Life At Alfriston

A flavour of life at Alfriston School

The School Day

Our school day is divided into 6 teaching periods; four in the morning and two in the afternoon. The day begins with registration in pastoral groups. There is a mid-morning break and lunch break. In the afternoon we meet again for registration and a pastoral session or assembly followed by the afternoon teaching sessions. On Friday we have a celebration assembly at the end of the afternoon.

Lunchtimes are busy with a range of clubs and activities being offered around the two lunch sittings. Meetings of the Student Council and Sports Council are regularly held as working lunches. After school there are further clubs and activities offered and of course the boarders continue with their activities.

The reward system at Alfriston has several layers. Good conduct is recognised through the award of green cards and any pupil in receipt of five green cards earns a certificate. In lessons, pupils can earn merits which build up to subject-specific certificates. We have a House system and house points are awarded for a range of activities and achievements.

Exceptional work or behaviour can be recognised through the Head Teacher Award stickers and good work is often displayed on prominent notice boards. A pupil who shows a good attitude over a period of time is nominated to receive a Headteacher's postcard which is sent home by post to celebrate with parents.

Our Pupils

All of our pupils have moderate learning difficulties and cognition needs. Most pupils also have speech, language and communication needs, delayed or disordered language skills. In addition, they may have physical, complex or emotional needs.

Most of our pupils come from mainstream primary settings but some have previous experience in a special needs environment, either a special school or a specialist unit within a mainstream school. Occasionally pupils transfer to Alfriston from other secondary schools.

Once at Alfriston all pupils are encouraged to participate fully in school life; whether it be through their learning, creative, sporting and other extracurricular activities, the running of the school or assuming responsibilities alongside staff.

Boarding

We are very fortunate here at Alfriston to be able to offer a small number of pupils the opportunity to board at school for 3 nights each week, Monday to Wednesday. All pupils go home on Thursday and return as day girls on a Friday.

During their stay, boarders are offered a variety of activities depending on the season. The girls have a choice of two activities each evening and we encourage all the girls to join in at least one of the activities. Activities range from swimming, on site and off site, independence trips to local towns, computers, social events with other schools and arts and crafts. There is a strong link with the girls' work in school as a Homework session is offered each evening and there are other opportunities to support the curriculum such as reading and using computers.

The girls share four small dormitory areas and some of the more senior girls have the chance to experience considerable independence in a refurbished, self-contained flat.  Here, they are able to prepare breakfasts and evening meals

Alfriston promotes a supportive and consistent environment working on positive praise and encouragement, building the girls' confidence and self-esteem as well as their independence and social skills. We believe it is paramount that we provide a safe and secure environment for our boarders, and our latest Ofsted social care inspection report (Nov 2015), where boarding was judged as Outstanding, underlines this; ”The safety of boarders is at the heart of all practice” and  ……“Boarders thoroughly enjoy their residential experience. They engage fully in the life of the residential community. Within a nurturing and very supportive environment, boarders appreciate the family-like atmosphere and see it as ‘a second home’ and where ‘it’s fun’”.

Our excellent residential team are dedicated to meeting the emotional, physical and medical needs of all the girls during their stay. From the most recent Ofsted inspection (Nov 2015); " Boarders thrive and make significant progress from their starting points in their independence and social skills. Through extremely positive, responsive relationships with staff, they are developing self-confidence and self-esteem knowing they are valued as individuals”

Pastoral

Within each year, pupils are placed in mixed ability pastoral groups led by a pastoral tutor. Pastoral sessions are held at the beginning of every morning and afternoon, with extended pastoral time or assembly each afternoon. Pupils are encouraged to use these times for talking about issues concerning them and may request extra time to discuss particular problems.

Assemblies are held twice weekly for the whole school. Afternoon pastoral sessions and assemblies use fortnightly values as their focus and pupils are fully engaged in these activities.

Pastoral meetings for staff are held weekly, raising and discussing issues concerning pupils and identifying how these might be addressed.

Educational Visits

The school has a strong commitment to the added value of learning beyond the statutory school day and beyond the school premises. Each year staff arrange a number of activities that take place off the school site and/or out of school hours, which support the aims of the school.

The Governing Body has given its approval to the following types of activities being arranged in support of the educational aims of the school:

  • Lunchtime and after school Clubs (music, drama, art, science, sport, homework etc)
  • School teams
  • Regular nearby visits (village halls, libraries, shops, woodlands, place of worship, farms)
  • Day visits for particular year groups
  • Residential Visits
  • Adventure Activities, which might be classed as higher risk.

Residentials

A "residential" is an overnight trip that takes place throughout the school year.

Alfriston encourages their pupils to participate in residential activities so that pupils become more independent, experience new activities, socially interact with others and become confident in new situations.