Curriculum and Assessment
We believe that we know our Children and Young People (CYP) better than anyone. Our curriculum and assessment systems are bespoke to Foxwood. We have looked at the research, listened to other special and mainstream schools and we are proud to now have a research-informed contextual intelligent curriculum. Our curriculum aims to embrace and celebrate our differences and enrich the lives of our children and their families producing bright, happy, able and successful young people.
We know what our values are but more importantly we know why.
The Foxwood curriculum is split into 3 connecting sections. Our Core curriculum provides teaching and learning in Maths and English (Reading and Writing) and our Non-Core curriculum covers the subject areas of Art, Creative, Computing, E-safety, PSD, PE, Science, and Speaking and Listening.
Our Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) curriculum begins as students enter the Academy and covers the four separate areas of Employment, Independence, Community and Health. The PfA curriculum is used to support development of imaginative yet achievable ways which promote progress under each outcome of an EHCP. When supporting a CYP with a life-limiting condition this curriculum is used to focus on progress in a sensitive, creative and personalised way.
Early Years pupils between the ages of 3 and 5 years work within the seven areas set out in the Foundation Curriculum: Communication and Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Literacy, Mathematics, Expressive Arts and Design and Understanding the World.
We know that our CYP develop at different rates. For some young people indicators included in early childhood may continue to be outcomes they are progressing toward as they get older. Therefore each new age/stage continues to develop and build on the previous ones.
If you would like to know more about our curriculum please contact the Deputy Headteacher, Miss Lindsey Norton firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assessment - Key Stage End Points (KSEPs)
There are three pathways that the CYP can follow at Foxwood Academy. These pathways often cross and do not segregate or stream our offer. Each pathway has its own set of Key Stage End Points (KSEPs) that have been written by our experienced staff and designed to reflect what we would expect of a ‘typical’ child and young person of that age developing within that pathway. This provides each CYP with a clear target. The KSEPs are written in line with national curriculum guidelines and where and when CYP meet the KSEP they move on to either the higher age level KSEP or the KSEP for one of the different pathways.
Assessment - Short Steps Tracking towards KSEPs
At the start of the academic year a teacher will look at the KSEPs, the topics timetabled during that cycle and at the CYP in their class. They then write 15 learning intentions (short steps towards KSEP) for the class to meet whilst learning that topic. These learning intentions are aimed at developing the knowledge and skills needed in the topic with the end outcome of meeting the KSEP.
If you require any further information with regard to our curriculum please email the Academy at email@example.com or use the ‘Contact Us’ form on this website.
When children and young people join us at Foxwood we use a variety of systems to help assess their ‘starting point’.
The single most important factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach them accordingly” (Ausubel et al, 1978)
We will look carefully at your child’s EHCP, we will talk to the setting that your child is transitioning from, we will visit the setting (in almost all cases) and we will observe them in class where possible. We will look at their work and if appropriate talk to the child or young person about their learning.
When available we will look at reports from the Educational Psychology Service, speech and language service or occupational therapy. We will also talk with our contact link with the Integrated Children’s Disability Service(the ICDS).
Our transition days help us see your child in our context and we invite you and a support member of staff from your child’s setting to Foxwood so that we can learn more about you all. Support staff from your child’s current setting will be able to come into class and work with our staff and we will listen to their thoughts and feedback.
Once at Foxwood we spend a number of weeks ‘baselining’ or learning about your children. Children are very unlikely at this early stage to have any formal testing, but they are likely to work in small groups or on a one to one basis so that we can make sure that the teaching and curriculum meet your child or young person’s needs. Sometimes we don’t get to know the real person until later in the year. This is fine, we will use time, nurture and relationships to find the right pathway, set the right targets and make sure your child gets the most out of their time with us.
More About Key Stage End Points:
The National Curriculum produced AGE RELATED EXPECTATION (AREs) for children in mainstream schools to work towards. We know that children with learning difficulties might not be able to meet these expectations and so we developed our own expectations using the National Curriculum AREs. We call these KEY STAGE END POINTS (KSEPs).
Rather than telling parents and carers that their children were ‘working towards’ we wanted to be able to give specific information on what the children know, understand and can do so that we can teach and help the children progress from their unique starting points. We provide a report each year.
We have KSEPs for 16 subjects across 3 pathways and across primary, Key Stage 3 and 14-19. The pathway that a pupil is on might focus their learning towards accreditation that they might eventually take at the age of 16. Examples of this can be found in ‘How We Organise Our Curriculum’.
