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Our Curriculum 2021-22

Cherry Tree Curriculum Intent

Square pegs do not fit into round holes so why keep trying the same? For some children, the traditional classroom setting does not work and can create even further barriers to their learning. This can often become a revolving door which adds to the loss of crucial real education time for the pupil. Cherry Tree is a detached building in a quiet residential area and has a warm homely feel and can cater for up to 10 pupils. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and pupils are encouraged to take ownership of their school. The property also has a large safe garden area with working spaces where various ‘hands on’ projects can be carried out e.g. gardening and upcycling. At Cherry Tree our aim is to provide an excellent education for all our pupils. Our commitment for an engaging and bespoke curriculum is rooted in a desire to bring out the best in all pupils and prepare them for success in life. For our English, maths and ICT curriculum we use the functional skills BKSB as a diagnostic tool to set levels and to assess on a 2 yearly basis. Our data gathering takes an holistic approach by ensuring we capture the personal development steps pupils take and celebrate and reward their positive behaviour. Recognising positive change highlights and encourages their personal growth, self-esteem and individuality. Each student is encouraged to use BKSB regularly so that they take responsibility for their personal development, which helps prepare them for success in their NCFE functional skills examinations. For pupils who need an integrated plan to allow them time to settle into school life, a variety of environments can be accessed including classrooms without walls using the spacious outdoors of either the local beach or the Kent countryside. In our experience, pupils who have a history of sporadic education respond well when a variety of these learning environments are available. Through this flexible and adaptable approach, pupils have the time and space to discover their strengths and the way they learn best, which in turn creates the best possible environment ‘fit’ for the pupil to achieve their potential. We intend to ensure that our pupils are ready for the move to post 16 education or employment, with the ability to show resilience and the competence to interact with peers within society post 16 and beyond.

'School can be changed from a negative experience to one in which he or she can achieve, and in which his or her self-esteem can be enhanced. These experiences increase resilience and hopefulness.'

Heather Geddes, Attachment in the Classroom, 2012

Meeting Individual Needs

To ensure the individual needs of Cherry Tree pupils are met we will:

  • provide for individual needs; responding to age, aptitude and additional educational needs
  • provide access, at an appropriate level, to a relevant curriculum
  • promote learning and personal growth and development within the context of the extremely complex lives the pupils have so far experienced
  • meet the needs of young people, promoting care and respect and expecting high standards in all aspects of school life which continues into their home life
  • prepare pupils for their adult and working life both with skills and knowledge but most importantly with their personal development and independence skills

The focus on meeting individual needs is based on the context of each pupil’s entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum set within developing positive relationships and improving behaviour.

Moving on when ready

Some pupils need more time than others to catch up, work through their learning barriers and to be ready to engage in bigger groups and / or mainstream schools. However, some pupils may be ready to move on faster than others. To ensure that Cherry Tree continues to be the right provision for pupils, discussions will take place at every PEP and EHCP review to identify and start planning any future potential moves. This will not only ensure that there is a smooth transition plan in place but that everyone including the child, is involved in the decision making about their future.

