At WhiteTrees school we focus on providing specialist onsite and offsite education services.
Welcome To WhiteTrees Education
At WhiteTrees school we focus on providing specialist onsite and offsite education services. What we do is very bespoke to the child’s needs and we would expect you to have specific questions around your child’s requirements, I would like to extend an invitation to speak with you to answer these questions and can be contacted on the number or e-mail address below.
To start our introduction the WhiteTrees pupils have put an Acronym together which I would like to share:
WhiteTrees Head Teacher
What we do is very bespoke to the child’s needs.
We would expect you to have specific questions around your child’s requirements, I would like to extend an invitation to speak with you to answer these questions and can be contacted on the number or e-mail address below.
The WhiteTrees School
WhiteTrees Independent School is a specialist provider of educational services delivering a nurturing environment that supports pupils’ needs enabling them to experience a rounded and balanced education.
Open for Business Since 2013
Based in Hertfordshire we were originally opened in 2013 for 6 pupils. This has since grown to take 24 pupils and from one site to two. This makes us an especially important part of the WhiteTrees Group which we plan to grow in parallel with the housing and residential expansion, plus, the local area authority needs, to accommodate more young people.
Pupil Centric Education
We put the pupil’s educational requirements first and don’t try to fit them into a generic system that has already failed to identify and support their educational needs. Many of our pupils have been let down and disappointed time and time again.
We understand that past learning may have included episodes leading to disaffection and that many young people arriving at WhiteTrees might have undiagnosed learning difficulties. We offer a full service of educational psychological assessment and an individual programme for each child which, where appropriate, includes a vocational study to help our young people to be ready for opportunities for employment. We aim to ensure that learning can be creative, adventurous, fun, diverse and, most of all, successful.
WhiteTrees has been able to engage with all its pupils and offers an education to meet the most complex of their needs. To do this, we have created and focused daily on three main areas of support:
- Meeting the pupil’s emotional needs first.
- Creating positive relationships
- Delivering a high-quality curriculum, planning and teaching experience
We have a range of bandings to cover the level of service we provide, to find out more please contact us and we will be pleased to create a plan specifically for your needs and share the detail of our banding approach.
How we work
Our referral processes.
When dealing with our clients the essence of how we work is personal contact and flexibility, that said here is an overview of our typical referral process.
- SEN (Special Education Needs) caseworker approaches the school, usually by emailing the Head Teacher.
- An invitation to consult to consider a placement for a pupil is made.
- Further information is regularly required from both sides and communicated via email.
- If the Head Teacher is going to formally consider a placement, then a visit by the Pathway to the Classroom Lead will be made – for us to meet the prospective pupil and the family.
- Head Teacher will formally respond within 15 days.
- If a placement is considered appropriate and needs can be met a formal offer will be issued. that will include the length of time the offer is open for.
- Once a placement has been considered and formally accepted, an admissions agreement will be issued with a formal start date.
Flexible Classroom Solutions On and Off Site.
WhiteTrees offers both on and off-site learning locations; students on site could be in a classroom of up to six other pupils,
whilst off site would be 1 to 1 or 1 to 2.
Our goal is to encourage inclusion and work towards our pupils learning in one location together.
This as a key teaching within the school, to enable a young person to become socially resilient to normal day-to-day learning and life in general.
A Typical Day for our teachers and pupils at WhiteTrees School.
Staff members are expected to arrive, many of them will be there well before then. Every morning the team will have a morning brief to discuss the students, logistics and to share information from the Homes. The morning brief is imperative to the smooth running of the day, as it allows staff to pre-empt behaviours and have contingency plans in place.
The classrooms are set up ready for the students to arrive, our staff undertake a safeguarding sweep of the school to ensure any potential sharp or dangerous items are identified and locked away. Breakfast will be prepared by the onsite cooking Teacher. Tutors who are working off site with their pupils will leave by 9am and head to meetings with their pupils.
