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01562 882 253

FAQs About Sunfield

What does Sunfield do?

Sunfield is an independent residential special school and registered charity. We offer education, care, psychology, therapies and family services, based on meaningful, honest and open relationships with you and your child; helping children to feel safe, respected, confident and capable of achieving their best.

We offer residential placements between 38 and 52 weeks, and education day provision to students from neighbouring Local Authorities. We are able to be creative and flexible with the residential packages we offer, and can offer short breaks provision for current students on a day or 38 week package, to provide consistent and meaningful short breaks provision for the student and their family. You can read more about what we do here.

Who does Sunfield provide for?

Sunfield provides education, care, psychology and therapies to children and young people aged 6 to 19 years, with severe and complex learning and behavioural needs, including Autism Spectrum Disorder and Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome (PDA).

How can I begin to use Sunfield?

At Sunfield, we aim to inform, support and reassure you, your child and your family from the moment you get in touch with us. If you would like to consider Sunfield for your child, please contact us on 01562 881320 or at referrals@sunfield.org.uk to arrange an initial visit, or to discuss what Sunfield can offer your son or daughter. We take admissions throughout the year, so please feel free to contact us at any time. You can read more about Referrals and Admissions here.

How are decisions made about who can attend Sunfield?

We offer placements to young people with severe and complex learning needs which may include a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Most of our placements are funded by the Local Authority and a formal referral will usually come from them, if they agree that a residential placement is needed.

Initially, Sunfield will send a team of professionals, drawn from each department (Education, Care, and Psychology and Therapies) to meet your child and assess their needs, in their current environment – this maybe at home, school, a short breaks provision or a residential setting.

Based on their observations and the consideration of the identified needs within their Statement of Special Educational Needs (SSEN), or the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), the team will establish whether Sunfield can offer a placement. If so, the team will identify how Sunfield will meet your child’s identified needs, including the required staffing ratios to support this.

Careful consideration is given to placing each new student within a peer group that is compatible to all children within that group, and one that offers the best opportunities for the children to live and learn alongside one another.

The offer will be shared with the Local Authority, along with the associated costs, in order for a decision to be made as to whether to place your child at Sunfield.

What specialist services will be available to my child?

Working with our expert Care and Education teams, our on-site Psychology and Therapies team, of 7 highly skilled professionals, offers a holistic range of therapies, which work together to support your child’s development across all aspects of their life. Because they are on-site, they can provide a responsive and flexible approach to your child’s changing needs, and are able to offer support, advice and intervention in a timely manner. You can find out more about our Psychology and Therapies offering here.

Having this wealth of on-site knowledge and experience here at Sunfield, from a variety of professional disciplines, will enable your child’s needs to be understood and met by a qualified and experienced team, who will work together to create the Team Around your Child (TAC).

How will Sunfield support my child’s overall well-being?

In our experience, happy and secure children and young people are more able to learn and thrive, so our priority will be to support your child’s well-being and emotional needs, so they can more confidently and effectively access their learning and living experiences.

Sunfield has an excellent track-record of helping children to change their own life, by engaging effectively with their learning and living experiences. The resulting increase in skills, confidence and ability to communicate empowers them to make a very real difference to their life.

The educational, therapeutic and leisure activities throughout their waking day will provide your child with the opportunity to enjoy a range of experiences tailored to their needs – from the security of regular activities, to fresh adventures that will help them to push their boundaries and expand their world. You can read more about our integrated learning and living here.

If your child needs additional intervention, our teams in Health, and Psychology and Therapies, are on-hand to assess, advise and further support their emotional well-being.

What training do the staff supporting my child have?

Sunfield has a rigorous selection process, aimed at securing only the highest quality team members from the outset. Once selected, all new staff undertake an induction programme of mandatory training, to ensure they have the required skills and knowledge to undertake their role.

This is followed by our programme of additional and ongoing training, which provides staff with further mandatory training, enhances any role-specific skills and supports their wider career development. In addition, Sunfield’s teams continually share their own expert knowledge, experience and understanding of each child with each other, in order to provide the highest quality bespoke care and education.

How are families involved with Sunfield?

We see you and your family as partners in your child’s journey through Sunfield. We will liaise with you on all aspects of your child’s life here. We have an open-door policy, so you are welcome to request a visit at any time, and we will do our utmost to accommodate your request.

Sunfield has a dedicated Family Services Team who provide support to the whole family. The team offer a variety of support services, including training seminars for family members. Our sibling support programme enables brothers and sisters to get involved and have fun too; making new friends and sharing their experiences.

Our Family Centre has two self-contained flats available to families for overnight or weekend stays. We also have a suite of rooms for day visits, offering comfortable homely spaces where you can spend precious quality time with your child.

Sunfield has a Family Forum Group comprised of parents, siblings and grandparents who represent the wider family population. They meet each term, with representatives from the Leadership Team and Family Services Team, to discuss and reflect on organisational issues, new plans and areas of organisational development.

How will my child’s learning be matched to their needs?

Your child will have meaningful, relevant access to the National Curriculum or Post 16 Curriculum, working towards challenging individual targets. We will continually benchmark their academic progress against national expectations, using the Department for Education’s Progression Guidance for students with special educational needs and disabilities.

At Sunfield, your child will benefit from small class groups, based on their age, ability, communication and sensory profile. They will undertake tailored, personalised learning programmes, supported by expert teams who work together to confidently meet the diverse needs of all students. They will also be able to access innovative and effective creative arts, functional skills and work-related learning, where appropriate. Our Post 16 Curriculum will enable your child to learn, practice and refine the skills, knowledge and understanding they will need for their adult lives. You can read more about education at Sunfield here.

How will Sunfield prepare my child for the transition to the next stage of their life?

Sunfield will prepare your child for transition from the day they join us, by developing their independence skills and identifying strategies to support their communication, learning, behaviour and sensory needs; all of which will contribute to the next stage in their life.

In Year 9 Sunfield will begin to plan for the transition into Adult Services, working alongside you, your child and representatives from the local authority. The transitions officer is available to advise in this process and when your child reaches the FE dept will work closely with all parties to help ensure a coordinated and planned approach to the transition to the new adult provider. You can read more about our transition services here.

How can I find out more about Sunfield?

Please contact Sally Conway, Head of Referrals and Admissions, or Deb Whitford, Referrals and Admissions Officer, on 01562 881320 or at referrals@sunfield.org.uk to arrange a visit or to discuss what Sunfield can offer your son or daughter.