Our students arrive to us having experienced significant medical illness and alongside this significant absence periods from education. This ranges from those who are life limited, to those with chronic illness to those with clinical mental health illness. Many of our students have additional needs such as ADHD/ASD and dyslexia. Many of our students are at risk of suicide and self-harm.
Our aim for all students is that we provide a school that is safe and highly ambitious for them. We neither make excuses nor wrap them in cotton wool. We provide an ambitious and inspiring curriculum underpinned by the expertise required to meet the needs of some very complex social, emotional and medical needs.
Aims of our curriculum:
- To meet the needs of the highly complex medical, social emotional and mental health needs of our students
- Simultaneous to the above to ensure there is academic rigour and breadth and the curriculum is ambitious for our students
- To ensure the curriculum offers breadth and balance to all students
- To ensure the curriculum both ensures critical learning deficits are filled whilst simultaneously ensuring students build the confidence to learn and remember more.
St Peter’s Centre is a very unique school where there is high ambition as well as high levels of support for what we feel students are capable of. Our aim is that students should be contributors not passengers in their own learning and our curriculum is evidence that we aim high for all students. Our curriculum is inclusive, inspiring and has high ambition. It makes no excuses for aiming high and ensures the educational diet we offer is on a peer with the best mainstreams in Surrey.
We very carefully consider the design and sequence of our curriculums and this can be seen on published information on each subject. We also open our curriculum to external scrutiny, discussion, collaboration and design so that we share good practice and never work in a silo.
The curriculum has been designed to educate young people who arrive with a variety of complex needs. In addition, most of the students have been absent for many months or even years from mainstream school due to significant medical issues. For KS3, the broad and ambitious curriculum provides a bridge to the full national curriculum upon return to mainstream school and the placement offered is up until 2 terms. Often students build up time at their home schools as the medical status stabilises. In Key Stage 4, the full core offer is available to all students and the non-core curriculum is broad, balanced and ambitious. Where medical conditions allow, students are able to study additional GCSE’s at their home schools. All students have a bespoke and personalised programme which ensures students can learn more once they are fit to do so.
We have a full breadth of curriculum suitably adapted to our level of need.
For KS3 students the curriculum covers core subjects, humanities, arts, DT, PE, RS, Careers and PHSE, RSE and Music. We also meet all statutory requirements for teaching PSHE and RSE. Students also complete units on Citizenship and cover the requirements of delivering SMSC and British values through this as well as a full assembly programme. Students, when health allows, build up time in home schools and home learning is expected online to support and consolidate learning in school.
Our curriculum at KS4 is designed to offer students the number of qualifications they will need to progress on to the next stage at post 16. Students are able to study for 5 GCSE’s in core subjects (English Literature and Language, Double Award Science and Maths). All students follow a bespoke programme whereby they study for additional qualifications when their medical status allows. Students, when health allows, build up time in home schools to do this and home learning is expected online to support and consolidate learning in school.
We employ subject specialist teacher on a part-time basis to deliver the curriculum and have a real focus on subject development for staff. We teach subject allocations in blocks of time by day which enables real engagement and depth of study in longer more knowledge rich lessons.
Our students are taught in mixed age group/mixed ability/mixed medical need groups and almost all come with additional needs. In addition, most of our students have been absent from school for significant amounts of time.
The curriculum is sequenced to ensure we are able to implement the building blocks of success. Building confidence and resilience firstly to ensure we are able to fill gaps and then progress the students more progressively through learning sequences. The implementation of our curriculum is about filling gaps and then building enough confidence to be constantly learning and remembering more
To learn and remember more all staff use a lesson structure which applies itself to this idea. Clear Learning objectives and success criteria which are repetitively re-visited to support retention. Staff also use starters and plenaries to ensure new knowledge is re-visited regularly. We embed in our delivery, scaffolding and sequencing of learning so that students are able to learn in stages. We model learning in an “I do/we do” approach which promotes confidence and risk-taking with learning. For example, although most students do not speak upon arrival, we model reading of plays and texts and almost all students build confidence enough to take a part and read aloud. We model poetry analysis on a visualiser or maths problems on the e-board.
As a school we have been working together to develop this even further. As a staff we have a real focus on strategies to develop “remembering more”. Using the best evidence based research, we have focused on making learning journeys explicit to students so they are aware of the big picture in a sequence of learning. We also have been ensuring that students use feedback regularly, returning to it to inform future progress. Lastly, staff have been using strategies as part of their teaching that aid retention and recall. Using low stakes and high frequency quizzes, 5 a day starters, modelling and the like. Teachers talking less, students doing more, learning more and remembering more is a real area of focus for us.
Successful transitions from St Peter’s Centre back into an education setting at KS3 is a source of pride for this school. Clear and robust plans see that students can successfully return with learning deficits removed or reduced. Students make the transition from our curriculum to another one successfully because our curriculum is as equally ambitious and challenging as theirs and the students have built the resilience to access it in a larger setting.
At KS4, students enjoy excellent outcomes in terms of GCSE results. Our adapted P8 score for 2021 was on a par with some of the most successful schools in Surrey. This illustrates how our level of ambition translates into results that allow all of our students to access post 16 education.
For 2020/21 all students went on to college, sixth form, apprenticeship or training. Only one student did not remain in education beyond November of that academic year and went on to work and study part time.
Attendance for all students becomes regular and rises significantly upon entry. This not only illustrates students feeling safe and supported but also shows clear engagement with the ambition we have for them in the classroom and via the curriculum.
Stakeholder Surveys also illustrate the “softer impact” of what we offer in the classroom. For example, we survey students regularly to garner opinions on what and how they learn and this informs our practice.