Teaching and Learning Policy
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At Catcote we work together to:
- provide a stimulating and exciting learning environment for all
- promote life long learning
- recognise value and reward the achievement of each individual
- develop responsibility, tolerance and consideration for others
- strengthen the bond between school, home, mainstream partners and the community
- build partnerships with business and commerce
Catcote Academy is committed to providing a friendly atmosphere where pupils can fulfil their potential, grow in confidence and above all, be happy.
We achieve this by employing excellent teachers and support staff that will provide support to pupils in both their academic and social development. We encourage pupils to develop and express their opinions in a constructive and positive manner.
We are proud of our achievements and we are equally proud of the range of the extracurricular activities available to our students.
This policy aims to outline the curriculum that we offer our students at Catcote Academy and the teaching & learning experiences. It is one, which caters for a wide range of diverse and complex needs. Catcote Academy is a special school educating students across a range of learning difficulties and special needs including ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder), SEMHD (Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties), SLD (Severe Learning Difficulties), MLD (Moderate Learning Difficulties) and PMLD (Profound, Multiple Learning Difficulties) on one single site on the south west side of Hartlepool. Catcote Academy currently has on roll 143 students aged 11 to 19 years*. All students have a Educational Health Care plan (EHC). This policy aims to provide the basic teaching, learning and curriculum framework that we follow, however, for further information please also refer to subject policies, schemes of work, post 19 staff handbook and the school website.
The curriculum provided includes the entire planned learning experience for students. It is informed by the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum, but also includes the range of extra-curricular activities that the school organises in order to enrich the experience of the students. It also includes the ‘hidden curriculum’, or what the students learn from the way they are treated and expected to behave (SMSC). We aim to teach students how to grow into successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens.
We also have Post 19 provision. We offer a 6 year programme which consists of three 2year courses. Whilst this policy does outline some of the experiences that these students are offered it doesn’t describe in detail the curriculum/programmes that these students follow. Please refer to Post 19 handbook.
Our curriculum is based on the following shared aims:
Successful learners who:
- Enjoy learning and are engaged.
- Make progress and reach their full potential.
- Are able to transfer skills
- Work together to achieve success
- Will become as independent as possible.
- Communicate effectively
Confident individuals who:
- Look after their planet
- Make healthy choices
- Know how to stay safe
- Interact and engage with others
- Have a strong bond within the community
- Have respect for all others
- Show good behaviour
Responsible citizens who:
- Are happy
- Have belief in themselves
- Are confident in different situations
- Make choices and express their opinions
- Try new things
- Prepared for adult life
- Have meaningful relationships
Our ultimate aim is to prepare all our students for smooth transitions into their adult life, increasing their understanding of their environment and ultimately the wider world. This emphasis begins during the early phases of their learning experiences and continues to develop with greater emphasis through Key Stage 4 and our sixth form. Students experience a range of opportunities and experiences as they move through school towards an adult life. These include:
- activities within a controlled environment
- Individual Programmes and small group work
- Less structured environment/general classroom environment
- Whole school activities and integrated activities
- Local community
- Wider environment including the world of work
Good learning for ALL…
- learning that is owned by the individual and that is meaningful
- learning that is active and interactive
- learning which is set within the context of warm and nurturing relationships with rich communication
- learning which promotes important social and emotional skills
- learning that will be transformative and will lead to lifelong learning enabling each individual to engage with their world and to achieve their potential and go beyond being cared for
All the students in the school have special educational needs. As a school we have a curriculum that addresses these needs as well as the statutory requirements to provide access to the National Curriculum. At Catcote Academy we will follow NC POS (Programmes of Study) wherever possible however at Catcote this will mean that most students will follow modified POS and may use POS from earlier key stages. There are some students whereby it is stated within their one plan that the full range of NC subjects will not be followed due to personalised timetables and the need to address personal priority needs.
At Catcote learners are grouped according to their needs and time allocation for teaching subjects varies dependent upon individual learners’ personalised timetable. Access to statutory subject requirements will be considered and specified in subject /area policy documents which will be reviewed annually.
When planning curriculum programmes teaching staff at Catcote are asked to consider the following points.
