Mayfield offers a broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils throughout the school. Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 follow half termly themes which cover a range of subjects and topics ensuring pupils experience and gain knowledge and understanding in all areas of the curriculum. At Key Stage 4 and 5 the focus moves towards gaining accreditation, although these pupils will follow the secondary themes when and where is appropriate.
We have developed a rolling program of curriculum maps which show what pupils will be learning in each subject area as part of each half-termly theme. At KS1 and 2 pupils complete 3 units a year in Art & Design and 3 in Design Technology. All pupils complete 3 units a year in History and 3 in Geography as part of their learning in humanities. Secondary pupils working at a level 2b for English will participate in short, weekly Modern Foreign Language sessions focusing on conversation skills & greetings, nouns, colours and receptive and expressive language.
All other pupils in school experience MFL through themed days focusing on a particular language or country. Classes plan specific weekly numeracy and literacy sessions aimed at developing progress across all strands and linking into the theme where appropriate.
The ImPACTS Key Skills are the result of over 4 years work by a team of teachers who wanted to put the child back at the centre of the assessment and planning process.
After many years following the National Curriculum assessment model and more recently referencing to P levels; the school wanted to devise an assessment that led directly into a curriculum and provided the necessary target setting information to improve personalised learning progress as well as the potential for whole school improvement.
As a team we were determined not to “throw away the baby with the bath water” as we embarked on the process of reviewing the schools approaches. We wanted to celebrate the contribution the National Curriculum has made in the school, it provided a forum for increased professional debate, emphasising the educational focus of special schools and encouraging breadth, fun and enjoyment of learning opportunities.
However when it came to the assessment we still felt that the curriculum was separate and not always informed by good quality assessment data. Our school caters for pupils with Profound and Multiple Disabilities (PMLD), aged from 3 years to 19 years; we were finding the P scales were limited in terms of the assessment information being used to inform planning. All of our learners developmentally achieve between P1 and P3 yet the scope of ability is wide ranging. Even with more recent work to grade within P levels we were still finding the levels were summative limited and not offering a diagnostic or informative purpose to teachers.
The school looked at the whole needs of the learner and after debate decided upon 5 key Skill areas, not dissimilar to the Early Years Foundation Stage areas of learning, Communication; Cognitive skills; Physical Skills ( Gross & Fine Motor); Physical,Personal, Social & Emotional Well Being and Environmental Control Technology. We then set about exploring the development of skills within each of these areas from Birth to 18months. We took into account research and were considerate of life experience beyond developmental ability that can influence skills.
We wanted to make assessment an integral and valued aspect of the education process and to ensure all staff had an understanding of developmental progress. We devised, initially for Communication, an assessment format that we believed was user friendly and allowed for the involvement of parents and other professionals. For each ImPACTS Key Skill other members of the multi-disciplinary team have been used in various forms, either as co- writers or readers. We have also referenced back and cross referenced the stages of development against P Levels to ensure required national data can still be completed but as part of the process and not an additional exercise at the end of a year.
For each ImPACTS Key Skill an introduction to the content and how it was developed is included in the booklet. All settings should be aware that as well as the process of writing the ImPACTS Key Skills the implementation across the whole school has included regular INSET to ensure understanding, underpinning knowledge and consistency. Rosewood school would actively promote INSET linked to the introduction of ImPACTS and would be happy to advise and where required provide training in the 5 Key Skill areas.
Each Assessment is designed into strands and developmental levels; the strands are areas of learning e.g. Use of hands in the Communication ImPACTS and three main developmental stages of Pre- Intentional, Intentional and Formal. By answering the questions the results of data entered will be tallied and then marked onto the learners individual Profile. The scoring requires two out of three questions to be ticked in order for a strand box to be etched.
A professional, carer or more ideally a team will look through the questions and tick if the learner can demonstrate that skill; on a first assessment a learner may be above the developmental level of some of the earlier questions but also tick to give a meaningful tally at the end.
If during the assessment a professional does not know the answer or the team are unsure set up activities in that area to find out, by looking at the curriculum suggestions for that strand stage you will find ideas and resources that may support the completion of the assessment.
It is recommended that the Assessment is completed annually as part of end of year data collection and prior to the Annual Review.
