Applefields School is the City of York local authority’s maintained day special school for secondary aged students, aged from 11 - 19 years, with a wide range of special educational needs. We support children with moderate, severe and profound learning difficulties and a significant number of children with complex autism as an additional need.
As a regional resource, students attend Applefields School from the City of York and the surrounding areas of North Yorkshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire. The majority of students travel to and from school in transport provided by the local authority with a small number of students travelling to and from school independently using public transport, walking or cycling. At the beginning of the current school year there are 144 pupils on roll, aged 11-16 provision. Two classes of pupils are based full time in our Satellite provision at Manor Church of England Academy.
Applefields School was opened in September 2004 and the school occupies a large, modern building which in part is based on one of the previous special schools which was substantially extended and refurbished. As pupil numbers have grown the school was extended again in 2012. The accommodation includes 19 classrooms, specialist resources for pupils with profound and complex needs, specialist teaching rooms for Science and Food Technology, a Hydrotherapy Pool, Library & IT room, 2 halls, a large multi-sensory environment and facilities for Nursing, Physiotherapy, Speech and Language Therapy. We have made a substantial investment in Information Technology - all classrooms, teaching areas and meeting rooms have networked facilities and the school’s local area network is connected to a managed broadband internet service. Interactive whiteboards are installed throughout the school. We are developing the use of iPads and specialist access devices. We have 4 school minibuses, 3 of which have been provided by the Variety Club and are wheelchair accessible.
The school is organised into 3 Key Stage departments - Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9), Key Stage 4 (Years 10 & 11) and Post 16 (Years 12 - 14). Currently students are organised into 18 pastoral groups dependent upon their age and special educational needs. The provision for students with complex needs on the Autistic spectrum and those with profound and multiple learning difficulties are organised into separate classes across the age range. Satellite provision for 2 groups (one class each for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 students) is based at Manor CE Academy on the west side of York. The pupils that attend the Satellite provision are based full time at this secondary school and have individual mainstream inclusion programmes.
Each pupil is based in a pastoral group which is supported by a Teacher and at least 2 Teaching Assistants. Pastoral groups meet at the beginning of each morning and at the beginning and end of the afternoon. Within each Key Stage those students with moderate and severe learning difficulties are organised into curriculum groups for the majority of the week. This enables children with similar levels of attainment to work as a group within the Key Stage. Students with complex autism or profound and complex learning difficulties work in their pastoral group with opportunities for individual or small groups of students to work alongside their peers with support.
Regular opportunities are created for all students within a Key Stage to work alongside one another - particularly in PE, Music and through creative and performing arts activities or in a variety of cross curricular ‘Discovery Days’ which take place throughout the year. These activities bring pupils from across the school to work together in arts, sports, enterprise or cultural activities.
Our students are supported by a dedicated and talented multi professional staff team. The current staffing establishment is 24 teachers (20.2 full time equivalents) including a senior team of a Headteacher and 2 Assistant Headteachers. One Assistant Headteacher is responsible for Key Stages 3 & 4, the other for Post 16 provision. There are 6 TLR posts in the staffing structure. These posts are leadership roles for the provision for students with autism, those with profound and complex needs, the Communication curriculum, Vocational and Work Related Learning, the Satellite provision and the provision of SEN advice and support to staff in mainstream schools. This latter post is fully funded by the local authority. There are 60 Teaching Assistants The majority of Teaching Assistants are employed at Teaching Assistant Level 3, a small number of staff are employed at Teaching Assistant Level 2.
Excellent on site medical and therapeutic support is provided by the local NHS Health Trust. A number of our students have complex health needs and we have the support of a full time nursing team. Our students’ therapeutic needs are met by a part time Physiotherapist, a full time Physiotherapy Assistant and part time Speech and Language Therapist. Weekly Paediatric Consultant clinics are held on site. The local authority provides Educational Psychology support and peripatetic support for students with sensory impairments and autism as an additional need. We employ a part time student counsellor who works with a small number of students on a one to one basis for half day each week.
The local authority’s Transition Team are based on site. The team of children’s Social Workers, Adult Care Manager and Connexions Advisors are an integral part of our provision to support post 16 students as they plan and prepare for the move to post school provision.
