Teaching, Learning and the Curriculum
Woodham Academy prides itself in being inclusive and will endeavour to support every child regardless of their level of need. All students follow a broad and balanced curriculum at a level and a pace that is appropriate to their abilities. Our ethos ensures that all students have access to the school curriculum and all school activities. Our curriculum and curriculum support is designed to:
- Help all students achieve to the best of their abilities, despite any difficulty or disability they may have and provide an education which is as broad, enjoyable, and interesting as possible and allows all students to reach their full potential.
- Ensure that teaching staff are aware of and sensitive to the needs of all students, teaching students in a way that is more appropriate to their needs.
- Allow students to gain in confidence, improve their self-esteem and enable all students to understand and value themselves and their community, developing a set of values which will enable students to act with compassion, understanding and tolerance for the common good.
- Work in partnership with parents/carers, students and relevant external agencies in order to provide for children’s special educational needs and disabilities.
- Identify at the earliest opportunity, all children that need special consideration to support their needs (whether these are educational, social, physical or emotional)
- Make suitable provision for children with SEND to fully develop their abilities, interests and aptitudes and gain maximum access to the curriculum, supporting them to achieve the highest possible standards in literacy and numeracy
- Ensure that all children with SEND are fully included in all activities of the school in order to promote the highest levels of achievement.
- Give every child the entitlement to a sense of achievement, providing them with a curriculum that leads to qualifications which are appropriate and will support students through further education, training and careers.
- Encourage students to think clearly and make rational decisions based upon knowledge, information and experience, preparing them to accept responsibility for themselves and their wellbeing, economic and otherwise, and contribute to, and cooperate with society.
- Give students an appreciation of creative, aesthetic, sporting, scientific, mathematical, linguistic, spiritual, cultural and technological traditions and achievements as well as to promote intellectual curiosity so that students acquire basic knowledge, concepts, skills and practical abilities to equip them for life in modern Britain.
All students receive one lesson of core RS and core PE. PSHE, Citizenship and Careers Education are delivered through weekly Personal Development lessons and afternoon registration periods.
At times modifications to the curriculum may be implemented. To successfully match student ability to the curriculum, Woodham Academy continues to implement a range of strategies that include:
- Matching teaching and learning methods to individuals to maximise student learning.
- Differentiated materials (both for reinforcement and extension).
- Access to digital learning resources where this will enhance learning.
- Additional in-class support.
- Additional out-of-class support.
- Flexible groupings (including small group work).
- A supportive curriculum – including an integrated literacy and numeracy-based curriculum at Key Stage 3.
- The appropriate use of rewards and consequence sanctions.
- Mentoring as appropriate to individual need.
- Assessment procedures that emphasise students’ strengths and achievements.
- Applications to examination boards to obtain access arrangements as appropriate.
- Regularly reviewing the policy and its application in order to achieve best practice
For further information you can view the Teaching & Learning Policy and the Curriculum Development Policy in the School Policies section of our website.
How we ensure our curriculum is accessible
- Quality First Teaching. At Woodham Academy, we understand that all teachers are teachers of SEND and that it is important that we meet the needs of our students within our everyday lessons. Information sharing is vital to this process so that appropriate and supported differentiation can be put in place for the learner.
- Specific group work. We offer a range of interventions in the form of small group work. The work that takes place is often linked to literacy and numeracy or social and emotional learning.
- Specialist group support from outside agencies. There are a number of outside agencies that are available to our school. They can offer a range of support for students here at Woodham Academy. Alongside this, there have been training programmes provided by services such as the Hearing Impairment, Autism and Social Communication that have and continue to take place to upskill our staff so that we can continue support once the agency work comes to an end.
- Specific individual support for children whose learning needs are severe, complex and lifelong and what this means for your child. At Woodham Academy we rely upon the specialist support and guidance that outside agencies such as, Speech and Language Therapy, Hearing Impairment service, CAMHs etc. provide. The assessment procedures and recommendations that these services offer allow us to put in targeted intervention and support for individual students within our school.
- Range of teaching and learning styles. We believe here at Woodham Academy that we teach our students how to become independent learners through a very structured range of teaching and learning styles. The intention is that this will support students to become more effective learners. Students will be able to think for themselves, discuss their own learning and transfer the skills that they have learnt in one curriculum area into other curriculum areas. Ultimately, students will leave our school with excellent exam results through high quality Learning and Teaching, but also with the ability to continue to learn effectively in further education and their later life beyond this.
- A broad range of extra-curricular activities, including homework club and Learning Centre. Students of all ages and abilities are encouraged to attend our enrichment sessions that run across the academic year. Support is available at break and lunchtimes to help with establishing friendships or providing a quiet area if needed. Support is also available to discuss homework or just to have access to a quiet room for revision.
Specialist training for staff is provided by a number of outside agencies: Cognition and Learning team, Educational Psychology, CAMHs, Speech and Language Therapy and the Hearing Impairment service.
Support for children with physical needs
Where possible we endeavour to meet the full needs of our students who have a physical disability. We can do these through physical amendments to the school building, changes to timetable, access to the lifts at all times, time out passes, mentors and specialist training from outside agencies.
Support for children with speech, language and communication needs
Support for students with speech and language difficulties are met through quality first teaching. Promoted strategies include: Careful use of cues, visual contact, repetition of key strategies when decoding tasks, sequencing and chunking information etc.
Support for children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties
At Woodham Academy, we have non-teaching members of staff who work with young people in the following capacity:
Anxiety reducing group sessions
Self-esteem and resilience groups
Social skills groups
Information and advice on all aspects of wellbeing
A ‘Well-being’ room, where supervised break and lunchtime activities are run
Support for children with medical needs
It is crucial that we gather information at an early stage in relation to medical needs. Often discussions with families begin the term before they begin their studies here at Woodham Academy. This allows us to make the necessary contact with outside agencies, organise specific training and create a medical care plan that can be shared with staff. In extreme cases we will organise regular multiagency meetings, so we can be kept up to date with what is currently going on for the young person and to discuss if interventions/support needs to be amended.
Support for children with English as an Additional Language
We have strong links with the EAL team at Durham County Council, who are always on hand to help us support our EAL learners.
Support for Looked after Children with SEND
For ‘looked after’ students that also have a special educational need extra support is provided through Pastoral staff. It is important that the needs of the individual are listened to and that they have the opportunity to progress at the same pace as their peers, therefore provision maps are created so that we can ensure that the individual has access to a range of resources.
For specific queries about EAL, Looked After provision, Medical or SEND provision please contact the school.