Curriculum / Prospectus / Classes
The curriculum at Birtenshaw School Bolton is varied, individualised and constantly adapted to meet the needs of every pupil. Each term has an overarching theme to support cross curricular links and help pupils connect the dots in their learning.
It supports Birtenshaw’s vision of Transforming Lives by giving pupils the opportunity to learn and develop in a supportive and creative environment in which there is a focus on recognising achievement and supporting progression.
Lessons are highly differentiated in order to meet the learning needs of all pupils and provide opportunities to develop functional skills, independence skills and skills for working life. Learning outcomes are accredited via AQA unit awards, GCSEs, Functional Skills and BTEC, ASDAN Awards and Arts Award.
All pupils at Birtenshaw School have an Education Health and Care Plan and within this plan long term aspirational targets are set. These long term aspirational targets are then broken down each term into smaller SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) targets which are the focus for pupil’s development and progress. It is these long term aspirational targets which shape each individual pupil’s curriculum and determines which pathway they will follow.
Each of the pathways are split into Key Stage 2 and 3 Curriculum and Key Stage 4 and 5. This is to ensure that once pupils enter year 9 they are able to focus on subjects and topics which interest them and engages them in a curriculum which is designed to support the transition into adulthood, develop independence and ensure that they are prepared for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
Pupils will continue to be assessed and progress will be tracked daily through our assessment system – SOLAR. Uploaded evidence may be in written, picture or video format for all curriculum areas.
Pathway 1 – this pathway is designed to support pupils who will always require guidance from an adult in order to keep themselves safe, healthy and to experience a high quality of life. The focus of this curriculum is to build independence and self-care skills so that when pupils leave Birtenshaw School they are equipped with the skills they need in order to make informed decisions, express their wants, needs and feelings and have as much independence as possible.
Pathway 2 – The aim of this pathway is to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for pupils whose long term aspirations are to live semi-independently. Pupils on this pathway are likely to always have support in their adult life but the ability to do many tasks independently. The pathway will have a focus on building pupils knowledge and skills in all areas of the curriculum so they can make informed choices at 14 in regards to future education and areas of study. These areas of study will support pupils to meet their long term aspirations and provide opportunities for them to access employment and develop a range of skills.
Pupils in year 9 will then have access to a more streamlined curriculum offer which is designed to prepare pupils for adulthood and develop awareness of cultural capital so they can be productive and contributing members of society.
Pathway 3 – The aim of this pathway is to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for pupils whose long term aspirations are to go on to study through further education, complete paid or volunteer work and live mostly, if not completely, independently. Pupils on this pathway are capable of completing most tasks without any support from adults.
This pathway will have a focus on building pupils knowledge and skills in all areas of the curriculum so they can make informed choices at 14 in regards to future education and areas of study. These areas of study will support pupils to meet their long term aspirations and provide opportunities for them to access employment and develop a range of skills.
Pupils in year 9 will then have access to a more streamlined curriculum offer which is designed to prepare pupils for adulthood and develop awareness of cultural capital so they can be productive and contributing members of society. Pupils who wish to continue their education will leave Birtenshaw School with the qualifications to do so.
In addition to the academic curriculum, individualised timetables provide opportunities for pupils to withdraw from some lessons to participate in sessions with the Occupational Therapist (OT) and Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT). The curriculum is enriched by educational trips and visits, local community links and opportunities within the timetable to engage with new experiences e.g. pony riding, music workshops, gardening and educational visits.
To support pupil’s communication and understanding many use visual timetables to structure their day.
Transition and Induction…
Many pupils who come to Birtenshaw School Bolton have been out of education for a period of time and/or have had negative experiences of school in the past. Every transition into Birtenshaw School Bolton is different and completely individual to pupils and their family’s needs. Our priority is to ensure that every pupil settles into life at Birtenshaw School in their own way and all parents and carers are given opportunities to visit the school and meet key members of staff before formal admission.
To support transitions into Birtenshaw School Bolton we can;
- Arrange visits at a time that suits, this may be during school or after school.
- Arrange taster days for children and young people
- Meet with parents, carers, teachers and other professionals
- Visit the child or young person in their current setting; home, school or other service
- Provide social stories and photographs
- Arrange phone calls / skype
- Arrange visits for children and young people to meet current pupils for lunch or an offsite activity.
This is not a comprehensive list and we work closely with families and professionals at every stage of the transition.
There are eight classes at Birtenshaw School Bolton with between five and eight pupils in each class. Pupils are classed by stage rather than age and a number of variables are considered before deciding which class would be more suitable. During the assessment period we look at how the child or young person communicates, their academic ability, the peer groups in school and how they might match, the skills and expertise of the staff in each class and many other rationales.
Each class is named after a bird of prey.