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How to Apply
NOTE: Even though our priority deadline is February 2nd, applications will still be accepted after this date on a rolling basis. Applicants who have a completed application by February 2nd are guaranteed a decision letter on March 30th. Other applicants will receive a decision letter on a rolling basis starting April 15th. Please don't hesitate to apply. We will update this site if we no longer have available space.
Step 1:Complete the Online Application-This is the parent/guardian Mercy Application Form.
Step 2: Pay the Application Fee-Parents should pay the non-refundable application fee of $100.00 here. Please note that your application is not considered "active" until we receive the $100.00 fee.
Step 3: Register for the SSAT-All 9th grade applicants must take the Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT). Visit www.ssat.org to register for the test and for additional information. Please send the results directly to Our Lady of Mercy by entering our school code, 5585, when registering. The SSAT will be given at Mercy on December 9, 2017; January 6, 2018; and March 3, 2018. After the March 3rd date, students must take the SSAT at a different location. All 10th and 11th grade applicants must submit PSAT scores. If no PSAT scores are available, 10th and 11th grade applicants MUST take the SSAT.
Step 4: Complete the Student Questionnaire-The Student Questionnaire must be completed and handwritten by the student and returned to Our Lady of Mercy by February 2, 2018.
Step 5: Deliver Recommendation Forms-Download the Mathematics Teacher Evaluation and Language Arts Teacher Evaluation forms and take to your teachers AFTER November 12, 2017. Completed teacher forms should be mailed directly from the teacher or school and be received by February 2, 2018.
Step 6: Deliver Records Request/Principal Evaluation Form-Download the Records Request Form and Principal Evaluation and take to your school AFTER January 2, 2018. This completed form, official school transcript, standardized testing and discipline record should be mailed directly from the school and be received by February 2, 2018.
Step 7: Deliver Parish/Church Verification Form-Download the Parish Verification Form and deliver to your parish. Completed forms should be mailed directly from your pastor and returned to Mercy by February 2, 2018.
Optional Step 8: Financial Aid Application- All applicants seeking financial aid to attend Our Lady of Mercy must apply online by going to the FACTS Tuition Management website. FACTS Grant and Aid Assessment is used to process all financial aid applications.
Applicants for financial aid are required to send their 2017 Tax Return and 2017 W-2 forms directly to FACTS to process their application. For more information, please visit the Business Office webpage.
Important Information: Health Records- Once your student is enrolled, Our Lady of Mercy will request your child's Immunization Records through the Georgia Immunization Registry.
SEN and Disability
Our Student Support Centre is at the heart of our school with a dedicated team of Learning Support and Pastoral Support staff we aim to ensure that every child enjoys school and is making progress.
If you would like a general chat please contact:
Mrs Carmel Waszczuk
Learning Support Manager
Tel: 01772 326900
Mrs Eve Howard
Assistant Headteacher and SENCO
Tel: 01772 326900
You may find the following 4 documents useful:
You can read all about Our Lady’s Local Offer on this page or click here to download a PDF version of Our Lady’s SEN and Disability Local Offer which all schools must have.
Accessibility and Inclusion
At Our Lady’s:
- Our Lady’s was built to accommodate fewer than the current average number of pupils. The buildings are spread over three floors. There is disabled access to parts of the ground floor only.
- Corridors are narrow. Without careful planning there would be potential for congestion at lesson changeover in some areas.
- There is a designated disabled parking space near the front entrance.
- There is one toilet with disabled access.
- The medical room does not have disabled access / toilet or showering facility.
- Policies are all available from the school website in print format and can be adapted as necessary.
- The school has visual strips on the staircases to aid partially sighted pupils.
- Timetables using symbols can be made for a small number of pupils who may benefit from them.
- There is a member of staff designated to supervising auditory equipment for pupils with hearing aids.
Teaching and Learning
At Our Lady’s:
- Students with SEN are usually identified in the year 6/7 transition /liaison window.
- All students sit CAT tests on entry.
- All students are assessed using standardised reading and spelling tests early in year 7.
- Other testing occurs if recommended by teachers.
