Alternative Provision Policy

  1. Introduction

Releasing Potential recognises that children who are referred to us have struggled to access education and many have been out of education for significant periods up to several years. We understand that because of the needs and risks they present, it can be difficult to place these children on a school roll; for this reason we have developed our own alternative provision (AP) which is designed to re-integrate students into education from their own starting points whilst registered on our roll.

AP students are placed on one-to-one part-time timetables and work, for the most part off site in the community or outdoors; this may include some remote learning if the student is able to cope in this setting. AP students access a reduced curriculum consisting of Maths, English, PSD and Project which is embedded in off-site activities as well as in some more traditional tutoring in public places such as libraries or community centres. A strong emphasis is placed on mapping cross-curricular outcomes for AP students across the entire school curriculum.

Please see referrals flow chart for information on what parents/carers can expect in relation to their child’s AP timetable.

2. Attendance and safeguarding

 Please see school attendance policy for general principles and process for managing absences.

We take our responsibility for safeguarding children extremely seriously. We believe that attendance at school is key to children’s safety; as part of this it is essential that we keep track of our students during school hours, regardless of whether or not they are expected to have face to face contact with our staff that day. For this reason we have created a system of welfare checks where each day that a child is not present, whether or not they are timetabled for contact with staff parents/carers will be sent a text from the school office. The text will ask parents/carers to confirm that they know where their child is and that they are safe and well. If we don’t receive a reply within an hour of sending the text the AP Manager or DSL will follow up with a phone call to make sure that there is no cause for concern.

All information will be saved on our web-based portal  The Designated Safeguarding Lead is responsible for assessing whether attendance text responses (or lack of responses) indicate that there are risks to students’ safety and wellbeing; in a case where we do not have a positive response to our text and cannot contact parents/carers by phone, the DSL will make a decision on whether to refer the concern to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

Some students on the AP roll receive their education at other settings; in the case of SENse Learning, the web-based portal will be updated daily by the home setting and any missing data or concerns will be chased by the Institute as they arise. Institute will liaise.

3. Behaviour

For general principles and practice please see school Behaviour Policy

Releasing Potential understands that AP students have experienced disruption and trauma before and during their school careers, and that they face significant barriers to full inclusion. For this reason, our behaviour management policy draws on Choice Informed model which aims to resource students to recognise and make good decisions around their behaviour; this begins with establishing authentic relationships of mutual respect and trust between staff and students.  We understand that progress in social and emotional development, as much as in the academic sphere, can be slow, and we are prepared to be patient in working with students.

We do not restrain; we have made a policy decision that it is better to have broken furniture and fittings sometimes than to have relationships damaged. Our ethos and approach are encapsulated in the bespoke NVQ 3 in Management of Challenging Behaviour which all staff complete (regardless of whether they are on the delivery team).

4. Curriculum

4.1 Focus and ethos

4.2 Core subjects

4.3 External provision

4.4 Delivery of the curriculum

4.5 Qualifications

4.6 Cross-curricular themes

4.7 Curriculum planning

4.8 Key skills development

4.9 Additional needs

4.10 Careers advice and development

4.11    Pupil assessment procedures

4.12     Social emotional learning

4.1 Focus and ethos

The Alternative Provision curriculum at Releasing Potential is bespoke to the school and has been designed to take into account the needs of students who are unable to access the full school curriculum. Core subjects have been chosen because they are meaningful and relevant to the lived experience of our students and to equip them to achieve their aspirations at school and in the future. They have also been chosen to reflect the (usually) low starting points from which students on AP can access provision in academic subjects. In addition to core subjects, external provision may be arranged for students who require specialist input because of their identified special education needs.

The AP curriculum provides learning across a range of diverse areas and aims to give students a well-rounded education where tutors can be flexible in responding to students’ needs, interests and motivation. The aim of the AP curriculum is to balance practical learning with key skills development, and in particular the development of numeracy, literacy, social skills and problem-solving skills.

Releasing Potential takes a holistic approach to teaching and learning. We aim to address the basic moral, spiritual and domestic needs of our students, whilst recognising that not all our students are ‘ready to learn’. There is a focus on encouraging students to make healthy decisions for themselves through student-led and tutor-guided activities. Releasing Potential believes firmly in a reflective practice model and this is incorporated into the curriculum to improve practical skills and knowledge and to recognise the development of emotional intelligence and resilience.