- our school aims and values
- the needs of the pupils attending Catcote Academy (which will change as they progress and grow older)
- the requirement to provide a broad and balanced curriculum (which includes the subjects of the National Curriculum and RE)
- our policies for teaching literacy and mathematics
- the needs of the local community
- appropriate accreditation
- response to requirements of EHC Plans.
- SMSC and Life in Modern Britain
Decisions made about the curriculum content for individuals at each key stage are continually reviewed and revised. Alterations are monitored and adjusted to ensure each individual has an appropriate and productive learning experience.
In the following section we aim to provide a framework which sets out the opportunities provided within our school which meets the needs of all students.
Within Catcote the emphasis of the curriculum will be:
- Literacy/Communication (including functional English)
- Numeracy/Cognition (including functional Maths)
- C.T (including functional I.C.T.)
- PSHE and Life Skills
- RE (including active worship)
- embedding of skills and behaviours across the curriculum
- Physical Education/Being Healthy
- Personal Priority Needs
- Individualised learning
And across the curriculum:
- The use of language
- The use of maths/problem solving
- The use of ICT
- The use of Enterprise skills (10 Enterprise Commandments/linked with PLTs)
- The use of Life skills
- British Values
In 2011 we developed pathways to plan a curriculum based on the students needs and mapped out a progression route to adult hood. Students may move from one pathway to another as they progress or regress.
Key Stage 3
The Key Stage 3 Curriculum consists of the following timetabled sessions. Some of these subjects are through cross curricular themes planned within joint planning groups
- Art & Design
- Physical Education
- Religious Education
- Life Skills
Due to personalised curriculum some KS3 students may have some experiences of work related experience.
Key Stage 4
Some areas of learning may be accredited which include Qualifications and Awards. In year 11 all students will gain an appropriate qualification in English, Maths, ICT and PSHE. The school offers accredited courses at Entry Level (which includes courses that cater for P Level learners) and Level 1 & 2 and GCSE.
The Key stage 4 Curriculum consists of the following areas of learning:
- Physical Education
- Life Skills
- Work Related Learning (which currently includes courses of study in Hair & Beauty, Horticulture, Catering, Child Care, Reprographics, Enterprise, Performing Arts and Creative Arts and Media)
- Enterprise (embedded across the curriculum and in themed days)
SEMHD students within Key Stage 4 follow a curriculum, which places emphasis on Personal Development, Employment Skills and work experience.
Information, advice and guidance is provided via the CIAG coordinator and external agencies e.g. local providers/IYSS coordinators/Social Workers. During EHC reviews a transition plan is put into place for each individual student, this could include organising vocational taster sessions, work placements, independent travel etc.
Our sixth form students are given the opportunity to take a study programme, which reflects their prior attainment, education and life long outcomes. Our priority is the successful transition into adult life.
Our study programmes include opportunities to:
- Study academic, vocational and life skills qualifications. These qualification(s) are clearly linked to suitable progression opportunities, which support the student’s life long outcomes.
- Take part in meaningful non-qualification activity to support the student’s life outcomes, life skills and interests based on their identified needs.
- Continuation of English and maths study (where appropriate progression to a level higher than that of their prior attainment).
- Meaningful work experience where appropriate. This may be related to any vocational areas of the study programme, which develops employability skills and/or creates potential employment options for those who cannot do substantial vocational qualifications. It may also include other activities unrelated to qualifications that develop the skills, attitudes and confidence that support progression into adult life.
- Access enrichment activities.
In 2014-2015 we introduced a new programme for our more able as part of the red pathway sixth form provision. This includes greater emphasis on employability and life skills. They access Hart Farm and our life skills bungalow. Students also have timetabled work placements.
Qualifications Pathways (KS4 and 5 Learners)
The curriculum is enriched in various forms; these include enrichment activities which have been organised by subject leaders to enhance their curriculum. Evidence for these activities can be found within subject policy documents and within our school website.
