(Should you require any further information on our curriculum in addition to what is published here please do not hesitate to get in touch with the school office who will be happy to provide contact details of staff who can assist you with this.)
Wyvern School Curriculum Policy for KS1-4
The curriculum currently offered at Wyvern is related both to the needs and entitlement of the individual pupil and to the requirements of the National Curriculum. We aim to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum that is relevant to the needs of all pupils.
It is thereby intended that the children learn those things which:
a) are within their zone of proximal learning, i.e. which they are ready to learn next
b) are useful to them individually
c) that promote and develop skills for independent living and working
d) give them best opportunity of adapting to the society in which they live
The curriculum for the main school is divided into Primary and Secondary rolling programmes (see end of policy).
All National Curriculum areas are appropriately addressed according to pupils’ needs and understanding, and all the pupils at Wyvern are working at an appropriate level within the framework provided by the P levels and National Curriculum levels.
Particular emphasis continues to be placed upon the development of Personal, Social and Health Education, self-help skills, and upon the development of language and communication skills. We try to encourage, at a level appropriate to individual pupils, the skills of decision making, responsibility for self and others, social awareness and social competence.
At Wyvern we regard PSHCE (including independence and life skills), communication, literacy, numeracy and for some pupils developing independent movement and mobility, as our core curriculum.
The range of educational experiences will vary according to the needs and abilities of each pupil. Our more able pupils, for example, are likely to be working towards an adulthood in which they may be relatively independent, requiring minimal supervision and help.
Pupils with more significant disabilities may require considerable assistance in many areas of their lives, and the nature of their independence is concerned with the way in which they are able to relate to people and the world around them. The educational programme for these pupils, therefore, has as its focus an approach which concentrates on developing awareness and responsiveness.
Curriculum arrangements for pupils not engaged in subject specific learning
At Wyvern Academy we have adopted the use of MAPP (Mapping and Assessing Personal Progress) devised by the Dales Academy in Yorkshire. MAPP is designed to support the planning and assessment of a more bespoke personalised curriculum for particularly complex individuals. Many of these individuals are functioning at a very early developmental stage in their learning, where the learning objectives are focused on the precursor skills to subject specific learning. It is likely that these pupils will have additional personalised targets that are unique to them and focus on their own very specific needs, e.g. the development of a specific physical skill or the use of a bespoke communication aid.
MAPP is also being used in relation to some of our more complex Autistic students. These students may have progressed on to areas of subject specific learning and made some progress in relation to our small steps curriculum, however, if it is the case that the teacher and leadership team agree that the pupil is no longer likely to make sufficient progress within our small steps academic curriculum, based on historic analysis of progress rates and evaluation of interventions employed, a judgement may be made to move the pupil on to a more personalised MAPP curriculum which will be focused more directly on the independent living skills and communication abilities required to maximise the prospect of independence after Academy.
Key Stage 3
Compulsory national curriculum subjects: English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, Design and Technology, Computing, Art and Design, Music, Physical Education, Modern Foreign Languages, Citizenship. We also provide religious education (RE) and sex education but parents can ask for their children to be taken out of the whole lesson or part of it.
Key Stage 4
Core subjects: English, Maths, Science, Foundation subjects: Computing, Physical Education, Citizenship. We also offer: Arts, Design and Technology, Humanities. We also provide religious education (RE) and sex education.
English includes speaking, listening, reading and writing. The National Literacy Strategy has been adapted and is being used in Key Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4. These sessions are timetabled for at least 3 sessions a week in which all pupils participate. The main focus in English throughout the key stages at Wyvern is the ongoing development of language and communication skills, including signing, augmentative communication and the use of PECS and symbols where appropriate.
The maths curriculum at Wyvern is intended to provide a broad spectrum of mathematical experience for all individuals, with the overall aim of developing their confidence and self-esteem, independence and life skills, and understanding of their environment.
