Pupils' Handbook

The following information may be of help to you if are going to be or are applying to be a pupil at Camphill School Aberdeen.

Interview

When you come for your interview you will meet a teacher, house co-ordinator and sometimes a doctor. You will also have the opportunity to look around and possibly meet some of the pupils who come to school in Camphill. You should ask as many questions as you would like. It is an opportunity for you to get to know us and for us to get to know you.

What is Camphill?

Camphill is a place where children and young people go to school. Some pupils may also live there for a large part of the year while others live at home and come to school on a daily basis. Some children and young people stay all week and go home at weekends.

Where is Camphill School?

The school is 6 miles from the centre of Aberdeen in the North East of Scotland close to the River Dee. There are two campuses, one called Murtle (in Bieldside) and the other Camphill (in Milltimber) where pupils go to school. A third campus, Cairnlee, is for 16+ students who no longer go to school.

What is the difference?

There are schoolhouses and houses where pupils and co-workers live, on Camphill and Murtle. Murtle is much larger. It has a swimming pool, farm and horse riding therapy centre and a hall large enough for everyone to meet in. More or less the same number of pupils live on Camphill but houses and school buildings are closer together. It is where Camphill started in 1940.

If I live on the Camphill Campus can I go swimming?

Yes, of course.

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What is a co-worker?

Co-worker is the name we use to describe all the adults who work in Camphill whether they are teachers, house co-ordinators, key-workers, therapists or other types of workers. When you need an adult friend, this can be a co-worker.

What is a house co-ordinator?

House co-ordinators are responsible for the managing and running of a house community.

What is a house community?

A house community is a house where pupils and co-workers live and work together.

Where will I live if I am a boarder?

You will most likely live on the campus where you will go to school. Pupils, co-workers and their children live together in the houses. Nearly all the co-workers live in one of the houses. This makes Camphill different from most other schools. The place where you live is also the home for many co-workers and their families.

Will I have my own room?

Nearly all pupils have their own rooms while others share with one other. All pupils have their own corner and locker where they can keep their things.

Will I be able to bring my radio/tape/CD player/iPod/mp3 player, etc., and other personal items?

We want you to feel as much at home as possible. Therefore we will encourage you to bring along to Camphill those things that make you feel at ease and comfortable. However these questions should always be discussed with your house co-ordinators.

What about TV. Can I bring my own? Can I watch TV in Camphill?

One or two of the older pupils have their own TV, but this is very unusual. Some houses have a portable TV which may be used by the pupils once this has been discussed with their house co-ordinators. Otherwise we do not generally watch TV. However we do watch age appropriate videos/DVDs quite frequently.

When can I use my mobile phone and/or other digital entertainment (e.g. Play Station, iPod, Nintendo, etc.)?

You are allowed to bring it along but there are restrictions regarding the use of mobile phones during formal activities (for example school, therapy, services, meals and other planned activities) as their use may be disturbing. Use at other times is usually negotiated with your house co-ordinator or teacher.

What happens if I lose my personal belongings or if they get broken or stolen?

While we do our best to help you look after these items, they are your responsibility and there is a risk bringing such things to Camphill. However you can also give smaller items to your co-worker for safe keeping.

Will I have a choice about where I live?

When you have your interview, if you have a strong wish, it would be good to mention it. Normally, however, we decide when you first come what we think is best. Once you are here a little bit longer then you will be encouraged to share your thoughts about this and all other matters that concern you.

Where will I go to school?

You will probably join a class with children or young people of the same age as you are. So it depends on your age and where your Class is situated.

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What happens in School?

All the classes begin at 9.15am with some warming up exercises to help get you ready for learning. This may be singing, playing a word or number game or doing some movement games. This is followed by the main lesson. The main lesson is the name given to the subject being taught at the time, such as geography, history, science, art or natural science. You will work with each subject for two or three weeks. This allows more time for project work and other activities, for example, doing an activity out of doors, visiting museums, etc.

After this comes break time. In the second part of the morning different activities take place, for example, singing, art, gym or individual work on reading, writing or arithmetic.

Older pupils either work in the garden or join one of the craft work shops. At the moment these include a weavery, candle workshop, woodwork, metalwork, felt work, pottery and a workshop where old tools are mended and cleaned up and then sent to countries far away. This is part of the national "Tools for Self-Reliance" scheme.

During your school day you may be offered a specific therapeutic activity like art or music to help you. For these and other therapies you will be given time off from School to attend them.

What about in the afternoons?

There are lessons on most afternoons. Lessons for younger pupils usually last for one hour and, if you are older for two hours. These lessons are often of a more practical nature and for some may include work in the garden or on the campus.

And in the evenings?

There are lots of evening activities and clubs. These may include youth club, basketball, football, hockey, swimming, folk dancing, aerobics and craft activities. There will also be time to relax and to visit your friends.

Can I join an activity outside Camphill?

Yes you can; for example, the scouts, guides, and other clubs or activities.

What are the other children and young people like?

A whole variety of pupils attend the school. They may be more able or less able than you are. Some pupils may not be able to speak while others may have difficulty in moving but all will be able to contribute something to the spirit of the school.