We have high expectations of our children and young people and therefore our KSEPs are moderated internally and externally. Our children tend to do well in accredited courses (up to and including GCSE qualifications) when compared with other special schools which tells us that our KSEPs are pitched at the correct level. We continue to monitor these to ensure children continue to be challenged at the right level.
Simple examples of key stage end points for primary HEALTH (part of the PfA curriculum):
Pathway 1 – I am able to find my tooth brush.
Pathway 2 – I can add the right amount of toothpaste and can clean my own teeth.
Pathway 3 – I can pack a bag for a night away from home. I can follow a basic self-care routine.
*All subjects at Foxwood Academy are CORE. Learning to be part of a community, learning about consent or learning how to stay healthy are as important as learning in Maths and English. To help avoid confusion for people looking at our website, we still describe the curriculum as Core and Non-Core. This keeps us inline with other local schools.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” (Dr. Seuss)
Foxwood Academy values reading as a key life skill and are committed to enabling all our students to become lifelong readers who read for pleasure and apply their skills functionally. Each phase and pathway therefore has a distinct set of moderated Reading Key Stage End Points (KSEPs). These range from developing early reading behaviours such as holding a book and turning the pages through to being a fluent reader who is able to make inferences about a text.
The main reading scheme used in the Academy is Collins Big Cat Phonics for Letters and Sounds. Each book is colour banded, fully decodable and matched to a student’s phonic level (Phase 1 through to Phase 6). More challenging texts are available for students working beyond Phase 6 to further increase exposure to vocabulary and develop comprehension. Age respectful books are also available such as the Dockside and Talisman series for older students.
The main library space has recently been redeveloped to make it an accessible space for everyone but staff strive to make continual improvements. Books and other reading materials are available in every classroom appropriate for students’ ability and age. The Academy also has access to the Education Library Service and we draw on their expertise to source high quality materials to enhance topic-based learning. The Academy plans to build a new and bespoke library area which is indicative of the importance placed on reading and the desire to provide the best reading environment possible with accessible, engaging and quality texts.
Foxwood Academy follows Success for All which is a systematic synthetic programme (SSP) of phonics validated by the DfE. Staff within school have used their knowledge and expertise to adapt this programme to ensure the structured sequence reflects the learning needs of our student cohort and their expected rates of progress. The Academy also recognises that some of our learners are not yet able to access a systematic programme of phonics. These learners are offered a bespoke approach to phonics that introduces them to Phase 1 sounds as well as initial phoneme-grapheme correspondences in an engaging and multisensory way.
Reading is developed through:
- a systematic synthetic programme of phonics (Success for All)
- providing a wide range of texts and opportunities for students to select from this range for pleasure and for information
- helping students understand how texts work and exploring vocabulary within them
- banding of reading books matched to students’ phonic level
- focused reading lessons using a variety of genres and developing comprehension skills (prediction, retrieval and inference)
- expert readers reading aloud to students
- home-school reading links
- ensuring all students are immersed in an environment rich in print
- celebration and theme days
- storytelling workshops and theatre visits
- timely reading interventions
“You can make anything by writing.” – C.S. Lewis
Foxwood Academy values writing as a key skill that will be used throughout the students’ lives. Our aim is for every student to be able to write functionally and creatively.
We support writing through building on the skills required to become independent writers. In Pathway 1, there is a focus on mark making and fine motor and this goes through to writing creatively and in different formats in Pathway 3.
Each phase and pathway have a set of Key Stage End Points (KSEPs). These range from showing a hand preference to writing with clarity, detail and cohesion.
Through our phonics scheme ‘Success For All’, we support spelling through segmenting words using their phoneme knowledge and applying it to their writing. We also provide phonics and key word mats to encourage children to be able to write sentences independently.
We use a wide variety of both classic and contemporary texts within our English lessons. These include Roald Dahl, William Shakespeare, Julia Donaldson, and John Steinbeck. Through using these texts, students are exposed to different cultures and groups of people which enables them to learn more about the world around them. Students are able to use these texts to influence their own writing by identifying good literary techniques and adapting their writing to fit different styles.
Mathematics (Number and Geometry and Measure)
All learners at Foxwood are offered a rich mathematics curriculum which aims to integrate necessary maths (the functional aspect of maths), personal and social maths (problem solving, reasoning, enquiry, creativity) and cultural maths (its role in history, culture and society). These aims are met by our bespoke Key Stage End Points (KSEPs) in Number based mathematics and Geometry and Measure.