English Curriculum Intent 2021-22

Our English curriculum is designed to provide all of our pupils with the core knowledge, skills and an appreciation of English that will underpin their ability to access the whole curriculum and what their future world holds for them. We consider the individual interests, experiences and diverse backgrounds of our pupils in our planning to promote engagement. Our curriculum is differentiated for the individual student, whilst ensuring that each student is taught what is needed to achieve their full potential. A key aim for teaching English is to develop our pupils’ confidence and fluency with English. We teach Functional Skills English from Pre-entry level up to Level 2 (equivalent to GCSE). Our curriculum is mapped against national standards and there is a clear progression through these levels. The curriculum focuses on: spelling, punctuation, grammar, reading and speaking, listening and communication. Our aim is to ensure that all pupils are given the skills needed to use in their future lives. The pupils are taught writing structure, including sentence formation and paragraphs, types of text, literary devices and how to use resources such as a dictionary and a thesaurus as well as ICT programmes. Teaching Functional Skills English, means that there is a focus on the pupils being able to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of English by applying it to real-world scenarios. Our curriculum intends to fill the English gaps that pupils have been unable to do in previous schools, often due to long periods of disrupted education. We aim to do this by teaching fundamental skills using a mix of phonic programmes and spellings to support reading and writing levels. All pupils read on a weekly basis independently and to a staff member. When pupils join Cherry Tree their reading age is initially assessed as well as pupils completing a reading age test every 3 terms hence, ensuring we keep on top of their individual needs and to determine progress made. Pupils are taught to spell words taken from high frequency spelling lists and from Functional Skills Spelling Lists which are appropriate for each pupil’s level. Pupils are also taught a more challenging keyword vocabulary to allow our pupils to be stretched. During their reading lessons, pupils extract “tricky words” from their given text. They define these using a dictionary and place them into a sentence which aids their comprehension and allows our pupils to focus on areas that require development. Pupils are prepared for spelling and reading assessments and encouraged to take ownership of their own learning by practicing at home and taking part in self-directed learning tasks.

Maths Curriculum Intent for 2021-2022

The maths curriculum delivered by Cherry Tree is designed to recognise children’s prior learning, fill in learning gaps and provide first-hand learning experiences which allow the pupils to develop interpersonal skills and build confidence with numbers and problem solving. It is designed to allow pupils to gain knowledge of mathematical concepts, terminology, notation, facts, generalisations, methods, and techniques following the Maths functional skills curriculum. Pupils learn to increase their skill base by engaging in communication, teamwork, presentation, and problem solving. Our maths curriculum also supports and encourages pupils to develop their number skills and interpret mathematical information presented in a variety of forms using visual, kinaesthetic, and audio teaching methods suitable for their individual levels. We follow the Functional Skills route from Pre-entry level up to Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) and all pupils engage in formal assessments to ensure progress is being made and monitored. We aim to encourage students to be confident to tackle daily problem-solving skills, promote mathematical thinking and to transfer these skills into everyday life and eventually into the world of work or further education. Pupils are encouraged to work together for solving problems and use a range of resources which provide a fun, active way to learn. Pupils are encouraged to use mental arithmetic in a variety of ways from block addition to learning their timetables. Pupils are encouraged to be creative using shapes and can improve their estimation and co-ordination skills by having lessons outside. ICT is also used within the classroom. Pupils use BKSB for diagnostic assessments and various maths programmes such as Splashlearn and Mathsframe, these are educational games and resources which assist as fun learning aids. Maths classes are all specially tailored to pupils individual learning needs.

ICT Curriculum Intent for 2021-2022

Cherry Tree’s Entry Level ICT curriculum is structured to enable pupils to achieve their full potential with computers whilst ensuring it is carried out in the safest way possible. We understand that all pupils will possess different abilities with technology when coming to Cherry Tree, so our aim is to establish their capabilities quickly and for them to build on what skills they already have and develop these through a carefully structured curriculum developed from the National Standards.This is achieved in an environment that allows the pupils to focus on the task in hand and encourage them to use computers for different purposes which will guide them in to gaining their qualifications from Entry Level 1 – 3. With this, their work will show clear progression from one level to the next as they embark on their ICT journey at Cherry Tree Education. All pupils will be taught a variety of engaging content covering different aspects to Information, Communication and Technology such as the ability to use different software programs for different purposes, through to applying technology creatively using computer programming, animation and photography. We believe that preparing our pupils for life at college and/or employment is imperative to their learning; this involves the use and application of computers and technology in most workplaces. At Level 1 the aim is to ensure that pupils become more digitally literate; be able to use, and express themselves and develop ideas through Information, Communication and Technology. The aim is to establish this more predominantly at Level 2 so that the pupils are at a level suitable for the future workplace and be competent with numerous technological devices, software and programmes. Pupils will develop their abilities learnt from Entry Level to a point that they will be able to explore and thrive using technology and enhance their capabilities. Computers and Technology evolves as time goes on, so apprising the pupils of any new applications is key for their continued success after leaving school. At Cherry Tree, learning is the main focal point and with that comes an engaging curriculum that the pupils can excel in. The ICT Level 1 & 2 Curriculum offers specific aimed teaching to help them achieve recognised qualifications, follows national standards and offers new and exciting opportunities for pupils to develop their computing skills in a variety of ways.