The Individual Profile:
Following the completion of each assessment the scores for each section are translated onto the profile. If a learner achieves 2 out of 3 ticks for a section the box is then completed. The results are then visually collated on the profile and offer professionals an overview of strengths and development points and if any progress has been achieved. The numbers of ticks are also tallied and form part of the data collection for individual and whole school target setting. If a learner has already achieved a skill and is developmentally beyond the statement they would also be awarded a tick.
Once an assessment is finished the Profile will indicate areas of strength and weaknesses. The Profile will also indicate if the learning pattern is in line with expected developmental progress or are there areas of idiosyncratic learning. It is recommended that professionals should consider the range of curriculum targets suggested for the last etched box before looking to move onto a box with one or no ticks. This ensures that learning is kept within the learner’s zone of proximal learning and allows for success. The curriculum targets are developmentally sequenced but we recognise that individual progress may be even finer and we offer suggestions rather than prescribed target options.
It is recommended that once an assessment has been completed staff etch the boxes in a different colour and date these so progress over time can be visually recorded and any regression may also be clear.
Once the profile has been completed staff can now look at the curriculum for suggested objectives, activities and resources for a learner at the assessed developmental level. The curriculum targets are developmentally sequenced but we recognise that individual progress may be even finer and we offer suggestions rather than prescribed target options.
We use the objectives to set Annual Review targets as well as to inform individual and group schemes of work. It is not necessary or practical to set a target for every strand assessed and we recommend professional debate as to the priorities for a learner. An example of our Individual Education Plan, which outlines the 10 targets we set, is included in each booklet.
The curriculum offers both suggestions and teaching points (Therapy Points in Physical Skills) that indicate background knowledge and understanding necessary to meet the learners requirements at the developmental level indicated. These are often indicators to INSET required and references to other materials and resources used within the field that support learning at the level indicated.
Once targets are set, from the Curricula they together form the personalised learning programme for the learner. The activities planned to achieve these should take account of the preferences, motivators and interests of the learner and be respectful of their chronological age.
The targets set for IEP can be tracked and recorded using existing school systems. The advantage of the ImPACTS assessment scoring allows small targets to make a difference to overall strand development and key Skill scores.
At the end of a term or year as appropriate, staff tally for each Key Skill the Individual learners strand and Key Skill score. These are then added into a data base and progress can be demonstrated (and in some cases regression). Individual rate of achievement can then be analysed against ipsative learning and against other learner’s at similar levels. It also opens discussion on the relevance of targets set, as the learning environment been sufficient to allow achievement and is further support from other professionals required in a particular area.
In addition the system allows for overall monitoring and highlights Key Skills, strands, developmental stages that need to be prioritised and targeted for further improvement at a whole school level. It also allows value for money to be considered against achievement e.g. we invested in additional training and INSET time to improve the understanding and quality of delivery of Intensive Interaction. We were then able to use the data collected from the ImPACTS Communication Key Skill – Interaction strand to see if we has impacted directly on the learners and were able to measure outcomes.
Additional data potential is for settings adopting ImPACTS to share data with Rosewood and we will collate a wider picture on rates of progress across abilities and ages and eventually move to comparative data.
IMPACTS at Mayfield School
Mayfield will begin to introduce the ImPACTS curriculum from April 2016. All staff currently working in PMLD and all members of extended leadership are having training on the ImPACTS curriculum on March 9th. This is being led by Zoe Evans from Rosewood School.
All classes will then begin to introduce the ‘communication’ aspect of the curriculum over the summer term. From September 2016, the aim is for ImPACTS to be the main curriculum for all of our learners with PMLD, replacing the EYFS curriculum at primary and accreditation at KS4/5.
ImPACTS is able to generate p-level data to be submitted as required but teaching and assessment is based upon the ImPACTS curriculum. It will be very simple to input the ImPACTS curriculum into SOLAR (our online assessment tool being introduced soon) as both systems use a ‘check-box’ format where once boxes are marked as ‘complete’, pupils are moved on to the next level.
At Mayfield, we pride ourselves on ensuring that each child receives an education that enables them to make rapid and sustained progress in all areas of the curriculum.
What Our Parents Say
Thank you Nicita for being a good support and teacher.
I’m so proud of him and thank you for your belief in my son, you are a great teacher.
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I am immensely proud of what he can do now. It was a difficult decision to move him from mainstream to special, but I am so pleased I did, as it has transformed him. He has made such progress.