Every student at Chalk Hill has had a disrupted experience of school prior to joining us, due to a variety of factors, such as frequent suspensions from their previous schools, multiple changes of school/provision, part-time timetables, working out of class, or being out of education completely. As an AP Academy, Chalk Hill is intended to be a short-term setting, preparing students for a return to mainstream education or other appropriate long-term provision. Consequently, our curriculum begins with assessment, designed to identify individual students’ gaps in prior learning.
The long-term curriculum plan is simple, built around a cycle of themes from the National Curriculum; from these medium plans are drawn up collaboratively by the teaching team; individual class teachers ensure that these plans are personalised to meet the needs of each student. Our personalised strengths-based approach ensures that barriers to learning are identified quickly and that gaps in learning are addressed, in order to ensure that our students have the key skills and resilience that they require to make continued progress and access all areas of the curriculum.
We aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum in line with the national curriculum, personalised to enable all students to experience success as a learner, and delivered through a trauma informed approach. This supports our students to overcome barriers to learning by ensuring that they are supported to develop their academic and personal skills
We support students to develop their sense of self as both a learner and an individual that belongs to a community, by promoting their engagement with the national curriculum subjects and seeking opportunities and experiences to broaden the student’s insight into the wider world and their future life chances and ambitions. We are committed to the education and welfare of our students and preparing them for the next step in their lives, their future aspirations as a citizen, learner and future employee.
Our classes are typically organised as follows:
Class 1: Younger students, usually Years 5-7
Class 2: Older students, usually Years 7- 9
Both these classes have a “base” teacher for English (literacy) and Mathematics (numeracy), which are the first two lessons of most days. They will also have this teacher for other subjects, depending on the teacher’s specialisms. For the rest of the time the classes will move to other teachers for a range of subjects. The two nurture-based classes spend the majority of the time with their class teacher:
Class 3 (Bridge): A nurture class for students of any age who need to develop the essential skills for learning.
Class 4: A class for students who manage better with a limited number of adults. These students are likely to have been out of education before coming to Chalk Hill.
Please note the above class structure will be adapted according to the changing needs of the intake. At the start of the school year 2022-23, classes 1, 2 and 4 all follow the model for Class 4. This may be altered as new students join the school and the profile of need changes.
Intervention: Identified students are given additional support one-to-one and in small groups away from their main class, to help them make accelerated progress in literacy and numeracy.
SEMH Intervention: Identified students are given weekly 1:1 sessions in Art Therapy, Drawing and Talking, emotional literacy and social skills when necessary.
Our curriculum is based on the National Curriculum and consists of:
- Food Technology
- Religious Education (RE)
- Physical Education (PE)
- HEROES (including Relationships and Sex Education)
- Design Technology
In addition, class 3 offers sessions in social skills, sensory and free play.
We have adapted our plans across the curriculum so that they include tasks and challenges that contribute to nationally recognised awards accredited by ASDAN. The plan is to implement and draw this work together in Life Skills lessons for the older students.
Personal development lies at the heart of our work. All our students are either at risk of permanent exclusion from their mainstream schools, or have been excluded permanently. This is typically a consequence of behaviour resulting from their Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs. Most of our students have experienced difficulty, disturbance or trauma in their childhood. They frequently experience low self-esteem, often alongside conditions such as attachment disorder, ADHD and ASD, struggling to recognise and regulate their emotions and consequently their behaviour.
It is our purpose not only to ensure that our students make accelerated academic progress, making up for missed and disrupted learning, but also to equip them to become resilient, confident, responsible and respectful students and citizens, who understand and embrace fundamental British values, in particular the rule of law, mutual respect and tolerance.
This aim is supported by a number of elements of the curriculum outlined above, in particular HEROES (formerly PSHE and Emotional Literacy), one-to-one and small group SEMH Interventions and extended learning opportunities, in the form of:
- Horse riding for selected students
- Forest School for all students
- Social skills and emotional literacy
- Life skills sessions for KS3 students
Furthermore, staff are actively encouraged to exercise freedom and flexibility within their planned lessons, to respond to social and emotional issues as they arise.
In support of this all our staff have received CPD in Trauma Informed practice, with some colleagues undertaking the practitioner diploma in Trauma and Mental Health Informed Schools and Communities. Other staff have received training in order to extend further the range of SEMH interventions we offer. In July 2022 Chalk Hill received the TISUK Award as a Trauma and Mental Health Informed School.
For up to 12 students this offer is further enhanced by Monday to Friday residential provision, which builds on and develops the work done during the school day. Boarders can access a wide range of activities, the nature of which is based on their attitude and behaviour in school that day, in an environment which seeks to promote positive social and emotional development, build self-esteem, and teach appropriate behaviours. The residential team also plan and deliver additional interventions, such as workshops on managing anger, according to the needs of the border.