December 2017 NEWS

Broadlands Hall School > Articles by: Hazel Simmons

October 2017 Newsletter


What’s NEW?                                                                                                                           

The new academic year is already full of opportunity and learning. We have new work experience partners, new mainstream school partnerships and new staff. Paul Gardiner joins us as a Lead Teacher, with the specialisms of English and Drama.  Apart from preparing our GCSE and Functional Skills students for examination, Paul will be heading up an Action Research Project investigating how drama interventions can help children with Autism to progress.

We are working closely with three mainstream schools and a local college to provide some of our students access to a wider range of GCSE options, to team sports and vocational training in construction and motor engineering. This year, six of our students are enjoying the wide range of inclusive opportunities these relationships provide.  The most able students are thus able to study a fantastic range of optional examination subjects, as well as the core subjects delivered in-house.

We have also extended the range of work experiences available.  Latest projects include work with the local food bank, the YMCA charity shop and a garden nursery: the boys appear to be thoroughly enjoying themselves plus the reports back from employers are positively glowing!


Once again we hosted a coffee ‘afternoon’ this year. Not only did we raise over £120 for Macmilan’s but we were treated to some amazing confectionary creations. Students were invited to bake a ‘show-stopper’ to be judged in the ‘Great Broadlands Bake-Off’,  presided over by some of our local senior citizens. After the competition, the cakes were sliced and sold for the enjoyment of all.  Events such as this also give the students a chance to show off their fantastic hospitality skills.

At Broadlands Hall, we take attendance very seriously. Some students, before coming to Broadlands Hall, have had difficulty keeping to a full school programme and we work hard to re-engage them. It is worth reporting that Ofsted, last term, commended us on our students’ attendance, with the vast majority achieving 100% for the academic year, significantly above the national average for any school in the UK. We try to make ‘work fun and fun work’, and the enthusiasm with which everyone returned to school at the beginning of term would appear to indicate this strategy is successful!



Homework is a vital component in the development of young people, enabling them to demonstrate independence and personal thinking skills. For our KS3 and KS4 students is absolutely vital to give them the best chance of maximising examination success. Thus, all students are set weekly Homework, at a level that matches their ability. We would welcome you support in emphasising the importance of this activity.

Arts Adventures

The Arts has been well catered for this term with some students participating in a trip to see Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, others to see an emotive performance of The Kite Runner, while a ‘coming soon’ performance of Peter Pan promises to thrill the remainder of our students. In addition, as you may be aware, we run an official film club supported by Cineworld and have just acquired free tickets for students to see a variety of movies locally (all supported with curriculum learning resources) from Dunkirk to The Nut Job 2.

An absolutely amazing Gamelan workshop, hosted by the LSA at The Barbican Centre, was enjoyed by many this term : a real treat.

We obviously take Safeguarding very seriously and have clear policies in place to ensure that staff and visitors understand the importance of safeguarding. If you would like to read more please check-out the Policies section on the school website.


Comprehensive Therapies

As well as Music plus Speech and Language, we are excited to welcome Karen Bowden, Occupational Therapist, to the team this year. She is working one-to-one with students, assessing their needs and creating sensory strategies to best aid their development and progress. Karen’s reports will be sent out to parents and carers at the end of the term and contain ideas that can be used at Home.

Education, Health and Care Plans

At some point this academic year, you will be invited to attend an ECHP meeting and/or Annual Review meeting. These are very important as they track your child’s progress and to see if your child is receiving the level of support needed.

Student Leadership Elections

As part of our Citizenship, Britishness and Democracy programme, students campaigned and voted for student leadership positions this term. The boys put a great deal of thought and effort into the campaigns and the results were greeted with great enthusiasm by all. I am proud to announce the following positions:

Health and Safety Officers – Jordan and Tony

Charities Captain – Conner

Sports Captain – Dennis

Accessibility Captain – Jacob

Student Union Leader – Kai

Transport Manager – Matthew


Autumn term

Half term: Monday 23 October to Friday 27 October

PD DAY (School Closed): Monday 30 October

Tuesday 31 October to Wednesday 20 December

Monday 19 February to Thursday 29 March


Spring term

PD DAY (School Closed): 3 January

Tuesday 4 January to Friday 9 February

Half term: Monday 12 February to Friday 16 February


Christmas Musical Extravagance: all welcome

14 December at 1:30pm







































Ofsted News – Summer 2017

Dear Parents and Carers,

As you may be aware, we, along with all other special Schools, are now evaluated against exactly the same criteria as mainstream schools under ‘The Common Inspection Framework’. Whilst this exacting and universal criteria has led to many excellent Special Schools being ‘down-graded’ and many educationalists have protested that it is unfair, we welcomed the new demands.