All teachers, other than members of the senior leadership team are responsible for a pastoral group of students and the majority of teachers also have a responsibility for the coordination of an area of the curriculum or school development. Teachers may be responsible for teaching in a number of areas of the curriculum and across one, or more Key Stage areas.
Teaching Assistants are assigned to a specific pastoral group within a Key Stage department. Staff will support one or more curriculum groups within the department. Teaching Assistants have additional departmental or whole school resource responsibilities.
Students access a broad and relevant curriculum which in Key Stages 3 & 4 includes the subjects of the National Curriculum differentiated in the context of the students’ special educational needs. A particular emphasis is placed on the development of students’ skills in Communication, Literacy and Numeracy with a focus on the development of students’ personal and social independence skills, health and well-being and the use of Information Technology. Applefields School is part of a local sports partnership working alongside other special schools across the North Yorkshire region.
Those students who experience the most significant communication difficulties are supported through a variety of augmentative communication systems including Makaton, British Sign Language, PECS and the use of electronic communication aids. The development of students’ communication skills is co-ordinated by the Speech and Language Therapist and the teacher with responsibility for Communication and Literacy and students work in timetabled small Communication groups regularly during the week. The school is developing the use of iPads to support students’ communication skills and general access to the curriculum.
All students continue to attend school for post 16 provision with the overwhelming majority of students attending until the end of Year 14. The aim of Post 16 curriculum is to prepare students for leaving school and life as a young adult. Students are supported with the continuing development of their communication skills, functional Literacy and Numeracy skills, practical independence skills as well as the opportunity to take part in learning away from the school in the local community. These opportunities may include work related learning, work experience, independent travel training and the opportunity to attend link courses at the 1 local further education colleges; York College, and at the Danesgate Skills Centre where students undertake a 2 year City and Guilds Entry Level course in personal development and preparation for employment.
We believe that it is important that all of our students have the opportunity to have their learning appropriately accredited. Students in Key Stage 3 follow work in Personal Progress and Stepping Stones and Key Stage 4 and Post 16 students have their achievements recognised through the use of a range of externally accredited unit awards. Students work towards Entry Level certificates in English, Maths, Science, Food Technology and Information Technology. In addition, the Post 16 curriculum is based on the ASDAN ‘Towards Independence’ curriculum and students have the opportunity to take courses in Adult Literacy and Numeracy.
A small number of students are involved in part time inclusion placements in their local mainstream secondary school. These placements enable students to have the opportunity to spend part of the week working alongside mainstream students in different areas of the curriculum.
On leaving Applefields School, students transfer to a variety of local and regional post school provision. Students may transfer to a personalised learning programme with part time access to a local further education college with opportunities for work based learning. Others students may have the opportunity to transfer to a regional specialist residential further educational college to continue with the development of their life skills and undertake vocational training. Some students choose to transfer to one of the local further educational colleges in York to follow specialist vocational training courses. Other students may transfer to adult services provision provided by the student’s home local authority. Students and their parents or carers are supported in making these decisions by the Transition Team and Connexions Personal Advisors who work are based on the school site and work closely with students, their families and school staff. All of our students transfer to continuing education, employment or training.
In the context of the changes to the National Curriculum, in the last school year we started a review of our school curriculum to ensure that it is fit for purpose in preparing students for life after school. The results of that review will move forward this year with the development of a life skills curriculum.
We work closely with our parents and carers. Some of students live a considerable distance from school and it can be challenging for some parents to travel to school for meetings. However, parents provide excellent support and visit school regularly, whether this to attend their child’s review meeting or one of our regular social or informal meetings.
Since our last Ofsted inspection we have conducted a comprehensive review of how we communicate with parents. Communication with parents will include home school communication books, class based emails accounts, text messages, regular newsletters from the Headteacher, information from teachers about activities, events and visits and a termly newsletter prepared by staff and students.
We work closely with the local parents’ support group for all children with special needs and disabilities who attend provision in York.
In addition, the parents of two ex Applefields students run regular workshops for parents to provide support, guidance and an opportunity for parents to support one another and share information as their son or daughter moves through post 16 and onto post school provision.
Admissions to Applefields School are controlled by the City of York local authority. Children usually start school at the beginning of the school year in September. However, it may be possible for children to transfer to Applefields School during the year depending upon individual circumstances and the availability of places.
