Introduction to the Curriculum
The primary goal of the curriculum offered to the pupils at Smallbrook School is to present an engaging curriculum that will enable pupils, who have frequently become disaffected from the education process, to regain self-belief and a curiosity to learn. Once reengaged in education, our aim is to offer a curriculum that strengthens a pupil’s sense of self-efficacy, a deficit of which often underlies challenging behaviour.
Practical curricula that have tangible results are essential in achieving this, and a range of such opportunities offered through, vocational options, media studies, art, craft and music. In addition to these, the pupils’ sense of empowerment is strengthened through a weekly opportunity to succeed in adventurous activities such as skiing, snowboarding, climbing, mountain biking, canoeing and kayaking. In all of these the pupils are given as much agency as possible in selecting their own projects and activities in order to develop an intrinsic motivation on which we can build.
Opportunities for pupils to develop appropriate socialisation and cooperation are made available through the Forrest School provision and group expeditions that seek to combine Forest School and Outdoor Education.
From this position of increased resilience, we aim to provide a curriculum that will gain recognised pre-requisite qualifications for further education in mainstream post 16 education provisions. Alongside these curricula, a range of vocational training options are available which provide further opportunities for further education, but also maximize a pupil’s opportunity for future employment.
Smallbrook School aims to provide 25 hours of education per week either on or off site, inclusive of a range of PE and Outdoor Education activities and Independent Study projects. The current provision offered covers a wide remit including on-site full time support, vocational training, college placements, training providers and work experience placements on a very individual basis. Support for individuals is paramount.
Initial learning targets are carefully planned and tailored to meet the individual’s needs. Targets may also consider attendance, behaviour, motivation to learn, communication skills and participation. The National Curriculum is currently followed for those pupils who come to us at the appropriate Key Stage and an ‘Alternative Curriculum’ is accessible by all.
Prior to attending Smallbrook School and while at The Meadows, Old Hardwick Farmhouse or Calcott Farm crisis and assessment centres, young people who attend undergo a thorough initial assessment of educational needs. This assessment is undertaken in close consultation with the clinical and care teams. This assessment considers the following factors and their implications for a pupil’s educational needs.
- Education History
- Existing diagnosis of conditions influencing education
- Formal Academic Assessment
- Special Educational Needs
- School Attendance Assessment
- Intrinsic/extrinsic motivations to learning
- Peer Influence
- Verbal Communication
- Aural Comprehension
This assessment then informs the introduction into a full-time timetable that is sensitive to a pupil’s emotional well-being. This admissions plan is documented in Promoting Educational Achievement and approval is sought from the pupils placing authority. Following a pupil’s introduction to the school, a keyworker will be assigned to them and tutorial sessions will be timetabled. An Individual Learning Plan (ILP) which identifies the targets for the term is then produced. If an EHCP is in place, these outcomes are taken into account along with the learning objective of the curricula being followed when drawing up the ILP.
Group sizes are kept to a minimum and the majority of teaching is carried out in groups of 2 to 3 pupils within the school. Lessons are delivered by qualified or qualifying staff with a range of experiences in the delivery of alternative learning. The timetable is flexible enough to allow team and group teaching.
Quality resources and materials are continuously being introduced to support a structured timetable and appropriate accreditation opportunities, which complement the concept of personalised learning. The quality of the personalised learning offered, the capacity of the whole school programme, and the monitoring and tracking of individual pupils, supports the nature and ethos of the school and encourages positive results. This enables the most challenging pupils to access the provision on a part and full time basis often at crucial points in their education.
The school fully supports individuals at all stages of learning and is fully reliant on the flexible approach of the curriculum. This flexibility also addresses the acknowledgment that the young people come to us with complex social, emotional, personal and behavioural issues that require considerable specialist and intensive support over a period of time. The quality and flexibility of the provision is uppermost as is the ability to provide access to individual learning programmes that are tailored to needs and interests of our pupils. Healthy living is promoted through the Home Cooking Skills, Science, Outdoor Education, Forest School, Tutor sessions and PSHE lessons.