Pupils stay at the Unit for varying periods. Our philosophy is to seek approaches which will re-motivate pupils to learn, highlight any barriers to learning and provide data showing the performance of each pupil. This data is regularly shared with the schools the pupils are dual-registered with.
Many of the pupils referred to the PRU come to us with behaviour difficulties which are the main reason their school cannot continue to manage. We require a detailed referral so we can begin to measure progress and have an understanding of any risks pupils may pose. Similarly, accurate and specific information from our setting is vital for schools, outside agencies, parents/carers and to carefully discuss with the pupil themselves if this is appropriate. Staff are vigilant and reflective. Pupils are supervised for the whole of their day at Moorbridge. Daily records are completed at the end of each day and these can be analysed to look for patterns and triggers. Staff use their expertise when working with pupils who are failing at school to devise lessons which are appropriate and relevant. There are opportunities for enrichment as part of our curriculum and we provide opportunities for turn-taking and social communication through the day with adult modelling appropriate responses.
Many of the pupils who attend Moorbridge PRU have negative attitude towards school and school subjects. Many have problems accessing large parts of the National Curriculum, caused by a combination of factors: poor literacy or numeracy skills; limited concentration; problems with interaction with other pupils, and a general lack of confidence and self-esteem, Mental Health, Anxiety, Stress Disorders.
Therefore there is little point therefore, in attempting to replicate the lesson content and teaching approaches that have failed in the past to motivate these pupils in their mainstream school.
Further factors to consider are:
• Pupils at the PRU vary considerably in age, from Year 7 to Year 9 in KS3
• Year 10 to Year 11 in KS4
• Groups are both mixed-ability and mixed-age
• Groups originate from many different schools.
• Pupils arrive at and leave the unit constantly, often with considerable impact upon group dynamics.
• Pupils also stay at the unit for varying periods, which can range from 6 weeks up to a year.
• Subjects variations in sequence in which topics are taught means that it is virtually impossible to find common ground.
Pupils at Moorbridge are generally very keen to learn in their ‘new start’, new environment, and often surprise themselves by the amount they are able to achieve. Our philosophy is to seek approaches which will re-motivate pupils to learn, highlight any skills deficiencies and barriers to learning and provide clear data showing the performance of each pupil.
English and Maths skills, knowledge and understanding are prioritised at Moorbridge.
40 minute lessons facilitate discrete learning in Core Subjects; they are timetabled in the morning after breakfast when pupils are fresh and focussed. ‘Assertive Mentoring’ integrates assessment, target setting, tracking, mentoring and checking systems in Writing, Reading and Maths.
A key feature of the work in Moorbridge PRU is the use of SDQ’s and a Curriculum Engagement Charts as well as target setting and points achievement for Behaviour and work – all of which are used, among other things, to create tailored programmes of study for each pupil.
The Nurturing approach of Moorbridge PRU encompasses the Enrichment time of the timetable which is based on PSHE, SEAL and citizenship and is at the forefront of the Moorbridge PRU’s work.
As time is short, accurate and specific information is vital in getting to the heart of each pupil’s negative attitudes and behaviour. With the right package, pupils’ self-confidence is bolstered and they gain confidence to try new approaches and make mistakes. Academic improvement often follows as a consequence.
Enrichment is paramount in ensuring our pupils engage in curriculum. We resource our lessons carefully and look for opportunities to work out of the classroom. The use of thematic Enrichment Lessons and Creative Arts learning experiences allow the staff to contextualise the learning and offer accessibility to all the pupils. As well as demonstrating the value of learning both within and beyond the classroom the programme offers a wealth of rewards: develop practical skills, succeed in non academic environments, the chance for children to become risk-aware, but not averse to risk; to achieve negotiated goals in cooperation with others; to become an active citizen while gaining an insight into the lives of others; to have fun while learning the value of exercise, endurance and tenacity and, above all, to develop self-reliance and self-confidence.
In each academic subject, staff use their experience of working with pupils who are failing at school to devise courses which will deliver the desired objectives within each theme. Courses need to be linked with opportunities for enrichment and SMSC intertwined. The themes should be sufficiently interesting and fast-paced to re-motivate pupils who have switched-off from school, and are capable of challenging the ablest while allowing sufficient differentiation to enable pupils with learning difficulties to be supported.
For some subjects-it is possible to ‘cherry-pick’ the topics and approaches which most pupils will enjoy, while still covering a good deal of ground within the timescale. Such an approach also makes it easier to provide appropriate materials for pupils of a wide range of ages and abilities.
Careful use of whole-group teaching is important in fostering the vitally important social skills many of our pupils lack as well as IPGR – Individual Pupil Grade Range is in place for all pupils and the work set is dictated by pupils’ current attainment (see Assessment Policy), individual profiles and behaviour targets rather than simply by year group. This individualised approach enables pupils to be taken out of lessons to work one-to-one with support staff at very short notice and with minimal loss of continuity.
Other subjects help to deliver the core objectives of the Moorbridge PRU of reengaging pupils in education as well as promoting improvement in individual subjects. The aim is not simply to improve standards in these subjects, but to challenge pupils to take responsibility for their own learning, to work collaboratively and to reflect upon their own progress. As both starters and plenary sessions are designed as tasks split between teams in the class a spirit of cooperation and competition is encouraged. This is of vital importance if the barriers to learning experienced by many pupils are to be broken down.
The curriculum is differentiated for individual pupils according to need and this may be through content, delivery, support and expected outcomes.