Our key goal at Brantridge school is on meeting the specific needs of our pupils.
We know that pupils with SEMH difficulties experience disproportionate rates of exclusion from school compared to other pupils with and without SEN (Bowman-Perrott et al. 2013). The subsequent negative effects on academic attainment often mean that this group of young people find themselves struggling in an ever-competitive global employment market for young people aged 16 to 24 years (Carroll & Hurry, 2018). The introduction of Pathways aligns with our ethos stated above to constantly search for ways of best meeting our pupils’ needs.
In all pathways we strive to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum which is flexible to the children’s needs and develops independence, social skills and understanding and builds cultural capital.
From September 2023 we have introduced 4 pathways:
We are using a continuous provision approach in the Explorers classrooms. Continuous Provision refers to the resources provided in the classroom for children to interact with creatively. The idea of continuous provision is that it encourages children to be active learners, interacting with materials they can access day to day.
The classroom and garden have various designated learning areas which are consistently available to the children each day. These areas are refreshed regularly and are planned to link with the topics and the children’s interests. As the children interact with these resources, they learn new skills and it helps them to embed concepts.
This approach provides opportunities for learning conversations between the children and the adults, as well as rich opportunities for modelling and extending vocabulary. This approach should develop key learning attributes.
Children are born with a natural curiosity and play allows them to use this to learn through real world contexts. Research has clearly established the benefits of learning through play in fostering child development and learning (Danniels & Pyle, 2018). The Learning through play at school white paper details how the 8 pedagogies of teaching and learning all lend themselves to learning through play.
Play based learning is child-centred and focuses on children’s academic, social, and emotional development, and their interests and abilities through engaging and developmentally appropriate learning experiences. (Taylor & Boyer 2020).
This pathway focuses on both child-directed learning where the child makes choices about the content and process of learning, as well as teacher-guided learning where they scaffold the learning and carry out teacher-directed learning activities.
The Inventor’s pathway primarily includes students with a diagnosis of Autism. We understand that these neurodiverse students have a unique set of needs, and the staff work holistically to ensure that these needs are met.
The classrooms are designed to meet their sensory needs as well as their academic ones. They have individual workspaces as well as group areas and a sensory tent. Lessons are planned to build on the children’s interests and preferred learning style. Visuals are used to support their communication and understanding. We use explicit instructions as well as time for to repeat, practice and consolidate skills to develop independence.
The TEACCH tasks in the morning are a great way of providing explicit instruction and repetition and reduces anxiety in pupils as they know what to expect. The effectiveness of the TEACCH program is emphasized on several research projects. Lee (2009), Butler (2007), Peerenboom (2003), Timothy (2003), Lal&shahane (2000), Ozonoff&Cathcart (1998), showed that the children’s abilities in social communication, self-help and motor skill have been raised in their IEPS.
We use a mix of concrete resources and real-life experiences and practical activities to ensure that there are meaningful contexts for learning. We focus on the four areas of need – Communication and Interaction, Cognition and Learning, Sensory and Physical and Social and Emotional, as well as using a topic-based approach to ensure a broad coverage of the National Curriculum.
The Adventurers pathway is for pupils whose primary diagnosis or presentation is ADHD, although other pupils without this diagnosis may benefit from this learning style. These pupils learn best with a practical and hands on approach. These pupils are often energetic and lively, and it is important that the environment and lessons are adapted to enable them to succeed.
Based on the research of Dr. Khan Zeenat Muzaffar (2023) the classrooms are designed in a way that maximises the learning opportunities for these pupils. Other guidance emanating from that research is at the heart of the approach in this pathway. These include: keeping instructions short and structured, vary the pace of the lesson, using props and visual and providing movement breaks. They need space to be able to move and to learn in an active way.
Structure is important as it allows them to feel safe and secure. Short learning sessions give them all the opportunity to remain focused. This pathway follows a semi-formal curriculum based on the National Curriculum. They focus on the basics of English, reading or phonics and maths daily. The foundation subjects are covered through practical activities, and they work towards ASDAN life skills certificates. It is important that there are lots of opportunities to work on social skills and to build friendships. The children’s strengths and interests are built into their learning opportunities e.g. cooking or art.
The Enquirers pathway is for pupils who are ready to learn in a more formal way. They follow the National Curriculum, and the hope is that they will be able to access Statutory national tests. The way the curriculum is delivered is still adapted to the needs of the pupils. Active learning is a key delivery approach.
Active learning is based on a theory called constructivism. Constructivism emphasises the fact that learners construct or build their own understanding. Constructivists argue that learning is a process of ‘making meaning’. Learners develop their existing knowledge and understanding in order to achieve deeper levels of understanding.
This pathway still uses short learning sessions with regular movement breaks. Questioning is a big part of active learning as it encourages the pupils to think more deeply about a topic. The classrooms have been adapted using trauma informed approaches. The idea is that the classroom feels more homely and therefore the children feel happier and safer in the environment. This was inspired by the training we received from Trauma Informed Schools and from TCP Therapy – therapeutic classrooms. We have minimised the clutter and the displays, added soft seating and chill out spaces as well as learning areas.
Patterns and Predictors of Disciplinary Exclusion Over Time: An Analysis of the SEELS National Data Set
Supporting pupils in school with social, emotional and mental health needs: a scoping review of the literature
Catherine Carroll (2018)
A Continuum of Play-Based Learning: The Role of the Teacher in Play-Based Pedagogy and the Fear of Hijacking Play Danniels & Pyle (2018)
Play-Based Learning: Evidence-Based Research to Improve Children’s Learning Experiences in the Kindergarten Classroom Taylor & Boyer (2020)
Learning through play Whitepaper Jennifer M. Zosh, Emily J. Hopkins, Hanne Jensen, Claire Liu, Dave Neale, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, S. Lynneth Solis and David Whitebread (2017)
CLASSROOM ACCOMODATIONS OF STUDENTS WITH ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPER DISORDER(ADHD) PROBLEM. Dr.Khan Zeenat Muzaffar (2023)
The Effectiveness of Treatment-Education Methods in Children with Autism Disorders – ScienceDirect by Reza NasoudiGharehBolagh a *, Hadi Zahednezhadb , SanazVosoughiIlkhchib
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Butler, C.P. (2007). Critical review: The effectiveness of TEACCH on communication and behavior in children with Autism, Candidate School of- Communication Science and Disorders, V.W.O
Peerenboom, T.D. (2003). A literature review of the treatment and education for Autistic and related communication handicapped children (TEACCH) program, A research paper submitted in partial full fellness of requirement for master of science degree in school psychology, the graduate school university of Wisconsin- Stout
Timothy, D.P. (2003). A literature Review of the treatments and education for Autistic and related communication handicapped children (TEACCH) program,master of science school psychology, American Psychological Associations, 5th edition.
Lal, l., Shahane, N. (2000).TEACCH interve Meechung, R., Mosconi, D., Matthews,T .(2006). Peer-mediated social skills training program for young children with high-functioning autism, Department of psychology ,colleage of art and science, yensei university, 134 shinchon-dong, seodaemoon-ku, seoul, south korea, 120-749.
Ozonoff, S., &Cathcart ,K. (1998). Effectivness of a hom program intervention for children with autism, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder, 88, 25-32.