Curriculum & Assessment
Pupils entering The Avenue School at nursery age will follow an adapted Early Years curriculum until they reach the age of 8 years. At this point, teachers and parents will decide which of three curriculum pathways is most suitable for pupils; The Nurture and Engagement Pathway, The Practical and Life Skills Pathway or The Work Experience and Academic Pathway. The curriculum selected will depend upon the pupil's barriers to learning, their needs and long-term goals.
We avoid rigid placement within a pathway and movement between pathways is possible following re-evaluation of a pupil’s needs and progress. Each curriculum pathway is enriched through therapeutic interventions, the performing arts, outside learning opportunities and employee encounters or work experience. In addition, objectives for lessons for some pupils may be taken from ASDAN Life Skills Challenge, Read, Write Inc., Maths No Problem, or the National Curriculum.
The aim of assessment at The Avenue School is to build an accurate picture of every young person’s learning. The data we generate allows us to think deeply about pupils’ learning and guides teachers in planning the next steps of their teaching.
Assessment is a server of our curriculum and guides us as we think about what we want our pupils to learn and how we can best teach this. We have confidence in the quality of our teaching because our assessment data indicates that our pupils are developing holistically and in line with the expected outcomes for each of our three curriculum pathways.
Learning takes place in many capacities of the young person and these capacities often overlap. For example, the development of thinking skills is often inter-connected with the development of language. This can make assessing discreet areas of development difficult. However, over a number of years we have developed a formative assessment system in line with the SEND code of practice. Teachers are now able to continuously assess pupils’ progress within the following areas:
- Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development
- Cognition and Learning
We are currently in the process of developing a Cognition and Learning assessment tool that will enable us to clarify the next steps for pupils on our Nurture and Engagement Pathway who are not engaged with subject-specific learning.
In addition to formative assessment, we also make use of summative assessment (standardised tests and work samples) for pupils on the Practical and Life Skills Pathway and for pupils on the Independent Learning and Living Pathway who are working on subject-specific learning. Further details of the specific assessments used can be found under the pathway headings.
Going forward, we will be using our new formative assessment tools to guide us as we work with parents and other professionals to write meaningful and relevant EHCP outcomes for each pupil at their Annual Review. The progress each young person makes towards achieving these outcomes will be tracked and we will use this data to ensure that every pupil is afforded the opportunity to fulfil their potential. This data will also enable us to gauge the overall effectiveness of our curriculum content and our methods of delivery.
Longer term EHCP outcomes are broken down into shorter term Personal Goals and teachers track the progress made towards these goals.
Teachers are required to validate their formative and summative assessments of pupils by capturing evidence for their judgments on the Interactive Learning Diary. Three times a year, teachers present this evidence to the Senior Leadership Team at Pupil Progress Meetings. These are robust meetings in which we probe the validity and reliability of the assessments made and the evidence presented.
Teachers also have opportunities to validate their judgments at moderation meetings with colleagues from within the school and also from other special schools. The sharing of ideas and methods of assessment ensures that we continue to develop our expertise within this area.