Welcome from the Headteacher

This school was established in 1963. Over the years it has developed and flourished to provide ‘Outstanding Education’ (Ofsted, 2007, 2010, 2014 and 2018) for 146 children with Severe Learning Difficulties aged 2-19 years. All the children who attend the school have an Education, Health Care Plan and are subject to the 2001 Education Act under the responsibility of Hertfordshire Education Authority. The vast majority of the children live in the local area of East Hertfordshire.

All the children have reduced mental cognitive ability, which is life-long. Many have a recognised medical diagnosis or congenital condition such as Down’s syndrome or other lesser known specific diagnoses, whilst others have a non-specific diagnosis of Global Developmental Delay. There is a growing population of pupils with a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). There are also many children who have a sensory impairment, either singularly or dually affected. Children may have a visual difficulty and/or a hearing difficulty. An added complication for some children can be when their brain damage impacts on the cortical pathways of the brain, resulting in cortical visual impairment. Many children have reduced mobility and are dependent on a wheelchair for any opportunity to move around the school. Only one child is able to use an electric wheelchair by themselves and therefore the remaining wheelchair bound children have to rely on staff for their mobility. Wheelchairs are supplied as bespoke resources designed around the child’s individual physical difficulties and needs. Children and Young people in wheelchairs require much greater space than mobile children. In general, a class of 6 children in wheelchairs at Amwell View School needs at least 4 times the floor area than a class of 6 mobile children.

The school uses all the National Curriculum subjects to provide high quality education for the children. The curriculum is designed and delivered using practical experiences and emphasises these experiences through kinaesthetic learning. This has been a growing feature and outcome of the school’s expertise and success, which in turn has proved to be a very positive curriculum model resulting in greater pupil enjoyment and achievement.

Such was the success of this model that it has been used to raise standards in English, Mathematics, Science and Music and resulted in the designation of the school as a Specialist Sports College. This government recognition placed the school in the position of being the first Special School in Hertfordshire with Specialist Sports College status and the tenth school overall, throughout the UK. It also complimented the schools’ history as a member of the Special Olympic Movement. The school competes at regional and National level in Athletics and swimming competitions for over 30 years and is now in a prime position to drive forward the opportunity for disability sport in the Eastern Region. This recognition has been increased and confirmed by a recent award from Sport England for raising the level of participation of sport for disabled children and young people.

Teachers and support staff are well qualified and in the forefront of curriculum delivery for Children with Special Educational Needs in Hertfordshire. Teachers hold good degree results, as featured in the government guidelines of desirable levels of qualifications for teachers. Three teachers have mandatory qualifications to teach Deaf-blind children and young people in addition to their teaching qualifications. All support staff hold appropriate qualifications including NVQ levels, CACHE, coaching qualifications and relevant degrees (e.g. Psychology and Educational Studies). Specialist teachers of Music, Science and P.E. make the school highly desirable as a Special School. These teachers work closely with specialist medical staff including Speech and Language Therapists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Paediatric nurses. The school also employs a music therapist whose expertise provides significant support to children and their parents in the exploration of communication and emotional development in a safe, protective environment.

Children with Severe Learning Difficulties operate at very early stages of development, usually at the first centile. Many of the children in the school are not able to speak, read or write and therefore they rely heavily on the opportunities that are provided for them to learn, which includes alternative methods of communication. Many of the children use visual timetables, real life pictures, symbols, tactile cues and specialist communication aids instead of words. The complexity of communication difficulty creates frustration and anxiety, which needs greater creativity on the part of staff to provide specialist and flexible responses for the children and young children to make their needs known.

The numbers of children identified with special educational needs continues to be a concern for educators in Hertfordshire as the nature of the presenting needs is changing in complexity. Children who are more severely damaged at birth are surviving to become school age children. Medical intervention is enabling children to reach adult life. There is an ethical, moral and legal requirement to meet the needs of the children who are admitted to the school. This need is changing dramatically as children survive with more complicated and significant medical problems.


Today children enter the Special Education system with significant and complicated medical needs alongside the educational needs. It is the duty of educators to meet the resulting needs born out of the medical interventions and outcomes. Increasingly the children at Amwell View School are experiencing greater difficulty in accessing learning due to the severity of their learning difficulty. Staff receive high levels of training to match the newly identified pupil’s needs, including support to achieve specialist degrees in addition to their teacher qualification. Mandatory training on an annual basis is carried out in Moving and Handling, emergency drug administration, signing, safeguarding and child protection as well as instruction in physiotherapy and pool safety.

The school has developed many fine resources over the years to meet the needs of the individual child. The rise in children with sensory needs and sensory integration needs has prompted us to review, yet again, the curriculum provision for all pupils. In the past we have recognised the lack of physical opportunity for children with severe learning difficulties and now ensure that this is addressed through the provision of a hydrotherapy pool, a sports hall, climbing wall and a dance studio.

In the light of the recognised needs of children now and in the future this review of curriculum provision has been undertaken again. Professor Barry Carpenter was commissioned by the Government Agency, The Department for Education, to provide a clear view of the curriculum needs of the 21st century child with special educational needs in preparation for the joining up of appropriate curriculum provision, social care and health services. His work published in 2011 exposes the need to cater for a new wave of children who are more severely damaged and yet surviving due to expert medical intervention. He calls for educators to respond to this identification of need, which the Government endorses and recommends.

Amwell View School has had the provision of a small sensory room for the last 19 years, which is used every day. It has proved to be a valuable resource, which is used by the most damaged and complex children who attend the school. It is a resource used to assess the visual functioning of visually all of the most popular brands of today like in our store. impaired pupils as well as for those who are hearing impaired. New technology has been developed to give significant control to profound and complex disabled children and young people to engage as learners in their education, rather than be spectators of learning. The use of innovative technology resources such as ‘Eye Gaze’ offers freedom for pupils to choose, to comment, to respond and to initiate, much in the same way that we are able to every day of our lives. Our aim for the future is to build a first class facility in the form of a sensory room will be designed with specific and specialist resources to motivate and facilitate the use of vision and hearing in very damaged children. This interactive environment will greatly enhance the opportunity for these particular children to access learning and improve their likelihood of achieving and enjoying their educational experience. For many of the children their greatest joy is experienced in school where they are able to have access to specialist resources, such as the hydrotherapy pool, with specialist staff.

Mrs Jan Liversage


Amwell View School and Specialist Sports College
Station Road,
Stanstead Abbotts,
SG12 8EH

01920 870027

Mrs J. S. Liversage B. ED., Dip., B. Phil. (MSI)