Valley School first opened in 1979, occupying a site in Cheadle, Stockport and it was originally a school for children with physical difficulties.
It moved to the present site in Bramhall in 1984. Our school motto, ‘Small steps, giant strides’ captures our belief that with the right help and support, children are capable of great progress, and we see evidence of this each day in our school.
We are a primary special school that caters for pupils from 2-11 years of age, with complex learning difficulties and disabilities. We have been an OFSTED outstanding school since 2011.
For a number of years, we have been using iPad in our classrooms to aid children’s learning, develop IT skills and support personal and social skills. Increasingly, children are having access to iPad at home for relaxation and reward and this has made it more difficult for our children to use them as a learning tool in the classroom.
Working with My QoL (part of the My Improvement Network), parents and the Local Authority has enabled us to develop an android based system which is tailored to the specific needs of pupils with learning difficulties, has easy access for parents and families to contribute and share information and with a display that looks different to an iPad. A parent trialling the android at home, described how her son quickly picked up on the difference between his iPad and the tablet and it has enabled her to share learning activities, videos and photos of his life with him in a way which is different to the way he uses the iPad.
Pupils have personal logins and there are shared areas for home and school which parents can access via androids and other media devices. Under the tab ‘Life story and personal projects’ there are areas where children’s learning, development and achievements are recorded in ‘My Journey’ which can be shared with families and professionals and printed as a book when they leave school. The ‘All About Me’ tab enables families and school to create a one-page personal profile/passport which can be shared with other agencies such as hospitals, therapists and other schools. There are visual activities to help children express feelings and indicate where on their body they have pain. It can be very upsetting and frustrating for parents and carers when a child can’t tell them where it hurts.
We have been developing activities with the team from My Learning Network that will support children, settings and families to give their child a voice, aid transitions (through virtual tours of our school and our LA specialist high school), promote learning and track progress and wellbeing. There are activities to support and develop communication and a pictorial activity plan to show routines and weekly and daily activities.
We have also been well supported by the Local Authority who have worked with us to ensure that all the systems are compatible with school-based systems and are secure.
It has been an exciting journey and one that we hope will continue as we roll out the system and begin to share with our families.