Discrete Tutor Groups
New Bridge School offers 3 discrete tutor groups to enable appropriate full-time support for pupils who require a specialised learning environment.
New Bridge School’s discrete Autism provision is a consistent environment for students who find it difficult to adapt to too much change. The curriculum echoes that of the main school and students enjoy all subjects and have full access to all the school’s facilities. The students’ communication needs are the main focus in the Autism Base. These are met through our interactive, total communication approach using symbols, signs and solid objects of reference to enhance learning.
New Bridge School is an environment which employs specific and established routines complemented by a total communication system supported by Speech and Language Therapists. Many staff are qualified in using PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and picture symbols are used throughout the school alongside Signalong, all of which supports students’ communication. Routines are consistent and predictable in order for students to learn in a ‘safe’ environment that they understand and feel able to control. Within this environment, the learning process has been developed with high but realistic expectations, promoting, as far as possible, social initiation and interaction.
The provision itself allows specific individual work areas as well as a communal area to encourage group interaction. The teaching area has full access to the Internet through the school’s local area network and use of programs such as Writing With Symbols and Interactive Writer with which the students are familiar in their current learning environment.
Security systems are in place in all indoor teaching and play areas.
The Autism Base seeks to provide a broad, balanced, relevant, meaningful and motivating curriculum to develop the specific strengths, needs, interests and aspirations of our pupils. We offer differentiated learning challenges and use our specialist environment and knowledge to enable pupils to recognise and nurture their strengths and to overcome potential barriers to learning. We ensure that our curriculum provides progression and coherence, systematically building on pupil’s individual existing knowledge and skills. In this way school responds to individual diverse learning needs to support transition through school.
The curriculum is used to develop pupil confidence, interest in and understanding of the world around them. Differentiated, personalised provision enables pupils to become increasingly independent as they transfer learning between school, home and the wider community.
We provide a curriculum that enables all of our pupils to make a positive contribution to a society in which they are confident, apply their skills and aptitudes, and able thereby to continue in future lifelong learning, and in work and leisure activity.
The Autism Core Curriculum is based upon 4 areas of learning in Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4:
- Functional Academic Skills
- Communication Skills
- Independent Living Skills
- Leisure Skills
With an additional 2 areas at Key Stage 5:
- Pre-work Skills
- Work Skills
(There is some flexibility to introduce pre-work skills at Key Stage 4 depending on the ability of the student)
Key Learning Targets are set in each of the Core Curriculum Areas and these are then achieved via the following Curriculum content:
This mirrors the Core Curriculum of the main school. Apart from ICT these subjects are delivered by the staff in the discrete bases following advice and input from Subject Specialists:
- Living Skills
These are subjects we have chosen which provide students with the opportunity to generalise and develop their skills in a range of different contexts. They are delivered by a mixture of specialist teaching staff and staff from the discrete provisions. We aim to base the decision around who delivers these lessons on the skills base of the latter staff to ensure that the quality of teaching received by the students is always of the highest standard:
Key Stage 3/Key Stage 4
- Work Skills
Autism Specific Enrichment
These additional curriculum components provide specific input based on the communication, social interaction and generalisation needs of the young people on the Spectrum:
- Sensory Diet
- Social Communication
- Community Access
- Outdoor Education
The Interactive Base (IB) provides an appropriate learning environment for learners with complex learning difficulties and disabilities (CLDD). The aim of the IB is to provide a stimulating, engaging and sensory curriculum that is both broad and balanced. The IB groups offer a base for their learners which provides routine, consistent specialist staffing and encourages independence and communication.
