engagement in the composing of Outcomes


The questionnaire for parents will be issued in February 2017 and will broadly follow the Ofsted format, as per previous surveys, to gauge parental satisfaction with all we deliver here under the Core Offer at Vranch House School.