Statement of Principles & Practice

Stone Bay School Statement of Principles & Practice

The statement describes the overall purpose of the school and describes any theoretical or therapeutic model underpinning the practice of the school.

This document needs to be read in conjunction with other important school documentation that has things to say about our statement of purpose. These include:

  • School Website
  • Admissions Policy
  • Behaviour Management Policy
  • Special Educational Needs Policy
  • Children’s Rights
  • Anti-Bullying Guidelines
  • Safeguarding Policy and Child Protection Procedures
  • e-Safety Policy

Stone Bay School is designated as a school for severe communication needs associated with a combination of Autism and learning difficulty. Students typically present with challenging behaviours linked to their Autism. These may besevere in frequency, duration, and in the level of risk of injury posed to themselves and others.

 The Current school roll is 82 in total

  • 63 Day Students (11 girls and 52 boys)
  • 19 weekly (1 girls and 18 boys)

All students are aged between 5-19, we are able to accommodate 30 residential boarders. Stone Bay School currently arranges for students of both genders to be resident (term time only) on a weekly basis.

For admission to Stone Bay School, residential students (aged between 10 and 19 years) will have two or more of the following needs:

For admission to Stone Bay School, residential students will have a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder and one or more of the following needs:

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Communication Difficulties
  • Moderate or Severe Learning Difficulties
  • Global Development Delay
  • Impaired Social Skills
  • Challenging or Inappropriate Behaviour

Our students have often been excluded from other special schools within Kent and the South-East due to the range of challenging behaviour they present.

The challenging nature of our student’s behaviour, combined with a high level of supervision, and care needs required throughout the day and night can place tremendous strain on families.

These strains have often been exacerbated by the lack of respite or other support for families in this difficult situation. Families do not usually wish to go down the route of residential provision for their children, but by the time that they request a placement with us, they feel that they have no other options. School staff are encouraged to remember at all times the extreme difficulties and pressures that our families are under. We seek to provide a caring and empathetic environment to meet the needs of pupils and their families.

Flexibility and Consistency in Approach

Flexibility and Consistency in Approach

Student’s care, behaviour, and ILPs are developed through liaison between teachers and residential Key workers this ensures consistency in the implementation of these plans across the education and residential aspects of the school. This consistency in strategies serves to minimise behavioural incidents and to develop student’s communication, academic, independence, self-help, social and leisure skills.  We aim to succeed through the sharing of ideas and strategies between the residential and education teams

Each student is treated as an individual and we adapt our care and teaching strategies to meet their needs.  The residential and teaching environments are constantly monitored to ensure safe, stimulating, and well-resourced learning areas.  Staff identify and then emphasise the positive characteristics of our students, and reinforce good behaviour and learning at all times.   Adaptations include staffing and organisational changes, decoration, timetabling and building modifications. Staff are encouraged to inform their line manager when a change is needed.



The school’s residential accommodation is split into four main residential flats across the site. All our areas are tailored to meet the needs of the students living in them. All areas are decorated to look as homely as possible and most students have their own individual room unless otherwise agreed with families and the young person. The school has furnishings which are robust enough to meet the demands of the students; most of our bedroom furniture is provided by Tough Furniture and is of a very high standard. When there is damage to furniture it is replaced quickly as we keep many additional items in storage on site for such occasions.

We understand that our students want and need their rooms to be individual, for many they will choose the colours and furniture themselves and will have such items as TV’s, game consoles, laptops and other mobile devices.

The range of diverse residential areas allows flexibility to match student’s needs with the most appropriate accommodation. Single rooms have been found to be the most appropriate for our young people.

A high emphasis is put upon students being able to personalise their rooms (with support from their families and care staff) to create a comfortable and homely environment. Continuous adaptation of the residential facility is made to ensure that it meets our students’ needs, plus an ongoing cycle of refurbishment/decoration has been put in place to maintain excellent standards of décor throughout the residences.

What We Seek to Achieve for our Students

What We Seek to Achieve for our Students


Our aim at Stone Bay School is to foster student’s communication skills across all areas of residential and school life. We teach our young people to communicate their basic needs, to show us when they are unhappy, or worried, and to use communication to make effective choices. This serves to maximise their independence and minimise their behavioural difficulties. We open up new opportunities for them and discover skills that have been masked by their autism and learning difficulties. Life can bring greater pleasure through better relationships, and a cycle of continuous improvement can begin.

