LA Case Study: Vale of Evesham School, Worcestershire

Principle 3. Involve young people in real decisions to help them stay safe

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Vale of Evesham School

Involving young people includes young people's participation in real decisions about keeping themselves safe, in and out of the classroom. Young people may be involved in designing or participating in surveys, participating in their school council, choosing which activities they want to take part in outside the formal curriculum, in peer education projects, in mentoring or peer support. Activities for young people should include identification of hazards, participating in risk assessment (e.g. assessing whether risks are trivial, tolerable or intolerable) and being part of actions to control or manage risk to themselves and others.

Vale of Evesham School is co-educational and has places for pupils aged 2 years to 19 years, and offers expertise in the education and welfare of pupils with Moderate Learning Difficulties, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties and pupils on the Autistic Spectrum. The weekly residential provision offers up to 15 places for young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders including Sever and Challenging Behaviour.

The school's philosophy is to get pupils to do as much as possible – removing barriers so that they can do. This is evidenced by encouraging pupils to be involved in developing risk assessments and allowing more able sixth form pupils to:

This ethos permeates the school through consultation, negotiation and agreement with the pupils (particularly through circle times). There are two pupil councils and a recently formed parents' forum, and the school has six members of staff who are Forest Schools trained. Staff are very conscious about moving pupils on, helping them to develop confidence and preparing them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.

Pupils learn to look out for each other and to identify people who can help them. Safety and risk education forms a key component within the school's PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education/Citizenship) curriculum, including teaching on sexual health and e-safety, and also as part of their travel training through specific timetabled lessons and also by means of incidental teaching.

On a trip to a busy conference at the National Exhibition Centre, pupils were consulted as part about the risk assessment and decided to carry ID cards rather than wear badges. The pupils also made decisions about the realistic groups sizes that they should walk around in and what to do in the event of an emergency. One pupil said, "I think we should be in smaller groups because it will get really busy and we might get lost. It'll be easier to count 3 or 4 not 10." "If we get lost we can show our cards to one of the staff to get help."

Special thanks to Ann Starr (Headteacher), Shani Brough (Deputy Headteacher and Pam Foley (Head of Keystage 4 & 5).