Pupils arrive, they will be greeted by staff and all members of the team will be engaging with them and ready for the day. Pupils will eat breakfast together with the staff team. Following breakfast many of them will play a game of table tennis or table football before the lessons begin. Tutors working off site with their pupils will have a bespoke timetable designed for them and do what is appropriate to start the day, they do often finish with Physical Education at the end of each day.
Lessons begin, they are made up of half hour Periods throughout the morning, this is to keep the student’s concentration levels optimal.
Students will have two 20-minute breaks and a half hour lunch break.
Due to the importance we place on physical education and the benefits it has for our pupils mental health, every afternoon we take part in a PE Lesson. We have a wide selection available including, Swimming, Badminton, Basketball, Football, and Hockey. In addition, the pupils can also attend the Gym and follow bespoke fitness programmes dependent on their goals. These PE Sessions take place at local gyms and sports centres so being able to drive is essential.
Pupils will finish their day and the team will meet to review the pupils . It’s a great time to be able to reflect on the day, highlight any positives and any areas which need improving. After the meeting has finished staff will spend the remainder of the time preparing for the next day and completing the Learning Journals for Each pupil. The learning Journals evidence the work the students complete and link to our pathways and the National Curriculum.
Staff are required to stay until 4:30pm but many will stay later dependent on their workload or what is being prepared in School for the Next day.
A day In general
Due to the escalating behaviours of some of our young people it is imperative that we are able to offer small class sizes and 1-1 support in some cases. The ever-changing dynamics of a day means you will be on your feet and very active throughout the course of a day.
Staff at WhiteTrees are regularly supported by SLT and Directors which helps to create a great sense of being involved in a tight knit team. Staff are required to support each other to ensure boundaries are set, in order to keep the young people safe.
PATHWAY TO THE CLASSROOM
& 6TH FORM LEAD
The teachers at WhiteTrees School have created a curriculum and education plan in the form of a Pupil Pathway. The Pathway covers the full national curriculum and is designed as a 5-year curriculum in a wide range of subjects. The Pathway program leads directly into further qualifications and in addition accounts for pupils with below age-related levels, incorporating objectives from upper KS2. The Pathway also includes a deep and wide offer of learning and development beyond academic, vocational or technical abilities through PSHCEE (Personal, Social, Health, Economic & Citizenship Economic Education) and Social Skills pathways. Pupils learn about career paths, social skills, character, attitudes and other areas that will support them to succeed in life after they leave White Trees.
Pupils, at the end of Year 9, are given the opportunity to choose their options/qualifications for KS4 – they can choose 4 subjects to study in addition to their compulsory subjects (see options table, column highlighted in yellow). Other certificates/opportunities that are available are listed and when combined offer a rounded approach to the child’s education.
In order to develop pupils beyond the academic, vocational and technical skills on offer we work diligently and robustly to support and develop our pupils’ emotional needs, their understanding of the world and their ability to cope, contribute and succeed in their community once leaving school.
This is simplified into our three levels of approach:
- A therapeutic approach (pre-emptive and reactive)
- Social, emotional and behavioural interventions (educational, pre-emptive and reactive)
- Education and experiences
WhiteTrees Education Options
WhiteTrees currently offers qualifications in:
• Functional Skills (English, Maths, ICT)
• Options of 14 BTEC’s
• Duke of Edinburgh
• Paddle power star award canoeing
• Paddle power kayaking
• NICAS climbing level 1
• ASDAN Short courses in: Life-skills challenge, Animal Care, Personal Finance
All pupils study from 3 areas of study selection: the compulsory subjects listed under the ‘core’ section;
then choose an additional 3 subjects from the ‘options’ category, and finally from the other courses and experiences that are on offer.
Sport & Active Leisure L1
Cooking level L1 & 2
ICT Users L1
Business Administration L1
Creative Media L1
Performing Arts L1
Planning & participating in work experience L1
Public Services L1
Travel & Tourism L1
Creative Media L1
Teamwork & personal skills in the community L1
Health & Social Care L1
ASDAN SHORT COURSES
Values, attitudes, and personal development
Social and emotional development is central to our curriculum and ethos. Breakfast, break time, lunch and PSHCEE are focal points for the facilitation of this development; however, it is acutely important that social and emotional learning is embedded throughout the entire day.