Additional Enrichment activities have included:
- International links (Erasmus project)
- Charity days
- Residential visits
- Business & Enterprise themed weeks
- Duke of Edinburgh
- Out of hours learning (After school clubs, summer school, holiday projects, sports events, Young Enterprise Regional Trade Fairs etc)
- Community projects/festivals
- Cultural Visits e.g. theatre trips
- Competitive sports events
Students are grouped primarily according to their level of learning disability. The students’ additional difficulties (e.g. Communication needs, complex health needs, sensory needs, behaviour and mental health needs) are then taken into consideration before grouping.
Organisation of Learning
The distribution of the curriculum various depending on individual and class needs. A number of our students also have very personalised and individual timetables.
The Whole curriculum is largely delivered by class teachers. Within Key Stage 3 a significant proportion of the curriculum is largely delivered by their pastoral teacher and for some lessons by specialist teachers (e.g. ICT, PE, RE, Science, Music and Art). Within the Key stage 4 curriculum (red and blue pathways) students stay with their pastoral teacher for PSHE and Life Skills and receive other lessons from subject specialists. Our provision for our PMLD students and students with very complex and challenging behaviours (yellow pathway) are mainly taught by their class teacher through all key stages and the sixth form. These classes adopt a topic/themed approach to planning. Within the red and blue sixth form pathways students are taught predominantly by their pastoral teacher and have subject specialists for English and Maths. Where appropriate we also use visits, visitors and Out of Hours Learning (residential, after school clubs, holiday projects etc) to support the curriculum within all Key Stages.
Personal priority needs
Many students at Catcote have ‘personal priority needs’ which are central to their learning and quality of life, for example the need to therapy and medical needs. It is essential these needs are planned for and met in order to enhance each individual’s readiness to learn, maintain physical well being, basic health, physical and emotional needs. The nature of this provision is described in students statements.
At Catcote the nature and extent of support required for individuals is carefully considered as part of their programme of learning and input from other professionals is set out on an individual educational statements and regularly reviewed at annual reviews. The knowledge and expertise of parents and carers is essential and it is important parents and carers contribute to the students learning experience. Some students may need regular and continued help from specialists whilst for others, school staff may deliver a programme with guidance and supervision from a qualified professional. Many therapeutic activities play a complementary role in the curriculum and use of specialist environments such as water therapy or sensory room are written in individual student timetables. We always ensure these programmes of activity are planned and have appropriate objectives and targets for individual students.
We currently provide alternative Education routes to all of our 5 mainstream partner secondary schools. Students can access all vocational areas.
In order to meet students individual needs alternative offsite provision is sometimes used.
Some SEMHD students have long standing issues with education in a school setting and find it difficult to comply with everyday rules and regulations. For these young people we seek to find them alternative education provision and use a number of facilities to offer them an appropriate placement. Core learning is however always delivered on site.
Teaching & Learning Models
At Catcote we recognise the range of special educational needs experienced by our students and we endeavour to encourage our teaching staff to gain the experience and knowledge required to challenge their way of thinking and teaching for all learners. This will provide our students with transformative learning experiences and opportunities which are appropriate to their needs. The staff and students are involved in ongoing discussions and decision making processes so that the school curriculum can reflect and respond to changing priorities.
Within Catcote we adopt a variety of teaching styles and methods to support the delivery of our curriculum. We are very aware that many of our students have their own preferred learning styles and that our students are ‘intelligent’ in different ways. As a school we ensure that we cater for these differences and support the student’s personalised programmes through a variety of teaching methods and styles. Two programmes which we have invested heavily in are the TEEP and the TEACCH program.
TEEP (Teacher Effectiveness Enhancement Programme)
This is a model of effective teaching and learning which has been drawn from available research and best practise.
Staff may take into consideration the 6 stages of the TEEP cycle when planning work. The underpinning elements of TEEP (Accelerated Learning, Thinking for Learning, AfL, Collaborative Problem Solving & Effective use of ICT) are also heavily considered when planning work.
TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children)
We have trained a number of staff to work with students who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The TEACCH approach, through structured teaching, aims to overcome the difficulties people with autism have in understanding, predicting and controlling their environment. It promotes the development of a programme around a person’s skills, interests and needs which reduce stress and anxiety. It involves individual assessment, a visual approach, use of work systems and schedules and planned physical organisation of the classroom. For some learners this includes individual working areas where children can complete set tasks independently. We have specialist classes for learners with learning difficulties and ASD at both key stage 3 and 4/5.