Teaching on AP will not usually take place in a classroom environment. This is to encourage engagement with the curriculum in ways that students value and in the settings in which they feel most comfortable. While the learning outcomes and success criteria on AP are identical to those at the same levels in RP school, the method of delivery will vary according to the students’ individual needs and interests.

4.2 Core subjects

AP provision is made up of four core subjects.

  • English Functional Skills
  • Maths Functional Skills
  • Personal Social Development (PSD)
  • Project

English

English is broken down into 3 skills areas:

  • Speaking, listening and communication
  • Writing
  • Reading

These areas give students a balance of literacy skills to help them progress to further education, training or work. Other areas include:

  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Presentation
  • Handwriting
  • Creative writing

Students work to their own level, ensuring that progress on an individual basis and any gaps in learning can be addressed by the tutor.  English sessions are embedded in a range of alternative delivery models and Learning Outcomes and Success criteria are often evidenced through practical skills as well as written work.

Maths

Maths teaching and learning is embedded across all core AP subjects, in both theoretical and practical senses. All functional skills in Maths are covered at each level according to the student’s abilities.  Maths sessions are embedded in a range of alternative delivery models and Learning Outcomes and Success criteria are often evidenced through practical skills as well as written work.

Maths sessions will include:

  • Notation and lay out
  • Presentation
  • Break down of steps
  • Terminology
  • Using a calculator
  • Estimating – checking procedures
  • Multiplication tables

PSD

Releasing Potential school specialises in working with children who have SEMH difficulties. All our students struggle with social and emotional issues which have been barriers to their full inclusion in mainstream education and society. For this reason, PSD is a crucial element in the AP curriculum. Through teaching and learning in PSD students can gain insights into the possibilities available to them in the wider world and can develop the knowledge and skills they need to access them and achieve to their full potential.

Project

The Project curriculum is delivered against the ASDAN Project schemes of work and can be accessed from Entry level 1 up to Level 3. ASDAN Project outcomes are generic which allows students to choose projects which fit with their interests and enthusiasms. PE, for example is delivered under the Project scheme of work; but the range of possible projects under the SOW is extensive.

4.3 External provision

Students on AP will have a package of provision agreed before starting their placement. While the four core AP subjects will be prioritised (particularly Maths & English) external provision may be appropriate where it has either been successfully established prior to referral or it has been identified as a requirement to meet the needs of the student. Examples of external provision may include:

  • Specialist Autism provision
  • Higher Level English & Maths tutoring
  • Specialist lower-level English & Maths tutoring including phonics
  • Highly specialist SEMH provision

4.4 Delivery of the curriculum

Outdoor Education is a key element in the ethos of Releasing Potential which enables students to connect with the natural environment, respect the planet, be healthy and active, build confidence and self-esteem through taking managed risk, learning practical and leadership skills. Basing delivery in the outdoors is one example of a key pathway through which AP subjects will be delivered to meet the needs of students who struggle to cope in traditional learning environments.

The table below shows some key delivery methodologies for AP but this should not be seen as exhaustive. An appropriate programme will be devised by the AP Manager and the Curriculum Lead to meet the needs of each individual student.

 

Delivery method Subjects Embedded Qualifications Possible

Outdoor Education

Pathway

Maths, English, PSD, Project

·         NCFE Maths (up to L2)

·         NCFE English (up to L2)

·         NCFE PSD (L1)

·         ASDAN PSE (up to L2)

·         National Governing Body Qualifications

·         Duke of Edinburgh Award

Food Studies Pathway Maths, English, PSD, Project

·         NCFE Maths (up to L2)

·         NCFE English (up to L2)

·         NCFE PSD (L1)

·         ASDAN PSE (up to L2)

Farm Pathway Maths, English, PSD, Project

·         NCFE Maths (up to L2)

·         NCFE English (up to L2)

·         NCFE PSD (L1)

·         ASDAN PSE (up to L2)

 

4.5 Qualifications

Students are given the opportunity to achieve a number of formal qualifications during their time at Releasing Potential. The aim for AP students is to transition into the RP School to access the full curriculum to this end, but we recognise that some AP students will struggle with this. AP students will be registered for qualifications in the four core AP subjects should they be unable to transition to RP School:

  • NCFE Functional Skills Qualification in English (Entry Level 1-3, Level 1-2)
  • NCFE Functional Skills Qualification in Maths (Entry Level 1-3, Level 1-2)
  • NCFE Award in Personal Social Development (Level 1)
  • ASDAN Personal & Social Effectiveness Project (Level 1 / Level 2)

4.6 Cross curricular themes

Our web-based portal automatically cross references learning outcomes when they are achieved for a subject other than the primary one being delivered which means that cross curricular links can be recorded and measured against the appropriate schemes of work.

