‘Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they can become the best they can possibly be’ (Rita F. Pierson, Every Kid Needs a Champion, 2013)
Our vision is that in every Pre-Formal classroom you will be able to see a motivation driven approach, a teacher who places the pupils needs at the centre of planning and provision and a dedicated team who work holistically to ensure each individual needs are met.
Although the curriculum is based around the areas of Communication and Interaction, Cognition and Learning, Physical and Sensory and Social and Emotional, we adopt a cross curricular approach throughout the school day. We regularly review our curriculum to ensure that the sessions we offer are in line with current research and practice.
The timetable offers a rich and varied curriculum which includes:
These sessions will give the pupils opportunities to access learning outside of the classroom. Although it may be timetabled, it is encouraged to capitalise on good weather conditions to explore and engage in the outside environment. These sessions could include small animal care, horticulture, cycling and proprioceptive activities.
Pupils will experience a wide range of different of foods with all of their senses, using their preferred methods to achieve the desired outcomes. This is essentially play, exploratory play and we must facilitate this play. This may be a repetitive experience that helps to establish confidence in this exploration. Sessions may be presented in the form of a story or a song.
Music and Drama
Pupils are able to create sounds and access instruments and props in a motivating and engaging environment. Self-expression is encouraged through a variety of platforms. Different styles of music are used to provoke responses and emotions in an immersive environment. These sessions are delivered within the drama studio or other sensory space whenever possible.
Rebound is a specific methodology. The activities take place on specialist trampolines with trained rebound therapists. These provide opportunities for enhanced movement patterns, therapeutic positioning, exercise and recreation for pupils with a wide range of needs.
Integrated within the timetable:
This is a positive kick-start to awaken the eight sensory systems contained in the body, nervous system and brain. It provides an opportunity to develop senses, thinking, learning, understanding and remembering. Multisensory experiences are created to facilitate active learning.
This provides a context which allows children to make choices and initiate play or exploration with or without others. Play opportunities are created to scaffold the learning through adult modelling and personal motivators. Repetitive opportunities allow pupils the freedom to explore and make choices whilst revisiting what they have previously encountered both during structured session and during school break times.
This partners concise text with strong sensory stimuli to convey a narrative. They are motivating and engaging for all pupils and have individual learning intentions integrated within the story.
This creates opportunities to experience a range of sensory items using pupils preferred methods. Exploration, investigation and problem solving are encouraged throughout the session at the individuals personalised level.
This promotes movement and positive touch as a way of providing opportunities for spatial awareness through the vestibular system. This also encourages an understanding of how their body parts are connected through the proprioceptive system.
This provides an opportunity for pupils to work on their specific learning intentions in ways that are motivating and purposeful, whilst remaining relevant to their needs in either small groups or a 1:1 basis. This is delivered using motivator boxes or by integrating personal motivators into small group activities. Teachers should note when pupils’ show particular interest in items/activities outside of dedicated core skills sessions. This ensures that we are offering pupils opportunities to engage with a variety of resources.
This encourages pupils to build upon independent movement in a less physically supported environment. Sessions are tailored around individual, group and class needs.
These sessions allow learners to develop the sense that we have of our own bodies. It gives them an understanding of the parts that make up one’s body, where they are located, how they feel and even what they can do. This promotes movement and positive touch as a way of providing opportunities for spatial awareness through the vestibular system. This also encourages an understanding of how their body parts are connected through the proprioceptive system.
Impact is measured in a variety of different ways. We ensure that all our assessment methods are purposeful and directly impact the pupils.
Seesaw is a secure online portfolio that allows teachers to document and reflect on pupils’ engagement within school whilst also sharing these with families. Each student has their own individual journal where pictures, videos and messages can be shared between school and home. This also allows practitioners to reflect on learning within the four key areas of need within in our curriculum.
Learning Intentions/Next Steps
Each pupil has individualised learning intentions set within the four areas of need; practitioners update and documentation is regularly shared with parents. Parents views are taken into consideration when setting and reviewing intentions. These intentions are imbedded in a cross-curricular way throughout the school day. Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) targets are incorporated within these as well as long-term next steps.
‘Your assessment methods should be sufficiently flexible to be adapted to the needs of the pupil’ (The Rochford Review, 2016)
MAPP sheets are an individualised excel document that are reviewed and updated by practitioners. These provide the opportunity to track the learning intentions set and review achievements against ‘The Continuum of Skill Development’ focusing on prompting, fluency, maintenance and generalisation.
Holistic Assessment Meetings
Practitioners meet together at the end of each term to reflect on pupil progress. In these meetings we discuss pupil progress, the impact of the curriculum and the pupils’ engagement within the sessions offered. We use Seesaw and written observations to build a ‘picture of progress’ allowing us to clearly identify next steps.
“Holistic assessment focuses on the pupil as a whole, rather than only focusing on specific elements. A holistic assessment of pupils’ progress and development considers all aspects of their individual needs, including how they interrelate with each other and the factors that influence them, and how this affects how they learn. This allows the assessment to capture a fuller picture of pupils’ progress and development over a period of time” (Engagement Model 2020)
The Engagement Model
“Effective use of the engagement model is based on regular observational assessment and reflective pedagogy. Observational assessment is central to understanding what the pupil knows and what they can do. It is the most reliable way of building up an accurate picture of pupil’s progress” (The Engagement Model, 2020)
Practitioners are continually encouraged to reflect on observations using the 5 areas of engagement which are- exploration, realisation, anticipation, persistence and initiation. We use our reflective feedback to inform and personalise planning and to make sure our core curriculum offer is engaging for all.
“Parents and carers also play a very important role in holding schools to account by asking questions about their children’s attainment and progress and by engaging in dialogue with the school about the aspirations and expectations for their children” (The Rochford Review, 2016)
St Francis Special School, Wickenby Crescent, Lincoln, LN1 3TJ
firstname.lastname@example.org - 01522 526498
If you request a paper copy of any of the information on our website, please contact the school office who will be more than happy to assist.