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: 27/05/2024

Head of Education's Report 2020

Vranch House School Profile 2019-20


1.       What have been the significant changes this year?

a)       Coronavirus (COVID - 19) pandemic

b)      Class and Staff changes

c)       Development of the VIEW and EYFS Curriculum within Earwig 


1a. Coronavirus pandemic (COVID - 19)

This academic year started as it always does, with a busy Autumn term and our welcoming new staff and pupils. From February 2020 onward, the speed of spread and severity of the Coronavirus (COVID - 19) pandemic created an extremely difficult time for the school, all of our pupils and their families this year. The Management Team took the decision to remain open throughout the national lockdown in March 2020, despite the majority of other Special settings in Devon closing their doors to pupils and staff.  Vranch House School maintained the full Core Offer to the reduced number of pupils who continued to attend the school, whilst simultaneously creating and delivering (via our online platform, Earwig Academic) key education and therapy inputs to those isolating with their families.  The feedback we received from our families in receipt of this ‘home-schooling' and support, particularly those contending with working from home and ‘home-schooling' multiple children at the same time, was resoundingly positive.

Each day saw many of our education and therapy staff going the extra mile (at times literally) to deliver teaching resources and therapy equipment to all those in isolation, wherever they lived in Devon.  The mammoth effort put in every day by all staff in that difficult period, and the months that followed, truly saw Vranch House ‘Making a difference' to the children and families we serve.


1b. Class Changes

Since the last annual report, Vranch House School has continued to buck the local trend in specialist education and has continued to grow in number of classes and pupils on roll; there have been corresponding 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).  Support staff teams typically comprise 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 qualification.  This allocation of support staff continues to ensure the delivery of best practice and high-quality education in all classes.

The current planned staff allocation for each class is as follows:



Class 1

Class 2

Nursery Nurse: Adele Gale

HLTA: Ronnie Lye (P/T)

TA: Victoria Priddle

TA: Kerstie Davies (P/T),

MTAs: Michelle Bennett, Jasmine Wright

EYFS Practitioner: Chelsea Armstrong

HLTA: Sam Woodcock

TA: Adrian Jackson

MTAs: Samantha Mount , Helen McDonald

Teacher: Dee Bradshaw

HLTA: Helen House

TA: Sandra Selley,

MTAs: Michala Smith, Adelle Jeffs,

Teacher: Chloe Bond

HLTA: Debbie Prout

TA: Kimberley Morgan,

MTAs: Kay Dennis

No.. of pupils: 5

No. .of pupils: 5

No. of pupils: 4

No. of pupils: 7


Class 3

Class 4

Class 5

Teacher: Evelyn Gawen

(Acting) HLTA: Laura Madden

TA: Teresa Sprague

Special Watch TAs: Kerry White, Ricardo Pacheco

MTAs: Victoria Kerr, Coleen Kelly, Mel Lynch (P/T), Kerstie Davies (P/T),

Teacher: Zoe Gilbert

(Acting) HLTA: Lauren Millington

AAC TA: Cathy Morris

MTA: Rachel Hine


HLTA: Becky Blaker

TA: Charlotte Davey

TA: Rhiannon Hegarty

1:1 TA: Charlotte Watkinson

MTAs: Kim Rushton, Rachel Hine

No. of pupils: 6

No. of pupils: 4

No. of pupils: 5

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


1c. Development of the VIEW and EYFS Curriculum within Earwig

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. The domain ‘Experience & Expression' has been expanded with over 60 new objective level statements to include more small-step achievements in the development of hearing, vision, tactile awareness/skill, sensory integration and creativity.

The assessment tools previously used for the national Early Years Foundation stage (EYFS) have been the subject of extensive review between the Head of Education and the EYFS practitioners. There were a number of statements in the EYFS target cache within Earwig that were simply too advanced for many of our pupils to achieve by the end of the EYFS and so end-of-EYFS reports would often need to state a rather defeatist ‘working towards Early Learning Goal (ELG)' as an outcome.  The Head of Education re-structured the EYFS ‘Areas of Learning' target caches and re-developed the assessment tool for these EYFS objectives.  This now matches the structure used in assessing progress against the VIEW curriculum.

This significant development in our use of Earwig as our assessment tool will give a far clearer picture of pupil's often small-step progress against the EYFS and will give a more pupil-centred picture of development beyond stating simply ‘working towards' the ELGs. This move also ensures pupil assessment between the VIEW curriculum and the EYFS will be more fluid, whilst still tallying 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.


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. The HoE used the feedback from the Pilot Ofsted Inspection in July 2019 to revise the School Development plan to reflect the new key judgement headings from the new Ofsted EIF for 2019/20.  The Areas for Development and our continual improvement the coming academic year are as follows:

Area for development

Action for development

A.      Quality of Education

A1.Review ‘Education at Vranch House' under the Core Offer

A2. Evaluate validity of numerical data analysis of VIEW curriculum generated by Earwig

B.      Behaviour and Attitudes

B1.Promote pupil Mental Health in working practice at Vranch House

C.    Personal Development

C1.Develop multi-agency working around careers and adult living Post 16 and Post 19

C2.Review intimate care policy and protocols

D.   Leadership[ and Management

D1.Develop the leadership roles of all Class Teachers, Superintendent HLTA and Senior Teachers

D2. Further develop capacity at a middle management level to include Secondary Provision

E.       Early Years Foundation Stage


E1. Develop joint working and practice across the EYFS

E2.Earwig Academic to be used to capture EYFS progress

The academic year ahead promises to be another year of continual development for the school, building upon the already strong foundations we have in place. We will meet any and all new challenges head-on and ensure that high quality education and delivery of therapies remain central to the Core Offer at Vranch House.