The Gateway is a centre designed to support students who struggle to access mainstream education. The Gateway’s key purpose is to help students back to mainstream school by helping them recognise their barriers to learning and giving them strategies to help them in the classroom.
The Gateway provides an access route for our more vulnerable students to integrate into mainstream education with input from the full range of curriculum and pastoral teams across the two Academies. We share ideas and information across the Inclusion teams ranging from SEN, safeguarding, attendance, academic support and pastoral care, with leadership from Heads of Year and Progress Leaders in order to best support our most vulnerable students. This daily communication and collaboration is essential for planning interventions to enable students to achieve their short-term and longer-term goals.
We believe that every student has the right to achieve their potential and we aim to provide relevant and timely support for students as it is needed and to ensure that we continue to monitor student progress to provide early identification of students who require any additional support to complete their education with us.
The Gateway is split into three areas to help bespoke interventions for students. The three areas are:
- The Alternative Curriculum Centre (ACC)
- The Forest School
- The Isolation Room
The Alternative Curriculum Centre (ACC)
The ACC support students who are unable to cope in mainstream education for a range of reasons. We employ a graduated approach to address the needs of these individuals with personalised programmes or emotional, social, SEN and academic support. ACC staff communicate regularly with parents to ensure a strong, supportive and trusting home-school relationship is maintained and strengthened to encourage students to succeed.
The centre offers the following programmes:
Half Day Assessment – After being placed in isolation twice in a half term students are referred to a pastoral support worker in the ACC. The pastoral support worker will then complete a 0.5 day assessment identifying the barriers that are preventing the student from managing their behaviour in the mainstream setting. The report is shared with the student, parents/ carers and relevant staff in the Academies to ensure everyone works together with common aims and goals. the same half term then they will be re-assigned to the same key worker who will work with the student on a 3 day assessment. This will involve reflection of what has been going wrong, how it can be prevented from happening again and may also include some counselling sessions if necessary.
Three-day Induction Programme – This programme of broad assessments and restorative solution-focused coaching also builds in opportunities for self-reflection and evaluation to re-direct students towards more positive outcomes. This programme is put in place once reintegration back into mainstream has failed following the half day assessment stage.
Students work in small teaching groups on a mixture of staff led activities and personally directed learning and development. It is of huge importance in the ACC that we foster an appreciation of lifelong learning and help students develop the skills to research and manage their own work. This is done through individual projects on a choice of themes, and weekly group projects on a theme which the students select after participating in a group discussion where they present a case for why they would like to study their chosen topic. We also provide students with core subjects, art, Life Skills and the Forest School ensuring there is a positive balance of academic and practical subjects. In conjunction with subject specialists the curriculum is currently under development to further improve the learning opportunities for students and we endeavour to act on realistic feedback from students.
On the completion of the three day assessment, suggestions for differentiation and behaviour management strategies are fed back to staff and students are supported in their consequent transition back into mainstream lessons. During this time staff are available to discuss any concerns that a student may have and make further recommendations to teachers on what a student's specific needs are. Ongoing coaching is available for those requiring additional support.
Personalised Pathway – For a variety of reasons there are a small number of students who require longer-term personalised support from staff in order to achieve personal and academic success. At this stage we assemble bespoke programmes of medium- to long-term support that can be in place for a further number of days or weeks. Students can access the ACC on full-time or part-time arrangements. KS4 students are supported through their controlled assessments in all subject areas, having lessons delivered by subject specialists and being able to prepare for examinations with suitable resources and input from relevant staff. The aim of the programme is to ensure that the students leave with the qualifications, self-esteem and ambition needed help them through their next steps or their career. This can include for different students College courses, apprenticeships or other forms of training within employment.
The Forest School has been introduced to both Academies to help provide a broad and balanced curriculum together with motivating students to become better learners in school. This is achieved through focusing on helping students develop their self-esteem, leadership qualities and team building skills using outdoor learning techniques.
The Forest School has been designed for students to complete a 6 week ‘in house’ course develop an understanding of basic bushcraft and woodland skills. This includes the safe practice of whittling with a sheath knife, shelter building and fire lighting. Using the sites across school and Talbot Woods they start to have responsibility for their actions and develop ownership of their environment.
We are continually seeking to expand our range of alternative courses available for students in our Academies.
The isolation room is utilised when students in mainstream lessons repeatedly disrupt learning or refuse to follow instructions from staff. Students in the isolation room remain in silence for a full working day completing subject-specific work relevant to their personal curriculum. The Academies make a commitment to all parents, carers and students that learning will take place in a disruption free environment.
Students sent to isolation must arrive within 5 minutes of being sent from their lesson and at the end of the day their teacher visits to discuss the events resulting in isolation in a restorative meeting to ensure expectations are clear and that a positive start can be made next lesson, allowing both the student and the teacher to resolve the issue and agree on a strategy for moving forward.
Parents of students sent to the isolation room receive two phone calls, the first one from Gateway staff informing them that their child has been placed in isolation and the second call is made at the end of the day by the teacher who sent the student to isolation to explain the reasons for the isolation.