Amicus School Curriculum
The Intent of the Curriculum:
- The curriculum at the Amicus School is designed to be engaging, child-centered and holistic, within a safe and nurturing setting.
- We offer a creative, differentiated, and modified National Curriculum which meets the new framework for Ofsted 2019.
- We know teaching and learning begins at each pupils own level and ability and leads to independence.
- Reinforcement of learning is deemed as crucial, and our programme is cyclic, progressive and individualised.
Our school mission is:
The Amicus School sees the pupil’s learning as an essential part of their individual development and an inseparable part of the holistic, therapeutic living experience, whether this is within our care or the care of their families/carers.
The Amicus School offers therapeutic education and support for pupils, across the registered age group, embracing complex support needs and working with a trauma-informed approach within our psychoanalytical model.
The Amicus School offers a curriculum that is accessible to pupils who have missed periods of education, including significantly long periods, or who have failed to thrive in an educational setting. This may be due to a range of circumstances that result in them becoming vulnerable and losing direction in their learning. This is often due to their previous traumatic experiences which can create a barrier to learning. For children to be open to learning they have to acknowledge they ‘do not know / not knowing and this can be very painful for them and is therefore important this is delivered in a non-threatening way. The School provides nurturing and stimulation for those who may need a sympathetic transition period to engage again with their learning.
At the Amicus School, we know that the pupils may have experienced trauma and are anxious at times and exhibit a range of challenging behaviours relating to their highly complex needs. Our aim is for our pupils to return, if possible, to attend an educational provision appropriate to their needs, once their self-esteem, motivation, and academic achievement are re-established and they have progressed in their emotional development. The nurturing and positive environment maintained at the Amicus School allows a flexible path tailored to the needs of the individual learner. This is dynamic and the pace at which we work, and the pupil progresses is unique to each individual.
pupil’s social, emotional, and academic growth is fundamental to our therapeutic community. Some aspects of the curriculum may appeal to one pupil more than another and our unique method of working accommodates the individual’s interests and strengths – while gently widening their horizons and introducing new learning experiences at every opportunity.
Our Programme of Study is holistic, therapeutic, and creative. This means that every education plan is individual and due to our rigorous cycle of reviewing and updating, is constantly being adapted to the specific requirements of the pupil.
The Amicus School prides itself on teamwork and our skilled and well-trained staff. The staff work together collaboratively to generate a timetable for the pupils, which is carefully tailored to their EHCP, Educational Psychologist’s report, Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy, or any diagnosed or identified areas for development. We take heed of the expert and professional advice available to us, but we are always mindful of working within our accredited therapeutic model. We make careful observations and reflections within the class group and individually so that the emotional needs of the children are addressed appropriately to circumstances and situations which aims to promote a calm atmosphere in lessons and understanding of dynamics and any key anxieties. All assessment information accessed by our school team is used to plan further activities to promote effective learning.
At the Amicus School, we follow a sequential placement process that generates a Transition Programme matched to each individual new pupil. Assessment and Transition may take place over days or weeks and may involve more than one timetable being drawn up as time in school for the pupil increases. It may entail extensive multi-agency work and outreach visits by a range of staff from the school. We progress at the pace of the pupil not at a pace for the school’s convenience. We work closely with parents and carers and re-evaluate if the pupil appears anxious or worried and needs more time for adjustment. In our experience, this throughout transition programme leads to a sustainable and successful educational placement.
We always aim to engage the pupils and utilise every teaching and learning window possible. We encourage active learning, where pupils know what they are going to learn, why it is valued, and are given the space to practice and embed their experiences. Talking therapy and discussion are vital to what we do as is communication through play, as our pupils have the opportunity to advance their ability to communicate and understand their feelings. This is effectively promoted through group discussions and playtime where the pupils learn to become part of the group. We encourage self-awareness in our pupils and assist in an exploration of preferred learning styles. We use visual prompts widely, offer sensory experiences extensively, and incorporate auditory and kinesthetic preferences into lesson planning: By knowing our pupils very well, we can provide a safe and secure therapeutic educational provision.
The Curriculum is delivered through schemes of Work, using a topic-based approach, which utilises themes as a means of linking learning strands. This is through the Dimensions Curriculum. Core areas of study such as reading skills and spelling may be taught in more formal sessions which are progressive and need regular reinforcement. However, the core skills taught will be applied and reinforced, within topic work. The topics are chosen to be appropriate for the group. The mathematics curriculum is taught using the White Rose Mathematics Series.
The curriculum is enriched through a range of additional activities, such as Forest School, topic-based local community visits, life skills, and work-related learning.
The educational provision we provide at The Amicus School is facilitated through our therapeutic framework and therapeutic input which is engrained in our culture and practices and enables the children to access and engage in their learning and make significant progress from their starting points.
At the Amicus School, we know that emotional well-being is fundamental. Our therapeutic model allows for emotional growth and development and enables the children to begin to recover from their previous traumatic experiences and build more healthy relationships and attachments to others and be able to manage and regulate their feelings in a healthier way.
At our school, we also recognise the importance of physical well-being. We promote regular physical exercise, fresh air, and a healthy balanced diet. We know that exercise has multiple benefits therefore active periods are planned throughout the week. We hope that this healthy approach will be carried forward into later life and the Curriculum model we follow is intended to place our pupils on a path that will encompass qualities that prepare them well for adulthood, working life, being a good citizen, and making a contribution to the community.
The therapeutic approach at Amicus is fundamental to the life of the school. At all times we keep at heart the developmental age of the pupil and their readiness for learning. This comes from their combination of being able to be on task and their emotional response in the learning environment.