Curriculum Intent Primary NEECA
“Re-engaging young people with life-long learning”
The majority of students that attend NEECA Primary Alternative Provision have been permanently excluded from one or more schools. Some are awaiting placements at specialist provisions and others are hard to place. This could be due to their level of need or the increasing demands on mainstream schools that limit their capacity to manage the additional needs of students. On occasion, we also provide education for students with an Education Health Care Plan when no suitable specialist provision has been identified and mainstream is not appropriate. We are an interim provision with the same intention for all; identifying and facilitating a successful onward path into a permanent school placement. Due to the limitations around transition, students attend NEECA until a placement is secured and the transition is successful. A student’s educational history does not predetermine their onward path. Their individual needs are assessed and the Primary team work closely with the families and appropriate agencies to plan the correct next steps.
Our curriculum is designed to provide the same opportunities to all; regardless of their starting points. To enable staff to meet this wide range of abilities and needs, our curriculum is flexible, personalised and ambitious.
As a trauma perceptive school and part of a co-operative academy, this is achieved through our key values:
Hope - Staff hold high expectations and aspirations for everyone within our community. Students build confidence and pride in their achievements, motivating them to progress holistically.
Compassion and kindness- Staff are skilled at interpreting and understanding stress related behaviour and supporting students to learn to manage their feelings and decisions in safer ways over time. Students learn to understand themselves and their own behaviours through bespoke teaching and develop their skills of self -regulation, leading to better engagement in learning. Staff also apply this knowledge and understanding to how they approach and work with families. With a kind, non-judgemental approach, families are able to rebuild faith in professionals and they often report improvements in life at home once students join our school.
Connection and Belonging- Relationships are our agents of change and the foundations of success and progress. Though well managed, safe relationships, healing can occur; brains can repair and learning can take place.Learning environments promote a sense of inclusivity and opportunities for holistic progress are valued alongside academic. Bespoke, personalised planning supports students to feel they belong and that they are valued as an individual. Students are taught as groups with consistent staff to create that feeling of community. Leaders take the time to get to know all the students and spend time in all the classes.
Teaching for success
Staff at NEECA are skilled to build relationships that form the foundations for learning. The students feel that they belong and that they are safe to take the risks that learning presents. Staff know the students they teach in detail and complete careful assessments using the Evidence for Learning application and other screening tools. When planning lessons and approaching teaching staff are mindful of each student’s window of tolerance.Through skillful attunement the balance between students maintaining regulation and educational challenge is mostly achieved. Whilst at times we may use students' interests to increase engagement, we also try and broaden their knowledge and experiences through introducing them to new topics aiming to widen their worlds.
Students are given opportunities to continually build upon and rehearse prior knowledge, then apply it to skill based activities, where knowledge can be transferred, or applied, to different and purposeful contexts.
NEECA Primary has a curriculum overview for each key stage with thematic topics on a rolling programme that are adapted where required. Each teacher creates their own medium and short term planning bespoke to their cohort and students.
Each classroom has a designated area for reading where texts in all forms are celebrated. Reading is viewed as a shared activity where adults read to them, they read to adults and as much emphasis placed on enjoyment as progression. Teachers prioritise the teaching of reading as a key life skill and foundation of learning and achievement.
Students are given daily opportunities to read as a discrete activity, but reading is also embedded across the curriculum. Teacher’s use the letters and sounds synthetic phonics programme within early reading skills and Support for Spelling to teach and develop morphological and etymological knowledge. Daily storytimes take place frequently in each class as a positive experience. This could be a range of text such as a poem, newspaper article or a picture book. Staff share their favourite texts to promote and model reading for enjoyment. On Mondays each class have a text of the day and activities are planned around the text to support students to meet their thrive targets at the same time as promoting positive experiences linked to reading.
Students are given opportunities to develop the fine motor skills required to progress in writing, combined with phonics teaching and confidence building activities. Writing is given a valid purpose to encourage engagement. Teachers use a variety of strategies, such as the Pie Corbett Talk for Writing approach, to support students with vocabulary and structure. Students have access to laptops as an alternative recording option where appropriate.
Staff utilise the White Rose Maths Schemes of Learning to support planning and ensure progression through lessons. Students are given opportunities to apply their new learning to practical situations and staff prioritise life skills, such as basic number, time and money, within the curriculum. To support independently learning students self select appropriate resources such as Numicon, place value cubes, dienes task dependant.
Foundation subjects are mostly taught through the thematic curriculum. Topics are selected to promote engagement and to provide a broad and balanced curriculum. Cross-curricular links are made wherever possible to link learning.
We aim for all students to have at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity and two PE lessons a week. Physical activity sessions include outdoor play, martial arts, forest schools, running games, dance and movement to music, walking, yoga or gardening. KS2 students have the opportunity to attend swimming lessons, horse riding sessions and other offsite activities that are appropriate to the season; for example high rope, climbing, tobogganing, golf etc.
Thrive is an assessment and planning tool that supports staff to identify gaps in children's social and emotional development. All students have a Thrive action plan in place with bespoke targets to support their holistic development. Monday’s planning incorporates these targets and during unstructured times, Golden Time and woven throughout other informal interactions, where staff take opportunities to work on these targets.
Raising Aspirations through life skills
Our students are offered a range of enrichment opportunities and experiences to broaden their mindsets and aspirations for their future. Individual strengths and talents are identified and provision is tailored to each student where possible. Through a culture of ‘in the moment’ rewards and celebrations, every interaction is viewed as an intervention and staff find the time to notice all the positives.This builds internal motivation over time.
Students are encouraged to be the best versions of themselves. Key attributes and skills are developed throughout the curriculum with a half termly focus on healthy me, social me or thinking me. This is adapted from the My Personal Best scheme from the Youth Sport Trust. This provides structure to identify which key life skills and attributes students need to develop in order for them to achieve their best.
Regular additional opportunities, such as swimming, forest or beach schools, local visits, visitors, community volunteering, also support our students to develop their life skills and widen their experiences.
Students are challenged to share and listen to the views of others, diversity and equality are explored within our PSHE curriculum. This is taught intentionally in planned activities, but also at times as a response to an incident, or staff observation. All prejudice related views are explored and tackled safely to support our students to hold socially acceptable views.
In addition to our curriculum offer, we have an art and a play therapist that offer 1-1 sessions to identified students. We also have a music teacher offering therapeutic music sessions that enable students to express themselves creatively outside of the classroom environment 1-1.
The Value of Play
Within each day we have time dedicated to both structured and unstructured play; some planned and some spontaneous. Staff have a well developed understanding of the importance of supporting students to develop their skills of play, in many different forms both solitary, alongside and with peers, inside and outside. These opportunities are woven through all curriculum areas and our approach to learning.
Learning at home
NEECA Primary value opportunities to link with our parent/carers and to support them to feel included in their child’s education. We send home half termly newsletters with ideas for curriculum related activities, positive experiences or opportunities to apply skills in real-life contexts. Parents/carers are encouraged to share successes with their child’s class teacher through evidence for learning. We meet termly with parents/carers to share student’s progress, work and evidence including the student at the meeting.
The students who attend NEECA Primary are given an extensive curriculum and are planned for as individuals. Staff are skilled to ensure that each day all moments are utilised for learning and the flexibility, adaptable nature of the team and curriculum enables this to be successful.
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Life skills Curriculum