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Alternative Curriculum Programmes

For young people who struggle to meet the demands of a full academic curriculum, we offer opportunities to engage in individual, alternative curriculum programmes.

Our vertically grouped KS3 and KS4 ASC classes cater for young people better suited to an environment where change is limited. They are largely taught in a separate building on campus, by the same teacher, to provide familiarity and consistency in order to meet the particular needs of these pupils and help make learning a less stressful activity. However, some subjects are taught by other teachers to meet the needs of students in these areas. Pupils can also use this opportunity to develop coping strategies for change.

We are developing a range of Outdoor and Adventurous Activities through our PE department to enable pupils to learn a range of practical and team working skills outside of the classroom environment and we have two fully trained Level 3 Practitioners for the Forest School Programme.

Forest School

Forest School is an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. It is a specialised learning approach that sits within, and compliments, the wider context of outdoor and woodland education.

Forest School Principles

  • Forest School is a long term process of regular sessions rather than a one-off or frequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
  • Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and and the natural world.
  • Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
  • Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
  • Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
  • Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice. See the full principles and criteria for good practice.

This ethos creates learning communities where deep-level learning and progression are the norm.

We also engage with other providers who can provide a range of different experiences, accreditations and facilities, on or off site, tailored to individual pupils’ needs.

Topic

Topic-based learning is where a theme is used to connect and integrate different subjects. It permits learners to link their learning thus making it a less fragmented experience. The timetable can be more fluid and therefore more attuned to the needs of the students on any given day. Literacy can grow gradually with vocabulary linked and with spelling and sentence writing reinforced through a real context. How cool is it to write a letter of support to the Rainforest Alliance whilst learning about the layers of the rainforest and all the living organisms residing there.

The topics are chosen based on the appropriate curriculum to ensure learners receive a broad and varied experience that covers the necessary strands. There is usually a driving subject for each topic which allows for an assessment focus but also incorporates crossovers into other subjects. Although discrete lessons are taught, the learning will merge across the timetable, for example, a Geography lesson may naturally evolve into the English lesson.

Topic-based learning results in the students having fun with their learning, being active participants in their learning, developing skills quicker as learning is reinforced through multiple subjects and becoming more confident learners.

We consider Topic-based learning to be a tool used to link the learning experiences of the students in many ways to engage them fully in the learning process.