skip to Main Content

Kisimul School Lincolnshire (Acacia Upper School)

Kisimul School Lincolnshire (Acacia Upper School)

Our Lincolnshire school offers full-time education programmes for up to 38 weeks of the year and is registered with the Department for Education as an independent special school. We are a provision for children and young people with autism, learning disabilities and complex needs, including behaviours of concern, from age 14 to 19.

Welcome

Kisimul School Lincolnshire operates over two sites with one registration – the sites are at Swinderby, a small village between Lincoln and Newark, and at Acacia Hall, which is about ten miles North of Lincoln in the village of Friesthorpe, near Market Rasen.

While the majority of our young people reside in our associated children’s homes, we are also able to offer day and weekly boarding placements.

The school is subject to Ofsted inspection against both the Independent School Standards and the Education Inspection Framework.

“The curriculum enables pupils to develop their communication, emotional and social skills effectively. The input from the therapy teams blends very effectively with the academic curriculum and is a strength of the school’s provision.”  Kisimul School Ofsted Report June 2019

Our approach

Kisimul Upper School (Acacia) are committed to non-aversive approaches to supporting behaviour. Young people generally respond well to the structured environment of the school and the routines and visual clues they are set. All management programmes and care plans are formulated in conjunction with parents and professionals, using an evidence-based approach and utilising the multi-disciplinary teams’ combined expertise. Staff are also trained to manage behaviours of concern, as part of their induction and as ongoing training, with regular and cyclical refreshers in place. Our training system is accredited by BILD (the British Institute of Learning Disabilities) and is in line with Department of Health and Department of Education guidelines.

Kisimul Upper School (Acacia) is nondenominational. We try to encourage young people to develop an awareness of, and interest in, themselves and others in the world around them.

Young people are encouraged to participate in a wide range of multicultural activities, through art, music and language. The school curriculum celebrates different festivals throughout the year, using a practical and sensory approach to learning.

Facilities

We have seven classroom bases, all with access onto the outside spaces surrounding the school. This space is extensive and has access to swings and trampoline areas for regulation and physical input. The site benefits from being in a quiet rural location, and there are good links to local community facilities and Lincoln city centre.

A central feature of the school is the onsite animal husbandry provision. This is a smallholding where vocational learning and sensory input are incorporated into the curriculum. Young people can access vocational work, reinforce their functional learning skills through real life, work-based tasks in safe environment, or enjoy a more sensory experience interacting with the animals. We have sheep, goats, small animal petting area, an aviary and various ducks, geese and chickens of many varieties, with specialist staff on hand to support access and ensure appropriate welfare.

There is an immersive and sensory room facility within the school building, alongside a teaching kitchen and additional spaces that can be used for smaller group work or individual therapy input.

Acacia Hall is the children’s home associated with Kisimul Upper School (Acacia).

Curriculum

We have a personalised approach to teaching our curriculum, which is a semi-formal outline based on five main areas learning and a thematic approach, rather than subject specific.

These are:-

  • Communication language and literacy
  • Creative learning
  • Life skills
  • Physical and mental well-being
  • Cultural and community learning

Our young people are supported by personalising learning intentions, and our assessment systems use evidence from all aspect of the waking day. This ensures we are utilising education, therapy and care evidence as well as parent and professional feedback. We aim for a consensus on progress, as well as using standardised assessment tools and autism specific measures.

Remote and Blended Learning 

Due to the current Covid pandemic we are offering a direct and remote learning offer where required to ensure we provide consistent delivery for all pupils. Please find details here:

Kisimul School Lincs Upper School (Acacia) – Remote and Blended Learning

Activities

The school has an ethos of encouraging ongoing integration within the local community. Our staff teams ensure that each young person joins some form of community activity each week. Such activities may include using the local swimming pool, shopping visits, bus and train rides, walks, bowling and trips to the cinema. Recently this has also included residential expeditions as part of our Duke of Edinburgh accreditation.