Science Curriculum Intent 2021-2022

Science at Cherry Tree employs a great emphasis on practical application and a curiosity for the subject. We feel that learners regardless of learning levels should not be penalised and miss out on experiments that enrich the learning experiences that science has to offer. Instead, Cherry Tree adopts an approach of varying application of knowledge and ability in different topics. This gives the learners the benefit of accessing kinaesthetic and visual experiences in experimenting and viewing the potential of science in the real world. The science curriculum has been developed from the contents of KS1-KS4 contents mapped out against national standards from Entry Level 1 – Level 2, with clear progressions through these levels. Classes could be varied learning levels, and with the method of a shared topic for all learners with differentiated tasks, extensions and assessments learners can access a highly enriched curriculum and stretch their learning to the best of their abilities. The science curriculum also gives achievable steppingstones for learners to progress onto the ‘Gateway Applied Science and Technology’ qualifications, where more in-depth learning, analysis and assessment takes place. Science in the modern world is ever changing and developing. In the space of 20 years, we have transitioned to the information age of the internet, smart technology and much more. This progression will not stop. Humans are an ever-advancing race, always seeking out scientific truth and technological development. Cherry Tree believes learners should be curious of the wider scientific world, ask why things happen the way they do, and understand that science will continue to advance, and humans must adapt to technological changes to overcome future issues and crises, such as energy and the environment.

Therapeutic Curriculum Intent 2021-2022

(Incorporating Art, Craft, Gardening and Community Involvement)

Most of our pupils live in a world that is different from most other teenagers. They often have multiple professionals and agencies making decisions and structuring their lives and often have various diagnosis which can make their lives difficult to manage and navigate. This can culminate in young people feeling disempowered and out of control, which in turn has a huge impact on young minds being open to discover their creativity and explore who they are. At Cherry Tree we embed a culture of learning while healing where ‘Promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing’ (Public Health England 2021) is securely in place. Many pupils, through various emotional and social difficulties have missed valuable time to explore what they like in the world of art, craft, how to give back to the community and what generally interests them. They have often missed those experiences where they would discover their strengths, talents, and creativity. We ensure that all pupils have maximum opportunities to be able to explore their creativity and learn how to use their imagination and resourcefulness. The therapeutic curriculum allows staff to adapt the learning to meet the individual needs on the day. The sessions are less structured and are led by the pupil. Staff will maximise socialisation opportunities and work together so pupils can mix with others for those who are able to do so and want to. All pupils have various options and have their own projects that they can choose from. This approach enables pupils to develop a wide range of skills, develop confidence and be able to express their creative and artistic independence using a variety of resources and materials. Various creative projects will allow pupils to become independent problem solvers and gain the confidence to tackle new and difficult tasks. Having time to be creative, artistic and to share this with others is imperative for pupils to develop good mental health and cultivate an ability to enjoy, explore and contribute to a creative world and will also enable them to reflect critically on their own work and that of others. Although Cherry Tree offers an art and craft qualification, the emphasis on the ‘Exploring My Interests’ curriculum is for pupils to engage in a subject that they can find aesthetically pleasing, which helps them to explore their senses and who they are. Our pupils often have attachment and trauma difficulties and sometimes art, craft, gardening and community projects can enable them to express themselves without the need for words.

