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Stanbridge Earls School, Romsey

(14 Posts)
Candlewax Sat 22-Mar-08 14:41:45

Does anyone know if Stanbridge Earls school takes children who are Statemented? Or is it a private fee paying school only? DS has Aspergers and Dyslexia and we are currently going through the statementing procedure and are starting to look at specialist schools in earnest now.

Sidge Sat 22-Mar-08 14:49:30

I am not 100% sure but as it is an independenet school I believe it is a fee-paying school. However it's funded largely by charity so they may offer bursaries. The website doesn't really say anything about fees so I could be wrong.

I would give them a ring for more info.

floaty Wed 09-Apr-08 14:28:04

My understanding is that they do take children whom are statemented,have you looked at their website alos the Good Schools guide SEN section is useful,I would be interested in any feedback as this is a possibility for ds2

Habitual Wed 09-Apr-08 22:35:36

Hello Floaty, I have emailed them but not had a reply probably because it is the Easter holidays in Hampshire. I will give you feedback when I hopefully have been to see

floaty Thu 10-Apr-08 11:02:47

We did have a propspectus at one stage when we first strated looking but decided it was too far This is the Good schoold guide entry


Since 2005, Mr Geoff Link MEd CertEd (fifties). Deputy head since 1997, his elevation has been universally acclaimed. Began his career at King's Wimbledon then wandered into Grenville College and discovered, wholly by happy mistake, the joy of working with children with SENs – 'it's so much more rewarding teaching children who have been written off'. Big, warm and obviously very nice. Emits gratifying rumbles of thunder in defence of his pupils – there's passion here, no doubt about it. Believes undimmably in 'the value of every child', sees the importance of equipping these boys and girls with social skills essential to self reliance. Rejoices as much for the winners of best exam grades as for winners of the most meagre where they represent superhuman achievement. They've just had their best exam results for a long time but he despairs incandescently of league tables. Pupils say he made a big and immediate difference to the feel of the place, especially by taking an inflexible line with those whose behaviour mocks kindness. He's fair, they say, and the school is safer, happier, 'more relaxed' for it. Ex-England under-23 rugby player, thereafter Rosslyn Park. Two grown-up children. Enjoys walking and all things French.

Academic Matters:
This is a CReSTeD category DU school, and whilst a mainstream curriculum is (more or less) followed and children take A levels, Stanbridge Earls has long had a good reputation for catering for specific learning difficulties. Learning support is offered to all pupils in varying degrees, from supporting the 'fragile' pupil to help for many specific learning difficulties, including dyslexia, Asperger's, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysphasia and dysgraphia. Mrs Edwina Cole runs the SEN (Special Educational Needs) department with a large dedicated staff. Tiny classes, staff/pupil ratio of 1:6, max class size 12, but mostly eight or nine. SEN classes are either for children withdrawn from class on a one-to-one basis, or for small groups; many subjects are also taught with a support teacher in class. An occupational and two speech therapists are on call and their time greatly over-subscribed; this is a school which treats the whole child. Impressive.

Seventy-eight pupils currently statemented, of whom 50 are paid for by their LEAs (often after tribunal). GCSEs, A levels, NVQs, Certificates of Achievement are the norm though most take the exam at modular level. English lit, English lang, maths and science are the core curriculum subjects for GCSE. Ahead of time they have chosen to omit the obligatory foreign language – often a nightmare for the SpLD pupil. Courses are tailored to the child's interest and ability. They gladly embrace behaviour problems that derive from an SEN – from the low self esteem which results from all that early years drubbing – but they draw the line at problems that display obduracy – there are vulnerable souls here who need space to grow. Stanbridge pupils exhibit all the jolly loquacity you expect from, especially, dyslexics and, they say, 'they develop quickly, behaviourally and emotionally, because they're so grateful and relieved to be here'. We saw this for ourselves – we were shown around by a boy declared unteachable and disruptive two years ago by his previous school. As sensitive and personable a fellow as you'd ever meet, he's just bagged a quiverful of A*s in his GCSEs.

Accelerated learning centre with an all female staff of 20 – 15 literacy specialists, 2 speech and language, 2 English as a second language and one occupational therapist (for dyspraxics). A busy, happy hub of a place, where to stand and chat is to be thoroughly in the way. There's a separate department, 7 strong, for numeracy skills – the only one of its kind. For lots of these pupils, here is where it happens. They like it. Most have regular one-to-one and you can swap tutors on the rare occasions you don't get on with each other.

Tiny classes, most eight or nine, many fewer. Entry Level Certificates, GCSEs, A levels, NVQs and other vocational, creative and practical subjects – see their website. English, maths and science are the core curriculum subjects for GCSE. Courses are tailored to the child's interest and ability. The accent is on studying conventional academic subjects. Prep supervised in small groups and all assignments published so no one can 'forget'.

