Curriculum

Teams of teaching, therapy and care staff work in seamless collaboration, offering high impact, multi-disciplinary programmes via the curriculum and the National Curriculum. They are supported by other consultant professionals’ advice and input wherever appropriate.

Emphasis is on practical and highly visual approaches, using learning from experience, signing, pictures and symbols to support all language. Academic, personal and social skills are developed to improve each child’s independence, confidence, and resilience.

The school’s excellent curriculum is innovative and individualised. We have taken the opportunities with changes to the National Primary Curriculum (from Sept 2014) to tailor and tune Meath’s curriculum exactly to the learning needs of SLCN children. We continue to have speaking and listening, and language (spoken and written) at the heart of all subjects so that achievements can continue to be outstanding. A revised maths and English curriculum is fully in place across the school, and these take priority on timetables.

Non core subjects of the curriculum are being planned into a 2 and 3 year termly rolling cross curricular programme. The curriculum will continue to be highly differentiated, supported by different levels of questioning. 4 depths of learning underpin the planning and delivery of Science : to drive each of these depths a framework of 4 levels of questioning and thinking skills (from SOLO’s Taxonomy) has been collaboratively produced by staff, to reflect the needs, abilities and interests of SLCN learners. The new curriculum has been woven through this framework. Skills for learning are the crucial focus of the Meath curriculum and these will be formatively assessed on a termly basis. We have a clear assessment framework for both the breadth and depth of topic learning. We are proud of our innovative, specialist curriculum.

Challenge for more able pupils is offered via inclusion in local mainstream classrooms for specific sessions.

Teachers plan termly for each pupil in English, Maths and Science, PSHE & Computing. All pupils have yearly targets in these areas, as well as their own personal targets developed with them wherever possible.

Termly class plans for literacy, numeracy and topic work are made available to all families at the start of term.

Termly Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are drawn up, involving the teacher, therapists, care staff, family and pupil (where appropriate), setting measurable, achievable yet challenging targets in areas of individualised need.

All policies relating to the curriculum are available from the school.

English

Reading
For pupils in the early stages of learning to read there is rigorous collaborative planning and intervention, by teachers and SLT’s, with a multi-sensory approach to whole word reading and to phonological skills development. The visual timetable is the foundation to literacy for the lowest language level pupils, which focuses on attaching meaning to relevant written words and symbols. Integral to this approach is the use of colour coding of the words or phrases, symbols and signing. As their understanding develops learners progress to a range of commercial reading schemes, grouped hierarchically according to Cliff Moon reading levels. Reading schemes have been analysed, and some parts of each have been chosen to offer developmental progression of language and literacy skills learning, and forms a Meath reading scheme.

There is integrated commonality in approaches across the school to the vital but challenging development of phonological awareness skills, from single phoneme awareness to blending and segmenting. This is supported by the use of THRASS, Letters and Sounds, and phonic related computing programmes such as Nessy and Clicker. SLT’s and teachers work very closely together on phonemes and phonological development for each child, and these are visually supported by the use of Cued Articulation.

Writing
The foundations of learning to write and its development is strongly underpinned by the collaborative practice of Speech and Language Therapists and teachers.A strong story telling approach to creative writing, where learners actively participate in the story before they write it, is fundamental to our writing sessions. The stories are told with repetitive rhythmic phrases which give a framework to the story structure. Colour coding and pictorial representations of the words ,phrases and sentences support the children’s creative writing. Written word is added whenever the child is able.

Maths

The revised Maths curriculum for Meath is focused on acquisition, understanding and functional application of skills, with long term planning in place for early years, years 1 and 2 and lower key Stage 2. Number, geometry and time are studied throughout the year, and money and aspects of measurement are taught in specific terms. Statistics is taught through computing and relevant cross curricular topic activities. Many of our pupils are working on years 1 and 2 programmes of study : the learning objectives for years 1 and 2 have been differentiated into emerging, developing and secure to inform differentiation for target setting and assessment.

Assessment

Formative assessment is ongoing and happens daily; summative assessment against the objectives set in the termly subject planning takes place at the end of each term. Standardised reading and spelling tests, where appropriate, are used to inform progress, achievements and barriers for reporting at Annual Reviews. We have rigorous assessment procedures in place which inform planning and progress. Pupils are set National Curriculum and P levels targets each year in core subjects and Personal and Social Development, which are checked for challenge by benchmarking national data held in CASPA We will reflect on any guidance from the DfE on assessments for pupils working below age related expectations to see where such guidance will support robust assessment data for our pupils.

Spiritual, Moral, Social And Cultural, Personal, Social, Health And Economic

SMSC, PSHE and preparation for life in modern Britain have been woven throughout our curriculum offer; diversity of faiths and cultures are being actively planned and delivered each week (Children Around the World lessons) by the Assistant Head teacher.

Opportunities for teaching in these areas are also planned during the school day across the topic schemes of work, and at weekly sessions of ‘Friends Groups.’

All pupils are expected to show respect for others and to acknowledge and value their own and others’ achievements. They are supported in their development of a sense of right and wrong by encouraging responsibility and independence.

The termly meetings of the School Council offer pupils a voice in the running of their school and teach the values of citizenship. Each class has 2 representatives on the Council. Pupils complete an annual questionnaire to further explore their views about the school.

There is a Celebration Assembly each week when pupils share their progress and achievements with others. Friendship Awards are given each term to children who have shown very good social, citizenship and caring skills. A trophy is awarded each week for a specific area of whole school behaviour.

Computing across the curriculum, increased exposure to reading, and curriculum learning via play for less language able pupils are key areas for development in 2015-2016.

Physical Education

Physical Education develops pupils’ co-ordination and mobility skills while promoting cooperation, communication and creativity. It also develops awareness of issues relating to safety, leisure choices and health and fitness. Pupils learn the valuable lessons of following rules in games and how to be appropriately competitive.

The sports and leisure activities available are:
Ball games (football, cricket, rounders), athletics, gymnastics, dance and swimming.

There is a small heated indoor swimming pool in the school grounds, a gym with soft play equipment, playing fields, an outdoor all-weather adventure playground and a Woodland Park with activity zones and a bike track. The local community swimming pool is available for older pupils.

Pupils who show particular skills in a sporting area may integrate for sessions at a local primary school.

Meath School has a qualified PE coach who, with the curriculum coordinator, plans and monitors the PE curriculum ensuring that all pupils make progress in their gross motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination, and have fun!

Sex and Relationship Education

Personal, Social, Health Education and Citizenship (PSHE) teaching prepares pupils for adulthood. We ensure that sex and relationship education teaching matches pupils’ emotional and physical maturity and level of understanding. At all stages, sex and relationship education is taught within the framework of the National Curriculum. Staff respond to a pupil’s questions about sexual issues as they feel appropriate, taking into account the ability and needs of the pupil. A pupil’s wish to keep some matters confidential is respected wherever this is possible and in line with child protection guidance.

Parents are fully informed of any specific sex and relationship education learning and have the right to request that their child does not participate in this teaching.

Religious Education

Religious Education is part of the National Curriculum.

One whole school assembly is held each week and is mainly Christian in character, giving the children opportunities to consider simple moral issues, to foster a school community spirit and to develop experiences of awe and wonder through focused attention and reflection. Diversity is respected at the school and celebrated wherever possible.

Parents’ wishes are respected if they request their child to be withdrawn from assemblies and/or Religious Education.