If you are familiar with my newsletters, you will know that Broadlands Hall students are rigorously challenged to be the best that they can be and that our expectations for behaviour, including respect and compassion for others, are set high. Ofsted now evaluate schools against four specific categories. For us, ‘personal development’ and ‘welfare’ are absolutely and vitally what we want to achieve for our students. The acid test though is whether we have been successful or whether this just interesting rhetoric. Could our students be evaluated, by impartial strangers, side-by-side with the best mainstream students in the land and could we be pitted against those same schools in terms of the support and welfare we provide?   Ofsted came to see and judge us last month and a copy of their final report is attached. Here are just a few noteworthy comments from the report.

Personal development and welfare are outstanding.
Relationships are excellent. Staff demonstrate expertise, endless patience and understanding when teaching.
Pupils appreciate the enriched curriculum and the safe, stimulating environment provided for them.


Behaviour is managed exceptionally well
The behaviour of pupils is outstanding
Teaching is based firmly on gaining a full understanding of individual pupil’s social, emotional and behavioural needs.
Good teaching enables pupils to make good progress … the teaching of pupils of low ability is exceptional.Pupils appreciate the enriched curriculum and the safe, stimulating environment provided for them.

As Ofsted have confirmed, we are a very good school indeed full of OUTSTANDING students!

I have attached a copy of the full report and of course it will shortly be accessible from Ofsted’s own website. I won’t dilute this newsletter with other information but I will write to you again at the end of term with a full round up of all the many inspirational, challenging and joyous events that the boys have involved in this year.

Thank you: for your support, for your trust and of course, for giving us the wonderful and enriching opportunity to work with these astonishing young men.

Kind regards,


Hazel Simmons



Important Dates

Awards and Sports Day                                   June 16th

Last day of the Summer Term                        July 21st

Students back to school                                  September 6th


Our Fantastic LSAs – Julie Harris

After a career that included teaching pre-schoolers and supervising support teams delivering personal services for adults with learning difficulties and autism, Julie joined Broadlands Hall School three years ago.

In that time she was worked across the school, assisting some of our most vulnerable and challenging sixth-formers, helping them achieve places in supported living accommodation and also teaching a range of subjects, including PHSE, to very able students.  The students Julie works with appreciate her mature level head and warm-hearted but no nonsense approach to learning.

We are in the process of becoming a ‘Forest School’, which is a very exciting new venture for us: Julie is currently training to be our Forest School lead and is already planning ‘Den Making’ and products to encourage more wildlife into the school’s extensive grounds.

BUT, what you may not know about Julie is she loves mud! Julie is a ‘Mud-Runner’, regularly taking part on ridiculously arduous cross country obstacle course races. She has now bought her extra-curriculum passion into the school and several students are taking part in a youth ‘Mud-Runner’ event this autumn. Clearly, this very real toughness coupled with a heart of gold gives her the ability to really connect with our students and help them achieve positive outcomes.



Neil Paterson – Our Fantastic LSAs


We continue our series of profiles about our Fantastic LSAs, with a look into the background and considerable talents of Neil Patterson. Neil is still one of the ‘new-boys’, having joined us last September, fresh from the Police Force. Following a distinguished, thirty-year career as a Police Sargent, where he lead a team in charge of finding solutions to anti-social behaviour and other youth orientated issues in Suffolk. Neil took early retirement in order to pursue his passion for working more directly with young people. Fortunately for us, he chose to pursue that passion at Broadlands Hall School.

‘Each day is a new day presenting fresh challenges but I always go home with a feeling of achievement. I love my job at Broadlands.’

In addition to the extensive people skills and understanding of young people that Neil amassed in the force, he is also certified by the Swimming Teachers Association to coach swimming and award certificates. He taught young people with Autism and other Special Needs in Bury St Edmunds, as a volunteer, whilst in the Police Force and it was this experience that inspired his desire to work in our sector.

As many of our students enjoy swimming as part of their physical education diet, this is a real bonus for the school.

Currently, Neil is also studying for a Level 3 LSA (SEN) qualification, which he will finish later this year.

