15. EDUCATIONAL POLICY
15.1 Teaching and learning Policy
Releasing Potential has a ‘choice-informed’ approach to working with children and young people. We believe that everyone has the capacity to make good choices if they have the support and resources necessary to inform their decisions and therefore their outcomes. It is the role of Releasing Potential, as educators, to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to make good choices and achieve their full potential in school and in the world at large.
We believe in working with young people with a range of abilities, all of our students have an Education and Health Care Plan. To this end our approach is flexible so that we can match the abilities and meet the needs of each of our students.
We encourage young people to appreciate and respect personal and cultural differences among each other and the wider community.
We believe that outdoor education is a vehicle to bring about change within a young person in relation to self-awareness, self-esteem and confidence. This is achieved by:
- encouraging young people to view themselves in a new light;
- enabling young people to gain a realistic understanding of their potential within the context of the activities
- give young people the opportunity to gain nationally recognized awards in the activities, which validates the learning which has taken place.
We believe that young people learn best when they:
- are happy;
- are interested and motivated;
- achieve success and gain approval;
- are given tasks which match their ability;
- clearly understand the task;
- are confident, feel secure and are aware of boundaries;
- are challenged and stimulated.
15.1.2 The Learning Environment
This should be organised to ensure that children have the opportunity to:
- work individually, and in groups
- make decisions;
- work co-operatively;
- solve problems;
- be creative;
- discuss their ideas;
- develop social skills;
- develop independence;
- use initiative;
- receive support;
- achieve recognised awards.
Learning best takes place in an environment which:
- is challenging and stimulating;
- is peaceful and calm;
- is happy and caring;
- is organised;
- is well resourced;
- makes learning accessible;
- is encouraging and appreciative;
- is welcoming;
- provides equal opportunities and promotes diversity;
- provides a working atmosphere.
Young people should be encouraged to develop organisational skills and independence through:
- appropriate tasks;
- confidence building;
- provision of suitable opportunities;
15.1.3 Routines and Rules
Routines and rules contribute to a healthy learning environment. To be effective they should be:
- agreed by the young people and clearly understood;
- fair and consistent;
- realistic and positive;
- kept to a minimum but observed;
- daily activities with which the young people are familiar.
All rules should result in the young people knowing the boundaries of behaviour and should be set within the terms of The Behaviour Policy.
All Releasing Potential students have been disengaged from education for significant periods of time. Additionally, often Releasing Potential students are not equipped emotionally to cope with baseline skills assessments. It is problematic, therefore, to make detailed judgements of prior learning when they join us. Through close liaison with referring colleagues, through EHCP and other relevant documents, tutors continually assess students’ educational and personal development history to ensure that lessons are appropriate to the needs of each young person. Using a range of tools tutors assess students’ abilities and in a range of areas, including academic achievement and social emotional development.
Curriculum planning includes strategies to differentiate between the learning abilities and needs of individual students. All Schemes of Work show these plans.
Progress is assessed using a process of continuing review, NGB qualifications, academic qualifications on the NQCF and structured RP awards as appropriate.
Tutors mark written work by acknowledging correct responses and explaining mistakes. Tutors need to arrange time to observe, assess, reflect and review achievements with each young person on a regular basis; through this they can assess and analyse progress to plan effective teaching.
Social, physical, creative and academic achievements are celebrated in many ways as an ongoing process in all aspects of RP life, by:
- verbal or written praise by tutors, peers, managers and, where possible, parents;
- displays of work;
- opportunities to perform or share;
- encouraging self esteem;
- the awarding of ‘raffle tickets’ and certificates;
- sharing success with the community.
15.2 CURRICULUM POLICY
15.2.2 Cross curricular themes
15.2.3 Alternative provision
15.2.4 Curriculum planning
15.2.5 Curriculum delivery
15.2.6 Key Skills development
15.2.7 Additional needs
15.2.10 Social emotional learning
15.2.1 Range of Curriculum
Focus and ethos
The school curriculum at Releasing Potential is bespoke to the school and has been designed to take into account the needs of our students. 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. All our students are dis-applied form the National Curriculum and require specialist provision to help them engage with education.
The 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 curriculum is to balance practical learning with key skills development. Through the range of subjects offered we seek to provide an education that allows the young people to develop linguistic, mathematical, scientific, technological, human and social, physical, aesthetic and creative 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 may not always take place in a formal classroom setting. This may be adjusted to suit the students’ motivation and reduce anxiety, which will in turn create opportunities for positive outcomes.
Core subjects are English, Maths, Outdoor Education, Food Studies and Personal Social Development (PSD).
Additional subjects in Years 7-11 are CDT, Project Work and Enrichment.
We are registered with the Northern College of Further Education (NCFE) to deliver National Vocational Qualifications up to Level 2 and with ASDAN to deliver qualifications from Entry Level to Level 3. Additionally we are accredited to deliver and assess a range of National Governing Body (NGB) awards in outdoor activities, as well as Duke of Edinburgh Award at Bronze, Silver and Gold. All our students have the opportunity to achieve these qualifications.