We provide an engaging safe environment where students are prepared to take risks. We aim to build on success with appropriate challenge and high expectations. At our core is a Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract approach to teaching maths where students are encouraged to look for connections.
In the Early Years pupils are taught primarily through focused play activities. All children have targets worked on either individually or in small groups. We want pupils to gain a sense of number on which to build further mathematical knowledge and skills.
Throughout the rest of the Academy mathematics is taught during a dedicated lesson. Regular targets are set according to the needs of individual students. Within a class, students with similar or identical targets may be grouped accordingly. The aspirational targets set are carefully chosen to ensure that students succeed, therefore developing confidence and a positive attitude to work.
In the 14-19 phase as well as working towards maths accreditations and qualifications maths education focuses on transferring skills to real-life situations to prepare students for adulthood. Opportunities are taken, wherever possible, within the wider curriculum to extend mathematical language, understanding and knowledge.
Our foremost aims are to ensure, as far as possible, all students develop mathematical confidence and an enthusiasm for, and enjoyment in, maths.
Art is studied in every Key stage throughout the Academy. Our pupils explore colour, shape, form, line, 3D modelling and clay work. Experiencing these skills enable our pupils to express themselves through art and develop an imaginative and personal response to art activities.
As our pupils enter KS4 there are many opportunities to gain an accreditation in painting and drawing, print making, ceramics, textiles, they learn to display and celebrate their artwork. For some of our pupils art is experienced in a sensory and experiential way.
Foxwood is an associate school of the Royal Shakespeare Company, our involvement involves performance and art making. We run an after school club and have visiting artists to add to our curriculum.
Computing and e-Safety
At Foxwood, a wide range of technologies are used throughout the Academy and play an invaluable part in the education of all students. The majority of classrooms have a Smartboard that allow all pupils to access lessons via resources shown on an interactive computer screen.
Computing, and E-Safety as a separate subject, is taught to all our pupils (with the exception of e-safety for Primary Pathway 1). They have access to our fully equipped ICT suite, laptops and iPads.
Pupils study computational thinking – how to access and use technology appropriate to their ability as well as coding and programming – how to control devices and characters with animation techniques. In e-safety they are taught about the risks that technology and online communication may present in a world where technology plays an increasing part in more and more of their daily activities
Creative (Music & Drama)
At Foxwood Academy, we recognise that creativity provides opportunity for our students to nurture individual interests and to further develop communication and interaction outcomes across the curriculum. All pupils have access to weekly creative sessions which are designed as a mixture of both music and drama units of work.
All pupils explore the expressive elements of sound and music using voice, percussion and electronic instruments. They also have the opportunity to listen to a wide variety of music and organised sounds in order to develop various skills. These may range from simple sound recognition to following rhythms and describing moods and feelings suggested by different pieces of music. We also work with outside professionals to deliver high quality 1:1 music tuition for pupils who would like to develop their singing, guitar or keyboard skills.
All pupils have the opportunity to take part in drama lessons where they are encouraged to explore and develop their non-verbal communication skills such as facial expressions and body language, as well as developing their performance skills in front of their peers and small groups. This further supports the development of communication and interaction skills which helps to meet EHCP outcomes. Our pupils are given regular opportunities to perform in front or their peers and the wider-school community during the academic year.
Throughout the year, we use every opportunity to experience the Arts either inside school or through visiting local Arts events. Last year, our pupils experienced the following activities: visit from Nottingham Playhouse and performance in school, visit to local theatres, visit to the cinema, regular story telling workshops, carol performance in Nottingham City, Primary Christmas performance, light art installation in the sensory studio and art competitions. Foxwood Academy were also part of a project with the Royal Shakespeare Company and performed at the Theatre Royal with other schools in the area.
Physical Education (PE)
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” (Nelson Mandela)
Our Physical Education curriculum offers all of our pupils the opportunity to acquire the fundamental skills necessary to be able to play, lead active and healthy lifestyles and progress into sport outside of the Academy. Our curriculum focuses on four key areas to help develop student’s progression and development in Physical Education. These four areas are; Wellbeing, Enjoyment, Life Skills and Lifelong participation in Sports.
Wellbeing – Pupils develop their knowledge of how physical activity keeps their body strong, helps maintain good health and improve focus, school performance and energy levels.
Enjoyment – Pupils experience challenge and enjoyment through working successfully in teams’ sports or individual achievements.
Life skills – Teaching life skills through Physical Education that includes respect of self and others, team building skills and critical and creative thinking. This allows for a more inclusive and respectful learning environment and helps engage our Pupils in the learning process.