Developing our pupils’ social skills and teaching them about healthy living, preparing them for life in modern Britain and enabling them to make positive life choices is of considerable importance. A weekly formal lesson of PSHCEE is not enough in a school setting such as ours, which is why we have an embedded values-centred curriculum and family-style mealtimes where possible.
We also link PSHCEE and Spiritual, Moral, Social & Cultural Development (SMSC) across the curriculum.
We aim to develop all pupils’:
Spiritual Development (s)
- Ability to be reflective about themselves
- Use of imagination and creativity in their learning
- Willingness to reflect on their experiences
Moral Development (s)
- Understanding of right and wrong
- Respect for the rule of law in modern Britain
- Understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions
Social Development (s)
- Use of a range of social skills in different contexts
- Willingness to participate, learn to cooperate well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
- Understanding of and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Cultural Development (s)
- Understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school, in London and in the United Kingdom
- Knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system
- Positive participation to artistic, sporting and cultural opportunities
- Improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity
WhiteTrees School incorporates the promotion of its values through PSHCEE lessons and at any other appropriate opportunities throughout the school year. Each half-term we highlight a different set of values, explore what they mean and why they are important for us as a school and as part of a wider community
Our WhiteTrees education values:
- Form the basis for learning conversations around the school
- Contribute to the planning and content of discrete and formal PSHCEE lessons
- Teach PSHCEE formally at KS3 & 4, following our own Scheme of Work in accordance our whole school values curriculum which emphasises:
- Developing our confidence and making the most of our abilities, including setting ourselves goals and celebrating achievements
- Preparing to play an active role as citizens and developing our awareness of the importance of the communities to which we belong
- Developing a healthy, safer lifestyle and knowing how to stay safe online
- Developing good relationships and respecting the differences between people
Behaviour & Personal Development
As a school that caters for pupils with extremely complex needs, often the result of experiencing trauma during their early years, it is imperative to identify the root cause of any behaviour in order to support their social and emotional needs. Therefore, it is of the highest importance that policies surrounding behaviour and supporting emotional needs are flexible, effective and centered on building positive relationships and being endlessly positive.
Some of our pupils may also have histories of rejection and exclusion from previous educational settings. To support them and meet their needs, they are often taught by us 1:1 in satellite locations and work towards being able to access a small classroom environment when they are ready.
To ensure this is effective, we have a well organised and supportive team who use a combination of strategies to support, encourage and reward behaviour that is conducive to learning and focuses on achievements and values wherever possible.
Many of our pupils have not experienced secure attachments throughout their early years and developing positive relationships with staff members can help to make up for some of the social and emotional development that has been missed.
Each pupil is supported differently but the key principles for all support include:
- Unconditional positive regard for our pupils and everyone we work with
- Caring relationships with staff that are underpinned by positive support, appropriate boundaries and empathy
- Consideration of any need that is not being met and the possible years of difficulty that has led the pupil to their current situation and level of need
- Communication that is clear, consistent and positive (or in some cases, appropriately passive)
- Consistency in support, interactions and (high) expectations for behaviour and learning – being predictable is very important
- Co-operation with pupils to explore their emotions and reflect on how they may have been feeling and working together to overcome challenges or difficult behaviours
These principles are important whether pupils are supported in classrooms onsite or at a satellite location using our ‘Classroom in a Bag’.
WhiteTrees “Class Dojo our Classroom
in a bag”
Class dojo is a classroom based, electronic positive behaviour management tool, where we evidence and award pupils with points rewarding them when they demonstrate desired positive behaviour.
At the end of the day/week their points are displayed in a pie chart, where it acts as a visual representation of their achievements for the week. It is a secure set up where only key professionals, staff and parents can access/view the progress – on receipt of an invitation.