Formal English assessment is broken down into 3 skills areas:
- Speaking, listening and communication
These areas give students a balance of literacy skills to help them progress to further education, training or work. Other areas include:
- Creative writing
Students work to their own level within the class, ensuring that progress on an individual basis and any gaps in learning can be addressed by the tutor.
Maths teaching and learning is embedded across all subjects in the curriculum, in both theoretical and practical senses. Students on full time provision will access 2 dedicated maths lessons per week. All functional skills in Maths are covered at each level according to the student’s abilities.
Other areas include:
- Notation and lay out
- Break down of steps
- Using a calculator
- Estimating – checking procedures
- Multiplication tables
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.
Formal assessment in Outdoor Education takes place through the Level 1 qualification accredited by NCFE. Students are also able to achieve National governing Body awards in various activities, for example sailing, canoeing and kayaking, climbing.
Personal and Social Development (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 core 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.
PSD is delivered across years 7-11 and is formally assessed in Year 10 through the Level 1 NVQ award accredited by NCFE.
The vast majority of students at Releasing Potential school have problematic relationships with food. It is an essential part of our provision to meet the survival needs of students by feeding them healthily whilst at school; for this reason cooking happens often and is not limited to formal food Studies lessons; a session in any of our core subjects could be embedded in a cooking or growing activity.
Food Studies runs across years 7-11 and is assessed in Year 11 via the Level 1 NVQ qualification accredited by NCFE.
The core curriculum is supplemented by optional subjects: Craft Design Technology (CDT) and Project all of which have bespoke Schemes of Work. Additionally, students can access Enrichment and Work Experience if suitable.
Many of our students are interested in and have the capacity to excel at practical and engineering activities. The CDT curriculum allows students to develop their knowledge and skills in a range of activities including woodwork and motorcycle and outboard engine mechanics.
CDT can be delivered across years 7-13 and can be assessed in Year 11 through the Level 1 NVQ award accredited by NCFE and in years 12 and 13 through the ASDAN Project qualification (see below).
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.
Project is assessed, where appropriate, up to Level 3 through the ASDAN Personal and Social Effectiveness L1/L2 qualification, but it is possible that in Years 7-11 a student will follow the Project curriculum without completing a qualification because the core curriculum will be prioritised in terms of timetabling.
15.2.2 Cross curricular themes
Our web-based portal automatically cross references 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 Enrichment; 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 and Food Studies curricula. 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.
15.2.3 Releasing Potential Alternative Provision
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.
Parents/carers of students on the AP programme are contacted every day by telephone when their child does not attend, including on days when they are not timetabled to be at school. This enables staff to make welfare checks on the student, to record these on the web-based portal so that any safeguarding concerns arising can be followed up by the DSL through the portal safeguarding function.
15.2.4 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 3-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 and additional 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 Heads of Centre 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 subject 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.
15.2.5 Curriculum delivery
At Releasing Potential School, we value a group setting very highly and this will always be the goal for students. With this in mind, timetables are comprised of a combination of elements depending on what best meets the needs the of the student and allows for the curriculum to be delivered successfully:
- Small group classroom teaching
- 1:1 sessions
- Distance learning
- Work placements (years 9-11 where appropriate)
The curriculum consists of five core subjects:
|Core Subjects||Purpose||Glasser’s Five Needs|
|English (Functional Skills)||Life skills|| |
Power & self-worth
Love & belonging
|Maths (Functional Skills)||Life skills|| |
Power & self-worth
Love & belonging
|Food Studies|| |
Ready to learn
Power & self-worth
Love & belonging
|Personal & Social Development|| |
Social-emotional and mental health
Power & self-worth
Love & belonging
|Outdoor Education|| |
School culture & ethos
Power & self-worth
Love & belonging
A student will only access the full curriculum when they:
- Have the social-emotional and mental health capacity to access a group teaching environment
- Can show progress / achievement in each core subject
15.2.6 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.
15.2.7 Additional Needs
The curriculum that is delivered seeks to be flexible to meet the individual needs and interests of the young people within any group. By working with small groups of only 3 or 4, 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 Outdoor Education or CDT.
15.2.8 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.
15.2.9 Pupil Assessment procedures
Releasing Potential (RP) believes in improving academic outcomes for young people. Expectations of young people are high in terms of attendance, behaviour and. We aim for all students to raise to achieve 95% attendance and 7.5% persistent absenteeism. We use a clear Attendance Policy, which includes systematic monitoring and review of absenteeism; working closely with parents to convey the importance of good attendance and its links with achievement; and strategies to support and integrate students to full inclusion.
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 RP 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 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.
At the start of each term, 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.
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 Outdoor Education, PE, CDT and Project Work. 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:
- Social skills
- 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.
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.
Students are given the opportunity to achieve a number of formal qualifications during their time at Releasing Potential. By achieving these formal qualifications is a clear indicator that students are on track to succeed onto the next stage.