The curriculum is supported through a range of superb facilities and learning environments which include:
- Sensory Garden
- ASD Garden
- Sensory Room
- Life Skills Bungalow (offsite)
- Hydro Therapy Pool
- Rebound Studio
- All Weather Pitch
- Dedicated ICT Suites
- Community Coffee Shop (onsite and offsite within Hartlepool art gallery)
- Hair & Beauty Salon
- Horticulture Area
- Art Room
- Life Skills Room
- General class rooms
- Specialised classrooms for individual students who require their own room.
- Hart Farm provision (general classrooms and workshop facilities)
On entry to school prior attainment information is transferred to our schools SIMs mark sheets and are used to inform target setting. Other useful information such as Educational Psychologists’ test results and brief details of the student’s needs following his/her last EHC/Annual Review including any special requirements or medical information are kept in the student’s SEN file for use by staff. We regularly moderate with our feeder schools and run a transition programme throughout the summer term.
Within their first half term at Catcote Academy new starters are given a baseline assessment and targets are then set for end of year achievements.
From Key Stage 2 to 3
Parents visit in Year 5 when they are deciding on a secondary school for their child. Y6 reviews take place in the autumn term and our SENCO and Student Family Support officer attends these. The children are invited to visit Catcote with parents. When admissions have been agreed, a period of transition begins. For some children this starts early in Year 6 when they join a class for weekly sessions. Others may need a personalised programme of transition agreed between the new class teacher and feeder school. The majority of entrants are invited to events throughout the year and in the Summer Term start a series of sessions to become accustomed to the school.
All students have a statutory Annual Review and in Year 9 this includes the writing of a Transition Plan. We try to be child centred at all reviews and in Year 9 have included a slideshow of photographs or video clips to start the meeting to support the students to present their interests and favourite activities. They can choose a piece of music to accompany this or talk about the photos as they are shown. From the review, we can start to plan ahead, taking the student’s views, hopes and interests into account and consulting with parents and other agencies. Statements are personalised and the provision is made to cater for each individual.
During Year 9 the students will have vocational taster sessions to view potential courses that are on offer as part of the 14-19 curriculum. Early in the Summer Term will choose their options for the vocational subjects. Throughout the programme students will access were appropriate work experience, work placements, and Careers Education that is personalised to their needs. Students will also access other areas of learning that support their personal priority needs.
From Key Stage 4 to sixth form or leaving school
The majority of students elect to have extended education in at Catcote’s sixth form. Early in year 11 students are supported by our family student support officer, SENCo, pastoral staff and CIAG coordinator to create a transition plan detailed their chosen pathway. A transition programme begins in the summer term.
A small number of students leave school at the end of Y11. Visits to the local and surrounding providers take place during the Autumn term and further discussion in the early spring term take place to support with college applications. Tasters sessions and a transition plan is then formulated and put in action where relevant for each students differing needs.
In Catcote Academy we emphasis distributed leadership with our head teacher as a leader of leaders. At Catcote Academy we work towards building co-operative teams and effective partnerships with professionals and parents. Staff in a leadership role in our school will seek to develop an organisational culture dedicated to providing high aspirational and appropriate teaching and learning which addresses the needs of all our students.
TLRs and Subject Leaders
TLRs/Subject Leaders must ensure that targets for improvement in the Curriculum Area are set and met, through positive approaches to curriculum development, the planning and preparation of schemes of work, the monitoring of learning and teaching across the Curriculum Area and the support and development of staff. TLRs/Subject Leaders need to have a good knowledge of educational issues and are expected to keep up to date with and lead on improving pedagogy and practice where it is relevant to their curriculum area.