Integration with Local Communities
Meeting our pupils complex needs is of paramount importance , we passionately believe that education knows no boundaries and can be provided anywhere, not just within the four walls of a classroom., We focus on developing the ‘whole child’ not simply academic progress or the goal of achieving qualifications. This ensures our pupils are truly made ready for life after school by developing their social skills, character and attitudes that will help them be positive members of their communities.
We work hard to encourage community involvement, whether that be helping a local café by maintaining their allotment or inviting the Fire Service and Police to present informative talks to the pupils.
Success to Date
We have succeeded in developing a pathway for education delivery for each of our pupils and in some cases progressing pupils on to further education, employment or providing additional training for those who were unable to access other forms of education.
This success is credited to our team, building relationships with our pupils, our nurturing environment, the extensive work on the pupils social and emotional needs, close working partnership and communication with parents/carers/external agencies plus the extensive planning and logistics considered daily.
We liaise efficiently with the teams around the pupil, ensuring those who have EHCP’s (Education Health Care Plan) are reviewed annually, meeting their personalised outcomes/aims and completing PEP’s (Personal Education Plan) to a high standard. Furthermore, we regularly assess the pupils to determine where they have gaps in their knowledge and understanding – therefore creating bespoke Schemes of Work to bridge those gaps.
Testimonial from parent
Having a child with complex needs is challenging and sometimes you can feel quite alone. Since our son has been attending WhiteTrees school I cannot express how happy I am with his progress and educational growth.
WhiteTrees has been like a big family to us who have genuinely cared for our son and their other students and want the very best for each and every child to reach their full potential.
I feel so supported as a parent and the regular communication between home and the school has been outstanding.
Laura Bull the head teacher of WhiteTrees really goes above and beyond and has been a massive support for not just our son but to me too, it is good to feel supported and be part of this wonderful school community.
Parent of child attending the school
Working with us
We are constantly looking for good team members to join WhiteTrees education. Your working journey can be as varied as you like and span a whole range of job functions within our group disciplines and not just within the schools.
We encourage self-development and progression through a mentoring program and provide a structure of learning that we support and reward once the various levels are achieved.
Head Teacher – Laura Bull
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Role of a School Governor
As volunteers, usually with busy professional and personal lives of their own, Governors are asked to carry a heavy responsibility. How can they sort out the vital from the not-so-vital and focus on what matters most? At the heart of that question lies the relationship between governance and leadership.
Here at White Trees School, we ask that our Governors meet four times a year as a board as well as carrying out regular school monitoring visits. Each governor is given an area of responsibility that is in line with their personal skill set.
We ask the following from our Governors
The role of the Board of Governors is to fulfil its statutory functions in relation to the school and to be accountable for ensuring that its decisions support the best interests of the school and its pupils. To do this, it has to:
- Set the structures for the delegation of management functions;
- Set the limits for delegation at each level ie committee, Principal;
- Ensure that there are formal written procedures for handling complaints in relation to the school;
- Respect the role of the Head and work with the Head on all matters affecting the school;
- Ensure that it has all of the information necessary to make sound management decisions and that it seeks additional advice as necessary;
- Share responsibility for setting the agenda for its meetings;
- Adhere to the procedures for the conduct of business as set out in the scheme of management (and the procedures agreed for dealing with employment matters)
We ask the following from our Governors
1) Setting ethos and values.
2) Holding leadership to account.
3) Balancing support and challenge.
4) Distinguishing between help and interference.
5) Taking responsibility for the Head’s wellbeing.
Supporting the Head’s wellbeing
Here at WhiteTrees we are a small SEN school supporting children with emotional and social needs, this can be a very challenging educational environment to work in.
Therefore, support for out head is vital and this is actually the foremost responsibility of every governing body, not a luxury or afterthought. The Head in turn looks after the staff. Our head Laura Bull receives monthly professional supervision to support her in her role.
