Teaching and Learning Policy
This document is a statement of the principles underpinning teaching and learning at Valley school. It overarches all other planning and policy documents in our school. The policy reflects the aims of the school, our school motto ‘Small steps, giant strides’ and the values which guide our work.
We believe that the children are at the centre of all that we do. Therefore our curriculum and approach to teaching and learning is child centred. Every child is an individual and is respected, valued, nurtured and supported to express their likes, dislikes, thoughts and ideas. This means that there is a high level of individualised teaching and personalised learning.
In practice this means
- Learning starts as children walk through the door each morning and continues to the very end of the day
- We are committed to life-long learning. Both children and adults in school are learning every day
- We strive for excellence. Our goal is that all pupils make outstanding progress relevant to their abilities
- Outstanding learning is achieved through skilful teaching and a creative, relevant and exciting curriculum which rewards everyone in the school
- Every effort is acknowledged. We believe that ‘trying’ is an achievement in itself.
There is no single curriculum model, teaching approach or strategy that meets the needs of all our learners. The curriculum at Valley has evolved over many years based on our collective experience of working with our pupils. It takes account of Early Years Foundation Stage, National Curriculum and the Curriculum for Children with Learning Difficulties alongside curriculum models from other schools.
Our curriculum is dynamic and continues to be modified to meet the changing needs of the children.
The curriculum is the vehicle for the delivery of key skills. In our setting these are predominantly communication, cognition, motor, social and emotional and life skills.
It has a strong emphasis on ‘readiness to learn’ using a variety of approaches to ensure that our children are in optimum physical and emotional state to learn
Whilst the overall curriculum is broad and balanced it allows for a personalised approach linked to children’s own strengths and interests, the better to engage and motivate them.
How is the curriculum delivered?
Through repeated lessons which usually cover a half a term block
Through the opportunity to re-visit some areas of learning through a spiral curriculum
Based on a EYFS model encompassing a topic based approach
Some discrete lessons in PE, literacy and maths and phonics in the nursery
Grouping of children based on need or learning style
A sensory approach
Multi-disciplinary work central to the delivery of our curriculum
The Learning Environment
We aim to provide a learning environment in school that is appropriate and responsive to pupil’s needs and enables them to make the best possible progress.
We do this by the creation of
- Flexible learning environments that can be adapted according to different activities A total communication environment
- A learning environment to support good behaviour for learning e.g. low distraction areas in each classroom
- A safe and secure site
- Attractive and motivating outdoor spaces that offer a range of areas to accommodate varied interests
- Specific features such as the tactile trail for our pupils with visual impairment
- Access to Moss Hey Primary school field for specific curriculum activities
- Areas to support emotional well-being e.g. for everyone in school to access calm and quiet space
- Some specifically adapted areas – white room/ball pool/ sensory integration room hydrotherapy pool
How we assess learning, progress and achievement.
Our prime focus is to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding of each pupil. To do this we strive to ensure that all activities taught are appropriate to each pupil’s unique profile of need delivered in ways appropriate to their level of attainment.
We see praise and encouragement as key to children’s emotional well-being and self-esteem. Through the positive feedback they receive our children feel safe and secure to try (and try again) to achieve the next steps in their learning.
The whole staff team are knowledgeable about children’s IEP targets and what children are trying to achieve in the varied curriculum activities. The skilled Teaching Assistants support pupil progress by targeted teaching, detailed observation and feedback of pupil’s learning. They contribute to regular team meetings. Their work is well monitored by teachers and jointly they assess children’s progress over both short and long term.
This is achieved through collaboration with a wide range of other professions. We achieve this by:
- Joint target setting in key areas
- Therapy plans which reflect class topics
- Jointly planned sessions
- Therapy / specialist teacher lead sessions
- Skill sharing
- Staff work holistically and input into children’s home and support families
- Therapy approaches and techniques are embedded into the curriculum e.g. Sensory integration, PECS, Intensive Interaction, Visual Impairment strategies
- The provision of an on-site nurse and nursing team facilitates the inclusion of children with significant medical needs. These staff maximise children’s learning opportunities and work on IEP targets at appropriate times
Whole school approach
Children’s learning is supported by the wider team of staff, students and volunteers in school. They all contribute to the achievement of outstanding learning; they uphold high expectations of pupils and personal expectations as learners themselves within the school.
Links with families and the wider community
We are proud of our partnerships within our community and value the contribution that these bring to both our pupils and staff. We have an outward looking perspective and a long tradition of collaboration which has promoted and enable inclusive opportunities and practices. We maintain a range of inclusive links with a number of local primary schools These include an arrangements whereby small groups of mainstream pupils join a class for a weekly group session or the support of individual Valley pupils in, usually, their neighbourhood primary school for a weekly session. We actively explore local community facilities and activities to enrich our children’s curricular activities. We continue to develop our links with other schools and our own practice in order to improve teaching and learning over time.
We see parents and carers as the child’s first educators and we aim to work in partnership with parents regularly and in a proactive manner. High levels of communication with parents are maintained by:
- Seeking and valuing parents’ /carers thoughts, ideas and contributions about their child’s progress
- A variety of methods of communication e.g. home school notebooks, text and email messages, telephone calls, parent meeting, reports
- Parents / carers helping in school on a regular basis
- Families attending a wide range of school events over the year
- An annual parent questionnaire
- A good level of parental representation on the Governing Body Parents / carer support group meeting and parent input to working parties
- Home teaching where appropriate
- A responsive and open policy to addressing any issues which parents may raise
We continue to examine our practice in school to ensure that families are enabled to support their child’s learning.
Our Governors determine, support, monitor and review the school policies on teaching and learning.
In particular they:
- Monitor the effectiveness of teaching and learning strategies in terms of raising pupil attainment
- Support teaching and learning by helping to allocate resources effectively
- Ensure that school buildings and premises are best used to support successful teaching and learning
- Ensure that staff development and appraisal policies promote good quality teaching and learning
- Monitor the effectiveness of the teaching and learning policy through the school self-review processes. These include reports from subject leaders, the Headteachers termly report as well as the impact of in-service training.