Lifelong participation – Pupils have more independence in their learning and access Physical Activity both in (Extra-Curricular Activities) and outside of school (Sports Clubs).
Personal & Social Development (PSD)
PSD is fundamental in all teaching at Foxwood Academy. PSD is taught explicitly in single-subject sessions but also interwoven throughout our Preparing for Adulthood curriculum. We pride ourselves on valuing each young person as an individual and providing opportunities for pupils to develop an awareness of themselves and their qualities as individuals. Through this celebration of individuality and high emphasis on promoting the worth of all, we aim to build relationships that prompt mutual respect and understanding. There is an emphasis on personal, social and emotional development and a recognition that is it our duty to equip children, to the best of our ability with the skills and attributes that will see them be able to integrate as a well-rounded member of society, also ensuring that they have the skills to keep themselves safe and reduce vulnerability when accessing the community.
Foxwood Academy upholds its statutory requirement to include Religious Education as a strand within our PSD curriculum. The teaching of mutual respect, acceptance and tolerance is the baseline for a fair community where each person’s right to ‘be themselves’ is to be accepted by all. The Academy does not accept intolerant attitudes where people are rejected or discriminated against on the basis of race, faith, gender, sexual orientation or age. We believe that through the core strand of RE within our PSD curriculum students are encouraged to be increasingly respectful and to celebrate diversity.
Foxwood Academy also promotes a strong belief in the importance of Fundamental British Values. The curriculum is devised to allow students to investigate tolerance, mutual respect, the democratic process, individual liberty and the rule of law. They are encouraged to share their opinions; challenge ideas and enter into discussions to explore these values in a variety of different contexts.
Integral to our teaching of PSD is our teaching of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) At Foxwood Academy we believe that RSE should not only be taught as an isolated subject but as a natural part of children learning about themselves and their relationships with each other. There is a proactive approach taken to the teaching of RSE throughout the academy. This means topics are often revisited and built upon several times throughout the year; there are weekly discussion sessions held during tutor times as a chance for children to raise any questions or concerns; explicit time within the weekly timetable where RSE is taught through our PSD curriculum and half-termly men and women groups where there is a morning focus around an area of sexual harassment. RSE is taught in an age-appropriate and respectful way throughout the academy recognising that this is a natural part of growing up and developing into an adult. Within some classes, where appropriate, students may have standalone personal care sessions each morning and afternoon in which concepts surrounding health, body parts, hygiene, and consent are also reinforced.
We believe that all of the above is integral to our school and the development of our young people to ensure that they are readily equipped to be as independent, safe and happy as possible not only during their time at Foxwood but for the rest of their adult lives.
In Science we aim to develop curiosity so that children can explore and understand the world and their surroundings. Pupils also have the opportunity to experience a range of concrete practical experiences including taking part in investigations and experiments in the science lab. This enables them to experience the awe and wonder of science and inspires them to develop their interest in science.
Throughout their time at Foxwood pupils are encouraged to work independently and co-operatively to share ideas, formulate hypotheses and modify their thoughts in the light of experience. In KS4/5 pupils work towards an AQA entry level qualification in science and some go on to do AQA chemistry GCSE.
Speaking & Listening (Communication)
At Foxwood Academy we strive to empower all pupils to communicate in a way that is accessible to them. We build in regular opportunities across the curriculum to ensure all pupils are given time to develop this important skillset. All children and young people work towards a set of bespoke speaking and listening (communication) Key Stage End Points (KSEPs) in primary, key stage 3 and 14-19 that encourage the use of communication in a range of ways. These KSEPs include early communicative strategies such as making eye contact and facial expressions through to public speaking and presentations.
For our pupils that use verbal communication as their main form of communication, there are many opportunities for them to build their confidence and skills in communicating with different audiences. There are opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills in a variety of ways, these can include but are not limited to:
- Class-based discussions
For children and young people who are developing their use of verbal communication, we use a range of tools and visuals to aid them in communicating with adults and their peers. They are encouraged to use these throughout the day to communicate their wants and needs. These tools are developed for the specific needs of each student but may include:
- Objects of reference
- Photographs and symbols
- Aided language boards
- Makaton signing
- PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)
- Electronic devices e.g. iPads.
All pupils also access drama as part of our creative curriculum. This helps them to build their skills in performance and understanding of audiences, which further builds their confidence in communicating with a variety of different people. Our pupils learn to project their voice, understand body language, and interpret facial expressions through drama. They are also able to access trips to places such as theatres and art galleries where communicating is done in a range of ways.