If you are interested in your child attending Applefields School please contact the school for further information. A member of staff will be happy to discuss our provision. We hope that the following general advice will be useful.
Details of our Satellite provision at Manor CE Academy and the admission arrangements are described in section about the Satellite in the 'Our Curriculum' part of the website.
If Your Child Attends Hob Moor Oaks School
We have a strong partnership with Hob Moor Oaks School, the primary special school in York. If your child attends Hob Moor Oaks School, with your agreement a member of Applefields School staff will attend your child's Education, Health and Care Plan meeting in Year 6. However, you are invited to visit Applefields School at any time to discuss the provision available. If you would like your child to transfer to Applefields School an application should be made to the local authority following your child's review meeting in Year 6. This process applies whether you live in York or outside of the local authority.
Most of the children who attend Hob Moor Oaks School transfer to Applefields School at the beginning of Year 7.
If You Live in York and Your Child Attends Another School
If your child lives and attends another school in York (either primary or secondary) an application for a place at Applefields School will usually be made following your child’s annual review or Education, Health and Care Plan meeting. Applications can be made at any time; it is recommended that you discuss your interest in Applefields with the SENCo in your child’s school.
To discuss your application with the local authority or for further information please contact:
Adults, Children and Education
Tel: 01904 554302
If You Live Outside of York
If you live outside of York an application for a place at Applefields School must be discussed with the SEN services department in your home local authority. This can take place following your child’s annual review meeting or Education and Health Care Plan meeting. Please speak to the SENCo in your child’s school.
If your local authority agrees to support your request for a place at Applefields School your home local authority will contact the SEN Department at York. The allocation of places will then be considered by the Headteacher in consultation with the staff in the City of York SEN Department.
The contact details for North Yorkshire County Council are:
The Pupil and Parents Officer
Selby Local Education Office
2 Abbey Yard
Tel : 08450 349 465
The Pupil and Parents Officer
Harrogate Local Education Office
Tel : 08450 349 467
The Pupil and Parents Officer
Scarborough / Ryedale Education Office
Tel : 08450 349 400
The Pupil and Parents Officer
Northallerton Local Education Office
121 -123 High Street
Tel : 08450 349 468
The contact details for East Riding of Yorkshire Council are:
Head of Service
Special Educational Needs Support Service (SENSS)
Tel: 01482 392180
Preparing for school or moving between schools can be a stressful time for both students and their families. We work closely with students' their families and the student's current school to plan an individual transition programme for each student to help them get ready for their new school as easily as possible. For the students starting at the beginning of the next school year this will involve regular visits for students and informal meetings for parents and carers. The parents of all students are invited to attend our summer term Open Evening (usually held at the end of June / beginning of July - please check the school calendar) when they will have an opportunity to meet their child's pastoral team for the following school year.
Home to School Transport
Most pupils that attend Applefields School travel to and from school in taxis or minibuses under contract to the local authority. This transport is usually provided free of charge. In York the home to school transport to Applefields School is managed by Streamline Taxis on behalf of the local authority.
Before the beginning of the school year, or before a change in the transport arrangements, drivers and escorts are asked to contact families to introduce themselves and meet your son or daughter. The driver will provide you with a contact telephone number and advise you on a collection time and a time when they would expect to bring your child home.
If your son or daughter child is absent from school please contact the driver or escort as soon as possible and advise them of when you expect your son or daughter to return to school.
If you experience any difficulties with home to school transport:
In York please contact Streamline Taxis (01904 638833) or the Education Transport Department at the City of York Council (01904 554296) from 8.00am to 5.00pm
In North Yorkshire please contact the Special Schools Transport section at County Hall, Northallerton (0845 872 7374) from 8.30am to 5.00pm (Monday – Thursday) and 8.30am – 4.30pm (Friday).
The school is supported by an enthusiastic and hard-working Governing Body who take an active interest in the work and development of the school. The governing body has 13 members and meets as a full group at least twice each term, and each of the 3 Committees (Personnel, Curriculum and Resources) meets each term to support the Headteacher in the leadership and management of the school.
In addition to their responsibility for the strategic development of the school, Governors take a keen interest in the day to day working of the school and visit as regularly as they can with a number of governors having a specific link responsibility to a phase, need or area of the curriculum. Governors attend staff meetings and training days.