Role of leaders
|Assistant Head Teacher
Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviours
|Assistant Head Teacher
Strategic ICT , Achievement & Progress
|Assistant Head Teacher
|Assistant Head Teacher
T&L/Curriculum (Attendance & Behaviour)
Behaviour for Learning
Literacy & English
PE & Sport
|VG & GDu
Staff who are responsible for a subject are expected to annually evaluate their area using their Departmental Development Plans (DDPs). These DDPs evaluations in turn support the whole school SEF strengthening the judgements that have been made. In addition to this staff are also expected to review and amend policies on a yearly basis.
Subject Leaders are responsible for the monitoring of their subject, which includes quality assurance via observations, learner walks, analysis of data, moderation of work and scrutiny of work. Please also refer to Assessment Policy which includes detailed information on our monitoring processes, including information on ‘Progress files’.
Planned observations are recorded on a ‘Teaching & Learning’ database, which stores data on grades. This data enables staff to analyses teacher performance as well as providing subject leaders with data on the quality of subject teaching for their area of responsibility.
Coaching & Mentoring
Staff jointly plan their teaching in teams and carry out peer observations to review their planning and evaluate the effectiveness of the teaching and learning.
Our local governing body is responsible for monitoring the way the school’s curriculum is implemented. There are calendared meetings on the school self evaluation calendar of when they meet.
Pastoral teachers are expected to monitor student’s provision and attainment through various means:
- Student Files and Progress Meetings
- Annual Reviews
- Outcome plan targets
- Progress Planners
- Liaising with parents and agencies
Parents and Carers
Parents and carers are given the opportunity to comment and have a direct influence on our curriculum through various ways. These include:
- Parents Evening
- Annual Reviews
- Parent feedback from Reports
- Involvement in the writing of outcome plan targets
- Home/School Books
- Ofsted Parent questionnaire
Students can give feedback (where appropriate) through:
- Student Questionnaire
- Student’s pupil view forms
- Student Council
- Pastoral time
Within subject policies teachers have given a long term overview of topics/units being taught across the year or years (long term planning). All teachers are expected to use the schools Scheme of Work Template to plan units of work (medium term planning). Where appropriate staff are asked to give an overview of each session detailing an outline of activities. Examples of differentiated objectives and outcomes are highlighted but these are detailed further within lesson plans (short term planning).
Targets are set using prior attainment with reference to national data within CASPA. Targets are tracked throughout the year by TLRs and SLT. Teachers and Core TLRs also moderate baselines. The TLRs are responsible for analysing data, then planning and implementing any intervention that is needed.
Evaluating and Recording Progress
Teachers make judgements when reviewing a range of evidence both in daily lessons and over a period of time. These judgements are assessed against the targets on the assessment record sheets. Using Connecting Steps, the school has an agreed system of recording stages towards mastery of a skill (see Assessment Policy for breakdown of stages). Connecting Steps calculates percentages of levels to show progress. This data is analysed to improve standards and the quality of teaching and learning.
To support teacher’s judgements the school moderates work every term (levels and accredited work). By cross moderating work we can ensure that the judgments being made are reliable and accurate. Exemplar work which has been selected through this process is used to compile subject ‘standard files’.
Each term staff carry out scrutiny of work on a selection of students to quality assure teaching and learning across the school through progress meetings. TLRs are also involved in learner walks.
Outcome plan targets are written annually and targets are reviewed termly (taken from EHC Plans). These reflect the student’s individual learning programme including personal achievement.
Within Catcote Academy we celebrate success and recognise achievement at every opportunity and value the importance this plays in motivating students and raising self esteem. We celebrate and showcase work in various ways:
- School Website
- Local Newspaper reports
- Schools Rewards System
- Student progress Files
- National Awards (for example Young Enterprise Awards, Celebration of Success Awards, Citizenship etc)
- Local news channels
- Reports and Annual Reviews
Awards Evening and Prom
The school offers the curriculum equally to all students regardless of gender, cultural background, race or religion. With the modified and personalised curriculum that we offer we are able to provide all students equal access to the curriculum regardless of their learning difficulties, language difficulties, medical or physical difficulties or social attitudes.
Subject Policies, School Website, Subject and whole school Development Plans, Post 19 Handbook, Aseesment Policy
Date policy updated: 23rd September 2015
Date policy shared with staff and governors: October 2015
This policy is a working document and is amended in relation to the changing population of the school.