Tolcarne Class - Key Stage 3
Tolcarne is one of two Key Stage 3 classes at Curnow Upper School. We have a very dedicated team which is made up of our teacher, Rachel Waters and a team of full time teaching assistants. Staff and students in Tolcarne Class work very hard to ensure that we make excellent progress in our learning during our time at school and we are all very proud of our efforts. As well as members of the Curnow team, students have a dedicated team of outside agencies which offer individual and group programmes of support which meet the needs of our students. These include: Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists. Tolcarne Class are a joy to teach; they have a real sense of what it means to be part of a group and have forged close friendships with their peers and staff, both within their own class and the wider school community.
In Tolcarne Class we offer our students an age appropriate bespoke programme of learning that reflects and respects the individual needs of our pupils. Each of our pupils has 3 Individual Education Plan targets which supports their individual needs as outlined in their EHCP; these are assessed across the school day. In Key Stage 3, we follow a themed approach to the National Curriculum giving our learners age appropriate opportunities to study individual subjects at their developmental level using appropriate pedagogical teaching methods. A great part of our learning is experiential, allowing pupils to experience the world around them through a multi-sensory approach; whilst developing core literacy and numeracy skills as well as all other subjects in the curriculum. Some of our learners in class are provided with opportunities to work in our quieter learning space to ensure they receive the best learning opportunities. They require sensory passports in order to ensure their health and wellbeing is maintained. This entails several movement breaks followed by shorter structured learning tasks.
A key area of learning when pupils move to upper school is independence as they move through more senior areas of the school. In Key Stage 3 we focus on independent snack skills, cookery skills, dressing and undressing; where appropriate, and all round independence skills during lesson time. We also follow the Pegasus Award for promoting independence, team work and social skills.
Reading in Tolcarne Class
Reading is a fundamental part of learning in Tolcarne. As well as structured weekly 1:1 reading programs we have 3 separate weekly phonics sessions where students work at their individual phonics levels. Students in Tolcarne progress through the letters and sounds phonics program which is followed on from their learning in key stage 2. Pupils have a reading book appropriate to their phonics level but also choose a book to share with their adult from our class library to promote a love of reading and literacy. The students in KS3 all have a termly sensory story which is tied to our overall termly topic. We promote their reading skills by developing their knowledge and understanding over time. This allows the student to sequence the story to a high degree of success, learn new action words, Makaton signs and discuss early literacy concepts in depth.
Within KS3 it is important that students start to take a keen role in understanding their environment in a more functional way. They work on their reading skills in a variety of practical ways. For example: following simple recipes, understanding signs and symbols in their community and using their developing reading skills to promote independence through class jobs like writing the snack or drinks list.
We are lucky here at Curnow to have a variety of learning environments that provide quality spaces for the children to learn in a variety of ways. The Key Stage 3 outside play area now allows our students to engage in play and develop key social skills with their friends; whilst working on many of our students’ sensory processing difficulties. We also make use of football/ball games outside area in Key Stage 4 and the sensory garden at various times within the school year. Upper School has many learning environments that allow students the opportunities for 1:1 learning; where deemed appropriate, such as: the learning pods, the library, the hydro pool and the newly developed gym. All of these environments have a very positive effect on wellbeing and learning for our students.