Admission criteria and process

Admissions to the school are governed by the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (2014).

All pupils have a Statement of Special Educational Need or an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), or are undergoing professional assessments of their special educational needs and are in the process of receiving an Education, Health and Care Plan.  The age range of pupils at the school is 3-11 years.   Due to the high demand for places for pupils of statutory school age, the vast majority of pupils at the school are age 5-11.

This professional assessment is organised and managed by Lewisham Council’s Special Educational Needs Service (SEN), part of Lewisham Complex Needs Service.  The school’s admissions authority is Lewisham Local Authority.

Having considered assessment information/ draft EHCP/ completed EHCP for a particular child, Lewisham SEN takes the decision to make a referral to Watergate, for the school to consider whether it can meet the child’s current educational needs.

Education, Health and Care plans and all related assessment information are scrutinised carefully by the school and where possible the child is observed by a member of Watergate Leadership Team.

If the school indicates that it can meet the child’s current  educational needs and it considers that the child is appropriately placed in the school, a Lewisham SEN panel makes the final decision as to whether the child will attend the school or not.  Members of the SEN Panel include Lewisham officers, Headteachers, SENCOs and health professionals.  All new admissions are confirmed by the Lewisham SEN team.

Prior to admission the school will, where possible, arrange a series of visits to prepare each child for their transition to Watergate.  During this time, parent(s)/ carer(s) will be invited into school to complete admission and consent details and the home-school agreement.

Applying for a place at Watergate School

If you wish your child to attend the school, please contact:

Lewisham SEN

Kaleidoscope Child Development Centre
32 Rushey Green

Se6 4jf

Tel: 020 3049 1475

Tel:  020 71381100– Education – Special Educational Needs

Please note that your child must have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or a Statement of Special Educational Need or be in the process of receiving one.

If you would like to visit the school, please telephone 020 86956555 to arrange.  Visits usually take place on Thursday mornings (10:45).  Attendance is by appointment only and it is advisable to book in advance.

Oversubscription criteria

The school is currently oversubscribed with 110 pupils on roll.

The school was built in 2003 to accommodate 80 pupils.

All central and common facilities (dining, sensory, play, shared rooms, some changing and toilet areas) are designed to accommodate 80 pupils.

The roll was subsequently increased by 10%.

Further refurbishment has provided two additional classrooms and four group rooms providing classroom space for 104 pupils.

Lewisham SEN Panel decides which pupils are prioritised for a place at the school.

Age group considerations

Pupils can join the school in any year group subject to availability of places.  Every effort is made to accommodate pupils of whatever age group, where a Lewisham SEN panel has agreed to place a child at the school.

At the beginning of every school year, following Lewisham SEN confirmation of which pupils are attending the school, pupils are grouped in classes based on how the school considers it can best meet need.

Children across two year groups are usually grouped in a class together (vertical grouping).  There is usually eight/ nine pupils in each class.  Whilst Watergate attempts to maintain optimum numbers in each year group, the school can be directed to admit pupils over this number by Lewisham SEN or a SEND tribunal.

Learning need and Provision   

The level of ability of children admitted to Watergate is at an earlier level than the typically expected level for their chronological age.   Across the school, the range of attainment is from the earliest levels of development through to early mainstream levels for a small number of pupils at Y6.  The curriculum content addresses the level of ability of these pupils.

The school meets the needs of Lewisham children with Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD).    Pupils have difficulty with the development of Attention and Listening/ concentration skills, limited expressive language ability, receptive language processing difficulties, limited independence and a lack of safety awareness.   Some pupils (approximately 25%) have Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD), having associated complex medical, physical needs/ sensory impairment.  Nearly 60% of pupils at the school have a diagnosis of autism.

At Watergate the curriculum is adapted and modified to meet individual pupil educational need.  Learning is promoted in small steps with repetition, reinforcement and encouragement.  Pupils require a high level of adult support, both for their learning needs and also for their personal care.

The development of communication skills is a major focus.  To support this, some pupils use the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), others use Makaton sign.  A number use a range of other communication aids including Eye Gaze.  The development of social, self-help, purposefulness and independence skills is a key learning need.

There are twelve classes with eight/ nine pupils in each class.  The learning environment, teaching approach and strategies used in each classroom are designed to meet the specific needs of the pupils in these classes.

There are six classes for pupils who do not have a diagnosis of autism and a learning support base for pupils with PMLD.  There are two Sensory Rooms catering for individual need.

The school has six classes designated for pupils with autism and two learning support bases (Infant and Junior), along with a number of group rooms and sensory circuit.

For pupils with autism, the teaching and learning approaches address the autistic need of pupils in these classes.  So it is the same as it would be in a school that is solely for pupils with autism.

Sensory Regulation programmes are devised by Occupational Therapists working at Watergate to address the sensory regulation needs of pupils with autism at the school.

Three Speech & Language Therapists and a Speech & Language Therapy Assistant work at the school.  They work with teachers developing Individual Education Plan (IEP) objectives and strategies to implement these objectives.   The Speech & Language Therapists devise eating and drinking programmes for pupils who require these.   They provide specialist advice and training across the school.

A number of physiotherapists working at the school provided support, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy programmes for pupils who require these.  They also provide training for staff.

As well as providing Sensory Regulation programmes for pupils with autism, the Occupational Therapists work across the school with pupils requiring this specialist support.   They too provide training for staff.

A Special Needs Nursing Team Assistant supports specialist eating and drinking requirements for pupils requiring this.  She also administers, for pupils who have prescribed medication daily, only medication that cannot be administered during the period of the day when the child is at home.

A Special Needs Nurse runs toileting clinics at the school, working with an Occupational Therapist.   The Special Needs Nurse usually attends medicals held at the school.

There are other visiting professionals supporting pupils including a Music Therapist and Multisensory Impairment Teacher.

Áine Ní Ruairc Headteacher         February 2016