The maths curriculum is based on the National Numeracy Strategy, combined with appropriate elements of the Equals scheme, and includes use of number, shape, measurement and handling information. As such, it fosters the development of many basic concepts such as same/different, anticipation, sorting, order, colour, shape, size, time, quantity, money, etc. Off-site visits to the wider community provide the pupils with the chance to practise many of these skills.
The process of learning through Science at Wyvern is directed towards stimulating our children’s curiosity about their surroundings and providing an understanding of the physical world around them.
Although the aim remains constant at all levels of scientific enquiry, the activities through which our children learn must be tailored to individuals’ needs. For pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties direct sensory experiences may constitute a lifelong curriculum, whilst for others the concepts of cause and effect and anticipation of change will provide a foundation for the later development of such skills as structured observation, prediction and interpretation.
History fires children’s imagination about the past in Britain and the wider world. At Wyvern School we work with children to develop a chronological understanding of events and people in a local and national framework.
We believe that as children understand more about themselves as individuals and members of society, it will influence their decisions and personal choices, attitudes and values in future years. “History is made by people. When you understand people, you can live a full life.” (Charles Miller Smith, Chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries PLC)
Geography enhances our knowledge of the world about us. At Wyvern we teach Geography to create understanding of the natural and the human worlds. We develop knowledge of places and environments in the local area and also work towards an understanding of our place nationally and globally. Geography is a focus within the curriculum for understanding issues about the environment and scarce resources. At Wyvern, children study Geography to encounter people from different societies and cultures. Study of Geography inspires our children to think about their own place in the world, their values and their rights and responsibilities to other people and the environment as they move towards adult life.
From reaching out to feel the movement of a mechanical toy, to the process of choosing and cooking a meal – all these can form part of our children’s experience of technology. Pupils will be encouraged to develop skills in planning and making in relation to both food and craft items, including textiles and resistant materials.
The Design technology curriculum is seen as a significant opportunity to enhance learning in relation to topic themes and other subject areas. It is particularly beneficial as an ideal opportunity for the using and applying of Mathematical skills.
The School has a wide range of ICT equipment, from simple cause and effect equipment to computers. Computing is taught as a cross curricular skill, reinforcing the teaching of other subject areas, while at the same time developing specific ICT skills. Some children may learn to use ICT as a tool for gathering (e.g. the internet) and recording (e.g. a word or symbol processor) while other children may use ICT as a means of controlling simple cause and effect software or initiating tactile and sensory experiences through simple switch operations. Controlling outcomes
ICT is particularly valuable in giving non-verbal children a means of communicating, whether it be through voice output devices or through the production of symbol related resources. The school has a strong commitment to exploring new technologies as they become available. Pupils continue made significant advances as a result of the use of eye gaze and touch tablet technologies.
Art and Design stimulates creativity and imagination. It provides visual, tactile and sensory experiences and is a unique way to understand and respond to the world and to communicate with others.
At Wyvern School, Art and Design enables pupils to experience, explore and experiment with colour, form, shape, space, texture and pattern. For pupils with communication difficulties art and design provides an alternative way to relate to others. Pupils will be given opportunities to explore and use different materials and processes. They will be encouraged to communicate what they see, feel and think about the world around them and to enjoy every opportunity for self-expression.
In turn, those around them will value the artefacts and images they produce, recognising them as their own unique responses to their world.
Singing, playing a range of percussion and other instruments as well as listening to music are intrinsically enjoyable activities. They also serve to promote the development of pupils‟ sense of rhythm, appreciation of music, and their ability to work creatively, to make choices and to communicate. Music can enhance a pupil’s confidence, self-esteem and skills of social interaction. In the classroom music is often a valuable vehicle to enable learning to take place in many subject areas. Classes are timetabled for a dedicated weekly music session in addition to music activities within classroom.
PE focuses upon the development of fine and gross motor skills, physical fitness and the enjoyment of sport and leisure. It helps to promote pupils’ independence, organisational and social skills.