Pupils rave about the teachers. Many of these children are victims of that inability of mainstream schools to work with any but conventionally intelligent children and endured misery before coming here. They say they are never, ever, treated dismissively or with impatience – quite the reverse, 'they simply can't do enough for you'. Observable also, and vital to the efficacy of the regenerative elixir, pupils are notably supportive of each other. Teachers irrigate them with praise. One pupil said, 'I'm sure they've got one of those psychologist's reports in my file somewhere, and they may even refer to it sometimes, but the point is they know me as an individual and treat me as I am.' SENs here are addressed not clinically but holistically – emotionally, intellectually, physically and socially.' You've got to say, it works. Teachers picked for quality of heart – 'they've got to give, give, give.' Very low turnover. 'If they still love it after a year, they stay forever.'

Performance table results dismal. This is because many take their exams a year late and are not counted because they are too old. In the year they were expected to take them they are counted as having got no exam passes – a real double whammy. Similar nonsense applies to A levels but not so detrimentally because fewer pupils. DfES value-added score is skewed by this statistical mischiefmaking. (Should improve in the 2005 tables due to change of basis). School say the Univ Durham MidYIS value-added scoring system shows Stanbridge is in the top 10 per cent.

Games, Options, the Arts:
Usual collection of games on offer; excellent and well-used swimming pool, sports hall, plus riding, judo, archery etc. Forty different activities on offer after class – pupils must opt for five, of which three must be of a physical nature. D of E, leadership training, no CCF.

Home economics popular and fabric design. Drama strong, music good – on Tuesdays all the staff listen to any child who wants to perform anything, even if it's only a one-finger exercise on the piano. One of the lakes is well stocked for fishing, and a tributary to the River Test runs through the grounds. Art very strong and popular, CDT well supported; lots of successful entrants in all subjects at national competition level.

Background and Atmosphere:
Founded in 1953 by refugees from the London world of creative arts as an 'alternative to the conventional public school'. Became renowned for its early recognition of specific learning difficulties. Charming, much altered sixteenth century manor house set in 50 acres of delightful parkland, with streams and lakes and mature trees. The campus has a spacious feel, the low rooflines abetting this. Just as well because, though the old is giving way to the creditable new, a lot of these buildings have a less than semi-permanent look to them. The pupils loyally say it's because the school spends its money on people not architecture, and they proudly showed us the WW2 theatre – ENSA would have been at home – and said, very fondly, 'this place sums the school up' – which, in many ways, it most agreeably does. This is not a rich school but it is adequately resourced. The welcoming and helpful telephone receptionist deserves a beacon award in her own right.

Pastoral Care and Discipline:
You move up a house year by year. They describe it as 'multi-layered', meaning you have a housemaster/mistress, plus the couple who are in charge of your living quarters. So easy are relationships here between staff and pupils that it's straightforward to find someone to talk to. They like to talk to the 'gappies' – the gap year students, too. Pupils call teachers 'Sir' and 'Miss'. Normal school rules apply: smoking = fines, drinking = breathalyser, counselling and gating as a last resort. Drugs testing, random after first offence. Pregnancy only ever among married staff. The atmosphere is very mainstream – prefects, etc. Blazers from year 9 on, own suit and tie for sixth formers.

Brilliant regime for years 7 and 8. They inhabit an anxiety-free zone of their own. Minimal organisational expectations of their short-term memories, so they only have to get themselves to class – everything they need is waiting for them. They go into meals first, in front, even, of the prefects. Once their self esteem has begun to grow they are ready to embark on a gradient of responsibilities as they move up the school. Sixth formers notably self reliant.

Most board and it works. They don't get out much, even the oldest, and they don't complain, and you wonder if they are learning enough about the beastliness of the world. It's a fine line the school must tread between putting them back together and pitching them out too soon. Around half the school in at weekends. Sixth form bar where staff drink, too – hugely approved of by the students. Food decidedly good.

Pupils and Parents:
Growing number from abroad where SENs are apparently more believed-in than acted on – small handfuls from France, Germany, Middle East, Far East, Africa, India. Predominantly English, countrywide catchment, with an equal number from state and independent schools. Guy 'Two Smoking Barrels' Ritchie was here.

The interview's the thing. Ed psych report, of course, but they reckon the scores are often skewed by disinclination or despair – 'if we judged by the Wechsler scores we'd never let our best in.' They reckon IQs span 90-150. Main intake at year 7 with more in year 9 and then if places become available. Significant increase in year 10s kicked out of schools cravenly fearing for their league table places.

Around 40 per cent post-GCSE to sixth form colleges, though this number is falling because more than ever are staying on. Post-sixth form they go on to 'the conventional range of options'. They remind you – 'a SpLD simply occludes a conventional intelligence'.

