A broad and balanced curriculum
with realistic targets for all pupils

Education

Our school motto is “Discover potential, enjoy success, prepare for life”. We aim to provide a wide-ranging education based on one concept – meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of our pupils. Through this they can start to flourish, build resilience and character through experiencing success and then be ready on leaving us to progress to adult life at college and later employment and finally as future parents

We have a Lower School that caters for pupils from Year 3 to 7. From Year 8, students move to Upper School on the Main School site and this includes separate Key Stage 3 and 4 areas and a separate wing for our Nurture groups.

The curriculum is delivered through everything the school does.

Academically the school uses three streams to meet the needs of pupils, and pupils move between these streams where best suited to meet their needs at any given time:

Nurture:

Pupils in the Nurture stream are often those with the most significant needs, particularly learning needs. Started in Lower School the Nurture approach was developed by Katherine McKenna with Dr Tina Rae of the Nurture School Network. The curriculum includes more SEAL activities and the team works closely with the interventions teams. Recently a higher functioning Nurture group has been created to meet the needs our more able pupils with significant needs or anxieties. Nurture runs from Lower school all the way through to the end of Upper school.

Standard Stream:

This is the core offer in which the school follows most aspects of the National Curriculum. The intervention team will support pupils and help to improve core skills and plug gaps in knowledge caused by pupils having missed substantial amounts of school before admission. Subjects covered include the core subjects as well as art, careers, PSHE, catering etc.

Vocational Plus:

This is a NASS award winning outreach programme which is highly individualised for pupils with the highest levels of mental health needs or want to follow a vocational pathway. It includes intensive tuition, work experience college placements. Staff work intensively with families, providing high levels of emotional and practical support. Pupils staying Post 16 also access this team as their aim is to help with independence – for example providing driving lessons or support in stabilising college placements in Year 12.

The qualification structure allows pupils to build confidence and enjoy success, recognising that many pupils have missed a large amount of school and may have a negative self-image of themselves as learners. Pupils have a clear, stepped progression starting with Entry Levels, then Functional Skills and finally GCSEs. This works at their pace however generally Entry Level English and maths are completed in Year 8 and 9, Functional Skills L1 in Year 9 and 10 and GCSEs in KS4. BTECs and L1 and L2 vocational qualifications are completed in KS4. Other qualifications such as Unit Award sand Open Awards are also achieved. This builds confidence, allows them to change their self perception and gives them the chance to celebrate success.

The wide vocational offer also gives pupils the opportunity to improve their numeracy and literacy skills through other means and develop their alternative skills base. This involves Open Awards, BTEC and NCFE E3/L1/L2 courses in a wide range of disciplines including Construction, Small Animal Care Fisheries Management and Hair and Beauty.  This also helps them prepare for life as they get the chance to sample future employment options and also achieve qualifications ahead of their peers, meaning that when they get to college they are the “more knowledgeable other” making it more likely that they will succeed.

The social and emotional needs of the pupils are met by the range of outdoor learning opportunities which include Duke of Edinburgh, PGL, fishing, canoeing, bike skills and climbing. These are accredited but also push pupils from their comfort zone, helping them develop teamworking skills, confidence and achieve in a way they would not normally in school. Social skills are also enhanced by charity fundraising for local and national causes as well as the pupils attending meetings as part of the school council, in the residential houses and their annual reviews. The emotional needs of the pupils are also supported by the therapeutic interventions which are delivered either in groups or by individual sessions. These are further supported through behaviour mentor work and the restorative practice programme, part of which asks pupils to consider the impact of their behaviour on others and alternative courses of action. The PHSE and careers programme also helps to give them the knowledge to succeed and prepare for life.

Pastoral Support

To help our students learn and thrive there is a dedicated behaviour mentor team. The team is always available for those who may need some time out or a place to reflect.

The Behaviour Mentors’ primary focus is to support and influence the ‘learning climate’ of the school day. They are front line interventionalists working with pupils experiencing problems. They pass information to their professional colleagues to ensure that communication channels are maintained across the disciplines. They have the responsibility for monitoring all and the recording of incidents throughout the educational day. They are fully trained in trauma informed approaches such as PACE.

Trends in incidents are produced by the pastoral team for progress meetings so that patterns of behaviour are identified and intervention or support strategies are put into the place.

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