Supporting Our Year 7 Students

Transition

Starting well…

Year 7 will return to school first and will follow a 3 week bespoke transition programme that has been designed to help with orientation, building relationships and understanding the rules and routines of school. We have designed this programme to give our Year 7 students the best welcome possible and to get them familiar with how to use their chrome books and how to access all of their lessons and resources on Google classroom.


  • Assessing Needs

Our new year 7 have missed a large chunk of their final year of primary school – including their KS2 assessments.  We understand therefore the importance of collecting accurate data when pupils arrive to us in September as a way of measuring where they are in terms of attainment and ability following a period of extended absence from school. All year 7 students  will therefore complete a series of standardised tests which will assess cognition, reading, spelling and numeracy. This data will provide us with a secure, accurate and reliable foundation from which we can support each student and their needs as they embark upon their secondary school journey. All assessments will be completed in Term 1, week 3 as part of the welcome and transition programme that has been designed to help our newest students settle into the routines here at Witton Park. 

 

  • Testing

Testing will be completed in school. All students will complete the same tests. Data and results will be shared with all year 7 teachers and any student identified as requiring additional academic support will be placed on an appropriate course of intervention or a set of classroom strategies will be used to best support learners and their needs.

  • Intervention

Targeted intervention for literacy has been made a key priority for year 7 students. We have a designated team, including a trained primary school teacher who will support students with low literacy levels or increased literacy needs following their extended absence from school. 

We will offer a range of bespoke intervention packages to students including, Read, Write, ink, Lexia, guided reading and writing and enhanced programmes from Accelerated reader.

Other packages to support student welfare have also been created in order to raise student self-esteem and confidence in the classroom. 

 

We have also commissioned Blackburn Rovers to work with our Year 7 pupils targeting their wellbeing.  A trained Primary school teacher works closely with pupils on a twelve week rotation.  This was a huge success last academic year and we are very excited to be working with the Blackburn Rovers team again 

 

This year we are also working with a company that has been based in London called Football Beyond Borders.  We will target over 50 pupils during the year and the focus will be on engagement and attainment in literacy and numeracy.  


Lessons and Learning

Teachers

A highly skillful team of designated staff have been created to deliver the year 7 curriculum. As students have lost a significant chunk of their final year of primary school, and so to help address this gap, we have designed our staff and curriculum to offer a pseudo primary school model – with students having fewer teachers and less movement around school in order to help them settle in and to allow them to build important relationships with their teachers following a time of uncertainty and inconsistency.


MORE Principles

As a school we are committed to excellence in the classroom and quality first teaching is our priority and mission. We know children are resilient and we believe that with consistency, routine and high quality input,  all of our students will recover from the time lost in the classroom. To ensure high quality and excellence, all of our lessons and learning experiences are based on the MORE principles which stand for:

 

Meeting the needs of all: every child’s needs will be met through excellent planning and responsive provision.

Magenta: The Magenta principles can be reduced down to a simple idea that lessons should be exciting, engaging and effective and if children are to understand new information they need to do something to it or with it.

Oracy: Talk is central to learning in our school and language acquisition and developing pupils who are able to articulate their thoughts, ideas and opinions with clarity, accuracy and fluency is a top priority.

Reading: We have dedicated reading lessons in y7 to 9 and this is an indication of how committed we are as a school to promoting the value and importance of reading. As a school, in every subject we explicitly teach 6 key reading strategies, use and Active Reading approach and are dedicated to improving tier, 1,2,and 3 vocabulary.

Retention and Recall: Our curriculum and lessons are designed and sequenced to ensure that knowledge is in constant circulation. In order to help our students retain and recall information we use low stakes quizzes, diagnostics and activities that are high challenge and low threat in order to really maximise cognitive function and memory. 

Enrichment and Entitlement: One of the ways we make our lessons and learning experiences engaging is by enriching the lives of our students, exposing them to rich, diverse and powerful knowledge and by giving them opportunities to do things that they would otherwise never experience. Our commitment to cultural capital is in evidence in every one of our units of work and it is something we believe changes the life chances of our children. 



  • Google Classroom and Remote Learning

“Provide immediate/high quality remote learning with a full curriculum offer”

 

We are fortunate enough to be a Google school and the use of chrome books means that we are able to transition from school to home learning with little disruption. If indeed we are expected to work at home, timetables will continue as normal with live lessons via Google Meet and all work set on Google Classroom and the Learning Portal. The same principles of MORE will be applied to every remote lesson taught in order to ensure consistency of teaching and learning.


