North Ridge Community School Curriculum & Assessment
Assessment at North Ridge School: The four legs of support for better outcomes.
All the community that are involved with pupils at North Ridge are ambitious about the expectations of our young people. We as a school want the very best life enhancing outcomes. Sometimes these will be accreditation, sometimes accomplishments like singing or artwork, sometimes participation in sport, always a smile inner or outward.
North Ridge wants a school curriculum which encourages a love of exploration, understanding and learning. Our curriculum covers a variety of subjects and provides opportunities for academic, technical and sporting excellence. It also contributes well to pupils’ academic achievement, their physical wellbeing and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. It promotes good behaviour and a good understanding of safety matters. We aim to prepare them for a successful life as valued and independent as possible.
Part 3 of The Children and Families Act, which came into force in September 2014, states that Preparing for Adulthood outcomes should be a focus from 13 years old and onwards. We have as a school committed the focus to be from 3 years old up until they leave school at 19. With the same outcomes driving the curriculum and assessment it will ensure children’s smooth transition across the school and into adult life. The outcomes are:
Community and Cultural Inclusion
In addition we have commitment to have high expectations regarding literacy, numeracy, ICT and PSHE.
At NRCS we believe teaching will be enhanced and improved with accurate monitoring and effective performance management alongside appropriate professional development.
These need to be closely matched to the outcomes of our pupils and alongside the needs of the school and staff.
1. PIVOTS - We have adopted PIVOTS (with CASPA as our analytical tool). This will provide an assessment framework for our pupils 3-19 in the core areas of literacy and numeracy. Using CASPA we can ensure every pupil is making the best possible progress, we can set challenging targets and track against them, and we can have a whole-school picture. We will be able to measure progress and analyse the results comparatively with similar pupils across the country.
Assessment is too important to be the sole preserve of national tests and assessments. In good education, assessment is of the progress of the whole pupil throughout their educational journey, therefore we have adopted three other tools to ensure we focus on the needs, academic and social, of our pupils.
2. Progress Planners - NRCS reviewed options for assessment and decided to send a senior member of staff to train up in Swiss Cottage’s Progression Planners. This is a DfE sponsored answer to ‘Life without Levels’ for Special Schools. During 2015 the school will be rolling this out, and already a lot of work is being undertaken to prepare ourselves for the launch. We strongly believe that assessment like Progression Planners is needed to include parents to understand and, as relevant, participate in their children’s educational journey. Quite reasonably, parents want to know how their son or daughter is progressing, and how they can help. This has been traditionally difficult with special education and we believe Progression Planners will help.
3. Outcome Star - NRCS staff were keen to ensure we assessed pupils whose care and support might be of concern as much as their academic outcomes. We decided to have a key member of staff trained in the use of Outcome Stars. The Outcomes Star™ is a unique suite of tools for supporting and measuring change when working with people. There are over 20 versions of the Outcomes Star carefully adapted for different groups and services, including younger people, mental health, families, work and more. It is well researched, widely used and endorsed with over 50 collaborators, including the Department of Health, Big Lottery Fund, Camden Council, NESTA and NHS Trusts. It is rarely used in schools but as part of our multi-agency working we see it as a pivotal part in ensuring we recognise thresholds of concern across sectors.http://www.outcomesstar.org.uk/
4. CPOMS - Finally, NRCS staff wanted to ensure we have a single recording, reporting and assessment tool for Safeguarding. We have therefore investigated this and purchased a system called CPOMS. We wanted a user friendly, secure system that responds quickly, alerts us to connections or patterns and supports our CAF and child protection report writing. CPOMS does all this. We introduced CPOMS this year and are pleased so far with the programme. Keeping accurate records is a key aspect of safeguarding work and CPOMS makes this easy. All incidents can be recorded with their following actions and all documents attached, This allows us to monitor students closely and provides easy access when we have an issue or a query from another agency.
Our Class Groups
North Ridge Community School caters for pupils from the ages of three to nineteen with severe learning difficulties.
Working alongside a range of professionals, we endeavour to meet the individual needs of all our pupils. We offer a broad, balanced and vibrant curriculum, with high expectations for all pupils and staff. Strong links with the local community and mainstream schools further enrich the educational opportunities available to our pupils. Creativity is at the heart of everything we do!
The school is organised into three distinct phases. Early Years and Primary, for pupils in Reception and Key Stage one and two, Secondary, for students in Key Stage three and four and Sixth Form, for students in our further education unit. Careful design and planning of the school ensure a distinctive and appropriate ethos exists in each, together with progression in the design and content of the curriculum to meet the changing needs of our children and young people as they grow up.
