Residential pupils stay with us on site from Monday to Thursday and go home on Friday afternoon. Some pupils may stay with us for shorter durations or on an ad hoc basis, based on the needs of the pupil and family.
We do not have accommodation from Friday to Sunday.
For more information about our Residential provision kindly see the sections below.
Please click here for our Statement of Purpose.
Residential Activities at Parkwood Hall
We want our residential students to feel at home all week at Parkwood Hall. So, morning and afternoon are filled with things to do that any family might try to do at home.
We work with our students to provide them with a full range of fun activities throughout the week so that they are learning and having fun at the same time. We have an amazing 78 acres of woodland surrounding the school and the residential area. We constantly use the grounds to promote healthy lifestyles in our young people. We have a great Forest School site, a huge range of bikes, trampolines, green gym, and other sports equipment. Recently some young people started working towards Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award and we have our own Parkwood Hall scout troop that meets on a weekly basis.
We encourage activities in the community to develop independence skills and help to build confidence. There are regular visitors to the local community including, shopping, bowling, cinema, and local clubs such as swimming, drama. When we go into the community, we use a variety of transport methods including; walking, local bus services and our own mini buses.
Cooking is a regular activity that we offer both as fun and to develop skills and independence. We have two very well equipment kitchens that we use to help residents to use as independently as possible. The young people will create their own menu, create a shopping list, journey into Swanley to purchase ingredients, return to house and cook for themselves and other young people in their area. All of our staff support activities taking into consideration each young person’s communication needs. The staff will then use a range of strategies including visual support, Makaton signing, or and AAC to enable students and promote their independence. We also try to provide activities that support sensory needs and sensory regulation during the residential part of our young people’s day.
We also encourage a range of household activity including, laundry, and cleaning and hoovering students’ rooms. Many of our older young people report that this has been very valuable to them when they move onto college or assisted living post 19.
This is only a snapshot of the full range of activities and events our young residents have access to at Parkwood Hall. If you would like further information, please contact Pauline McCarthy or Annette Cannon at Parkwood Hall.
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Residential Accommodation at Parkwood Hall
Accommodation at Parkwood Hall is arranged as four ‘Houses’ over two floors: Hyde 1+2, and Sherwood 1+2. We have a long tradition of providing excellent residential care for young people that have learning difficulties. The accommodation itself has evolved over many years at Parkwood Hall. We do our utmost at to create a warm, homely environment which mirrors an experience we would want the children and young people to have if they were in a family setting.
All students have their own room with good quality furniture, fixtures, and fittings. The young people are given a budget as part of their induction with which they can personalise their living space where appropriate for their needs, including soft furnishings, bedding, and pictures for their walls. Our aim is that they feel it is their safe space where they can feel comfortable and happy during the school week.
Each House comprises up to 8 individual student bedrooms, lounge, kitchen, individual bathrooms. All our lounges and bathroom areas have been improved and re-developed during recent years with the young people having input to the designs and colours in all areas. Ofsted recently complimented the school on the quality of the accommodation and how well we were able to adapt the school site. This year, large smart screens have been placed in the residential lounges and we have upgraded to good quality, wifi which has helped to ensure good quality communications between young people and their families during the school week. We want all of our young people to have freedom to contact their families whenever they wish.
Routines and systems are in place to make sure all students feel secure and safe during the school week on residential.
Students are encouraged to be as independent as possible. We try to make the accommodation support this through the way it is presented and laid out. Throughout the residential areas we maintain excellent staff to young people ratios to ensure that we can support and empower the young people so that they learn and grow with us every day!
All prospective families are invited into residential to experience the spaces and the way we work at Parkwood Hall prior to any offer being made so that you are confident about what you would want for your child. We look forward to meeting you and showing you around.
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Allocation of Residential places
Allocations of Places at Parkwood Hall
There are many reasons why parents/carers may seek a residential placement. Parents who seek a boarding placement at Parkwood Hall Co-operative Academy do so because they appreciate the significant added value and essential difference that residential education can make for their child. In addition to academic, emotional, and social skills, children with special needs also often require support to learn the most basic life skills. The access to care, structure, and consistency of interventions during all waking hours has proven to have a positive impact in all areas of a child's development.