Personal and Social Development Curriculum Intent 2021-2022

Personal Social Development (PSD) at Cherry Tree is a present and important part of our Ethos and approach by all staff through out the entire school day. We are aware pupils who present with attachment difficulties, trauma based mental health issues, high anxieties and specific learning difficulties to have the time and space to firstly feel safe, secondly engage in learning and thirdly enjoy the feeling of learning and change. We provide an engaging and stimulating curriculum that encourages the enjoyment of learning and growth and allows time for pupils to take ownership of their own development. The Personal Social Development curriculum has been developed from the contents of statutory guidance and has been mapped out into Entry Level 1- Level 2 criteria, that clearly shows progressions through these levels. As classes may contain pupils of varied levels it allows for all pupils to achieve in lessons working at their individual levels. The steps clearly marked out through the levels allow pupils to develop the crucial stepping stones required for pupils to be able to go on to achieve both award and certificate qualifications at both entry level 3 and Level 1, provided by Gateway. At Cherry Tree, each pupil has the opportunity to regularly engage in 1:1 sessions where we focus on their personal, social and academic development. We are aware that social development is a key part in any pupil’s development and as a school we ensure pupils are given regular opportunities to develop their social skills with their peers throughout the day and during weekly after school social clubs. As a school we take part in a “Question of the day” during lunch times, this encourages pupil’s to listen to others’ opinions and explore issues in the wider world. Pupils are able to confidently practice and gain the necessary skills required for overall personal development in the safe wrap around environment created by all staff at Cherry Tree. We also encourage all pupils to engage in ‘question of the day’ so that they can learn about their qualities, their opinions and their view of themselves and others. This activity has been so successful that the headteacher will be submitting the outcomes of this activity for publication.

Employability Skills Curriculum Intent for 2021-2022

At Cherry Tree, learners will be encouraged to build their employability skills through the Gateway qualification criteria. The curriculum is designed to allow pupils to discover new knowledge, to prepare them for the workplace and to build confidence and self-esteem. We encourage the development of the pupils’ values, personal attributes and their inter-personal skills that will contribute to their future success in the workplace. Through the curriculum we will help pupils cultivate positive attitudes and to work through the development of essential work skills and behaviours such as communication, teamwork and problem solving. Pupils are encouraged to understand how Employability skills are transferable skills that are useful in nearly every employment opportunity. This year the pupils will be working through the Gateway criteria, which will enable those when ready, to complete the Employability Award and /or Certificate as part of the qualification. Pupils will study and research various units including Health and Safety at work, how to search for a job, how to work in a team and how to develop skills through creative thinking. Learners will also be encouraged to get independent advice from a careers advisor and take part in East Kent college visits. Our staff work closely with college staff to make college a desirable and important option for further education following Cherry Tree. Taster days are arranged with the college so that learners can attend with staff to familiarise themselves with the layout and expectations of a much bigger site. Through employability skills we aim to give all our learners the tools they need to make informed choices for employment, further education, or apprenticeship opportunities for life beyond Cherry Tree.

Humanities Curriculum Intent for 2021-2022

For young people who are managing trauma, attachment difficulties, and extremely high levels of anxiety, it can often be difficult to understand the relevance of the humanity subjects. For pupils who need time to make sense of their own world, humanities can present various difficulties for them to make sense of how these subjects affect their daily lives. After evaluating the curriculum with pupils, it became clear that a pupil led curriculum would be suitable for our learners. This was purposefully considered so that they could maximise their time to its full potential and engage fully in important topics from around the world covering Geography, History and RE. Our humanities curriculum aims to inform pupils about global topics as well as encouraging independent research and learning. We aim to give pupils the opportunity to incorporate a variety of other transferable skills into their humanities including time management, teamwork and presentation. In terms one and two pupils will be learning about the Blue Planet and Planet Earth. Pupils will study documentaries and conduct their own research into these topics. Pupils will also gather information from applications on the iPads and combine their learning and knowledge to produce a final piece of work based on their research. In terms three and four pupils will learn about R.E. focusing on a British religious festival calendar. Pupils will be able to research religions and festivals and develop a final piece of work based on what has been learnt. Pupils will engage in class discussions with the teacher and peers about these festivals and then select one to study. They will be encouraged to think creatively to demonstrate their learning by producing an artistic piece that will visually evidence their knowledge, e.g., painting, print or sculpture. British History will be taught in terms five and six. Pupils will be taught an overview of our historic timeline from Early Britain to Modern Britain. Pupils will then be given the option to choose a specific era and study it independently in more depth. This will then culminate in the pupils producing a presentation that will be given to the rest of the class about their research. As pupils learn more about humanities, they will be expected to study the subjects in more depth, expand on their knowledge, comprehend the meaning of their study, be able to apply their knowledge and be able to engage in critical thinking.