The Curriculum links systematically with the theoretical framework underpinning the School’s behaviour management policy, namely the five genetic needs set out in William Glasser’s Choice Theory:

Survival, Love and Belonging, Power and Self-worth, Freedom, and Fun.

These themes run throughout curriculum delivery and are linked with progress within core subjects.

Releasing Potential recognises its responsibility to promote an understanding in its students of British values, namely: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of people of all faiths and none. This essential element of student learning is addressed through a range of curricular and non-curricular activities, both formally as part of PSD delivery, and through additional trips, visits and activities; these include:  prison visits, council chamber visits, participation in local events such as Remembrance Day services, mock elections and debates to coincide with General/By/Local elections, talks by Police and magistrates.

Students are encouraged to explore the rights and responsibilities involved in being a member of a family, of Releasing Potential, the wider community, the UK and the world at large. This occurs through all aspects of the curriculum, including PSD, English and Project and a range of delivery strategies are used including formal debate, role play and workshops. Display boards are visible around both sites on which information about news current events is shown; this encourages discussion and debate. Students and staff take part in a range of charitable activities throughout the year, including Comic Relief, Children in Need, Save the Children Christmas Jumper event.

Within all aspects of the school day we seek to address the personal, health and social needs of our students. This is done through formalised lessons as part of the PSD curriculum, and through responding to students’ conversations during lessons and breaks.

Releasing Potential has a high standard of conduct when working with young people, with a focus on taking responsibility for one’s own actions. Staff are expected to model the mantra ‘clean, decent and honest’ in their conversations and actions in the workplace. The same is expected of our students. This applies across the curriculum and provides many opportunities for spiritual, moral social and cultural development.

Where there are opportunities, the curriculum will reflect the cultural diversity of the UK, particularly through the PSD curriculum. Centre Managers and Subject Lead work together to co-ordinate events and activities and advise on delivery strategies.

Staff work hard to challenge students to use appropriate and respectful language when talking about people and practices different from their own. When appropriate staff may arrange a visit from or to a particular place or people to challenge the prejudices students may have; for example a visit to the local mosque, or a visit from local police officers.

4.7 Curriculum Planning

As part of the referral process staff will visit the student at home and will discuss with them and their parent(s) the needs set out in their EHCP and whether /how Releasing Potential may be able to meet them. If there is agreement from all parties that RP is able to meet need, the child is accepted on roll under our Alternative Provision programme. By this point staff will have an expectation as to whether the child is able to access our full curriculum, but the child will undertake a 6-week assessment programme co-ordinated by our AP Manager.

During this time the student attends part time and is assessed against the needs identified in their EHCP according to the RP offer. At the end of the assessment period most students will transfer to the RP school; if the assessment shows that the child is not able to access the full core curriculum, or to cope with a full time timetable the student will remain on AP for the next half term at which point a review will take place as to whether they are ready to transition to school or need to remain on AP for a further half term.

We have long-term plans for all core subjects delivered. In English and Maths a baseline assessment will take place when the student joins on roll and the programme followed in these subjects will be based on the starting point identified. In other core subjects students will start on programmes according to year group expectations and taking into account their age, what we are aware of about their aptitude, previous experience and other additional needs. At the midway point in each half term the AP Manager will liaise with the Curriculum Lead to review progress for each student against the SOW for the programmes they are following and adjustments will be made where necessary to ensure each student is working at the appropriate level and can be challenged to fulfil their potential.  The Curriculum Lead will gather information from Subject Leads to guarantee that judgements are based on accurate data.

Schemes of Work are in place for all subjects and all year groups with differentiation for varying abilities included. Individual AP tutors are able to organise their short term planning in their own way, however it is expected that after delivery of each medium term plan, provision will be reviewed and improved for future use. A curriculum review is held by the Curriculum Lead and School SLT during the summer term where curriculum elements can be updated so as to remain current, in line with best practice and relevant to student learning.

4.8 Key Skills Development

The focus of our key skills curriculum is to provide the young people with the skills they will need for life, with a particular focus on communication and numerical skills. The young people will present with a range of abilities and confidence levels, we focus on overcoming barriers to reading, writing, speaking and listening and maths by focusing on small manageable tasks provided with a high level of support.