Staff & Therapeutic Services

Staff within the school have specialist qualifications in meeting the complex needs of our young people. This knowledge is supplemented by continuing professional development in autism, SEN pedagogy and effective communication training. Positive reinforcement strategies are encouraged throughout the school, which includes recognising and responding to appropriate behaviour, minimising feedback for negative behaviour and following personalised plans for behaviour, communication and sensory regulation.

Each young person’s language and communication is assessed by the Speech and Language Therapy team, to identify a personalised communication programme that we aim to consistently apply across all settings. Visual symbols, objects of reference and photographs are widely used in a variety of contexts to promote our young peoples’ understanding and enhance their learning.

We use input from Occupational Therapy services to ensure that young people are regulated and ready to learn, and incorporate elements of programmes such as physical or vestibular input as functional components of our curriculum. Our team will also advise on functional skills, elements of access and mobility, personal care, and motor skills input.

Our psychology team support with understanding the function of behaviour and communication, and in providing input for engagement and strategies for supporting effective learning outcomes. This team co-ordinate and update support plans for our young people following multi-disciplinary meetings where there are concerns about engagement, mental well-being or behavioural issues. See more information on our Therapeutic Services here.

Safeguarding

Safeguarding and child protection is everyone’s responsibility. The school aims to ensure that:

* Appropriate action is taken in a timely manner to safeguard and promote child/young person/young people’s welfare

* All staff are aware of their statutory responsibilities with respect to safeguarding

* Staff are properly training in recognising and reporting safeguarding issues

Some children/young people have an increased risk of abuse, and additional barriers can exist for some young people with respect to recognising or disclosing it. We are committed to anti-discriminatory practice and recognise children/young people’s diverse circumstances. We ensure that all children/young people have the same protection, regardless of any barriers they may face.

Our policy and procedures also apply to extended school and off-site activities.

Regulatory

The overall quality of our education has been determined by Ofsted as “Good” (June 2019).

You can read/download the full report here https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/27/120740

Term dates

The school operates a conventional three-term school year over 38 weeks of full-time education. Term dates are available via the appropriate tab. Kisimul children’s homes offer up to 52-week residential provision.

SPRING TERM
School opens: Monday 4th January 2021
School closes: Friday 12th February 2021
School opens: Tuesday 23rd February 2021
School closes: Wednesday 31st March 2021

SUMMER TERM
School opens: Tuesday 20th April 2021
(School closed Bank Holiday Monday 3rd May 2021)
School closes: Friday 28th May 2021
School opens: Monday 7th June 2021
School closes: Wednesday 21st July 2021

2021/22

AUTUMN TERM
School opens: Monday 6th September 2021
School closes: Friday 22nd October 2021
School opens: Monday 1st November 2021
School closes: Friday 17th December 2021

SPRING TERM
School opens: Wednesday 5th January 2022
School closes: Friday 11th February 2022
School opens: Monday 21st February 2022
School closes: Friday 1st April 2022

SUMMER TERM
School opens: Wednesday 20th April 2022
(School closed Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May 2022)
School closes: Friday 27th May 2022
School opens: Monday 6th June 2022
School closes: Wednesday 20th July 2022

FAQ

What is the profile of learners in our schools and college?

Our schools and college make provision for learners with learning disabilities and associated behaviours of concern. A significant majority have autism, and typically will have complex sensory modulation and communication difficulties. Our schools and college have a significantly high staff to student ratio, reflective of the needs of the young people, and based on risk assessments of individual needs and presentation.

The majority of the children and young people attending live within our children’s or young adult homes, but there are also day placements available in the schools and college.

Our schools age ranges are eight to 19. The college provides for learners from 16 to 25.

Parents / professionals can contact the schools on
01522 868279 (Lincs),
0208 3352570 (Surrey),
01733 271326 (Calman Colaiste College)

or enquiries@kisimul.co.uk

What are the aims of the schools and college?