Curriculum: What is being taught?

Core Subjects

All core subjects are taught by subject specialists. Students will be grouped for 

Maths and Science lesson which will have a numeracy focus and English and Reading lessons which will have a literacy focus. Lessons will be designed to address misconceptions, diagnose and plug gaps and build a strong foundation of knowledge in this curriculum area.


Creative Curriculum

The Creative curriculum is a multi-disciplinary offer which covers History, Geography, RE, Resilience and Reading. This curriculum is taught thematically and focuses on critical executive functions, metacognition and schema. The aim is to build a broad knowledge base in which students are able to see explicitly the interconnectedness of several disciplines. This will be taught by one teacher and will enable staff to build strong relationships with students and be able to support needs more effectively. The creative curriculum will also allow students to take advantage of our wonderful school grounds and spend some much needed time in the fresh air and in nature. In theory the introduction of a creative curriculum will help maximize student progress and recovery by harnessing knowledge and skills from multi-disciplines allowing our students to accelerate their understanding of key topics and ideas from across the curriculum. The use of one main teacher also means that references to different subjects can be made with enabling knowledge and information to be in constant circulation. 



  • In order to make sure the curriculum is broad and balanced, students will also have discrete art lessons, MFL lessons and PE lessons  – all taught by subject specialists.


Supported Recovery

  • Services for Students

One of the big ways we are supporting the wellbeing of our students as they try to re-integrate into full time education is the Services for Students. Students can self-refer, be referred by staff or can be referred by parents. If you feel that your child would benefit from some additional support – please contact school to request an assessment. Services are bespoke to the individual needs of a student and pupils are placed on a 4 week personalised programme to help them make a positive start back into education. 


  • Academic Mentoring 

One final way we hope to support our students is by the appointment of Academic mentors. Each Year 7 will have an Academic mentor, AM sessions take place at the end of the day and these sessions will focus on:

  1. Academic DTT
  2. Study Skills
  3. Cognition 
  4. Wellbeing

 

Mentors will provide welfare support as well as academic support. Academic mentors are the first port of call if there are any issues, worries or concerns about your son or daughter’s progress in school.


SEND

  • Transition 

The SENCO works closely with all feeder primary schools to gather as much information as possible about all our incoming students with Special Educational or Medical Needs. They also attend Annual Reviews and Team Around the Family meetings where possible to.

All students were offered a get to know you session with their form tutor with Teaching Assistant support where needed. 

Following the information received from primary schools Individual Educational Profiles will be developed for all Year 7 SEN students so staff are fully aware of individual students needs and strategies to support them. The Learning Support Team have also created One PAge Profile for several of the students with a higher level of special educational need.

  • In class support

All tutor groups have received the support of a Teaching Assistant across the settling in period of the first few weeks to help to support students in their transition to a new environment and adjust to new routines. Those students with Educational Health Care Plan have also received more intensive support and supervision at break and lunchtimes.

  • Intervention

Once the Year 7’s have completed their initial testing the data provided will be reviewed and assessed for the appropriate interventions. These include Read, Write Inc, LEXIA and IDL for literacy issues. Students with an Educational, HEalth Care Plans may also receive interventions based on those described in Section F of their plan which are individual to them.

The Data will also be scrutinised to look for discrepancies and anomalies so students can be referred for further testing either in school or with the Educational Psychologist.

  • Nurture

A Nurture Group will begin for Year 7 students following the initial testing. The students placed in this group will be specifically chosen by the SENCO and Year Manager based on educational, emotional and behavioural needs. The initial group will be set at below 15 students who will follow a bespoke curriculum taught by a limited number of staff many of whom are SEN trained and all of whom will receive specialist training on individual needs. These students will receive full time support from a Teaching Assistant including at social times if needed.

Above and Beyond

‘Words for All’ project – this year we will take part in the Words for all Project, a scheme that supports students who have spent time in care to be empowered by their use of language and access to language. This should be a transformative project for some of our more vulnerable students who may need extra support vocalising.

Micro-library, online library, access to Blackburn central library books and archive. As a school we have made a significant investment in reading provision. Micro libraries have been set up in each of the year group bubbles and students are invited to borrow books. Books that encourage students to both read for pleasure and support their studies are available.

 

Football Beyond Borders and Blackburn Rovers

This project reaches out to students in a hope to educate and inspire them. Please see the website for more information.

https://www.footballbeyondborders.org/