The pupils within the IB are grouped in classes which may go across age groups and sometimes Key Stages to best meet their needs. However this is done, the staff within the IB groups ensure that they quickly develop a comprehensive knowledge of the young people. The knowledge gained can arrive from a variety of areas both within the Group and from outside agencies. It is important that this information is shared and reviewed with everyone who comes into contact with the young people. Therefore within each class base the staff produce a document, ‘All About Me’, for each pupil. These are displayed within the pupils’ room and ensure this important information is always to hand. ‘All About Me’ includes information relating to learning styles, likes and dislikes, emotions, positioning and specialist equipment as well as recommendations from a young person’s individual care plans such as feeding and swallowing, speech and language, physiotherapy, behaviour, personal care and medical needs. This information also ensures the relevant training for staff is in place to cater for all the pupils’ needs, whether medical or educational.
Due to the learners’ needs, it is imperative that excellent communication is maintained with their parents and carers. Home/School books are used precisely for this reason to ensure that we can communicate on a day-to-day basis regarding a young person’s health, engagement and interests.
Within the IB we encourage communication, independence and choice making at whatever level the pupil is working at. All learners are treated as intentional communicators. Intentional communication can be in the form of vocalising, eye contact, a gesture, shiver, cough or laugh, signing, the exchange of an object or symbol as well as dropping or grabbing of an object. This list is not exhaustive and as every young person is an individual, we make sure that we ‘tune in’ to each of our learners to encourage and extend their own communication strategies.
The curriculum is the medium through which learning experiences are matched to a child’s individual needs. Within the IB groups opportunities for learning are planned, focused and responsive to needs of the pupils. There are a variety of ways for the pupils to encounter the curriculum. They are likely to need sensory stimulation and a curriculum broken down into very small steps. The pupils learn across a range of levels and for most, we will be looking at how they engage, respond and communicate. However, for some pupils our focus will be on skills more relevant to the individual subjects. As such, within the IB groups pupils receive part of the curriculum offer within their base and part of it within the main body of the school or Learning Centre. This ensures that the staff with the most appropriate experience and expertise deliver the pupils’ learning and that opportunities for social interaction with other pupils are included. If deemed appropriate, a young person may access more of their curriculum within the main body of school and access bespoke sessions in the IB.
Each young person is offered a core curriculum which ensures that skills in English, Maths, ICT and Living Skills are incorporated. The curriculum also offers an extensive range of experiences including:
- sensory cooking/food technology sessions
- body awareness, sensory massage and Sherborne
- Drama therapy
- Physical Education (gross motor, fine motor, personal programmes, Outdoor Education, rebound therapy, hydrotherapy, swimming)
- community engagement
- Creative Arts
Throughout the timetable, staff facilitate opportunities for standing, walking, seating changes and physical movement in order to promote physical well-being.
In Key Stages 4 and 5 pupils are able to access increased variety in their learning through their Options choices. In order for the young people to access the most suitable and engaging options, close communication between parents and carers and staff is ensured.
The Interactive Bases are all about bespoke opportunities for our young people to interact, engage, experience and learn whilst having FUN!
New Bridge School promotes a pro-active and positive approach to effectively supporting young people with a wide range of social and emotional difficulties. This includes a Nurture Group provision and a Behaviour Support Team.
The Nurture Group provision supports those pupils who need a safe, secure environment for a range of social, emotional and behavioural reasons, and who would otherwise struggle within the wider body of the school. There is an emphasis on consistency of approach and developing and maintaining strong working relationships where pupils can feel nurtured, supported, encouraged and in turn challenged.
The unique structure of the groups allows for ‘Personalised Learning’, enabling groups to take part in a range of off-site activities to help broaden personal experiences and develop a range of social and life skills. The bespoke Nurture Group curriculum offer also incorporates PSHE, Living Skills, Friendship Groups, Enterprise, Board game skills, Role Play, Food Technology, Numeracy and Literacy.
In addition to a broad curriculum offer pupils from the Nurture Groups access lessons or activities (where appropriate) within the wider school.
The Nurture Group provision provides support for young people on both a full and part-time basis as required. The Nurture base is transient in nature, allowing for movement with students gradually accessing lessons, with support, and then when ready moving into the wider body of the school.
The Boxall Profile is used as an assessment tool to monitor the personal, social and emotional progress of young people within the Nurture Group and to determine appropriate strategies to support their development.