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Early Years Foundation Stage
Our aim is for the Early Years’ pupils to have a happy and settled start to their education here at Castle Hill School. Our Early Years pupils and their families and carers are supported with their transition into school life through home visits, nursery visits, ‘stay and play’ sessions and our ‘open door’ philosophy. Together we help to settle young children into the Early Years class and support families and carers during this transition to school life.
We have a team of Early Years’ practitioners including our foundation teacher, nursery nurse and support assistants. Each pupil is allocated a key worker that works with the pupil and parents/carers to support the child’s wellbeing and educational needs.
Provision and environment
We provide a safe, supportive and stimulating learning environment to promote engagement, enjoyment and curiosity.
We have two large classrooms where we create a stimulating setting for children to learn and develop. Our learning environment reflects the needs of the pupils including low-stimulus options in which to learn successfully.
Continuous provision is available which provides a range of topic-based learning activities related to pupils’ interests.
Our classrooms look out over small-enclosed playgrounds where the children can play safely. They include play equipment as well as bikes, tricycles and a swing which the children love.
We aim to promote engagement, enjoyment and curiosity. We strive to ‘guide development through warm, positive interactions coupled with secure routines for play and learning.’ (Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage, 2021) As stated within the whole school curriculum overview, the fundamental principle behind curriculum design at Castle Hill School is personalisation. We aim to challenge our students to acquire knowledge and develop skills.
The Early Years Curriculum follows the Birth to 5 Matters Guidance. There are seven areas of learning and development that shape the curriculum. The three prime areas are; Communication and Language, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Development. The specific areas are; Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. Four principals underpin the guidance: Every Child is Unique, Positive Relationships, Enabling Environments, Learning and Development.
The Curriculum is applied through Castle Hill School’s Topic Cycle. Our Thematic Curriculum Guides provide a clear structure for learning. Programmes of study are taken from Birth to 5 Matters Guidance which then help to frame each student’s learning journey.
The Early Years ‘open door’ philosophy allows parents and carers to spend time within the class to ensure that pupils have a happy and settled beginning to their school life. We keep in contact with parents and carers on a daily basis through the child’s home-school diary or Big Mack Switches to report on daily activities and events. We also offer regular ‘Discovery Café’ sessions, inviting parents and carers to join us in class.
When they are 5 years old our pupils move into Key Stage 1 phase of their education. This departmental transition is planned and facilitated from an early stage. They are supported by our Key Stage 1 teachers, nursery nurses and support assistants, through regular class visits.
We have high ambitions for all of our Primary pupils, and look to work with them across a wide range of areas, providing a child-centred approach bespoke to their needs. Communication is at the forefront of our practice, and we want to help develop our pupils’ skills in making choices, giving opinions, and establishing relationships.
There are seven Primary Classes, led by a team of seven teachers and one learning facilitator, supported by a large and dedicated group of ETAs and lunchtime support assistants.
Provision and environment
We have a classroom for each Primary class, each of which is resourced appropriately to pupil need. For our learners who thrive with a range of stimulus, the majority of our classrooms will display and celebrate work and achievements, but we also recognise that for some pupils a reduced environment helps them to maintain their wellbeing and self-regulate their actions.
All of the ground floor classes have an easily accessible outside playground, which are also shared with the Primary class on the first floor.
Parents are a huge part of our life at Primary and we encourage a constant dialogue with our families. Each pupil has a home school diary where messages can be passed, but we can also be reached by telephone. There are lots of opportunities for our parents to come and join in with our fun – we have coffee mornings and celebrations throughout the school year, as well as parents evenings and yearly reviews where we can discuss pupil progress and next steps.
Pupils transitioning into Primary from our Early Years class are supported through graduated play sessions and visits from class staff. Young people coming to us from other educational settings are initially assessed at their current setting (if possible) to ensure a smooth transition to the correct class group. Similarly, pupils leaving for our Secondary department are given opportunities to visit their new peers and staff prior to the Summer holidays at a frequency and duration appropriate to their needs and understanding. The last two weeks of the academic year is given over to transition where the new classes are started, which includes going to their new phase.
We aim to enable our Secondary pupils to learn from a diverse and enriched curriculum. Students have the opportunity to access a plethora of facilities and activities here on site, with the help of our expert staff.
We have an expert team of Secondary practitioners, and support assistants to assist the students.
The team support families and carers with their transition from Primary into Secondary school life through transition periods, which allow the students to adapt to their new environments.
Provision and environment
We provide a safe, supportive and stimulating learning environment to promote engagement, enjoyment and curiosity. We have three large classroom where we have created a stimulating environment for students to learn and develop. The rooms are specific in their designs and displays for each group. In each room you will find a variety of Continuous Provision areas and specialist equipment. The continuous provision provides a range of topic based learning activities that are developed following the pupils’ interests.
As a Secondary Department, we have access to use equipment such as bikes, tricycles, playground, hydrotherapy and swimming, which the students thoroughly enjoy.
We work from a modified bespoke curriculum which has seven areas of learning; Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World, Expressive Arts and Design, Physical Development, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Sensory Development. The Curriculum is applied through the Topic Cycle which changes termly. The students will also have the opportunity to gain AQA accreditations and complete the ASDAN Personal Progress award as they study specific units of work.
We keep in contact with parents and carers on a daily basis through each child’s home-school diary to report on daily activities and events. We also offer regular ‘themed’ sessions, inviting parents and carers to join us in class to showcase students’ work.
Students can be part of the Sixth Form department for three years, until the end of the academic year in which they are 19. In sixth form there is an emphasis on developing students’ abilities to use key skills in practical ways in, for example, work towards qualifications in English and Maths. It is also a time to develop important life skills. The students work on a broad range of skills with real-life applications, often through the ASDAN Personal Progress and Personal and Social Development accreditation programmes.
Much of our learning takes place out in the community, preparing students for life beyond school and developing their skills in practical situations. This might take the form of shopping in preparation for a cooking activity, or helping out at a local shop or school.
As students approach their final terms at Castle Hill, and all the excitement within the graduation celebrations, they are ready for their next steps in life. In the build up to this transition to adult life, the Sixth Form department works closely with parents, carers and Local Authority services to explore future possibilities, help to make decisions and prepare each student for their move. The Sixth Form has regular links with Service Providers and Colleges and works closely with Kirklees Transitions Team and Adult Social Services to enable students and their families to make informed choices for the future.
AFA (Including students from Primary, Secondary and Sixth Form) :
Our Achievement for All class provides a learning resource for those students with additional complex needs.
Each personalised curriculum is formulated from the results of traditional assessment methods and through engagement profiling.
High staffing ratios ensure that opportunities for engagement and learning are exploited to the full in a safe environment specifically designed to prevent over stimulation.
Follow the links for more information regarding the work with Achievement for All;