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.

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Last updated: 26/05/2024

Head of Education Report 2018


Vranch House School Profile 2018


1.       What have been the significant changes this year?

Ofsted Inspection 2018

Class and Staff changes

Further development of the VIEW Curriculum

The introduction of Parent contributions to Earwig ‘Timelines'

1a. Ofsted Inspection 2018

June 2018 saw the much-awaited return of Ofsted to Vranch House for a full Inspection of our Education provision.  Since the last ‘Good' overall Inspection report issued in July 2015, the school has changed in a number of significant ways:

  • we have grown in pupil numbers and range of provision. We now comprise three distinct areas of provision - Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Primary (5 to 11 years) and Secondary (11 to 18yrs).
  • the National Curriculum has been replaced by our bespoke, pupil-centred ‘Vranch House Individual Education & Wellbeing (VIEW) curriculum' and ASDAN programmes of work as the mainstay of the education we provide.
  • we discontinued the use of Special Educational Needs (SEN) ‘P-scales' of assessment for pupils working below National Curriculum levels of attainment. The VIEW curriculum cache within Earwig is now also our assessment criteria.
  • the range of needs of the pupil on roll has increased in diversity and complexity since our last inspection.

The Management Team at Vranch House took some considered risks by making these changes, so this most recent inspection was an ‘acid-test' of all we have developed and implemented in order to best serve the needs of a growing pupil population and their families.  I am doubly delighted therefore to report that the overall judgment of the June 2018 Ofsted Inspection was that the Educational provision at Vranch House is ‘Outstanding' in all areas.  You can access the full report via the Vranch House website (http://www.vranchhouse.org/about-vranch-house/reports/). 

The main themes and points of particular note for me, as Head of Education, about this Ofsted Judgement are:

  • The Inspector praised the VIEW curriculum and the way this flowed as a common thread through all that she observed at Vranch House. Though this curriculum may have been my idea initially, it has grown and worked so fantastically well due to the hard work and constant review by the multi professional team here at Vranch House.
  • The Inspector could not find fault in our use of Earwig Academic in the way it captures evidence of pupil progress and produces assessment data, but also as a valuable communication conduit between staff and parents about the children at Vranch House.
  • No matter the role or specialism of the staff the Inspector spoke to, they could all talk about the VIEW curriculum and Earwig with confidence and genuine enthusiasm.
  • All parents who spoke to the Inspector were highly complementary of the care and education their children received at Vranch House.

During the Inspection Teachers, Therapists and Support Staff all carried on with their day to day roles as they would have on any other day; there was no contrivance and no highly polished ‘set-pieces' were played-out for the benefit of the Inspector.  The Inspector saw Vranch House pupils and staff at their daily operational ‘normal'; that what has become our operational ‘norm' has been graded ‘Outstanding' is for me the most gratifying point of all.

I am indebted to the Chief Executive and the Head of Therapies for their unwavering support and to all Vranch House staff who have had an active hand in making the changes I have implemented an unqualified, ‘Outstanding' success.

1b. Class Changes

As there has once again been a growth in number of classes and pupil numbers, there have been further changes to teachers and support staff in each of our classes this year. Each class still has a high staff to pupil ratio, with each class team being led by a designated teacher with experience and knowledge of Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND).  A class typically comprises a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) and at least one 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 Special Watch Teaching Assistant. HLTAs are able to cover individual sessions in cover for the class teachers and will hold at least a Level 3 qualifications. After careful consideration, the Management Team decided to convert the former ‘Learning Therapy Assistants' (LTAs) to HLTAs, with all class-based staff now working ever closer with the Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy staff allocated to Vranch House.  This allocation of support staff still ensures the continued delivery of best practice in classes regarding postural management, positioning, exercise programs and use of specialist equipment used to promote physical development.

The current staff allocation for each class is as follows:


Class 1

Class 2

EYFS Practitioners: Chelsea Armstrong (P/T), Denise Hutchinson (P/T)

TA: Adrian Jackson

TA: Adelle Gale


Teacher: Dee Bradshaw

HLTA: Ronnie Lye

TA: Sandra Selley, Kerstie Davies (P/T)