PE activities include the use of large and small PE apparatus, gymnastics, team games, swimming/hydrotherapy, trampoline/rebound therapy, riding, outdoor education and movement sessions. Some movement work is therapeutic by nature, and may take place in conjunction with Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and the MOVE programme. Pupils enrolled in the MOVE programme have a very high emphasis placed on ensuring that opportunities to develop functional mobility are incorporated throughout the school day.
Increasingly we aim to take advantage of sporting festivals, visiting coaches and specialists as well as facilities available at other schools and in the wider community.
The teaching of MFL aims to develop an awareness of another language and culture, as well as encouraging general listening skills and articulation. Sessions are great fun, and may be accessed by all pupils according to their needs and understanding. Setting up a “French Café”, for example, presents opportunities to listen to appropriate background music, taste and smell different foods, and to learn a few simple phrases such as “oui, non, merci” etc.
This is one of the most important areas of learning for our pupils. It encompasses all aspects of everyday living such as the skills of feeding oneself, whether learning to use a feeder cup independently or planning and preparing a hot meal or snack; looking after bodily needs, whether benefiting from a toilet-training programme or learning to find and use public conveniences in an appropriate manner; and keeping healthy.
PSHCE is concerned with the development of independence and hygiene skills, self-awareness, self-esteem and confidence, social and personal relationships, appropriate behaviour and preparing to play a positive role as members of their communities.
Sex Education is taught within the context of both the Science Curriculum, and PSHCE.
We aim to provide accurate and appropriate information about sexual development, to further develop self-awareness, so that pupils can accept their own sexuality; and to enable morally responsible actions and attitudes, so that they can avoid hurting themselves and others.
Throughout school life all questions are answered as openly and honestly as possible, within the child’s understanding. We acknowledge that more formal sex education may not be relevant to all our pupils.
When it becomes appropriate to address the more formal aspects of a sex education programme, parents are consulted and the nature of the programme is discussed with them. Due to the wide range of learning difficulties, and uneven rate of physical development within each class, programmes are implemented on an individual basis, or in small groups withdrawn from the class to work together.
There is an agreed Policy on Sex Education, and this is freely available to parents on request.
Parents have the right to withdraw their child from sex education, except those aspects contained in the National Curriculum.
The provision of Religious Education again reflects the range of learning difficulties within the school, and is largely concerned with the fostering of appropriate values, attitudes and behaviour, using the Dorset R.E.visions scheme as appropriate. Whilst RE at Wyvern is broadly of a Christian nature, other aspects of this subject, wherever appropriate, explore a variety of faiths and creeds.
Within the understanding of the child, emphasis is put on a “good living code”, giving thought and consideration to others and to their respective cultural background, together with an awareness of life affecting forces.
The main Christian festivals are celebrated within the school, with possibly greater emphasis on the moral and cultural aspects than the religious. Pupils are also made aware of the major festivals of other faiths as a part of the school’s commitment to equal opportunities.
Collective Worship: Assemblies take place regularly, providing opportunities for the whole school, or class groups, to meet together and share in the celebration of achievements and experiences of others.
Parents who do not wish their children to participate in Religious Celebrations are asked to contact the Headteacher so that alternative arrangements can be made in accordance with their wishes.
Teaching methods may vary according to age and ability.
Within the Primary department, as in a typical primary school, there is emphasis on the development of early concepts, language skills and patterns of social interaction through both formal and informal learning. Play remains a fundamental aspect to learning, particularly for those children working at an earlier developmental level. Children are encouraged to learn by becoming active explorers with and active interest in the world around them. Art, craft and drama are key aspects to enhancing topic related learning and promoting progress in relation to the core curriculum.
A broad range of subjects, such as English, Science, Numeracy, Art, Music and so on are linked together by termly class topics, which are further enhanced by educational visits to relevant places of interest.
Moving into the Secondary department, pupils are encouraged to develop a greater sense of independence and responsibility for themselves and for others. Secondary classes continue to follow termly topic themes, however, topics within the Secondary department rolling programme have been selected to be more appropriate to a secondary curriculum, providing opportunities to explore more sophisticated themes and issues.