Our Britishness Curriculum Intent 2021-2022

At Cherry Tree, we strive to create an ethos and environment which promotes British Values at every level. The Britishness curriculum focuses on teaching the British values as set out by the government: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. Our ethos places pupils at the heart of, and part of every decision we make. We value their voices and strive to be innovative in the ways which me can meet the diverse needs of each pupil. Moreover, we encourage and support our pupils to build mutually respectful and tolerant relationships with their peers, the staff and with individuals in the wider community. Providing pupils with the opportunity to study Britishness and embedding British Values into everything that we do, allows pupils to gain intrinsic reward by enabling them to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence. Our pupils have the opportunity to achieve a Gateway Qualification in British Values at Entry Level 3 and Level 1. This qualification, not only provides an outline for which the Britishness Scheme of Work is based upon but, allows the pupils to have an extrinsic goal to work towards by studying Britishness. The Britishness curriculum is accessible to pupils of all backgrounds and abilities and pupils will have the opportunity to work towards achieving an Entry Level 3 and Level 1 qualification. Pupils at all levels, from Entry Level 1 to Level 2, can access the same topics but learning is differentiated for each pupil. For example, all pupils can study democracy however, pupils at Entry Level 1 are taught about the importance of voting and being able to voice their opinions whereas pupils at Level 1 learn to define democracy and identify types of democratic practices in the United Kingdom. The overall goal for the pupils is to enable them to distinguish right from wrong, to respect the civil and criminal law of England and to promote further tolerance and harmony between them and others.

Relationship and Sex Education Curriculum Intent 2021-2022

At Cherry Tree Relationships and Sex Education we understand the importance of educating pupils about relationships, sex and their health. The core focus is to prepare our learners to be able to go on to make the right and well informed choices in their future. We intend on giving pupils the correct tools to have healthy lifestyles and successful relationships with others. Our pupils are able to explore RSE in a comfortable and safe environment supported by ground rules that the pupils are encouraged to create together, therefore instilling unity and expectations within the classroom. The Relationships and Sex Education curriculum has been developed from the contents of the statutory guidance published by the Department for Education in September 2020. Our curriculum covers: families, respectful relationships including friendships, the media, being online and being safe, and intimate and sexual relationships (including sexual health). Our highly enriched curriculum shows clear progressions through levels (Entry level 1-Level 2), the entry level steps pupils will take are designed to prepare pupils to ultimately work towards the opportunity of achieving an a NCFE CACHE qualification at Level 1 for Relationships and Sex education.. This allows us to provide and give all pupils access to an age appropriate RSE education geared towards their individual levels. We are able to implement differentiation and stretch pupils learning to the best of their abilities. Cherry Tree believes in dedicating time to the personal development of its pupils. This includes the encouragement for our pupils to engage in positive and healthy Relationships. This is demonstrated not only in Relationships and Sex Education lessons but also throughout the school day with their peers which is encouraged and guided by all staff. These healthy skills are continuously being developed and we as a school believe they are crucial to growth of our pupils and the success of their future and relationships.

PE Curriculum Intent for 2021-2022

At Cherry Tree all pupils will benefit from the PE curriculum, whether through enhancing existing skills, learning new skills, or being introduced to new sports and environments. It is our intent to ensure all pupils understand the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and to equip them with the tools to do so through PSD and PE. Pupil’s will learn and understand how to take care of themselves both physically and mentally in order to be healthy and successful adults. Beyond merely a subject, we believe that participation in sporting activity is a key element in developing the pupil’s whole well-being. Many young people who suffer from degrees of anxiety can often find it difficult to engage in sporting activities. We encourage our pupils through staff involvement, motivation, humour, and by introducing various sporting activities led by pupil interest.