We have approximately 200 pupils at Heltwate school across our two sites Heltwate and Heltwate at St. George’s. Our classes are named after different colours, the groups accommodate a wide range of SLD learners with a broad range of Special Educational Needs.
All students at Heltwate School have an Educational Health Care Plan, which highlights their learning needs. As a school, we have a curriculum that addresses these needs as well as the statutory requirements to provide access to the National Curriculum.
At Heltwate children and young people are placed at the centre of all we do and what we offer. All of our children and young people have unique abilities (super powers) and ways of learning, these need to be built upon to make them as successful as possible. We have developed clear Curriculum Journeys’ throughout the school (pathways), from Reception to Key Stage 5. Children’s journeys will vary as they change and develop. Students may move from one journey to another as they progress or regress throughout their time at Heltwate.
Our pupils are placed into coloured named groups based on their cognitive and academic abilities so that they are with similar peers. In addition, to our colour groups we have five Rainbow room groups, which cater for children who are on the Autistic Spectrum (ASC) and have complex needs. On entry into school pupils are assessed to determine which academic pathway is suitable for them. Pupils follow the appropriate pathway to meet their needs and this prepares them for their next stage in education and independence.
Our Curriculum Journeys aim to:
- Enable all our pupils to develop their learning and skills to ensure they reach their full potential while in a supported and safe environment.
- Provide a rich, creative and engaging curriculum with endless learning opportunities to allow individuals to progress
- Promote an understanding of British values
- Provide functional and first hand learning opportunities to all our pupils
- Provide clear accredited outcomes for pupils at the end of Yr. 11 and Yr. 14.
- Enable pupils to become confident, resourceful, enquiring and independent learners
- Help our pupils to make sense of the world around them
- Enable pupils to be a part of their local community
- Enhance pupil’s self-esteem and help them build positive relationships with other people
- Provide our pupils with the tools they need to communicate effectively
- Develop key skills in self-regulation, self –respect and to respect others
- Equip and prepare our students of skills needed in adulthood
Each Curriculum Journey is rich and varied in its content and underpins the ethos of the school and takes into consideration that every child is unique, they learn at different paces and have very different starting points.
Our Curriculum Journeys are carefully planned, highly differentiated and well resourced to meet the needs of all pupils. There is a high degree of personalisation, centred on what we know about them, their individual academic starting point, what they want and need for future aspirations and independence. The knowledge, visions and priorities of parents, carers and other professionals are captured regularly; these are incorporated into the individual pupil’s journey.
It is fundamental to our pupils’ future that we ensure that each individual has an effective communication method. We use a range of communication and engagement strategies, which may include, Attention Autism, British Sign Language (BSL), Picture Exchange Communication System (PECs) and/or Intensive Interaction for those pupils at a very early developmental level.
Each class has an overarching themed topic each half term or term. This allows teachers to plan and teach cross-curricular themed lessons that give children context for their learning. We are very fortunate to have access to four school minibuses, we use these to enrich our curriculum outside the classroom and provide pupils with the opportunity to develop key life skills within the local and wider community. Our older pupils are encouraged to take part in school based enterprise projects and external work experience, independently or supported depending on the individual.
All of our Curriculum Journeys have scope to be adapted and developed to provide successful and suitably challenging lessons for all our pupils. It is the role of our experienced and skilled classroom practitioners to plan these lessons taking full account of all the needs of the pupils in their class.
Our classrooms and teaching areas are attractive, use high quality resources and are well maintained. It is of equal importance that we take account of the learning needs of the specific learning disabilities. Classrooms for pupils with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) have low stimulus and minimal arousal, meaning that displays are kept to a bare minimum. Well-designed visual support materials are used throughout the school.