A typical half termly timetable could include a variety of different modules relating to the development of specific skills, such as shopping for and making a hot snack, using a public swimming pool, hair washing, a project on “conservation” and so on. The more formal aspects of the curriculum, such as cognitive and language development, are taught through the more motivating practical areas of the curriculum. For example number concepts can be taught through home economics, and art and drama can play a large part in the development of communication and language skills. All pupils at KS4 have the opportunity to take part in the ASDAN ‘Personal Progress’. This is nationally recognised qualification within the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and encompasses a wide range of curriculum areas, including notably Mathematics and English. It is expected that all pupils at Wyvern will achieve at least an Award-sized qualification by the end of KS4. The qualification is delivered and assessed by class teachers, moderated internally and then externally postally moderated to ensure rigour. Wyvern always receives praise for the quality of the work entered.
Pupils at KS4 are also able to take English, Mathematics and other examinations at Entry Level 1 or 2, depending on ability, and this process is administered by our partner mainstream school, Wey Valley.
In order to enhance pupils’ ability to relate effectively to people and to the world around them, the curriculum approach for pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties focuses upon the development of general awareness and responsiveness. The development of early communication, self-help skills and physical mobility is enhanced not only through a range of therapies including speech and physiotherapy, but also through emphasis on a sensory approach to their curriculum. A pupil’s response to sensory stimulation, such as a pattern of colourful lights, different sounds, textures, smells etc. could, for example, indicate pleasure or displeasure, recognition or anticipation of a familiar routine or person.
A very specific approach to teaching and learning (TEACCH) has been adopted by staff working with pupils who have Autistic Spectrum Disorders. The approach acknowledges that pupils with autism have significant difficulty with communication and social relationships, and that they are unable to perceive the world in quite the same way as other people. This style of teaching responds to the pupils‟ great need for structure and routine, and highlights the importance of the concept that an activity has “finished”. The classroom is organised in such a way that pupils know what to expect depending upon their location within it.
Signalong is the signing system used within the school. All pupils experience and gain a basic knowledge of signing, if not to help themselves then to help others. The Proloquo2go App is also widely used by pupils with communication difficulties, enabling pupils to communicate using a “real” voice that will be more widely understood by those in the community. PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) is also used for pupils with autism and for others where it is deemed appropriate. The use of schedules, symbols and objects of reference are also used to aid understanding and communication. The use of such systems is invaluable in curtailing the frustration of children with language impairment, and aiding the development of early concepts. Parent workshops are organised on a regular basis to keep parents, carers and other professionals up to date with current practice.
Whilst there are no general requirements for homework in Special Schools such as Wyvern, we believe that it does have a positive impact on many of our pupils. A homework policy is available if parents wish to discuss this with staff.
All teachers keep detailed teaching files relating to aims and expectations for each pupil, in each subject area. Pupils progress is recorded using spreadsheets where teacher judgements are linked to supporting evidence, this is the case for pupils working within the Wyvern small steps or the MAPP approach. The progress of pupils is recorded on a database. The school uses an in house small steps assessment tool to record progress in Literacy, Numeracy, PSHCE and Science. Other subject areas are assessed using teacher assessments in relation to subject level descriptors.
Subject targets are currently set for Literacy, Numeracy and PSHCE with targets being set on or around the upper quartile level of the progression guidance (2009) data set. Teachers are expected to identify an appropriate range of small steps and plan a schedule of when they intend to address specific targets over the course of the school year. Teachers are expected to maintain an ongoing record of progress, with relevant evidence. Records are required to be updated at least half termly.
When a pupil enters the main phase school phase of Wyvern Academy they are assessed in English, Numeracy and PSHE using the schools small step assessment profile. Data is analysed annually and annual progress figures and key stage achievement are both compared against the progression guidance (2009) data set. Comparison is made using a stage and age comparison where pupils are compared against pupils in the same age group working at the same level.