No matter whether he is teaching   Shakespeare, facilitating a PE session or coaching swimmers, Neil’s calm authority and genuine compassion enables him to really connect with our boys.

If all of that were not enough, Neil has found time to create a family of his own: no less than four children aged between 23 and 11 are lucky enough to have him as their Dad.

February 2017 Newsletter

Dear Parents and Carers,

It’s going to be WICKED!

Next half-term is brimming over with events and learning activities.

Students will learn about Business and Enterprise by visiting the Innocent (Drinks) offices in London. This is UNIQUE to us (they don’t give school tours) and I am sure the boys will be inspired by their truly funky business and people management style. Culture is served by a tour of the Royal Albert Hall which includes the opportunity to stand on the fabulous stage. Sporting excellence and personal dedication will be seen in abundance when the students visit the Emirates Football Stadium, the home of Arsenal, while science is very well catered for by ‘compare and contrast’ trips to the Eco Wind Turbine Power Centre and Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station. This term’s theatre treat is a visit to see ‘Wicked’ in London and you will receive a full review, created by students, at the end of the Spring Term. The members of Broadlands Hall School already have much in common with characters from the show, as we also believe that ‘Together we’re unlimited’ and that ‘Everyone deserves the chance to fly’!

Reach for the Stars

March 30th 2017 – a date for your diary. You are cordially invited to come along and support the students as they perform at our Spring Concert. This year, we are holding the event at Barnardiston Hall’s cosy theatre so we will have plenty of room for everyone: please come if you can. There will be music, magic, instrumentals, drama, skills demonstrations plus lots of cakes and tea.

Survey Results

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who completed our survey. Of course we want to know what we need to do to improve further and hear your ideas but it was really lovely to hear that you are so positive and pleased with the support the students receive; this means a great deal to us. The survey results will be published and distributed to you all at the beginning of next half-term.

Theme of the Week

This academic year we introduced ‘Theme of the Week’ and it has proved so successful, really engaging the boys, that the Homes have also decided to work with us to truly embed these important Citizenship and PHSE topics into the boys’ lives. The last week of this half-term is World Interfaith Harmony Week which has given us a rich seam to explore. I have attached a copy of this term’s ‘Themes of the Week’ for your further information.

Work Experience

The Sixth-Form students are enjoying new work experience opportunities this half-term. One student has been visiting a local home for elderly residents where he makes them tea and entertains them in conversation. Some others are working in the local village shop, filling shelves and serving customers and they will also soon begin work preparing a weekly tea party for senior citizens at the local church. Within the school, next term’s vocational skills development will include up-cycling of decorative furniture.


This year, we have made Horticulture and Gardening a team competition: each House has been allocated a range of hanging baskets, a poly tunnel and an outdoor vegetable patch. In the Summer Term, we plan to have our own Summer Fete where prize vegetables will be judged alongside floral displays and model villages. We hope that the winning items will still be around to be on display at this year’s Awards and Sports afternoon.

Safer Internet Day (International) took place on February 7th. The web site contains lots of information for parents that you may find useful to help you navigate this complex, enriching and yet potentially dangerous area of modern life.

Swimming, Gymnastics, Horse Riding, Arts Awards and ASDAN.

This half term, we have awarded a plethora of certificates to students who have achieved in all sorts of ways.  Three more students achieved their Bronze Arts Award while six achieved British Gymnastic Levels 7 and 8 and nine students obtained 16 Swimming certificates between them. Four students completed the ASDAN Transition Challenge and eight Towards Independence Modules were gained.

Disneyland for winners

Last year we launched an incentive trip challenge to all the boys with the prize being a trip to Disneyland! The incentive is open to all students and there is no cap on how many can be successful. In order to win the trip, students must firstly exceed their personal targets and secondly, must have demonstrated excellent behaviour, upholding and exemplifying the school’s Values. On this occasion, two students, Jerry and Jordan, have qualified and they will set off straight after the Spring Concert at the end of term. The incentive is now open again and will run until December 2017: we would truly love to take ALL the boys and wish them all the very best of luck.

What’s coming up?

Spring Concert                          March 30th – 1:30pm

Easter Holidays                         April 3rd to April 18th inclusive.

PD Day                                        April 18th

Start of Summer Term            April 19th

Summer half-term                   May 29th to June 2nd inclusive


Kind regards,


Hazel Simmons

Head teacher

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