Penn Fields is a special school for pupils with moderate and complex learning difficulties aged from 5 to 19 years. There are five Key Stages and we cater for 160 pupils.
Our curriculum ensures all our pupils have the very best opportunities as is appropriate to their age, ability and entitlement. We have high expectations, believing everyone can achieve and, through our creative curriculum, ensure they have opportunities to succeed by promoting our core values of positive attitudes, supportive relationships and respect for others. Our curriculum is carefully planned and structured to enable all pupils to develop their personal characteristics, attitudes and values enabling them to achieve their full potential. We also concentrate on transferable skills that equip children and young people for life beyond school.
We use a combination of teaching methods as is appropriate and adapt them to support the pupils’ learning styles and needs within individual classes. Learners are supported to develop their readiness to learn, attention, self-motivation, a “have a go” attitude and to take risks in their learning.Teaching throughout the school gives pupils relevant opportunities for learning, motivates and inspires them to make progress across their learning intentions and, through structured routines, is appropriately paced with motivating activities with assessment for learning firmly embedded across all contexts. Teaching provides opportunities for pupils to contextualize their learning working within a whole class, a small group, individually and via independent learning opportunities appropriate to that learner.
In Key stages 2 and 3 we use cross-class groupings for literacy and numeracy to personalise learning and ensure pupils are given the opportunity to further their progress as much as possible. Through this they are enabled to use their skills in a range of contexts, to become increasingly independent, resourceful and resilient when faced with new challenges.
The use of objects of reference and symbol support (Communicate in Print, Widget software) are incorporated into teaching and learning to encourage and support understanding. ICT is used to support and enhance learning within all areas of the Curriculum and throughout the pupil’s day.
‘Teachers and teaching assistants work very well together to promote pupils learning and provide consistent messages. They have excellent relationships with pupils and high expectations for them. …. Such careful attention to the individual and celebration of their small but significant gains in learning really inspires pupils to try harder and raises their self-esteem’
Ofsted, December 2012
The Learning Environment
Learning is promoted through modern, well-resourced and organised classrooms, and other learning environments throughout the school, which allow pupils to develop their knowledge, understanding, skills and personal needs across the Curriculum. This encourages independence, problem solving and contextualisation of learning, allowing them to develop through independent or supported engagement and enquiry and thus making the best use of space and the range of learning resources available. We encourage pupils to take-on responsibility and to care for their learning environment and resources and to support the learning of others.
Classroom environments are created to support the different range of needs within the class. Learning resources, which are shared across the school, are used to support the individualised learning requirements of all pupils, allowing pupils in the full range of classes to have access to the best resources available to support their interests and learning needs.
The outdoor learning environment offers a range of opportunities making it an appropriate learning space for all curriculum areas and supports the range of learners’ needs and ages throughout the school. Pupils take part in a range of educational visits appropriate to the class or individual learning taking place. There are annual residential visits from key stage 2 upwards.
The Primary Department - Pupils aged 5 to 11
The Primary Department follows the National Curriculum with a focus on key skills in literacy, numeracy and computing as well as personal, social and emotional development. We use a thematic approach to provide a flexible and creative curriculum allowing children to explore their learning at an appropriate level through a variety of different teaching styles, specialist resources and meaningful first-hand experiences. During the year there are special event activities with a particular focus, perhaps 'the arts' or 'science and technology' etc. and children can engage in special activities provided by visits or specialist visitors to the school. Our aim once again is to help children develop into confident, independent learners.
A weekly ‘Good Work’ assembly for lower school ensures children are rewarded for their efforts and are proud to receive certificates for their good work, effort, kindness to others, etc.The learning environment is created with a focus on life skills and independence. Outdoor education brings the curriculum to life and we are fortunate in having parks, shopping centres, woods and local places of worship within a short distance from our school. The school's minibuses are extensively used to support the curriculum, enabling pupils to engage with the local community and further afield. Many of our pupils are working on 'P' levels which are the levels below National Curriculum age related expectations. Their success is rigorously monitored by the use of the ‘Onwards and Upwards’ assessment system.
Secondary Department - Key Stage 3, ages 11 to 14
Key stage 3 follows the National Curriculum and meets all statutory requirements and we have our own Creative Curriculum designed to meet the needs of our pupils and to prepare them for the next stage in their education.
Secondary Department - Key Stage 4
Pupils have access to externally assessed courses currently provided by OCR, WJEC and Asdan. Courses are differentiated according to the wide ranging abilities of our pupils. Currently GCSE is taught in Maths, English, Science and Computing, with other courses accredited at Entry Level. Pupils take Functional Skills exams in English, Maths and Computing at Entry 1, 2, 3 & Level 1.
WJEC Entry Pathways accredits qualifications in Additional English / Creative, Media & Performance Arts / Healthy Living & Fitness / Humanities / Computing / Independent Living / Mathematics / Personal & Social Development / Personal Progress / Preparing for Work / Science Today.
All pupils learn skills for independent living and personal safety including lessons in cooking, travel skills, personal safety and SRE and both day and residential visits are a regular feature of the curriculum. Pupils may also take part in a range of activities as part of the Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme.
Key stage 4 pupils and their parents/carers are supported by our Connexions adviser to plan and support their next steps in Education. Visits to college, careers fairs and other post 16 providers also form part of the Key Stage 4 curriculum. Pupils in Year 11 also take part in work experience placements during their final term.
The 16 to 19 Curriculum
The focus of the 6th form curriculum is to ensure students are well prepared for life after 6th form. They follow differentiated courses – WJEC / Asdan / OCR including Cambridge Progression, working towards Functional Skills in English, Maths and Computing. As of September 2015 Penn Fields School is accredited to deliver the Asdan Lifeskills Challenge meaning we are qualified to write our own Asdan accredited courses specific to the needs of our school and its students.
Pupils experience the ‘world of work’ at Timkens following accredited courses (City & Guilds – Skills for Working Life E2/E3). They have opportunities to experience painting & decorating, pottery, carpentry, basic food preparation/handling and hair & beauty. Pupils also gain work experience at The Moat House Project in Albrighton, following the ‘You and Me’ project experiencing horticulture, environmental activities and an arts & crafts project.
Links with Wolverhampton College also help to prepare pupils for the next stage of their education. Links with Leonard Cheshire Homes also gives students with the opportunity to prepare food for the homeless. As in Key Stage 4, pupils and parents/carers are supported both by school and the Connexions Service to ensure all pupils have a suitable onward placement when they us.
The school’s Phase Managers have created and a set of curriculum booklets that tell you about the learning experiences, subjects and courses available to pupils as they progress through the school. Each of the booklets concentrates on particular classes or key stages.