Money Matters:
30 per cent of pupils funded by their LEAs (often after siege warfare and tribunal). Some bursaries and scholarships available.

A parent sums it up nicely, 'if you'd told me when my son was nine that he'd get these GSCE results, I wouldn't have believed you'. To its long track record of expertise, Stanbridge brings a quality of rigorous kindness, and it's this that makes all the difference.

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Habitual Thu 10-Apr-08 19:47:05

Thank you so much Floaty!smile

Habitual Thu 10-Apr-08 19:52:39

Oh Floaty, had to post again, THEY DO TAKE STATEMENTED CHILDREN!!! So excited now. That means it is one I can definitely go and see and seriously consider. I had been Googling but did not find this report, so thank you once again.grin

Habitual Thu 10-Apr-08 20:02:11

Doh! Forgot to name change. It is Candlewax here.

Andora Sun 07-Apr-13 12:28:40

i think that all prospective parents should be aware that there is currently a serious investigation by Ofsted and the Charity Commissioners at this school checking out a variety of issues as a result of a court Tribunal in January 2013 in which serious allegations of sexual misconduct at the school were examined. There is plenty now here and on line and in The Sunday Times, The Mail on line and BBC news about all of these very serious issues.

tiredbutnotweary Mon 15-Apr-13 14:27:38

Further to Andora's post please see the following quote from the First Tier SEN & Disability Tribunal report, which relates specifically to an order to LAs considering placement at Stanbridge Earls:

We do not agree with Professor McColgan that it is punitive to inform local authorities who place children at Stanford Earls of our decision. The RB appears to us to have shown disregard bordering on contempt for its obligations to local authorities naming the School in part 4 of statements of special educational needs. Mrs Little, SENCo, appeared to see her main obligation as presenting facts in such a way as to obtain a statement merely for financial purposes. The RB excluded XXX after her statement had been finalised without reference to the LA, and Mr Trythall did not appear even to understand the question as to whether he should have consulted the LA before making this decision. Any placing LA should be aware of and satisfied of steps taken to address the concerns we have identified, particularly in relation to avoiding unlawful discrimination where this overlaps with safeguarding, and special educational needs provision. Professor McColgan submits that such an order is required only if our findings are of systemic failure. We agree with that submission, but our findings are of such failure, and do not relate solely to Xs experiences."

Given the above and the fact that a range of investigations and reviews are currently ongoing, it seems much less likely that a LA would agree to name Stanbridge Earls in a statement. You can find the full report by googling "stanbridge earls school first tier tribunal decision".

Summerloading Sat 18-May-13 09:31:13

Zombie thread hmm

grossomodo Sat 20-Jul-13 13:57:22

Times have moved on, the school is to close in December 2013 so clearly it's problems never got fixed sufficiently. It was called the School for Scandal by the Sunday Times and it has also been called The Lord of the Flies School, so clearly it is not your typical school with typical people running it or at least that is how the media has portrayed it. There seems to have been a lot of hostility to staff there by Ofsted who insisted that they got their act together but that the school kept failing to succeed over the past months. Things seem in that respect to be quite unresolved, as if they don't quite know how to fix it all. In my vew best that a new team take over- hopefully they will know better how to sort out the mess. Poor kids, totally let down by all this mess, when they need stability and calm, a disgrace really, appalling.

thetruthwillowt Thu 22-Aug-13 00:49:08

The staff should get their act together? All the staff should be sacked? What pathetic statements to make. What about OFSTED who gave the school outstanding? How can a school go from outstanding to not meeting minimum standards? Something wrong there wouldn't you say. 'School of Scandal' and 'The Lord of the Flies' sensationalism! 50+ years of excellence and past and present pupils taking the time to sing the praises of their experience at Stanbridge. Pupils feeling so strongly that they want to let the world know on national television how they feel about 'their' school. 100% pass rate for A level pupils with specific learning difficulties - so lets sack all the staff. Sad isn't it that many children don't have school places now. Children who want to come back to Stanbridge because they were happy there. SEN teachers enter this career path because they care about the students. It is a passion. They work tirelessly to help children and look after their well being. They care very deeply for the welfare of those they teach. Spare a thought for those who work tirelessly to help these children achieve their potential. If the current trend continues nobody will want to teach these children because they cannot move or make a decision without fear of being dragged to court.

grossomodo Tue 27-Aug-13 16:11:17

It is quite clear that dreadful errors occurred at this school, minimum standards were not met, and the majority of parents went elsewhere leaving the school to become commercially unviable. I am sure many teachers tried hard to do their best but that best did not appear to be good enough to save the school from failure so all these poor pupils have suffered. If only staff could have done more for them, those poor sad pupils, it has been a dreadful stress for us in our family and I know other families are really suffering from it all. I just hope we can find somewhere, our summer has been just ruined by the worry

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