As a staff team we work closely with speech and language therapists to deliver bespoke speech and language programmes that are developed for the needs of specific learners. Many of our pupils also have sessions with therapists in school to develop their communication skills.
Intensive Interaction is an approach known to benefit individuals of all ages who experience significant social and communicative impairment such as those with a diagnosis of autism, severe and complex learning difficulties and multi-sensory impairments. The Academy therefore recognises the potential offered by the approach for some of our learners and this is exemplified by the specific reference made to it in some of our bespoke Key Stage End Points (KSEPs).
Intensive Interaction promotes the development of the Fundamentals of Communication. These include:
- Enjoying being with another person
- Developing the ability to attend to another person
- Concentration and attention span
- Sharing personal space
- Taking turns of exchanges in behaviour
- Using and understanding eye contact
- Using and understanding facial expression and physical contacts
- Vocalising and using vocalisations with meaning
- Learning to regulate and control arousal
The Academy also believes the approach develops key emotional learning too such as feeling safe and calm, bonding with another person and developing trust. Staff within the Academy employ recognised techniques of Intensive Interaction and strive to be as responsive to the emergent communicator as possible.
Pupil progress is documented through written records and regular video recordings of sessions which are shared with parents and carers at key points throughout the academic year.
Preparing for Adulthood (PfA)
Our Preparation for Adulthood curriculum begins as pupils enter the Academy and provides the structure and framework needed for our CYP to live in our community, to be healthy, independent and employable. The PfA curriculum is used to support development of imaginative yet achievable ways which promote progress under each outcome of an EHCP.
Research shows that many of our children go on to lead lives that can be blighted by poor social mobility, poor housing, bullying, unemployment and fewer opportunities to access education. We have the highest expectations for our CYP and have designed our curriculum to give our CYP the skills, abilities, independence and aspirations to stand up to this inequality. The CYP at Foxwood are happy and celebrate being an active member of their community. Foxwood is more than just part of their journey, it is the foundation to their development as they are preparing for adulthood.
Most of our CYP are likely to have lifelong SEND that will remain with them as they move into adulthood. Less than 6% of these CYP move into full-time paid employment. Foxwood Academy prepares our Post 16 young people for employment by providing individualised supported work experience opportunities. These are bespoke to the needs, interests and realistic ambitions of the young people and are in place for their final year on roll at Foxwood. This programme provides a structure and gives the framework that allows the ‘interns’ to be fully immersed in a workplace. Its focus is to acquire skills in live working environments such as ICT support, Catering, Site Management and Class-based Support where the interns learn directly from their co-workers.
The supported work experience programme provides a full time tutor who liaises closely with employers and co-workers to ensure the intern receives all the support necessary to allow them to thrive in their working environment. Additionally, skills such as social interaction, communication, work readiness, CV building and job applications are developed.
CYP of all ages have the opportunity to learn about, experience and develop employability skills and are encouraged to have aspirations for employment in their future. Topics within PfA Employment include work placements, jobs in my community, developing a hobby, careers awareness, and running a stall.
CYP of all ages have dedicated curriculum time to develop confidence and skills that enable them to become as independent as they can be in their future lives. Topics within PfA Independence include money skills, reading and writing skills, personal hygiene, preparing my own snacks, TITAN travel training, and taking responsibility.
CYP of all ages are encouraged to experience, practice the skills and feel confident members of their Academy and local community. Topics within PfA Community include having a social life, part of a family, community places and people, appropriate behaviours out and about, being a good citizen and friendship skills.
CYP of all ages have the opportunity to learn about and experience how to lead a healthy life and have a healthy body and mind. Topics within PfA Health include personal life choices, finding a hobby, exercise, hygiene, eating and nutrition, dealing with problems in everyday life, mindfulness and emotional well-being.
Consideration is given to pupils with special physical/medical needs.
Dealing with complaints about curriculum matters
We believe many potential concerns or complaints can best be resolved early at an informal level. This may be in discussion with the Deputy Headteacher, member(s) of staff, or school Governors.
A record of any complaint is kept and wherever possible it is resolved quickly and fairly. If the person making the complaint is not satisfied and wishes to formally complain, the Governing Body will ask for this complaint to be made in writing to reduce any misunderstandings. The matter is discussed and the complainant informed of the decision and or action to be taken.
To summarise, there are three levels at which a complaint may be considered. These are informal, formal to the Governing body or formal complaint to the Local Authority. A complaint may be considered at more than one of these levels.