Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact

Our Curriculum

The Mendip School offers a broad and balanced curriculum aimed at creating an educational experience that prepares pupils for adult life. The curriculum offer also conforms to national government expectations and is structured to provide opportunities to succeed.

Intent, Implication and Impact: Curriculum Rationale

The Mendip School is committed to and passionate about the learning and progress of our students. Staff, parents and governors have high aspirations for our children and provide a high quality, relevant, ambitious, broad and balanced education for all our students. The school has a curriculum that focuses on individual, personal and academic achievement. There is a happy and positive atmosphere in which children can fulfil their potential and grow in self-confidence, whilst respecting others and the environment around them.

Intent

We want all of our students to leave school as independent as they can possibly be in a fulfilling paid job or supported employment. Preparing students to be responsible, caring citizens who are independent and curious about the world, ensures that they develop the self-esteem and resilience they need to share their voice and feel heard.

In order for our students to reach their full potential our curriculum is broad, balanced and aims to create an educational experience that prepares students for adulthood. Our curriculum is unique and bespoke to each learner and is based on existing knowledge and skills.

Our focus is supporting our students to make connections with the knowledge learned in school, with real life situations and first-hand experiences. We develop our pupil’s knowledge and understanding of the wider world with discussion topics surrounding cultural capital, diversity and British Values. They are adapted regularly in light of UK and global current affairs.

Our students represent a very wide range of abilities and in response the curriculum provides a number of pathways that lead to a variety of post school destinations such as college, work or supported employment.

We conducted a curriculum review between March 2019 and March 2020. Stakeholders such as local authority colleagues and community representatives, governors, staff, students and parents were invited into school to meet to discuss our curriculum. 

 

Our curriculum is made up of 4 key building blocks which can be defined as shown below.

Our formal curriculum is based on academic learning and aligns with the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS), National Curriculum and recognised qualification routes including Equals. These are adapted to identify the key sequential learning for students across the school.  Each curriculum area has a framework to support teaching, learning and assessment. Frameworks build on prior learning to enable young people to progress to the next stage of their academic journey and make connections to real life experiences to prepare them for adulthood.
Our holistic curriculum describes ways in which we support our pupil’s learning and social and emotional wellbeing.  This includes (but is not limited to) life skills, community access, careers and therapies. The holistic overview of topics supports the develop of cultural capital, SMSC and British Values. Students explore these topics through discussion, activities, events and off-site opportunities. These topics are based on pupil interests, our local community, wider UK and international events and issues. As part of the holistic curriculum therapeutic work includes (but is not limited to) speech and language therapy (SALT), sensory support, occupational therapy (OT), THRIVE, social emotional and mental health (SEMH) support and zones of regulation.  We employ a range of therapists to support work in these areas and our Therapy Team is led by the OT in a lead practitioner role.  Our THRIVE practitioner coordinates the provision and supports other staff trained in the THRIVE approach.
All students in school are supported to consider what makes an effective learner.  This equips our students with the key reflective skills they need to live as independently as possible.

Non-negotiables are core pedagogy, approaches and strategies that have been proven to support students with autism and/or SLCN.  As part of the induction training package for all staff these approaches support the ethos and culture of the school.

They include (but are not limited to):

  • Behaviour Support through PROACT-SCIPr-UK
  • TEACCH – including schedules, predictability and routine
  • Visual Communication Strategies, resources and approaches (Makaton, PECs, Communication Boards)
  • Autism training and awareness including schedules, predictability and routine
  • Speech and Language support
  • Attention Autism
  • Emotion Coaching/ Trauma Informed Approaches

Implementation

Pathways to Learning

All students will experience all parts of the curriculum.  However, skilled staff will manage the time spent on each of these elements for each individual across the school.

As a rough guide, students are grouped into pathways and will access the building blocks of the curriculum as shown below

Students accessing a largely life skills curriculum

Students requiring a high level of nurture/

therapeutic support

Students ready to access learning in line with (or just below AREs)Students ready to access learning at a lower level – below AREs
Pupil progress is analysed 3x a year and interventions/support is planned to enable all students to access the greatest proportion of academic learning possible, while preparing them for adult life.