Teacher: Chloe Bond

HLTA: Debbie Prout

TA: Laura Madden

MTAs: Kay Dennis, Karen Finn,  Victoria Kerr

MTAs: Michala Smith, Meggan Frost, Kerry White, Michelle Bennett

Number of pupils: 5

Number of pupils: 5

Number of pupils: 7



Class 3

Class 4


Teacher: Evelyn Gawen

HLTA: Helen House

TA: Teresa Sprague

Special Watch TA: Lauren Millington

MCA: Tammy Brown

MTAs: Mel Lynch (P/T), Kirsty Davies (P/T), Elanor Sheriff, Cassie Hemens

Teacher: Zoe Gilbert

HLTA: Sam Woodcock

TA: Charlotte Davey, Rebecca Blaker

MTAs: Coleen Kelly, Sheryl Hopkin,

Kimberley Morgan

Number of pupils: 6

Number of pupils: 6

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

1c. Development of the 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 continued to develop the ‘Vranch Individual Education and Wellbeing (VIEW)' Curriculum.  Recent developments include the completion of new gross and fine motor skills programs, from an OT perspective, that have now been added to the Physical Development domain within the VIEW curriculum.

With the current focus on mental health and wellbeing from the DfE and a compulsory requirement for schools to deliver Relationship & Sex Education (RSE) from Sept 2019, I formed a ‘Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE)' group this year to determine whether the VIEW curriculum was already covered these areas.  After a period of review and many discussions, it was determined by the working group that the present domains and areas of learning already in the VIEW curriculum covered the vast majority of the new PSHE and RSE requirements.  The Communication & Cognition and Physical Development domains now have some additional objectives to include PSHE and RSE related topics, with objectives across all domains being clearly highlighted within the Earwig Assessment VIEW framework with the prefix ‘PSHE'.

The Assessment scale used with the VIEW curriculum within Earwig has now been further sub-divided, from a three-point scale to a five point scale, and mapped against the two main assessment models used in specialist education settings nationally.  This has proven to give a far clearer picture of pupil's often small-step progress and will help enormously when we come to use Earwig to produce data for statistical analysis. This move also ensures Vranch House assessment scales tally with other nationally used assessment criteria so that we can continue to work harmoniously with other settings when transitioning pupils.

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.

1d. The introduction of Parent contributions to Earwig ‘Timelines'

Since January 2017 we have been using Earwig Academic for capturing evidence of learning for our pupils against our VIEW curriculum. The Earwig system also provides a secure login for every parent, so that they can see each new record as it is made.  Parents and carers have given very positive feedback so far about their experience of accessing their child's timeline in Earwig, not least of all how it makes after-school chats between parent and child much more relevant and helps to encourage shared best practices between home and school.

We have been working with Earwig Academic to enable parents and carers to capture evidence of development and ‘wow!' moments a home.  I am excited to say that as of February 2019, all parents and carers will be able to upload photographs and videos, with accompanying captions and comments, directly onto their child's Timeline.  Once uploaded, class teachers will then have the ability to use the EYFS criteria or our own VIEW curriculum within Earwig assessment module to quantify the captured evidence and include this in the child's ongoing assessment against their Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) Outcomes. 

This development represents a powerful opportunity for parents and carers to contribute observations and comments around their child, in the same format Vranch House staff use.  In this way, parents and carers will be adding invaluable insights and evidence of learning to each pupil's Timeline and helping us to build an improved whole-child view of development at school and in the home.

2.       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 am pleased to say that the vast majority of this year's plan is on track for 2018/19 and the main points of focus for our continual development this academic year are as follows:

Area for development

Action for development

A.      Effectiveness of Leadership & Management

A1. Improve the admissions process for new pupils across the school

A2. Develop capacity at a middle management level

B.      Quality of Teaching, Learning & Assessment

B1. Establish numerical VIEW curriculum baseline for all pupils

B2. Earwig Academic to be effectively used to produce statistics on pupil progress against the VIEW Curriculum

B3. Establish internal moderation of VIEW assessment and ASDAN programmes

B4. Improve links with other Specialist Education providers

C.    Personal Development, Behaviour & Welfare

C1. Embed ‘Normal Magic' into working practice at VH


D.   Effectiveness of Early Years Provision

D1. Improve staff contribution to Education Health and Care Plan EHCP composition and review

E.       Outcomes for Pupils


E1. Improve admissions to EYFS Provision

E2. Earwig Academic to be used to capture EYFS progress


The satisfaction questionnaire for parents will be issued once again in February 2019, as per the previous year's surveys, to gauge parental satisfaction with all we deliver here under the Core Offer at Vranch House School.  The results of this survey will be published on the school notice board in Reception at Vranch House and I also hope to publish these on the Vranch House website in the near future.