Cambian Whinfell School's curriculum is designed to enable our young people to build self-esteem and achieve their full potential.
The School day is structured and active, including many opportunities for therapeutic input and physical activity. All of our classes are small: with no more than three students and a 1:1 staff ratio where appropriate. Students have individualised timetables which are informed by their Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and an understanding of their own individual learning style. Where necessary staff are skilled in using a wide range of visual supports and prompts.
Autism specific awareness is central to the delivery of teaching and learning and all students have Individual Learning Plans (ILP) which are regularly reviewed.
Our students all access the National Curriculum and most sit at least eight GCSEs, with some achieving the highest grades.
We also offer a wide range of accredited courses through ASDAN (Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network), Entry pathways and Functional Skills. Post-16 students may remain with the School to continue their studies and we can currently offer A-Levels in English, Mathematics, Geography, Chemistry and Art. Some of our young people as they hit the age of 16, want to continue to be academically challenged so that they are able to achieve their full potential, so a college link is really important to them. We have excellent links with a local further education college where students are supported to not only access a wider range of opportunities but also become used to working alongside peers in a busier, more mainstream environment. This can be an important independence milestone and bolsters self-esteem.
Work experience is crucial in developing awareness of the world outside the ‘Whinfell Bubble’ and of building resilience. We have a robust programme which is individually tailored and we work closely with the local careers service to prepare our young people for life beyond school.
Whinfell School Environment
We strive to create a homely environment for our young people where they feel safe, comfortable and valued. Young people will initially move into the main house until they reach 16 when they then have the opportunity to move into our off-site four bedroom 'independence' house at Kendal Green which is only 200m away.
Our main building is in two Victorian houses with a large extension. This forms both home and the school with Purpose-built classrooms. We strive to create a homely environment for our young people where they feel safe, comfortable and valued. Young people will initially live in the main house until they are about 16 when they may have the opportunity to move into our off-site four bedroom ‘independence’ house at Kendal Green which is less than a 5 minute walk away.
Any move will be dependent on the needs and development of the individual young person but we aim for most of our young people to transition through Kendal Green. This gives those approaching adulthood a chance to further develop independence and life skills, readying them for life beyond Cambian Whinfell School.
Extra-curricular Activities at our School
Additional activities in and out of school hours complement the curriculum and focus on the developmental needs of each young person. All young people have Individual Learning Plans (ILP) which are informed by the multi-disciplinary team and are regularly reviewed.
Very few of our young people have ever participated in school sports and PE but we support them to do so and we have competed in in football, athletics and fell-running fixtures. We have won Boccia competitions and have regularly taken part in tag-rugby sessions with other schools. The physical and mental health benefits of participation are enormous. One of our young people has competed in Indoor Climbing competitions at a national level (which led to work experience and he is now employed full-time at a climbing wall).
We have a summer camp programme and expeditions to the mountains of the Scottish Highlands and Snowdonia alongside our daily forays into the Lake District. Young people can take part in the John Muir Award Scheme, carrying out environmental work in the National Park. We have an established annual ski-trip to Bulgaria, the benefits of which are enormous.
Older students have bespoke independence programmes at our Kendal Green site in a semi-independent residential setting. Here they will develop the skills and resilience to be as independent as possible when they eventually set out on the next part of their journeys.