Our pupils in both key-stage 3 and key-stage 4 follow the national curriculum. We provide a secondary curriculum which is very similar to mainstream but in smaller classes, in a protected environment which supports pupils with social communication, interaction learning needs. Our curriculum combines core, foundation and statutory subjects alongside lessons which: improve communication and social interaction; builds independence and resilience; and prepares our pupils for life post-16.
The secondary curriculum is structured through carefully sequenced long term and medium term plans with clear assessment points built in. The medium term plans are adaptable and allow teachers to personalise the learning and support to meet the needs of each individual pupil. Pupils are enabled to progress at a rate that is matched to their ability and their potential. Pupils with the most complex needs have personalised timetables that are reviewed as their needs change. All our pupils have PSHE and CEIAG built into their curriculum. Relationship Education can be personalised to meet individual needs and ability.
Bringing learning into the real world
Kim tells us about the new sensory room, lessons and immersive experiences that will put a smile on your child’s face and help them understand the world around them.
Our pupils love science lessons
Mark talks about why the pupils love the variety of his lessons and how the science they learn relates to the real world.
He engages the pupils with exciting demonstrations and gives them hands-on experience to help develop their skills and make learning the curriculum enjoyable.
Our KS3 curriculum is broad, balanced and ambitious and builds upon prior learning in KS2. In year 7 priority is given to phonics, reading, numeracy and minimising barriers to learning caused by ASD, social, communication and interaction needs. We do this by providing pupils in year 7 with a Nurture Model, which supports transition from the primary phase onto the secondary curriculum by using a balance of primary and subject specialists in one base, rather than moving around from one lesson to the next. This again supports pupils with their need for routine and consistency. Pupils in the Nurture classes still benefit from having access all the indoor and outdoor sensory areas, which encourage social interaction and helps support regulation.
A typical day for a year 7 pupil will consist of literacy, numeracy, reading, sensory and social activities such as music, art, movement play with planned sensory breaks and rewards in the morning. The literacy and numeracy work is tailored to meet individual needs and is supported by a high pupil to staff ratio. Early intervention with reading and identifying gaps in prior learning is a whole school focus. We recognise many of our pupils may have had difficulty accessing learning in previous settings. In the afternoon year 7 pupils will do topic work, this can be cross curricula themed helping pupils understand the world around them. The day ends in year 7 with reading café and reward time. As they move through year 7, pupils will take part in full range of lessons including PSHE, humanities, science, expressive arts, life skills and social skills with the aim of gradually preparing them to move into year 8.
By year 8 most pupils are ready to access learning with the full range of our secondary subject specialists. In year 8 pupils move more independently around school but still have the security of knowing that support staff from their class team will help them with their learning and any difficulties they have in lessons. It is vitally important to our pupils learning that they have support of staff who understand them, know their needs and can help pupils develop their social interaction and independence skills.
In year 8 and 9 our pupils have Maths, English, Science, Humanities, Food Technology, ICT, Music, Art, RE, PE and Drama. Some pupils will also have targeted additional support for literacy, numeracy, speech and language, ELSA and personalised PSHE as part of their bespoke provision. In KS3 pupils also take part in topics which widen their experience of the world and their community by taking part in; Eco and STEM projects; Cooking Around The World; charity events and sporting competitions with others schools; Enterprise Days with Balfour Beaty, Yorkshire Water and other local businesses.
In the summer term of year 9 our pupils begin transition to KS4 and make choices of options they wish to try out in Year 10 or take over a two year period in Year 10 and Year 11. Close partnerships with colleges enables us to provide our pupils with a wide range of taster days to inform their choices. The KS4 options process is informed by our consultation with pupils and ambitiously takes account of each cohort’s ability range.
We believe that given enough time, most of our pupils can go on to live economically independent lives. Our aim is to prepare them for adulthood and for the wider world. The majority of our pupils in KS4 follow the national curriculum, combining academic subjects with life skills and vocational courses. All our pupils can complete a range of accredited courses on a pathway, which is suited to their ability and interests.
In KS4 there are three curriculum pathways. Pupils in our A half gain a wide range of Unit Awards and Entry Awards and some go onto gain Functional Skills in Maths and English or even BTEC Level 1 in their technology and option classes. Pupils in our B half have the chance to gain nationally recognised qualifications such as GCSEs, BTEC’s, Functional Skills up to and including the equivalent of GCSE grades.
In addition, we also have a KS4 Nurture pathway, which focuses on developing literacy, numeracy, social interaction skills and life skills with bespoke programmes of support. Many of these pupils go on to gain Unit Awards.
Our pupils benefit from strong relationships with local colleges and links with local and national businesses. All pupils in KS4 have a choice of options and the opportunity to complete work experience in year 10. The options choices currently are: Introduction to Motor Vehicle Maintenance, Hair and Beauty; BTEC Art and Design; BTEC Sport; Introduction to Computer Science; Small and Large Animal Care. As part of our life skills and vocational skills curriculum pupils also do BTEC Home Cooking Skills. Our pupils regularly take part in a wide range of PSHE and CEIAG theme days.
Our KS4 pupils benefit from links with destination colleges for post -16 or post-19 transition. Option choices, vocational and life skills curriculum is regularly reviewed to meet the needs of each cohort and development of a sixth form college here at Northcott. We want our young adults to move on to post 16 or post 19 provision, at a time that is right for them; with qualifications and experience that supports their next steps into adulthood.