All the pupils at Southgate School have complex needs, and therefore whilst we ensure that we meet the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum we are also extremely flexible and responsive to the actual needs of each individual pupil.
To support the often high levels of anxiety that our young people face, Southgate school adheres closely to the principles of Nurture. Nurture is an educational philosophy which centres on the need for healthy and secure attachment which in turn allows a young person to learn how to take risks, explore their world and forge their own independence. It is the cornerstone of our practice and informs every layer of our approach – including the classroom environment, curriculum planning as well as delivery.
Play-based learning is also a key approach at Southgate. This is the planning of hands-on learning, often linked to topic, which supports learners to engage in a variety of focused play activities and independent play based games/activities. Play provides opportunities for learners to experience learning in a meaningful and purposeful way, it is also a means by which learners can develop the skills and capabilities to be effective learners.
Our aim is to deliver a curriculum that has been developed to be appropriate for each learner group with reference to national and recognised good practice.
We are committed to having a person-centred approach to learning that enables our young people to achieve key skills, academic skills, independence and life skills, social communication skills and play skills.
We have developed a three pathway curriculum that begins as our youngest pupils leave the Early Years setting in Badger Class and runs through the school.
We place pupils in class groups according to learning needs rather than age and develop personalised planning to meet all their learning needs.
In Badger Class we plan our curriculum based on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Following this pupils are placed in one of our three pathways and each pathway has developed a slightly different curriculum drawing from both the EYFS and the National Curriculum.
Our students will be taught in calm and none rushed way and at an appropriate cognitive level. Pupils will experience maths through a variety of different ways with the emphasis on active, practical and fun based learning. Maths as a core subject is given a huge priority in a child’s timetable and Lower School pupils will follow either the EYFS, Primary Numeracy Strategy or National Curriculum programmes of study.
Students in Upper School generally follow a course of study based on ASDAN, AQA Entry Level Certificate units of work in Mathematics and GCSE programmes where appropriate. The Numeracy Strategy is used to assist planning and teaching where appropriate.
In Upper School pupil progress is also recorded either by outcomes of ASDAN Entry Level Certificate of work and/or GCSE accreditation.
Literacy is delivered on a daily basis. Every classroom is a language rich environment where communication is focused on explicitly at every opportunity. We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage and the National Curriculum.
Dedicated Literacy lessons are interactive, play based (where appropriate) and use a range of stimuli in order to engage learners in reading and writing from an early age. Literacy work is highly personalised in order to capture each individual’s interests and imagination as well as differentiated for ability, allowing for sufficient challenge and success.
As students move in to Upper School they can complete a variety of accreditations to suit their ability: ASDAN; Entry Level (1, 2 and 3); GCSE.
Science consists of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Scientific enquiry. Science at Southgate is focused around pupils developing the skills and understanding to be able to effectively engage in the world around them.
Across Lower school, Science is delivered as part of a topic/ project based curriculum. The schools long term plans provides topic headings around which the curriculum is planned ensuring that there is full National Curriculum entitlement. In Upper School pupils are offered the opportunity to gain qualifications e.g. AQA Entry Level Certificates or ASDAN as appropriate for each pupil.
The computing curriculum follows the national curriculum guidelines and is broken down into three key strands:
- Computer Science (coding and programming)
- Digital Literacy (knowing how to keep safe online and when using technology to communicate)
- Information Technology (using technology purposefully, use a variety of software to accomplish given goals)
The aim of the computing curriculum is to enable our pupils to use technology safely and effectively in their everyday lives, and also equip them with skills they can use in the workplace and further education experiences.
We believe that computing should be embedded in all areas of the curriculum as well as being taught in discrete lessons. We aim to use and teach computing as creatively as possible making links across the curriculum and make learning meaningful.
We recognise that all pupils have differing ICT abilities. We provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability and experience of the child.
Humanities consists of Geography, History and Religious Education. Geography at Southgate is all about pupils exploring, discovering and making sense of the world around them. History is about them having an understanding of time and using evidence from the past whether it is old teddies or the photographs from Scott’s last journey to the Antarctic. Religious education allows pupils to explore different values and beliefs and to learn acceptance.
Upper school accreditation is linked to the pathway the pupil is in and is relevant to their learning ability. Stand-alone ASDAN short courses can be accessed in Geography and History, whilst ASDAN Entry 1 has modules including travel within the community and going places. PSD courses include a module on healthy lifestyles, making the most of leisure time and looking at community.
We are committed to providing a variety of outdoor learning opportunities for our pupils, strongly believing in the positive impact on wellbeing and development. It is our aim that every pupil will experience some type of residential experience by the time they leave Southgate, that is appropriate to their special educational need and developmental level.
Having two qualified Forest School’s practitioners from September 2017, each class in the lower school will have a weekly session in the outdoor area. Selected classes in the upper school will also have sessions as appropriate. Alongside this, we have a senior ETA with a variety of qualifications who takes groups out onsite and offsite for outdoor and residential experiences (this includes climbing Mount Snowdon, the Calvert Trust and coastal walks). Pupils in the upper school have the opportunity to engage with the Duke of Edinburgh award which incorporates volunteering.
We offer a broad range of activities across school to support and challenge a wide range of abilities.
