The Orchards will provide a curriculum that is extended and structured around the needs of the pupils, enabling full engagement. Groupings will be fluid and flexible to cater for the varying needs of individuals across the curriculum and over time. Clear programmes of support will be established through consultation with external agencies such as speech and language therapy, educational psychologists, school nurses and other medical or social care professionals involved with the pupils or their families.
Working within The Dunham Trust will allow the flexible movement of staff and consultants between schools, therefore maximising the effectiveness of skill development and value for money. Cluster groups and links with HEI’s will be pursued, developing evidence based research and practice, enabling The Orchards to sustain outstanding responses to the changing and individual needs of the pupils. Through the local cluster group of special needs classes, across school moderation group will be supported and formed. Informing and validating the accuracy and rigour of our assessment protocols and levelling.
The concept of a special needs school site, within a Trust, will widen ‘inclusive’ opportunities for The Orchards. Offering the pupils and parents, several educational and geographical options and more importantly a definite aspirational model. Supported through the relationships developed between staff through professional development links and sharing of resources. The Orchard’s Free School will, as all schools in the Trust have, its own identity and characteristics, located within a general ethos. This will reduce the feelings of stigma which a parent and pupil can feel by attending a special school.
The Orchards will take the opportunity which the status of a Free School offers, in searching out innovation, necessary to meet the complex needs of the pupils. The opportunity to introduce specific skills and knowledge into the curriculum through staff appointments will be taken advantage of. For instance, the appointment of a creative instructor to work alongside teachers as an equal collaborator, focusing on the creative processes, enabling the pupil to reach declared attainment outcomes. Encouraging pupils to take control, feeling empowered and engaged with their learning. Creativity is recognised as a key strategy in reducing learning barriers for pupils with complex learning difficulties. The creative worker will collaborate with the subject teachers, emphasising, expressive language, accessing pupil voice and documenting the processes of the pupil’s development.
Lessons will be taught thematically and differentiated to pupil’s individual level of attainment and interests. All pupils will have an individual learning plan to ensure that they are making outstanding levels of progress.
Literacy and numeracy skills will be taught as distinct lessons but also embedded in all lessons. Outcomes will be personalised for each young person to ensure that they are making outstanding academic progress in line with national expectations.
Creative curriculum will be taught thematically following inquiry-based learning and will cover religious studies, history, geography, literacy and art through topic based learning.
PSHE will cover the PSHE national curriculum, SMSC and also individual learning needs.
In the afternoon different subjects will be covered on each day - science, technology, art and PE, and each class will have at least one offsite activity session a week. This will either have a focus of sport or creativity and will support the class-based learning which has taken place that week.
We would like to make parents aware that when children partake in sports activities, they are always provided with the appropriate equipment, when it is deemed necessary for their safety. However, should parents wish, they may provide additional safety personal equipment for their child to wear during sports activities in school time, for example, mouth guards and shin pads. If parents chose to provide such equipment for their child then he/she should take responsibility for the items.
All young people will also have an individual therapy timetable where they will access speech and language therapy and occupational therapy. This will be embedded over the top of the school’s timetable to support learning.
Young people will also have opportunities for regular sensory breaks throughout the day, as and when they require it.