Freemantles Primary

Mission, Vision, Values and Rationale Updated for Sept 21

Background

The school mission, vision and values had evolved over time and during the pandemic. These were therefore updated to reflect these changes and agreed through a consultation process with staff and families during the summer term 2021 in preparation for the new school year.

 

Freemantles Mission

To prioritise the Emotional Wellbeing of the children and young people, families and staff team at Freemantles and across the wider community, above all else to create the best environment for learning.

To support increasing Emotional Wellbeing  of children and young people to maximise progress. This promotes growing for greater resilience and equips them for a fulfilling, worthwhile and enjoyable life. At Freemantles this is achieved through developing:

 

 

Mission Statement

Working together to make sense of the world

 

Freemantles Vision 3-5 years

  • To develop the provision offered by the Freemantles , so that it offers two highly successful schools (Primary and Secondary including FE) delivering appropriate, high quality, specialist teaching and learning based on a central tenet of emotional wellbeing for up to 270 children and young people with Autism / CSCN throughout the 4-19 age range.

Where children and young people’s emotional wellbeing is at its best, the ability to learn and, therefore their outcomes, will be maximised.

  • To offer a broad, bespoke curriculum that equips our children and young people for life.
  • To be able to sustain and grow the strong supportive relationships that we have with parents and families as the school grows, recognising that there is a relationship between wellbeing in the family and the wellbeing of the child / young person.
  • To ensure that throughout the period of growth and beyond we sustain our focus on staff wellbeing and fulfilment:
    • o as a vitally important element of our work in its own right,
    • o to support the additional recruitment and individual professional development that will help the staff and the school to be successful
    • o recognising a clear link between this and an impact on the wellbeing of the child young person.
  • To seek further opportunities to expand upon:
    • o The work that the Outreach service is commissioned to offer,
    • o The provision of the range of training that we offer to wider community including one off and training that builds knowledge, competence and experience over a period of time.
  • To continue to strategically and operationally develop and evolve the wide range of close working partnerships that the school is working actively within and seek opportunities to expand upon these where appropriate

 

 

Freemantles Rationale

Freemantles is a school for children and young people with complex social communication needs or complex Autism, as a result, all children and young people have an EHCP and need an alternative curriculum to those in mainstream schools.

The children and young people primarily face particular challenges in the areas of:

  • Communication generally both expressive (speaking) and receptive (understanding what others are saying) and / or social communication-(how to have a conversation)
  • Social understanding – picking up and automatically understanding why people are doing the things that they are doing in all situations
  • Understanding tasks that they are being given - recognising that they are capable of working independently as long as they can understand the task.,
  • differences in their sensory perception and / or processing
  • managing their levels of anxiety as a result of all of these factors impacting on their wellbeing
  • distressed behaviour that may result any of these unmet needs

In addition, they also have to face the same challenges that are facing children in mainstream schools and society at large:

  • The increasing range and use of technology
  • The challenges of social media, understanding that social interaction is also difficult online. Keeping themselves safe online.
  • The changing expectations of required standards in the skills of engaging in more intimate relationships, and the limited acceptance of mistakes in these high stakes activities.
  • Recovery from a global pandemic
  • Climate change and the long term impact
  • Preparation for adulthood
  • Understanding and acceptance of diversity and different cultures
  • Bullying and peer on peer abuse (both face to face and online)
  • The rising number of mental health difficulties that young people are facing as a result the above.

Consequently, Freemantles children and young people are unable to access learning using the same pedagogical style, or at the same pace, as mainstream peers, and the curriculum needs to be significantly different to that offered in a mainstream school. The Curriculum at Freemantles is highly aspirational, challenges each individual student and is personalised from their individual starting points.

The Curriculum is not only what we formally teach. The whole of the school day is considered to be a part of the teaching time we offer. However, the learning frequently continues in the home environment as staff support parents and carers to implement interventions and provide resources to help learning to continue at home. The curriculum is the means by which we focus on the learning needs of each student for their  emotional well-being and life satisfaction both now and in the future.

The curriculum content has been developed through the school community, built on the areas of our school Mission. (see Below). We are absolutely committed to this approach being what is appropriate for the community of  children and young people and families that we work with.

Emotional Wellbeing:

Anxiety can be such an issue for the complex children and young people with autism that we cater for, therefore this features very prominently in the curriculum of the school. Emotional wellbeing is a prerequisite for the most effective learning. Children and young people access a wide range of activities to help them learn to both relax and to access learning. They can then decide which works best for them. The remaining seven areas are emphasised because of the impact that they can have on Emotional Well-being.

Communication:

Communication is fundamental to our children and young people’s ability to access the world and safeguard themselves.

At the least this would be to understand the functions of communication – to communicate their wants and needs and if possible, they would be able to enjoy the opportunity to converse and build socially communicative friendships and relationships, developing the ability to advocate for themselves. 

Social Understanding:

Research evidence demonstrates that our children and young people need to be explicitly taught to understand what is happening in the social world and why. Therefore, there is a significant amount of teaching time allocated to helping our children and young people make progress in this area. It is a vitally important area if they are going to be actively participating in society, both now and as well-prepared adults in the future. This includes all of the work that the children and young people access offsite in the community so that we can be sure that they are able to generalise their learning into real life situations.

Independence:

Our  children and young people’s confidence, self-esteem, motivation for learning and participation in life is built upon their ability to develop independence. Key to this will be the need for us to equip each student with life skills to care for and look after themselves and vocational skills to help them prepare for adulthood. 

