The Curriculum at Freemantles starts each day when the students transition from their parents or transport into school and continues being taught until they return. The Curriculum is not only what we formally teach. The curriculum is the means by which we focus on the learning needs of each student for their emotional well-being and life satisfaction both now and in the future.
The curriculum content has been developed through the school community built on the 5 areas of our school rationale. (see below). We are absolutely committed to this approach being what is appropriate for the community of students and families that we work with.
This features so prominently in the curriculum of the school. This is because anxiety can be such an issue for the complex Autistic Students that we cater for. Emotional well-being is a prerequisite for the most effective learning, so learning about how to promote and regulate it for oneself is crucial. Students access a wide range of activities to help them learn to relax and access learning. They can then decide which works best for them. The remaining four areas are emphasised because of the impact that they can have on Emotional Well-being.
Our students need a way to communicate. At the least this would be to communicate their wants and needs and if possible, they would be able to enjoy the opportunity to converse and build socially communicative friendships and relationships, developing the ability to advocate for themselves. This is fundamental to their ability to access the world and safeguard themselves.
‘Working together to make sense of the world.’ -is the Freemantles school mission statement. Research evidence demonstrates that our students need to be explicitly taught to understand what is happening in the social world and why. Therefore, there is a significant amount of teaching time allocated to helping our students make progress in this area. It is a vitally important area if they are going to be actively participating in society, both now and as well-prepared adults in the future. This includes all of the work that the students access offsite in the community so that we can be sure that they are able to generalise their learning in real life situations.
Our students’ confidence, self-esteem, motivation for learning and participation in life is built upon their ability to develop independence; key to this will be the need for us to equip each student with life skills to care for and look after themselves.
Functional Academic Achievement:
Our initial focus with the academic curriculum for our young people is based upon the preparation for adulthood and being able to be fully involved in society. Therefore, we are thinking about the aspects of the academic curriculum which are most likely to be useful for them. For all students this would include many elements of English (particularly accessing any form of reading) Maths, Science and IT. If students have academic special interests these are promoted on an individual level in order that they are able to access this knowledge. We have a wide range of needs in the school and in some cases our functional academic learning will need to be focussing on the prerequisite skills for a GCSE course that they are moving onto in adulthood, whilst for others it may relate more to simple number, colour and shape so they are able to communicate with a greater vocabulary.
We have high expectations; for our students to meet them, they will need to interact with and problem solve the world around them. Our Curriculum is designed so that each individual pupil is challenged to rise to these expectations and celebrate their achievements. Our regular tracking and measurement of the impact of our curriculum on individual progress, demonstrates the successes our students are having both now and for the future.
We want the students to access as many learning opportunities across a broad and balanced academic curriculum as possible and help them identify their motivations and interests.
A crucial feature of the curriculum offer that extends the depth of learning and embeds the wide range of skills that students develop is through the extensive offsite Community Learning programme which has been established across the school. These sessions are carefully planned with learning intent identified and followed up age appropriately upon returning to school.
The school uses evidenced based interventions, identified specifically to address each of the 5 areas and support students to access the wider learning most effectively and improve their emotional well-being. The school has advance trained and in-house trainers in these interventions to ensure that they are used effectively. Staff receive regular training which helps them to embed their knowledge and understanding of how to use them effectively.
The academic curriculum which covers all aspects of the National Curriculum, is planned in Key Stage Groups and taught through rolling programmes allowing the students to encounter some breadth within a subject whilst providing them with the opportunity to revisit, embed and extend the depth of learning that they can gain from study within the subject.
The implementation of the curriculum aims to deliver the intent. Therefore more curriculum time is dedicated to teaching the main priorities for the students. They learn new skills in the classroom and are quickly taking these skills to generalise them through Community Learning. This is carefully timetabled and arranged so that all students have at least a half day a week offsite and the majority have two or even three half days learning in the community.
The National Curriculum subjects are taught through a cross curricula topic-based approach to ensure that students get this broad range of experiences and learning opportunities. The curriculum content in each subject has been selected for its relevance or interest of the students. The curriculum is coordinated by key stage leaders across their Key Stage. The Curriculum Leadership team ensure curriculum continuity across the school. This promotes the students’ ability to make connections across the subjects and particularly in relation to the relevance of learning to their lives.
Teaching is delivered throughout all parts of the school day with skilled staff able to support the development of learning in a wide range of areas throughout lunchtime and breaks as well as during the lessons, movement breaks etc
The impact of this curriculum is that:
- Students make excellent progress in the key areas that we have identified and therefore addresses their key learning needs.
- They learn new skills and how to apply them appropriately in the community from an early age. This in turn promotes emotional wellbeing and helps them to progress academically.
- Students make good progress in the wider foundation subjects of the National Curriculum learning key information to help them in adult life or developing deeper understanding of specific interests.
This is evidenced through:
- half termly assessments of individual progress
- carefully crafted annual review targets
- teacher assessments in a range of areas and behaviour analysis
- medium term planning evaluations
Curriculum Review and Development
We believe that curriculum review and development should be an ongoing process that will always be able to be refined and improved, and may also need to be adapted according to the needs of a cohort of children and young people who are moving through the school. The senior leadership teams in both Primary and Secondary & FE work closely with their teachers to involve them in the processes of change and with one another to ensure that there is a coherency between the curricula offers.