Merit Pupil Referral Service
Merit school meets the requirements of pupils with complex medical and mental health needs. The school also provides home and personal tuition and education within the Royal Stoke University Hospital.
Who to contact
Where to go
- Merit Pupil Referral Service
- ST2 9JA
- Referral Details
A students mainstream school will make the initial referral to the Learning Pathways Team at the Local Authority, each case is considered by a panel. The referral is then forwarded to the Head of Merit Pupil Referral Unit.
- Secondary Contact Email
- What kinds of SEND does the school provide for?
Merit provides for students who have physical and mental health needs.
- How does this setting know if their children/young person needs extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?
On entry to Merit students undergo a series of assessments and tests which, along with information from the mainstream school, give information as to whether a student is formally recognised as having special educational needs. If this is found to be the case the same format as in mainstream is followed. If a student has already been identified as having SEND their planned program will be followed. Merit has the benefit of the Therapeutic Team who work alongside all staff, students and parents at Merit.
- How will the setting support my child/young person?
Merit has a bespoke behaviour management system which works in conjunction with therapeutic input. We provide wrap around care for all students to ensure they receive bespoke packages of care designed to meet individual needs. Merit employs a qualified School Counsellor to ensure that medical and mental health needs are met safely.
- How will teaching approaches and the curriculum be matched to my child or young person's needs?
In each class work is personalised and adapted to suit individual needs. There is appropriate differentiation which allows every child to succeed. Where a student has been out of education for a significant period of time every effort is made to address their learning needs, including phased reintegration, attendance support for families and liaison with all professionals involved.
- How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support their learning?
Merit has regular target setting days and parents evenings where academic progress is discussed and targets are set. In additon to this, subject leaders and the Senior Leadership Team will regularly contact parents if they have any concerns. Parents are welcomed into Merit and are involved wherever possible.
- What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall wellbeing?
Wellbeing underpins the whole curriculum at Merit, and is not only taught as a discreet subject it is also taught on an individual basis. In class, subjects that are covered include families, relationships, bereavement while on an individual basis subjects such as self-esteem, resilience and confidence are addressed. As Merit operates within a small intimate environment a student's wellbeing is easily monitored by staff. In addition we have a bespoke 'Achieve' curriculum which incorporates outdoor learning, John Muir Award, The Princes Trust Award, an artist in residence one day per week and creative subjects such as animation, screen printing and food technology to name a few. All of the above are proven to improve overall wellbeing.
- What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the setting?
Within Merit there is the expected range of professionals and expertise as is available in a mainstream school. In additon to this Merit employs a qualified School Counsellor who completes therapeutic assessments and psychological analysis when necessary, giving staff the benefit of clinical expertise when dealing with students with mental health issues. We also commission the services of CAMHS in Schools who provides a link between Merit and the CAMHS service. CAMHS practitioners regularly attend Merit for meetings with their clients.
We work closely with the schools Educational Psychologist, Social Services, School Nursing Team, Speech and Language Therapists, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists.
- What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND have had or are having?
Merit has a fully qualified SENCo so recent and relevant experience is available. All staff regularly receive training to enable us to meet the range of complex physical and mental health issues. We work closely with the Local Authority and attend all training available to meet special educational needs of our students. We are currently aiming to achieve Autism Friendly School status.
- How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?
Merit follows the educational visits guidelines and there are a variety of activites incorporated within the 'Achieve' curriculum. Relevant protocols are adhered to and risk assessments completed as a matter of course. Trips are both local and further away such as London and Manchester. During outdoor learning students have the opportunity to experience a wide range of environments including coasts, woodlands and city. We encourage all of our students to attend activities outside the classroom in order to build resilience and self confidence in preparation for when they finally re-engage with mainstream educational provision.
Key Stage 4 students are encouraged to travel independently and to use public transport. They are fully supported and prepared as part of their exit strategy.
- How accessible is the environment?
While ever Merit does not have a lift and provision is over 2 floors, students in wheelchairs have been accomodated with lessons being provided downstairs only.
Bucknall is in close proximity to the City centre and there is sufficient parking onsite for both visitors and staff. There is a disabled toilet available.
- How will the setting prepare and support my child/young person to join the next stage of education and life?
The aim of Merit is to reintegrate a student back into their mainstream school. This is not always possible in key stage 4 and therefore a student may be supported into a further education facility. In preparation for this students are supported in taster sessions designed to break the barriers which face them when leaving Merit. Sometimes support for a student has been required in the early weeks of further education to sustain the level of confidence and resilience which is required. Our students are often unable to make the change from a small school to a large college on their own. The reintegration support which is provided has led to many students achieving success.
Merit has a strong academic ethos whereby our aim is to enable students to secure as many GCSEs as possible so they can realistically access the courses of their choice post 16.
- How are the setting's resources allocated and matched to children's/young people's special educational needs?
Merit employs rigorous monitoring and evaluation methods to ensure that all financial resources are distributed effectively and efficiently. Every student is discussed on a regular basis and every effort is made to meet their needs. In the case of SEND specific materials are often required and these are provided where necessary. Following assessment and input from a range of professionals resources are purchased when a specific need has been identified. Pupil Premium allocations are recouped from mainstream schools/academies and expenditure is reported upon to the host school and the governing body on an individual student basis. This is for all eligible students and not ringfenced to those with SEND.
- How is the decision made about what type and how much support my child/young person will receive?
Additional support is available in most lessons from a team of experienced support staff. However where a student falls into the Tier 3 or 4 category of mental health, additional support may be required. Decisions regarding this are made by Merit's extended leadership team and follow-up and evaluation is taken from all staff at daily team briefing. The type of support available varies on an individual basis and a holistic approach is considered with each individual student.
- How will our child and young person be involved in the decisions about their learning?
We fully encourage all of our young people to be involved at every stage in the provision they receive at Merit as we believe that if they take ownership in the process it is more likely that they will achieve their ambitions in life.
- How will we be involved in the decisions about the learning of our children and young people?
There is a regular review process involving the Learning Pathways Team, SEND and other professionals. Decisions are made with the involvement of all parties including parents and carers at all stages.
- How are parents involved in the setting? How can I be involved?
Merit works intensively with parents and aims to foster positive, trusting working relationships. We recognise this to be extremely important in the students journey to recovery and wellbeing. Parents are given the opportunity to call out of hours in the case of emergency or to drop in as necessary. This can include grandparents and other members of the wider family. Some parents have received support from the school Counsellor and the Therapeutic Team.
In addition parents are invited to celebrate their child's success on a termly basis. There are Progress Reviews every 6 to 8 weeks to which parents are routinely invited.
At Merit we value the support from parents very highly and think of parents as valuable partners in the progress of their child.
- What do I I do if I want to make a complaint?
Please refer to the Complaints Policy on the school website.
- What other support Is available to parents and how can I contact them?
Please contact the Learning Pathways Team at Stoke on Trent City Council Local Authority.
Rated 5 out of 5
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I have recently just attended placement at this school and wow it truly is amazing. The staff and children are all so welcoming and are fantastic. All the children I spoke to at my time there, spoke about the school so highly and said they were much more stress free and happy. The headteacher is outstanding and gets really involved with all areas of the school. It was an absolute pleasure to be involved here and I will never forget the experience. Definitely 5 stars from me!