The Short Stay School for Norfolk is primarily a short term placement school which provides education for young people without a permanent school place usually this is because they have been permanently excluded from their mainstream school. In addition to this our specialist bases provide a medium to long term education for pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties.
A large proportion of our pupils begin their learning with us with significant gaps in their knowledge thereby making their needs extremely diverse. Our curriculum is therefore highly personalised and is intended to give as interesting, broad and appropriate education as possible. The curriculum is continuously reviewed to ensure pupils needs are met both academically and socially.
A strong emphasis is placed on personal, social and health education (PSHE) and on personal development including good social skills, resilience and self-control throughout the curriculum. Partnerships with the IAG services, school nurse, local emergency services, drugs counsellors and charities are used to support PSHE. With the aim of the school to transition pupils into a full time permanent mainstream or specialist placement within two terms, focus is also placed on preparing pupils for reintegration where appropriate.
All students are assessed upon arrival using baseline assessments that are then used to plan and differentiate lessons. Formative and summative assessments within subjects are used to assess and record progress and attainment on a weekly basis via ‘Learning Ladders’. A robust tracking system is used half-termly to track pupils’ academic progress across all subjects and all bases.
Life without Levels
The School uses Learning Ladders as the new approach to curriculum design, target setting, tracking progress, assessment and recording for life after levels. The Ladder show the key objectives, taken from the new National Curriculum or GCSE specifications, that the pupils need to work through. Although the path of learning is never linear, the rungs set out a typical journey of learning. Teachers will sign off the rungs as pupils achieve them thus enabling effective tracking, monitoring and lesson planning. Pupils are set bespoke aspirational targets based on both ability and the subject/ course they are studying.
The primary curriculum is underpinned by the National Curriculum and includes the delivery of core subjects such as English and Maths. The curriculum provides ample opportunity for pupils to read; for example, pairing each pupil with an adult to read together every day.
Foundation subjects are taught through half-termly topics and follow either a 2 or 3 yearly cycle.
All pupils who join us undertake a series of baseline assessments which inform individual planning and bespoke target setting.
Our secondary curriculum uses a ‘pathways’ approach. Following a period of assessment pupils are placed in pathway groups relevant to their ability and interests. There is enough flexibility within this system that pupils are able to move pathway after a period of time if required.
Key Stage 3
Reintegration Pathway – pupils placed in this pathway are most likely to be successfully reintegrated in a mainstream school. The curriculum is built around the National Curriculum with the intention that pupil’s returning to a mainstream setting are not disadvantaged on reintegration. Further information can be found via the relevant subject links below:
Topic Pathway – pupils following our topic pathway typically find education more difficult to access and often require a more specialist or alternative provision setting when they move on from the SSSfN. The curriculum is linked to the National Curriculum but places emphasis on re-engagement and building social skills alongside academic progress in the core subjects. Further details are available here.
Key Stage 4
When pupils arrive at the SSSfN in Years 10 and 11 they will often remain on our roll until they have completed Key Stage 4. The SSSfN will always try to reintegrate pupils back into mainstream schools but we also provide a curriculum that allows pupils the opportunity to attain a suite of qualifications if this is not possible. The curriculum package on offer is reviewed annually to ensure that pupils in KS4 have access to the most relevant accredited courses.
In Key Stage 4 we have four pathways that have been tailored to meet the needs of this very diverse group of pupils. We offer a broad and balanced curriculum that includes both academic and vocational subjects. The curriculum is structured by subject and timetabled in 25 lessons over a week. Wherever possible, the curriculum enables pupils to build on the GCSE courses they started prior to joining the SSSfN with the aim that every pupil leaves with the qualifications needed to be successful in education or employment post-16.
Pathway 1 – Pupils placed on Pathway 1 study a range of subjects that broadly follows the curriculum of a traditional mainstream school. Subjects include English, Maths, Double Science, ICT, PSHE, History, Art, P.E. and Food. Further details are available via the relevant subject links below:
Pathway 2 – Pupils in pathway 2 follow a more vocational timetable with most accessing the Vocational Learning Hub two days per week. The Vocational Learning Hub is a purpose built facility that opened on the Locksley site of the SSSfN in September 2017. Transport is provided in order that pupils from all three secondary cohorts have access to this facility.
Pupils study the core subjects of English, Maths, Science, ICT, PSHE, PE and food at their ‘home’ base and then choose two vocational subjects to study on their ‘Hub’ days. Options include Hospitality and Catering, Design Technology, Hair and Beauty, Photography, Child Development and Creative Media. In cases where the Hub does not offer a subject of particular interest to a pupil staff will try to find an outsider provider that can facilitate this. Further details of the subjects offered in the Hub are available via the relevant links below:
Pathway 3 – Pupils studying on our Pathway 3 programme usually find classroom based learning more challenging than their peers. This pathway is designed to offer those who have disengaged from formal learning, the opportunity to develop skills, self confidence and self-esteem with a view to preventing further disengagement as well as re-engaging with employment, education or further training. Provision includes college places, vocational training, work experience and therapeutic interventions.
Pupils follow a core curriculum that includes English, Maths, ICT and PSHE at their home base over two days and then have a personalised package that includes vocational learning and structured work experience placements for the remaining three days.
Pathway 4 – this pathway is available to a very small cohort of pupils who are unable to access education via Pathways 1-3. Pupils have a timetable that is bespoke to them as an individual with the aim of re-engagement in education.
Work-related learning and Information, Advice and Guidance is an essential part of our work within the School. The school has a designated I.A.G. Lead who works within the Transitions team to coordinate this work. Partnerships with outside agencies and local businesses are used to develop work-related learning opportunities both in and out of school. Non- teaching staff work with Key Stage 4 pupils to support further learning and career plans with the aim of reducing NEET and increasing 16-18 participation in learning.
Academic progress across all key stages is tracked using learning ladders. Each subject curriculum is broken down in to a series of ladders. Each ladder is broken down into rungs which show progression through the topic/unit of work. Progress is shown as pupils move through the curriculum embedding what they have learnt.
Learning ladders were devised for use at the Primary level. The Primary teams use ladders built into the learning ladders software and which mirror the KS1/2 National Curriculum. KS3/4 ladders have been written by staff at SSSFN and are bespoke to us. These mirror the curriculum available to different cohorts of pupils. KS3 core pupils work towards reintegration to mainstream and thus their ladders follow the KS3 curriculum. KS3 Topic pupils have a timetable based on a primary model and ladders which match half termly topics. KS4 ladders are aligned with exam specifications.
Progress is tracked in terms of learning ladders points. Pupils are set targets on the basis of ability as determined by standardised scores for reading, maths and speaking and listening. Targets for core subjects at KS4 take account of pathway of the pupil and thus the number of lessons for that subject. Progress through vocational qualifications is linked to grade boundaries for coursework and examined units.
Learning ladders points are extracted weekly and tracked and monitored on the individual pupil tracker. Whole school progress is monitored half termly.
Pupil progress is tracked and monitored on an individual pupil tracker. Areas tracked are:
- academic progress by subject
- behaviour (significant incidents, restrictive physical interventions and fixed term exclusions)
- achievement (e.g. merits, crystals, pupil of the week and work of the week)
- entitlement in terms of hours
- attendance (weekly attendance and running total)
Pupils are set targets in each area and data is collated into the tracker on a weekly basis. Support and interventions are added to create a summary of progress for each child.
The trackers are discussed with pupils and pupil voice is entered onto the tracker. For Y11s the trackers also log information advice and guidance for transition to Y12.
A tracker runs for half a term at which point new targets are set.