SKILLS for working life are taught at Ravenshall School in Thornhill Lees.
This purpose-built school caters for 170 children with a variety of complex learning needs.
And when they enrol in the school at five until they leave at 16 they learn key skills which prepare them for the world of work.
One new initiative led by Jacqui Kilbride gives older students key responsibilities and roles within the school. Road safety officers, changing rooms assistants, cup collectors and various monitors are among the jobs which students take on.
They fill in application forms for the posts and are interviewed for the job.
“The aim is to foster a sense of community within the school and feel it is their building not just belonging to staff,” said Jackie.
Pride in the school is evident from the huge amounts of artwork which adorn the walls, created as part of Kirklees's controversial re-structuring of special education two years ago.
Artistic ability is one of the school’s strengths and is hoping to gain the coveted Artsmark gold following an assessment within the next couple of weeks.
It is proud of GCSE and entry level certificates (pre GCSE) successes by more than 60 students last summer, the highest number attained by the school. And it is hoping to extend the whole spectrum of art forms in the classroom and during an extended schools programme with street dance, drama and music. Workshops and theatre companies are regularly welcomed into school.
“We try to be as outward reaching as possible,” said teacher Ann Holden.
Sporting success and pride is also developed in school, helping build up greater confidence and self esteem. For the first time in several years students are playing in the Haycliffe Football League this year and are also developing their skills in a wide range of sports including tag rugby, cricket, basketball, tennis, volleyball and dodgeball.
Horse riding sessions at Middleton Equestrian Centre in Leeds also teach discipline and control.
Students also work towards the National Proficiency Test Council City and Guilds certificate in horse care and animal care while working at the stables.
Other interests students can acquire include gardening, horticulture and catering.
Ravenshall also uses Deighton’s Chesnut Centre in partnership with Longley school to get students involved in community projects including making bird tables and tidying plots for the elderly.
In design and technology, workshops students get more hands-on experience restoring motorbikes and off-road buggies. The department is a member of the Young Engineers Society and has been club of the month for its activities. Students gain work experience in local garages and Batley’s Motor Museum.
In March, students will be taking part in well-supported three-week work experience projects in shops, libraries and other settings. Others will take part in educational visits to museums.
In the primary section pupils gain a greater knowledge and understanding of the world around them through structured tasks. An area is being developed for outdoor storytelling and play.
Headteacher Clive Newby said: “It is a privilege to work with such a committed staff, students and their families. We make a huge difference to children’s lives here.
“It is why I get up in the morning. I am a hands-on headteacher and love every minute of it.”