- The school refers to other agencies for assessment or diagnosis as appropriate following consultation with parents /carers.
- Classroom intervention can take place in one to one, small group or whole class settings. Subject intervention is usually provided by subject specialist staff. Classroom based support is available through a team of experienced Teaching Assistants. Intervention can take place before / during or after the school day.
- The school’s literacy programme permeates through all subject areas and is a priority of the school designed to promote the highest standards of literacy, oracy and curriculum access.
- There is some equipment within school to support pupils with visual difficulties.
- School will consult staff from a variety of external agencies to advise and support across the range of SEND
- Each teaching and non-teaching member of staff is given relevant training at the start of the school year. Specialist nurses and agencies are able to provide advice and strategies for teaching students with SEND and medical conditions.
- Updates are made available to staff, by the Senco, via staff briefings, the face to face meetings. External training is available to support staff.
- Within the Learning Support Team, staff have a range of specialist skills. These include expertise in ASD, VI, HI, Spld, Speech and Language. (Elkan)
- Much training and staff development is given in house.
- School works within the examination board guidelines to put into place Access arrangements that are appropriate and meet the needs of the individual student.
- Individual teachers are responsible for making lessons accessible to all.
- There are a small number of students who access courses which are on offer from external providers. These lead to Key Stage 4 Vocational Qualifications.
Reviewing and Evaluating Outcomes
At Our Lady’s:
- All statements and EHCPs are reviewed on an annual basis.
- Reviews are carried out in line with statutory guidance for reviews.
- Advice is provided by the school, external agencies, the student and the parent/carer. Documentation is shared in advance, and meetings held at mutually agreed times. Summary advice is sent to the LEA, the parent/carer and school. Students are always encouraged to participate in their meeting.
- Progress of other students with SEN support needs are monitored half termly in line with school assessment procedures. Internal tracking systems are used to highlight progress of individuals. Every Pupil is set individual targets.
- Progress data is shared with parents three times each year, in written format as well as face to face at parent’s evenings.
- The Senco is available to discuss individual students at any point, and the learning support manager sees parents / speaks to parents on a regular basis.
- The effectiveness of our provision is measured in the progress that individuals and groups of students make over time. The school is required to measure progress using nationally agreed standards and criteria.
Keeping Children Safe
At Our Lady’s:
- All school trips are processed through “evolve” system and risk assessments are attached to forms, checked by EVC (MFI) and delivered by group leaders / responsible staff.
- School policy on safeguarding is clear. It is inclusive and comprehensive and specifies additional requirements for SEN students.
- The school’s anti-bullying policy is available by a direct link on the school website and hard copies are available on request.
- Risk assessments are carried out for each curriculum area.
- The school promotes anti-bullying week.
- There is designated year 7 only break area.
- Each year group have their own toilet.
- All staff receive statutory safeguarding training.
- The DSP and Deputy DSP are fully up to date with their training.
- Although independence is encouraged there are available staff on duty in key areas.
- There is a lunch time buddy club in learning Support.
- There is school chaplain, school counsellor and school nurse who offer drop in sessions.
Health (including Emotional Health and Wellbeing)
At Our Lady’s:
- All medication is kept in a central place in the sick room. For the safety of all the community, students are not allowed to carry medicines in school. The cupboard is clearly labelled and designated staff have access.
- Medications in the cupboard are all clearly labelled to identify the student it belongs to.
- All medication is checked regularly and parents contacted to replace if necessary.
- Care plans are drawn up by the school nurse and given to school.
- The staff are briefed by the school nurse or specialist nurse at the start of the year about students with medical needs.
- In the event of a medical emergency, the member of staff is instructed to make an initial assessment, contact a first aider, the first aider will make the decision regarding treatment on the spot or whether to call for an ambulance. In the event of a serious incident an ambulance is called immediately, along with the emergency contact adult.
- There are regular visits from the school nurse, who has drop in sessions, Speech and Language services, CAMHS workers, Educational Psychology Service, Barnardo’s workers.
- The school employs a school councillor 3 days a week and children can be referred to her by their Learning Manager.
