Curriculum at Ivy Lane School

Ivy Lane learning imageIntroduction
At Ivy Lane School we are very aware that the educational input student receive during their years with us will be highly important not to the quality of their childhood but also to their quality of life on leaving us and entering adulthood. To support this our curriculum is driven by the key principles of: accessibility, engagement, relevance, variety and demonstrable progression. As opposed to following a ‘one size fits all’ approach to achieving these principles; our four pathways acknowledge the individuality of our students on admission and the range of aims they will have from their time in education. Should assessment identify at any point that changes in provision can improve a student’s experience or progress then we will offer the flexibility to ensure these are undertaken. 

Curriculum – Foundation Principles
Accessibility – When planning for learning in the medium and short term we seek to provide each student with learning in an environment and style which they can access comfortably. Teachers will receive specialist ongoing professional development to ensure they use specialist methodologies including PECS, Makaton, SPELL and ABA to maximise inclusion within every whole class, small group and 1:1 learning opportunity.

Engagement – Given the strongest and most effective learning takes place when students are engaged our teaching team will personalise opportunities to make them individually relevant to students and focus on providing learning opportunities relevant to the strengths and interests of the students within their class.

Relevance – During our initial assessment of a student we will aim to identify their ambitions for leaving school. Within this we will cover: what academic achievements they seek to achieve; what skills they need to live in their preferred community as an adult; their maximun potential relating to communication and sensory needs and the skills they need to maximise their independence and quality of life as adults. With the assessment in place we will then establish the correct pathway, individual learning plan and support required for each student.

Variety – We aim to develop independent learners who respond positively to a range of learning opportunities. Classroom based methods such as ABA, TEACHH and work boxes may be used to build confidence in core skills. Care will be taken to ensure students can apply skills learned in these settings in a range of domestic, community, work place and learning scenarios. We will seek to maximise our urban location to develop students who are comfortable and confident learning in Wakefield and developing skills which they can continue as adults in numerous locations across the UK.

Demonstrable progression – We seek for our students to leave Ivy Lane School with a greater range of skills, abilities, interests and confidence than when they join us. Termly progression checks will be used by leadership to assess student progression on both subject specific and non subject specific pathways. Within this each lesson will contain assessment opportunities during which learning can be reshaped as required to maximise opportunities for progression.

Curriculum – Specific Aims
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Pathway approach

In acknowledgement of the individuality of our students our curriculum is divided into 4 pathways. These pathways reflect a combination of:
- A student’s age
- Their past learning achievements
- Their preparation needs for adulthood. 

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Thematic Approach 
Ivy Lane School will support a thematic approach to learning to help staff and students link learning from multiple subjects and give all classes across school a unified approach to their learning. The thematic approach will also support learning experiences which bring value to students’ learning such as visitors to school, educational visits and/or whole school events. 

In planning subject leads and class teachers should where possible link their medium and short term planning to the topic. Every half term school leaders should ensure assemblies and other events provide a rich range of communal learning experiences for the whole school linked to the current theme.

Ivy Lane School - Sample Four Year Topic Plan

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