Explorers Department

The Upper School Department – known as Explorers – supports students across Key stage 3 and 4 where learners have severe, physical and multiple learning difficulties. Class structures reflect the need to meet both the environmental and learning style needs of the students and this is fundamental to the design and delivery of the curriculum. The curriculum is on a rolling topic and theme-based approach which is used as a vehicle to enable and support students in developing their core skill areas such as within their ECHP targets, assessment pathways and accreditations. Literacy and Numeracy skills are taught amongst learners on Treetop and Horizon pathways. Land Pathway learners explore multi-sensory programmes, which enable learners to develop effective communication skills as well as to interact effectively with their peers and form positive relationships with others.

We make extensive use of alternative and augmentative communication systems, sensory presentation and strategies such as PECs, PODD, Prox talkers and switches. We provide our students with opportunities to encourage and develop their communication and independence skills throughout each day.

Learners receive input and support from appropriate therapy provisions to assist their learning including occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, Reiki and ELSA. Alongside this, we offer a variety of different teaching strategies and approaches in order to meet the range of needs of our students. These include Phonics, Rainbow Road, Waldon, Intensive Interaction, Numicon, Words First, Makaton, Senseology, Words First, Attention Autism, Symbols Making Sense, Makaton, massage stories, hydrotherapy, Move, sensory integration and TEACCH.

All Key Stage 3 pupils study ASDAN New Horizons comprising five modules around areas of Personal (about you), Social (about you and others), Health (looking after yourself), Citizenship (caring for people and other things), and Relationships (growing up). Learners will receive their accreditation at the end of Year 9.

All Key Stage 4 pupils study ASDAN Transition Challenge which offers a learner-centred, activity-based curriculum that can be undertaken with as much support as necessary. It has been developed with SEND for learners aged 14–16. There are two levels we currently teach at school which are:

  • Sensory: this programme offers a developmental perspective for learners with PMLD and rewards very small steps of learning and achievement
  • Introduction and Progression: the activities in this programme cover the statutory programmes of study for the Key Stage 4 National Curriculum, along with activities to develop the skills required for adult living

All ASDAN achievements are assessed by allocating levels of support to show how the student has achieved the activity. They show individual progression and differentiation between students.

All learners compile a portfolio to demonstrate how they have met the requirements of these modules. These portfolios are internally moderated for Key Stage 3 pupils and externally moderated by ASDAN for Key Stage 4 pupils.

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