- As part of the school improvement plan all teachers and support staff are undergoing training, resources provided by MindEd.
- Several projects run throughout the year to help support children with mental health issues such as the Blackpool Zoo initiative and Forrest Schools.
Communication with Parents
At Our Lady’s:
- The school web site provides contact emails for key staff and general school telephone number for general enquiries.
- At the transition meeting for newcomers to the school key staff members are introduced to parents and pupils.
- Staff visit the family of feeder schools during transition and make contact with all other feeder schools.
- Our Summer School supports vulnerable pupils in the key areas of Numeracy and literacy. Additional contact days are made available for year 6 pupils to come and experience working in our school.
- Interim assessment is formally reported to parents at regular intervals throughout the school year. Additional contact is expected and routinely made if there is an area for concern or celebration.
- Feedback is actively pursued by report slips, school planners and questionnaires. School practice is adjusted and reformed in the light of this feedback.
- There is a strong parent representation within the School Governing Body.
At Our Lady’s:
- School Council reps meet each term and information is fed upwards and downwards.
- Students are asked to complete a questionnaire about school, their learning and wellbeing, as part of each curriculum area self-evaluation.
- Parents are encouraged to complete feedback information sheets and questionnaires after visits to school, parent’s evenings.
- Students with additional needs are able to make their views known in the student’s feedback in Annual Reviews, as do parents.
- Home/school agreement is signed at the start of each academic year and explicitly supports safety and safeguarding for all.
- There is a governor linked with SEN who reports back to full Governing Body. This ensures there is a regular, comprehensive review of provision.
What Help and Support is Available for the Family?
At Our Lady’s:
- Designated teacher ensures that impartial careers advice and guidance is delivered to students. A wide range of external agencies and colleges are invited into school to assist in this delivery.
- Learning Managers and the Learning Support team signpost families to appropriate support available in the local area e.g. Parent partnership, counselling / Autism support groups / Sports teams.
- Our EBD specialist supports individual families either through the Strengthening Families programme or one to one support.
- Students are given support in completing application forms.
Transition from Primary School and School Leavers
At Our Lady’s:
- The school works with feeder primary schools and Parent Partnership Officers from year 5, through to arrival in year 7.
- The school holds an Open Evening each year in October, parents are encouraged to attend. Follow up meetings are offered on a one to one basis with the Senco, following Open Evening.
- Transition visits start in the spring term for some students, following early liaison with feeder school.
Year 6 students are invited to join in Summer School activities.
- Local Colleges attend Parents Evenings from Year 9 onwards, and a specialist Post 16 Evening is held in the autumn term. This is open to any student and their parent/carer. Colleges attend.
- A Careers Fair is organised for Year 9
- Follow up drop in visits are made by colleges to support potential students in completing applications.
- YPS engage with SEND students prior to Transition Reviews in Year 9 and stay in contact through to leaving year 11. Students and parents can request an interview at any point.
- The Learning Support Manager works closely with students, parents and external providers to ensure a smooth transition to Post 16 provision.
- Taster days are offered and usually taken up by students in the summer term of year 10 and year 11.
- Additional advice and information is provided to colleges and training providers by the school, with the agreement of the student and family.
- Subject departments engage with universities and colleges for subject specialist information.
- We are registered with Barclays Life Skills to deliver work related learning and finance education.
- The school has a dedicated careers library which holds information on many universities and colleges as well as information about employment and training opportunities.
- The specialist careers teacher is part of the 14-19 transition group for West Lancashire.
At Our Lady’s:
- Breakfast is available each day from the dining room from 8.15.
- The Learning Resource Centre is open until 4.45pm Mon – Thurs and 4.30 on Friday.
- There is a range of extra-curricular available to all students, some charges are applicable. The activities include, sport, music and drama, chicken keeping.
- Parents are required to pay for individual music tuition.
- All clubs, activities and trips are available to all students, but may be subject to risk assessment.
- Where places are oversubscribed parents will be informed as to how places will be allocated.
- The Learning Support Department run a buddy club 4 lunchtimes per week to encourage social skills and friendships. It uses specialist speech and language programme developed to incorporate games and activities.