At Bridgelea we believe that learning is discovering and applying new skills and knowledge. Teaching at Bridgelea is ‘Learning Centered’, meaning that each element of whole school and classroom practice is designed with an understanding of how children learn best at its heart. While we have been established by the local authority as a specialist facility to meet the very specific needs of Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs and associated behavioural difficulties, we hold firmly to the principle that we can best fulfil our overall aim of helping children to return to mainstream schooling by having regard to all their learning needs. Often when children arrive at Bridgelea they have missed opportunities to make the progress made by their peers because of the historic barriers put up by their social, emotional and mental health needs. At Bridgelea we believe that children learn best and develop improved self-esteem in a nurturing climate of structured learning designed to meet their individual needs. Key to the ethos of our school and its curriculum are the Rights Respecting Award, Elklan Award and Nurturing Principles.
Setting Suitable Learning Challenges
Many Bridgelea pupils have large gaps in their education due to long periods out of school. As a consequence programmes of study will need to fill these gaps but at the same time remain suitably challenging for pupils who are often still very capable. For less able pupils who may have other special educational needs, work will invariably need to be drawn from earlier key stages so that pupils can show what they can achieve. In some cases this may mean pupils not being able to receive all their age related programmes of study.
Of particular concern for pupils who have moved schools regularly or have been excluded, is continuity and progression. There is a danger that pupils in these circumstances find themselves repeating previous learning which, although offers some immediate success and is ‘safe’, provides little challenge with no evidence of progression. It is important, therefore, that programmes of study for these pupils are monitored and reviewed regularly to provide both regular opportunities for success as well as suitable challenges and progression routes. We are exploring Classroom Monitor this year as a tool to aid teachers in recording progress and setting suitable learning challenges.