The sports we cover include: football, rugby, hockey, basketball, volleyball, badminton, table tennis, tennis, rounders, baseball, benchball, dodgeball, fitness, new age kurling, boccia, athletics, playground games, team building activities and cricket, blind activities e.g. – goalball
Our activities are based around the Equals scheme of work; we also use a range of other individual resources including Top Sports Ability. Five members of staff were recently trained in Enjoyaball (a basic ball skills course), from this the school has a range of resources to use both in PE and across a range of subjects. We have a large amount of equipment in school to support a broad range of needs. This includes equipment for the visually impaired and the physically impaired.
Performing Arts incorporates music and drama. Music is a universal language and a way for many of our pupils to develop communication skills and engage with others. It aims to teach children how to create a range of sounds using tuned and un-tuned instruments as solo pieces and in collaboration with others. A high-quality music education should engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. As pupils progress, they should develop an engagement with music, allowing them to compose and to listen to music from different times and cultures.
Drama incorporates elements of the English curriculum and is a tool used in many classes to develop pupils’ spoken language through role play and to increase pupils’ engagement in topics. We also have weekly drama sessions delivered by outside practitioners, where pupils work in groups across different classes, building their confidence and social interaction skills. Where possible we stage full productions to celebrate the pupils’ achievements and have good attendance from parents, carers and the community.
Art and Technology
Art and Technology incorporates designing and making including painting, printing, 3 D modelling, mixed media and IT programs. It aims to teach children to express themselves creatively, taste success in different ways, develop child-led learning , learn to take the initiative, make choices and decisions, see the outcomes from these and experience learning in a multisensory way. Art and Technology education should engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of inventiveness and their talent as artists and makers, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement.
Pupils at earlier developmental stages will explore mark-making, colour and colour-mixing, shape, texture and simple printing techniques. As pupils progress they apply simple and explorative techniques and build these into finished pieces. Art and Technology also enables pupils to explore cross-curricular concepts in multi-sensory ways and to look at wider cultural references and history through the study of artists and their techniques.
Both Art and Technology are often used as tools to engage and involve pupils in other areas of the curriculum. For example teachers often use painting and making to explore topic work, making collages of rainforests or historical artefacts. Alongside this pupils have opportunities to develop subject specific skills in discrete lessons in a dedicated Art classroom. An option group take part in discrete Art lessons in Upper School which can lead to GCSE accreditation.
Art and Technology is also an area that is delivered through community projects with other organisations. In the front entrance of our school you can see the beautiful glass tiles made by a class working with an organisation called ‘Sharing Memories’ with whom we did yearly projects in the past.
PSHE includes pupils learning about the three core themes, Health and Wellbeing, Relationships and Living in the Wider World. Through PSHCE, which is embedded in our day to day time table (see assemblies, RE & SEAL) we aim to safeguard pupils, support their spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development and prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.
The aim of the SRE Curriculum is to equip our learners with the information, skills and values to have safe, fulfilling and enjoyable friendships. (Friendships: learning how to be a good friend – speak positively about our friends, respect their choices, spend time with our friends, help our friends, share their accomplishments with positivity, caring and compassion). By making informed choices, taking responsibility for their own well-being and others wellbeing, taking responsibility for their own sexual health and using learnt skills to
have positive and enjoyable relationships.
It is a legal requirement to have an up-to-date SRE policy. Our policy describes the content, the organisation of what is being taught and how Southgate’s SRE is taught outside science in the National Curriculum. SRE is taught in calm and none rushed way and at an appropriate cognitive level. There will be elements of the curriculum that some students will not be taught due to their cognitive level.
Work Related Learning
The programme is designed to give the pupils the skills to make choices, work with others and solve problems. This will equip our young people to engage in the community and to have some control over their lives as they grow and develop. It is important that young people are given the opportunity to develop the knowledge and understanding that they need to make informed choices from the options before them.
Work Related Learning begins in the first class of school appropriate to the pupils’ stage of development. It includes learning how to work cooperatively with others, negotiation skills, problem solving and making choices.
In Lower School these skills are developed throughout the curriculum. In Upper School there are specific lessons designed to further the pupils’ skills appropriate to their stage of development.
In Years 10 and 11 the pupils work with an allocated C&K Careers Personal Advisor in school. The Personal Advisor works with both pupils and parents to guide and support the young people in to the most appropriate Post 16 provision. The pupils have opportunities to visit Post 16 educational facilities, leisure facilities and provisions that are designed to support our young people beyond the age of 16. Pupils also have opportunities to visit places of employment and Work Experience opportunities for those ready for this challenge.
Long Term Planning for a three year period has been produced for each pathway. Teachers and subject specialists work together to ensure learning is progressive and relevant through school for each individual.
At Southgate School we offer all our pupils accreditation at the appropriate level. We currently run programmes that lead to ASDAN Personal Progress, ASDAN Personal and Social Development, a range of ASDAN Unit Awards, a range of AQA Entry Level Certificates, GCSE Maths and GCSE Art.
Post 16 Destinations
School, parents and C&K Careers work with our young people to identify the most appropriate post 16 destination. During Year 10 parents are encouraged to begin to look at the post 16 provisions available in Kirklees supported by C&K Careers. If there is not an appropriate provision in Kirklees to meet the needs of one of our learners they will be offered provision that is ‘out of area’.
The most popular destinations for our students are Castle Hill, Ravenshall College and Kirklees College and we have worked closely with these establishments to ensure the work done at school will feed in to their continuing education.