To help our students develop socially we have adopted a system called PIVATS (Performance Indicators for Value Added Target Setting). This allows us to baseline where are students are currently then we can see the progress they make each term through the evidence gathered by staff. This is then recorded in their PIVATS folder so their achievements can be tracked and areas in which further support is needed can be identified.

All members of staff both school and residential share the responsibility to foster student’s communication skills at every opportunity and to give students the chance to be as independent as they can in conducting everyday tasks and making choices. We ask all staff to try to put themselves in our students’ place, to think how existing school organisation, routines and student-staff relationships would seem to them if they were one of our students. Staff are encouraged to immediately report any concerns about the student’s wellbeing to seniors, and their views on improvements that can be made are highly valued.



To live a full and active life, our students need to develop the social skills and socially acceptable behaviour that we expect in our local community. We plan as many leisure activities in the community as possible and staff to constantly praise student’s achievements and behaviour. It is imperative that social skills are actively taught to our students; therefore we are continually looking for new community-based activities.

Our current range of Social and Leisure Activities include the following:

Sports / Activities

  • Football
  • Swimming
  • Bowling
  • Golf
  • Cycling
  • Walks
  • Discos / Parties Karaoke


  • Computers / Games
  • Arts and Craft
  • Soft Play
  • Shopping
  • Beach
  • Cooking
  • Jacuzzi

Days Out

  • Cinema
  • Animal Parks
  • Circus Trips
  • Pantomimes
  • Restaurants
  • Heritage Pass

The opportunity is given for students to choose activities they wish to engage in. Students have the option to withdraw for quiet periods if they wish.

Our students are involved in whole school events such as our recent Book Week and the Christmas Bazaar. Both classes and residential units produced display boards in our School Hall. For Book Week, all students designed and made their own books. For the Christmas Bazaar, the residential students and staff made items to sell on their stalls. Many of the students’ families attended, as did our governors and friends of the school.

Meeting Families' Needs

Meeting Families’ Needs

Having made the difficult decision to pursue a residential placement, families require openness and honesty from care staff as professional workers. The way in which staff conduct themselves in every area of school life will enhance parent’s trust in the school’s ability to support their children.

Key workers

The Key Worker role is pivotal to developing an open and trusting relationship with families. We take great care as a school to provide an effective link between parents and Key workers. We have high expectations of Key Worker’s professional abilities. Whilst we try to maintain consistency. From time to time we may have to swap staff around to other residential areas. When this is done the existing Key Worker will inform the parents of this change and introduce the new Key Worker

This arrangement allows the students and parents to develop a supportive relationship with a member of staff at the school and thereby receive support from a dedicated member of staff with extensive knowledge of their child’s needs. This can range from being able to listen to a student’s problems and fears, to full inter-agency involvement in reviews, assessments, and future placements. Recently we started 1:1 Key Worker sessions for all our students although this still needs to be embedded fully it’s a useful tool when we are setting targets.

The partnership between parents and Key workers is of paramount importance in agreeing and maintaining each individual student’s care plan and health care plan. This is encouraged through good communication channels, regular phone calls, home/ school liaison book, and school social events (parents evenings / family fun day).

The school actively encourages parents of prospective student’s, and placing authorities to contact Ofsted where past inspection reports can be accessed through their website in order to gauge how our services are rated by an independent source.

Staff Training

Staff Training

The residential team have worked hard to ensure where possible we have all care staff trained to at least level 3 NVQ / Diploma or equivalent.

Delivery of Diploma to all our staff is facilitated through Bradstow school in conjunction with our own NVQ assessors working alongside Bradstow’s staff.

In addition, the school delivers training to all school and residential staff to enable them to work effectively with our young people; courses include PROACT-SCIPr-UK®, TEACCH (The Treatment and Education of Autistic and other Communication Handicapped Children), Makaton, Pecs (Picture Exchange Communication System), and an Autism Course. During staff development days various other training courses are offered such as Child Protection / Safeguarding, Behaviour Management, Multi-Sensory, Handling and Lifting, First Aid, Basic Food Hygiene, mini bus driver training, and epilepsy awareness. Training for the administration of buccal Midazolam is also delivered.