Ready to learn 1

Sample timetable

These students will be working mostly on our formal curriculum and may go onto to take formal qualifications such as GCSE’s or Entry Level qualifications. These students will continue to access the holistic curriculum where appropriate.  Characteristics of effective learning and core non-negotiables also play a daily role in their learning.

Some of these Students may be educated at our offsite provision at Ansford Academy in Castle Cary.

Ready to learn 2

Sample Timetables

These students are those that are readier to learn and make up a large proportion of students in school. Many will need support with their emotional regulation and behaviour. They will follow both formal and holistic learning opportunities. Characteristics of effective learning and core non-negotiables also play a daily role in their teaching and learning.

 

Learning to Learn

Sample timetable

These students have a higher level of need in terms of social and emotional development. These students will have a higher proportion of their curriculum in the holistic areas with some formal curriculum. Our goal is to reduce anxiety, increase resilience and teach our students to be in a classroom environment with other learners. Characteristics of effective learning and core non-negotiables also play a daily role in their teaching and learning.

 

Learning for Life

Sample timetables

These students will follow the holistic curriculum in order to support them to live as independently as possible after leaving school. Students will focus on practical skills in Math and English, they will be taught functional skills through real life experiences.  Characteristics of effective learning and core non-negotiables are a larger and key part of their curriculum.  These students will focus on learning skills for independence, work experience and community access. The majority of these students will work on a completely bespoke curriculum based on their individual learning goals (PLGs). These students will also use the Engagement Model. Please see the life skills curriculum statement for more information.

Mental Health and Well-Being and Social, Moral, Spiritual Cultural development (SMSC)

At The Mendip School, supporting pupil and staff mental health is at the heart of everything we do. Promoting positive mental health and understanding where to access support is crucial to equip our students with a voice to share their feelings.

We believe that in order for a child to thrive and learn, they first need to be happy and engaged. We teach our students to recognise their own mental health needs and develop strategies to support their own personal well-being.

Children with additional needs are particularly vulnerable to mental health challenges, and the impact that this can have on those close to them is also significant. At The Mendip School, we are constantly evolving and developing new strategies that can help support our students with this area of their development. Some of the supports we have in place are:

  • A designated Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead
  • A Well-Being Action Group
  • On-site art therapy, play therapy and music therapy
  • A full time THRIVE practitioner
  • School animals, including dogs and chickens
  • Calm Club at breaktimes
  • Breakfast club
  • Lego Therapy programmes
  • Sensory room
  • Pupil surveys
  • Access to an enriching outdoor environment
  • Training workshops and support for families
  • Zones of Regulation framework to support with emotional understanding
  • Regular opportunities for sensory integration
  • School council

By taking a holistic approach with the education of the children, we aim for our students to come to school each day and feel happy. By giving them the tools to understand their emotions and how to communicate them, we hope that they can access the wider world around them with as little stress and confusion as possible. Students are celebrated as individuals, ensuring their wellbeing is prioritised is an integral part of their education experience.

SMSC

Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is a part of our holistic curriculum which is embedded through the classroom and extra-curricular learning throughout The Mendip School. Please see the SMSC overview for more information.

 

Behaviour support

We positively support behaviour and use the PROACT-SCIP-r UK model. We believe in teaching students to manage themselves rather than using behaviour control systems that do not teach students to understand their owns needs and how to emotionally regulate themselves. Rewards, motivators, positive praise, restorative practises and emotion coaching helps our students learn to self-regulate. A Behaviour Team monitors behaviour across the school, provides support to staff and students with a view to reducing behaviours that challenge and increasing emotional resilience.

Impact – How we measure progress

We know that the majority of students at The Mendip School are happy and enjoy coming to school. We know this from asking our students and parents, school council for feedback, as well as the general atmosphere around school.

Books and physical work in class can show progress, we also use a system called Evidence for Learning to track progress. Evidence for Learning provides a long-term learning journey for all students throughout their time in our school.  Teachers are able to use this tool to effectively plan for each child according to their own needs and next steps.

Evidence for learning is also used to monitor and document progress against Education and Health Care Plans and students personalised learning plans. This may be shown using photographs, annotated work and teacher comments.