- 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 Professional Development using Outdoor Activities (Level 1)
- NCFE Award in Personal Social Development (Level 1)
- NCFE Award in Craft Design Technology – Food (Level 1)
- NCFE Award in Craft Design Technology – CDT (Level 1)
- NCFE Award in PE (Level 1)
- Duke of Edinburgh Award – Bronze/Silver/Gold
Awards and Certificates
Releasing Potential recognise achievement throughout many areas of the curriculum and students are able to gain RP Awards and Certificates. This helps to recognise progress and skills accomplished by students in many areas.
Examples of a few are:
- Sports day – Participation
- RP Climbing Award (Level 1-3)
- RP Mountain Biking Award (Level 1-3)
- RP Outdoor Cooking Award
- RP Forest School Award for Shelter Building
15.2.10 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.
15.2.11 Releasing Potential Post-16 Traineeships
Releasing Potential offers a small post-16 provision for students who are emotionally vulnerable and find it difficult to engage in a larger or more mainstream setting.
RP Post-16 runs as a 1 or 2-year programme. Students’ programmes are based around work placements which are set in Releasing Potential businesses, such as Emsworth Outboards and the RP Sailing Centre, or in external organisations, arranged by RP or independently. In the case of independently organised placements, parents/carers need to authorise their child’s participation; RP staff will make checks on the suitability of external placements and will visit students on site.
Students on our Post-16 programme study English and Maths up to Level 2, ASDAN Personal and Social Effectiveness / Extended Project up to Level 3, and ASDAN Employability Level 1/Level2.
Students who are able to progress onto further education or training, work placements or apprentices after year 1, will do so. Those who need further support will remain for the 2nd year where further training and time is given to preparing students for an appropriate next destination.
Focus and Ethos
The aim for students who participate on our Sixth Form programme is to gain an understanding of career opportunities, working life, and independent living. Through practical knowledge and experience, students are empowered to be independent young people who can access further education/training, apprenticeships and even work by the end of the course. This gives students the confidence to believe in themselves, recognise their strengths, enabling them to develop further and contribute positively to society.
Each student works to their own programme which is suited to their needs and motivations. The main focus is to get students ‘work ready’ and support their pathway into further education, an apprenticeship or work.
Students’ individual timetables consist of 4 core areas: English, Maths, Employability & Project. All other subjects are catered specifically to the group or young person to enable their progression towards achieving their focus.
Even though students have personal timetables, they are encouraged to interact and work with their peers to build positive working relationships where possible. Teamwork is an important element to student’s personal development; learning to work with others using effective communication skills is good preparation for work experience and placements.
This core skill is continued throughout Sixth Form as it is for the rest of the school (please see Curriculum for years 7-11). The focus is on functional skills and working on filling the gaps of knowledge.
English is based around work related topics and independent living themes which may include:
- CV writing
- Letter writing
- Job applications
- Administration and formal correspondence
This core skill is continued throughout post-16 traineeship as it is for the rest of the school (please see Curriculum for years 7-11). The focus is on functional skills and working on filling the gaps of knowledge.
Maths is based around work related topics and independent living themes which may include:
- Calculating tax
- Wage slips
- Household bills
- Time management
Post-16s follow the ASDAN Employability L1 or L2 Schemes of Work while attending work placement opportunities. This allows work placements to be structured and relevant to transitions into work or further education. Employability focusses on getting students work ready and covers generic units relating to subject such as transport training, personal finance, customer service and health and safety in the workplace. Students leave post-16 with a qualification (certificate or award) at L1 or L2 depending on how many units they are able to complete.
Students can take part in projects to suit their own needs and interests at a level that work for them (up to L3). Projects are designed collaboratively and can also take place in work placements if appropriate. Project qualifications that can be pursued (if appropriate) include:
- ASDAN Level 1 in Personal & Social Effectiveness
- ASDAN Level 2 in Personal & Social Effectiveness
- ASDAN L3 Extended Project
Post-16 Work Experience and Placement
Preparing students to be work ready is an essential part of the post-16 traineeship programme. Students have opportunities for workplace visits, supported work experience and work placements. This gives the students practical experience of working life and the routes that could be available to them. During work experience and placements students are monitored by a supervisor and feedback is discussed with the post-16 traineeship tutor. This gives students the chance to reflect and monitor their own progress during the process. Work experience and placements may lead to further employment.
Understanding the nature of our students, all work experience and placements are selected very carefully, and are primarily small business models which can be flexible to accommodate the needs of the young people.
Releasing Potential have several in-house opportunities and enterprises in which students are able to gain practical work experience. These include:
- RP Printing Business
- Marine Engineering
- Introduction to Farming and animal care
- Maintenance Assistant
Residential and expeditions are also available to all post-16 traineeship students.
Havant School Site:
Releasing Potential School
7 Kingcroft Court
Charity No: 1097440
DfE number: 850-6093
Chichester School Site:
Releasing Potential School
4 St James' Works
© Releasing Potential 2017