Rabbits is one of the three KS1/KS2 classes and is part of the Semi-Formal pathway within the Academy. At present there are nine students within the class; 5 boys and 4 girls who are aged between seven and eleven years.
The students in Rabbits are working within the following ranges:
English P4 to Level 1C
Maths P5 to Level 1C
Science P5 to Level 2b
The ‘Rabbits’ are a vibrant group of students, who are playful and inquisitive. They enjoy learning through hands on experiences and play, and they love stories and singing. They love to laugh and all have very distinct personalities. All learners within the class have a range of complex learning needs related to communication, social interaction and self-help skills; most of the class have a diagnosis of ASD or ADHD.
There are three members of staff in Rabbits: Miss Amanda-Claire Millington (Teacher), Mrs Vicky Lane (Teaching Assistant), Mrs Kim Harwood (Teaching Assistant) and Miss Emily Hutchinson (Learning Support Assistant).
The children access most of the curriculum in their own classroom space which is a vibrant and stimulating environment; but full advantage is also taken of the Academy facilities including the kitchen, hall, soft play and sensory room. Opportunities are also taken to explore the wider community and local area. The students study numeracy and literacy both 4 times a week with regular reading and phonics sessions too. They also learn about science and history and geography through a cross curricular approach. They have opportunities for PE and sport, horse riding and swimming. The students explore their creative sides through art, cooking, music and drama. Learning outside the classroom takes place in the local area and through appropriate visits. Where possible we try to enhance learning with first hand experiences that enable the students to better understand the topics we are learning. This might be a visit to a Cave to enhance the topic ‘Rocks and Soils’, or a post office to buy a stamp and post a letter they have written. Opportunities to engage all senses through tasting, hearing music or sounds, smells and stimulating visual objects to touch and see are used when appropriate. We are continuing to develop our Preparing for Adulthood curriculum which develops skills, knowledge and understanding within Employment, Community, Independence and Health.
We begin every day with structured play where the students can mingle, talk and develop social skills with staff and their peers. Individual reading takes place and every child is given the chance to begin the day in a relaxed and settled way. We sing our good morning song and every child is greeted than we look at the timetable for the day. Throughout the day the students develop PSHE skills alongside cross curricular learning by engaging in a selection of well-planned and structured activities. Role play and small world play also takes place daily. A multi-sensory approach to learning enables all students to engage at their own level. Staff are supportive but facilitate the students in developing their independence. The students feel safe and secure in the environment and enjoy their time in the Academy. Students are rewarded with WAMS for good behaviour and working hard in class and this is celebrated in assembly time. An ‘I can’ attitude is encouraged in Rabbits Class!
Reading is important and individual reading happens every day. Group reading of shared texts happens during Literacy sessions, and guided reading with shared books in a small group happens weekly. We encourage the students to take a book home to read. Students are given opportunities to browse books during the Academy day.
We work closely with a range of other professionals depending on individual needs. Opportunities for working with a Speech and Language Therapist, Visual Specialist and Occupational Therapist are available to students as required. We communicate with home through the use of planners which are checked every morning and completed at hometime. We also will make phonecalls to parents when a longer conversation is needed. We like to meet parents at parents evening and at Academy events. Often when a student has done a piece of work that they are proud of we will send a copy home that day so that they can share their success. Every week one student is chosen to take home ‘Rita Rabbit’ for the weekend, to share with their family.
The Primary Phase provides a stable foundation for the student when they move into KS3 usually at age 11. The students are already familiar with staff and the Academy environment so this provides for a smooth transition.