Often parents comment that starting at The Mendip School has a dramatic and positive impact on their child, both in school and at home.

Each student has a flight path. Here we track students at 3 points during the year from a baseline to ensure students are making expected or above expected progress against future qualifications. These are shared with parents during progress meetings.

Progress conversations

Three times a year staff work with senior leaders, subject leaders and governors to discuss the progress students are making in their class. During these conversations Evidence for Learning is reviewed alongside pupil books and flight paths. These conversations help identify those that may be exceeding expectation, those who are on track and those that may require further support or intervention. Evidence of these conversations are kept on Evidence for Learning.

Careers and work experience

Students work with their class staff, careers lead and external providers to develop skills for life after The Mendip School. Students engage in a wide range of experiences to prepare them for next steps. Cultural Capital and British Values are included in this work. For further information about careers please visit the careers page.

Standardised Assessments and Qualifications

Students use standardised assessments at points during their time at school, these range from STAR reading tests, SATS, Rising Stars PUMA/PRIA assessments and mock exams. These ensure our students are working on the right flight paths and learning pathways.

Our pupils represent a very wide range of abilities and in response the curriculum provides a number of pathways that lead to a variety of post school destinations.

A strong emphasis upon a vocational approach to our curriculum creates opportunities for our pupils to develop those skills which will be important to them in adult life. For some pupils this may mean a focus upon independence skills whilst for others academic qualifications provide the key to access post-16 Further Education courses.

You can find out more about our curriculum and subjects by emailing the staff member directly or contacting the office with your enquiry office@themendipschool.com


Curriculum review 2019

The Mendip School are committed to providing a current and personalised curriculum for all of our pupils. As part of this we conducted a curriculum review between March 2019 and October 2019.

Local stakeholders such as local authority colleagues, local community representatives, governors and parents were invited into school to meet to discuss our curriculum. Staff and pupils were also consulted.

Summaries of those meetings are available Curriculum Review 

Here is our action plan for our curriculum.    Curriculum Action Plan  


Curriculum Overview

Each key stage has a overview for the year, this ensures progression for pupils during their time at school, examples of overviews are below.

Each key stage has a curriculum overview for the year, this is to ensure progression over the pupils time in our school. Below are the curriculum overviews for 2021/2022

KS1

KS2

KS3

KS4

We believe that our pupils should spend time exploring the wider world outside of The Mendip School. To support this we have a holistic overview. Topics are discussion points and starting points for pupils to explore work experience, our local and world wide culture as well as current affairs. These change each year. Families, pupils and local stakeholders help us to set these to ensure they are current and relevant. They can be found on the link below:

Holistic and Cultural Capital Topics

If you have any further questions please feel free to ask your child’s tutor who will be happy to help you.


EYFS & KS1

The Mendip school has one class following the Early Years Foundation Stage learning objectives.  Staff use a mixture of structured teaching activities, small group learning activities and free play to ensure pupils make good progress.

During all of these activities observations are made and recorded to enable staff to target the teaching to the needs of each individual.  As a result pupils are confident, enthusiastic learners who make good progress.

Please download our handwriting statement to find out about our approach to teaching and supporting handwriting development.

 


KS2

Our KS2 Class includes a range a pupils in year 3 to 6.  They follow an adapted version of the 2014 National Curriculum supplemented with Sounds Write phonics and Numicon to support learners in maths.  During the KS2 phase pupils are encouraged to develop their independence as learners and to become more engaged with what and how they learn.  Technology is integrated through all lessons and subjects like Cooking and Nutrition, Design and Technology and Modern Foreign Languages become a regular part of the timetable.  Classes also access the swimming pool once a week.


KS3

The Mendip School KS3 class is made up of pupils aged between 11 and 14.  Learning is based around the 2014 National Curriculum and is broken down into manageable steps to show progress.


KS4

The KS4 classes currently comprise of pupils in years 9-11.  Pupils are taught the KS3 and KS4 national curriculum with approaches that suit individual needs.  Pupils in years 10 and 11 work towards qualifications in Entry Level or GCSE classifications.

KS4 Qualifications overview

If you’d like to know more about how your child may access exams please see here. Access Arrangements