We aim to:

  • Ensure that the care and education provided each day is consistent and is offered by an appropriately trained, fully integrated multidisciplinary staff team.
  • Provide a safe, secure and structured environment in which learners can gain confidence and achieve their potential.
  • Help young people to learn ways in which to manage and control their own behaviour.
  • Work with young people to help them to develop their own self-help skills, leading to a greater level of independence and improved self-esteem.
  • Provide opportunities for our learners to learn socialisation skills within the schools, college and in the local community.
  • Provide regular detailed reports of our learners’ progress and work together with parents and professionals to plan post-Kisimul School placements.
  • Work together with placing authorities and families to ensure that there is effective communication focused on the best interests of the young people

What facilities will you find in our schools and college environments?

The environment in the schools reflect the needs of our learning cohorts. All sites have modern, purpose-built classrooms with interactive whiteboards and a high standard of accommodation.

Both our Lincolnshire and Surrey school sites accommodate a gymnasium and a heated swimming pool to enable both a physical and sensory oriented session for individual learners. Each school has is a fully equipped OT room, with sensory integration circuits and swings, and therapy teams are located on site to enable direct work with students as part of the weekly curriculum.

Our Lincolnshire School and college in Thorney, Peterborough, benefit from an animal husbandry provision, which is an integral part of the vocational curriculum. We also have teaching kitchens in all settings for promotion of independence and life skills.

Our schools and college also contain immersive sensory rooms and extensive outside areas and grounds to utilise. These outdoor spaces include swings and trampoline areas for leisure and relaxation and use within sensory diets for young people.

All education sites have access to a fleet of minibuses, which enables regular access to the local community to support contextual learning. This also enables young people to access additional curriculum items such as horse-riding, swimming, sailing and indoor wall climbing.

How are children and young people placed at the schools and college?

Placements at the schools are brokered by local authorities seeking specialist placement for learners with profiles of complex needs, behaviours of concern and learning disabilities. All students at our schools need to have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in place, outlining their specific needs and the provision determined to meet those needs. Parents are advised to speak to their local SEN department, or current school placement, if they wish to enact provision of an EHCP for their child. Parents/carers or professionals wishing to pursue a placement with Kisimul are actively encouraged to visit the schools at which they are seeking to place their child/young person.

Visits can be arranged by contacting us on 01522 868279 and asking to speak to the referrals team. We do welcome enquiries directly from parents. However, we would encourage you to contact the SEN department within your local authority to advise that you wish to pursue a placement at the school. If there is active social care agency support in place for families, it is also advisable to contact those professionals and discuss intentions in the first instance.

If Kisimul is asked to consider a young person or adult learner for admission, we will need to formally assess the young person. This is achieved through liaison with parents and professionals and visits to the current placement by senior education, residential and therapeutic staff. Following this there will be provision of a detailed assessment report outlining identified needs and how we would propose to meet them in our settings. There is no charge for this process.

A variety of placement types are available, ranging from, but not exclusively, 52-week full time, or 38-week term time residential placements to include the educational provision, or day placements focussing solely on an educational placement.

If a parent wishes to challenge a local authority’s decision not to support a placement at the schools, they may wish to seek legal advice or request advice through agencies such as IPSEA to identify ways forward in appealing decisions. The SEN Code of Practice further outlines appeal processes.

What is the curriculum on offer at Kisimul Schools?

Our schools have their own curriculum offers, and a revised curriculum offer will be in place in the Lincolnshire and Surrey schools from September 2020. This is focused on five key strands of learning.

Communication language and literacy
Creative learning
Life skills
Physical and mental well being
Cultural and community learning

This is supplemented by discrete functional skills learning in literacy and numeracy, and accredited learning pathways for older learners.

The college curriculum focuses on vocational learning and accredited pathways linked to functional learning skills, such as animal care, work enterprise and catering.

At all sites, the therapeutic provision is integrated into the curriculum and forms part of the core weekly provision for each learner, and reflective of their EHCP outline.

