The KS3 Curriculum Offer
Key Stage 3 learners are taught through innovative teaching styles and curricula designed as a reflection of the students’ needs at this point in their educational development. The Bridge School has two Nurture Groups, both led by a teacher and teaching assistant. Taking a lead from both The Nurture Network and the research around the Secondary National Strategy low-attainers programme, The Bridge School delivers a curriculum which offers a structured, yet more flexible timetable. Teaching follows a thematic approach based on innovative organisation of the curriculum so that the specific needs of pupils are better met.
New concepts are delivered through one topic (‘the big picture’) each half term, and enable the learner to acquire and demonstrate new skills. Built in to the curriculum is learning time off site, and time to address personal and social skills such as independence and interacting with others. Both Reading Plus and Rock Star programmes are used daily to support progress in English and maths. English and maths have a great emphasis placed upon them. They are core strands of knowledge and skill used throughout learning and development, as well as the wider curriculum.
Nurture groups are founded on evidence-based practices and offer a short-term, inclusive, focused intervention that works in the long term. There is great emphasis on language development and communication. Nothing is taken for granted and everything is explained, supported by role modelling, demonstration and the use of gesture as appropriate. The relationship between the two staff, always nurturing and supportive, provides a role model that children observe and begin to copy. Both nurture classrooms have kitchen areas, and food is prepared and shared at ‘breakfast’ or ‘snack time’ with much opportunity for social learning, helping children to attend to the needs of others, with time to listen and be listened to. As the children learn academically and socially they develop confidence, become responsive to others, learn self-respect and take pride in behaving well and in achieving.
The six principles of nurture group classrooms:
1. Children’s learning is understood developmentally
2. The classroom offers a safe base
3. The importance of nurture for the development of wellbeing
4. Language is a vital means of communication
5. All behaviour is communication
6. The importance of transition in children’s lives
The Boxall Profile assessment tool is the perfect framework for learners who stay long term, or for those students whose referring schools use Boxall too. The Readiness Scale is used on a regular basis to assess, and inform target setting, with regards to a learners personal and social skills. Neither tool is a quick fix, however coupled with the use of ‘solution circle’ and daily ‘check in and out time’, staff gain a greater understanding of the development of individual children and are able to focus on both growth, more appropriate teaching methods and intervention programmes. Primarily young people attend The Bridge School with the hope that they would be able to reintegrate back into a high school, having developed the correct social and emotional skills to make the placement last.
Learner Passports, with personalised targets, are written in conjunction with the learners’ keyworker. All KS3 learners receive 1:1 keyworker support and a bespoke development programme to enable the young person to move to their long term educational placement. The statutory assessment process may be a part of the graduated approach for some learners. For these young people in our care, some may transfer to identified schools that will better meet the long term needs of the individual. All young people will receive a planned programme of support and a transition package to their new school placement.