Southview School Curriculum
Southview School is unique in being the only PNI provision in Essex, and we cater for children with varied and complex needs from 3-19 yrs. The range of abilities varies from children requiring a sensory curriculum throughout their journey at Southview, to those able to attain examinations in academic subjects. The challenge for us as a school is meeting that wide range of abilities, and ensuring that pupils’ academic learning is part of a holistic approach, where pupils’ physical, social and emotional wellbeing, and independence with communication, are considered in equal importance. Our curriculum reflects this, and is fluid, cross-curricular and multi-layered. We consider communication and physical wellbeing as the foundations of learning here at Southview. Children are unable to access lessons if their physical or medical needs are not being met, and this may require multiple changes of position and medical interventions during the day. They are unable to access learning until they have the means to communicate, so these two areas underpin the work that we do here, and enable the children to achieve academically. This is reflected in their EHCP targets and provision. We have incorporated PLI-positioning for learning and independence, and PCI-personal care and independence into our timetables as we value their importance to the learning and wellbeing of our children here at Southview.
Children here at Southview are nurtured to become as independent as they can be; physically, socially and communicatively by providing a challenging and varied curriculum, and by giving them the opportunity to achieve academic potential. We were delighted last year that one of our students gained a GCSE in maths, a first in the history of the school.
We have our EYFS, school and College curriculums running concurrently across the school, which meet the needs of all pupils irrespective of age and ability. Each of these curriculums have intent, implementation and impact clearly mapped out.
Our journey to our new curriculum.
The new curriculum at Southview is driven by the needs and interests of the children. By asking the children what they enjoy learning about, we have endeavoured to create a varied and captivating rolling programme, whilst also ensuring that it is broad and balanced, apt and relevant. Pupils were given a variety of means to communicate their opinions including using hi-tech and low-tech communication devices to aid comprehension and expression. In response to a questionnaire sent to all parents and carers, self-esteem and the ability to express needs and wants were seen as very important. Many of our young people spend a lifetime having their physical needs met by family and care givers, and their right to be seen as autonomous free-thinking and assertive young people is seen as vital, and is an aspiration shared by pupils, staff and parents/carers. Life skills, and giving young people the tools to live safely and fully within society, are also key components of this new and evolving curriculum. As a result of a series of staff meetings, the areas of cognition and learning, mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing and communication were recognised by the staff as being key to success at Southview School; all are interlinked and vital to each other. We have a thematic approach to the curriculum and this is deliberately left quite open so that teachers can tailor lessons to the interests and ability of the pupils within their class.
The way our curriculum is broken down;
This is explained in detail in our curriculum overview.
We follow the EYFS curriculum within Sunshine Class, and this is adapted for those children with a visual impairment as it was recognised that, for this particular cohort, progress was not being recognised using the usual learning goals. We have also removed the age expectations, which is inappropriate for our pupils, and replaced them with levels. This has been fully embedded within this phase of school.
Within the main part of the school, we have developed a new and innovative curriculum which covers national curriculum subjects adapted to the ability of the children. This is taught thematically and broken down into KS1&2 and KS3&4 ensuring it is age appropriate and relevant to the pupils within that phase.
Firm foundations is a specialist PMLD curriculum for those children working at early developmental levels and who need a sensory curriculum. It was developed by a member of our leadership team and recognises that children with PMLD have distinctly unique abilities and ways of learning.
Building on. This curriculum focuses on skills which relate broadly speaking to the old P levels 3-5.
Reaching higher focuses on skills relating to old P levels 6-8 and beyond, and extra content has been added for those pupils able to access greater academic studying. Within Key Stage 3&4, pupils also have access to a variety of ASDAN courses. Where appropriate, pupils will follow individualised programmes, for example, functional skills, entry level, or GCSE syllabuses.
College- Following in depth meetings with all stakeholders, comprehensive and challenging targets are set on seven key areas of learning and development, namely;
- Community links and participation
- Health and Wellbeing
- Managing and Developing Relationships
- Functional Maths
- Enterprise and work-related skills
- Creative Development
In each of these areas Students experience a range of appropriate activities thoughtfully planned and designed to promote their independence and creative thinking. They practice these skills in the class, in other areas of the school and out in the community in real life situations. This provides students with real life opportunities to practice and transfer their skills and become more self-confident and independent. The Enterprise and work related skills area focuses on a different skills set which gives students an insight into different vocational areas. Running a College Café, setting up a Christmas Catalogue and organising Fundraising activities have all been important activities to promote a more adult environment and way of learning giving students and insight to work and activities they would like to pursue beyond Southview. The introduction of Route options has allowed students to trial new pathways which may interest them and to gain internal certification at different levels. Running alongside the College Curriculum is the essential element of developing relationships and social skills. Students continue to have access to examinations where appropriate. College provides social occasions such as a Prom and residential trip to promote and embed these skills in a safe and measured environment.
The teaching of reading across the school;
Reading is an integral part of what we do here, and each child will be nurtured and challenged to reach their full potential as they move through the school. We have developed the Southview Reading Scales which lays out in detail how we teach reading across the school. We recognise that some of our children need an inclusive literacy programme, laid out in our PMLD curriculum, and others will follow a more ‘traditional’ route. At Southview, the functional use of reading is also considered very important as pupils move through the school enabling them to live as independently as possible. Our children also face additional challenges with communication which can make learning to read phonetically difficult for them, and most use AAC as a support.
The curriculum is supported by several clear and robust assessment systems. Progress is measured holistically in addition to academically, with a bespoke social skills assessment system, and progress in communication is led by the communication team in conjunction with Speech and Language Therapists and class teachers.
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