Approaches to Teaching and Learning
Our school is split into three phases- Lower, Middle and Upper School.
Pupils within the Lower school are aged between EYFS-KS2. Classes within the lower school are typically smaller than other classes throughout the school to enable class teams to be able to run a successful TEACCH approach and deliver specific interventions for pupils (please see our interventions page for more information). All classes within the Lower School follow a TEACCH approach (see below). Pupils have opportunities for regular physical activity and learning in different environments. In addition to the sensory room and school beach, we have further developed our Lower School outside playground. There is a range of learning opportunities for the pupils, including painting areas, mark making areas and chalkboards, a climbing frame, a new specialist swing, giant lawn games, trampolines and bikes to promote further Physical Development and life long skills. Our next step is to further enhance the provision by installing a quiet area for pupils and to increase the sensory experiences for the pupils we currently provide.
Within the Lower School we aim to develop joyful learning experiences for the pupils to engage them in their learning. One of our actions to support this has been through developing the play experiences that pupils have throughout the entire day and the continuous provision on offer. Not only do pupils have access the this outdoor learning throughout the entire day, but classes each have designated play spaces where adults build upon key social and play skills. Through working with other adults within our highly skilled team, in addition to external agencies such as Occupational Therapists, these spaces have been developed to include a range of sensory experiences in order to meet the specific needs of the pupils.
Pupils in Middle School are primarily in KS3, however due to our pupils specific needs there may at times be lower school aged pupils within our more complex needs class. Pupils are grouped in classes to meet their needs in small class groups, with high levels of staffing. Some of our pupils have additional spaces where they work 1:1 to meet their complex needs. In Middle School pupils continue to have access to a range of interventions and provision. In Middle School, pupils have access to high levels of music, outdoor learning experiences and physical development opportunities. We also ensure that learning is focused on real life situations and life skills are promoted in order to continue working towards independent living.
Our pupils in Upper School are our oldest pupils who are in KS4. Typically, these classes groups are larger in size than the youngest pupils, yet still with high levels of adult support. Our focus in KS4 is preparing pupils for the end of year 11. Further information can be found on our Upper School page for the curriculum and KS4 information. In Upper School pupils will continue to access a range of interventions, in addition to further personalised provision to support their individualised pathways.
TEACCH is fully integrated throughout our Lower and Middle School phases. All classes within Lower School follow a TEACCH approach. Similarly, both whole classes and specific pupils within Middle School use these strategies. Across classes and phases the techniques are consistent and transferable between teams to enable a smooth transition as pupils move throughout the school. It also encourages skills to be built upon to further enhance pupil independence. All pupils will take part in 'learning cycles' throughout the day, which include both a learning activity and also an independent activity. Depending on the pupils individual needs, pupils will access these strategies at varying levels with our aims to increase the pupils independence through increasing the complexity of skills and opportunities in which pupils are using these strategies. We aim for both the terminology used with pupils, visual systems and resourcing to be aligned to encourage continuity across the school.
All classes within the school use seesaw as a form of recording pupils learning and progress. Seesaw is an online platform where pupils' learning is uploaded as a series of pictures, videos and notes where adults are then able to upload their marking of pupils' progress. The use of Seesaw to record learning rather than books gives pupils an immediate and authentic audience of their peers and families, which encourages more purposeful learning and read feedback. All feedback is approved by the class teacher before it is uploaded to Seesaw to ensure that it follows the schools principles in regards to marking and feedback. At the start of the year, new Seesaw accounts are set up for each pupil, with a folder linked to each subject that they are taught within their curriculum. Families are then inited to link in with their child's account through personalised and specific QR codes. Where families need any support accessing their child's own Seesaw account, they should contact their child's class team who will be able to support in setting up access.
Readiness to learn
We recognise that pupils need to be ready to learn. We work alongside occupational therapists and speech and language therapists to identify what this is and integrate it into their education. By using a range of therapeutic approaches built into their curriculum we ensure that pupils’ needs are met. Further information can be found in our interventions booklet here.