Educational Visits: Each class has timetabled use of a minibus. Educational visits provide our pupils with stimulating and immediate learning experiences, reinforcing topic work, helping them to learn how to respond in different situations, and allowing some to practise skills they have learned in the classroom.
Much of the school’s curriculum relates directly to “real life” opportunities available within the local community. A shopping expedition may, for example, be used to teach road safety (pelican crossing), communication, social and basic number skills.
As well as visits to shops, cafés, local places of interest and locations associated with topic work, extending our curriculum links into the wider community, includes Swimming sessions at Weymouth Pool, Riding at local Stables, and Outdoor Education, to name but a few.
Swimming Pools: There is a hydrotherapy pool in the grounds of the school. This is an invaluable resource, especially for younger pupils and for those who require the special conditions which the pool provides. When it becomes appropriate to extend these skills further into a community environment, pupils have the opportunity to attend swimming sessions at Weymouth Pool, under the guidance of a qualified swimming instructor. Particular attention is paid to safety arrangements during swimming sessions, which are highly supervised, with additional staffing support available to ensure the safe participation of pupils who have epilepsy.
Outdoor Education: The school has a long standing link with the Weymouth Outdoor Education Centre. Pupils from within our secondary department are able to take part in a wide range of activities from pond dipping to abseiling, and from caving to canoeing, under the instruction of well qualified specialist teachers.
Residential Visits: The school recognises with enthusiasm the value of residential ventures, and such activities have taken place over many years. The majority of visits have involved pupils in Key Stages 3 and 4, and at 16 plus. Ventures are usually based in the South and South West of England. Some have been undertaken jointly, with other schools, and have included one in Europe.
Despite the school’s commitment to residential experience, it is not possible to establish this as an entitlement, due mainly to funding constraints. We strive to raise resources through grant aid and other sources of revenue and will seek to provide experiences which are appropriate to pupils’ interests and abilities. All residential visits contribute directly to meeting pupils’ curricular needs.
Whilst it is the policy of both National and Local Government to encourage as much contact and involvement with mainstream schools and sixth form colleges as possible, it is also a policy to which the staff and governors of Wyvern are strongly committed.
Pupils at Wyvern, as well as those in mainstream schools, benefit from regular and reciprocal occasions when they are able to share both social and curricular opportunities.
During recent years, we have begun to develop successful links with mainstream Nursery, Primary, Secondary and Sixth Form establishments.
Pupils within the Primary department have opportunities to be included in sessions at our neighbouring mainstream primary school. These tend to be arranged on an individual or small group basis, targeting the most appropriate sessions for the needs of the individual/group.
Pupils within the secondary department have regular links with our neighbouring secondary school, the Wey Valley School. Secondary classes visit the Wey Valley School for Science lessons, making use of the additional subject expertise and resource contained within the secondary school. Wyvern school also works closely with the Wey Valley School to support Wyvern schools put forward for entry level qualifications at the end of key stage 4. Very often these pupils have attended lessons at Wey Valley and used their facilities to support their learning, e.g. performing scenes from Romeo and Juliet using the Wey Valley hall with stage and lighting. Individual pupils have also had opportunities to develop strengths and interests by attending Wey Valley class groups such as art, dance and drama.
College Links are detailed in the 6th form curriculum policy.
Student Placements at Wyvern: Wyvern offers a wide range of vocational experience opportunities to mainstream students of secondary age within the Weymouth area. Students come in for regular and specific periods of time to work alongside our staff and gain experience in connection with their own courses and career aspirations.
We also offer placements to students undergoing training in areas such as nursing, teaching, residential caring, nursery nursing, and so on.
Complaints Concerning the Curriculum, Religious Worship or other Provision at Wyvern
Any concerns should, in the first instance, be discussed with the class teacher if possible.
Parents are welcome to discuss any complaints with the Headteacher, who will endeavour to assist in resolving such issues as quickly as possible in consultation with the child’s class teacher and/or members of the Governing Body as appropriate.