We also have an active physical input, including horse-riding, trampolining, sailing and swimming, as well as Duke of Edinburgh input and expeditions.

What additional therapeutic services are available within Kisimul?

Kisimul has a number of multi-disciplinary services accessible to all learners.

Educational Psychology – The psychology teams support across all sites, providing comprehensive behavioural analysis using evidence-based intervention and assessment, and assessment of cognitive and developmental progress. The team also provides training and support to education staff, and co-ordinate multi-disciplinary intervention for learners with behaviours of concern patterns or those new to the school.

Speech and Language – There are a number of Speech and Language Assistants working across the two school sites, working under the supervision of our Speech and Language Therapists. As part of the core provision for all learners, both direct intervention through individual and small group work is provided. Assessments are also used to inform communication profiles and to ensure that classroom interventions are targeted and appropriate.

Occupational Therapy – Our schools have access to Occupational Therapy including professionals with Qualification in Sensory Integration. This aspect of our provision has been enhanced in recent years with training for education staff in recognising sensory dysfunction and implementing daily sensory diets for learners. OT also support with functional skills, posture and mobility and motor skills planning.

Music Therapy – Learners at our schools and college benefit from interactive experience with our Music Therapists, who work with individual students on a therapeutic level and build up confidence and communicative capacity using music and intensive interactive approaches.

How do the schools and college track the progress of learners, and report back to parents/carers and professionals?

Kisimul has its own assessment scheme called TEST (ten strands of learning and assessment). This is an integrated system using information and evidence from all settings – (education, therapy, care and parent and professional feedback) to provide an overarching viewpoint of individual progress for each young person. This covers elements of cognition, social, emotional and physical health. Our system uses a multi-disciplinary framework to set learning intentions and also to quantify expected progress for each learner across the term.

We also use standardised testing and autism-specific measures to ensure that we have an assessment data profile for each learner to supplement our evidence.

Parents can contact the schools at any time, and many take up the offer of weekly emails from teachers including photos of work produced and learners engaging in curriculum activities. Progress is formally reported at annual reviews where the content of EHCPs is updated and new learning outcomes will be agreed.

How do the schools ensure that young people are safe and healthy, and that young people’s views are taken into account?

The schools have detailed record keeping processes for each session of the school day, which record responses, behaviour patterns and well-being of learners. Incidents of behaviour are analysed and reviewed for patterns of cues and triggers. Staff have regular safeguarding training from senior leaders within the schools to ensure they are aware of the signs and symptoms associated with possible child protection concerns. The schools and college have designated safeguarding leads in place, and very detailed and comprehensive procedures for dealing with any concerns raised by students or staff.

The schools have a detailed whistle blowing policy in place. Incidents, accidents and any physical interventions necessary to keep young people safe from harm are recorded in detail. This includes schedules and symbolised support to speak to learners after incidents to reassure them and ascertain their well being. The child protection policy and complaints policy for the schools and college can be accessed on the schools’ websites.

Young people with complex health needs are also admitted to the schools. All have comprehensive health care plans that are in place prior to placement through the assessment process. Trained residential and education staff are responsible for giving medication and liaising with health care professionals where necessary to monitor well-being.

Kisimul takes a very flexible and personalised approach to gleaning young people’s views about their environment and the provision on offer. Learners are supported in making decisions around items for the school curriculum, additional resources, and input into whole site events. In recent times, this has included choosing and naming the schools’ pets, choosing the colour schemes and decor for the end of year graduation celebrations, and choosing favoured locations for end of year trips.

How do the schools and college deal with behaviours of concern?

The schools take an individualised approach to supporting mental health and well-being.

Psychology teams monitor information from all settings to look for patterns, cues and triggers for behaviour and the success or otherwise of interventions undertaken at the time. This informs support plans that are accessible to all staff working with young people to ensure a consistent approach. Where students are experiencing negative patterns, or behaviour is becoming a concern and an obstacle to engagement, a multi-disciplinary approach is undertaken, utilising information and input from education, residential and therapeutic teams.