All Governors are asked to undertake statuary and non-statuary training to support them in their role. With the aid of modern platforms a large amount of the training can be completed on line.
Recruiting new Governors
We are always looking to recruit new and Governors to our board and would welcome an informal conversation about just what the role involves and what you could bring to the Role.
We like to have a cross-section of skills sets on our board, such as people from Education, Finance, Health and Safety, Social care as well as local business people who feel they are able to give time to support our amazing school.
Current Governor Position Available
WhiteTrees School based in Bishop’s Stortford is looking for like-minded individuals to join our governing body who are committed and passionate in supporting young people’s education. We would be pleased to hear from a local teacher or a recently retired teacher to take on the specific role of curriculum governor. We would also love to hear from anyone else who feels that they would like to join us as a community governor and have some time to give in supporting a wonderful school.
If you feel you would like to be involved, please contact Emma Barr via
Introducing Our Governors
Emma is WhiteTrees Group Director of Operations and along with Simon, our founder, has been involved with SureCare and WhiteTrees since their inception. Emma brings over 25 years of childcare sector knowledge, and is a proven skilled administrator, both have proven of great benefit to the governing of the school.
Ayshea is WhiteTrees Group Director of Children’s Services and has been with us since 2010. She started as one of our home managers and progressed to her current position. Previously Ayshea worked in the specialist education sector and has had many roles over her 30 years in the sector. She is passionate about all things to do with the improvement of child care and education, bringing these along with a wide range of experience and skill sets to her role as a Governor.
Christina has retired from her long and distinguished career in education. She has taught in the UK and China and her last role was as Director of Education at the University of Kent. Currently, she runs her consultancy business helping underachieving schools and has also worked with White Trees. She always planned to become a school Governor on her retirement and is our current Chair, bringing excellent leadership, experience and knowledge to our board.
Richard is currently our Vice Chair and considered a “heavyweight” in the world of childcare and fostering and operates at board level as an independent consultant in the sector. With 48 years experience in the field of social care, including 28 years in six Local Authorities; 16 years as a senior manager in major independent national providers of residential care, fostering and related children’s services he is a valued asset to our team of Governors. He is a qualified social worker with wide established links with social services throughout the UK, in addition to spending time in an independent care provider transforming their business and taking them to a management buyout.
Louis is part of the WhiteTrees team of teachers and also our governor of moderation processes and health and safety. He is in charge of the music department, designing the curriculum for our pupils and delivering an exciting array of lesson plans. Louis has been educated overseas and speaks several languages. He has also had a successful career in the music business, playing in bands and organising events throughout Europe and as such brings an eclectic mix of valued experience to our governor team.
Paul is a multifaceted businessman and entrepreneur whose early life was spent in a family where the fostering of children was a major part of family life. Paul has seen the care system from another angle and the effects it can have on the wider family unit. Having suffered from dyslexia from an early age, something that was passed on to his children meant both generations having challenges to overcome within the education system. With over 40 years of business experience and 20 years, exposure to the care and education system Paul is hoping to contribute and help make a difference for the pupils at WhiteTrees.
Dorothy works as a social worker and has many years of experience working within children, families, and adult services.
She has joined WhiteTree’s as a community governor. Having seen our advert by chance when searching online for local support worker jobs for a family member. Dorothy felt she could be of help and bring many years of experience to the team. She takes great pleasure from supporting vulnerable young people has been volunteering in her local church supporting special needs children during Sunday school and having worked with TLG which was running at the church.
Danielle qualified as a Chartered Accountant in April 2015 and has worked in accountancy practice for over 13 years, specializing in the Healthcare sector.
She started working full-time for the WhiteTrees Group on 1st February 2021 looking after the companies’ financial needs covering invoicing, payments, monthly reconciliations, and reporting, budgeting, and forecasts. She has joined the board of governors to assist in the financial running of the school.
In her small amount of spare time, she plays netball and volunteers as the treasurer for both her netball club and the county.