The Middle School Department
The Middle School Department views every child as an individual and seeks to ensure that every pupil fulfills their potential within a happy, supportive & safe learning environment.
The Middle School Department is currently divided into four class groups of pupils from Year 3 to Year 8. Most pupils are grouped by according to year groups but some pupils with complex needs have been placed in in a cross year class group in order to access a sensory curriculum and to make the teaching groups more manageable.
Pupils with complex needs have timetabled access to the dark room and sensory rooms.
Some specialist input is provided by the following services: speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, music therapy, educational psychologist, community mental handicap team, social services, Children & Family services and the school nurse.
Each class has its own timetable with planned teaching sessions. Pupils with complex needs may have an individual timetable to access a behaviour curriculum or specialist activities and sensory sessions.
Individual Education Health Care Plans are drawn up for every child and targets are reviewed every second term.
Progress is assessed twice a year using 'P' level descriptors and additional assessment tools such as MAPP.
The Middle School Curriculum
Pupils within the Middle School department fall within the chronological requirements of key stage 2 and 3 of the National Curriculum.
In Literacy and Numeracy pupils may be working on learning objectives associated with EYFS and key stage 1.
In foundation subjects most pupils access programmes of study from key stage 2 but may be working on objectives from key stage 1 if they have not gained the basic knowledge or skills in that area.This enables most Middle School pupils to access programmes of study at a relevant level of development and in foundation subjects gives pupils access to a broad, balanced and appropriate curriculum.
Within the past few years the needs and abilities of the pupils within the department have changed considerably, with some pupils needing access to a more personalised curriculum that has been developed for their specific needs.
The provision of different and safe sensory activities and environments for pupils with profound and complex learning difficulties can give valuable opportunities for interaction and responses that may be difficult to quantify in terms of subject relevance.
The Middle School classes have been using a thematic based curriculum with all classes sharing the same theme. The spiral rolling programme enables pupils to revisit and build on previous learning and ensures that pupils coming in from mainstream schools or who have moved around within Middle School have not missed learning key knowledge and skills.
In addition to reference to the school policy documents on each individual subject the following applies to grouped subjects in the Middle School curriculum.
Spoken Language and Listening skills : Literacy targets for pupils are set through Individual Education Care Plans as well as whole class objectives.
All staff promote an environment in which pupils will communicate confidently with both adults and their peers. Picture Exchange Communication (PECS), signing and symbols and communication aids are used for some pupils. Teachers work closely with the speech therapist to develop individual speech programmes and group activities on the Social Use of Language (SULP)
Reading: Emphasis is placed on the continuing acquisition of pre and early reading skills. Early years work on phonics is continued through the use of the Letters & Sounds programme.
The main reading scheme is the Oxford Reading Tree. Additional reading schemes such as National Geographic and Story Worlds are available to support older readers. Some sensory stories are available for pupils. Communicate in Print is used to support reading.
Writing: Writing their name is a key life skill and pupils are encouraged to develop additional writing skills within the context of age appropriate activities.
Pupils are also encouraged to use ICT literacy programmes and develop keyboard skills.
Numeracy and Mathematics:
Numeracy and mathematics are covered through individual targets and class practical based modules. A modified sensory curriculum has been written to work alongside the modules where appropriate for some pupils. ICT is used to reinforce numeracy skills.
Subjects are taught on a modular basis through the thematic curriculum with pupils building on prior knowledge and building depth of knowledge through the spiral curriculum.
MFL: Pupils in Middle School have access to a Modern Foreign Language through department language days and individual language lessons.
The Espresso coding programme is sued to cover the computing requirements of the National Curriculum. Internet safety is taught across subjects as well as in discrete lessons based on the SWGL digital literacy programme.
The Arts: (Art, Music)
Subjects are covered through the cross curricular themes and most pupils in Middle School perform in the school pantomime that takes place every year.
Pupils are given the opportunity to work with a Gloucestershire dance instructor and a local school on a public dance performance each summer.
Younger pupils have access to a music teacher who runs weekly group sessions and older pupils have been able to take part in a yearly singing festival with other schools.
Music therapy is provided for some pupils who have been identified as needing specialist support.
History & Geography
History and Geography modules are taken from the key stage 1 & 2 National Curriculum and learning objectives take account of pupils understanding and previous knowledge.
The Middle School curriculum follows the Gloucestershire R.E syllabus. Middle School pupils attend a weekly assembly with older pupils accessing the Upper school assembly.
Personal Health & Social Education
Personal health and social education and sex and relationships education are addressed through curriculum focus as well through daily care routines, self help and independence skills.
Pupils in Middle School have access to a range of sports including archery, tennis, golf and football with department teams attending inter-school tournaments during the year. Middle School classes have timetabled access to the school swimming pool and hall as well as the outdoor sports area. Some pupils access Dursley pool to extend their swimming skills.
In the past two year the school has focused on developing the outside areas of the school so that all pupils have the opportunity to move and improve their co-ordination and balance through access to a stimulating environment.
Deborah Lees Head of Middle School