Management of behaviour is non-aversive, and all staff are trained in Meas (meaning respect) a BILD (British Institute of Learning Disabilities) accredited programme of de-escalation, legal and statutory procedures and safe physical intervention where necessary. Any individual interventions for students are comprehensively risk assessed, and any new or emerging behaviour patterns are added and analysed accordingly. Kisimul is experienced in dealing with students with extreme behaviour patterns and complex sensory dysfunction, and aims to replace negative behaviour patterns with more positive and appropriate outcomes for learners.

Essentially, Kisimul aims to enable learners to use their emerging communication skills, rather than using their behaviour, as a means of engaging with their environment and the people within it.

The behaviour policies for the schools or college can be accessed on the relevant part of the schools and college websites.

How are the schools and college held accountable for outcomes for young people?

Kisimul School is subject to regular inspection and monitoring from commissioning local authorities, and Ofsted. The schools’ and college’s latest Ofsted reports can be accessed on this website.

The schools’ leadership have a comprehensive self-evaluation document, linked to inspection outcomes, and allied to a School Improvement Plan that identifies key areas for development. There are regular lesson observations and learning walks, with a varied focus, and quality assurance of lesson planning, and evidence of assessment for learning. All teachers and leaders have annual performance reviews and appraisals, with targets for pupil achievement and whole school developments. The headteachers are accountable to the Asst/Director of Education for Kisimul Group, and provide monthly progress reports to support quality assurance processes. We use external school improvement partners to get an objective view of progress to supplement our internal quality assurance.

What training is in place for the staff at the schools and college?

Kisimul has a comprehensive and detailed training programme in place for all staff. New staff are mentored by senior staff and have a detailed induction programme in place on appointment. Training days include statutory courses and refreshers in safeguarding and Meas, as well as input on new recording processes and school developments. External training, for example from the Autism Education Trust or Hirstwood sensory training, is also a key feature of the school’s programme for staff.

We also have a number of talented teaching assistants who we have supported through the teacher training pathway in partnership with local universities and colleges.

Additionally, the therapeutic teams deliver a range of training in communication, sensory processing and behavioural management, as well as training that is responsive to any emerging needs of the schools cohort. Recent input has included content such as autism and adolescence, sensory integration and sensory diets, and eating and drinking difficulties associated with young people with autism and complex sensory profiles.

How do the schools ensure they value cultural diversity?

On an individual basis, students’ beliefs and cultural dynamics such as diet are outlined within the individual support plan for each student, so that all staff are respective and aware of specific needs. The schools have an active approach to supporting both local, national and international causes by having regular fund raising and whole school themed days supporting various charitable good causes. We encourage visitors and drama groups from a variety of cultures and the curriculum includes themed work on festivals from around the world and the local communities.

We make this input tangible through taking a multi-sensory approach to learning using music, dress, diet and real-life artefacts to enable our learners to experience different elements in an immersive way.

What additional activities might young people have access to?

We aim to provide a rich diversity of activities to our young people. This would include adventurous activities such as sailing, walking expeditions, indoor wall climbing and horse-riding. We would also regularly access the local community to visit local leisure facilities and also to practise life skills such as shopping in real life contexts. We also focus on teaching young people to learn to relax, and may use some of our sensory environments to support them to better understand what helps them to switch off and avoid escalating anxieties.

We would seek consent from parents and professionals before undertaking such activities, but aim to make each young person’s experience as valuable and beneficial to their physical development and mental well-being as possible, while balancing safety and risks.

Contact details

Head Teacher:  Paul Routledge
paul.routledge@kisimul.co.uk

Head of Care:  Lucy Whiting
lucy.whiting@kisimul.co.uk

Kisimul Upper School (Acacia)
Shortwood Lane
Friesthorpe
Lincoln
Lincolnshire
LN3 5AL

Tel: 01522 868279
Fax: 01522 866000

Back To Top