Currently, our senior residential managers hold the following NVQs / Diplomas:

Name Position Qualifications
Martyn Nash    Head of Care NVQ 3, 4 and 4 LMA
Diane Smith Residential Team Leader NVQ 3
Mirielle Birchenough Residential Team Leader NVQ 3
 Mick Lucas Residential Team Leader NVQ 3
 Jackie Atkins Assistant Team Leader NVQ 3
Gary Clarke Kray Assistant Team Leader NVQ 3
Jon Bailey Assistant Team Leader NVQ 3

In addition to the above staff most of our residential team have either completed or are working towards NVQ / Diploma level 3. Our target of 100% has been nearly met and we continue to encourage / support staff to work towards further qualifications that are relevant to their roles within the school.

Child Protection / Safeguarding

Child Protection / Safeguarding

Child Protection / Safeguarding

The Local Authority requires residential schools to reportany obvious or suspected case of child abuse to the appropriate designated social worker (if not allocated or out of hours the central duty team would be contacted), as well as informing the Local Authority Designated Officer. Our area LADO work’s within in the Kent Education Safeguarding Team.

We have a duty of care to report non-accidental injury, severe physical neglect, emotional abuse and sexual abuse. This procedure is intended to protect children at risk and schools are encouraged to take the attitude that where there are grounds for suspicion, it is better to be safe than sorry. This does mean that DSL’s (Designated Safeguarding Leads) run the risk of upsetting parents by reporting a case which on investigation proves unfounded. In such circumstances, we trust that parents or carers would appreciate that the DSL’s have acted in the best interests of the student concerned.

If anyone has any concerns they can always contact Ofsted directly on their whistleblowing hotline 0300 123 3155or mail

To help safeguard our students Stone Bay School has six Designated Safeguarding Leads and all staff have undergone child protection training. This is done as training sessions on staff development days and also can be done using our online safeguarding training which includes elements of health and safety, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Radicalisation (Prevent), Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and On-line safety.

Our DSL’s meet at least once a term to discuss the school’s safeguarding processes and to review data, they will also discuss any latest guidance through training they have received.

The Designated Safeguarding Leads  for the school are

  • Louvain Scott (Assistant Head Teacher)
  • Martyn Nash (Head of Care)
  • Marie Regan (FLO)
  • Lucy Taylor (Deputy Head Teacher)
  • Diane Smith (Residential Team Leader)
  • Mireille Birchenough (Residential Team Leader)

Systems which help Safeguard Students

Systems which help Safeguard Students

Systems which help Safeguard Students

Stone Bay School is committed to achieving the best possible outcome for our students. Central to this is support for staff, staff motivation, morale and training. In the residential areas staff ratios and teams are organised in such a way that no member of staff works in isolation.

  • Staff receive both regular informal and formal supervision.
  • All staff receive training in PROACT-SCIPr-UK® approaches during their first term at the school and take part in annual refresher courses.
  • Staff teams contain both male and female staff across a wide age range.
  • The care structure ensures that a senior member of care staff is always on site for advice or direct support throughout the times the students are in residence.
  •  Regular staff meetings are held to enable all care staff to meet and discuss common issues relating to residential education, minutes of the full care meeting are posted on our network and can be accessed by all residential staff.
  • All staff have access to the policies and procedures that must be followed if a crisis should occur, i.e., in the event of a child absconding or serious accident requiring hospitalisation.
  • Weekly Senior Leadership Team meetings between the schools leadership team provide time for reflection and development planning.
  • Staff support students in developing appropriate methods of communication and wherever possible, their views are sought through student council meetings.
  • Regular monitoring by Governors and Independent Visitor acting on behalf of the Governors is part of the evaluation process which takes action in supporting staff to effect change.
  • Students benefit from termly visits from an Independent visitor. The representative spends time in all the residential areas talking to students and staff, with the powers to act as an advocate for our young people if required. They report any concerns to the Head of Care and our Kent Children’s Officer (Care Standards)
  • Computers and other mobile devices are able to be used safely around the school as we have robust security filtering system which restricts access to inappropriate sites and content.

Stone Bay School is designated as a school for students with autism, severe communication needs and learning difficulties. Students typically have challenging behaviours linked to their autism. These may be severe in frequency, duration and risk of injury to self and others.