Functional Academic Achievement:

Our initial focus within the academic curriculum for our children and young people is based upon the preparation for adulthood and being able to be fully involved in society. Therefore, we are thinking about the aspects of the academic curriculum which are most likely to be useful for them. For all children and young people this would include many elements of English, particularly accessing any form of reading, Maths, Science and IT. If  children and young people have academic special interests these are promoted on an individual level in order that they are able to access this knowledge. We have a wide range of needs in the school and in some cases our functional academic learning will need to be focussing on the prerequisite skills for an academic course that they are moving onto in adulthood. Whilst for others it may relate more to simple number, colour and shape so they are able to communicate with a greater vocabulary.

We have high expectations; for our children and young people to meet them, they will need to interact with and problem solve the world around them.  Our Curriculum is designed so that each individual pupil is challenged to rise to these expectations and celebrate their achievements.  Our regular tracking and measurement of the impact of our curriculum on individual progress, demonstrates the successes our  children and young people are having.

Sensory Needs and Self-Regulation

Staff have a sound understanding of the sensory needs of children and young people and these are addressed through a range of timetabled sensory sessions, sensory circuits and the use of sensory equipment based in classrooms where it is seen as beneficial by the class team. Alongside this sensory activity we also help children to understand and reflect upon their emotional state and use other approaches to help them manage this. We want children and young people to have an opportunity to experience as many of these as possible and help us to identify with them, which is the most useful for them.  These include the use of visuals to identify their emotional state and any changes to it, yoga, mindfulness, walking, exercise bikes, gym equipment, digging, animals etc. As the children progress through the school, we are working with the  children and young people to be able to recognise their sensory needs and to be able to self-regulate. Where children and young people struggle with this staff are still able to intervene and support through their knowledge of the individual.

Partnership with Families

The wellbeing of families and our partnership with them has always been seen as important, but has become even more vital in our thinking in the light of global events (e.g., pandemic). We recognise that the situation at home is fundamental to the child’s life and therefore the communication with and support offered to and from parents and families is essential and crucial to the child’s development.

Staff Wellbeing and Fulfilment

The focus on wellbeing and fulfilment of all staff throughout Freemantles is the final part of the jigsaw puzzle. Curriculum Staff who are centred and resilient and who have an understanding of, and able to implement, the interventions that we use across the school will again increase the potential for the  children and young people’s learning in all areas to thrive. For Staff from admin, IT and Premises their wellbeing and fulfilment in their roles are crucial to ensure that everything works effectively for the school and creates the right contexts for learning to be maximised.

 

Curriculum Intent

We want the children and young people to access as many learning opportunities across a broad and balanced academic curriculum as possible and help them identify their motivations and interests.

A crucial feature of the curriculum offer that extends the depth of learning and embeds the wide range of skills that children and young people develop is through the extensive offsite Community Learning programme which has been established across the school. These sessions are carefully planned with learning intent identified and followed up, age and need appropriately, upon returning to school.

The school uses evidenced based interventions, identified specifically to address each of the 8 areas and supports children and young people to access the wider learning most effectively and improve their emotional well-being. The school has advanced trained and in-house trainers in these interventions to ensure that they are used effectively. Staff receive regular training which helps them to embed their knowledge and understanding of how to use them effectively.

The academic curriculum covers all subjects of the National Curriculum in a way that is relevant and accessible for individuals and groups and is planned by Key Stage Groups. It is taught through rolling programmes allowing the children and young people to encounter some breadth within a subject whilst providing them with the opportunity to revisit, embed and extend the depth of learning that they can gain from study within the subject.

 

Curriculum Implementation

The implementation of the curriculum aims to deliver the intent. Therefore, more curriculum time is dedicated to teaching the main priorities for the children and young people. They learn new skills in the classroom and are quickly taking these skills to generalise them through Community Learning. This is carefully timetabled and arranged so that all children and young people have at least a half day a week offsite and the majority have two or even three half days learning in the community. 

The National Curriculum subjects are taught through a cross curricula topic-based approach to ensure that  children and young people get this broad range of experiences and learning opportunities. The curriculum content in each subject has been selected for its relevance or interest of the children and young people. The curriculum is coordinated by the Assistant Headteacher with curriculum responsibility in each of the schools. Assistant heads will also be responsible for curriculum continuity across the school and between the schools. This promotes the children and young people’s ability to make connections across the subjects and particularly in relation to the relevance of learning to their lives. 

Teaching is delivered throughout all parts of the school day with skilled staff able to support the development of learning in a wide range of areas throughout lunchtime and breaks as well as during the lessons, movement breaks etc.

 

Curriculum Impact

The impact of this curriculum is that:

  • Children and young people make excellent progress in the key areas that we have identified and therefore addresses their key learning needs.
  • They learn new skills and how to apply them appropriately in a range of contexts, including in the community, from an early age. Which in turn promotes emotional wellbeing and helps them to progress academically.
  • Children and young people make good progress in the wider foundation subjects of the National Curriculum learning key information to help them in adult life or developing deeper understanding of specific interests. 

 This is evidenced through:

  • half termly assessments of individual progress
  • carefully crafted annual review targets
  • teacher assessments in a range of areas and behaviour analysis
  • medium term planning evaluations

 

Values

These values are our interpretation of British Values and will form a core part of our teaching:

British Values Freemantles Version
Democracy Everyone has a voice - you are valued
Rule of Law Follow the rules
Tolerance of cultures and religions Try to understand others
Mutual respect Show respect for all
Liberty Freedom to access opportunities
Understanding Autism, anxiety etc * Accepting difference
Safety* Feeling and Keeping safe

 *not specified as a British Value by the DFE added by Freemantles as considered to be particularly important in our context.

 

As pupils move through school, where it is appropriate, students may move to using the words used within the British Values too.

These values will form the themes for Assemblies across the school, in addition they are a major focus of our Social Context Curriculum