At St John’s, we are very proud of our students’ successes in our sixth form. This is where their earlier intensive educational input comes to fruition.
During their time in the secondary department, we prepare students very well for this next educational stage and, as a result, we have never had a student drop out or fail a course.
The sixth form offers our students the opportunity to study a wide range of academic and vocational courses linked to two local colleges – York College and Askham Bryan College. This helps students build wider friendship groups and offers new social opportunities.
Students have full time individual support from learning mentors who are all trained to support the communication needs of deaf people. Additional tuition is provided by St John’s teachers and is managed by the Sixth Form co-ordinator who is also a specialist teacher of hearing impaired students.
Sixth form students continue with individual and group speech and language therapy sessions which support subject specific language as well as skills for social interaction and relationship building.
Placements in the sixth form are residential. This enables students to access a 24 hour curriculum that equips them for adult life. In the residential setting, students have a wide deaf peer group and follow a full life skills programme, which is accessible for young people with a range of additional needs such as visual or physical impairments.
On a practical level, students are taught budgeting, shopping and self-care skills such as washing and ironing. As a group, the students plan and budget for their own leisure time and, by the end of their time with us, it is expected that students will have well developed independence skills, including independent travel. Post 16 funding includes daily travel by minibus into York College and students undergo a travel training course so they can travel back to St John’s independently. We also help students pass their driving tests by arranging lessons and providing driving theory tutorials.
Students continue to have careers advice and support in school, provided by an independent careers officer, and also have support with future college and job applications. Presentations and discussions with outside speakers help prepare students to become active citizens, aware of their responsibilities and sources of help available to them. Students learn about issues that are important to them such as positive personal relationships and managing their own health and social needs.
St John’s Sixth Form provides all students with full time one-to-one support from our own learning mentors who are all trained as note-takers to support the communication needs of deaf people. The majority of learning mentors are graduates or teachers and have specialist expertise in specific skills such as ICT and Media. This enables us to assign a learning mentor with relevant experience of their chosen course to each student.
Learning mentors work one-to-one with students, providing notetaker support in all taught sessions and also in practical sessions when background noise can make instructions and discussions difficult to hear. They also fulfil an important pastoral role to support students, for example, in organising their social and study time, structuring assignments, preparing students to cope with buying their own meals and moving around the college.
Many of our students receive awards as best students on their course or from industry sponsors. This success builds confidence so by the time they leave St John’s sixth form, our young people are well-equipped to go into employment, further or higher education and have the social and communication skills to participate in the wider world
Support for students’ emotional well being
St John’s school provides support for hearing impaired pupils and students who are experiencing a range of emotional, behavioural and developmental problems such as:
- Eating disorders
- Behavioural problems
- Significant communication or coping difficulties at school or home.
To achieve this, we work with the National Deaf Child and Adolescecent Mental Health Service (NDCAMHS), which provides a specialist mental health service for deaf and hearing impaired children.
The NDCAMHS service has four regional centres. The closest centre to St John’s is Lime trees, in York. As well as providing outreach services, Lime trees has an inpatient facility and school staff have worked with specialists there to provide education if St John’s pupils have been admitted on a short or longer term basis.
The NDCAMHS service has a permanent base in St John’s and a member of St John’s staff coordinates visits and multi-professional meetings. The range of specialist staff from the NDCAMHS team who visit the school very frequently includes:
- Clinical Psychologists
- Community Mental Health Nurses
- Occupational Therapists and
- Deaf Family Support Workers
The NDCAMHS base at St John’s includes video conferencing facilities to allow liaison with CAMHS professionals and families around the country.
This facility has enabled us to support students who have been inpatients at the national specialist Deaf inpatient centre at Corner House, Wandsworth. School staff have provided students with their usual curriculum materials and contributed to CPA reviews.
Support for young people from the NDCAMHS team in school includes:
- Holistic assessment of a child’s emotional and developmental needs
- Health care and medication reviews
- Therapeutic support for individuals, families and groups
- Support and advice for the family
- Consultation, advice, and training for teachers and care staff to support pupils and students and implement individual care plans.