Foundation Stage Curriculum
The Foundation Stage makes a crucial contribution to children's early development and learning. We provide children with a rich variety of teaching and learning experiences that are appropriate to their needs. We use Jolly Phonics, a fun and child centred approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics. This has actions for each of the 42 letter sounds, and we find the multi-sensory method is very motivatings for our pupils.
We endeavour to develop play, independence, socialisation, cognitive, communication, sensory and physical skills, by the use of individualised pupil programmes taught in group and individual sessions, providing opportunities to experience activities at a first hand level. Children will be happy and secure and enjoy growing and learning together in the foundation stage.
The outdoor environment is also a very special part of the Foundation Stage curriculum. As such it is carefully planned for and available each day.
During their time at North Ridge children will be challenged and achieve high standards through a fun and enriched curriculum.
North Ridge Community School Primary department has an experienced and committed staff that work hard to maintain a friendly, co-operative atmosphere and provide a wide range of balanced learning experiences for every pupil, whatever his or her special needs may be. We use Jolly Phonics, a fun and child centred approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics. This has actions for each of the 42 letter sounds, and we find this multi-sensory method is very motivating for our pupils.
We believe very strongly that we can only achieve the best for your child by close co-operation between home and school, where all children are happy and able to achieve well.
We know that, as parents, you know your child best, but also that we have knowledge, expertise and experience which will ensure progression.
The aim of the school is for your child to make maximum progress in all areas of his or her life, socially, emotionally, academically, physically and morally. Communication skills and progress in independence have high priority.
There are currently 5 primary class groups in the school, with the number of pupils in each varying from year to year, depending on our intake and population. The class teacher and teaching assistants will be the people that you communicate with most frequently.
Pupils are offered many enrichment activities including dance.
Whilst all our pupils aged 3 - 16 are on the same site, we aim to create a special identity for our 11- 16 year pupils.
In Key Stage 3 all students follow the National Curriculum, which includes English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, Design Technology, Information Technology, Food Technology, Religious Education, Modern Foreign Languages and PSHEC (Personal, Social, Health Education and Citizenship).
Particular emphasis is placed on the acquisition of "life skills". Pupils are actively encouraged to make practical use of these skills, both within the department, and the community. At this age the pupils are expected to take responsibility for their actions as well as their belongings.
Key Stage 4 follows the Equals 'Moving On' curriculum, which is a flexible package of curriculum specifications for students between the ages of 14 - 16 years, and our approach is appropriate for students with a range of complex learning challenges. The curriculum is structured in on year programmes which include: Adventurer, Explorer and Traveller which lead to the award of AQA units for each student. The AQA units are externally validated, and along with other accreditations represent the level 7 achievement each pupil makes.
Courses of study include World Studies, Life and Vocational Skills as well as Literacy and Numeracy. Key Skills are delivered within the curriculum.
Where it is possible students at Key Stage 4 are offered work experience to enhance their learning and allow new skills to be acquired.
Sixth Form Curriculum
North Ridge Community School 6th form curriculum is based upon the development of the social, emotional and independence needs of the individual. We encourage positive attitudes and promote practices and understanding conducive to good health, self esteem and a sense of responsibility.
Existing skills are built upon, and the curriculum is personalised to each student. Students are encouraged to identify their own targets and negotiate their own timetables with the Head of Department at the start of each academic year. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of any additional opportunities that should arise e.g. work placements, sporting activities etc.
The extension of language, communication and Numeracy skills is paramount to the personal progress of our 6th form students and existing skills are built upon according to individual needs and ability.
Adult Literacy, Numeracy and ICT are an integral part of the whole curriculum. These occur naturally within other subject areas but are also delivered formally and accredited accordingly from pre-Entry level to Entry level 1,2 and 3.
Careers Education, Guidance and Work Related Learning are offered in close liaison with a Personal Advisor from Participation and Transition Services. Students are encouraged to develop the self-help and safety awareness skills necessary for the world of work. Work placements are offered at our own Coffee Bean Café, Moments Cafe and externally through Project Search and our Employability Scheme.
6th form students enjoy being part of the local and wider community. Relationships are well established with the church community of Adwick-le-Street who support our café. We also make and deliver sandwiches to order for our own staff and staff of local schools.
Courses on offer in the 6th form are all accredited in some way , ASDAN and OCR being the Awarding Bodies we use. The choice of subjects we offer include; Literacy , Numeracy, ICT, Employability, Food Technology, Personal Presentation, Sports Studies, Project Search, Independent Travel, Life Skills Challenges and Personal Development Programmes. We also offer qualifications through NVQ in Customer Service, Duke of Edinburgh and Princes Trust. In September 2015 we plan to implement the ASDAN Lifeskills Challenges Programme to further enrich our current curriculum.
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