The young people are encouraged to develop their speaking and listening skills throughout their time in the school, through conversations over break times and lunch times as much as within formalised class discussions and debates. The staff will model a range of ways of speaking in different contexts and pick up on inappropriate ways that the young people may express themselves.

4.9 Additional Needs

The curriculum that is delivered seeks to be flexible to meet the individual needs and interests of the young people. By working 1:1 with an AP Tutor each young person will get the support that they need to complete the work to an appropriate standard.  It is important that poor literacy skills are not a barrier to learning in other subjects such as PSD and Project.

4.10 Careers Advice and Development

We seek to develop the young people’s understanding of their future career options in a number of ways, these include:

  • Looking through college prospectuses
  • Visits to local colleges
  • Support with making college applications and attending interviews
  • Interview practice
  • Advice from specialist careers advisor (Find it Out Service in West Sussex, Hampshire Careers and Employability Service in Hampshire)
  • Online careers options packages (e4s)
  • Releasing Potential Enterprises which allows students to participate in all aspects of running a small scale business
  • Visits to a range of work places
  • Talks by visiting experts in various career areas
  • Work placements and work experience

In Year 11 students take part in work experience tasters; in Years 12-13 students take part in work placements which can lead to paid employment.

4.11 Pupil Assessment procedures

We are aware that Ofsted Subsidiary Guidance published in January 2014, requires inspectors evaluating past attainment and progress to take account of the school’s own assessment data. Ofsted also insists on inspectors considering the core objectives of the school’s work. To this end, we believe it essential that the AP programme assess and record attainment and progress in terms which are meaningful across the range of student needs and abilities, and of subject areas delivered.

There are a number of ways in which AP student progress is monitored at Releasing Potential. It is important to highlight that progress is individual to each and every student and we believe that not all progress is recognised through academic achievement or through data.

Target Setting

At the start of each term, AP students are invited along with a parent/carer to attend a Target Setting appointment, where the tutor along with the student and parent/carer are able to reflect on the previous term and how targets were or were not achieved, and discuss what new targets should be set for the coming term. These targets are based around Emotional Intelligence as well as Academic goals and are linked with EHCP outcomes. It is also an opportunity for students work to be shared with parents/carers and any questions to be answered about the term ahead.

Evidencing

All work students complete, including reflective journals and record workbooks are part of the evidence of their own work and learning during subjects such as Project. Journals, worksheets and other evidence are a way for staff to monitor any changes in the student’s awareness of self, self-esteem, ability to recognise achievement, positive and negative attitudes with the aim to make students more self-reflective and understand their own actions, achievements, ability to enjoy and socialise. This evidence is a record of student’s progress and achievements across subject areas.

Student Progress Report

These reports are completed at the end of each term as a summary of the student’s progress during the last term. They are part of an open conversation with students where they have a chance to reflect on their own progress in areas including:

  • Attendance
  • Attitude
  • Social skills
  • Achievements
  • How targets have been met
  • Aims for the future
  • Student’s reflection

These reports are sent to parents/carers or other professionals with a keen interest in the young person. They provide an overview of the progress that is being made and are written with the input of a number of staff who may work with the student.

Levelling

Students are levelled based on the work they produce during the year. At the end of each term, students in years 11 and 13 complete practice papers for English and Maths in preparation for formal assessments. Completed work is marked on a regular basis against the criteria for English and Maths, these levels are recorded throughout the year and used as a measurement of pupil progression on our database system.

4.12 Social Emotional Learning

At Releasing Potential (RP), given the difficulties faced by our students, there is an emphasis on achieving outcomes in terms of social and emotional learning.

Baseline assessments are made in relation to social emotional learning through the Outcomes Star system, which helps the student to recognize her/his own strengths and improvement areas. This produces a visual representation of the current situation as they see it. The assessment is repeated termly and allows students, staff, parents and referrers to measure and record distance travelled over time.

Additionally, our SHAPE system is fully embedded in all aspects of curricular and non-curricular learning. SHAPE scores are recorded daily, weekly and half termly. They are analysed informally by staff and individual students after every session in order to recognize achievements. The data is recorded on the web-based portal and evaluated formally on a half termly basis and reported in writing to parents and referrers.

In the case of settings who do not have access to the web-based portal the AP Manager will liaise with the home setting and ensure that attendance and progress are entered on the web-based portal at regular intervals.