Our aim is to secure knowledge and understanding by making links between subjects and making learning relevant to the learners. Pupils are involved in planning the topics they learn about, liaising with teachers to discuss their personal interests in an aim to make learning more enjoyable but also ensuring that National Curriculum objectives are met.
Cross-curricular themed topic work allows pupils to make links across subjects and practice the knowledge and skills developed in core subjects. Staff endeavor to provide pupils with a variety of outdoor learning opportunities and groups aim to organise off site educational visits at least 3 times per half term. During Autumn term visits are planned for Tynemouth Priory, Hancock Museum, Hamsterley Forest, Gibside, Northumberlandia, Vivian French Author Offer and Kielder.
It is difficult to build on success from previous years as pupils are only with us for a 20 week placement, often beginning their placements mid-way through the year and therefore we have devised a curriculum that repeats skills and knowledge throughout an academic year. Schemes of work therefore allow pupils to apply a range of skills across topics.
There is an emphasis on the teaching of literacy and numeracy, to equip pupils with the necessary skills for their next steps. Pupils recognised as not making expected progress are identified quickly through the use of teacher trackers and targeted interventions are put in place to support these learners.
Across the school we use Accelerated Reader to support and embed phonics knowledge and this provides staff with key information which they use to develop the planning, delivery and assessment of English. The emphasis is on developing pupil’s love for reading and promotion of reading for pleasure.
To further support literacy and in particular, reading, we have timetabled daily Ruler Reading sessions for pupils to enjoy reading time either by listening to stories/texts being read to them or by reading texts that interest them individually or in small groups. Pupils also have access to our library where a range of text types are available for them.
To implement our intention of delivering a bespoke curriculum that encourages personal development, PSHE and individual support sessions are timetabled daily. To enhance this offer, we have liaised with a range of external professionals to improve the delivery of key aspects of this curriculum. Professionals visit school to delivery targeted sessions to address a range of current affairs and relevant issues, which may impact on pupils’ ability to access education. Sessions planned to be offered in Autumn Term involve:
- Operation Encompass Next Steps (focusing on Emotions and Empathy, Relationships and Friendship) – planned and delivered by Northumbria Police
- County Lines – External professional delivering targeted sessions to pupils.
- Fire Safety – planned and delivered by the Fire and Rescue Service.
- Drugs education – weekly sessions facilitated and delivered by Alnwick Gardens.
- Knife Crime – Facilitated by Street Doctors.
- Pupil Youth Safety Conference – addressing issues including; Online safety, Substance
- misuse, Knife crime and county lines, Healthy relationships and PREVENT.
In addition to PSHE, staff promote pupil views and pupil voice by facilitating 1:1 coaching sessions. These allow pupils to reflect on their experiences and learning and discuss strategies to support them with their individual challenges. The success of coaching sessions is achieved through staff having the ability to build strong, positive relationships where pupils fell safe, secure and listened to.
There are a range of “offers” to enable pupils to build on areas of Emotional Literacy. We strive to provide pupils with activities and programmes that are tailored to their individual interests; therefore the implementation of the curriculum offer varies from pupil to pupil. Additional activities/ interventions include; horse riding, The Alan Shearer centre, Gardening (Alnwick Gardens), Lego league, Lego therapy, Creative nurture, Drawing therapy, Apple coding, swimming, the annual Pantomime and Active Northumberland activities.
The introduction of the ‘MOTIONAL’/Rise Above approach to our curriculum provides us with opportunities to develop pupil’s emotional wellbeing, behaviour and attitudes and personal development. Pupils are base lined with a MOTIONAL profile allowing specialist trained staff to deliver the appropriate activities to address individual needs. Our purpose equipped MOTIONAL room provides learners with an appropriate space to address their individual challenges and staff are available at specific times of the day for pupils to “drop –in” if they need additional support.