A peer group of his or her own
Our residential setting provides opportunities for students to have group interaction with their peers. The structured activity programme allows time for leisure time/activities with peers after school, giving each child many opportunities to learn critical socialization skills as well as how to effectively manage leisure time. It is a vital tool in helping students to understand what is and how to develop appropriate friendships an ability that is vital to his or her quality of life. Being part of a wider group of peers is also key in developing their communication skills e.g., regular student meetings enable the students to share opinions and to have healthy debates and discussion.
Learning for a lifetime
Developmental disabilities and other special needs can affect all aspects of a child’s life. Self-care, self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, vocational skills, and many other critical life-skills are areas that are addressed through our residential programs. They are designed to educate and develop the whole child – academically, socially, vocationally, and more – so that he or she can live life as fully as possible while at Parkwood and transfer these skills to home or further education such as Residential colleges post 19.
Communication with family, friends, and home
For residential students spending Monday to Friday at school during a typical 6-week term means that they spend more time here than at home. This means that effective communication between a student's family and staff is vital. Parents/carers of Parkwood residential students certainly hear about their child’s successes and setbacks. This will be through regular phone or E-mail contact and at the end of every week parents will receive an overview of their child's week through written E-mail and photos of students during activities etc. Parents are encouraged to visit their child while they are at school, and many will spend the evening with their child to celebrate a birthday or just pop in if they are in the area.
Each student has a member of residential staff allocated to them when they start their time as a residential student. It is their responsibility to oversee the everyday aspects of a student's time in residence. They will also ensure they have effective communication with class staff to gain knowledge and understanding of how things are going during the school day. They will be the main contact for parents/carers if there is information to be passed on from the weekend or school holidays. The personal tutor will also have input to Annual reviews, care plans and other important paperwork or meetings involving the student they are personal tutor to. Wherever possible once allocated a personal tutor will remain with a student throughout their time in residence as this helps students to build a working relationship with them that is built on having trust and confidence in them.
How we make an informed decision where each student will be placed within the residential areas.
When a new residential student is placed at Parkwood, we take several factors into account when deciding which residential area will best meet their needs:
- The students age
- Their level of ability
- Level of communication
- Social interaction level
- Medical needs
- The physical environment
- Peer group suitability
- Any risk of harm to themselves,
On each residential area there is 1 individual bedroom separate from the others. This was originally set up as an assessment room for potential residential students on PHSE. Both rooms are large in comparison to the other bedrooms, simply due to the structure of the residential areas.
As we currently do not offer overnight assessments for students both bedrooms are now being used to meet the individual needs of students. One is occupied by a young man with medical needs that require a lot of medical equipment to be to hand and space to carry out the high level of personal care needed.
The other assessment room is currently occupied by a young lady who cannot manage being in a shared bedroom area with other students. She was struggling to settle at bedtime and was also easily disturbed by noise. Since being in a separate bedroom away from others she settles well at bedtime. This same room was occupied last year by a young man who needed to sing aloud to help him process his emotions while trying to fall asleep. Being in a room on his own where his noise level did not disturb others enabled him to do this.
We have a day student who is due to start full time boarding after the half term. When we were looking at which residential area was best suited to meet his needs, we had to consider several factors. He is a very sociable young man who loves to be part of a bigger group and is keen to join in all activities but his ability to take turns, share and interact appropriately are limited. Initially we felt that placing him with higher need students would work but realised that he would not have an appropriate peer group socially, as many of them have limited verbal communication with very individualised programmes.
We have decided that the more suitable area will be with a small number of students who are sociable and share his love of group activities. Although socially they are developing at a higher level, we felt they would also have the ability to role model appropriate social interaction, turn taking etc for the new student.
We encourage all students to take ownership of their bedroom. They do this by personalising it with bedding of their choice, posters, family photos and anything else that puts an individualized touch to them. Each bedroom has a colourful tub chair and rug. Schedules, routines, and other visuals in place to support them are placed on their notice boards.
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