Throughout the Early Years and Primary Department, we realise that every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We aim to ensure all pupils are happy, healthy and safe.
Each pupil has personal learning goals (PLGs) related to their EHCP outcomes which are regularly reviewed. We recognise that being able to communicate is vital, so we ensure all pupils have access to a range of communication aids across the curriculum and throughout the day.
If appropriate, pupils are able to take the Foundation Stage Pupil Profile as an entry assessment. Pupils’ progress is recorded on our school assessment and monitoring system, Evidence for Learning (EfL) and Year 1 pupils are given opportunities to take the phonics screening test, and Year 2 pupils the SATS, if appropriate.
Pupils are given opportunities to access weekly riding sessions with a local RDA group, forming part of our physical development curriculum. Pupils have access to PE sessions from a specialist teacher giving opportunities to improve health, wellbeing and self-confidence, benefiting mobility and coordination.
On Friday afternoons we join the rest of the school for Enrichment sessions for pupils focussing on independent skills, outdoor and physical learning, and the arts. Pupils also attend weekly assemblies and singing and signing sessions as a department.
Early Years/Key Stage One
All our pupils are given opportunities to contribute to their learning journey in class, across the school and in the wider community. We recognise that all children come with their own experiences; we build upon these to develop a unique and individualized learning journey as part of their curriculum.
Our Early Learning Department forms the foundation for learning. We aim for children to find joy in learning and to celebrate successes and achievements. The skills learnt in these early years will provide the foundation for lifelong learning.
Communication is at the heart of our curriculum and pupils are continually developing their ability to communicate with support from our speech and language therapist.
Our Early Learner classes cater for pupils aged three to eight.
Two classes are located in a self-contained base where all areas are utilised to provide opportunities for learning. There is a secure outside learning space with a variety of play equipment including bikes, trikes, mud kitchens, water and sand. We strive to provide outdoor learning opportunities to extend learning and understanding. Classes have access to quiet learning spaces and areas of the classroom are catered towards continuous provision. The third class is located in the main school building and is guided by the Early Learning principles but prepares pupils for a more formal curriculum as they progress through the school.
In general, the morning routine focuses on phonics, maths and literacy skills as well as communication and personal learning goals. We are able to group pupils for some of the more formal learning where appropriate. In the afternoons, we focus on topic-based play and learning activities, including community visits, hydrotherapy and cooking.
Planning is based around a topic and around individual needs and interests. We use the Early Learning Goals, Birth to 5, Characteristics of Learning and KS1 curriculum as guides. We refer to the developmental steps when considering the appropriateness of activities for individual learners.
We work closely with parents to ensure a smooth transition from home to school, with our youngest learners initially attending Yewstock on a part-time basis. We visit new intake children at pre-school or school before they start at Yewstock and do home visits for our reception-aged pupils.
Close contact is kept with parents through home-school link books or email and we offer regular parents’ evenings, coffee mornings, Signalong courses and stay and play sessions in classes. Parents receive information on how to support their children’s learning at home using Oxford Owl. Some parents engage with the ‘Early Bird Plus’.
Through playing and exploring we develop active learners who can think creatively and critically, which provides the foundations for future learning.
Key Stage Two
Key Stage 2 is made up of four classes that cover years 3 to 6. The pupils are placed into classes depending on their cognitive ability, communication needs and sensory regulation requirements. Each class consists of one class teacher and at least two teaching assistants depending on the needs of the pupils.
All Key Stage 2 classes have access to appropriately resourced classrooms as well as further learning spaces such as an ICT suite, Food Tech room, Art and DT rooms and Music room. Pupils also have many Outdoor Learning opportunities across the school site in our Wildlife Garden, Quiet Garden and state-of-the-art Primary playground.
We work closely with Early Years/Key Stage 1 to gain a full understanding of pupils’ starting points as they transition into Key Stage 2. By providing pupils with a safe and stimulating learning environment, we offer a broad and balanced curriculum with extended learning opportunities beyond the classroom such as community visits, hydrotherapy and riding for the disabled. Our curriculum is carefully differentiated and tailored to meet individual learning needs while preparing them for their next stage of learning.
Within Key Stage 2, we continue to develop the foundations of communication, as it is at the heart of everything we do, and pupils are exposed to a communication-rich environment at all times. If more targeted work is required pupils can be referred to and supported by our speech and language therapists.
Key Stage 2 pupils are taught Maths, Read Write Inc., English and Communication, PSHE and RE. Learning in history, geography, science and art is accessed mainly through cross-curricular topics.
Through a therapeutic thinking ethos, we support our pupils to show respect and be kind and considerate as they grow and develop. We encourage them to find joy in learning as they prepare to continue their learning journey in Key Stage Three.