Vision for Learning
The Key Features of Red Kite Special Academy are:
- Multi-directional curriculum
- Availability for Learning
- Neuro-science driven behavioural approach
- Specialist methodologies
These are considered in context below.
Red Kite Special Academy will be designated to provide for three distinct cohorts of children; children with a PMLD / SLD presentation, those children with a complex or profound autistic presentation and those with a ‘higher functioning autism’. The curriculum will severally address the needs of every individual within these groups while retaining integrity to enable implementation across the site. A special school, of necessity, must offer a wide range of therapeutic and essentially social interventions. Nonetheless, being a school, the core function and focus must be educational attainment for every child to the greatest possible extent.
Learning and teaching at Red Kite Special Academy is underpinned by the principle of ensuring that the children are 'Available for Learning' to the greatest extent possible. We will seek to achieve with every child the state of RAMP (relaxed, alert, motivated, positive) as we believe this offers the greatest likelihood of success. To achieve this state it is crucial to attend to the well-being of the children, working in harmony with our partner families so that the child can harvest the greatest potential from their school day. For this aspect of our work a profound understanding of our behaviour and motivation policy and procedures is essential.
The school will be organised into 3 distinct departments. While curriculum and learning and teaching principles remain the same throughout the school, the distinctive methodologies associated with autism, suggest that the development of specialist expertise can most effectively be achieved within its own department. Furthermore, such a structure facilitates flexibility between classes to reflect individual learning needs. Segregation of departments between primary and secondary is desirable to reflect the maturity of the older children and their sense of ‘learning journey’.
This department will include all children in the Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 but will not include children with complex or higher functioning ASD (there are likely to be some children with an ASD diagnosis in this group but there needs would be such as would be appropriately addressed in this more generic setting).
this will include young people at Key Stages 3 and 4. As with the Primary Department, some children with ASD presentations are provided for in the parallel ASD department.
There is great demand for ASD provision, in particular in respect of children with a severe or complex autistic condition. They require a distinct methodology and this is best managed in its own discrete department. Provision for children with a higher functioning autism also fall within this department as they will require some facets of the specialist methodology but will require access to learning content beyond that offered in generic SEN classes.
Over many years of working with children and young people with multiple and complex conditions the partners of Red Kite Special Academy have developed a sophisticated curriculum which reflects the diversity of need and presentation within these cohorts. As each of our schools makes provision for such diverse range, many of our classes are comprised of children learning at vastly different levels and using different approaches as these children require specific methodologies. Consequently the activity of the class will offer meaningful challenge and the prospect of individual success for every child. This requires a concept of curriculum that goes well beyond content-oriented approach. We have chosen a curriculum structure and content that prioritises skills and concepts that explicitly address to the related conditions of the students who have difficulties with learning and socialisation. This curriculum emphasises communication, behaviour and well-being, and meta-cognitive skills as being essential in preparing for ‘next phases’. We feel that these elements remove barriers and generate opportunity thereby optimising every young person’s facility to choose. A young person with a PMLD presentation is empowered to influence their own environment through a basic expressive communication mode. A young person with a HFA presentation can access the full extent of their cognition when they have the tools to self-regulate and manage their anxiety levels.
National Curriculum / EYFS
At the core of the curricular offer will be the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and the National Curriculum (2014) which will offer structured learning at a level that is accessible to all of the children (when differentiated precisely). The specific needs of individual children demand that the curriculum is further enhanced to reflect and accommodate each child's presentation. In order to deliver in this way we have developed a multi-directional curriculum which delivers and tracks the achievement of the children in four distinct areas concurrently: core learning content assessed against P scales (K Scales) and our own level descriptors.
National Curriculum key skills
The National Curriculum key skills are embedded in our content offer and in our teaching methodologies. As Literacy and Communication, Numeracy and ICT are already structured within the curriculum we have prioritised the key skills of Problem-solving and Independent Enquiry, Working with Others, and Reflecting on Learning. Assessment tools have been modified to explicitly identify the progress that children make in these regards.
Priority Now Targets
Precise and targeted interventions designed to overcome the specific difficulties encountered by children related to their diagnosis or condition which relate to their EHC plan outcomes
Individual learning plan related to Provision Mapping
Metacognitive skills that enable the child to access and succeed in the curricular offer. These are often defined in terms of the child’s well-being and ability to self-regulate ( e.g. the ability to initiate a task, the ability to inhibit certain behaviours or the ability to monitor and understand the child’s own emotional state) - the development of increasingly sophisticated tools in these areas are essential to maintain achievement. We use an executive functioning skills matrix to monitor progress and design interventions in this regard and use a personal provision map to reflect a child's personal learning journey.