Our approach to teaching is based on staff developing a close, trusting relationship with pupils through one-to-one contact between the child and one of their teachers, teaching assistants or support workers.
Our pupils are supported with a staffing ratio appropriate to their needs and determined by their Education, Health and Care Plan. It is important that the young person feels safe first and then, once settled and happy, they will begin to learn.
Teaching methods used include Free Flow, interactive learning programmes, Intensive Interaction, Sensory Integration, Social Skills Training, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Total Communication, Makaton, Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped Children (TEEACH) as well as more traditional methods. The methods we use are designed around what works best for ‘our’ young people and ‘our’ staff are skilled at adapting their approach to achieve the best possible results.
At Our Place School pupils are taught to recognise and reflect on their own progress and achievements and to help plan the next step in their learning. Staff use a combination of praise, encouragement and positive reinforcement to instil a sense of pride and self-worth and to actively promote motivation for learning. Staff recognise all achievements no matter how small, as the smallest steps can mean so much for our young people. Class Dojo is a reward system we use that is designed to individual pupils. Each week at our “Gathering" pupils’ achievements are recognised by all and certificates for Dojo totals and other successes are presented.
We aim that our curriculum will be pioneering - designed to influence our pupils so that they can achieve positive, happy and as independent lives as possible as they transition into adulthood. Our curriculum is evolving and flexible in nature to ensure we meet the Social, Emotional and Mental Health, Communication and Interaction, Cognitive and Sensory needs of our cohort.
We seek to lower anxiety levels and respond to the unique talents of our pupils, building their self-esteem, worth and confidence as they develop. The curriculum is starting to be embedded in our school to meet the individual needs of our pupils, and for some, to begin to address what has happened in their past to shape them for the bright futures that lie ahead.
We want our pupils to flourish and feel the joys that learning can bring - know how to look after themselves, to enjoy the changing of the seasons and actively celebrate dates in the calendar, have experienced differing genres of music, poems, books, to participate in cookery lessons, enjoy going to differing places and environments (and learning how to behave in a socially acceptable manner) gain knowledge of differing cultures, beliefs and opinions. We want our pupils to have enriched lives and develop a zest for life and learning – through the above we will teach them the daily living skills they require for their journeys into adulthood
Go to Curriculum Statement
The DfE have reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these values were reiterated in 2016. At Our Place School, these values are reinforced regularly through the resources delivered through the “Picture News” platform through:
Rule of Law
Mutual Respect and Tolerance
View our British Values
Here at the Our Place School we have two trained Forest Leaders to lead weekly Forest School sessions. We use our Forest school and outdoor learning area to inspire individuals through education in the outdoors. We are fortunate to have a great Forest Area where all learners can access a range of activities from bug hunting, shelter building, making rustic items to learning how to cook on an open fire.
At Forest School all participants are viewed as:
equal, unique and valuable
competent to explore & discover
entitled to experience appropriate risk and challenge
entitled to choose, and to initiate and drive their own learning and development
entitled to experience regular success
entitled to develop positive relationships with themselves and other people
entitled to develop a strong, positive relationship with their natural world
This learner-centred approach interweaves with the ever-changing potential and challenges of the natural world through the seasons to fill every Forest School session and programme with discovery and difference.
Each programme does also share a common set of principles, aimed at ensuring that all learners experience the cumulative and lasting benefits that quality Forest School offers.
We support the learners to build on their self-confidence through positive lessons which promotes:
Speech, language and communication
A feeling of well being
Teambuilding and friendships
As a school we are now using an approach called ‘Thrive’.
Thrive supports children with their emotional health, well-being and social skills, all of which are needed for learning to take place. Thrive is based on up to date brain science and research into child development and helps staff in school adapt their approach to individual children to build self-esteem, well-being and behaviour.
The Thrive approach begins with a detailed assessment. Once we have parental consent, teachers use a computerised screening programme where they answer a series of questions about ‘our’ young people. This assessment in turn generates ideas, activities and strategies that can be used to support individual students and groups. We know that this approach can be of huge benefit to all our young people and it enables our staff team to work together to provide consistent support to build self-esteem and equip them for managing the stresses of life in Britain today.
We have fully trained Lead members of staff supporting teachers and teaching assistants with the implementation of the Thrive approach across our school.
For more information please visit the Thrive website
At Our Place School our careers programme is tailored to meet the needs of learner groups and individuals throughout Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5. Our programme consists of learning, advice, and experiences across:
The World of Work
Transition into Adulthood
Our aims link to the DfE Careers Strategy
Making the most of everyone’s skills and talents:
We want all young people to understand the full range of opportunities available to them, learn from employers about work and the skills that are valued in the workplace, and have first-hand experiences of the workplace.
We want all young people in secondary school and college to get a programme of advice and guidance that is stable, structured, and delivered by individuals with the right skills and experience.
We want everyone to get support tailored to their circumstances at any time. All adults will be able to access free face-to-face advice with more support for those it need it most.
We want everyone to get the information they need to understand the job and career opportunities available, and how their knowledge and skills can help them in considering suitable careers.
The DFE Careers strategy names the Gatsby Benchmarks as the measure of excellence in careers provision which we follow and mark ourselves against:
A stable careers programme
Learning from career and labour market information
Addressing the needs of each student
Linking curriculum learning to careers
Encounters with employers and employees
Experiences of work places
Encounters with further and higher education
At Our Place School we are committed to supporting the transition into adulthood of all our learners through fulfilling the aims of the DFE strategy alongside meeting the diverse needs of our young people.