What happens if I am bullied?

Children have a right to be safe, and Camphill tries hard to ensure that any bullying is dealt with straight away. If you are bullied you should tell your co-worker, teacher or house co-ordinator. The School has two Child Protection Officers who will assist you should difficulties arise. There is an ‘Anti-Bullying’ Policy in place with which we all try to work.

Do I need to take medication?

Nobody is forced to take any medication without their agreement. The School works closely with the Camphill Medical Practice who may prescribe natural remedies or medicines if there is agreement that they may help you.

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What time will I have to get up in the morning and go to bed at night during school days?

This varies according to how old you are. Mostly you will need to get up at 7.00am and go to bed between 8.00 and 9.30pm in the evening.

What else happens in the house?

Depending on your age and ability you may help with a small task before breakfast which is around 7.45am. Once breakfast is finished some pupils help with the washing up while others help to keep the house clean and tidy before going to school at 9.15am. After lunch, which is at 1.00pm, some help with the washing up while the others have a rest until about 3.00pm. Supper is normally at 5.30pm and then, once the washing up is finished, evening activities begin.

What about weekends?

Often at the weekend we get up later and have a more relaxed day. On Saturdays many go to the local village or into Aberdeen for shopping. In Aberdeen there are three cinemas, a theatre, ten pin bowling alleys, a swimming pool, a leisure centre, an ice rink, many shops and much more. We are close to the sea and the hills and so outings to the beach or hills for a picnic or walk are also possible.

Either on a Friday or Sunday morning most pupils attend a Christian School Service held at Camphill. You do not need to attend this if you do not wish to, and you should talk to your house co-ordinator or teacher about this.

How much pocket money will I get?

Depending on your age, if you are resident at Camphill during the weekends you will normally receive between £5.00 and £15.00 per week provided by your parents/ guardians or local authority. We will help you look after it, spend it wisely and teach you how to save. Many pupils have their own bank or post office account.

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When can I go home?

You can go home whenever it is agreed between your parents or guardians and your house co-ordinator. Your parents and your friends are also invited to visit you in Camphill as long as it is arranged in advance.

When can I speak to my parents?

You can speak to your parents whenever they phone you and at other times as arranged with your house co-ordinators. If you are upset about something you will always be allowed to use the telephone.

What happens when I have done something wrong?

It depends on how old you are and what you have done. If you are in trouble some of the following may happen:

  • You might have to go to your room for a short period of time in order to calm down with, or closely watched by, a co-worker.
  • You might have to be escorted from the situation and go somewhere else in the company of a co-worker.
  • You might need to miss the next activity
  • You might need to help pay for damage or any loss incurred out of your pocket money.
  • You might need a co-worker to be with you at all times.
  • You might need to carry out extra tasks in order to make good.

None of the following will ever happen:

  • You will never be hit.
  • You will never be locked up.
  • You will always be allowed to speak to your parents, social worker, Child Protection Officer or Children's Rights Officer.
  • You will never be refused food.

Am I allowed to see my file?

It is your right to see anything that is written about you. We can only show you the things that have been written by Camphill. If you want to see other reports you must ask the person who wrote it, for example, your educational psychologist or social worker.

You also have the right to know about all the information written in your file and have it explained to you so that you can understand it. If there are things written in the file that you disagree with you have the right to say so and to have this noted in your file.

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What is a Review?

A review is a meeting of all those people who are concerned about you, for example your parents, teacher, house co-ordinator, educational psychologist and social worker. At the meeting your teacher and house co-ordinator and others will share their views of how you have been in Camphill. You will also be able to share your thoughts about being in Camphill. The meeting will then hear thoughts about what people think about your future. You will again have a chance to say what you think. Sometimes your Children’s Rights Officer or ‘Who Cares? Scotland’ worker may be able to go with you to your review or help you give your views beforehand, if you would like this.

Can I attend my review?

Yes, if you are able to understand and take part in the conversation. If you are not happy with what the co-workers decide you can speak to the Child Protection Officer in Camphill or telephone your Children's Rights Officer.

What can I do if I do not like it in Camphill?

If you are a new pupil tell your Mum or Dad or your co-worker. It may get better if you wait a bit longer, as you may get used to things. If not, talk again to your Mum or Dad or your co-worker.

If you have difficulties which you can't sort out by talking with a co-worker you trust or your Mum or Dad, we will have a meeting where all those interested in you can hear what you have to say and what you dislike. Together with you we will then see what is the best way forward.

If you don't feel Camphill or the people at your meeting have listened to you, you can call Child Line or your Children's Rights Officer.

What happens when I leave Camphill?

Pupils normally leave Camphill when they are 18 or 19 years old. However some may leave at an earlier time for a variety of reasons. Before you leave we will talk with you about what you might like to do when it is time for you to leave Camphill. We will then have a meeting with all those interested in your future and together with you try to find the best way forward. Legally you are allowed to leave school once you are 16 years old.

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We hope this answers most of your questions. If you have any others please do not hesitate to ask.