At Welcombe Hills School, we want our pupils to be able to engage in their learning, develop transferrable skills and become equipped for life beyond school.
Every pupil at Welcombe Hills has an idiosyncratic approach to learning. We place great importance on developing our pupils’ confidence and self-esteem. We build on individual strengths and interests and focus on developing the key skills of communication, cognition, independence, physical development and self-care.
Our curriculum is skill and context based and encourages active engagement in learning. It is also challenging and aspirational, with high aims for the progress of our pupils. In each Key Stage, teachers plan together to produce a rolling plan, which supports a balance of stimulating contexts for learning through different learning experiences, themes and subjects.
We recognise that our pupils require a curriculum that is designed specifically for them. We have created three core curricula which address at an appropriate level the complex learning difficulties of our pupils and incorporate the requirements of the statutory EYFS curriculum and the National curriculum. Students in our 16-19 phase currently follow ASDAN accredited PSD and PP units of study. In January 2016, they will study towards Open Awards.
Students with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) are provided with an informal curriculum, which is specifically designed to meet their needs in connecting and responding.
Pupils with complex Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD) benefit from a semi-formal curriculum, which promotes life-skills and communication and is highly stimulating.
Learners with Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) receive an adaptation of the National Curriculum, which emphasises life skills.
We are committed to offering our children and young people with the best opportunities. For some, this will include part-time inclusion in other settings, usually in mainstream schools. We provide opportunities, which are meaningful, accessible, motivating, contextualized and appropriately challenging to maximize progress for each child and take the learning opportunities across every aspect of the pupil’s day.
At Welcombe Hills School we ensure that the emphasis on Communication and Literacy across the Curriculum is informed and effective. We use a range of augmentative or alternative strategies to promote the ability of some learners to communicate successfully, enabling them to respond and interact to their full capacity.
We provide regular Phonics and Guided Reading Lessons for groups of learners along with developing their Spelling and Writing Skills. We constantly value our learners’ efforts, promoting self-esteem and confidence through specific praise.
Within each Key Stage, the teaching teams have a thorough understanding of each child’s learning profile; their interests, strengths and barriers, medical needs, developmental stage and learning level. Each of these areas are used to plan effectively for a range of learning targets for each pupil, which are personalised to that pupil’s stage of learning across the Curriculum. These are used during the day by a range of professionals to provide continuity of learning within a variety of contexts. This breadth of approach supports pupils to achieve deep learning.
The school works with rolling plan of themes in EYFS and Key Stages 1-3. In Key Stages 4 and 5, pupils follow modules within ASDAN awards and qualifications, including: Personal Social Development and Personal Progress. Broad themes within the planning can be adapted to the needs and interests of all learners. Medium term plans are tailored to the needs of the specific class, adapting the learning areas and opportunities to their interests, needs and level of learning. Daily planning supports the point of learning of individual pupils and is very adaptable to changes to support pupil’s point of learning and changing experiences.
Regular team reflection within Key Stages allows staff to share information, think through adaptions to learning opportunities and plan learning around what is happening for each pupil. It also allows staff to reflect on their own learning and supports research that is going on across the school.
We use a combination of teaching methods, which are appropriate and adapt them to support the pupils learning styles and needs within individual classes. Phonics are taught where pupils are accessing the semi-formal and formal curriculum in EYFS, KS1, KS2 and KS3. We follow Letters and Sounds scheme and use 'Jolly Phonics' as a resource. Reading schemes are chosen to reflect the pupils' emotional understanding of the world about them. We use Oxford Reading Tree in EYFS, KS1 & KS2. KS3 use Rising Stars. KS4 use Rapid Readers. The words first scheme is used for emergent readers.
Pupils are encouraged to take risks in their learning and not fear making mistakes. Our highly trained support staff help them to develop their readiness to learn by increasing their attention and focus within tasks and their self-motivation to ,”Have a go!”
Across the school, teaching provides relevant opportunities for learning, motivating and inspiring pupils to make progress in their learning targets. Structured routines, appropriately paced and motivating activities with assessment for learning firmly embedded across all contexts.
Teaching provides opportunities for pupils to contextualise their learning, working within whole class, small group, individual and independent learning opportunities appropriate to that learner. We also use cross Key Stage grouping to further personalise the learning and ensure that pupils are given the opportunity to make as much progress as possible. Through this they will be enabled to use their skills in a range of contexts, to become increasingly independent, resourceful and resilient when faced with challenges.